Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada

Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada

Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada

Caribbean Revolutions and Revolutionary Theory: An Assessment of Cuba, Nicaragua and Grenada

Synopsis

A sophisticated comparative study of the Cuban, Nicaraguan and Grenadian revolutions, using techniques derived from J. S. Mill and perfected by Theda S. Skopol. Despite the unfulfilled promise of all three revolutions, they do suggest that people have the potential to make history and affect positive changes. Originally published by Macmillan Caribbean 1993, this edition contains a new Preface by Anthony Maginot, Florida International University.

Excerpt

Good books do not need prefaces. I write this, therefore, not as a preface but as a celebration. I celebrate the fact that the author, aside from writing an interesting and relevant account of revolution in three countries, does two things of larger import: he has broken with parochialism and he writes without polemics.

How refreshing it is to read a book which makes a clear break with the stultifying parochialism of so much of the social science writing on and in the West Indies. Meeks does this through enormous thematic breadth, from Cuba to Nicaragua to Grenada. The book is Caribbean-wide in scope thus. It is a lamentable fact that too few social scientists in the West Indies seem to pay any heed to Gordon K. Lewis's admonition cum scolding when he asked rhetorically, 'What does he know about the Caribbean, who only knows about the West Indies?' It is time that the long overdue talk about regionalism, of the need to broaden and deepen our intra-regional associations, be accompanied by the kind of scholarship that advances those worthy goals. The reasons are self-evident.

Because there is no linguistic or cultural 'core' to this complex region, the only truly illuminating approach is the comparative one. Interestingly enough, the record of comparative work has been considerably better in disciplines other than the social sciences. There have been many models to follow. In history, Guyanese Elsa Goveia's monumental study of comparative slave laws and practices or Trinidadian Eric Williams's detailed comparisons of plantations in the English, Spanish and French Caribbean are exemplary cases. In literature, who can ignore that splendid piece of comparative literary criticism, equally good as social science, of Jamaican Gabriel Coulthard, Race and Colour in Caribbean Literature?

What is it, then, with the social sciences? The language barrier is certainly one cause. Beyond that, might it be that the demand for causal explanation, as distinct from historical or ethnographic description, with its strict rules of validation, makes social science analysis less amenable to cross-cultural studies? Could it be that the progress towards regional integration has advanced much more in the economic field than it has in the intellectual and academic?

Be the answer as it may, Meeks quite evidently lets none of it deter him. He engages the analysis of revolution with gusto and without the intellectual hubris of the 'End of History' advocates or those who perpetually predict revolution. Meeks does find in Marxist and socialist thought important elements that speak . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.