Marxism for Our Times: C. L. R. James on Revolutionary Organization

infrequently as within the assortment right here can one stumble upon an essayist, novelist, historian, and political chief just like the overdue C. L. R. James within the operating throes of forming after which fomenting own political conception. In Marxism for Our Times, editor Martin Glaberman has collected the writings and theoretical discussions of this famous Caribbean author. those pamphlets, mimeographs, letters, and lectures by means of James have been approximately inaccessible previously.
inside those works, James works to situate himself in the classical Marxist culture whereas rejecting the leading edge social gathering as improper for our occasions. The writings during this assortment start within the Forties, while Marxists have been wrestling with acts that many deemed betrayals of the revolution, Stalin's pact with Hitler and the battle in Europe. They result in the past due sixties previous to the dissolution of Facing Reality, the ultimate type of the yank Marxist association based on James's rules.
for a few years James, born in Trinidad and Tobago, used to be chief of the Trotskyists within the usa. He persevered his paintings even after his exile from the US. of serious price to students of Marxism are the papers during which James examines Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky and applies their theories to the category conflicts he was once witnessing at mid-century and to adjustments he foresaw sooner or later. James argues for the rejection of historic ideas and theories and urges Marxists to conform themselves to alterations happening in capitalism and the operating classification.
Glaberman labored along James yet occasionally disagreed with him within the stream James based. They have been shut affiliates for forty five years. With Marxism for Our instances Glaberman not just has preserved and made on hand the political theories of a famous author yet he additionally has created a window on a turbulent interval of optimism and failure, a failure Glaberman calls, "rich in meanings and classes for an individual drawn to a democratic, progressive Marxism."

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Further, you will  find Freud and Jung, Durkheim and Malinowski and Pareto and even Croce, all discover questions of psychology and sociology, etc. , which can refine and develop  and improve the Marxist method. I don't say no. But I insist that before you begin to refine, and before you begin to develop, and before you begin to add, you better  find out what it is you have at the beginning. This is where we begin, and from where we go on. But we don't wander about in general, being generally for the working  class for all sorts of moral reasons.

If I have something to tell him that I think he alone should  know or should know first, then I shall do so. But what I have to say in regard to the rebuilding and development and experience of the organization and its members I  have to say to everybody. 4) Please get in contact with William. I would suggest that three or four of you, or two or three, go to see him, that is to say, make an appointment with him to have a  talk with him. I suggest that you place before him the possibil­    Page 88 ity or the urgency of his doing a pamphlet which you all will print in, I think the time is November 1963, a century after the Gettysburg Address.

We were just what we were before. Only we were worse. But I hope you realize the immense difference it would have made if we could have  faced them with a program of this kind and perspectives. They would have had to put forward theirs. Or they would have had to realize that they wanted to go  in other places. I want to repeat. The fact that the split took place over the letter I had to write, and it is only now that we are mobilizing ourselves with a comprehensive  firmly based program and perspective, that shows me clearly what we did not do.

You have many quite intelligent people who are not Marxists, but the  Marxists have the method. What is that movement? Is it that the Negro people in the U. S. have at last picked themselves up to make the great struggle for their  equality? That is a lot of nonsense. That movement, I deeply regret that I'm not there, is an indication of what the proletariat and the revolutionary elements in society  are able and are driven to do in 1963. People talk about the Negro movement having been stimulated by what took place in Africa and the role of the Africans.

I also need to have a certain number with equal rapidity. It is absolutely impossible for any one set of people to carry on discussions  by themselves. In every respect, fundamental and particular discussion and everything that flows from it, is international. And with all those who are not licking  Khrushchev's boots, the center of such discussion is the U. S. Furthermore, the sending to you of these letters, or rather the mental and physical organization of them, is  a heavy—not burden, nothing is a burden that you want to do more than anything else—but it demands an increasing effort.

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