Reading Black Reconstruction Session 1

March 9, 2017
Welcome to the Black Reconstruction Study Group

There are 3 primary goals for this study group:

1. To examine Du Bois’ method of historiography for understanding the role of Black people in the Reconstruction period.

2. To draw lessons from the context of Reconstruction to sharpen our analysis and strategy for today’s fights, including:

  • developing an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, internationalist analysis of the balance of forces
  • understanding how capitalism is racialized and motivates private and governmental forces
  • understanding and applying the concept of abolition democracy
  • building and maintaining multi-racial coalitions

3. To build a community of people using these ideas in the Bay Area.

Session #1 Video

You can access the slides used during the session here.

Suggested Readings for Session #1
The following materials were offered as suggested and supplemental readings in preparation for the session (no chapters of Black Reconstruction were assigned for this session).

Suggested:
W.E.B. DuBois applied for membership in the Communist Party at the age of 93. Here is his application, which also is a nice genealogy of his political development. http://www.cpusa.org/party_info/application-to-join-the-cpusa-by-w-e-b-du-bois-1961/

“Why Reconstruction Matters” by Eric Foner. This piece was written in honor of the 150 anniversary of Reconstruction and lays out basics about the period as well as relevance for today. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/opinion/sunday/why-reconstruction-matters.html?_r=0

“No Plans to Abandon our Freedom Dreams” by Linda Burnham, who will be one of our facilitators. This piece offers some great contemporary reflections on many of the themes raised in Black Reconstruction. http://organizingupgrade.com/index.php/strategylabs/2016-elections/item/1059-no-plans-to-abandon-our-freedom-dreams-by-linda-burnham

Supplemental:
A review of Black Reconstruction by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: http://www.isreview.org/issues/57/feat-reconstruction.shtml

A review of Black Reconstruction by Cedric Robinson: http://www.politicaleducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/A-critique-of-Black-Reconstruction-Robinson.pdf

Building powerful movements from below and the left through education, analysis, theory, and dialogue