The Left Book Club and its associates
The transnational circulation of socialist ideas in an Atlantic network
in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

Focusing on the histories of the New Era Fellowship (founded in South Africa in 1937), the Current Affairs Group (founded in Southern Rhodesia in 1938) and the Left Book Club in Jamaica (founded in Jamaica in 1938), this chapter maps a triangular network of circulation of socialist ideas created between the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. In particular, it looks at the transnational activities of London’s Left Book Club (LBC) between 1935 and 1947, when it founded more than fifteen groups around the globe, which distributed the material produced by the LBC. In addition to functioning as centres for the diffusion of Marxist, anti-imperialist and anti-colonial ideas, largely forming local nationalisms, those circles acted as centres of congregation and education. The Current Affairs Group, for example, was founded under influence of Victor Gollancz to support the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Along with the South African Communist newspaper the Guardian, the Current Affairs Group was responsible for disseminating socialist ideas among the black segregated population. The chapter argues that transnational networks sewn by the LBC, which connected those groups, favoured the creation of a global circuit which helped non-European intellectuals to act as carriers of anti-colonial, anti-imperial, anti-racist and nationalist ideas.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic