Political Economy

I have been trying to excavate the salience of Caribbean slavery for the historical contextualisation of classical political economy. My intervention has so far been to argue that a) the history of Caribbean slavery and abolition is fundamental rather than incidental to classical debates over political economy – especially via Adam Smith, Freidrich Engels, and Karl Marx; and b) that the understandings of freedom and equality, and explanations of oppression provided by enslaved Africans and their descendants are fundamental contributions to our understandings of global political economy .


  • Class is Race: Brexit and the Popular Will”, contribution to special forum on “Diagnosing the Present”, International Political Sociology 12 (1), 2018, pp.6-10
  • “Viewpoint: Populism and the Spectre of Powell”, Discover Society December 2018 https://discoversociety.org/2018/12/04/viewpoint-populism-and-the-spectre-of-enoch-powell/
  • Decolonizing the Manifesto: Communism and the Slave Analogy”, in T. Carver & J. Farr (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Communist Manifesto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp.195-213
  • Race and Development” in H. Weber (ed.), The Politics of Development: A Survey (Abingdon: Routledge), 2014, pp.31-48
  • The Spirit of Exchange”, in S. Seth (ed.), Postcolonialism and International Relations (London: Routledge, 2013), pp.166-182
  • Forget English Freedom, Remember Atlantic Slavery: Common Law, Commercial Law, and the Significance of Slavery for Classical Political Economy”, New Political Economy 17 (5), 2012 pp.591-609
  • Redemption from Development: Amartya Sen, Rastafari and Promises of Freedom”, Postcolonial Studies 15 (3), 2012 pp.331-350
  • The Atlantic as a Vector of Uneven and Combined Development”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 22 (1), 2009 pp.69-88

    • Race and the Undeserving Poor - I’ve just published a book with Agenda, called Race and the Undeserving Poor: From Abolition to Brexit. There’s a debate on the book at DisorderofThings, including an intro and a response by me. They are really excellent critical engagements with the book. The forum was organized by Lisa Tilley. My intro Race, nation and welfare: […]
    • Cape Coast Castle - All the stone on the castle is painted white in the Cape Coast sun. When you re-emerge from the dungeon, even after only 5 minutes down there, the world will blind you. The dungeon is composed of three or so chambers. The large one –around 7 by 15 metres – is meant to hold a […]
    • Racism, multiculturalism and Brexit - I take it as a given (by polls) that the most influential reason why people voted  Brexit was not to restore British sovereignty in the abstract but more precisely to “take it back” in order to stop more of “them” coming over. I also take it as understood that  this statement does not infer that all who voted for Brexit  are racists. […]
    • Struggling to Remember Slavery - 23rd August is the UNESCO sanctioned International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition. Importantly, UNESCO begin their description of the event thus: The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role […]
    • Race, Class, and the Pan-African Congress in Manchester 1945 - In a recent blog for Disorder of Things I talked about the tensions in much leftist thought when it comes to racial oppression and its relationship to class exploitation. I must admit, I constantly find myself frustrated by two counterveiling tendencies. On the one hand, the progressive and principled solidarity – especially at grassroots level […]
    • Racism, Recession, Riots - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSbWivfd0Cg A symposium held at Queen Mary, University of London, on March 14th 2012. Featured speakers: Devon Thomas, Stafford Scott, Lee Lawrence, Mark Thompson. Discussion covers historical comparisons of Brixton and Tottenham riots in 80s and August 2011 London riots; institutional racism; police discrimination and brutality; community leadership; economic and social policies; activism; youth violence; […]

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