C.L.R. James 1949

Stalinism and Negro History

Source: Fourth International, Vol.10 No.10, November 1949, pp. 309-314;
Written: by CLR James under the name of J. Meyer;
Transcribed: by Daniel Gaido.

The policy of Stalinism in regard to the working masses everywhere is universally recognized as a policy of manipulation. From the Kremlin comes the line. The workers are supposed to obey, sometimes, as in June 1924, without an hour’s notice. This, of course, is based upon an enormous contempt of the masses who are seen as political cannon-fodder and nothing else. But as the self-professed party of the working-class, Stalinism must present itself as guardian of the immediate and historic rights of the workers who are the initiators of a new free society. To be aware of the reality, which the Stalinists need to manipulate and to disguise, is gain an invaluable insight into their theory, propaganda ad political practice. Nowhere is this dual attitude more strikingly illustrated that in their attitude to American Negroes.

In 1937, two years after the inauguration of the popular front policy, American Stalinism, invaded with fanfare the history of the Civil War. To the Winter 1937 issue of Science and Society, Richard Enmale contributed “interpretations of the American Civil War.” “The time has come,” he proclaimed, “for American Marxist historians to complete the unfinished tasks of the liberal bourgeois historical school.” He denounced the Bourbon historians but he omitted the entire school of Negro historians whose thirty years of serious work on the Civil War, though in form limited to Negroes, in reality had already provided the indispensable groundwork for any comprehensive analysis of the period. In his analysis of the social forces of the Civil War, Enmale omitted Negroes altogether.

This was a serious tactical error. The essay was used as the Introduction to The Civil War in the United States by Marx and Engels and there the Negroes were “included.” The way in which they were “included” became as time passed highly instructive. Enmale gives full statistics of the number of Negroes who fought and the number who died. He praises their “heroism,” “their caliber as fighting men,” and “their eagerness to enlist and fight for freedom”; some rose from the ranks to become officers; a great number rendered valuable services as cooks, laborers, etc. That is all. Here, naked and as yet unadorned, is the summation of Stalinist policy, theoretical, historical, strategic and tactical on Negroes and therefore on the Civil War. There are many Negroes (manpower), heroic and ready to die (shock troops); they have men of ability who are fit for leadership (recognition).

Enmale again ignored the Negro historians. Thus the contemporary Negroes were kept in the background, theoretically and politically, in the role reserved for their ancestors in the actual conflicts of the Civil War. In this apparently slight but pregnant episode was embodied the general Stalinist conception of history and its particular application to Negroes in the United States. It has been refurbished, embellished, disguised, but it remains in all essentials the same wherever the Stalinists touch the Negro question.

In 1937 there also appeared James Allen’s Reconstruction: The Battle for Democracy. This book bore traces of the period when Roosevelt was being called a fascist by the Stalinists. But whatever it had of value, it owed to W.E.B. DuBois’ magnificent Black Reconstruction which had appeared in 1935. DuBois is solemnly reproved by Allen for “failing to grasp the fundamental bourgeois character of the revolution.” Here again the Stalinists revealed themselves. DuBois did indeed make the mistake of calling the Reconstruction governments a sort of dictatorship of the proletariat. Far from doing harm, the conception that lay behind the mistaken formula was the strength of Du Bois’ book: he recognized that the Negroes in particular had tried to carry out ideas that went beyond the prevailing conceptions of bourgeois democracy. Precisely this was aimed at the heart of the whole Stalinist popular front conception. Hence their hostility to Du Bois. Du Bois is praised, however, both by Enmale and by Allen for his “spirited defense” of the Reconstruction government-both use the same phrase.

Faithful Disciple of Stalinism

Thus, in 1937, Stalinism prepared a) to place itself before the Negroes as the vindicator and guardian of their historical rights; b) to show not merely liberal historians but liberal politicians how valuable was the Negro and precisely what he had to contribute; c) to whip up the Negroes themselves for the necessary heroism and martyrdom; and d) to see to it that the Negroes, historically and politically, were kept in their place.

The man who carried out the line in regard to Negro history was Herbert Aptheker. In popular pamphlets Aptheker demonstrated many of the elementary facts, to a large degree suppressed, of Negro revolutionary struggle in the United States. Aptheker has also published a book and a collection of articles where the same subjects have been treated with a more scholarly apparatus. Altogether his writings have been the most effective weapons in the Stalinist propaganda armory among radicals, Negroes and Negro intellectuals in particular. Presumably among all intellectuals, the two books pass as Marxism. Yet, in the work of a dozen years, Aptheker has never once stepped outside the bounds of the limits prescribed by Stalinism for Negroes-as manpower, as shock-troops and as deserving of “recognition.” So organic to present-day Stalinism is this attitude and so Stalinized is Aptheker that he can find in his quite extensive explorations only what fits this pattern, infinitesimal as it may be; and is blind to everything else, though it shout for notice without benefit of research. The pattern shapes the structure of his work and the very style of his writing.

The Negro intellectuals and historians are indirectly and directly aware that something is wrong with the method and results of Aptheker’s “Marxism.” (See for example the article by Ernest Kaiser in Phylon, 1948, No.4.) But they will need to grapple seriously with Marxism to penetrate to the corruption behind the facade of class struggle, conflicts of social systems, panegyric to Negro heroism, etc. with which Aptheker generously sprinkles his writing. We propose to begin that task here by contrasting side by side the method of Marxism and the method of Aptheker. We shall begin with the subject which Aptheker has, so to speak, made his own, the question of slave insurrections.

Slave Insurrections

Negro slavery was more or less patriarchal so long as consumption was directed to immediate local needs. But in proportion as the export of cotton became of interest to the United States, patriarchal slavery was, in the words of Marx, “drawn into the whirlpool of an international market dominated by the capitalistic mode of production.” The structure of production relations was thereby altered. By 1860 there were over two thousand plantations each with over a hundred slaves. Division of labor increased. Slaves began to perform skilled labor, were hired out for wages. Slave production took on more and more the character of social labor. The slave revolts that began in 1800 were therefore of an entirely different character from those of the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

Gabriel’s revolt in 1800 involved at least one thousand and perhaps many thousands of slaves. Gabriel himself was a blacksmith. The insurrectionists had themselves made swords, bayonets, and bullets. So much for the new revolutionary forces. In a system of labor that is predominantly social, revolution and counter-revolution are closely intertwined. Though the revolt did not attract national attention, it impelled the slave-owners to become declared enemies of the idea of gradual abolition, which had hitherto held sway among semi-liberal circles in the South.

Unrest grew with the economy and in 1817 the slaveowners formed the Colonization Society. Under the guise of philanthropy this powerful society aimed at creating and controlling all opinions about Negroes and slavery in the North. Its program was to deport all free Negroes to Africa. Free Negroes fought it undeviatingly from the start. Thus was the battle joined which was to end at Appomatox in 1865. The climax to this phase came in the next decade, 1820-30.

This was one of the crucial decades in American history, the decade of transition from colonial America to nineteenth century capitalism. Politically this took shape in the tumultuous democracy of Jackson. The first great slave revolt of the period is the revolt of Denmark Vesey. Most of Vesey’s followers are urban artisans. They are determined never to “cringe to the whites.” They are suspicious of the domestic slaves. The revolt failed, in 1824.

The sequence of dates from 1824 is very important. It is about this time that we have the first indications of an organized Underground Railroad. In 1826 it organized the Massachusetts General Colored Peoples Association. The free Negro had now entered definitively upon the political scene. Vesey had been a free Negro. The response of the slave-owners was violent. Along with relentless persecution of the free Negroes in the South, they multiplied their efforts to expand the persecution to the North. They wished to silence the free Negro and to drive him out of the country altogether. In 1827 the Negroes published Freedom’s Journal, the first Negro newspaper in the United States, and dedicated to the militant defense of the Negro rights. The Colonization Society, determined to smash it, bought up John B. Russwurm, one of the junior editors of the paper; the paper had to suspend publication.

In 1828 David Walker laid his Appeal before the Massachusetts Association, The famous document called openly for slave insurrection. It was published in three editions and sold 50,000 copies in less than five years, some of which reached the South. Wrote a North Carolina newspaper:

“If Perkins’ steam-gun had been charged with rattle snakes and shot into the midst of a flock of wild pigeons, the fluttering could not have been greater than has recently been felt in the eastern part of this state by a few copies of this perishable production. When an old Negro from Boston writes a book and sends it among us, the whole country is thrown into commotion.”

Two states enacted laws prohibiting the circulation of incendiary publications and forbidding that slaves should be taught to read and write. For the second offense the penalty was death. For Walker dead $1000 was offered, for Walker alive $10,000. The slave-owners tried to extradite him from Boston. They fled. But they continued to terrorize free Negroes in the South and instigated a terrible persecution of the free Negroes in the North, particularly in Cincinnati and other parts of Ohio, involving thousands.

The free Negroes published another paper called The Rights of All and the same leaders who had organized Freedom’s Journal called together the first National Negro Convention in September 1830. William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator appeared in 1831. At that time the majority of white anti-slavery proponents were gradual Abolitionists and supporters of the Colonization Society. Even Garrison supported the society. By their published arguments and by personal contact the free Negroes persuaded Garrison as to the true nature of the Colonization Society and Garrison began an international campaign of denunciation against this organization.

Significance of Turner’s Revolt

At this critical moment came the greatest of all Negro revolts, that of Nat Turner, a “mechanically gifted man.” It failed, but it struck terror in all the South and startled the whole country. Walker’s Appeal could be blamed but Walker was dead. Garrison, however, was alive. Overnight he and his obscure Liberator were made responsible for the uprising and became nationally famous. As Turner’s was the last of the great revolts of the early nineteenth century, so it precipitated on a national scale an entirely new form of struggle.

This is not mere Negro history. It is the central line of the history of the United States. The Missouri Compromise took place in 1820. All sides, terrified by the abyss that had yawned over the Missouri struggle decided to suppress all discussion of slavery (except along the poisonous lines of the Colonization Society). De Tocqueville and others noted the blight that had descended over free discussion in the whole country. It was this nation-wide conspiracy of silence that the sequence of events from Vesey to Turner’s revolt blasted wide open. Revolting slave, the persecuted free Negro and the New England intellectual had got together and forced the nation to face the slavery question. When Garrison wrote “I will be heard;” he was not being rhetoric. That was the first problem: to be heard. After Turner’s revolt that problem was solved for Garrison.

A Superficial Treatment

Now let us take Aptheker’s treatment of this period in The Negro in the Abolitionist Movement, the section headed “Early Nineteenth Century.” “The first generation of the nineteenth century witnessed a significant expansion in the anti-slavery activities of the Negro people which did much to prepare the ground for the tilling and harvesting that was to come from 1830 to the Civil War.” We read on: “Among the individuals” was Peter Williams, Jr., a minister in New York City. He worked so hard that in 1834 he was appointed to the Board of Managers of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Garrison’s organization. James Forten vigorously denounced slavery. “Negroes ever in the forefront” did “vital spadework” for the Abolition movement. Reverend Nathaniel Paul made “radical” speeches. Groups sprang up. David Walker published his Appeal. It was sent into the South and when discovered “caused great excitement.” There were Negro newspapers which actually appeared before Garrison’s Liberator. That is all there is to Aptheker’s “Early Nineteenth Century.”

But maybe in another pamphlet, Negro Slave Revolts, he deals seriously with the effects of the revolts? Not he. He finds that the year 1800 is the most important year in the history of American Negro slave revolts. Why? “It is the year in which John Brown and Nat Turner were born, the year in which Vesey bought his freedom, and the year of Gabriel’s conspiracy.”

Between 1824 and 1831 there was the creation of a new movement in which Negroes and whites are in appearance separate but in essence unified. This was not the kind of unity of whites and Negroes that took place when Negroes joined Washington’s army and became appendages to an already established revolutionary movement. The driving force in the formation of this new movement was the, insurrectionary slave and the free Negro in opposition to the Southern slave-owner.

In a lengthy chapter on the effects of these rebellions, Aptheker says: “At least one important effect of the slave rebellions, is apparent. This is the added drive that they directly gave to the Abolitionist movement.” But what he means is something far different from what we have described. For him, the revolts serve to “stimulate” the Northern Abolitionists. Aptheker tells us that the slave-owners were forever preaching of the docility and contentedness of the slave while “news of slaves conspiring and dying” proved the opposite. To this is added characteristically that John Brown was “inspired” and “influenced” by Nat Turner’s revolt to strike his “noble and world-shaking blow against human bondage.”

In The Negro People & America (p.48) Aptheker attacks Gunnar Myrdal for not understanding the slave insurrections. He says that “above all” these rebellions “pricked the consciences” of Jefferson and Madison, “stimulated” anti-slavery feeling and served to “inspire” the Abolitionists. He has a deep compulsion to play down the positive contribution of the Negroes in the developing events. Thus in “Buying Freedom,” an article in the collection To Be Free, he says that the activities of the Negroes were “fundamental” to the Abolition movement. But he immediately explains: “Each of these actions demonstrated the inequities of bondage and the deep desire of the Negro for liberation” (p.39).

Aptheker sees the slaves, the mass, on the one side and the Abolitionists on the other. He faithfully follows the Stalinist line of viewing the Negroes as manpower and shock troops. Cut away from seeing the binding revolutionary link, he is compelled to substitute inspiration as the tie. Hence the following:

“And to this day, selfless devotion of Gabriel’s, Vesey’s... bequeathed to lovers of liberty a memory that remains green ... death of these was not in vain. No blow struck is ever wholly lost.”

While it is legitimate and natural to derive inspiration from heroic martyrs, it becomes an absolutely false method when rhetoric is used as to substitute for the concrete role played by the Negroes in building the revolutionary movement. It has nothing in common with the Marxist method of theoretical analysis.

Turn now to Aptheker’s more critical writings. In his book on American Slave Revolts he spends forty pages on what he calls “The Turner Cataclysm.” You look in vain for any conception of what the Turner revolt meant to American revolutionary politics, of the close logical and historical connection between the revolutionary slaves and the revolutionary heeds of American society.

Marxist View of Abolitionism

Let us now sketch a Marxist analysis of the Abolitionist movement. The Abolitionist movement was an expression of revolutionary classes and groups. To the slaves, the free Negroes and the urban intelligentsia was added the Northwest farmers.

The concrete link and theoretical axis is the Underground Railroad. One road ran through the Ohio of the small farmers who could see across the river the effects of slavery. Another road ran through the Eastern seaboard states. In farming areas as well as in the towns of the Eastern states the free Negroes at various times lived in daily fear. They were beaten up and murdered; their houses, churches and schools were burnt; escaped slaves were caught and returned; free Negroes were kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Slave-owners and slaves battled for the support of the petty-bourgeoisie in town and country. [1] Now that slavery was no longer a closed question, the slave-owners worked through their innumerable and powerful Northern contacts to drive the free Negroes out of the United States. The slaves, learning from Turner’s failure, sent a never-ending stream of representatives north to the free Negroes and through them to the Abolition movement, supplying it with revolutionary personnel and revolutionary politics. This question of fugitive slaves was the rock on which all attempts at compromise between North and South were shattered.

The first crisis of radical Abolitionism came from the farmers. In the 1830’s a great revivalist movement came out of the West moving eastward to New York and Philadelphia. It embraced Abolitionism. But unlike the drunkard, the prison-inmate, the Sabbath-breaker, and the girl who had sinned, the slave was a member of a social class, a class which had signified that it stood for radical, i.e. revolutionary Abolition.

Garrison and his radicalism now personified Abolition. He beat off two attempts to supplant him by organizations with watered-down policy. His most precious support came from the free Negroes, attested repeatedly by Garrison himself and the efforts of his rivals to win them away.

The radicalism of Garrison was now a danger to social peace. The depression anti the decline of the religious fervor gave conservative Abolitionists their chance. They succeeded in decentralizing the movement. They proposed to tone down “immediate” emancipation; they sought to substitute for the New England intellectuals the leadership of the regular clergy; they sought to exclude women. The unutterably degraded status of Negro women in the South, the activities of free Negro women in the North had helped to bring into the movement numbers of white petty-bourgeois women, stirred also by their own grievances. On the question of women being allowed in the movement, Garrison, the New England intellectuals, the women and the Free Negroes kept Abolitionism radical.

In 1840 James Birney split the movement. He “politicized” Abolitionism, directing it toward New York philanthropists and other “sympathetic” bourgeois who detested radicalism. In 1840 this kind of politics was a foolhardy venture and the Liberty Party was a total failure. Garrison and the New England intellectuals, for various abstract and utopian reasons, were militantly anti-political. In this crisis Garrison again owed his ideological and organizational victory to the support of free Negroes. They were not anti-political; many of them were actively engaged in state politics. But they rallied to the principled radical Abolitionism of Garrison.

Conflicts Among Abolitionists

However after this victory Garrison declined and, to quite a sympathetic biographer, for years seemed to live “in a sort of waking trance.” In the difficult early days his intransigence had been invaluable, and had saved the movement. Now that slavery was a national issue, he had neither program nor perspective. Feeling the need for a new orientation he now preached disunion with the slave South on the ground that the Constitution was a pro-slavery document.

Others beside Garrison came forward to lift Abolitionism to a higher plane. The free Negroes began a counter-offensive to the slaveholders, raiding the South to help slaves escape. Henry Highland Garnett, a Negro who re-published Walker’s Appeal, in 1843 presented to a Negro Convention a call for slave insurrection. It was defeated by only one vote. Wendell Phillips by degrees assumed the virtual leadership of the Garrisonians. He shared Garrison’s theory of disunion, but was only formally in agreement with his pacifism. He preached Abolitionism with such philosophical breadth, oratorical power and denunciation of slave-holders and their allies that the general effect was profoundly revolutionary.

But the greatest figure in this period was Frederick Douglass. In 1843 at the Negro Convention he had opposed Garnett’s call for insurrection, being still a Garrisonian. But he split with the Garrisonians and later joined the new Free Soil Party. With fierce and devastating polemic he repudiated Garrison’s disunionism and defended the revolutionary and anti-slavery implications of the Constitution at a time when that document and with it the American revolutionary tradition was under fire both North and South. In 1850 came the Fugitive Slave Act over which the country seemed to explode. The fighting over Kansas, John Brown’s raid, and the other revolutionary events of that period were supported by the continuous undercurrent of revolt in the South. The above is a rigidly stylized account of a highly complex movement. But this much is certain. What we are watching here is the growth of the revolutionary movement from 1800 to 1860. From Gabriel through Turner to militant Abolitionism we have one road for the abolition of slavery. The parliamentarians, the compromisers, the gradual Abolitionists, the maneuverers in Washington pointed to another road. Marxist history consists always in contrasting these two and showing how a great social conflict is finally resolved along the lines of the despised, rejected, persecuted movement and not along the line of parliamentarians and petty-bourgeois reformists. In any history of 1830-1860 the role of the Negro for purely objective and social reasons is paramount.

Now for Aptheker. Does he mention in his pamphlet on Negro Abolitionists the crisis with Birney? No. Does he mention Henry Highland Garnett? He does, once – to say that he was “present” at a convention. Does he mention the resounding split between Garrison and Douglass? Not a line, not a word. There is not the slightest hint that the Negro was anything more than an appendage, a very valuable appendage, to what Aptheker considers the Abolitionist movement to have been. His whole conception is that the Abolitionist movement was predominantly white, and Negroes joined it. In fact if you could imagine a writer being given an assignment to write about Negroes in the Abolition movement and to exclude every example of their political activity, then the result could easily be Aptheker’s pamphlet.

It is possible to say that Aptheker is writing a popular account of Negro Abolitionists. But he has also written an essay “Militant Abolitionism” in his volume To Be Free. It is the only essay in all his writings on these subjects where he does not treat Negroes specifically. It is thirty-three pages long and has appended to it eleven pages of notes in fine print, taking up one hundred and five references from the text.

What does it deal with? Practically the whole essay treats of discussions by Abolitionist figures about the abstract question of resistance or non-resistance. At a meeting in Boston in April 1835, the question is submitted for discussion. Sides are taken. By 1841 Garritt Smith has moved to the point of urging slaves to flee. One Spooner had a plan for Slave rebellion, sent it to leading Abolitionists and received and preserved nine replies. Such and such a Negro advocated insurrection: such and such a white Abolitionist did or did not. So page after page.

We shall understand this evasive emptiness best by examining a speech of Wendell Phillips at an Abolitionist meeting in April 12, 1852. The question was: what should fugitive slaves do when threatened with arrest. Wendell Phillips proposed: a) that unless fugitives were prepared to take the lives of any officer who tried to arrest them they should leave the United States; b) that in every town vigilance committees should be formed which “would avail themselves fearlessly, according to their best judgment, of all the means God and Nature have put into their hands to see that substantial justice be done.” Note the “fearlessly” and “all the means.” The quoted section, as Phillips’ speech showed, was a direct call to action.

Garrison proposed an amendment. It must be quoted in full:

Resolved, That if ‘resistance to tyrants,’ by bloody weapons ‘is obedience to God,’ and if our Revolutionary Fathers were justified in wading through blood to freedom and independence, then every fugitive slave is justified in arming himself for protection and defence, – in taking the life of every marshal, commissioner, or other person who attempts to reduce him to bondage; and the millions who are clanking their chains on our soil find ample warrant in rising en masse, and asserting their right to liberty, at whatever sacrifice of the life of their oppressors.

Resolved, That the State in which no fugitive slave can remain in safety, and from which he must flee in order to secure his liberty in another land, is to be held responsible for all the crimes and horrors which cluster about the slave-system and the slave trade, – and that State is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Phillips, with gracious deference to Garrison – but with what Marx calls his “iron determination” – rejected the amendment and he said everything when he said that it “seems ... too ambiguous; it contents itself with announcing an important principle, but suggests nothing, advises nothing.”

What is the value of Aptheker’s lengthy account of who was for resistance in principle and who against, except that he does not even understand the principled question. In this very speech Phillips said that he was an opponent of a slave revolution in the South only because he did not think it would succeed. If the hour should ever come – “God hasten it!” – when a national crisis gave the slave an opportunity, he would say to every slave, “Strike now for freedom!” The applause was “long, continued and deafening.” This attitude to revolution permeates the speeches of Phillips. Garrison’s resolution showed how complicated a thing was this whole Abolitionist pacifism. When he said “Immediate Unconditional Emancipation on the Soil,” when his admitted aim was to goad the South into madness, slaveowners and innumerable other people understood that this program was what mattered and not Garrison’s Non-resistance and “moral suasion.” Furthermore “moral suasion” as Garrison practiced it meant such unbridled denunciation not only of slave-owners but of all who were not for immediate emancipation that the effect was and could not have been otherwise than divisive and revolutionary. At a meeting after John Brown’s death, Garrison in the course of his speech asked how many non-resistants were there in the room. Among many thousands present only two or three stood up.

Wendell Phillips said of the Abolition movement that it was the first genuine American movement and the first that spoke with a native voice – all previous American politics had borne the stamp of Europe. It was one of the most profound of the many profound observations this great revolutionary habitually made. It is fascinating to see how even while some Abolitionists theoretically enunciated and advocated “moral suasion” empirically the movement met every obstacle with a determination that stopped at nothing; and with casuistry and at other times with no respect for principle or logic, continually exceeded the bounds of the accepted theory.

This is one of the most difficult but one of the most important aspects of the movement. Aptheker, except for a characteristically academic footnote in American Slave Revolts (p. 111), has no understanding of this and he cannot even begin to probe this vital question because the most uncompromising advocates and practitioners of direct action and rebellion were free Negroes and fugitive slaves.

The Negro Movement

Aptheker knows very well that to speak of militant Abolitionism is to pose immediately the question of Negro Abolitionism. But the inescapable superficiality of his treatment is evidenced by the fact that nowhere does he treat of the great split between Douglass on one side, and Phillips and Garrison on the other. He omits the continuous conflicts between whites and Negroes. There is no word about the fact that Garrison opposed all formation of Negro organizations and objected even to a Negro publishing a paper.

Aptheker gives no hint that the Negro Conventions were political conventions always, where the participants were aligned for and against “moral suasion,” for and against the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party, etc. In the early days the richer Negroes opposed special Negro demands and the treating of Negro problems as a Negro question; they wanted Negroes to demand equal rights as citizens. They were overwhelmingly defeated. It is these Negro organizations which, as organizations, passed the most revolutionary resolutions about resistance and rebellion, reprinted the revolutionary writings of Walker, etc.

Aptheker knows this too. But apart from a reference to the convention at which Garnett spoke (and this could be avoided), Aptheker finds no room for this in his text. It appears only in a reference note on page 205 of To Be Free. This cannot be accidental.

Aptheker cannot break through the theoretical vise in which he is enclosed. He sees the Negro organizations essentially as early versions of the Stalinist Negro Congress, Southern Welfare Association, etc., which have no politics of their own but exist to corral Negroes and bring them into the popular front coalition in which the Stalinists are at the moment interested.

What then does Aptheker write about in his Negro in the Abolitionist Movement and why? This we shall take up in the next article.


1. The working class came in much later but when it did, its intervention was decisive.


Last updated on: 11 April 2009