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Black Liberation and Socialism

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A sharp and insightful analysis of historic movements against racism in the United States—from the separatism of Marcus Garvey, to the militancy of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party, to the eloquence of Martin Luther King Jr. and much more—with essential lessons for today’s struggles.

In the 40 years since the civil rights movement, many gains have been made—but there i
Paperback, 168 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Haymarket Books
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4.31  · 
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 ·  327 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Confession time: I didn't actually read this. Well, not the whole thing anyway. Just most of it. I skimmed parts of it, but is that so bad? Ok maybe it is, but here's the deal: I know a lot of this stuff already. Also, like any close-minded, stubborn asshole, I pretty much have my mind made up about this book, and that's not really going to change. Yes you read that right; I'm claiming my word is the sole authority on a book I haven't even finished. Sue me.

I actually do like Black Liberation and
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-studies
People can say what they want about Karl Marx, but no one is or has been more prophetic when it comes to an analysis of Capitalism. This is not the place to expand on the theory of dialectical materialism, but we are seeing the final stages of unsustainable Capitalism very much as Marx thought it would occur. This book of course is a radical examination of racism from a radical writer and publisher. Yet no one can deny that the history of this country is itself a history of tension - a history o ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is more a general history of various black liberation opportunities & movements with instances where a Socialist, Communist or general left-leaning current existed sprinkled in. I thought it was going to be more about how the two are tied together & how to move forward, on that front it is disappointing. The historical information is definitely not useless & good to know. Said information will either flesh out understanding of people & events you already know about or b ...more
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the things I miss most about working in a public library is stumbling upon the unexpected day in and out. This book is something I just saw in the stacks of the Multnomah Public and the title was intriguing enough that I took it home.

Though it's fairly short it packs a good amount of history in. I now come to expect that a lot of the superficial history I learned growing up was skewed and screwed to compartmentalize events/people into simple good-evil, black-white categories. This book ga
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read. As I am new to socialism, I didn't come to this book with the background some other readers may have, but it certainly shed light on the historical intersectionalities between class and race in the United States, and is definitely a book anyone could pick up regardless of political knowledge. It is surprisingly light reading for so dense a topic and I breezed through it. As with all books written in the light of one particular political philosophy, there are points w ...more
Camille McCarthy
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of the intersection between Socialism and the struggle for Black liberation, from the founding of the U.S. to the present. I would like to view a more recent edition which might have some more up-to-date information at the end, but in all I thought the analysis was spot on. If you're looking for a concise and well-researched book on this topic, this is definitely the best place to start, and it will lead you to a number of other good sources for a more in-depth look at any ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read the book over spring break and found it compelling. My favorite chapter was the politics of Malcom X. I found the book insightful, intoxicating, and a must read for most white folks. The book enticed me from the beginning with the origins of our nations dependence on slavery, and it's unabridged form through american history. Wow. Shawki, thank you for the words you have put together.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the history of black resistance in America from a socialist perspective, with particular insight into the struggles around organizing the black and white working class in the early 20th century. People who are already serious leftists probably won't find much that they don't already know but it's a good primer for those who are just getting into the topic. Very clear and easy to read.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shawki clearly and succinctly takes the reader through the major struggles for Black liberation throughout US history, and the theories and arguments of the leaders of those struggles. Through celebrating the successes of these struggles and examining their failings, Shawki puts forward his own arguments for how to ultimately win Black liberation—spoiler warning, it’s socialism. Excellent book, a must-read for anyone who wants to fight against racism.
Benjamin Solah
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I bought Ahmed Shawki’s book, Black Liberation and Socialism early this year, but I didn’t start reading it until mid-year, as I was consuming another half dozen or so books beforehand. I quickly consumed over half of it in a week, and then my mind wandered and I got hooked on something else. It wasn’t that the book was bad, it’s the fact that there are so many good books out there and I don’t want to be taken away by just the one book at the one time.

After finishing The Pilo Family Circus, I we
Diana Zavala
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Being new to Socialism, this book was instrumental in providing the background and historical context I needed to understand the struggle for Civil Rights and union movements of the North. The book juxtaposes the work of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X nicely in a way that shows that actions was needed if change was going to happen for African Americans, it was only through direct actions that gains were made in the 60's. Capitalism is at the core of why it is challenging to achieve Blac ...more
Ahmed Shawki does a wonderful job of giving a history of Blacks in the US from the seventeenth century to the near present. I was absolutely captivated by the book, and at the end of each chapter couldn't wait to read the next - something that I can't say for a lot of other political books I've read. This book gives a wonderful perspective on why Socialists believe Black liberation an integral part of the liberation of all. I was especially glad that I read this right before the 50th anniversary ...more
Naema AbdiRazak
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have little knowledge about African America history, this books was very useful, I think it would be a great book to read if you need to build up basic knowledge about black American history, felt like its more on the (introduction) side although the author expanded on some bits. Overall I enjoyed reading this book.
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
In this book, Shawki gives us an extremely lucid analysis of the origins of racism and its social dynamics in the U.S. He brilliantly connects the stuggle against racism with the overall struggle for working class liberation. Highly recommended.
Mar 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone.
I feel that it sufficiently covers the topic on Black Nationalism and why we should support it. The summation is probably the best part about this book on how it ties everything together: Marxism, Capitalism, etc.
This is a great book, I highly recommend it to anyone.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
loved this book :) The discussion of slavery is a particularly salient one.
Dan Sharber
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
read this to learn a brief history of black liberation struggles as well as how uniting across class, as opposed to racial, lines can bring about the changes we want.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was interesting at first, but then grew more boring as time went on. It was too much like a textbook. I might try it another time, but I'm putting it aside for now.
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Nov 23, 2018
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