Preface
C.
L.
R. James's success as a writer has been accompanied by a rather
strange twist of fate. His writings have brought him worldwide recog-
nition, even celebrity, among a multitude of different audiences, par-
ticularly in Britain and the United States. However, because many of
his best-known texts focus on the advanced countries, recognition came
without an adequate understanding of his work as a whole and of its
firm roots in his native Caribbean. This volume addresses the lesser-
known Caribbean aspects of James's ouevre, as well as his influence upon
the politics and culture of the region.
C. L. R. James's Caribbean
was
planned, it should be noted, with the advice and cooperation of James
himself for more than a year before his death in May
1989.
Rather than
attempting a more comprehensive assessment of James's work, we have
remained with the original scope of the book.
James's intellectual importance rests, in no small part, upon his formu-
lation of differences and similarities in the "developing" and "advanced"
worlds. To his analyses of both types of societies James brought a spe-
cial sense of urgency. Rooted in the increasing ability of human beings
to intervene in the transformation and reproduction of society, the pros-
pects offer both a new chance for decisive improvement and a danger of
widescale collapse.
In the case of advanced countries, the capacity for economic or social
intervention has long been established. The crises of these societies
are underlined by the continuing inability or unwillingness of leaders
to mobilize the capacities toward ending class exploitation or race and
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