Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Richard Gott

Abraham Lincoln




October 12, 2011
Bishopsgate Institute
Empire and Resistance: A special meeting with two leading socialist historians of imperialism, Robin Blackburn & Richard Gott

Socialist History Society Public Meeting, supported by the London Socialist Historians Group

For more information and to book:
“A meditation on a world that could have been.”—GREG GRANDIN, GUARDIAN,
Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln exchanged letters at the end of the Civil War. Although they were divided by far more than the Atlantic Ocean, they agreed on the cause of “free labor” and the urgent need to end slavery. In his introduction, Robin Blackburn argues that Lincoln’s response signaled the importance of the German American community and the role of the international communists in opposing European recognition of the Confederacy.

The ideals of communism, voiced through the International Working Men’s Association, attracted many thousands of supporters throughout the US, and helped spread the demand for an eight-hour day. Blackburn shows how the IWA in America—born out of the Civil War—sought to radicalize Lincoln’s unfinished revolution and to advance the rights of labor, uniting black and white, men and women, native and foreign-born. The International contributed to a profound critique of the capitalist robber barons who enriched themselves during and after the war, and it inspired an extraordinary series of strikes and class struggles in the postwar decades.

In addition to a range of key texts and letters by both Lincoln and Marx, this book includes articles from the radical New York-based journal WOODHULL AND CLAFLIN’S WEEKLY, an extract from Thomas Fortune’s classic work on racism BLACK AND WHITE, Frederick Engels on the progress of US labor in the 1880s, and Lucy Parson’s speech at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.
ALSO OUT NOW, a landmark history of the rise, abolition, and legacy of slavery in the New World:


This book furnishes a panoramic view of slavery and emancipation in the Americas from the conquests and colonization of the sixteenth century to the ‘century of abolition’ that stretched from 1780 to 1888. Tracing the diverse responses of African captives, THE AMERICAN CRUCIBLE argues that while slave rebels and abolitionists made real gains, they also suffered cruel setbacks and disappointments, leading to a momentous radicalization of the discourse of human rights.   In it, Robin Blackburn explains the emergence of ferocious systems of racial exploitation while rejecting the comforting myths that portray emancipation as somehow already inscribed in the institutions and ideas that allowed for, or even fostered, racial slavery in the first place, whether the logic of the market, the teachings of religion, or the spirit of nationalism. Rather, Blackburn stresses, American slavery was novel—and so too were the originality and achievement of the anti-slavery alliances which eventually destroyed it.

The Americas became the crucible for a succession of fateful experiments in colonization, silver mining, plantation agriculture, racial enslavement and emancipation. The exotic commodities produced by the slave plantations helped to transform Europe and North America, raising up empires and stimulating industrial revolution and ‘market revolution’ to bring about the pervasive commodification of polite society, work and everyday life in parts of Europe and North America. Fees, salaries and wages fostered consuming habits so that capitalism, based on free wage labor in the metropolis, became intimately dependent on racial slavery in the New World.

But by the late eighteenth century the Atlantic boom had sown far and wide the seeds of subversion, provoking colonial rebellion, slave conspiracy and popular revolt, the aspirations of a new black peasantry and ‘picaresque proletariat’, and the emergence of a revolutionary doctrine: the ‘rights of man’. The result was a radicalization of the principles of the Enlightenment, with the Haitian Revolution rescuing and reshaping the ideals memorably proclaimed by the American and French revolutions.

Blackburn charts the gradual emergence of an ability and willingness to see the human cost of the heedless consumerism and to challenge it. The anti-slavery idea, he argues, brought together diverse impulses—the ‘free air’ doctrine maintained by the common people of Europe, the critique of the philosophes and the urgency of slave resistance and black witness. The anti-slavery idea made gains thanks to a succession of historic upheavals. But the remaining slave systems—in the US South, Cuba and Brazil—were in many ways as strong as ever.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 722 1 / $19.95 / £12.99 / $25.00CAN / Paperback / 272 pages

For more information about AN UNFINISHED REVOLUTION or to buy the book visit:


ISBN: 978 1 84467 569 2 / $34.95 / £20.00/ Hardcover / 512 pages

For more information about THE AMERICAN CRUCIBLE or to buy the book visit:


“It leaves a string of other academics licking their scholarly wounds.”—JAMES WALVIN

“The American Crucible poses a challenge for the political future as well as a bold reappraisal of the historical past.”—STEPHEN HOWE, INDEPENDENT:


“A magnificent work of contemporary scholarship.”—ERIC FONER, NATION

“Blackburn’s book has finally drawn the veil which concealed or made mysterious the history and development of modern society.” —DARCUS HOWE, GUARDIAN

“Sombre, dark and masterly.” —LINDA COLLEY, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

“An exhaustive, powerfully written and compelling book.” —ANTHONY PAGDEN, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

“Fascinating … Blackburn has brought together diverse strands of historical research and woven them into a compelling story.” —LOS ANGELES TIMES


“An incisive synthesis of developments in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Blackburn’s book is bold and original.” —RICHARD DUNN, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

“A challenge to those who fondly suppose that slavery declined as ideas of Western ‘enlightenment’ spread. Blackburn deserves praise for undermining complacency about the past — and the present.” —CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, NEW YORK NEWSDAY

“The first historian since Eric Williams to present a comprehensive interpretation.” —NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

“One of the finest studies of slavery and abolition.” —ERIC FONER, DISSENT

“Blackburn’s highly intelligent and well-written book is a substantial contribution.” —VICTOR KIERNEN, LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

Praise for AGE SHOCK

“Blackburn’s book is a serious and finely argued attack on contemporary market fundamentalism in a vivid phrasemaking style.” STEVEN POOLE, GUARDIAN


“One of the best books I have read on pension funds.” INDEPENDENT

“Blackburn is particularly good at disentangling the different dynamics that make the pension’s problem so intractable for mature, ageing economies.” SIR HOWARD DAVIS, DIRECTOR, FSA, GUARDIAN

“Blackburn’s views seem to me refreshing … [He] acknowledges that there are real strains on the old welfare state and proposes interesting ways to handle them that do not resort to simplistic formulas of privatization.” JEFF MADRICK, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

ROBIN BLACKBURN teaches at the New School in New York and the University of Essex in the UK. He is the author of many books, including THE MAKING OF NEW WORLD SLAVERY, THE OVERTHROW OF COLONIAL SLAVERY, AGE SHOCK, BANKING ON DEATH, and THE AMERICAN CRUCIBLE.
Academics can request an inspection copy. For further information please go to:
Visit Verso’s website for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers:

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook:

And get updates on Twitter –  @VersoBooks


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:

The Ockress:

Rikowski Point:


Online Publications at:

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:



Socialist History Society Public Meeting
Empire and Resistance
A special meeting with two leading socialist historians of imperialism, Robin Blackburn and Richard Gott, who will be speaking about their new books

Hosted in co-operation with publisher Verso and supported by the London Socialist Historians Group

7pm, 12th October 2011
Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool Street
The event is free.

Richard Gott, former editor and journalist, is the author of numerous books mainly on Latin America, including a history of Cuba and the new Venezuela of Hugo Chavez. His latest book is “Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt”, which will be published in September.

Robin Blackburn, former editor of New Left Review, and author of a trilogy of books on the history of slavery in the New World, the latest of which is “The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights”, as well as “An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln”.

Stefan Dickers (Chair, SHS):
David Morgan (Secretary, SHS):

Further information on the website:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:



Please attend this excellent event and spread the word!

Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London

Workshop Series: ‘Imperialism, Empire and Genocide’ 14th March 2pm-4pm

Venue: Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London

The British Empire seems to be making a come back. Historians, politicians and journalists now speak about the positive aspects of colonialism and empire. During a state visit to East Africa in 2005 the then Chancellor Gordon Brown, commented that Britain must stop apologising for its colonial past and, instead, celebrate its achievements. He said, ‘I’ve talked to many people on my visit to Africa and the days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over. We should celebrate much of our past rather than apologise for it.’ Some scholarly work has followed the fashion suggesting that empire is more necessary in the 21st century than ever before. The new approach to the British Empire insists that we must undertake a balance view of the positive contributions made to instilling democratic values, development and political institutions. 

This series of workshops will take a different approach. Speakers will shed light, empirically and conceptually, on the tortured relationship between empire and modernity, colonialism and progress, disclosing the story and contemporary legacy of colonial genocide, imperial conquest and environmental destruction.

Speakers: Professor John Newsinger, Richard Gott and Dr Tom Lawson.

Professor John Newsinger (Professor of Modern History at Bath Spa University), Author of The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire, Orwell’s Politics, United Irishman, Rebel City, Dangerous Men: The SAS and Popular Culture, British Counterinsurgency (new edition 2012). John Newsinger will examine histories of the British Empire, the uses to which they have been put and the crimes they neglect and leave out.

Richard Gott (former Latin America correspondent and features editor for The Guardian, currently an honorary research fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London). Author of Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution (2005),Cuba: A New History (2004). Richard Gott will be talking about his most recent book, to be published in the autumn, entitled “Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt”. The book is conceived as a revisionist history of Empire, written from the perspective of the subject peoples.

Dr Tom Lawson (Reader in History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Winchester). Author of The Church of England and the Holocaust: Christianity, Memory and Nazism (2006) and Debates on the Holocaust (2010). Tom Lawson will be talking about his latest research into the colonisation of Tasmania where the British government is often portrayed as the benign protector of the Aborigines, unable to curb the destructive urges of the settler population. However Tom will argue this paper argues that what amounted to a genocidal policy was both formally approved in Downing Street, and emerged from an imperial culture that began at home.

This is a free event, however, to confirm attendance please email Ms Olga Jimenez, Events Manager

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:

The Ockress:

Rikowski Point:

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: