Red Africa: Reclaiming Revolutionary Black Politics (Salvage Editions) (Paperback)

Red Africa: Reclaiming Revolutionary Black Politics (Salvage Editions) By Kevin Ochieng Okoth Cover Image

Red Africa: Reclaiming Revolutionary Black Politics (Salvage Editions) (Paperback)


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Salvaging a decolonised future

Red Africa makes the case for a revolutionary Black politics inspired by Marxist anti-colonial struggles in Africa. Kevin Ochieng Okoth revisits historical moments when Black radicalism was defined by international solidarity in the struggle against capitalist-imperialism, that together help us to navigate the complex histories of the Black radical tradition.

He challenges common misconceptions about national liberation, showing that the horizon of national liberation was not limited to the nation-building projects of post-independence governments.

While African socialists sought to distance themselves from Marxism and argued for a ‘third way’ socialism rooted in ‘traditional African culture’ the intellectual and political tradition Okoth calls ‘Red Africa’ showed that Marxism and Black radicalism were never incompatible.

The revolutionary Black politics of Eduardo Mondlane, Amílcar Cabral, Walter Rodney and Andrée Blouin gesture toward a decolonised future that never materialised. We might yet build something new from the ruins of national liberation, something which clings onto the utopian promise of freedom and refuses to let go. 

Red Africa is not simply an exercise in nostalgia, it is a political project that hopes to salvage what remains of this tradition—which has been betrayed, violently suppressed, or erased—and to build from it a Black revolutionary politics capable of imagining new futures out of the uncertain present.
Kevin Ochieg Okoth is a writer and researcher based in London. He is part of the Salvage Editorial Collective and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. He holds an MPhil in Political Theory from the University of Oxford and regularly participates in conferences, speaking on themes related to anti-imperialism and twentieth century anti-colonial movements. He is a founding editor of Nommo Mag.

Product Details ISBN: 9781839767371
ISBN-10: 1839767375
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
Pages: 176
Language: English
Series: Salvage Editions
"Provocative and polemical, Red Africa probes the limits of contemporary discourses of Black Studies and returns to the neglected histories of Marxism on the continent, finding resources for charting new emancipatory futures."
—Adom Getachew, author of Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination

"A fiercely argued case for looking to the anticolonialism and Marxism of Red Africa in our current engagements with decolonisation. Okoth's critical assessment of certain variants of 'decolonial studies' and 'Afro-Pessimism' is welcome."
—Priyamvada Gopal, author of Insurgent Empire

"This is an important defence of the emancipatory politics of Eduardo Mondlane, Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, and Walter Rodney from the reactionary perspectives of Afro-pessimism and African nationalism, raising the question of whether things might indeed have turned out differently had radical women such as Andrée Blouin been more intimately connected with the struggle for self-determination."
—Firoze Manji, co-editor, Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral

"In this rigorous debut, political theorist Okoth revisits the philosophies of mid-20th-century African revolutionaries....Activists and readers interested in leftist political history will be enthralled."
Publishers Weekly

"Kevin Ochieng Okoth's Red Africa is a timely and stimulating intervention that takes aim at the heart of some of the prominent modes of "anti-politics" in contemporary Black and decolonial thought. With provocative insight and perceptive judgement, Okoth rereads past moments and movements and discourses-from Bandung to Negritude to Pan-Africanism-in order to remind us of the transnational political critique to which they were variously committed. The project, needless to say, is not to urge a naïve nostalgic return to earlier strategies of Black and antiimperialist thinking. The project, rather, is to grasp the character of the current conjuncture, and to offer, partly from the remnants of the past in the present, a redescription of the legacies of national liberation, Marxism, and radical Black internationalism, an intellectual tradition Okoth calls "Red Africa," so as to be able to simultaneously reclaim and rethink, recover and renew, the prospect of revolutionary Black futurities."
—David Scott, author of Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment