Social conditions of race and class continue to combine in ways that raise systemic questions about the adequacy and legitimacy of liberal, capitalist democracy in America. More radical alternatives, however, are still generally held to be irrelevant in the American context. The following is an effort to correct this widespread misrepresentation of socialism’s relevance to America generally, and to matters of race in particular. I consider the work of C.L.R. James who, fifty years ago, developed a class-oriented, explicitly Marxist theory in which the aspirations and struggles of African-Americans were given a central place, both analytically and politically.