Catalogue

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Blacks in and out of the left [electronic resource] /
Michael C. Dawson.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013.
description
xi, 242 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
9780674057685 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013.
isbn
9780674057685 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
12011562
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-04-01:
In this version of his 2009 DuBois Lecture at Harvard, University of Chicago political scientist Dawson (Not in Our Lifetimes) addresses the divisions between the organized American left and black activists, among other issues. The author locates the "two most intense periods of twentieth-century black radicalism" as from 1920 to 1955, when the Communist Party dominated black leftist organizing, and 1965 to 1975, the era of black power and radicalism. Dawson reveals the significance of radical activists such as Harry Haywood, Claudia Jones, Hubert Harrison, and Cyril Briggs, along with organizations such as African Blood Brothers, Liberty League, and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, who have largely been forgotten in mainstream accounts. The related scholarship of Richard Rorty, Todd Gitlin, and Beverly Gage is assessed with sharp negative scrutiny. Though Dawson's account offers a fresh perspective and provocatively aims "to counter the continuing deadly move to the right in this country," the book lacks flavor and makes for dull reading. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Dawson offers a fresh interpretation of the largely unknown and often misrepresented history of black radicalism in an effort to chart a progressive path forward that will effectively challenge racial injustice, economic inequality, and imperialism. This provocative and enlightening book creatively fuses analytical history with political theory to diagnose what has ailed the American Left for decades. But it is not a pessimistic book. Rather, in the spirit of hope and possibility, it calls for utopian yet pragmatic political thinking that regards independent black political organizing not as a balkanizing force or distraction from the 'universal' fight for a democratic society, but as an indispensable element of any viable Left-wing politics.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, April 2013
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
The radical African American left that played a crucial role in 20th-century struggles for equality and justice has largely disappeared. Dawson investigates the causes and consequences of the decline of African American radicalism as a force in American politics and argues that the conventional left has failed to take race sufficiently seriously as a historical force in reshaping American institutions, politics, and civil society.
Main Description
The radical black left that played a crucial role in twentieth-century struggles for equality and justice has largely disappeared. Michael Dawson investigates the causes and consequences of the decline of black radicalism as a force in American politics and argues that the conventional left has failed to take race sufficiently seriously as a historical force in reshaping American institutions, politics, and civil society. African Americans have been in the vanguard of progressive social movements throughout American history, but they have been written out of many histories of social liberalism. Focusing on the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the Black Power movement, Dawson examines successive failures of socialists and Marxists to enlist sympathetic blacks, and white leftists' refusal to fight for the cause of racial equality. Angered by the often outright hostility of the Socialist Party and similar social democratic organizations, black leftists separated themselves from these groups and either turned to the hard left or stayed independent. A generation later, the same phenomenon helped fueled the Black Power movement's turn toward a variety of black nationalist, Maoist, and other radical political groups. The 2008 election of Barack Obama notwithstanding, many African Americans still believe they will not realize the fruits of American prosperity any time soon. This pervasive discontent, Dawson suggests, must be mobilized within the black community into active opposition to the social and economic status quo. Black politics needs to find its way back to its radical roots as a vital component of new American progressive movements.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
Foundational Myths: Recovering and Reconciling Narratives of Resistancep. 1
Power to the People?p. 41
Who and What Killed the Leftp. 126
Modern Myths: Constructing Visions of the Futurep. 175
Referencesp. 213
Notesp. 221
Acknowledgmentsp. 229
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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