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Paul Buhle

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Caricature by Steve Chappell 

Paul Buhle is an aged revolutionary, involved in social movements for fifty years as of 2010. He founded the SDS journal Radical America, the Oral History of the American Left project at NYU, has taken part in many failed but semi-historic movements, and has been reinvented if not reborn as an editor/creator of radical comic books. He is still a syndicalist.

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The Young C.L.R. James: A Graphic Novelette
Illustrator: Milton Knight • Editors: Paul Buhle and Lawrence Ware
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 9781629635149
Published: 04/01/2018
Format: Pamphlet
Size: 8.5x5.5
Page count: 48
Subjects: Comics-Biography/Black Studies

This unique comic by Milton Knight illuminates the early years of C.L.R. James (1901–1989), known in much later years as the “last great Pan-Africanist.” The son of a provincial school administrator in British-governed Trinidad, James disappointed his family by embracing the culture and passions of the colonial underclass, Carnival and cricket. He joined the literary avant-garde of the island before leaving for Britain. In the UK, James swiftly became a beloved cricket journalist, playwright for his close friend Paul Robeson, and a pathbreaking scholar of black history with The Black Jacobins (1938), the first history of the Haitian revolt.

The artistic skills of Milton Knight, at once acute and provocative, bring out James’s unique personality, how it arose, and how he became a world figure.

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A Full Life: James Connolly the Irish Rebel
Editor: Paul Buhle
Illustrator: Tom Keough
Publisher: PM Press/Hungarian Literature Fund
ISBN: 978-1-62963-372-5
Published: 05/01/2016
Format: Pamphlet
Size: 8.5x5.5
Page count: 42
Subjects: History-Ireland, Art-Comics, Graphic Biography

Executed by a British firing squad on May 12, 1916, for his role in organizing the Easter Rising, James Connolly was one of the most prominent radical organizers and agitators of his day. Born in Scotland in 1868 to Irish immigrant parents, Connolly spent most of his adult life organizing for labor unions and socialist organizations in Ireland, Scotland, and the United States. Despite attending school for only a few years, Connolly became a leading socialist writer and theoretician, founding and editing newspapers including The Socialist (Scotland), The Harp (United States), and The Workers’ Republic (Ireland). As a labor organizer, Connolly stressed the importance of direct action, broad working-class unity, and a commitment to ending labor’s exploitation. As a socialist agitator, Connolly saw economic and political independence as inextricably intertwined. This pamphlet, the first graphic treatment of Connolly’s life, is issued on the centenary of the Easter Rising.

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Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero, A Graphic Guide
By Paul Buhle
Illustrator: Chris Hutchinson
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-318-5
Published May 2011
Format: Paperback
Size: 10 by 7
Length: 96 Pages
Subjects: History, Graphic Novel


Where and what was Robin Hood? Why is an outlaw from fourteenth century England still a hero today, with films, festivals and songs dedicated to his living memory?

This book explores the mysteries, the historical evidence, and the trajectory that led to centuries of village festivals around Mayday and the green space of nature unconquered by the forces in power. Great revolutionaries including William Morris adopted Robin as hero, children’s books offered many versions, and Robin entered modern popular culture with cheap novels, silent films and comics.

There, in the world of popular culture, Robin Hood continues to holds unique and secure place. The “bad-good” hero of pulp urban fiction of the 1840s-50s, and more important, the Western outlaw who thwarts the bankers in pulps, films, and comics, is essentially Robin Hood. So are Zorro, the Cisco Kid, and countless Robin Hood knockoff characters in various media.

Robin Hood has a special resonance for leftwing influences on American popular culture in Hollywood, film and television. During the 1930s-50s, future blacklist victims devised radical plots of “people’s outlaws,” including anti-fascist guerilla fighters, climaxing in The Adventures of Robin Hood, network television 1955-58, written under cover by victims of the Blacklist, seen by more viewers than any other version of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero also features 30 pages of collages and comic art, recuperating the artistic interpretations of Robin from seven centuries, and offering new comic art as a comic-within-a book.

With text by Paul Buhle, comics and assorted drawings by Christopher Hutchinson, Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero adds another dimension to the history and meaning of rebellion.


“Paul Buhle is the best informed and most sincere left-wing scholar that I know.” —Harvey Pekar, artist

“Paul Buhle is my socialist conscience.” —Robert Crumb, artist

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For a calendar of speaking events, please click here


  • Robin Hood (Again!)
    Six or seven centuries since the mythic people’s outlaw became a celebrated hero in parts of England, the populist avenger of Sherwood Forest has made yet another encore.
  • A Syndicalist Memory
    A handful of friends, old and new, have asked me about the path that my ideas and activities have taken me, some fifty years after I happened across a civil rights picket line in my hometown of Champaign, Illinois in the summer of 1960. The publication of a small Robin Hood volume by PM, closer to sixty years since my discovery of the great forest rebel in comics or children’s books, affords me the opportunity to adapt a particular thread of memory to the potential interest of readers drawn to an author’s blog.

What Others are Saying...



james The Young C.L.R. James: A Review
By Christian Hogsbjerg
Race & Class
March 2019

The two have worked with black American cartoonist Milton Knight to produce The Young C.L.R. James: a graphic novelette, which brings some of the autobiographical elements of James’s Beyond a Boundary to life in Knight’s distinctive style, and in a format – a ‘graphic novelette’ – that has the potential to enable the story of James’s early life to reach new, younger audiences.

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PM Press Reissues Radical America Komiks, Proving There Is Still Hope For Humanity
By Andrew Stewart
Washington Babylon

February 1st, 2019

Over 42 goofy pages, readers were presented with anarchic, zany strips that pushed all the boundaries of common decency for that period. Included among these was one of the earliest appearances of Shelton’s own Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the goofball stoners who went on to become a cult classic.

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Komiks from the Underground: the Radicalism of Gilbert Shelton
By Louis Proyect
January 25th, 2019

By a happy coincidence, I received a review copy of “Radical America Komiks” from PM Press on the very day my review of Allen Young’s autobiography appeared on CounterPunch. Allen Young worked for Liberation News Service (LNS), a radical version of the Associated Press that forwarded articles to SDS chapters around the country, while Radical America was an official SDS publication launched by Paul Buhle meant to raise awareness on the left about the long history of anti-capitalist resistance in the USA. Unlike the old left, LNS and Radical America absorbed the counter-culture of the period. The one-off publication of Radical America Komiks in 1969 was arguably the most fully developed expression of this cross-fertilization and as such we are grateful to PM Press for publishing a replica of the ground-breaking comic book.

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james The Young C.L.R. James: A Review
By Jason Schulman
Against the Current
July-August 2018

THERE’S LITERALLY NO reason for any socialist to not pick up this illustrated novellete, even if you’ve already read all of C.L.R. James’ writings and have read the biographies and studies of his works written by Paul Buhle (the novellete’s co-editor), James D. Young, Kent Worcester, Frank Rosengarten and others.

This pamphlet is a delight, a charming caricature drawn in a whimsical style by Milton Knight, an artist who’s worked on everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics to World War 3 Illustrated.

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james The Young C.L.R. James: A Review
By Randy Shaw
Beyond Chron
May 10th, 2018

When I got the new graphic novelette, The Young C.L. R. James,  I realized that while I had heard of James I knew very little about him. I suspect I am not alone in this lack of knowledge, which made the 42-page graphic novelette a good entry point for exploring more about the brilliant James.

Illustrated by Milton Knight and edited by political graphic novelist extraordinaire Paul Buhle and Lawrence Ware, the book traces the early years of a man born in 1901 whose most famous book was the 1938, The Black Jacobins, the first history of the Haitian revolt.

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james The Radical Contributions of C.L.R. James
By Allen Ruff
WORT 89.9 FM
April 12, 2018

Host Allen Ruff interviews historian Paul Buhle. He’s a former Senior Lecturer at Brown University, founder of the SDS Journal Radical America, and author of multiple titles for Verso Books. Following the recent re-issue of his biography, they discuss the life and radical contributions of the famed CLR James.

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james The Young C.L.R. James: A Review
By Christina Vortia
April 2nd, 2018

I truly appreciated this stylistically illustrated graphic novelette. I appreciated that I was able to learn about a historical figure and a pivotal moment in black history that I knew nothing about. This 48 page graphic biography packs a wealth of information that carries heavy themes of black empowerment, afro-caribbean literary history, and jazz history. I had never heard of CLR James before reading this novelette, I have since sought  out all of the author's work, and am working to correct this ignorance.

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james The Irish Socialist Who Organized an Uprising on Truth out
By Paul Buhle
The Rag Blog
May 9th, 2016

Historian Paul Buhle, a leading figure on the American Left since the 1960s who now produces radical comics, was our guest on Rag Radio, Friday, May 8. Buhle is the editor of A Full Life: James Connolly the Irish Rebel, subtitled, “A graphic remembrance 100 years after his cruel murder during the Easter Rising.” Paul also wrote an afterward to the comic which we are publishing below, along with Paul’s Truthout op-ed, “The Irish socialist who organized an uprising.”

On Rag Radio, Paul joined Thorne Dreyer in a discussion of the life of James Connolly, his role in the fight for Irish independence and in the historic Easter Rising rebellion, and his death before a British firing squad. We also talk about Connolly’s time in the United States where he organized for the IWW. And we discuss the history and historical significance of radical comics and graphic histories and the fundamental role in their development played by Austin-based comix artists Gilbert Shelton, who pioneered much of his work in The Rag, and Jack Jackson (Jaxon).


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james The Irish Socialist Who Organized an Uprising on Truth out
By Paul Buhle
Truth out
April 25th, 2016

Why should we care about a failed independence uprising that occurred 100 years ago on April 24, led by Irish rebel James Connolly?
It's a question answered within the pages of A Full Life: James Connolly the Irish Rebel, a graphic remembrance of Connolly illustrated by artist Tom Keough that I helped bring into the world.
It's also a question that I might not have asked myself if I had not been in Dublin, Ireland, the day before Ireland's marriage equality vote in May 2015.

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robin The Happy Hero: An Interview With Paul Buhle About Robin Hood
By Leslie Thatcher
October 28th, 2012

We need Robin Hood because he protects the "outside" and the "outsiders." A precursive champion of Occupy, he occupies the Greenwood, has comrades in the centers of oppression (Maid Marian is the most effective) and the support of the common village folk. He is larger than life but also part of life. Within English language lore, there has been no one in almost a thousand years who is so popular, not even King Arthur or Sir Galahad. Robin defeats the criminalization of poverty by resisting the criminality of the upper classes.

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robin A Red Robin?
By Michael Schreiber
Socialist Action
July 12, 2012

Why read this book? Because the world still has a need for Robin. Today, Buhle points out, “the rich and powerful now command almost every corner of the planet and, in order to maintain their control, threaten to despoil every natural resource to the point of exhaustion. Meanwhile, billions of people are impoverished below levels of decency during centuries of subsistence living.”

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robin A Red Robin?
by Albert Ruben
Monthly Review
May 2012
Volume 64, Issue 01

According to Buhle, Robin Hood has two defining identities. The foremost is the bandit who robs from the rich and gives to the poor; close behind is the denizen of the forest. How, then, does a venerable literary figure defined in these ways meet current social needs? On the one hand, it is because of the maldistribution of wealth that is an increasingly glaring feature of late capitalism. On the other hand, it is because of the global assault on the environment.

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robin Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero, A Graphic Guide
MidWest Book Review

To break the law for the greater good is a trope that has its roots in the legend of a fourteenth century forest bandit. "Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero" chronicles the impact of the legend, looking at its historical context and its continual impact that lives on in modern media and pop culture, romanticizing the people's outlaw ideal. With plenty of art strewn about the writing, "Robin Hood" is a strong addition to any literary studies collection focusing on legends of popular culture.

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robin Occupy Sherwood Forest
In These Times
April 1, 2012

The struggle for common space, common decision-making, whether rural, metropolitan or global, can be usefully traced back, in one part of the world, to the changes forced upon royalty in the Magna Carta. They carry us forward to our opposition against privatization of formerly public goods and space, beyond remedies for the excesses of contemporary capitalism, toward a society of a different (and more sustainable) kind. Many millions of farms, urban neighborhoods and software programs can be or in many cases are already being operated on some basis of sharing. ... "[C]ommoning" is the opposite of the imperial mode, right down to the struggle against dams being constructed on rivers in or outside forests, around the world. If the "primitive accumulation" (Marx's own phrase) of capitalism was effected through enclosuresthe privatization of previously common lands for the purpose of successful wool production a couple of centuries after Robin's appearance - then he and the Merry Men (not forgetting Maid Marian) had been seeing to nip the process in the bud. Marx erred, writing in the middle of the 19th century, not by failing to see the utter misery introduced to move primitive accumulation forward, but by not seeing that primitive accumulation as a permanent process. With so little of the planet not yet completely exploited, the process nevertheless accelerates. We need Robin more than ever.

robin Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero: A Review
By John Steven
North Adams Transcript
February 6th, 2012

In Robin Hood: People's Outlaw and Forest Hero, Paul Buhle takes a thematic approach that, through sheer luck, pairs with much of the political movements going on today.

Specifically, Buhle comes from an extreme leftist viewpoint, almost revolutionary, and his examination of the legend of Robin elicits Occupy and Anonymous more than anything else. And the existence of those two entities speak more than anything else as to the continued relevance of the legend of Robin Hood in our society.


robin Who's your favourite Robin?: A Review
Nottingham Post
January 7th, 2012

"Robin Hood seemed really interesting and wonderful for the reasons little boys think he's interesting and wonderful – because he's rebellious and romantic," says Paul.

The book discusses Robin Hood's influence on popular culture, not only looking at the many depictions of the man himself, but also at ways in which he's been recreated in other outlaw stories – including Zorro, Billy the Kid and Jesse James.

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