Race and Revolution by Max Shachtman, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Race and Revolution

Race and Revolution

by Max Shachtman
     
 

A riveting inquiry into black history and American racism published here for the first time, Race and Revolution is a work of radiant insight and bold logic.

Astonishingly advanced for its time, the document was originally drafted in 1933 as Communism and the Negro and was by far the most comprehensive statement on race produced by the Left Opposition,

Overview

A riveting inquiry into black history and American racism published here for the first time, Race and Revolution is a work of radiant insight and bold logic.

Astonishingly advanced for its time, the document was originally drafted in 1933 as Communism and the Negro and was by far the most comprehensive statement on race produced by the Left Opposition, the dissenting Communist tendency led by Leon Trotsky.

Race and Revolution places the black struggle for freedom and equality at the heart of American history. Racial oppression, Shachtman argues, can be comprehended only within the totality of social and class relations. The document culminates in a devastating polemic against the Communist Party’s call for a Black Belt state in the American South.

A clarifying introduction by Christopher Phelps explains the document’s historical genesis, compares it to the views of Trotsky and C. L. R. James, and evaluates it in light of subsequent theoretical and historical developments.

Editorial Reviews

David Roediger
“This seminal text on revolutionary socialism and race is, as Christopher Phelps’s excellent introduction shows, equally fascinating for its great strengths and its revealing rigidities. It shows, in history and theory, the devastating impact of white racism in weakening the whole working class. It is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand the context of the celebrated 1939 exchanges on race, class and revolution between Leon Trotsky and C.L.R. James, and anyone seeking to understand the evolution of race and class in the twentieth-century United States.”
From the Publisher
“This seminal text on revolutionary socialism and race is, as Christopher Phelps’s excellent introduction shows, equally fascinating for its great strengths and its revealing rigidities. It shows, in history and theory, the devastating impact of white racism in weakening the whole working class. It is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand the context of the celebrated 1939 exchanges on race, class and revolution between Leon Trotsky and C.L.R. James, and anyone seeking to understand the evolution of race and class in the twentieth-century United States.”—David Roediger
Publishers Weekly
Two texts comprise this slender volume: Phelps's introduction occupies the first third, while the remainder consists of an "advance draft" of Shachtman's previously unpublished text of revolutionary socialism, Communism and the Negro, written in 1933. Phelps (Young Sidney Hook) leads the reader through Shachtman's "political gymnastics" amid the byzantine divisions of the Communist and Socialist movements in the '30s and '40s. He traces the progress of this pamphlet, from an attempt to clarify matters for Trotsky (who "wondered aloud whether 'the Negroes do not also...speak their own language'" and "speculated that perhaps they kept their language a secret to avoid being lynched") to its limited circulation via "painstakingly retyped onion-skinned copies [among] the socialist far left during the Great Depression." Without ignoring the "many fault lines and elisions" of the most famous American Trotskyist, Phelps alerts the reader to Shachtman's foresight in addressing issues of race, class, identity and nationality. The first half of Shachtman's pamphlet offers a Marxist historical account of blacks in the U. S.; the second half addresses what was called "The Negro Question"-whether African-Americans constituted an "oppressed national minority, with a common language, culture and territory" and thus warranted the right of self-determination. Shachtman argues that they did not form a separation, and that the Stalinist position was "radically wrong and guaranteed to produce the most harmful results in the fight to liberate not only the American Negro but the whole American working class." Although an annotated edition might have made Shachtman's historical section more useful to the general reader, the book has documentary value for historians of the American left; scholars of other disciplines will appreciate the index. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859845127
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
04/19/2003
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

Max Shachtman (1904–72) was a socialist organizer, orator and writer. He edited the journal New International.

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