Bolshevism and African-American agency in the African-American radical press, 1917–24
in The Red and the Black
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This chapter looks at the black radical claim on Bolshevism through a study of the African-American radical press in the years following the Russian Revolution. In the myriad of articles that engage with Bolshevism, writers and activists of the black left in the US produce political imaginaries which inaugurate a very particular transnational anti-racist class politics. In the pages of the Crusader, the Messenger and Negro World, writers like Cyril Briggs, W.A. Domingo and Claude McKay polemicised against a colour-blind labour movement in the US and against a class-blind black nationalism. They saw in Bolshevism a model which could crack the monolith of white supremacy and colonial oppression. In their celebratory accounts of events in Russia, the African-American radical press insisted on the centrality of black workers as a vanguard of revolutionary struggle.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic