Saturday, December 29, 2007

Books That Will Advance Knowledge of Liberation Movements

Books that will advance knowledge of liberation movements

By Norman (Otis) Richmond

Book Reviewed:

Gerald Horne, “Cold War in A Hot Zone (The United States Confronts Labor and Independence Struggles in the British West Indies)”, Temple University Press 262 pages “The Deepest South (The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade”, New York University Press, 339 pages. Paperback “The White Pacific (U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas after the Civil War)” University of Hawai’i press 253 pages.

Muhammad Ahmad (Maxwell Stanford, Jr.) “We Will Return in the Whirlwind (Black Radical Organizations 1960-1975)332” pages Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company.

Gerald Horne is possibly the most prolific writer to emerge from Black America since William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. Horne has published three volumes “Cold War in A Hot Zone (The United States Confronts Labor and Independence Struggles in the British West Indies)”, “The Deepest South (The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade”, and “The White Pacific (U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas after the Civil War)” this year.

Horne’s “Cold War in a Hot Zone” is just what the doctor ordered. He
examines the hidden role U.S. imperialism played in the demise of the Caribbean Labour Congress (CLC) and a united Caribbean. The CLC played a leading role in the struggle for Caribbean sovereignty, federation, and labor rights. Just as the British Empire was collapsing U.S. Imperialism came into the mix. Horne’s reminds us that U.S. Imperialism emerged as the imperialist power after World War II.

Once upon a time many in leadership positions in the CLC posed as
socialist. Robert Bradshaw of St. Kitts- Nevis, Vera Bird of
Antigua-Barbuda and Grantley Adams of Barbados are shining examples.

Ironically, it was Adams who flipped the socialist script to a capitalist
one. In a controversial 1948 speech in Paris, “the man who was to be
rewarded later by being knighted as Sir Grantley Adams, opposed a
resolution on anticolonialism in stridently anticommunist terms”. Adams unfortunately was elected a leader of the CLC. He represented the right-wing of the CLC.

This move by Adams set the stage for the isolation of Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan, who was on the left of the CLC. Jagan supported socialism, the Soviet Union their allies and wanted to fight colonialism. Adams, Bradshaw and Bird all went with Imperialism, which put the brakes on the anti-colonial fight and the CLC collapsed.

Horne maintains that the struggle for an anticolonial federation with
labor in the driver’s seat was crippled ideologically when these
“socialist” posers purged the CLC.which had been in the vanguard. The great Jamaican revolutionary Richard Hart of who is still in the land of the living was a major figure in the CLC. Hart who resides in the UK assisted Horne with this book.

This is a well researched study that quotes Caribbean Canadian and
Caribbean American based scholars like Trinidad & Tobago’s David Trotman, Guyana’s Odida T. Quamina, Jamaica’s Charles Mills, and St.Vincent & the Grenadines Alfie Roberts.

Horne, Moores Professor of History & African-American Studies at the
University of Houston is the author of many books including “Red Seas: Ferdinand And Radical Black Sailors In The United States and Jamaica” and “From the Barrel of a Gun: The United States and the War Against Zimbabwe, 1965-1980”. These two volumes are valuable contributions to Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora.

The second volume by Horne, “The Deepest South” is based on extensive research from archives on five continents; He breaks startling new ground in the history of slavery, uncovering its global dimensions and the degrees to which its defenders want to maintain it. He joins the ranks of Du Bois, Eric Williams, C.L.R. James and Walter Rodney in seeing slavery as having both economic and racial overtones.

Horne’s third book, “The White Pacific” is about the African American
presence in the Pacific. When the worldwide supplies of sugar and cotton were impacted by the Civil War in the United States new areas of production were needed. Horne’s volume demonstrates how the South Pacific was used to feel this imperialist need.

Gerald Horne can be heard on Saturday Morning Live, CKLN-FM 88.1, every Saturday at 11:30am.

Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, once referred to Max Stanford, as “The most dangerous man in America” when he was the head of that criminal organization. Hoover went on to call Stanford’s organization, the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) “a highly secret, all-Negro, Marxist-Leninist, Chinese Communist oriented organization which advocates guerrilla warfare to obtain its goals.” Stanford today is Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, who teaches in the department of African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“We Will Return In The Whirlwind” is Ahmad’s account of the Black
Liberation movement in the United States from 1960 until 1975. Ahmad’s account is an insider’s view of the movement which again is just what the doctor ordered. He was national field chairman of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) during the mid-1960s and founder of the African People’s Party in the 1970s.

He worked with most of the leadership of the movement including El-Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Robert and Mabel Williams, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), Amiri Baraka,James and Grace Boggs, Queen Mother Audley Moore, Marian Kramer and General Gordon Baker Jr.

Death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal did a commentary on “We Will Return in the Whirlwind”

Abu-Jamal praised Dr. Ahmad for his book and especially his treatment of key “organic intellectuals” like Queen Mother Moore and organizers in the struggle for world Black liberation.

Dr. Ahmad work is a must read for today’s youth. Mumia’s words echo my sentiments on “We Will Return in the Whirlwind”.

“For today’s young activists, and especially for those who aspire to learn about the accomplishments, and failures of the Black liberation movement, this work is invaluable,” Abu-Jamal said.

Norman (Otis) Richmond can be heard every Thursday on Diasporic Music CKLN-FM 88.1 at 8pm and Saturday on Saturday Morning Live 10am to 1pm.

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