Gregor Baszak of the Platypus Affiliated Society conducted an interview with Cedric Johnson, author of From Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (2007). What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation.
A SPECTER IS HAUNTING THE LEFT lately: the specter of national sovereignty. If the ghosts of dominant powers in the past were expressing existing social trends—such as the “ghost of communism” over Europe—the ghosts of the Left, instead, seem to ignore these trends. The specter of communism was a real historical force, whereas the specter of national sovereignty appears irrelevant and obsolete.
“¡No somos marionetas! Ya!,” they screamed. We are not puppets! Enough! Their name commanded attention too: the indignados, the indignant. It said, “We are not victims. We are not acting out like impotent children. We see you and we know what you are doing. We have power, moral power, but also the power of hands and feet and screaming voices.”