International Communist trade union organisations and the call to black toilers in the interwar Atlantic world
in The Red and the Black
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The International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers (ITUCNW) was an attempt by the Red International of Labour Unions (RILU, also known as Profintern) to sensitise black toilers in the African Atlantic during the interwar period. Established in 1928 as the International Trade Union Committee of the RILU, it belonged to a group of new committees and organisations that saw their light during the so-called Third Period when the Third (Communist) International – the Comintern – inaugurated its new policy of ‘class against class’. The foundation of the ITUCNW was the attempt by the Comintern and RILU to build an alternative, radical body in the African Atlantic. In contrast to the Pan-Africanist organisations, to direct its message to black people in general, the ITUCNW presented itself in the African Atlantic as a class organisation for the black toilers only. However, it is questionable whether the class-before-race rhetoric ever convinced but a few activists. By 1935, the ITUCNW was to be transformed and was envisioned to emerge as a Black International. Nevertheless, this plan could never be realised and the Comintern quietly liquidated the organisation in 1937.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic

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