BLACK AWAKENING IN CAPITALIST AMERICA by Robert L. Allen

BLACK AWAKENING IN CAPITALIST AMERICA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A well meant but confused critique of currently touted strategies for black advancement, written with a modified Marxist slant by a contributor to the New Leftist Guardian. In particular, Allen attacks the Black Capitalism-manpower retraining approach, which he sees as an effort by the ""white capitalist elite"" to buy off the rebellious ghetto while continuing to control it through the agency of a black managerial class. He also hits ""cultural nationalism"" (the ""black pride"" program--from dashiki wearing to territorial separatism) for focusing on race, rather than on capitalism as the chief source of the black man's woes. His alternative: the establishment within black communities of a non-capitalist socioeconomic system which would break dependency on white society, while waiting for it to crumble due to automation-bred unemployment. Allen's targets are vulnerable -- but so are the assumptions on which his argument is based. Most of his remarks on corporate capitalism's manipulation of the black economy applies to the white economy as well. One may question whether economics is the main explanation for racism; and whether socialism is really what most blacks desire. Rather than proving his claims, Allen relies too often on selective quotation from people who agree, and on bandying jargon (""reformist"" programs are bad; ""revolutionary"" ones are good). His survey of black thinkers from Booker T. Washington to Bobby Seale is frequently discursive and repetitive. Still, as a thoughtful attempt to analyze the roads open to Black America, this radical's sober study may be worth attention from readers whose misinformation derives from the sensationalist media or the liberal press.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday