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Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 24th 2000 by University of North Carolina Press (first published January 24th 1983)
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Gabrielle Dacosta
Robinson manipulates E.P. Thompson’s culturalist notion of historical consciousness and production to insist upon the existence of a uniquely African ontology and epistemology at the source of the black tradition capable of transforming objective material conditions via experience to produce a historical subjectivity fundamentally distinct from that produced by the European-Western tradition. While Robinson speaks through this logic to define the Black Radical tradition, he may ultimately be cri ...more
A book of immense scope and impressive in its immensity. It felt absolutely overwhelming as I read it, but going back over it, it feels more like some kind of treasure trove that will continue to yield new things every time you open its cover -- so some initial lengthy yet also paradoxically brief notes...

It begins at the European beginning of Capitalism, going through the rise of the bourgeoisie through first cities, then absolutist and colonial states. As Robinson states: "European civilizatio
I think that this is sort of a masterpiece, even if I disagree with him in many ways. I interviewed him about this book and other topics around a decade ago (it's online) and the dialogue was extremely fun and informative.
Quin Rich
I read this for fun with a friend who is by far better informed about Marxist theory than I am. Which was important, because although Black Marxism is a rewarding read, it is at times a dense and difficult one.

The argument is that an autonomous, Black radical tradition exists outside of Western Marxism. This book offers an important corrective to hegemonic Western historiography and white Marxism.

However, the author somehow failed to discuss gender or sexuality in any significant way, making f
I first bought this book six years ago, on a whim in leftist bookstore. After a glance at Robin Kelley's introduction, I decided the book was best put aside until I could devote some real time to it. Kelley's description of the book's momentous accomplishment, its range of erudition, and its radical challenge to Marxist theory proved a bit intimidating, and I resolved to return to the work when I could devote the appropriate amount of time to the encounter.

Having just turned the last page, I hav
I love this book for the simple fact that he wrote this while teaching at Binghamton University, my alma mater! Most people on the outside don't know this, but BU is a hotbed of radical political theory. Marxists who truly understand the full breadth of post-colonial theory accompanied by anarchism and who have actually taken the time to read Capital are a dying breed. There are maybe a half a dozen people in America who could have written a book like this without selling out to some sort of pet ...more
In Cedric Robinson’s Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, Robinson responds to Eugene Genovese’s supposition “that the [B:]lacks did not establish a revolutionary tradition of much significance,” with a tremendous amount of theory and evidence to the contrary. (176) Robinson suggests rather that it is the refusal of the theoretical ground of Marxist analysis to abide by the reality in which it arises that allows for an poorly formed analytic of political praxis with regard t ...more
Alexandros Orphanides
The book is an immense work and an attempt at establishing a coherent sense of A Black Radical Tradition that exists prior to European epistemological conceptions, as the a whole the thrust of the argument is unconvincing -- but that doesn't mean this is a bad or worthless book -- perhaps Robinson's most important tradition is the historical counternarrative he supplies as an antidote to the pitfalls of Eurocentricity as epistemology that teleologically rationalizes exploitation.
A book whose argument is completely dependent on the reader having no familiarity with Marxist theory. Even at its best, it's not great.
this book is amazing. i was lucky enough to take a seminar with cedric in which he taught this book. i only wish i would have had more time to read it slowly and really enjoy it thoroughly. one day i will have some time to come back to this, i hope...
Actually only read a little piece (Chapter 1) but I'm impressed and intrigued. It's not just about Afro-centric theories on race since Marx (as the title led me to assume) but also a deep historical examination of race in a much broader sense as well.
Read selected chapters: Introduction, Chapter 1 on racial capitalism, Chapters 4 and 6, under "The Roots of Black Radicalism," Chapter 7 on the nature of the black radical tradition, and Chapter 10 on "C.L.R. James and the Black Radical Tradition."
Amazing. Concise. Erudite.

Robinson's text is a critical read when attempting to dissect or contextualize the development of racial theory and class in the American context.
Amai Freeman
a necessary historical review and analysis of capitalism, racism, and marxism.
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