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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Hubert Harrison A Radical Internationalist

Hubert Harrison was a “radical internationalist” who, more than any other political leader of his era, combined class consciousness and (anti-white supremacist) race consciousness in a coherent political radicalism. He opposed white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism and maintained that white supremacy was central to capitalist rule in the U.S., that racism and racist practices were not in “white” workers class interests, and that “Negroes” must not wait on white-Americans while struggling to shape their future. This unique message, repeatedly delivered to the masses, enabled him to play signal roles in the development of what were up to that time, the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the “New Negro”/Garvey movement) in United States history. He served as the foremost Black organizer, agitator, and theoretician in the Socialist Party (SP) of New York; as the founder and leading figure of the militant, WWI-era “New Negro” movement; and as the editor of the Negro World and principal radical influence on the Garvey movement during its radical high point in 1920. Harrison’s views on race and class profoundly influenced a generation of “New Negro” militants including the class radical socialists A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, the future communists Cyril Briggs and Richard B. Moore, and the race radical Marcus Garvey.

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