The Laboring of Black Politics: Decolonial Meditations on Claudia Jones


This article examines the role of labor as a political concept within the work of Caribbean thinker and activist, Claudia Jones. It argues for a reformulation of black labor politics. Specifically, it contends Jones’ formulation of labor requires moving beyond its conventionally economic articulations, to consider, in tandem, labor’s expressly political, existential (racial), and epistemic dimensions to actualize a coherent project of transnational liberation. Doing so requires decolonizing labor, reimagining it anew—outside Eurocentric thought. Such a multilayered, imbricated approach widens the philosophical margins of liberatory politics, interrogating, in the process, the Arendtian model of labor, so as to speak meaningfully to the emancipatory possibilities that lie within the labor practices of the colonized. As such, I theorize these added dimensions of labor from the position of the black subject—offering an explicit discussion of black labor for the project of liberatory politics.

Publication Title

Political Research Quarterly