Amílcar Cabral was an agronomist who led an armed struggle that ended Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde. The uprising contributed significantly to the collapse of a fascist regime in Lisbon and the dismantlement of Portugal’s empire in Africa. Assassinated by a close associate with the deep complicity of the Portuguese colonial authorities, Cabral not only led one of Africa’s most successful liberation movements, but was the voice and face of the anticolonial wars against Portugal.
A brilliant military strategist and astute diplomat, Cabral was an original thinker who wrote innovative and inspirational essays that still resonate today. His charismatic and visionary leadership, his active pan-Africanist solidarity and internationalist commitment to “every just cause in the world,” remain relevant to contemporary struggles for emancipation and self-determination. Peter Karibe Mendy’s compact and accessible biography is an ideal introduction to his life and legacy.
In this remarkable testimony, Cuban novelist and anthropologist Miguel Barnet presents the narrative of 105-year-old Esteban Montejo, who lived as a slave, as fugitive in the wilderness, and as a soldier in the Cuban War of Independence. Honest, blunt, compassionate, shrewd, and engaging, his voice provides an extraordinary insight into the African culture that took root in the Caribbean.
Originally published in 1966, Miguel Barnet’s Biography of a Runaway Slave provides the written history of the life of Esteban Montejo, who lived as a slave, as a fugitive in the wilderness, and as a soldier fighting against Spain in the Cuban War of Independence. A new introduction by one of the most preeminent Afro-Hispanic scholars, William Luis, situates Barnet’s ethnographic strategy and lyrical narrative style as foundational for the tradition of testimonial fiction in Latin American literature. Barnet recorded his interviews with the 103-year-old Montejo at the onset of the Cuban Revolution. This insurgent’s history allows the reader into the folklore and cultural history of Afro-Cubans before and after the abolition of slavery. The book serves as an important contribution to the archive of black experience in Cuba and as a reminder of the many ways that the present continues to echo the past.
Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus is a gripping account of the developmental dynamics involved in the collapse of Soviet socialism. Fusing a narrative of human agency to his critical discussion of structural forces, Georgi M. Derluguian reconstructs from firsthand accounts the life story of Musa Shanib—who from a small town in the Caucasus grew to be a prominent leader in the Chechen revolution. In his examination of Shanib and his keen interest in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Derluguian discerns how and why this dissident intellectual became a nationalist warlord.
Exploring globalization, democratization, ethnic identity, and international terrorism, Derluguian contextualizes Shanib's personal trajectory from de-Stalinization through the nationalist rebellions of the 1990s, to the recent rise in Islamic militancy. He masterfully reveals not only how external economic and political forces affect the former Soviet republics but how those forces are in turn shaped by the individuals, institutions, ethnicities, and social networks that make up those societies. Drawing on the work of Charles Tilly, Immanuel Wallerstein, and, of course, Bourdieu, Derluguian's explanation of the recent ethnic wars and terrorist acts in Russia succeeds in illuminating the role of human agency in shaping history.
C. L. R. James's Caribbean
Paget Henry and Paul Buhle, eds. Duke University Press, 1992 Library of Congress PR9272.9.J35Z63 1992 | Dewey Decimal 818
For more than half a century, C. L. R. James (1901–1989)—"the Black Plato," as coined by the London Times—has been an internationally renowned revolutionary thinker, writer, and activist. Born in Trinidad, his lifelong work was devoted to understanding and transforming race and class exploitation in his native West Indies, as well as in Britain and the United States. In C. L. R. James's Caribbean, noted scholars examine the roots of both James's life and oeuvre in connection with the economic, social, and political environment of the West Indies.
Drawing upon James's observations of his own life as revealed to interviewers and close friends, this volume provides an examination of James's childhood and early years as colonial literatteur and his massive contribution to West Indian political-cultural understanding. Moving beyond previous biographical interpretations, the contributors here take up the problem of reading James's texts in light of poststructuralist criticism, the implications of his texts for Marxist discourse, and for problems of Caribbean development.
The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) were the largest political party in Russia in the crucial revolutionary year of 1917. Heirs to the legacy of the People’s Will movement, the SRs were unabashed proponents of peasant rebellion and revolutionary terror, emphasizing the socialist transformation of the countryside and a democratic system of government as their political goals. They offered a compelling, but still socialist, alternative to the Bolsheviks, yet by the early 1920s their party was shattered and its members were branded as enemies of the revolution. In 1922, the SR leaders became the first fellow socialists to be condemned by the Bolsheviks as “counter-revolutionaries” in the prototypical Soviet show trial.
In Captives of the Revolution, Scott B. Smith presents both a convincing account of the defeat of the SRs and a deeper analysis of the significance of the political dynamics of the Civil War for subsequent Soviet history. Once the SRs decided to openly fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, they faced a series of nearly impossible political dilemmas. At the same time, the Bolsheviks fatally undermined the revolutionary credentials of the SRs by successfully appropriating the rhetoric of class struggle, painting a simplistic picture of Reds versus Whites in the Civil War, a rhetorical dominance that they converted into victory over the SRs and any left-wing alternative to Bolshevik dictatorship. In this narrative, the SRs became a bona fide threat to national security and enemies of the people—a characterization that proved so successful that it became an archetype to be used repeatedly by the Soviet leadership against any political opponents, even those from within the Bolshevik party itself.
In this groundbreaking study, Smith reveals a more complex and nuanced picture of the postrevolutionary struggle for power in Russia than we have ever seen before and demonstrates that the Civil War—and in particular the struggle with the SRs—was the formative experience of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.
Catarino Garza’s Revolution on the Texas-Mexico Border rescues an understudied episode from the footnotes of history. On September 15, 1891, Garza, a Mexican journalist and political activist, led a band of Mexican rebels out of South Texas and across the Rio Grande, declaring a revolution against Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz. Made up of a broad cross-border alliance of ranchers, merchants, peasants, and disgruntled military men, Garza’s revolution was the largest and longest lasting threat to the Díaz regime up to that point. After two years of sporadic fighting, the combined efforts of the U.S. and Mexican armies, Texas Rangers, and local police finally succeeded in crushing the rebellion. Garza went into exile and was killed in Panama in 1895.
Elliott Young provides the first full-length analysis of the revolt and its significance, arguing that Garza’s rebellion is an important and telling chapter in the formation of the border between Mexico and the United States and in the histories of both countries. Throughout the nineteenth century, the borderlands were a relatively coherent region. Young analyzes archival materials, newspapers, travel accounts, and autobiographies from both countries to show that Garza’s revolution was more than just an effort to overthrow Díaz. It was part of the long struggle of borderlands people to maintain their autonomy in the face of two powerful and encroaching nation-states and of Mexicans in particular to protect themselves from being economically and socially displaced by Anglo Americans. By critically examining the different perspectives of military officers, journalists, diplomats, and the Garzistas themselves, Young exposes how nationalism and its preeminent symbol, the border, were manufactured and resisted along the Rio Grande.
Che on My Mind
Margaret Randall Duke University Press, 2013 Library of Congress F2849.22.G85R35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 980.035092
Che on My Mind is an impressionistic look at the life, death, and legacy of Che Guevara by the renowned feminist poet and activist Margaret Randall. Recalling an era and this figure, she writes, "I am old enough to remember the world in which [Che] lived. I was part of that world, and it remains a part of me." Randall participated in the Mexican student movement of 1968 and eventually was forced to leave the country. She arrived in Cuba in 1969, less than two years after Che's death, and lived there until 1980. She became friends with several of Che's family members, friends, and compatriots. In Che on My Mind she reflects on his relationships with his family and fellow insurgents, including Fidel Castro. She is deeply admiring of Che's integrity and charisma and frank about what she sees as his strategic errors. Randall concludes by reflecting on the inspiration and lessons that Che's struggles might offer early twenty-first-century social justice activists and freedom fighters.
What are the conditions that foster true novelty and allow visionaries to set their eyes on unknown horizons? What have been the challenges that have spawned new innovations, and how have they shaped modern biology? In Dreamers, Visionaries, and Revolutionaries in the Life Sciences, editors Oren Harman and Michael R. Dietrich explore these questions through the lives of eighteen exemplary biologists who had grand and often radical ideas that went far beyond the run-of-the-mill science of their peers.
From the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who coined the word “biology” in the early nineteenth century, to the American James Lovelock, for whom the Earth is a living, breathing organism, these dreamers innovated in ways that forced their contemporaries to reexamine comfortable truths. With this collection readers will follow Jane Goodall into the hidden world of apes in African jungles and Francis Crick as he attacks the problem of consciousness. Join Mary Lasker on her campaign to conquer cancer and follow geneticist George Church as he dreams of bringing back woolly mammoths and Neanderthals. In these lives and the many others featured in these pages, we discover visions that were sometimes fantastical, quixotic, and even threatening and destabilizing, but always a challenge to the status quo.
Éamon de Valera embodies Irish independence much as de Gaulle personifies French resistance and Churchill exemplifies British resolve. Ronan Fanning offers a reappraisal of the man who remains the most famous, and most divisive, political figure in modern Irish history, reconciling de Valera’s shortcomings with a recognition of his achievement as the statesman who single-handedly severed Ireland’s last ties to England.
Born in New York in 1882, de Valera was sent away to be raised by his mother’s family in Ireland, where a solitary upbringing forged the extraordinary self-sufficiency that became his hallmark. Conservative in his youth, he changed his name from Edward to Éamon when he became a member of the Gaelic League, the Irish language revival movement, in 1908. Five years later, he joined the Irish Volunteers, a nationalist military organization, and participated in the 1916 Easter Rising. Escaping execution afterward, he used his prestige as the senior surviving rebel officer to become the leader of Ireland’s revolutionary nationalists. But the iron will that was usually his strength became a fateful weakness when he stubbornly rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty, sparking the Irish Civil War of 1922–1923.
De Valera’s vision for Ireland was blinkered: he had little interest in social and economic progress. But without him, Ireland might never have achieved independence. The nation was spared decades of unproductive debate on the pros and cons of remaining tied to Britain, and by 1973 it had enough self-confidence to surrender some of its sovereignty by joining the European Community.
“I went to Nicaragua with nothing but a tourist visa, $1,500 in cash, the name of someone at the Agrarian Reform Ministry, and the idea of being a revolutionary intellectual. . . . The idea took hold in a simple character flaw: wanting to believe that I knew better than everyone else.” —From the preface
When Michael Johns joined a Sandinista militia in 1983, a fellow revolutionary dubbed him a rábano, a radish: red on the outside but white on the inside. Now, more than twenty-five years later, Johns appreciates the wisdom of that label as he revisits the questions of identity he tried to resolve by working with the Sandinistas at that point in his life. In The Education of a Radical, Johns recounts his immersion in Marxism and the Nicaraguan sojourn it led to, with a painful maturation process along the way.
His conversion began in college, where he joined a student group called the Latin American Solidarity Association and traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, for research on his senior thesis. Overwhelmed by the poverty he witnessed (and fascinated by a new friend named Maricela who was trying to turn peasants into revolutionaries and who carried a heavily highlighted copy of Late Capitalism), he experienced an ideological transformation. When a Marxist professor later encouraged him to travel to Nicaragua, the real internal battle began for him, a battle that was intensified by the U.S. invasion of Grenada and its effect on the Sandinistas, who believed they were the next target for an imminent American invasion. Before he knew it, Johns was digging trenches and learning how to use an AK-47. His intellectual ideals came face-to-face with revolutionary facts, and the results would perplex him for years to come.
Bringing to life a vivid portrait of the sometimes painful process of reconciling reality with romanticized principles, The Education of a Radical encapsulates a trove of truths about humanity, economics, and politics in one man’s memorable journey.
Everyday Revolutionaries provides a longitudinal and rigorous analysis of the legacies of war in a community racked by political violence. By exploring political processes in one of El Salvador's former war zones-a region known for its peasant revolutionary participation-Irina Carlota Silber offers a searing portrait of the entangled aftermaths of confrontation and displacement, aftermaths that have produced continued deception and marginalization.
Silber provides one of the first rubrics for understanding and contextualizing postwar disillusionment, drawing on her ethnographic fieldwork and research on immigration to the United States by former insurgents. With an eye for gendered experiences, she unmasks how community members are asked, contradictorily and in different contexts, to relinquish their identities as "revolutionaries" and to develop a new sense of themselves as productive yet marginal postwar citizens via the same "participation" that fueled their revolutionary action. Beautifully written and offering rich stories of hope and despair, Everyday Revolutionaries contributes to important debates in public anthropology and the ethics of engaged research practices.
Herbert Daniel was a significant and complex figure in Brazilian leftist revolutionary politics and social activism from the mid-1960s until his death in 1992. As a medical student, he joined a revolutionary guerrilla organization but was forced to conceal his sexual identity from his comrades, a situation Daniel described as internal exile. After a government crackdown, he spent much of the 1970s in Europe, where his political self-education continued. He returned to Brazil in 1981, becoming engaged in electoral politics and social activism to champion gay rights, feminism, and environmental justice, achieving global recognition for fighting discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. In Exile within Exiles, James N. Green paints a full and dynamic portrait of Daniel's deep commitment to leftist politics, using Daniel's personal and political experiences to investigate the opposition to Brazil's military dictatorship, the left's construction of a revolutionary masculinity, and the challenge that the transition to democracy posed to radical movements. Green positions Daniel as a vital bridge linking former revolutionaries to the new social movements, engendering productive dialogue between divergent perspectives in his writings and activism.
In the winter of 1834, twenty men convened in Keene, New Hampshire, and published a fiery address condemning their state's legal system as an abomination that threatened the legacy of the American Revolution. They attacked New Hampshire's constitution as an archaic document that undermined democracy and created a system of conniving attorneys and judges. They argued that the time was right for their neighbors to rise up and return the Granite State to the glorious pathway blazed by the nation's founders.
Few people embraced the manifesto and its radical message. Nonetheless, as Eric J. Morser illustrates in this eloquently written and deeply researched book, the address matters because it reveals how commercial, cultural, political, and social changes were remaking the lives of the men who drafted and shared it in the 1830s. Using an imaginative range of sources, Morser artfully reconstructs their moving personal tales and locates them in a grander historical context. By doing so, he demonstrates that even seemingly small stories from antebellum America can help us understand the rich complexities of the era.
In Founding Federalist, Michael C. Toth provides an in-depth look at the life and work of Oliver Ellsworth, a largely forgotten but eminently important Founding Father.
The American Founding was the work of visionaries and revolutionaries. But amid the celebrated luminaries, the historic transformations, the heroic acts, and unforgettable discourses were practical politicians, the consensus builders who made the system work. Oliver Ellsworth—Framer, senator, chief justice, diplomat—was such a leader.
Founding Federalist brings to life a figure whose contributions shape American political life even today. Vividly capturing the pivotal debates at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, Toth shows how Ellsworth was a vital force in shaping the Constitution as a Federalist document, one that did not extinguish the role of the states even as it recognized the need for national institutions. The author illuminates what Ellsworth and other Founders understood to be the meaning of the new constitutional order—a topic highly relevant to twenty-first-century debates about the role of government. Toth, an attorney, also brilliantly analyzes Ellsworth’s most important legislative achievement: the creation of the U.S. federal court system.
With this insightful new biography, Michael Toth has reclaimed a figure who made crucial contributions to a lasting creation: a federal republic.
Few figures loom as large in the intellectual history of revolution and postcolonialism than Frantz Fanon. An intellectual who devoted his life to activism, he utilized his deep knowledge of psychology and philosophy in the service of the movement for democratic participation and political sovereignty in his native Martinique and around the world.
With FranzFanon, Peter Hudis presents a penetrating critical biography of the activist’s life and work. Countering the prevailing belief that Fanon’s contributions to modern thought can be wholly defined by an advocacy of violence, Hudis presents his work instead as an integrated whole, showing that its nuances—and thus its importance—can only be appreciated in light of Fanon’s efforts to fuse philosophical theory and actual practice. By taking seriously Fanon’s philosophical and psychological contributions, as well as his political activism, Hudis presents a powerful and perceptive new view of the man and his achievement.
This brief, richly perceptive introduction to Fanon will give new force to his ideas, his life, and his example for people engaged in radical political theory and taking action against oppression around the world today.
From Jail to Jail is the political autobiography of Sutan Ibrahim gelar Tan Malaka, an enigmatic and colorful political thinker of twentieth-century Asia, who was one of the most influential figures of the Indonesian Revolution. Variously labeled a communist, Trotskyite, and nationalist, Tan Malaka managed to run afoul of nearly every political group and faction involved in the Indonesian struggle for independence. During his decades of political activity, he spent periods of exile and hiding in nearly every country in Southeast Asia. As a Marxist who was expelled from and became a bitter enemy of his country’s Communist Party and as a nationalist who was imprisoned and murdered by his own government’s forces as a danger to its anticolonial struggle, Tan Malaka was and continues to be soaked in contradiction and controversy.
From Revolutionaries to Citizens is the first comprehensive account of the most important antiwar campaign prior to World War I: the antimilitarism of the French Left. Covering the views and actions of socialists, trade unionists, and anarchists from the time of France’s defeat by Prussia in 1870 to the outbreak of hostilities with Germany in 1914, Paul B. Miller tackles a fundamental question of prewar historiography: how did the most antimilitarist culture and society in Europe come to accept and even support war in 1914?
Although more general accounts of the Left’s “failure” to halt international war in August 1914 focus on its lack of unity or the decline of trade unionism, Miller contends that these explanations barely scratch the surface when it comes to interpreting the Left’s overwhelming acceptance of the war. By embedding his cultural analysis of antimilitarist propaganda into the larger political and diplomatic history of prewar Europe, he reveals the Left’s seemingly sudden transformation “from revolutionaries to citizens” as less a failure of resolve than a confession of commonality with the broader ideals of republican France. Examining sources ranging from police files and court records to German and British foreign office memos, Miller emphasizes the success of antimilitarism as a rallying cry against social and political inequities on behalf of ordinary citizens. Despite their keen awareness of the bloodletting that awaited Europe, he claims, antimilitarists ultimately accepted the war with Germany for the same reason they had pursued their own struggle within France: to address injustices and defend the rights of citizens in a democratic society.
On August 20, 1940, Marxist philosopher, politician, and revolutionary Leon Trotsky was attacked with an ice axe in his home in Coyoacán, Mexico. He died the next day.
In The Great Prince Died, Bernard Wolfe offers his lyrical, fictionalized account of Trotsky’s assassination as witnessed through the eyes of an array of characters: the young American student helping to translate the exiled Trotsky’s work (and to guard him), the Mexican police chief, a Rumanian revolutionary, the assassin and his handlers, a poor Mexican “peón,” and Trotsky himself. Drawing on his own experiences working as the exiled Trotsky’s secretary and bodyguard and mixing in digressions on Mexican culture, Stalinist tactics, and Bolshevik history, Wolfe interweaves fantasy and fact, delusion and journalistic reporting to create one of the great political novels of the past century.
Greater than Emperor charts the remarkable process by which Rome tried to forge a new civic identity, similar in constitution to contemporary city-republics but conceptually much greater. At the forefront of the process stood the idiosyncratic and astonishing young notary Cola di Rienzo. On May 21, 1347, Cola staged a bloodless coup. Rome entered a new age that would witness both the resurrection of the ancient power of the Empire and Rome's apotheosis as God's chosen city. Yet within seven months, the theatricality and violence of Cola's regime led to exile. Cola's triumphal return some years later ended in his assassination.
Cola was eventually resurrected as a hero of nineteenth-century nationalism, leaving the realities of Trecento Rome far behind. Yet it is only in terms of the very real models and methods that Cola welded together that his revolution can be understood.
Greater than Emperor describes Cola's reliance on the past of rhetoric, pageantry, and Roman law. It then discusses the future, tracing the dynamic contemporary influences of apocalyptic fervor, prophetic literature, and radical Franciscan imagery of Cola's world. Amanda Collins assesses Cola's legal and political career within both the complex mechanics of municipal administration and the multiple hierarchies of Roman society.
Amanda Collins offers a new assessment of the dramatic events of 1347 and an analysis of Cola within his late medieval Roman context. Bringing depth and substance to Cola's backdrop, Trecento Rome and the economic and spiritual ambitions of its citizen body, Collins provides information crucial to understanding the longer-term economic and political drive to civic autonomy in Rome before 1400.
Historians and generalists alike will relish the story of a remarkable individual, set within the cultural climate of a famous and fascinating city, during an often-overlooked period. This book sheds new light on a crucial political figure that brought a dazzling civil independence to Rome.
Amanda Collins held the Junior Research Fellowship in Intellectual History at Wolfson College, Oxford from 1997-2000, and has more recently been employed at the University of Sussex.
Winner of the 2021 Haitian Studies Association Book Prize
Haiti Fights Back: The Life and Legacy of Charlemagne Péralte is the first US scholarly examination of the politician and caco leader (guerrilla fighter) who fought against the US military occupation of Haiti. The occupation lasted close to two decades, from 1915-1934. Alexis argues for the importance of documenting resistance while exploring the occupation’s mechanics and its imperialism. She takes us to Haiti, exploring the sites of what she labels as resistance zones, including Péralte’s hometown of Hinche and the nation’s large port areas--Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien. Alexis offers a new reading of U.S. military archival sources that record Haitian protests as banditry. Haiti Fights Back illuminates how Péralte launched a political movement, and meticulously captures how Haitian women and men resisted occupation through silence, military battles, and writings. She locates and assembles rare, multilingual primary sources from traditional repositories, living archives (oral stories), and artistic representations in Haiti and the United States. The interdisciplinary work draws on legislation, cacos’ letters, newspapers, and murals, offering a unique examination of Péralte’s life (1885-1919) and the significance of his legacy through the twenty-first century. Haiti Fights Back offers a new approach to the study of the U.S. invasion of the Americas by chronicling how Caribbean people fought back.
Taking part in the Cuban Revolution's first armed action in 1953, enduring the torture and killings of her brother and fiancé, assuming a leadership role in the underground movement, and smuggling weapons into Cuba, Haydée Santamaría was the only woman to participate in every phase of the Revolution. Virtually unknown outside of Cuba, Santamaría was a trusted member of Fidel Castro's inner circle and friend of Che Guevara. Following the Revolution's victory Santamaría founded and ran the cultural and arts institution Casa de las Americas, which attracted cutting-edge artists, exposed Cubans to some of the world's greatest creative minds, and protected queer, black, and feminist artists from state repression. Santamaría's suicide in 1980 caused confusion and discomfort throughout Cuba; despite her commitment to the Revolution, communist orthodoxy's disapproval of suicide prevented the Cuban leadership from mourning and celebrating her in the Plaza of the Revolution. In this impressionistic portrait of her friend Haydée Santamaría, Margaret Randall shows how one woman can help change the course of history.
Controversy swirled around the Black Panthers from the moment the revolutionary black nationalist Party was founded in Oakland, California, in 1966. Since that time, the group that J. Edgar Hoover called “the single greatest threat to the nation’s internal security” has been celebrated and denigrated, deified and vilified. Rarely, though, has it received the sort of nuanced analysis offered in this rich interdisciplinary collection. Historians, along with scholars in the fields of political science, English, sociology, and criminal justice, examine the Panthers and their present-day legacy with regard to revolutionary violence, radical ideology, urban politics, popular culture, and the media. The essays consider the Panthers as distinctly American revolutionaries, as the products of specific local conditions, and as parts of other movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
One contributor evaluates the legal basis of the Panthers’ revolutionary struggle, explaining how they utilized and critiqued the language of the Constitution. Others explore the roles of individuals, looking at a one-time Panther imprisoned for a murder he did not commit and an FBI agent who monitored the activities of the Panthers’ Oakland branch. Contributors assess the Panthers’ relations with Students for a Democratic Society, the Young Lords, the Brown Berets, and the Peace and Freedom Party. They discuss the Party’s use of revolutionary aesthetics, and they show how the Panthers manipulated and were manipulated by the media. Illuminating some of the complexities involved in placing the Panthers in historical context, this collection demonstrates that the scholarly search for the Black Panthers has only just begun.
Contributors. Bridgette Baldwin, Davarian L. Baldwin, David Barber, Rod Bush, James T. Campbell, Tim Lake, Jama Lazerow, Edward P. Morgan, Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Roz Payne, Robert O. Self, Yohuru Williams, Joel Wilson
Julia Sweig shatters the mythology surrounding the Cuban Revolution in a compelling revisionist history that reconsiders the revolutionary roles of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and restores to a central position the leadership of the Cuban urban underground, the Llano. Granted unprecedented access to the classified records of Castro's 26th of July Movement's underground operatives--the only scholar inside or outside of Cuba allowed access to the complete collection in the Cuban Council of State's Office of Historic Affairs--she details the ideological, political, and strategic debates between Castro's mountain-based guerrilla movement and the urban revolutionaries in Havana, Santiago, and other cities.
In a close study of the fifteen months from November 1956 to July 1958, when the urban underground leadership was dominant, Sweig examines the debate between the two groups over whether to wage guerrilla warfare in the countryside or armed insurrection in the cities, and is the first to document the extent of Castro's cooperation with the Llano. She unveils the essential role of the urban underground, led by such figures as Frank País, Armando Hart, Haydée Santamaria, Enrique Oltuski, and Faustino Pérez, in controlling critical decisions on tactics, strategy, allocation of resources, and relations with opposition forces, political parties, Cuban exiles, even the United States--contradicting the standard view of Castro as the primary decision maker during the revolution.
In revealing the true relationship between Castro and the urban underground, Sweig redefines the history of the Cuban Revolution, offering guideposts for understanding Cuban politics in the 1960s and raising intriguing questions for the future transition of power in Cuba.
Jan Waclaw Machajski's (1866-1926) political doctrine, known as Makhaevism, was a synthesis of several revolutionary theories in Western and Eastern Europe: Marxism, anarchism, and syndicalism. His criticism of the intelligentsia and theory of a “new class” were influential to Communism and helped to create a hostility that culminated in Stalin's Great Purge of the 1930s.
Jean-Paul Marat’s role in the French Revolution has long been a matter of controversy among historians. Often he has been portrayed as a violent, sociopathic demagogue. This biography challenges that interpretation and argues that without Marat’s contributions as an agitator, tactician, and strategist, the pivotal social transformation that the Revolution accomplished might well not have occurred.
Clifford D. Conner argues that what was unique about Marat - which set him apart from all other major figures of the Revolution, including Danton and Robespierre - was his total identification with the struggle of the propertyless classes for social equality.
This is an essential book for anyone interested in the history of the revolutionary period and the personalities that led it.
“I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot.”—John Maclean, Speech from the Dock, 1918
Feared by the government, adored by workers, celebrated by Lenin and Trotsky. The head of British Military Intelligence called John Maclean (1879–1923) “the most dangerous man in Britain.”
This new biography explores the events that shaped the life of a momentous man—from the Great War and the Great Unrest to the Rent Strike and the Russian Revolution. It examines his work as an organizer and educator, his imprisonment and hunger strike, and his rise to the position of Britain’s most famous revolutionary. At a moment when radical politics is drawing renewed attention and support, Maclean’s example of activism and commitment is as timely as ever.
José Martí (1853–1895) was the founding hero of Cuban independence. In all of modern Latin American history, arguably only the “Great Liberator” Simón Bolívar rivals Martí in stature and legacy. Beyond his accomplishments as a revolutionary and political thinker, Martí was a giant of Latin American letters, whose poetry, essays, and journalism still rank among the most important works of the region. Today he is revered by both the Castro regime and the Cuban exile community, whose shared veneration of the “apostle” of freedom has led to his virtual apotheosis as a national saint.
In José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, Alfred J. López presents the definitive biography of the Cuban patriot and martyr. Writing from a nonpartisan perspective and drawing on years of research using original Cuban and U.S. sources, including materials never before used in a Martí biography, López strips away generations of mythmaking and portrays Martí as Cuba’s greatest founding father and one of Latin America’s literary and political giants, without suppressing his public missteps and personal flaws. In a lively account that engrosses like a novel, López traces the full arc of Martí’s eventful life, from his childhood and adolescence in Cuba, to his first exile and subsequent life in Spain, Mexico City, and Guatemala, through his mature revolutionary period in New York City and much-mythologized death in Cuba on the battlefield at Dos Ríos. The first major biography of Martí in over half a century and the first ever in English, José Martí is the most substantial examination of Martí’s life and work ever published.
Among the forces that took the field in the 1890s in an attempt to overturn the Spanish colonial regime in Cuba were a large number of rural bandits. The alliance between outlaws and more respectable separatists was not accidental, nor did it prove peripheral to Independence strategies. Thieves, extortioners, kidnappers, and killers who cast their lot with veteran insurgents emerged from and contributed to, a century of social and economic upheaval; the reasons cited by many bandits for their outlawry were the same as those that appeared as complaints in revolutionary manifestos. Ransom and extortion money furnished by bandits also often replenished the bankrupt coffers of the rebellion. Manuel Garcia, a hero-villian of Cuban folklore to this day, was the most notorious of the brigand-patriots and led a gang that spread terror throughout Havana province, contributing to the breakdown of rural order that preceded full-scale rebellion in 1895. Lawless Liberators examines the origins, actions, and ends (often sudden and violent) of the bandit groups such as Garcia’s that paved the way for the revolution and offers a reasoned and balanced analysis of their role in those dramatic events.
Dubbed 'the poster girl of Palestinian militancy', Leila Khaled's image flashed across the world after she hijacked a passenger jet in 1969. The picture of a young, determined looking woman with a checkered scarf, clutching an AK-47, was as era-defining as that of Che Guevara.
In this intimate profile, based on interviews with Khaled and those who know her, Sarah Irving gives us the life-story behind the image. Key moments of Khaled's turbulent life are explored, including the dramatic events of the hijackings, her involvement in the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (a radical element within the PLO), her opposition to the Oslo peace process and her activism today.
Leila Khaled's example gives unique insights into the Palestinian struggle through one remarkable life – from the tension between armed and political struggle, to the decline of the secular left and the rise of Hamas, and the role of women in a largely male movement.
Lenin: A Biography
Robert Service Harvard University Press, 2000 Library of Congress DK254.L4S4323 2000 | Dewey Decimal 947.0841092
Lenin’s politics continue to reverberate around the world even after the end of the USSR. His name elicits revulsion and reverence, yet Lenin the man remains largely a mystery. This biography shows us Lenin as we have never seen him, in his full complexity as revolutionary, political leader, thinker, and private person.
Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in 1870, the son of a schools inspector and a doctor’s daughter, Lenin was to become the greatest single force in the Soviet revolution—and perhaps the most influential politician of the twentieth century. Drawing on sources only recently discovered, Robert Service explores the social, cultural, and political catalysts for Lenin’s explosion into global prominence. His book gives us the vast panorama of Russia in that awesome vortex of change from tsarism’s collapse to the establishment of the communist one-party state. Through the prism of Lenin’s career, Service focuses on dictatorship, the Marxist revolutionary dream, civil war, and interwar European politics. And we are shown how Lenin, despite the hardships he inflicted, was widely mourned upon his death in 1924.
Service’s Lenin is a political colossus but also a believable human being. This biography stresses the importance of his supportive family and of its ethnic and cultural background. The author examines his education, upbringing, and the troubles of his early life to explain the emergence of a rebel whose devotion to destruction proved greater than his love for the “proletariat” he supposedly served. We see how his intellectual preoccupations and inner rage underwent volatile interaction and propelled his career from young Marxist activist to founder of the communist party and the Soviet state—and how he bequeathed to Russia a legacy of political oppression and social intimidation that has yet to be expunged.
Lightning through the Clouds is the first English-language life-and-times biography of ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam, a preeminent figure who helped to reshape the political and religious landscape of the region. A Syrian-born, Egyptian-educated cleric, he went from the battlefields of World War I to join the anticolonialist fight against the French in Syria. Sentenced to be executed by the French military, he managed to escape to Palestine, where he became an increasingly popular presence, moved by the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Outraged by British rule and the encroachment of Zionism, he formed a secret society to resist the colonization of Palestine first by the British and then by Jewish immigrants from Europe, once again taking up arms and advocating for a moral, political, and military jihad as the only solution. His death at the hands of Palestine Police in 1935 drew thousands to his funeral and sparked the 1936–1939 Arab Revolt.
His influence continues to be felt in the region; for example, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas organization is named the ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Al-Qassam is either revered or reviled, depending on the observers’ perspective, but he is without doubt a fascinating and historically significant individual whose influence on the past, and our present, makes this examination of his life both important and timely.
As a firebrand attorney and political agitator, James Otis Jr. helped to shape colonial resistance in the decades leading up to the American Revolution, establishing individual rights and "no taxation without representation" as cornerstones of the patriot cause. After his violent coffeehouse altercation and bouts with mental illness, his younger sister, Mercy Otis Warren, took up his cause. Her incendiary plays and poems rallied colonial opinion in the lead-up to the war, and her chronicle of the period established her as America's first female historian.
Minds and Hearts is the dual biography of these remarkable siblings, placing James and Mercy in the spotlight together for the first time, amid the rush of events, competing ideologies, and changing social conditions of eighteenth-century America. Jeffrey H. Hacker crafts a compelling narrative that focuses on the Otises' unique and dramatic relationship and traces their impact on the Revolutionary movement in Massachusetts. If the real American Revolution took place "in the minds and hearts of the people," as John Adams claimed, then the Otises were among the nation's true patriots.
In Monsters and Revolutionaries Françoise Vergès analyzes the complex relationship between the colonizer and colonized on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. Through novels, iconography, and texts from various disciplines including law, medicine, and psychology, Vergès constructs a political and cultural history of the island’s relations with France. Woven throughout is Vergès’s own family history, which is intimately tied to the history of Réunion itself. Originally settled by sugar plantation owners and their Indian and African slaves following a seventeenth-century French colonial decree, Réunion abolished slavery in 1848. Because plantation owners continued to import workers from India, Africa, Asia, and Madagascar, the island was defined as a place based on mixed heritages, or métissage. Vergès reads the relationship between France and the residents of Réunion as a family romance: France is the seemingly protective mother, La Mère-Patrie, while the people of Réunion are seen and see themselves as France’s children. Arguing that the central dynamic in the colonial family romance is that of debt and dependence, Verges explains how the republican ideals of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment are seen as gifts to Réunion that can never be repaid. This dynamic is complicated by the presence of métissage, a source of anxiety to the colonizer in its refutation of the “purity” of racial bloodlines. For Vergès, the island’s history of slavery is the key to understanding métissage, the politics of assimilation, constructions of masculinity, and emancipatory discourses on Réunion.
México Beyond 1968 examines the revolutionary organizing and state repression that characterized Mexico during the 1960s and 1970s. The massacre of students in Mexico City in October 1968 is often considered the defining moment of this period. The authors in this volume challenge the centrality of that moment by looking at the broader story of struggle and repression across Mexico during this time. México Beyond 1968 complicates traditional narratives of youth radicalism and places urban and rural rebellions within the political context of the nation’s Dirty Wars during this period.
The book illustrates how expressions of resistance developed from the ground up in different regions of Mexico, including Chihuahua, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico City, Puebla, and Nuevo León. Movements in these regions took on a variety of forms, including militant strikes, land invasions, cross-country marches, independent forums, popular organizing, and urban and rural guerrilla uprisings.
México Beyond 1968 brings together leading scholars of Mexican studies today. They share their original research from Mexican archives partially opened after 2000 and now closed again to scholars, and they offer analysis of this rich primary source material, including interviews, political manifestos, newspapers, and human rights reports.
By centering on movements throughout Mexico, México Beyond 1968 underscores the deep-rooted histories of inequality and the frustrations with a regime that monopolized power for decades. It challenges the conception of the Mexican state as “exceptional” and underscores and refocuses the centrality of the 1968 student movement. It brings to light the documents and voices of those who fought repression with revolution and asks us to rethink Mexico’s place in tumultuous times.
A. S. Dillingham
Luis Herrán Avila
Fernando Herrera Calderón
Gladys I. McCormick
Enrique C. Ochoa
Verónica Oikión Solano
Wil G. Pansters
Jaime M. Pensado
Carla Irina Villanueva
NOTES OF A RED GUARD
Eduard M. Dune. Translated and Edited by Diane P. Koenker and S. A. Smith University of Illinois Press, 1993 Library of Congress DK254.D78A3 1993 | Dewey Decimal 947.0841092
This compelling never-before-published
account takes the reader into Red Guard and Red Army units, Moscow factories,
workers' homes, and to the unfamiliar world of feudal Dagestan. Worker-revolutionary
Eduard Dune was seventeen when the Russian revolution began. He joined the Bolshevik
party and fought with the Moscow Red Guard during the October revolution. Notes of a Red Guard is his candid account of what happened through 1921. This
uncensored account offers a rare glimpse of revolutionary Russia from the perspective
of an educated, skilled worker who became a rank-and-file participant.
At dawn on March 18, 1871, Parisian women stepped between cannons and French soldiers, using their bodies to block the army from taking the artillery from their working-class neighborhood. When ordered to fire, the troops refused and instead turned and arrested their leaders. Thus began the Paris Commune, France’s revolutionary civil war that rocked the nineteenth century and shaped the twentieth. Considered a golden moment of hope and potential by the left, and a black hour of terrifying power inversions by the right, the Commune occupies a critical position in understanding modern history and politics. A 72-day conflict that ended with the ferocious slaughter of Parisians, the Commune represents for some the final insurgent burst of the French Revolution’s long wake, for others the first “successful” socialist uprising, and for yet others an archetype for egalitarian socio-economic, feminist, and political change. Militants have referenced and incorporated its ideas into insurrections across the globe, throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries, keeping alive the revolution’s now-iconic goals and images. Innumerable scholars in countless languages have examined aspects of the 1871 uprising, taking perspectives ranging from glorifying to damning this world-shaking event. The Commune stands as a critical and pivotal moment in nineteenth-century history, as the linchpin between revolutionary pasts and futures, and as the crucible allowing glimpses of alternate possibilities. Upending hierarchies of class, religion, and gender, the Commune emerged as a touchstone for the subsequent century-and-a-half of revolutionary and radical social movements.
Zanzibar has had the most turbulent postcolonial history of any part of the United Republic of Tanzania, yet few sources explain the reasons why. The current political impasse in the islands is a contest over the question of whether to revere and sustain the Zanzibari Revolution of 1964, in which thousands of islanders, mostly Arab, lost their lives. It is also about whether Zanzibar’s union with the Tanzanian mainland—cemented only a few months after the revolution—should be strengthened, reformed, or dissolved. Defenders of the revolution claim it was necessary to right a century of wrongs. They speak the language of African nationalism and aspire to unify the majority of Zanzibaris through the politics of race. Their opponents instead deplore the violence of the revolution, espouse the language of human rights, and claim the revolution reversed a century of social and economic development. They reject the politics of race, regarding Islam as a more worthy basis for cultural and political unity.
From a series of personal interviews conducted over several years, Thomas Burgess has produced two highly readable first-person narratives in which two nationalists in Africa describe their conflicts, achievements, failures, and tragedies. Their life stories represent two opposing arguments, for and against the revolution. Ali Sultan Issa traveled widely in the 1950s and helped introduce socialism into the islands. As a minister in the first revolutionary government he became one of Zanzibar’s most controversial figures, responsible for some of the government’s most radical policies. After years of imprisonment, he reemerged in the 1990s as one of Zanzibar’s most successful hotel entrepreneurs. Seif Sharif Hamad came of age during the revolution and became disenchanted with its broken promises and excesses. In the 1980s he emerged as a reformist minister, seeking to roll back socialism and authoritarian rule. After his imprisonment he has ever since served as a leading figure in what has become Tanzania’s largest opposition party
As Burgess demonstrates in his introduction, both memoirs trace Zanzibar’s postindependence trajectory and reveal how Zanzibaris continue to dispute their revolutionary heritage and remain divided over issues of memory, identity, and whether to remain a part of Tanzania. The memoirs explain how conflicts in the islands have become issues of national importance in Tanzania, testing that state’s commitment to democratic pluralism. They engage our most basic assumptions about social justice and human rights and shed light on a host of themes key to understanding Zanzibari history that are also of universal relevance, including the legacies of slavery and colonialism and the origins of racial violence, poverty, and underdevelopment. They also show how a cosmopolitan island society negotiates cultural influences from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
Phu Rieng was one of many French rubber plantations in colonial Vietnam; Tran Tu Binh was one of 17,606 laborers brought to work there in 1927, and his memoir is a straightforward, emotionally searing account of how one Vietnamese youth became involved in revolutionary politics. The connection between this early experience and later activities of the author becomes clear as we learn that Tran Tu Binh survived imprisonment on Con Son island to help engineer the general uprising in Hanoi in 1945.
The Red Earth is the first of dozens of such works by veterans of the 1924–45 struggle in Vietnam to be published in English translation. It is important reading for all those interested in the many-faceted history of modern Vietnam and of communism in the non-Western world.
Red Virgin: Memoirs Of Louise Michel
Louise Michel, edited and translated by Bullitt Lowry and Elizabeth Gunter University of Alabama Press, 1981 Library of Congress DC342.8.M64A313 1981 | Dewey Decimal 944.08120924
Louise Michel was born illegitimate in 1830 and became a schoolmistress in Paris. She was involved in radical activities during the twilight of France’s Second Empire, and during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the siege of Paris. She was a leading member of the revolutionary groups controlling Montmarte. Michel emerged as one of the leaders of the insurrection during the Paris Commune of March-May 1871; and French anarchists saw her as martyr and saint – The Red Virgin. When the Versailles government crushed the Commune in May 1871, Michel was sentenced to exile in New Caledonia, until the general amnesty of 1880, when she returned to France and great popular acclaim and support from the working people of the country. Michel was arrested again during a demonstration in Paris in 1883 and sentenced to six years in prison. Pardoned after three years, she continued her speeches and writing, although she spent the greater part of her time from 1890 until her death in 1905 in England in self-imposed exile. It was during her prison term from 1883 to 1886 that she compiled her Memoires, now available in English.
These memoirs offer readers a view of the non-Marxist left and give an in-depth look into the development of the revolutionary spirit. The early chapters treat her childhood, the development of her revolutionary feelings, and her training as a schoolteacher. The next section describes her activities as a schoolteacher in the Haute-Marne and Paris and therefore contains much of interest on education in 19th-century Europe. Her chapters on the siege of Paris, the Commune, and her first trial show those events from the point of view of a major participant. Of particular interest is a chapter on women’s rights, which Michel saw as part of the search for the rights of all people, male and female, and not as a separate struggle.
The Red Virgin: Memoirs of Louise Michel will be useful to both scholars and students of 19th-century French history and women’s studies.
The diary of 24-year-old Indonesian medical student Suhario Padmodiwiryo,
alias ‘Hario Kecik,” Revolution in the City of Heroes is an evocative first-hand
account of the popular uprising in Surabaya. It vividly portrays the chaotic swirl
of events and the heady emotion of young people ready to sacrifice their lives
Newly liberated from nearly four brutal years under Japanese control, the
people of Indonesia faced great uncertainty in October 1945. As the British
Army attempted to take control of the city of Surabaya, maintain order and
deal with surrendered Japanese personnel, their actions were interpreted by
the young residents of Surabaya as a plan to restore Dutch colonial rule. In
response, the youth of the city seized Japanese arms and repelled the force sent
to occupy the city. They then held off British reinforcements for two weeks,
battling tanks and heavy artillery with little more than light weapons and sheer
audacity. Though eventually defeated, Surabaya’s defenders had set the stage
for Indonesia’s national revolution.
The Black Power movement represented a key turning point in American politics. Disenchanted by the hollow progress of federal desegregation during the 1960s, many black citizens and leaders across the United States demanded meaningful self-determination. The popular movement they created was marked by a vigorous artistic renaissance, militant political action, and fierce ideological debate.
Exploring the major political and intellectual currents from the Black Power era to the present, Cedric Johnson reveals how black political life gradually conformed to liberal democratic capitalism and how the movement’s most radical aims—the rejection of white aesthetic standards, redefinition of black identity, solidarity with the Third World, and anticapitalist revolution—were gradually eclipsed by more moderate aspirations. Although Black Power activists transformed the face of American government, Johnson contends that the evolution of the movement as a form of ethnic politics restricted the struggle for social justice to the world of formal politics.
Johnson offers a compelling and theoretically sophisticated critique of the rhetoric and strategies that emerged in this period. Drawing on extensive archival research, he reinterprets the place of key intellectual figures, such as Harold Cruse and Amiri Baraka, and influential organizations, including the African Liberation Support Committee, the National Black Political Assembly, and the National Black Independent Political Party in postsegregation black politics, while at the same time identifying the contradictions of Black Power radicalism itself.
Documenting the historical retreat from radical, democratic struggle, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders ultimately calls for the renewal of popular struggle and class-conscious politics.
Cedric Johnson is assistant professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
As it changed forever the political landscape of the modern world, the French Revolution was driven by a new type of personality: the confirmed, self-aware revolutionary. Maximilien Robespierre originated the role and embodied its ideological essence and extremes; the self that he projected to the people was equated with the ideals for which he strove. In creating this intellectual biography of so enigmatic a figure, David Jordan has stressed the words of the man about himself. With great imagination and insight, Jordan places Robespierre's self-conceptualization within the context of events and explains how Robespierre "The Incorruptible"—a man seen by contemporaries as virtuous—could not only equate justice with vengeance and demand it of the people, but also stand as its symbol before the world.
“A must-read for anyone interested in Nicaragua—or in the overall issue of social change.”—Margaret Randall, author of SANDINO'S DAUGHTERS and SANDINO'S DAUGHTERS REVISITED
Sandinista is the first English-language biography of Carlos Fonseca Amador, the legendary leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua (the FSLN) and the most important and influential figure of the post–1959 revolutionary generation in Latin America. Fonseca, killed in battle in 1976, was the undisputed intellectual and strategic leader of the FSLN. In a groundbreaking and fast-paced narrative that draws on a rich archive of previously unpublished Fonseca writings, Matilde Zimmermann sheds new light on central themes in his ideology as well as on internal disputes, ideological shifts, and personalities of the FSLN. The first researcher ever to be allowed access to Fonseca’s unpublished writings (collected by the Institute for the Study of Sandinism in the early 1980s and now in the hands of the Nicaraguan Army), Zimmermann also obtained personal interviews with Fonseca’s friends, family members, fellow combatants, and political enemies. Unlike previous scholars, Zimmermann sees the Cuban revolution as the crucial turning point in Fonseca’s political evolution. Furthermore, while others have argued that he rejected Marxism in favor of a more pragmatic nationalism, Zimmermann shows how Fonseca’s political writings remained committed to both socialist revolution and national liberation from U.S. imperialism and followed the ideas of both Che Guevara and the earlier Nicaraguan leader Augusto César Sandino. She further argues that his philosophy embracing the experiences of the nation’s workers and peasants was central to the FSLN’s initial platform and charismatic appeal.
To a contemporary audience, Haiti brings to mind Voodoo spells, Tontons Macoutes, and boat people--nothing worth fighting over. Two centuries ago, however, Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, was the “Pearl of the Antilles,” France's most valuable overseas colony, the largest exporter of tropical products in the world, and the United States' second most important trading partner after England.
Haiti was also the place where in 1801-1802 Napoléon Bonaparte sent the largest colonial venture of his reign: the Leclerc expedition. His goal was to remove the famous revolutionary Toussaint Louverture from office and, possibly, restore slavery. But within two years, the remnants of Bonaparte’s once-proud army were evacuated in defeated, and Haiti declared its independence. This forgotten yet momentous conflict, in which lives were consumed by the thousands, is this book’s main focus.
In this ambitious monograph, Philippe Girard employs the latest tools of the historian’s craft, multi-archival research in particular, and applies them to the climactic yet poorly understood last years of the Haitian Revolution. Haiti lost most of its archives to neglect and theft, but a substantial number of documents survive in French, U.S., British, and Spanish collections, both public and private. In all, The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon relies on contemporary military, commercial, and administrative sources drawn from nineteen archives and research libraries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Due to its extensive archival basis, the book corrects the many factual inaccuracies that have plagued previous accounts. It also offers a more rounded view of the Haitian Revolution, going beyond mere military minutia to include the activities of U.S. merchants; the in-fighting within the French government; the diplomacy between both the French and revolutionaries with the United States, England, and Spain; and the lives of the maroons, women, and children caught up in the revolutionary struggle. This multidimensional work tells not only of barefoot black soldiers ambushing Bonaparte’s columns, but also of Rochambeau’s mixed-race mistresses, French child drummers, Jewish bankers in Kingston, weapon smugglers from Quaker Philadelphia, Polish artillerists, and African-born maroons struggling to preserve their freedom against both white and black opponents.
Equally groundbreaking is the book’s willingness to move beyond tidy ideological and racial categories to depict an Atlantic society at the crossroads of African and European influences, where Haitian rebels fought France while embracing its ideals. In the process, the reader is introduced to the extraordinary lives of multifaceted characters such as Wladyslaw Jablonowski, the son of a Polish woman and a black father who died fighting for France and white supremacy.
A revelatory and definitive account of how Nelson Mandela and his peers led South Africa to the brink of revolution against the postwar twentieth century’s most infamously racist regime.
Spear: Mandela and the Revolutionaries brings to life the brief revolutionary period in which Nelson Mandela and his comrades fought apartheid not just with words but also with violence.
After the 1960 Sharpeville police shootings of civilian protesters, Mandela and his comrades in the mass-resistance order of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Communist Party pioneered the use of force and formed Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or Spear of the Nation. A civilian-based militia, MK stockpiled weapons and waged a war of sabotage against the state with pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, and dynamite. In response, the state passed draconian laws, militarized its police, and imprisoned its enemies without trial.
Drawing from several hundred first-person accounts, most of which are unpublished, Paul Landau traces Mandela’s allies—and opponents—in communist, pan-Africanist, liberal, and other groups involved in escalating resistance alongside the ANC. After Mandela’s capture, the Pan Africanist Congress planned to initiate street violence, and MK organized Operation Mayibuye, an uprising to be led by trained commandos. The state short-circuited those plans and subsequently jailed, exiled, tortured, and murdered revolutionaries. The era of high apartheid then began.
Spear reshapes our understanding of Mandela by focusing on this intense but relatively neglected period of escalation in the movement against apartheid. Landau’s book is not a biography, nor is it a history of a militia or an army; rather, it is a riveting story about ordinary civilians debating and acting together in extremis. Contextualizing Mandela and MK’s activities amid anticolonial change and Black Marxism in the early 1960s, Spear also speaks to today’s transnational antiracism protests and worldwide struggles against oppression.
The unexpected insurrection of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in 1994 toppled the notion that the triumph of neoliberalism represented the end of history. In the clamor that followed, a masked, pipe-smoking horseman appeared as the spokesperson for the indigenous rebels.
In this book, Nick Henck provides a concise and accessible overview of the life, thought, and achievements of the professor-turned-guerrilla Subcomandante Marcos. Through his academic exodus and immersion in the indigenous communities of the Lacandon jungle, to his participation in a guerilla army, to his eloquent articulation of the struggles of oppressed peoples around the world, Marcos became a revered and inspiring enigma. Henck explores Marcos’s considerable accomplishments in four main fields: his role as spokesperson for the Zapatistas; his contribution to Latin American literature and a new political language for the left; his work in making Mexico a more democratic, inclusive, and just nation; and his role as an inspirational international political icon. Published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising, this book is not just a biography but also a reminder that there are alternative ways of doing politics: that another world is possible.
Subcommander Marcos made his debut on the world stage on January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect. At dawn, from a town-hall balcony he announced that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation had seized several towns in the Mexican state of Chiapas in rebellion against the government; by sunset Marcos was on his way to becoming the most famous guerrilla leader since Che Guevara. Subsequently, through a succession of interviews, communiqués, and public spectacles, the Subcommander emerged as a charismatic spokesperson for the indigenous Zapatista uprising and a rallying figure in the international anti-globalization movement.
In this, the first English-language biography of Subcommander Marcos, Nick Henck describes the thought, leadership, and personality of this charismatic rebel spokesperson. He traces Marcos’s development from his provincial middle-class upbringing, through his academic career and immersion in the clandestine world of armed guerrillas, to his emergence as the iconic Subcommander. Henck reflects on what motivated an urbane university professor to reject a life of comfort in Mexico City in favor of one of hardship as a guerrilla in the mountainous jungles of Chiapas, and he examines how Marcos became a conduit through which impoverished indigenous Mexicans could communicate with the world.
Henck fully explores both the rebel leader’s renowned media savvy and his equally important flexibility of mind. He shows how Marcos’s speeches and extensive writings demonstrate not only the Subcommander’s erudition but also his rejection of Marxist dogmatism. Finally, Henck contextualizes Marcos, locating him firmly within the Latin American guerrilla tradition.
From the 1960s to the 1990s, seven members of the Quimpo family dedicated themselves to the anti-Marcos resistance in the Philippines, sometimes at profound personal cost. In this unprecedented memoir, eight siblings (plus one by marriage) tell their remarkable stories in individually authored chapters that comprise a family saga of revolution, persistence, and, ultimately, vindication, even as easy resolution eluded their struggles.
Subversive Lives tells of attempts to smuggle weapons for the New People’s Army (the armed branch of the Communist Party of the Philippines); of heady times organizing uprisings and strikes; of the cruel discovery of one brother’s death and the inexplicable disappearance of another (now believed to be dead); and of imprisonment and torture by the military. These stories show the sacrifices and daily heroism of those in the movement. But they also reveal its messy legacies: sons alienated from their father; daughters abused by the military; friends betrayed; and revolutionary affection soured by intractable ideological differences.
The rich and distinctive contributions span the martial law years of Ferdinand Marcos’s rule. Subversive Lives is a riveting and accessible primer for those unfamiliar with the era, and a resonant history for those with a personal connection to what it meant to be Filipino at that time, or for anyone who has fought political repression.
The Black Panther Party (BPP) seized the attention of America in the frenetic days of the late 1960s when a series of assassinations, discontent with the Vietnam War, and impatience with lingering racial discrimination roiled the United States, particularly its cities. The BPP inspired dread among the American body politic while receiving support from many urban black youths. The images of angry and armed young black radicals in the streets of U.S. cities seemed a stunning reversal and repudiation of the accommodationist and assimilationist black goals associated with Martin Luther King’s movement, as well as an unprecedented defiance of the civil power.
Although many have written about the BPP in memoirs and polemics, Survival Pending Revolution contributes to a new generation of objective, analytical BPP studies that are sorely needed. Alkebulan displays the entire movement’s history: its lofty and even idealistic goals and its in-your-face rhetoric, its strategies, tactics, and the internal divisions and ego clashes, drawing upon public records as well as the memories of both leaders and foot soldiers, to attempt a description that both understands the inner workings of the BPP and its role in the greater society.
A timely exploration of the political uses of language and rhetoric.
Camille Desmoulins, a journalist writing under the Montagnard regime of 1793-94, remarked that France's government had replaced "the language of democracy" with "the cold poison of fear, which paralyzed thought in the bottom of people's souls, and prevented it from pouring forth at the tribunal, or in writing." How this happened, how the Reign of Terror reached even into the realms of thought and language, is the subject of Caroline Weber's book, a revealing look into the paradoxical embargo on free expression that underpinned the Robespierrists' self-proclaimed "despotism of liberty" during the French Revolution.
Weber examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's and the Robespierrists' articulation of a series of initiatives designed to curtail and control the dissemination of alternative political and philosophical messages in the republic. Here Weber underscores the internal contradictions and limitations of an enterprise that promised universal freedom while oppressing particularism, and that railed against the very language that it was compelled to adopt as a principal political tool. The book then focuses on two eloquent contemporary critics of this phenomenon, Desmoulins and the Marquis de Sade, the infamous libertine author. Weber demonstrates how Desmoulins reconfigured the Montagnard regime's rhetoric to conjure up a political system based on tolerance, not terror, and how Sade deftly parodied the Robespierrists' brutality and hypocrisy, proposing a republic based on the ruthless elimination of dissident voices and on the unabashed celebration of despotism and bloodshed.
A balanced account of how the "discourse of totality" actually restricted particular freedoms in the wake of the French Revolution, this book provides a highly original--and timely--exposition of the political uses of rhetoric and of the links between language and power.
Caroline Weber is assistant professor of Romance languages at the University of Pennsylvania.
In This Flame Within Manijeh Moradian revises conventional histories of Iranian migration to the United States as a post-1979 phenomenon characterized by the flight of pro-Shah Iranians from the Islamic Republic and recounts the experiences of Iranian foreign students who joined a global movement against US imperialism during the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on archival evidence and in-depth interviews with members of the Iranian Students Association, Moradian traces what she calls “revolutionary affects”—the embodied force of affect generated by experiences of repression and resistance—from encounters with empire and dictatorship in Iran to joint organizing with other student activists in the United States. Moradian theorizes “affects of solidarity” that facilitated Iranian student participation in a wide range of antiracist and anticolonial movements and analyzes gendered manifestations of revolutionary affects within the emergence of Third World feminism. Arguing for a transnational feminist interpretation of the Iranian Student Association’s legacy, Moradian demonstrates how the recognition of multiple sources of oppression in the West and in Iran can reorient Iranian diasporic politics today.
C. L. R. James Edited and Introduced by Christian Høgsbjerg Duke University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PR9272.9.J35T68 2013 | Dewey Decimal 812.52
In 1934 C. L. R. James, the widely known Trinidadian intellectual, writer, and political activist, wrote the play Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, which was presumed lost until the rediscovery of a draft copy in 2005. The play's production, performed in 1936 at London's Westminster Theatre with a cast including the American star Paul Robeson, marked the first time black professional actors starred on the British stage in a play written by a black playwright. This edition includes the program, photographs, and reviews from that production, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Høgsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others. In Toussaint Louverture, James demonstrates the full tragedy and heroism of Louverture by showing how the Haitian revolutionary leader is caught in a dramatic conflict arising from the contradiction between the barbaric realities of New World slavery and the modern ideals of the Enlightenment. In his portrayal of the Haitian Revolution, James aspired to vindicate black accomplishments in the face of racism and to support the struggle for self-government in his native Caribbean. Toussaint Louverture is an indispensable companion work to The Black Jacobins (1938), James's classic account of Haiti's revolutionary struggle for liberation.
Trotsky: A Biography
Robert Service Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress DK254.T6S427 2009
Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky.
Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Using new archival sources including family letters, party and military correspondence, confidential speeches, and medical records, Service offers new insights into Trotsky. He discusses Trotsky’s fractious relations with the leaders he was trying to bring into a unified party before 1914; his attempt to disguise his political closeness to Stalin; and his role in the early 1920s as the progenitor of political and cultural Stalinism. Trotsky evinced a surprisingly glacial and schematic approach to making revolution. Service recounts Trotsky’s role in the botched German revolution of 1923; his willingness to subject Europe to a Red Army invasion in the 1920s; and his assumption that peasants could easily be pushed onto collective farms. Service also sheds light on Trotsky’s character and personality: his difficulties with his Jewish background, the development of his oratorical skills and his preference for writing over politicking, his inept handling of political factions and coldness toward associates, and his aversion to assuming personal power.
Although Trotsky’s followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different. This illuminating portrait of the man and his legacy sets the record straight.
Un-American is Bill Mullen’s revisionist account of renowned author and activist W.E.B. Du Bois’s political thought toward the end of his life, a period largely dismissed and neglected by scholars. He describes Du Bois’s support for what the Communist International called “world revolution” as the primary objective of this aged radical’s activism. Du Bois was a champion of the world’s laboring millions and critic of the Cold War, a man dedicated to animating global political revolution.
Mullen argues that Du Bois believed that the Cold War stalemate could create the conditions in which the world powers could achieve not only peace but workers’ democracy. Un-American shows Du Bois to be deeply engaged in international networks and personal relationships with revolutionaries in India, China, and Africa. Mullen explores how thinkers like Karl Marx, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohandas Gandhi, and C.L.R. James helped him develop a theory of world revolution at a stage in his life when most commentators regard him as marginalized. This original political biography also challenges assessments of Du Bois as an American “race man.”