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Huey P. Newton’s Intercommunalism: An Unacknowledged Theory of Empire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-85
Number of pages29
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Volume36
Issue number3
Early online date27 Nov 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press31 Oct 2016
E-pub ahead of print27 Nov 2017
Published1 May 2019

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Abstract

Huey P. Newton remains one the left’s intellectual enigmas. Although lauded for being the leader of the Black Panther Party, Newton is relatively unacknowledged as an intellectual. This article challenges the neglect of Newton’s thought by shedding light on his theory of empire, and the present-day value of returning to his thought. The article centres on how Newton’s critique of what he called ‘reactionary intercommunalism’ prefigures many of the elements found in the work of Hardt and Negri on empire. This comparison will be used to show how Newton not only foresaw elements of the rise of contemporary neoliberal globalization, but also offered an idea of political solidarity and revolutionary politics for such a context. The article concludes by highlighting how Newton’s ideas about the need for a war of position based on ‘survival pending revolution’ presents a more theoretically and empirically salient conceptualization of resistance than his successors.

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