Sunday, November 17, 2013

CLR James and socialism

All the letterboxes we can get to have not been leafletted. Only gated communities have been left out. We're not too worried about the snooty ones but some are council properties. We're working on a way to access them.

No election activity on Brixton High Road yesterday. The Militant stall did not even have copies of their election leaflet. We might do a stall there ourselves next Saturday. The Vassall ward Labour Party has published the list of candidates on their site. Gratifying to see us referred to as the Socialist Party as on the front of our offices in Clapham High Street, but no doubt annoying to those who have attempted to usurp our name and claim that the "Socialist Party" supports the TUSC candidate.

According to the Brixtonblog, a meeting to launch research on the life of CLR James is to be held at the Oval cricket ground on Saturday 23 November. This is just outside the ward, but we would be going anyway as James is an interesting person. A Trotskyist in the 1930s he came round to the view in the 1940s that Russia was a form of state capitalism, i.e not socialist nor (as our TUSC opponent still maintains it was) a "Workers State". In view of the fact that he looked forward, eventually (in full communism), to a society in which money would not be necessary it was a travesty that his picture should have appeared on the now virtually-defunct and always pointless Brixton pound.

The authorities are obviously trying to promote him as a role model for black people, but this could backfire on them as his life can also be used to get a word in on socialist ideas. That's why we'll be at the meeting on 23 November.

1 comment:

Raisul Bhuiyan said...

Great read, I really liked your piece. I thought you might be interested in 'Filmed Public Lecture: The Abolition of Slavery Debate'. It is an alternative lecture and discussion on factors which lead to the end of slavery. Were C.L.R James and Eric Williams right? Despite its profits, was slavery an inherently unstable system and outdated mode of production? With slaves dying like flies and rebellion on the cards was abolition ultimately a matter of economics? What role did moral objections play and what did William Wilberforce really have to do with it?
In his seminal work Black Jacobins C.L.R. James tells us “Despite the names that were to become so famous….we must beware of thinking that the ‘Friends of the Negro’ represented a force.”
Eric Williams in his book Capitalism and Slavery tells us "The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless."
The education charity WORLDwrite and its Citizen TV station WORLDbytes are delighted to be hosting this filmed public lecture on Wednesday 27th May at 7.00pm at the exciting venue, known as Chats Palace, (42-44 Brooksby's Walk, London E9 6DF. see google map ). The lecture will be introduced by journalist, lecturer and author James Heartfield and forms part of the charity’s multi-media project on C.L.R. James entitled, ‘Every Cook Can Govern: Documenting the life, impact & works of C.L.R. James’.
Please arrive in time for drinks and complimentary snacks. The entrance fee will help towards venue and film costs for this exciting event.

Tickets cost £7/£4 for this event and as spaces are limited, it is wise to book as soon as possible.

Tickets can be booked online via

For more details about the project visit our website or get in touch via