Noel Ignatiev's Blog

Modern Politics

By Noel Ignatiev

PM Press has just published a new edition of Modern Politics by C.L.R. James, with an introduction by me. Modern Politics consists of six lectures James gave in 1960 at the Adult Education Center in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In my introduction I wrote,

One turns to C.L.R. James for many reasons. If pressed I would say Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In is my favorite among his works. Yet for comprehensiveness, integration of history, philosophy, culture, politics and method, as an introduction to Marxism and socialism for new readers, Modern Politics is in first place. John Bracey, who was part of the group that brought James back to the States in 1967, tells of the time James called his attention to a football game on television: “Look at that, Bracey,” he said, “black people beating up white people on TV—capitalism is doomed.” It is hard to imagine an anecdote that captures and brings together so many different facets of C.L.R. James. Modern Politics is that story elaborated over six lectures.

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