CLR James and the Place of Marxism, Nationalism and Race in Theories of Pan-Africanism



This paper discusses how instrumental C.L.R. James was in transforming Pan-Africanism from a localized practice in the diaspora to a social, political and economic movement on the continent. Through examining a selection of his texts including The Black Jacobins, we explore how his prioritizing of political cooperation on a global scale instead of promoting racial insularity in Black liberation movements added another layer to the theory of Pan-Africanism. Through understanding James’ Trotskyist ideologies and the historical context which he was steeped in, we can trace his impact on Pan-Africanism as it transitioned from theories of Black identity in the diaspora to definitive political action on the continent.