Fear of a Black Nation

Fear of a Black Nation

Race, Sex, and Surveillance in Sixties Montreal

Second edition

By David Austin



Available for purchase on April 18, 2023

Ten years since the release of Fear of a Black Nation, the second edition positions Black radical political thought and action in Canada within the global Movement for Black Lives. Black Lives Matter activists have exposed the harsh realities of police violence and state surveillance in their communities and fought to expose the roots of white supremacy at the heart of contemporary politics. In this expanded tenth anniversary edition, author David Austin draws a political timeline spanning 60 years, linking contemporary debates about Black liberation to its historical antecedents. Austin offers a transnational study of Black activism in 1960s Montréal against the backdrop of Québecois, Canadian, and Caribbean nationalism, as well as Black power movements in the United States. 

The new edition emphasizes the historical continuum that links anti-racist organizing from the past to current iterations. In 1968, the Congress of Black Writers at McGill University hosted prominent Black intellectuals and activists from Canada, the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean, such as C.L.R. James, Stokely Carmichael, Miriam Makeba, Rocky Jones, and Walter Rodney. Months later, Black-led protests at Concordia (then Sir George Williams University), caused a stir in the national press about the security of the state and the fomenting of Black radical thought and action. Today, calls to dismantle the prison industrial complex coalesce with more nuanced understandings of how power influences activism, namely through more articulated expressions of class, race, national identity, sexuality, and gender. 

Featuring a new introduction by the author that charts responses to the book and situates it within events of the last ten years, a map of significant political and historical sites in Montréal and the Caribbean, as well as an afterword in the form of an interview with the author by Peter Hudson and a shorter interview with the author by the late Aziz Choudry, the second edition grows and enriches the conversation on Black organising and movement building in Canada and internationally. As the Movement for Black Lives today popularizes calls to defund, disarm, and abolish the police, Fear of a Black Nation (winner of the 2014 Casa de las Americas Prize) provides an invaluable historical perspective on Canadian policing and surveillance of Black activism and a compelling political analysis of social movements that is more relevant now than ever. 

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