The International of Seamen and Harbour Workers (ISH) greets you and appeals to you to organize within the ranks of the revolutionary water transport proletariat to fight against the terrible exploitation and robbery imposed upon you by the capitalists, the shipowners, the lighterage companies, as well as their white and black agents – the headmen, the stevedore-bosses, the foremen and managers.
“World Black Revolution” was a critical exegesis, literally a reimagining, of the primary tenets of Marxist thought dating back to the 1848 publication of the Communist Manifesto. Its authors, members of a small cadre of trained black revolutionaries, sought to demonstrate that every major premise of western Marxist historiography and Communist history had failed to address what W.E.B. Du Bois called “the color line.” Thus, the World Black Revolution, elevated to the level of a strategic concept, aspired to define Black Power as an epochal stage and interpretation of world history, a new hermeneutic for a revised historical totality.
Through the two studies that follow, we will begin to explore Lenin’s itinerary of a decolonization of the revolution, covering the question of national self-determination and struggles for independence prior to 1917 as well as the imperative to decolonize the Russian Empire after 1917, starting with the case of the Muslim colonies of Central Asia.
In the last few years the struggle of the oppressed masses in the colonial and semi-colonial countries has gained enormously in extent and intensity. National oppression in Europe exerted by imperialism through the instrument of the Versailles Treaty is giving rise to acute political problems. The “League Against Imperialism,” which has been in existence for more than four years as the international organisation uniting all anti-imperialist forces, is faced with the need for extending and intensifying its activities to a corresponding degree.
During the U.S. war on Vietnam, an extraordinary phenomenon arose within the military’s ranks: the widespread production, circulation, and readership of an underground antiwar press for, and often by, rank-and-file GIs.
We propose to show two things: on the one hand, it shall be argued that so-called “primitive” accumulation of capital takes place in a continuous, or ongoing manner; on the other hand, in order to accurately identify the contemporary role of forms of unfree labor, it is necessary to take the same approach as found in my previous work on the constitution of historical wage-labor.
As I see it, the recent developments which might pose a challenge to how we understand current imperialism, are precisely those that define its contemporary existence as a world order structured by the systematic exploitation of incipiently-capitalist economies by the core capitalist states.
The current political moment, when grasped through the property logics discussed above, requires us to consider how ideologies of ownership, including expectations to secure privileges and entitlements are enwrapped within xenophobic, racist, and gendered discourses of sovereignty and nationalism. National brands derive their power from a propertied lifeworld in which individuals and communities make emotional investments in the fantasies of a return to a more simple, secure time of plenitude.
But let’s return again to Charonne. I find it very revealing of the Party’s attitude which, both today and yesterday, glorifies the fallen comrades but never recalls why the demonstration was held in the first place. One hears only of an abstract and mythic anticolonial struggle. Many of us can bear witness with lucid memories: if there was a February 8, 1962 and before it a December 19, 1961, these united demonstrations in which everyone’s divisions and sectarianisms were put aside, it is only because the terrible event of October 17, 1961 happened, of which the Party never speaks, nor anyone else for that matter.
The Sankarist Revolution was the peak of a series of revolts, the breakdown of an inept cycle, and the beginning of a historical sequence that would see Upper Volta become Burkina Faso and, to deal with its critical situation, “dare to invent the future.”