For Black radicalism, there was never a separation between the theoretical and the practical – they’re inseparable. The reason why is because for the so-called ordinary, but I would argue, extra-ordinary, people to be able to envision a distant future, at the lowest point – to be owned and sold, to have families broken, to live under the lash – under those circumstances you had to imagine something beyond what you had. You could not expect that every day would be the same. And that’s theoretical work.
Historian Robin D.G. Kelley explores the radical Black politics of scholar Cedric J. Robinson—from his historical understanding of race and capitalism as inherently inseparable systems, to his vision of the possibilities of politics, rooted deep in struggles past and present—setting the groundwork for new grounds in Black radicals thought and action for generations to come.
Robin wrote the essay “Winston Whiteside and the Politics of the Possible” for the Verso collection Futures of Black Radicalism.