This essay examines the numerous critical claims of “timeliness” around the recently recovered novel Romance in Marseille as well as Claude McKay’s own numerous commitments and challenges as they emerge therein: the multiple and enduring afterlives of slavery, the Bolshevik Revolution and the burgeoning of its stiflingly bureaucratic Thermidor under Stalin, the various theoretical and programmatic complications that issues of race and gender posed for international socialism alongside the promises and disappointments of emancipatory politics writ large. However, in attempting to adjudicate such problematics of difference, McKay also provides the outlines of a dialectical “Black Intersectional International,” thereby gesturing toward a “commonism” of the quayside.

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