Socialism never gets old

C.L.R. James

C.L.R. JAMES WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOCIALISM. It’s everywhere. We just don’t recognize it. This is no surprise. We are taught not to recognize it or believe in it. But it’s still there.

James was adamant about this. It was the backbone of his political philosophy as a dissident Marxist who worked with Trotsky and then broke with him over it.

James, unlike Trotsky, believed the best leaders of socialism were ordinary workers—not intellectuals. James also believed the evidence of that was all around us. Everyday people were creating socialism every day, he argued, in ways that did not fit into any set program or pre-conceived concepts of what socialism must look like.

We are ‘the invading socialist society’

James said the most important thing revolutionary socialists could do was to “recognize and record” that reality. The more we do that, he said, the more we would see that we were surrounded by “the invading socialist society.”

None of the “big thinkers” in the raging debates about the future of international socialism following the rise of Stalin and the expulsion of Trotsky paid any attention to James.

James never had more than a small handful of followers. But they stuck with him for over fifty years. And his impact was important—especially to the whole history of Africa.

Two of James’ followers became the revolutionary leaders of the first two African countries to liberate themselves from colonial rule: Jomo Kenyata in Kenya and Kwame Nkrumah  in Ghana.

Recognize and record

May Day this year, and every year since it was first celebrated in 1889, is proof that James was right: the ideas and ideals of socialism surround us, regular working folks prove it everywhere, every day. They are—we are—the invading socialist society.

The powers that be do their best to hide it from us. But it’s there, alive and well in every union meeting, on every picket line and in every act of mutual aid we offer to each other because it is simply the right thing to do.

Every Canadian union website records that daily reality in Canada. The World Socialist Website, and many others on the internet, record that worldwide reality every day.

All the proof we need to confirm the reality C.L.R. James, and many others, have urged us to embrace: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. This May Day and and forever.

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