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African-Caribbean leftism

Afro-Caribbean leftism refers to left-wing political currents that have developed among various African-Caribbean communities in the Caribbean, the United States of America, France, Great Britain, or anywhere else they have chosen to settle.


During the early nineteenth century, the Jamaican-born activists William Davidson and Robert Wedderburn were drawn to the politics of Thomas Spence.

Aftermath of First World War

Many African-Caribbean activists were radicalised while in the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR). Having served in Europe and the Middle East, many of them experienced racism from both British Officers and common soldiers, which alienated them from British nationalism.[1] Some of them from the 9th Battalion had participated in the Taranto Revolt, which started on 6 December 1918, shortly after the armistice. This was stimulated by the War Office refusing to allow the troops of the British West Indies Regiment receive the extra 6 pence a day which had been given to British soldiers. This was explained as being because they were "natives". The all-white Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps did receive the increment. They were also put to work as labourers for the White Italian Labour Corps. Officers were attacked and explosives and guns were used. The Worcestershire Regiment was dispatched to quell the revolt, and they executed one rebel by firing squad. Nevertheless, some 50 to 60 sergeants met on 17 December to form the "Caribbean League" which had four meetings in the next few weeks. Aside from addressing various grievances they had, pan-Caribbean sentiments were fostered, and a movement for independence in the West Indies was discussed. This included plans to set up an office in Kingston, Jamaica, and organise strikes. After being betrayed to the authorities, the league was disbanded. In February 1919, Army Order No. 1, granting the wage increase, was extended to the BWIR.

Prominent African-Caribbean leftists

See also


  1. ^ Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America, Verso, 1998