Essay on The Effects of Communism in Black America

Essay on The Effects of Communism in Black America

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Many significant figures in black history have believed in communism as a system holding the potential to alleviate the inequalities that the structure of a largely capitalism-based society has imposed on their people. Amongst those figures is Claudia Jones, an influential black activist during the mid 1900’s. Jones’ faith in socialism extended past its ability to correct longstanding traditions and habits of racial discrimination. She believed, as Angela Davis states in her analysis of the position of women in context of their race and class, “that socialism held the only promise of liberation for Black Women, for Black people as a whole and indeed for the multi-racial working class” (Davis 169). For Jones, socialism held every possibility of fulfilling that promise of equality for all peoples, enabling her to remain “a dedicated Communist” (169) for the entirety of her adult life. Jones’ adherence to Communist tenets contributed to her identity as “the radical black female subject” (Davies 1) whom Carol Boyce Davies deems crucial in the advancement of Marxist-Leninist theory to the “critique of class oppression, imperialist aggression, and gender subordination” (2). Jones saw socialism as a way that could correct all of those issues, but specifically she interested herself in the plight of the working-class black woman and in that of all women. In that light, her understanding of Marx’s socialism must be viewed as distinctly feminist.
Claudia Jones came to her belief in socialism as a theoretically effective societal equalizer mostly through directly experiencing the conditions that had prompted Marx
and Engels to develop their theory of socialism. Her family had immigrated to New York from Trinidad in 1924, in the m...

... middle of paper ...

...assionately for women’s rights all her life, yet there appears to be very little to show for all of that effort. As a historical figure, Jones has been more or less forgotten; her presence in American history vanished as soon as she was deported, regardless of all the columns and letters and poems she wrote in an attempt to fix the problems of her world. Perhaps she vanished because all of her effort had been futile. The presence of racism and discrimination in the United States had simply been to strong of a force for her or the Communist Party to effectively fight. Still, Jones does leave behind her own theory of superexploitation, which remains as accurate and true-sounding as Marx’s own original concepts had been.
Jones then can be said to be a significant historical figure not so much for her actions, but for the memory of the idea that she represents.

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