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Blacks In and Out of the Left

Blacks In and Out of the Left

Michael C. Dawson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Blacks In and Out of the Left
    Book Description:

    The radical black left has largely disappeared from the struggle for equality and justice. Michael Dawson examines the causes and consequences, and argues that the conventional left has failed to take race seriously as a force in reshaping American institutions and civil society. Black politics needs to find its way back to its radical roots.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-07401-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Chapter 1 Foundational Myths: Recovering and Reconciling Narratives of Resistance
    (pp. 1-40)

    On August 9, 1931, sixty thousand people, two-thirds of whom were black, marched behind red flags in the streets of Chicago. The march was part of a funeral for three radical black activists who had been shot by the Chicago police a few days earlier. These activists had been involved in the communist-inspired, extremely effective unemployed councils. The economically devastated black neighborhoods on Chicago’s Southside proved especially fertile ground for the anti-eviction organizing that was a central component of the radicals’ program. Five thousand members of the black community could be mobilized within half an hour to oppose an eviction...

  5. Chapter 2 Power to the People?
    (pp. 41-125)

    Immediately after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley claimed King had been a communist.¹ How could any elected official, especially the mayor of a city with a very large black population, make such a claim during an extraordinary dangerous time? One hundred American cities were burning as a result of the mass black uprisings that occurred after the assassination. But Daley could make such an inflammatory statement because from 1920 to 1970 millions of white Americans found it easy to believe that only a communist would advocate for black equality.

    To many, this charge was especially...

  6. Chapter 3 Who and What Killed the Left
    (pp. 126-174)

    Who or what did kill the left? For a number of academics and former activists, it was the turn to identity politics. In particular, the black power movement was what led to the demise of a vibrant left in the last de cades of the twentieth century.

    For example, Brubaker and Cooper claimed:

    From the late 1960s on, with the rise of the Black Power movement, and subsequently other ethnic movements for which it served as a template, concerns with and assertions of identity, already linked . . . to “communal culture,” were readily, if facilely, transposed to the group...

  7. Chapter 4 Modern Myths: Constructing Visions of the Future
    (pp. 175-210)

    It does not matter who killed the left, does it? Because we live in a postracial society.

    Dinesh D’Souza, the author of the 1995 book The End of Racism, is one of a gaggle of conservative pundits who found the silver lining of a postracial society in what was for them the otherwise devastating victory of Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He commented after Obama’s victory: “If Obama’s election means anything, it means that we are now living in postracist America. That’s why even those of us who didn’t vote for Obama have good reason to celebrate”...

  8. References
    (pp. 213-220)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 221-228)
  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 229-232)
  11. Index
    (pp. 233-242)