The introduction sets out the ways in which the volume uses an engagement with the inspiring international reverberations of the Russian Revolution across the Black Atlantic world to understand the contested articulations of left politics and different struggles against racism and colonialism. The first section situates the volume in relation to the historiography of the Russian Revolution while outlining some of the key ways in which black radicals drew inspiration from these events. The second section positions the volume in relation to recent literatures on black internationalism, drawing attention to how the chapters in this volume take forward these debates. The final section draws attention to the implications of the book for key contemporary debates on the intersection of race and class, on the emergence of politicised forms of anti-racism, in particular those arising out of a revolutionary struggle, and on racialised forms of internationalism and agency. We conclude by positioning the introduction in relation to recent political events, including the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement.
through his work as the head of the Negro Bureau of the Red International of Labour Unions (Profintern), a body established by the CommunistInternational (Comintern) to organise the workers’ movement. It was here that Padmore agitated for emancipation, not only of Africans, but of all the working class around the globe. Arguably Padmore’s greatest organisational feat during this time was a conference held in the German port city of Hamburg in July 1930, which saw the creation of the International Trade Union Committee for Black Workers (ITUCNW) and its monthly
’. 2 Over half a century later, and in very
different circumstances as other chapters here show, Walter Rodney and Amiri Baraka were
still being inspired by the revolutionary events of 1917.
The creation of the CommunistInternational (Comintern) in 1919, was no less
momentous and influential, not least for its concern with the ‘Negro Question’,
as the liberation of those in Africa and the diaspora was referred to at that time. The
Comintern was important for the criticisms which it made of the lack of attention paid to the
International of Seamen and Harbour
The International Negro Workers’ Review and the Negro
Worker were the mouthpieces of the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers
(ITUCNW). This organisation had been formed in July 1930. Its main task was to establish and
maintain contact with trade union organisations in the Black Atlantic. The ITUCNW was the
brain child of the combined efforts of the CommunistInternational (Comintern), the Red
International of Labour Unions (RILU) and a handful of
Socialist Soviet State only if the partners see in it a lifelong union. So-called free love is a bourgeois invention … Moreover, marriage receives its full value for the State only if there is progeny, and the consorts experience the highest happiness of parenthood. 19
Parties around the world that were members of the CommunistInternational had embarked upon similar campaigns. Perhaps most striking was an announcement made by a leading member of the French Communist Party (PCF), Paul Vaillant-Courturier, in L’Humanité soon after the Popular Front policy was
the CommunistInternational, later becoming the Communist Party) and its de facto black section, the
African Blood Brotherhood (ABB), headquartered in Harlem. He would serve on the executive
committee of the ABB.
Fifth, McKay was so well equipped by his journalistic work on
Pankhurst’s Workers’ Dreadnought that, on his return to New York in
January 1921, Max Eastman, the co-editor of the Liberator , America’s leading
socialist magazine, not only appointed McKay associate editor, but made him de facto
proclamation: ‘Slaves of the colonies
in Africa and Asia! The hour of the proletarian dictatorship will be the hour of your
Domingo’s reflections on the implications of
the Russian Revolution and the CommunistInternational (Comintern) for ‘oppressed
humanity’, and in particular black and colonial liberation struggles, at a time when
the League of Nations only paid lip service to the idea of ‘national
self-determination’, speak to the key themes of this book.
Since the rise
This work demonstrates that resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during the Second World War has to be seen through a transnational, not a national, lens. It explores how people often resisted outside their country of origin because they were migrants, refugees or exiles who were already on the move. It traces their trajectories and encounters with other resisters and explores their experiences, including changes of beliefs, practices and identities. The book is a powerful, subtle and thought-provoking alternative to works on the Second World War that focus on single countries or on grand strategy. It is a ‘bottom up’ story of extraordinary individuals and groups who resisted oppression from Spain to the Soviet Union and the Balkans. It challenges the standard chronology of the war, beginning with the formation of the International Brigades in Spain and following through to the onset of the Cold War and the foundation of the state of Israel. This is a collective project by a team of international historians led by Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance (Faber & Faber, 2015). These have explored archives across Europe, the USA, Russia and Israel in order to unearth scores of fascinating individual stories which are woven together into themed chapters and a powerful new interpretation. The book is aimed at undergraduates and graduates working on twentieth-century Europe and the Second World War or interested in the possibilities of transnational history.
Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.
, Dreaming of Freedom in
South Africa: Literature Between Critique and Utopia (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University
Press, 2019); Allison Drew, Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sydney Bunting,
1873–1936 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007); A.B. Davidson, I.
Filatova, V.P. Gorodnov and S. Johns (eds), South Africa and the CommunistInternational:
Socialist Pilgrims to Bolshevik Foot Soldiers 1919–1930 (London: Frank Cass,
2003); Allison Drew, Discordant Comrades: Identities and Loyalties in the