Marxism

C. L. R. James in Imperial Britain by Christian Høgsbjerg

By Christian Høgsbjerg

C. L. R. James in Imperial Britain chronicles the lifestyles and paintings of the Trinidadian highbrow and author C. L. R. James in the course of his first prolonged remain in Britain, from 1932 to 1938. It unearths the radicalizing impact of this serious interval on James's highbrow and political trajectory. in this time, James became from liberal humanism to progressive socialism.

Rejecting the "imperial Britishness" he had absorbed growing to be up in a crown colony within the British West Indies, he grew to become a number one anticolonial activist and Pan-Africanist philosopher. Christian Høgsbjerg reconstructs the situations and milieus within which James wrote works together with his magisterial research The Black Jacobins.

First released in 1938, James's exam of the dynamics of anticolonial revolution in Haiti maintains to persuade scholarship on Atlantic slavery and abolition. Høgsbjerg contends that in the melancholy C. L. R. James complicated public figuring out of the African diaspora and emerged as the most major and artistic progressive Marxists in Britain.

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As he put it in The Life of Captain Cipriani, Between the brown-­skinned middle class and the black there is continual rivalry, distrust and ill-­feeling, which, skilfully played upon by the European people poisons the life of the community. . 87 While Matthew Arnold himself was not an anti-­imperialist by any means, and he did not really think that ideas of liberty, democracy, and so on were fit for subject peoples of the empire, his tenets did perhaps constitute an implicit challenge to imperial ideology when taken up, transplanted to, and reinvented in colonial Trinidad by the Beacon Group.

57 As a courageous, creative, revolutionary socialist thinker and activist, James also helped “make an opening” that—like Toussaint’s—might still encourage and inspire those engaged in all manner of liberation struggles against exploitation and oppression everywhere today. 16 | Introduction ONE | “We Lived According to the Tenets of Matthew Arnold” Colonial Victorianism and the Creative Realism of the Young C. L. R. James C. L. R. ”1 In Beyond a Boundary, James recalled some of his hobbies and interests—aside from cricket and a fascination with indigenous popular cultural traditions such as calypso and Carnival—while growing to intellectual maturity as an aspiring writer in Trinidad during the 1920s and early 1930s: “I had a circle of friends (most of them white) with whom I exchanged ideas, books, records and manuscripts.

G. ” The high point of Reynolds’s “revolutionary radicalism” came in 1937 with The White Sahibs in India, a superb historical indictment of British colonialism that carried an appreciative foreword from Nehru. ” In 1982 James sat for a portrait by the artist Paul Harber, son of Denzil Dean Harber, another veteran of the early British Trotskyist movement. ” But Hill also suggested that a “great deal of further research” on this period of James’s life was necessary: “It would be trying to reach for the impossible if we sought after a com- Introduction | 13 plete description of James’s evolution over this pivotal six-­year stretch in England.

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