Cyril Lionel Robert James
(1901, Port of Spain, Trinidad-1989, London, United Kingdom)
Minty Alley (1936); World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International (1937); The Black Jacobins: Touissant L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938); Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx and Lenin (1948)comment; State Capitalism and World Revolution, with Grace Lee and Raya Dunayevskaya (1950); Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In (1952); Facing Reality (1958); Modern Politics (1960); Beyond a Boundary (1963); Kwame Nkrumah and the Ghana Revolution (1977).
|Aphorism:||“Time would pass, old empires would fall and new ones take their place, the relations of countries and the relations of classes had to change, before I discovered that it is not the quality of goods and utility which matter, but movement; not where you are or what you have, but where you have come from, where you are going and the rate at which you are getting there” (Beyond a Boundary, 116-7).|
|Political Importance||Expanded and clarified the political and theoretical heritage of Marx and Lenin; showed the centrality of the autonomous struggles of African and colonial people, and their descendants, in the development of the international labour movement; foresaw the supervened obsolescence of the vanguard party. His 1940s writings and speeches on the “Negro question”, as it was then called, in the US anticipated some of the key political stances of the civil rights movement. C.L.R. James was also one of the inspiring figures of the Pan-African movement and of the struggle for the independence and federation of the Caribbean. His work within the Johnson Forest Tendency contributed to define a perspective, much ahead of its time, of socialism from below based on the autonomy and self-activity of the working class and its sectors.|
|Independent Labour Party, Marxist Group and International African Service Bureau in the 1930s; Johnson-Forest Tendency, which took its name from the pseudonyms J.R. Johnson and F. Forest taken by C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya, respectively--originally part of the Fourth International, Johnson-Forest broke with Trotskyism in 1950 and continued to organise as an independent US based group, first under the name of Correspondence Publishing Committee, and then as Facing Reality, until 1970; movement for the independence and federation of the Caribbean; Pan-African movement.|
|Acknowledgments:||The information on this page has been compiled and written by Pier Paolo Frassinelli|
West Indian émigré, political organiser, Marxist theorist, historian, literary and cultural critic, novelist, playwright and short-story writer, teacher, cricketer, sports commentator. C.L.R. James’s life work covered a strikingly wide range of interests. All of these were tied together by James’s rigorous method and integrated political vision. In the obituary published in The New York Times on May 31, 1989, his third wife and former political collaborator, Selma James, wrote:
C.L.R. James was fundamentally a political person and his great contribution was to break away from the very narrow and white male concept of what Marxist politics was. He saw the world, literature, sports, politics and music as one totality, and saw political life as embodying all of those, which was very different from the politics he walked into in the middle of the 1930s, first in England and then in the United States.
Before sailing to England in March 1932, James had already established himself as a major West Indian literary artist. His early writings include a series of short-stories--“Triumph”, “La Divina Pastora” and “Turner’s Prosperity”--and a novel, Minty Alley (published in 1936). With their realistic description of the life of the barrack-yard and ordinary Trinidadian people, and their explicit concern with class, colour, race, sex and Caribbean identity, these represented a new departure in West Indian fiction that anticipated much of what was to follow. On his journey, James also brought with himself the unpublished manuscript of the biography of Arthur Andrew Cipriani, the President of the Trinidad Workingmen’s Association, which would be published in the Caribbean under the title of The Life of Captain Cipriani: An Account of British Government in the West Indies (1932) and excerpted in the UK as The Case for West-Indian Self Government (1933). This account of Captain Cipriani’s political career as a champion of the cause of West Indian self-government and federation and populist leader of “the unwashed and unsoaped barefooted man” was James’s first public political intervention. It would play a significant role as a political manifesto when labour revolt broke out in the Caribbean in 1937.
In the United Kingdom, where he had come to pursue his literary career, James fortuitously found a job as cricket correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and the Glasgow Herald. He also started to read Marxism and decided to join first the Independent Labour Party and then the Trotskyist movement. As he would recall later on, “when I’d finished [with Marx, Lenin and Trotsky’s writings], I said, well, Marxism says that you have not only to read but to be active… so I joined” (Rethinking C.L.R. James, p. 21). In 1935, he also joined the International African Friends of Abyssinia, later renamed IAFE for Ethiopia, which campaigned against the Italian Fascist army’s invasion of the country, and from which in 1937 would emerge the International African Service Bureau. This small organisation, set up by George Padmore, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Ras Makonnen, James, Jomo Kenyatta, I. T. A. Wallace Johnson and a few others, was to have a major influence on the development and radicalisation of Pan-Africanism. James edited the IASB monthly journal, International African Opinion, as well as the Trotskyist periodical Fight. His best-known work, The Black Jacobins, dates back to this period. Also from this period are the play Touissant L’Ouverture (1936), which was performed at London’s Westminster Theatre with Paul Robeson in the lead role and James himself in a minor part; World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International (1937), an orthodox Trotskyist history of the Comintern; and A History of the Negro Revolt (1938), a collection of studies on the Haitian revolution, the role of Black slaves in the American civil war, Garveyism and African anti-colonial struggles.
The Black Jacobins, now widely recognised as a modern masterpiece, is a history of the late 18th century slave revolution in San Domingo. In this text, in addition to providing an account of the slaves’ self-organisation, military campaign and defeat of the imperial powers of France, England and Spain, James redefines the relation between Europe and the colonies in the struggle for freedom and working class power: he refutes the orthodox thesis of the revolution at the highest point of capitalist production, i.e. Europe, and rediscovers a long neglected autonomous revolutionary tradition among the colonised populations. Its material conditions, according to James, were provided in the Caribbean by the regime of labour in the sugar cane plantation:
The slaves worked on the land, and, like revolutionary peasants everywhere, they aimed at the extermination of their oppressors. But working and living together in gangs of hundreds on the huge sugar-factories which covered North Plain, they were closer to a modern proletariat than any group of workers in existence at the time, and the rising was, therefore, a thoroughly prepared and organized mass movement. (pp. 85-86)
Along with this, a crucial theoretical and historical insight of The Black Jacobins is to be found in its analysis of subaltern culture and the development of revolutionary consciousness among the slaves of San Domingo. In his account, James leaves no doubt whatsoever that the subaltern can speak, and quite eloquently at that:
one does not need education or encouragement to cherish a dream of freedom. At their midnight celebrations of Voodoo, their African cult, they danced and sang, usually their favourite song: Eh! Eh! Bomba! Heu! Heu! / Canga, bafio te! / Canga, Moune de le! / Canga, do ki la! / Canga, li! “We swear to destroy the whites and all they possess; let us die rather than fail to keep this vow”. The colonists knew this song and tried to stamp it out, and the Voodoo cult with which it was linked. In vain. (p. 18)
The other focus of The Black Jacobins is on the figure of Touissant L’Ouverture, the remarkable, if fatally flawed, slaves’ military commander, negotiator and political leader. James’s own attitude towards Touissant is not void of ambiguities. On the one hand James expresses an unconditional admiration for this self-educated and highly talented individual; on the other he sees in Touissant’s very qualities the cause of his own ruin, which was brought about by his compromises with the colonial bourgeoisie that eventually betrayed him:
Touissant’s error sprang from the very qualities that made him what he was. It is easy to see today, as his generals saw after he was dead, where he had erred. It does not mean that they or any of us would have done better in his place. If Dessalines could see so clearly and simply, it was because the ties that bond this uneducated soldier to French civilisation were of the slenderest. He saw what was under his nose so well because he saw no further. Touissant’s failure was the failure of enlightenment, not of darkness. (p 288)
But, this peculiar rationalisation aside, not only was The Black Jacobins a brilliant history book based on an audacious thesis, it was also a declaration of war on behalf of the colonised people and the black African masses:
those black Haitian labourers and the Mulattoes have given us an example to study. …The blacks of Africa are more advanced, nearer ready than were the slaves of San Domingo (p. 376).
In 1938 James went to the United States for a six-month lecturing tour between cricket seasons and ended up staying for fifteen years. For much of this period James was an illegal immigrant living underground. Abandoning the semi-celebrity status he had achieved in Britain without any apparent regret, he adopted the pseudonym J.R. Johnson and fully immersed himself in organizational politics within the small milieu of the US Trotskyist movement. It seems that the immediate reason for James’s protracted sojourn was Raya Dunayeskaya’s, former Trotsky’s secretary, invitation to stay and work with her at the theory of “State capitalism”, on which the two had independently reached similar conclusion. His American period began with a visit to Trotsky in Mexico, where they mostly discussed black struggles in the United States. Then in 1940 James and Dunayeskaya formed the Johnson-Forest Tendency within the Trotskyist Workers Party, which had split off from the Socialist Workers Party (the U.S. branch of the Fourth International) the year before. In 1947 Johnson-Forest left the Workers Party to return to the SWP where they remained until finally leaving the Trotskyist movement altogether in 1950. The US authorities eventually tracked down James in 1952. He was interned in Ellis Island prison and released only to be expelled as undesirable alien in 1953.
With the help and support of a small group of collaborators, including Raya Dunayevskaya, Grace Lee (Boggs), Martin Glaberman and Selma Deitch (James), who he would marry in 1956, in this period James produced an outstanding series of writings that culminated with the theoretical and political synthesis of Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx, Lenin (first circulated in mimeographed form in 1948 and published as a book only in 1980). Among the key innovations that they introduced in Marxist theory, politics and organisation are: the theory of the USSR as a State capitalist society, outlined in State capitalism and World Revolution (1950), written by James in collaboration with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee; a thorough redefinition of the meaning of Marx’s writings: Johnson-Forest published the first English translation of Marx’s 1844 Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts, and through them (re)grounded revolutionary praxis in the subjectivity of the proletariat and the positive, creative elements in the labour process; and, finally, the theory and practice of a new model of Marxist politics and organisation, antithetical to the vanguard party concept and based on the autonomy and self-activity of the working class and its sectors.
In 1942 James also participated in the mostly black sharecroppers’ strike in South-East Missouri, and produced a pamphlet, in collaboration with the strike organisers, that boldly took on the wartime “No Strike Pledge” embraced by the Trade Union bureaucracy and the Communist Party: “We may have to die for democracy in Java or in Iceland. We can die for 30c an hour here first” (The Future in the Present, p. 91). More broadly, throughout the 1940s James argued for socialists to support the formation of a genuinely autonomous black movement, as opposed to the traditional ‘front’ or organisation with strings pulled by the leftist party. The rationale for this position is best illustrated by an excerpt from James’s path-breaking 1948 SWP conference document, “The Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem in the US”:
Let us not forget that in the Negro people there sleep and are now awakening passions of a violence exceeding, perhaps, as far as these things can be compared, anything among the tremendous forces that capitalism has created. Anyone who knows their history, is able to talk them intimately, watches them in their churches, reads their press with a discerning eye, must recognize that although their social force may not be able to compare with the social force of a corresponding number of organized workers, the hatred of bourgeois society and the readiness to destroy it when the opportunity should present itself, rests among them to a degree greater than in any other section of the population of the United States. (The Future in the Present, pp. 126-27).
Later on in his life, James would note that the emergence of the Civil Rights movement “was no surprise” to him (C.L.R. James: His Life and Work, p. 167). Johnson-Forest, however, went beyond the issue of black autonomy. They argued for the recognition of the autonomy of the working class itself--as well as its sectors, beginning with blacks and women--from its ‘official’ organisations, the trade unions and the left parties.
Johnson-Forest also radically differed from any other existing Marxist group in their assessment of contemporary totalitarianism, a category that they applied not only to the USSR and Germany, but also to the United States: “Ford’s regime before unionisation”, James wrote, “is the prototype of production relations in fascist Germany and Stalinist Russia” (State Capitalism and World Revolution, p. 40). They put forward the notion that these oppressive regimes were a response to the insurgency of working class, and insisted on the power of workers to bring them down. This is how James, Dunayevskaya and Lee put it in The Invading Socialist Society (1947):
The unending murders, the destruction of peoples, the bestial passions, the sadism, the cruelties and the lusts, all the manifestations of barbarism of the last thirty years are unparalleled in history. But this barbarism exists only because nothing else can suppress the readiness for sacrifice, the democratic and creative power of the great masses of the people. (Spheres of Existence, p. 73)
The definitive break with Trotskyism was now ripe. While orthodox Trotskyism continued to define the USSR as a “degenerated workers’ State” and placed increasing hope in heretical Communist powers, such as Tito’s Yugoslavia, Johnson-Forest saw in the current State’s expansion, East and West, a last bastion of resistance against socialism: “achievement of state capitalism is at the same time the beginning of the disintegration of capitalism as a social system, …self-mobilization of the masses is the dominating social and political feature of our age” (The Invading Socialist Society, pp. 14, 20). As James would recollect in a late interview, he had by this point come to the conclusion that “a split with Trotsky on the Russian question, [was] not a split on the Russian question”, but “on the whole basic theory” (Rethinking C. L. R. James, p. 29). To work out what the real problem was, James set out to write, in form of a series of letters to his associates, what would turn out to be one of the most complex and original Marxist documents ever produced in the US. This is Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx, Lenin (1948), which aimed to provide nothing short of a sweeping re-examination of the Hegelian foundations of Marxist theory and a brand new interpretation of the history of the labour movement through the lens of Hegel’s Logic.
Here, by way of introduction, James writes that Hegelian logic provides an “algebra” that can be “used in any analysis of constitution and development in nature or in society” (p. 8). This “algebra” makes possible the comprehension of the dialectical relation between the movement of thought and the movement of history. James, then, deploys Hegel’s logic to interrogate the relation between the historical movement of the working class and the movement of Marxist thought, in order “to understand and develop for contemporary and future needs the history of the labour movement” (ibid.). Moving from Hegel’s tripartite division of cognition--vulgar empiricism, Understanding and Reason--James asserts that Trotskyism is trapped in the realm of Understanding, and therefore falls short of (dialectical) Reason by want of a leap: “Trotskyism, as far as thought is concerned, is the use of categories, etc., of Lenin’s practice, 1903-23, preserved in their essential purity, and transferred to a period for which they became day by day more unsuited” (p. 34). Trotsky himself did not see that the Third International had succumbed to State capitalism. He stuck to Lenin’s old categories: “revolutionary international against private property; reactionary international for private property” (p. 37). And so he could not explain Stalinism from the point of view of necessity, as a necessary, inevitable, form of development of the labour movement. Stalinism, far from merely representing a degeneration of Leninism, was a determinate negation and continuation of Leninism. Negation, James states after Hegel, is as much affirmation as negation. What results from negation has a content, is a definite negation, a new concept: “it has been enriched by the negation or opposite of that preceding concept, and thus contains it, but contains also more than it, and is the unity of it and its opposite” (p. 63). Stalinism, as a negation of Leninism, also contained and, at the same time, transcended it. The reactionary Third International had, stored up in it, the past being of Leninism, which was gone, it existed no longer. Trotsky’s confrontation with Stalin in terms of who was closer to Lenin, therefore, was a tragic mistake:
Trotsky’s position was that Stalin was a usurper distorting categories. Thus the debate, beginning with socialism in a single country, remained forever and ever within the categories of leninism. Stalin said: whatever I do is leninism. Trotsky said no: it is not leninism. I am the genuine leninist. That was the setting. Stalin was not very serious about it. His actions were pure empiricism. Trotsky was serious about this leninism and was caught in it and strangled in it. He was entirely wrong in every theoretical and practical conclusion that was drawn from the debate. (p. 35)
“To know true reality”, James adds, “to understand the labour movement, is to know that at each stage it degenerates but splits to re-instate its self-identity, its unity, but that this unity comes from the division within its own self” (p. 65). In other words:
Stalinism is a bitter obstacle. But see it as part of a process. Through the process of its own development, the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labour of the negative, the labour movement goes through all its experiences and reaches its completely realized self only by conquering them one after the other. And only at the end, when the labour movement finds itself fully realized will we see what it is in very truth. (ibid.)
So, at this point, it was a matter of working out what the next stage would be, what the labour of the negative would bring into being. These are James’s boldly stated conclusions:
The proletariat itself will smash stalinism to pieces. This experience will teach it its final lesson, that the future lies in itself, and not in anything which claims to represent it or direct it. (p. 92)
And this is the lesson Marxists had now to learn:
Organization has been the backbone of the proletarian movement. Every stage has meant a more advanced type of organization which almost at once reflects the pressure of capitalism inside the proletariat. We have insisted upon the fact that the proletariat always breaks up the old organization by impulse, a leap: remember that. But there comes a stage when organization and the maintenance of the organization become ends in themselves in the most direct conflict with the essential movement of the proletariat. …Organization, as we know it, has served its purpose. It was a purpose reflecting the proletariat in bourgeois society. The new organisation, the new organism, will begin with spontaneity, i.e. free creative activity, as its necessity. It is by now clear to all except those blinded by ideological spectacles that organization is the obstacle, the opposite, the mountain, the error, which truth has to blast out to find itself. If the communist parties are to endure, then the free activity of the proletariat must be destroyed. If the free activity of the proletariat is to emerge, it can emerge only by destroying the communist parties. It can destroy these parties only by free activity. Free activity means not only the end of the communist parties. It means the end of capitalism. …The proletariat has reflected itself in organization after organization until now it will see organization for what it is. The impulse, spontaneity, with which it created new organizations, the means by which it created them, must now become the end. Organization, means to an end, has now usurped the end and become end in itself. …But the road is open, in general. (pp. 117-18)
The Fourth International, by contrast, had reached a dead end:
Their organization stagnant and dwindling, they stand impregnable, ready to go down with the proletariat on the basis of their analysis that the workers are not ready. (pp. 226-27)
In 1950 James drove Johnson-Forest out of the SWP and set up the Correspondence Publishing Committee, a new type of organisation that did not fancy itself as the vanguard of the working class, but was devoted “to call for, teach, illustrate and develop spontaneity--the free creative activity of the proletariat” (p. 117). It goes without saying that in the Trotskyist milieu from which Johnson-Forest had emerged, their revolutionary optimism and belief in a coming workers’ uprising that would overthrow State capitalism was the subject of much scorn and ridicule. When the Hungarian revolt exploded in 1956, James and his associates felt that they had finally found vindication. James restated his fundamental positions in Facing Reality, published in the same year:
The world today lives in the shadow of state power. This state power is an ever-present self-perpetuating body over and above society. It transforms the human personality into a mass of economic needs to be satisfied by decimal points of economic progress. It robs everyone of initiative and clogs the free development of society. This state power, by whatever name it is called, One-Party State or Welfare State, destroys all pretence of government by the people, of the people. All that remains is government for the people. Against this monster people all over the world, and particularly ordinary working people in factories, mines, fields and offices, are rebelling everyday in ways of their own invention… (p. 1)
The late C.L.R. James came to regard, especially after the 1981 workers’ uprising in Poland, Notes on Dialectics as his most important work. It was also James’s last major philosophical synthesis. For 30 years, until its first edition as a book, it was internally circulated within a political group that at its peak reached a membership of 70 or thereabout.
In the last period of his American sojourn, while fighting deportation, James wrote a long unfinished manuscript titled American Civilization and then, during his detention in Ellis Island, he completed a critical study on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Pierre: Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In (1953). These were followed by a series of essays on aesthetics, literary criticism, cinema and the popular arts, and by James’s other masterpiece, the semi-autobiographical account of cricket and colonial life in the West Indies titled Beyond a Boundary (1963). Whereas recent academic commentators have suggested a break in James’s life work, corresponding with the end of the direct involvement with his American organisation, it is worth pointing out that the focus on the issue of “culture”--if admittedly of a very different sort from the aestheticism and high abstractions of the Frankfurt School exiles or the Left intellectuals assembled around the Partisan Review, from whom James always kept at a distance--had been another characterising trait of Johnson-Forest. The stated project of the tendency was to “Americanize Bolshevism” by immerging it in the social and cultural currents of American life. At the basis of the tendency’s political vision was the understanding of workers’ lives as a whole, of their revolutionary subjectivity as a mediation of the web of racial, ethnic, social and cultural relations of contemporary American society. To the mounting pessimism of the Left, Johnson-Forest countered, as Paul Buhle has correctly summarised, “a vision of ordinary people in the US and everywhere, searching urgently for the means to remake the quality of their existence” (C. L. R. James: His Life and Work, p. 99). In James’s own words (from an article published under the pseudonym J.R. Johnson in the June 1944 issue of the New International):
the very bourgeois society which had produced its most gifted body of thinkers and artists had also given birth to a proletariat which instinctively demanded the application to itself of every value which the philosophers and the various classes they represented had demanded through the ages. …When a modern worker demands the right of free speech, the right of free press, of free assembly, continuous employment, social insurance, the best medical attention, he demands in reality the “social republic”. Spinoza and Kant would stand aghast at what the average worker takes for granted today. …These are the values of modern civilisation. They are embodied in the very web and texture of the lives of the masses of the people. Never were such precious values so resolutely held as necessary to complete living by so substantial and powerful a section of society. Socialism means simply the complete expansion and fulfilment of these values in the life of the individual. (The Future in the Present, pp. 100-1)
After James departure from the United States, Johnson-Forest suffered a series of splits: in 1955 Raya Dunayevskaya and about half of the members broke with the “Johnsonite” group to form the News and Letters Committee and, then, when in 1962 by James and Grace Lee Boggs also left, The Correspondence Publishing Committee changed its name to Facing Reality. The latter would be dissolved in 1970 over C.L.R. James’s opposition. In the UK, James continued to write and speak on a wide range of topics, and returned for a brief period to cricket journalism. In 1958 he went back to Trinidad in time for the West Indian independence he had been advocating for decades. Here, with his wife Selma, he edited the PNM’s (People’s National Movement) weekly, The Nation, and fought a successful campaign to nominate the first black captain of the West Indies’ cricket team, Frank Worrell. But he hastily left immediately after the elections won by the nationalist movement, as he realised that the latter was trading British colonialism for US neo-colonialism. He would go back once more in 1965, only to be immediately placed under house arrest. On his release he founded the Workers’ and Farmers’ Party, which contested, in a spectacularly unsuccessful fashion, the 1966 election.
Apart from these episodes, in the last decades of his life, James refashioned himself as a teacher and political eminence grise in contexts as diverse as the UK, where he lectured for the BBC on a variety of subjects spanning Shakespeare to cricket, Pan-Africanism to Polish Solidarity; the US, where he finally achieved public recognition as a surviving forefather of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and, though James had no university degree (except from honorary), in the 1970s was awarded a Professorship at Federal City College, Washington DC, and was invited to lecture on dozens of campuses up and down the country; and finally Africa, especially Ghana. His last book-length publication was an account of the achievements and final failure of his former disciple, Kwame Nkrumah: Kwame Nkrumah and the Ghana Revolution (1977).
He died in his one bedroom flat in Brixton, London, in 1989.
On this site
On other sites
Major works (in order of original publication):
Minty Alley (London: New Beacon, 1971 )
World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International (Nendeln: Kraus, 1970 )
The Black Jacobins: Touissant L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (London: Allison & Busby, 1980 )
A History of Pan African Revolt (London: Race Today, 1986 )
The Invading Socialist Society, written in collaboration with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee Boggs (Detroit: Bewick, 1972 )
Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx and Lenin (London: Allison & Busby, 1981 )
State capitalism and World Revolution, written in collaboration with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee Boggs (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1986 )
Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In (London: Allison & Busby, 1986 )
Facing Reality (Detroit: Bewick, 1973 )
Modern Politics (Detroit: Bewick, 1973 )
Beyond a Boundary (New York: Pantheon, 1983 )
Kwame Nkrumah and the Ghana Revolution (London: Allison & Busby, 1977)
Selected works in three volumes:
The Future in the Present (London: Allison & Busby, 1977)
Spheres of Existence (London: Allison & Busby, 1980)
At the Rendezvous of Victory (London: Allison & Busby, 1984)
Other editions of selected writings:
Cricket, ed. By Anna Grimshaw (London: Allison & Busby, 1986)
The C. L. R. James Reader, ed. By Anna Grimshaw (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992)
C. L. R. James and Revolutionary Marxism: Selected Writings of C. L. R. James 1939-1949 (Revolutionary Studies), ed. by Scott McLemee and Paul Le Blanc (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1994)
C. L. R. James and the Negro Question, ed. by Scott McLemee (Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1996)
Marxism for Our Times: C. L. R. James on Revolutionary Organization, ed. by Martin Glaberman (Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1999)
Books on C. L. R. James
Paul Buhle, ed., C. L. R. James: His Life and Work (London: Allison & Busby, 1986)
Paul Buhle, C. L. R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary (London and New York: Verso, 1986)
Henry Paget and Paul Buhle, eds, C. L. R. James’s Caribbean (Durham: Duke University Press, 1992)
Selwyn Reginald Cudjoe and William E. Cain, eds, C. L. R. James: His Intellectual Legacies (Harvard, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995)
Grant Farred, ed., Rethinking C. L. R. James (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996)
Ken Worcester, C. L. R. James: A Political Biography (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996)
Anthony Bogues, Caliban’s Freedom (London: Pluto, 1997)
Aldon Lynn Nielsen, C. L. R. James: A Critical Introduction (Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1997)
Nicole King, C. L. R. James and Creolization: Circles of Influence (Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2001)
Farrukh Dhondy, C. L. R. James: A Life (New York: Pantheon, 2002)
on the Russian Question
Historical Development of the Negro in the United States
Right of Self-Determination and the Negro in the US
SWP and Negro Work
the Master-Slave Dialectic to Revolt in Capitalist Production
Karl Marx and the 75th Anniversary of the Paris Commune
Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem in the USA
the Woman Question: An Orientation
with Ken Ramchand in San Fernando
with British Trotskyists
Aspects of Marxian Economics [debate between J.R. Johnson (pseudonym of C.L.R. James) & Joseph Carter], The New International ", April 1942, pp. 77-80.
Johnson, J.R. [pseudonym of C.L.R. James], "Production for the Sake of Production--A Reply to Carter", Workers Party Bulletin, April 1943, pp. 198-209.
"Statement of the Secretariat" and "Letter of J.R. Johnson" (C.L.R. James), Workers Party Bulletin, April 1943, pp. 196-197.
C.L.R. James, Quotations from Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In: