Racialising the Caribbean Basin
The Communist racial agenda for the American hemisphere, 1931–35
in The Red and the Black
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Up until 1931, the race issue had not been a significant element in the Communist agenda for the Spanish-speaking territories of the Caribbean Basin. The establishment of the Caribbean Bureau of the Comintern in New York in early 1931, however, forced a reassessment of the subject, as the Communist Party of the United States’ Colonial Department’s aims merged with the Caribbean Bureau’s anti-imperialist blueprint. This chapter focuses on the development of this integrated race agenda for the region that brought together elements of regional anti-imperialist campaigns, anti-lynching campaigns in the US, and anti-Garveyism Communist activity in the British West Indies. The result of this joint project was an amalgamated anti-racism initiative, American rather than Caribbean. In practical terms, the inclusion of race in the Communist agenda caused a severing of the traditional ties between Comintern agencies and Communist networks in the Caribbean Basin, since the agenda enforced a black identity as the proletarian norm for the region, artificially designed and imposed from the new revolutionary metropolis. As a result, the project’s foundations for an anti-racism platform and a leadership network would colour the Black Caribbean decolonisation and democratisation process of the post-Second World War era, while helping to preserve a racially segregated radical agenda for the Spanish-speaking Caribbean Basin.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic