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A United Caribbean

C.L.R. James, 6 September 1984

Grenada: Revolution, Invasion and Aftermath 
by Hugh O’Shaughnessy.
Hamish Hamilton, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 241 11290 7
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Grenada: Revolution and Invasion 
by Anthony Payne, Paul Sutton and Tony Thorndike.
Croom Helm, 233 pp., £17.95, May 1984, 0 7099 2080 6
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... Grenada has been in the news and the facts about it are more or less known. It is a Caribbean island of 120 square miles with a population of 110,000. Unlike some of the larger West Indian islands, Grenada has no heavy industry (no oil or bauxite); its production is agricultural – nutmegs chiefly. Grenadians sell their fruit and vegetables in Trinidad and then return home in their boats ...

Anyone for gulli-danda?

Tariq Ali, 15 July 1999

... cricket is the history of the former colonies overtaking their imperial masters. Cricket, C.L.R. James said, is a metaphor for the Empire: one way of undermining the colonists was to beat them at their favourite game. It was this that fuelled the rise of Australian, West Indian and subcontinental cricket, and, later, mass participation in the game. In the ...


Ian Buruma, 13 May 1993

Gower: The Autobiography 
by David Gower and Martin Johnson.
Collins Willow, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 00 218413 3
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... for hard cash!’ For a real dose of cultural pessimism, however, one should turn to C.L.R. James, the Marxist writer from Trinidad. In his masterful book Beyond a Boundary, he sets the rot of English cricket in 1932, with Douglas Jardine’s (remember Heffer’s ‘touch of the Jardines’) Bodyline tour of Australia. To recapitulate very briefly, Mr ...

A Great Wall to Batter Down

Adom Getachew, 21 May 2020

Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent 
by Priyamvada Gopal.
Verso, 607 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 78478 412 6
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... and equal inclusion within imperial frameworks before rejecting them altogether. The Jamaican James Williams, a former slave, used imperial justice against the repressive ‘apprentice’ system that persisted after the abolition of slavery; the Indian liberal Dadabhai Naoroji criticised ‘un-British rule’ in the hope of realising the economic ...

In the bright autumn of my senescence

Christopher Hitchens, 6 January 1994

In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... to help arrange a meeting at Ruskin College where Cliff spoke and was seconded by C.L.R. James, who made an electrifying speech on the reality of imperialist war. If it seemed faintly improbable, on the cusp of 1968, to believe in a group that advocated revolution without illusions, at least one could see every day that the careerist supporters of ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... and moderate? Master and slave? Dictator and compliant intellectual? (This was how C.L.R. James saw them in Mariners, Renegades and Castaways, written during his detention on Ellis Island in 1952 and republished last year.) Or are they merely chalk and cheese? Would the debates of the 1930s and 1940s, which cast Ahab as a Hitler or a Stalin and ...

In the Wilderness

W.J.T. Mitchell, 8 April 1993

Culture and Imperialism 
by Edward Said.
Chatto, 444 pp., £20, February 1993, 0 7011 3808 4
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... of resistance, and is located by Said principally in the examples of Franz Fanon and C.L.R. James. When Said remarked at a conference in Chicago some time ago that he wanted to establish a Palestinian state so that he could critically attack it, he articulated the basic impulse that holds him back from one-sided polemic, and forestalls the sort of ...

My Wife

Jonathan Coe, 21 December 1989

Soho Square II 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 287 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 7475 0506 3
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... the tail.’ Calder’s closely-argued analogies between sport and politics are based on C.L.R. James but are more convincing than James’s: like Alasdair Gray, he has inherited that disposition to view everyday life in political terms which English writers can only strain after. Another Scottish writer, Candia ...

Resistance from Elsewhere

Kevin Okoth: Black Marxism, 7 April 2022

Black Marxism 
by Cedric Robinson.
Penguin, 436 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 0 241 51417 7
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Cedric Robinson: The Time of the Black Radical Tradition 
by Joshua Myers.
Polity, 276 pp., £17.99, September 2021, 978 1 5095 3792 1
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... on the new Black Studies programme, where the visiting speakers included Sylvia Wynter, C.L.R. James, Walter Rodney and James and Grace Lee Boggs.Cruse had been recruited in response to increasing discontent among Black students at the university. The publication of The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual in 1967 had turned ...

Alexander the Brilliant

Edward Said, 18 February 1988

Corruptions of Empire: Life Studies and the Reagan Era 
by Alexander Cockburn.
Verso, 479 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86091 176 4
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... There is no sentimentalism here – well, except perhaps when it comes to considerations of James Laughlin’s almost useless Tzotzil dictionary, or Edward James’s exotic house at Xilitla. The quixotic and semi-aristocratic qualities of people like Wodehouse who are not driven either by ‘the falling rate of ...

Where Does He Come From?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Placing V.S. Naipaul, 1 November 2007

A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Picador, 193 pp., £16.99, September 2007, 978 0 330 48524 1
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... those on the left, especially defenders of the ‘Third World’ and its hopes, from C.L.R. James and Edward Said to Michael Gilsenan, more or less uniformly find him and his attitudes troubling and sometimes bigoted. He is portrayed as a self-hater and Uncle Tom, a product of the sorts of complex that Frantz Fanon diagnosed. On the other side are the ...

Short Cuts

Raphael Cormack: Could it be the Muhammad Ali?, 19 May 2016

... Malcolm X, Richard Wright, Martin Luther King, Adam Clayton Powell, George Padmore, C.L.R. James and more. Frantz Fanon wrote much of The Wretched of the Earth in Ghana, and the year before Ali’s visit, W.E.B. DuBois died and was buried in Accra. In February 1964 Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion and soon after that ...

Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals, 6 March 2008

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... place for any equivalent consideration of the careers of Raymond Williams, E.P. Thompson, C.L.R. James and others whose impact on the political sphere was arguably greater. The price Perry Anderson pays for being discussed at length here is to be regarded as an example of an ‘intellectualist’ tendency that arranges a list of big names into the patterns ...

Ramadhin and Valentine

J.R. Pole, 13 October 1988

A History of West Indies Cricket 
by Michael Manley.
Deutsch, 575 pp., £17.95, May 1988, 0 233 98259 0
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Sobers: Twenty Years at the Top 
by Garfield Sobers and Brian Scovell.
Macmillan, 204 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 333 37267 0
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... that Manley omits to mention. For despite the ethnic tones of the local clubs, of which C.L.R. James has left us such a fascinating record, West Indian teams were by definition multiracial from the beginning. Whites may have been expected to lead, but white and black players played as equals in representative matches – unlike the gentlemen and players of ...

The Dignity of Merchants

Landeg White, 10 August 2000

In Search of Africa 
by Manthia Diawara.
Harvard, 288 pp., £17.50, December 1998, 0 674 44611 9
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... an echo in Manthia Diawara’s answer: I see Toni Cade Bambara, I see Kamau Brathwaite, I see James Baldwin, I see Bob Marley, I see James Brown, I see C.L.R. James, I see Muhammad Ali, I see Paule Marshall, I see Malcolm X, I see Edwidge Danticat, I see Walter Mosley, I see Maryse ...

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