Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/915/23502

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 September 2016

Film review: Every Cook Can Govern

Socialism, black liberation and cricket - the life of CLR James

photo spudgun67/Creative Commons

photo spudgun67/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Isai Priya, Socialist Party black and Asian group

'Every Cook Can Govern' takes us on the journey of an individual born in Tunapuna, Trinidad. A cricketer whose love for cricket was matched only by his love for Shakespeare.

A fighter who became a black liberation icon. But ultimately it is an incomplete look at the journey of an artist who became a revolutionary: Cyril Lionel Robert James.

Finance was an obstacle for the filmmakers. This is reflected both in the lengthiness and simplicity of the documentary - made by 200-plus volunteers working with education charity WORLDwrite. The best moments are the numerous clips of CLR James's often unseen interviews scattered all the way through.

The film starts with James's early life in Trinidad, focusing on his literary career and cricket - his first love and his passion. His life in England follows, and in particular his experiences in Nelson, Lancashire, where he was introduced to Marxism and Trotskyism.

We go on to see James's campaign work against imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, his life in the US fighting racism, and his work on black liberation.

His life was shaped by big events. James was born when the British Empire was at its height. In his life he witnessed revolutions across the globe, including the Russian revolution where workers took power for the first time, the Spanish revolution, and others.

CLR James the year before he died photo Hill123/Creative Commons

CLR James the year before he died photo Hill123/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

He saw the rise of Stalinism and the peak of the Cold War. His political thought left a permanent impact, including the fight against the Italian fascist invasion of Ethiopia, and his famous work on the Haitian revolution, 'The Black Jacobins'.

The best part of the documentary is his journey in Nelson - a town with a rich history of workers' struggle and fightback. It was in that beautiful part of England, with a lively working class, that he began his political education. He openly identified himself as a Trotskyist and a revolutionary socialist.

The documentary rests on people who knew him or studied his work. James's life was interesting and fast moving. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of this film.

At three and a half hours, it does drag, making it difficult to concentrate. Some of his huge political impact is lost between the many commentators.

Nonetheless, 'Every Cook Can Govern' fulfils its basic aim. It introduces the audience to the remarkable life and work of CLR James. In that sense it's a documentary of some interest to anyone fighting racism, colonialism and capitalism.

‘The Black Jacobins’ - £12.99 plus postage from www.leftbooks.co.uk

‘Every Cook Can Govern’ - clrjames.uk

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 September 2016:


#KeepCorbyn

#KeepCorbyn: build the movement against austerity

Break with Blairites essential to defeat split Tories

Should socialists give electoral support to Labour right?

#KeepCorbyn: reports from the campaign


Socialist Party news and analysis

Apple told to pay £11bn: nationalise all the tax dodgers!

Refugee crisis: for homes, jobs and services for all

Women lose out in the workplace

London bailiff use soars by half

Them & Us

What We Saw


TUC congress 2016

Organise mass working class resistance to austerity


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: impeachment farce only serves big business

International news in brief


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors plan to continue contract struggle

Rail workers fighting back!

Premium pay cuts are not just any cuts, they are M&S cuts

Royal Mail wildcat strike against bullying bosses

Workplace news in brief


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Letter: back the docs!

Socialism, black liberation and cricket - the life of CLR James

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Huge turnout in support of Huddersfield NHS campaign

Grantham on the march against 'life and death' cuts to health service

London fighting fund BBQ success


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 September 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Film:

triangleInspirational account of young Marx's political battles

triangleWe can learn about struggle from the mass trespass of Kinder Scout

triangleVital depiction of fight for Aids prevention and treatment

triangleDarkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

triangleTrump as Nixon: urgent questions about press freedom and the state

Socialism:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: How socialism can save the environment

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Is China a model for socialism?

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Why the world needs socialism

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: A world in crisis

Cricket:

triangleCapitalism v cricket

triangleTamil Solidarity Old Trafford protest

triangleECB suffers Stanford hangover

Black:

triangleFighting for rights for Windrush generation and other migrants

triangleWindrush: Whitehall demo shames Tories and Blairites

Review:

triangleDetermined UCU strikers: We're out to win!

Revolution:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Art & Revolution

Marxism:

triangleRousing, funny take on Marxism - from the man himself

Trotskyism:

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Trotskyism & the Transitional Programme

Imperialism:

triangleA socialist approach to Corbyn and a customs union

Ethiopia:

triangleImperialism in Africa today

Fascism:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: What is fascism and how can we fight it?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

8/8/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/8/18

Glasgow

Protests win temporary halt to refugee evictions in Glasgow

25/7/18

Obituary

Obituary: Ged Travers 1957-2018

4/7/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

27/6/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

27/6/18

Prison

Prison: life inside a living hell

20/6/18

Marx

Rousing, funny take on Marxism - from the man himself

20/6/18

Marx

Inspirational account of young Marx's political battles

20/6/18

The Socialist

Greetings from readers of the Socialist

20/6/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

6/6/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

6/6/18

Ireland

Rich, raw tale of financial crisis's impact on rural Ireland

6/6/18

Far-right

Alt-right gains exposure - but tedious clichés betray lack of ideas

30/5/18

Press

Aberfan disaster novel reminds us Grenfell was not an anomaly

30/5/18

Theatre

Sting's shipbuilders showcase class pride and change from below

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999