The other collectives of the left: reading Black left feminisms in sites of transatlantic cultural praxis
Paul Gilroy writes, "It would appear that there are large questions raised about the direction and character of Black culture and art if we take the powerful effects of even temporary experiences of exile, relocation, and displacement into account" (Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic, 18). Transnationality and citizenship are tangled discourses, acted out in real time, on real people, effecting not only the exiled, relocated, and displaced as individuals, but the communal relations they leave, enter, and/or produce. In this research, grounded in issues of collective cultural praxis, I examine the relationship between lived experience, mechanizations of power, and how collectivity -in the formation of community action groups and artists collectives. I argue that in this way cultural production is instrumental in the transgressing of the real and imaged borders of race, nation, gender, and class. I look at the cultural work of Afro-Caribbean, and American exile, Claudia Jones, American Lorraine Hansberry, and Black artist collectives working in and between the U.S. and U.K. My central argument is that by looking at the work of Black radicals, specifically Black left feminists and their strategic use of collaborative cultural practice, we can deepen our understanding of the strategic use of cultural in bringing about social change. I also argue for a rethinking of the histories and representations of Black radicalism, and the re-imagining of the Black radical subject. This new historicization of the Black radicalism - which is inclusive of leftist feminisms, transnational subjectivity, cultural workers and artists - pushes us toward a radical revision of cultural and identity politics.