Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Letter commentary

Well, it seems the Green candidate in Vauxhall can declare himself as such in the letters pages of the South London Press. I find his idea that they should put up a statue to CLR James in Brixton interesting. I know the connexion is obvious, James spent his final years there, but why should Greens - who deliberately and consciously support capitalism - want to errect a statue to someone whose avowed aim was to abolish it.

James was a Trinidadian Marxist, originally joining the ILP in the 1930's he became a Trotskyist - and quite a prominent one, too. He rose within the ranks of Trotskyism to be a confident of the Grand Old Man himself, dealing with 'The Negro Question' - in the 1940's he broke with Trotskyism over the issue of the continued existence of capitalism - albeit a state managed form - in the Soviet union. He further went on to reject his old allegiance to Romantic notions of revolution and vanguards, in favour workers' councils and conscious majoritariuan revolt.

While there are many things with which we would disagree with him - such as his support for national liberation movements, for Fidel Castro, etc.- on rejection of elite revolutionary leaderships at least we'd agree. In fact, we'd probably go as far as to suggest that rather than errect a statue to him, the best way to remember his contribution would be to abolish capitalism by our own hands, together. But then, that might be why pro-capitalists would prefer to errect a statue.

A lot of his work can be found here

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

And lets not forget that CLR James did learn something from the Socialist Party as this quote indicates
“But it should be noted that Marx and Engels and Lenin did
use the words Socialism and Communism interchangeably, at
other times making a distinction between Communism as the
highest stage of Socialism. For an able study on the use of the
words at different times by Marx, Engels and Lenin see The
Socialist Standard, August, 1936”.
CLR James, World Revolution 1917-1936, chapter 5,
footnote 4, 1937.