Jones is a reminder that the migration narrative in Britain needs a rethink. Those who came from the colonies were not foreigners. Britain was an empire, not a nation, and every single colonial “subject” contributed just as much as the so-called indigenous population to these islands. The Caribbean played the same function for the British Empire as the American South for the US, housing the plantations that powered economic development.
I find this logic helpful in explaining why I’m in favor of reparations for black folks in the US. USian prosperity was built on labor coerced through violence and threats of further violence, labor without even the wage labor pretense of compensation. Black folks in America exist in a country shaped by these human relations and their material consequences. Nothing can cleanse the stain of America’s original sin, but reparations are a logical first step.
“Claudia Jones’s transnational radicalism” by Kehinde Andrews