Black Red Giants—Paul Robeson, Black Communists and their leading contributions to history
Wednesday May 19, 2021 6pm
On Wednesday, May 19, at 6 PM PST, the Strategy and Soul Revolutionary Book and Film Club presents a talk by Eric Mann—Black Red Giants—Paul Robeson, Black Communists and their leading contributions to history—a history we need to integrate into our organizing today.
This will be followed by the showing of the great film, Here I Stand—the Life of Paul Robeson. (2 hours).
Response by Strategy Center friend, Kali Akuno, co-director, Operation Jackson in Mississippi (Welcome back to LA. Brother!)
Conversation with Eric and members of the in-person audience, organizers and friends with the Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union and a live-stream all over the world.
Paul Robeson (1896-1976) was a true giant of a man, a Black man, living in a world of white racist imperialist Lilliputians. Paul Robeson, whose father was a runaway enslaved African, was a brilliant baritone singer and one of the leading Black Liberation figures of his time—and all-time! Robeson was an all American Football player at Rutgers University, a Phi Beta Kappa, winner of the oratory contest every year, a graduate of Columbia Law School (where he decided he did want to practice inside the U.S. racist legal system) and a leading figure in the Pan African anti-colonial movements. He was a gifted, transcendent singer, stage, and film performer, and was among the most revered and celebrated figures in U.S. society during the Great War Against Fascism where the United States, out of necessity, allied with the Soviet Union and had to pretend it was against fascism.
Robeson was also a close ally of the Communist Party and his statements after World War II continued his lifetime anti-fascist pro-Soviet politics.
”We in America do not forget that it is on the backs of the poor whites of Europe…and on the backs of millions of black people the wealth of America has been acquired. And we are resolved that it shall be distributed in an equitable manner among all of our children and we don’t want any hysterical stupidity about our participating in a war against anybody no matter whom. We are determined to fight for peace. We do not wish to fight the Soviet Union.”
“It is unthinkable that American Negros would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union which in one generation has lifted our people to full human dignity.”
But now the U.S., pivoting on a dime, moved to a war against communism, going back to its racist, reactionary roots. What followed was one of the most brutal, racist, and imperialist attacks on a great man as part of the great anti-communist rampage in the U.S. and Europe after World War II where fascists were rehabilitated and communists were persecuted and prosecuted. Robeson’s defiant remarks in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee set the standard for the most courageous remarks in front of a U.S. lynch mob.
Eric Mann will give a talk before the film: Black Red Giants—Paul Robeson and the Black Communist Tradition. He will situate Robeson’s life in the world anti-colonial struggle, the fight of Black people in the U.S. for self-determination, the great battle between communism on one side and fascism and U.S. imperialism on the other, and our responsibility to learn and apply this history to our organizing work today. He will explain the CPUSA’s brilliant synthesis between socialism, anti-imperialism, and Black nationalism and the great Black leaders who were members or friends of the party—Cyril Briggs, Harry Haywood, Claudia Jones, Louise Thompson Patterson, William L. Patterson, Ben Davis, W.E.B. DuBois, and yes, Paul Robeson.
Celebrate the life of Paul Robeson!
Celebrate the Lives of Black communists!
Self-determination for the Black Nation!
Fight anti-communism in the movement today!
Stop U.S. wars against the Peoples Republic of China, Russian Federation, the Republic of Cuba, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and the Islamic Republic of Iran!
U.S. withdraw all aide for Colombia—U.N. sanctions against the U.S. for complicity in genocide!
Stop Israeli Attacks and Genocide Against the Palestinian people—stop Israeli bombing and ground troops against Gaza and other areas of Palestinian life!
Stop the MTA Apartheid Bus Pass—Stop MTA Attacks on Black Passengers!
No Police on MTA buses and trains
No Police in the LAUSD Schools!