Almost two years ago, my book about the Republic of New Africa (RNA) came out entitled "How Social Movements Die: Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africa. Who and what is the RNA? Well, I'll get to that later in a blog or two. In the book, I attempted to strike a balance between acknowledging the theoretical insights that guided my reflection about what I had collected versus simply telling the story of the RNA. It was a hard needle to thread. For rigorous social scientists, there were no tests of the claims that were made. Instead, I used a detailed reading/writing of the case to flesh out what I thought was going on and I was doing plenty of testing in another book and series of articles co-authored with Chris Sullivan so I did not feel that I needed to address some of the things that hinder reading rigorous work. There was also the issue of what to do about the case. Were the dynamics I was seeing specific to African Americans and/or the US or were they generalizable? Would someone in/out of political science and sociology feel comfortable arguing about conflict dynamics in another place/time based on a disaggregated group and individual analysis of some black folk? Not clear yet. I'm not optimistic for political science but I hope that I am wrong. Sociology has had less of a problem in this regard.
For those who just wanted the story though, there was this theory stuff to wade through and for some reason skipping some chapters did not seem to feel right for them. In my new series, I will then revisit the story of the RNA from the beginning - diving into the archives that underlie the project as well as simply telling the compelling story of who did what to whom and why. Enjoy.
A Month into the Movement
The Republic of New Africa was trying to do what had not been attempted before. To do this, the came up with the following:
Interestingly, the RNA began to reveal themselves to be quite legally-minded and detailed. Indeed, you would think that lawyers pervaded the institution in addition to holding the vice presidency.