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C.L.R. James & Opposition to World War 2

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To mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day much has been made of the ‘liberation’ won by the allies, the so-called ‘freedom loving democracies’ against evil Germany. In this lecture arranged and filmed as part of WORLDwrite’s multi-media project on the life and works of C.L.R. James we learn this simple moral tale of good versus evil is not true. Despite the horrific loss of millions of lives in the war sacrificed ‘for freedom’ millions of people were not liberated but subject to the British colonial jackboot and in the USA brutal repression and racial segregation. Lecturer and author James Heartfield explains C.L.R James’ love of American civilisation yet opposition to the war and why he was not alone. C.L.R James provides a lesson for us all he suggests, that is we should not believe the official view or the radical view, just because it is often repeated doesn’t mean it’s true.

Related topics: International

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becky said:

Heartfield is a really insightful speaker. This lecture made me rethink many assumptions I have held about the Second World War. Learning about C L R James really holds up a mirror: it helps us scrutinise our traditional ,institutional British interpretation of the atrocity of WWII.

Julia said:

A great lecture which correctly exposes the official version for the Second World War. CLR James clearly understood that the war would not lead to democracy and freedom as Churchill and Roosevelt claimed in 1939, because they had no problem in supressing the rights of ordinary people back home and also in the colonies. As James Heartfield highlights in this discussion, CLR James reminds us of the importance of challenging and doubting the official view. Thanks for such an enlightening discussion!