Guerrillas in the Industrial Jungle

Radicalism's Primitive and Industrial Rhetoric

By Ursula McTaggart

Subjects: American Labor History, African American Studies, American Literature, Industrial / Labor Relations, Literature
Paperback : 9781438439044, 259 pages, March 2012
Hardcover : 9781438439037, 259 pages, March 2012

Table of contents

Key to Abbreviations
1. How the Panther Lost Its Spots: Primitivism, Marxism, and the Black Panther Party
2. The League of Revolutionary Black Workers Brings Back the Industrial Jungle
3. Becoming the Worker, Becoming the Slave: The Socialist Project of Industrializing and the Neoslave Narrative
4. Urban Hunter-Gatherers: Anarchism and the New Primitive

Examines the metaphors of the “primitive” and the “industrial” in the rhetoric and imagery of anticapitalist American radical and revolutionary movements.


Guerrillas in the Industrial Jungle traces the history of industrial and primitive metaphors in radical American political activism from the 1960s to the present. Focusing on the Black Panther Party; the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; the International Socialists and the Socialist Workers Party in the 1970s; and twenty-first-century anarchists, Ursula McTaggart analyzes the rhetoric and imagery of these groups alongside African American literature from the same time periods. In the poetry of the Black Arts Movement, neoslave narrative novels of the 1970s and 1980s, and black science fiction since 1990, writers both encourage and critique activists, modeling strategies for political speech and highlighting ethical questions radicals should consider. Activists, on the other hand, confront pragmatic conflicts that literature can sidestep, and their language reflects the need for certainty and strategic decision making. Together, African American literature and radical activist texts reveal new ways of sparking ethical social change.

Ursula McTaggart is Assistant Professor of English at Wilmington College, Ohio.


"McTaggart's interpretive strategy is at its best in her analysis of the Panthers and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers … readers looking for insightful analysis of the culture and politics of 1960s Black liberation movements will be well served by reading … McTaggart's book. " — Against the Current

"Others … have explored black radical rhetoric and identity, but McTaggart's book breaks new ground by concurrently examining African American literature and radical activist texts. " — CHOICE

"With its sophisticated, interdisciplinary approach and compelling argument, this book breaks new ground. " — Beverly Guy-Sheftall, coeditor of Who Should Be First? Feminists Speak Out on the 2008 Presidential Campaign