Archives for the month of: September, 2007

this passage is particularly inspiring:

“At the same time, CLR emphasized the importance of combining practical struggles with continuing exploration of the most profound philosophical questions because reality is constantly changing and we must be wary of becoming stuck in ideas that have come out of past experiences and have lost their usefulness in the struggle to create the future. So over the years I have always kept my ears close to the ground, testing ideas in practice and listening closely to the grass roots for new questions that require new paradigms. As a result, new unforeseen contradictions have challenged rather than discouraged me, and I have never felt burned out…” (46) (italics are my own)

reading pieces from GLB and JB these days to prepare for the talk in November and the study group. Really excited about this talk and also nervous about it. How to do justice to someone like GLB? Her life is so varied, so intense, so adventurous. I will use this blog as a forum for teasing out some of the ideas that I want to convey through the talk.

1) Introduce what kind of unique Asian Am identity GLB is putting forward

2) she does so from the perspective of what is the revolutionary and right thing to do at the moment; she is not plugged into identity politics as much

3) she identified with the black struggle because she is american, knows american landscape, politics, grew up here. she says in her own auto that she couldnt go be with Nkrumah when he proposed: “I declined because I couldn’t imagine myself being politically active in a country where I was totally ignorant of the history, geography and culture” (72)

4) perspective of change and revolutionary ideas; the dialectical process thing…not being fixed on old ideas even when they were progressive at that time

5) do i want to come straight out against identity politics?

6) what vision of being Asian Am is she putting forth

7) what relevance does it have for today?

8) philosophical perspective of GLB — integrating practice and philosophy

9) organizational precedences she set — importance of revolutionary organization

10) Question of Organization; Her personal life; Her philosophical approach — self activity of working people

“Together Lenin’s notes on Hegel and CLR’s Notes on Dialectics taught me that, in times of crisis or transition in any organization, movement, or society, it is a matter of life and death for the organization, movement, or society to recognize that reality is constantly changing, that the contradictions present in everything are bound to develop and become antahonistic and therefore that ideas or strategies that were progressive and mind opening at one point have become abstractions and fixations. At such times revolutionary leadership must have the audacity to break free of old ideas or strategies and create a new vision or visions based on concrete actions by the masses that suggest a forward leap in their self determination or ability to assume greater control and responsibility for their own lives. so instead of being disheartened when I have had to give up ideas, associates, and organizations to which I have whole-heartedly committed myself, I have seen these breaks as an integral part of my evolution as a movement activist ” (60)

“…George Padmore was the only one of these black leaders who impressed me as being at ease with what he had accomplished in his life…For more than 20 years he had been training Africans to go back and become freedom fighters in the anti-imperialist struggle […] He had organized his life to meet a historical need, and by the middle and late 1950s his mission was about to be achieved. When Padmore died in 1959, drums beating out his name were heard all over Africa.” (74)