Renowned as an anti-colonial theorist, intellectual and political activist, C. L. R. James has written books that represent some of the most daring anti-capitalist works of the 20th century. He is best appreciated for pushing readings of Marx beyond what even Marx himself may have originally envisioned. Presentations on capitalism, Negritude and revolutionary strategy employed by Caribbean militants made James an arresting voice, his words at once coming with measured tones and scholarly authority. Through the book You Don’t Play With Revolution, editor David Austin advances some of the more fearless theoretical and practical ideas to the delight of anyone curious about a pragmatic idealist like James.
C. L. R. James came to political prominence in a period of important insurgencies, among which the Caribbean was a part. James, born in Trinidad, worked intimately with fellow travelers in the region and postulated a movement building theory that liberally built on Marx while expanding upon the colonial experience of the Third World. Austin, a journalist and writer who profiled James for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, presents James in letters, lectures and interviews as an organizer clear on the political moment at hand and eager to take it on. James writes warmly to compatriots about investing his time and energy into organizing resistance and winning elections. However, it is James as theorist that is You Don’t Play With Revolution’s real treasure.