[Marxism] Lenin's Tomb review of Gerald Horne book

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 12 15:23:33 MST 2009

Review of Gerald Horne, The End of Empires: African Americans and India.

“The Vanguard of Anti-Imperialism...”

Gerald Horne is an historian who has been revealing neglected aspects of 
African American history for several decades, particularly those 
relating to class struggle, communism, and what W E B Du Bois referred 
to as the global ‘colour line’.

In The Deepest South, he disclosed the efforts by Deep South slavers to 
form a pact with Brazil and build a southern empire that would protect 
white supremacy. At the same time, he revealed, Lincoln and the northern 
establishment looked toward schemes that would result in the removal of 
former slaves from the United States, perhaps to indentured plantations 
in the British Empire. Again, in The White Pacific, he followed the 
trail of former slave-owners as they set out across the Pacific, to 
Australasia and the Pacific Islands, where they engaged in a form of 
slavery known as ‘blackbirding’. In Cold War in a Hot Zone, he 
demonstrated the links between African American struggles during the 
Cold War and militancy in the Caribbean as the British empire was 
replaced by American dominance. And in Black and Red, he anatomised the 
African American response to the Cold War, noting that “US Blacks have 
been among the vanguard of anti-imperialism”.

In this, his penultimate volume, African American anti-imperialism is at 
the fore again, as Horne assesses the relationship between the Indian 
struggle for independence from the British empire and the African 
American struggle against Jim Crow. It is reasonably well known that 
Martin Luther King was influenced by Gandhi’s doctrine of satyagraha 
(non-violent resistance), and perhaps less so that Bayard Rustin, James 
Farmer, Pauli Murray and others also drew on Gandhi’s doctrines. Nehru’s 
speech at the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement of Third World states 
paid moving tribute to the struggle of Africans, and particularly of 
African Americans, whose liberation he pledged India would support. A 
more recondite affinity drawn out by Horne is the influence of the 
Ahmadiyya movement of Indian Muslims on African Americans in the early 
20th Century – an influence that would later be felt through the Nation 
of Islam.

Horne traces these connections, from prehistorical origins to the 
twentieth century, with the overwhelming focus on the decades leading up 
to Indian independence and the culmination of the civil rights struggle. 
The shared historical destinies of black America and India arguably 
began with the American revolution, when some revolutionaries looked to 
India as a potential anti-colonial ally. Their fate was subsequently 
bound together through the production of cotton and the circulation of 
slaves between south Asia, Africa and the United States. Opposing 
antebellum slavery in the United States, abolitionists in England 
deplored the country’s manufacture of cloths from slave-produced cotton 
when it might just as well have been obtained using free labour from the 
banks of the Indus, at less cost. The Indian rebellion of 1857 carried 
grave race warnings for the United States. For some, it showed the 
madness of trying to permanently rule over non-white people. Andrew 
Carnegie, visiting Lucknow in 1879, fretted that “these bronzed figures 
which surrounded us by millions” may once again “in some mad moment 
catch the fever of revolt”. It showed what a “dangerous game” it was for 
the US to try to conquer neighbouring islands populated by black 
majorities. Carnegie would go on to become a generous benefactor of the 
Anti-Imperialist League when it was founded in opposition to the 
Spanish-American war of 1898. Similarly, the Civil War of 1861-65 which 
was to end in the abolition of slavery (quite against the original 
intentions of the North) was closely determined by the availability of 
cotton from India, not least because it dissuaded English capitalists 
from throwing their weight behind the Confederacy to defend their cotton 

full: http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/11/american-insurgents.html

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