A Black journey of Red hope
in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

The Afterword brings together the various strands of the complex encounter between the Black Atlantic and the Red October. It argues for the dynamic and mutually complementary connection between the ideals of social and economic justice put forth by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the emancipatory aspirations of the historical victims of Western racism and imperialism. The relationship between the Soviet experiment and the experiences of the Black Atlantic was far from unproblematic. There were numerous points of convergence, especially when it came to the critique of European and North American racism and colonialism. Yet the appeal of the Soviet claims to colour-blind internationalism and the class-based analysis of history had its limitations, as it would come to compete with a variety of other emancipatory visions, which privileged racial solidarity and black nationalism. It is common to talk about the impact of the Russian Revolution on the colonised majorities in the developing world and the racial minorities in the West. However, the encounter was certainly not a one-way street – it functioned as a vehicle for the forging of Soviet Socialist identity, but it also generated its fair share of challenges to the Soviet status quo. Many of the actors and sojourners of the Black Atlantic found themselves inspired by the Soviet rhetoric of anti-racism and anti-colonialism, but their very engagement with this discourse could, on occasion, put pressure on the Soviets to modernise and to encourage Soviet society towards change and even reform.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic