A New Notion: Two Works by C.L.R. James

The Invading Socialist Society and Every Cook Can Govern

By Noel Ignatiev and C.L.R. James  

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C.L.R. James was a leading figure in the independence movement in the West Indies, and the black and working-class movements in both Britain and the United States. As a major contributor to Marxist and revolutionary theory, his project was to discover, document, and elaborate the aspects of working-class activity that constitute the revolution in today’s world. In this volume, Noel Ignatiev, author of How the Irish Became White, provides an extensive introduction to James’ life and thought, before presenting two critical works that together illustrate the tremendous breadth and depth of James’ worldview.

“The Invading Socialist Society,” for James the fundamental document of his political tendency, shows clearly the power of James’ political acumen and its relevance in today’s world with a clarity of analysis that anticipated future events to a remarkable extent. “Every Cook Can Govern,” is a short and eminently readable piece counterpoising direct with representative democracy, and getting to the heart of how we should relate to one another. Together these two works represent the principal themes that run through James’s life: implacable hostility toward all “condescending saviors” of the working class, and undying faith in the power of ordinary people to build a new world.


  • The World View of C.L.R. James (Noel Ignatiev)
  • The Invading Socialist Society (C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya)
  • Preface to the 2nd Edition
  • World War II and Social Revolution
  • State Capitalism
  • Imperialism Thirty Years After
  • Poland-Where All Roads Meet
  • Parties, Tendencies and Programs in the Fourth International Appendix
  • The Political Economy of Germain
  • Every Cook Can Govern


  • Noel Ignatiev

    Noel Ignatiev wrote How the Irish Became White, recently reissued as a Routledge Classic. He co-edited Race Traitor (winner American Book Award 1997), and edited Lesson of the Hour: Wendell Phillips on Abolition and Strategy. He teaches at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

  • C.L.R. James

    In the West Indies, C.L.R. James is honored as one of the fathers of independence. In Britain he is feted as a historic pioneer of the black movement. He is generally regarded as one of the major figures in Pan-Africanism, and a leader in developing a current within Marxism that was democratic, revolutionary, and internationalist. His long life and impressive career played out in Trinidad, England, and America. For the last years of his life, he lived in south London and lectured widely on politics, Shakespeare, and other topics. He died there in 1989.

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