Pan-Africanism and Communism
This book examines the interaction between the Communist International (Comintern) and the global struggle for the liberation of Africa and the African Diaspora during the inter-war period. In particular, it focuses on the history of the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers (ITUCNW), established by the Red International of Labour Unions (Profintern) in 1928 and its activities in Africa, the United States, the Caribbean and Europe.
Drawing on the Moscow archives of the Communist International, archival material from Africa, the United States, Britain and France, as well as other recently published sources, it also examines the evolution and development of the Comintern’s approach to the “Negro Question,” as issues related to Africa and the Diaspora were then called, an approach that played a pivotal role in the evolution of Pan-Africanism and anti-colonial and anti-racist politics during this period.
The book builds on earlier studies of the relationship between the Comintern and African Americans, as well as work on the history of the Communist Party of South Africa, to examine how and why a Pan-Africanist approach was adopted by the Comintern in relation to
Africa and the African Diaspora and highlights the agency of African, African American and Caribbean activists in determining and implementing this approach. It was in this period that many well-known activists and personalities, including Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes,
Claude McKay, Jacques Roumain, Jomo Kenyatta, Isaac Wallace-Johnson and George Padmore, embraced or were connected with the communist movement, while many others expressed a great sympathy for the Soviet Union. This relationship was established not just because of the prestige that the Soviet Union enjoyed at the time but also
because the approach of the Comintern and the activities of the ITUCNW strongly suggested that the communist movement was perhaps the only international movement formally dedicated to a revolutionary transformation of the global political and racial order.