[Marxism] Slave Self-Activity and the Bourgeois Revolution in the US

Brian Kelly brian_kelly at me.com
Mon Dec 16 12:48:13 MST 2019

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Brian Kelly, ‘Slave Self-Acitivty and the Bourgeois Revolution in the United States: Jubilee and the Boundaries of Black Freedom,” Historical Materialism 27.3 (2019): 31-76.

available here: https://brill.com/view/journals/hima/27/3/article-p31_2.xml <https://brill.com/view/journals/hima/27/3/article-p31_2.xml>

"What is needed urgently...is a frame- work that can move beyond the juxtaposition between high politics and slave self-activity and map, with some precision, the convergences and antagonisms between the bourgeois revolution and ground-level slave initiative. The point is not to find a middle ground between high politics and black agency, but to offer a framework that can explain their essential, dynamic interaction in the most important revolutionary upheaval in US history and offer a coher- ent explanation for Washington’s ultimate failure to deliver on the promise of black freedom. Potentially, such an interpretation offers a key not only to un derstanding the dynamics of wartime emancipation, but to the whole of the period analysed by Du Bois (1860–80) – tumultuous years encompassing war, the attempt to construct bi-racial democracy in the liberated South, and the decisive defeat of that project in Reconstruction’s violent overthrow." 

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