The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic

Out now (published August 2021) with Manchester University Press as part of their Racism, Resistance and Social Change series…

The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was not just a world-historical event in its own right, but also struck powerful blows against racism and imperialism, and so inspired many black radicals internationally. This edited collection explores the implications of the creation of the Soviet Union and the Communist International for black and colonial liberation struggles across the African diaspora. The volume challenges European-centred understandings of the Russian Revolution and the global left and enables new insights on the relations between Communism and various black radical traditions – including Garveyism and various other strands of Pan-Africanism. The volume then makes a major and original intellectual contribution by making the relations between the Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic central to debates on questions relating to racism, resistance and social change in ways which are politically and theoretically generative.

‘This ideologically diverse collection is uniformly well-written and exceedingly informative. The inescapable and unavoidable conclusion it renders is that the Russian Revolution of 1917 delivered a mighty blow against colonialism, imperialism and forms of apartheid alike. Simultaneously, by implication it blazes the trail and illuminates the way forward for those seeking to create a better world.’
Gerald Horne, author of Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary


Introduction: Red October and the Black Atlantic – David Featherstone and Christian Høgsbjerg

Part I Racism, resistance and revolution
1 Claude McKay’s Bolshevization in London – Winston James
2 From Russian colonies to Black America . and back: Lenin and Langston Hughes – Matthieu Renault
3 African American literature in the Soviet Union, 1917-1930s: Contacts, translations, criticism and editorial policy – Olga Panova

Part II Spreading the Revolution Across the Black Atlantic
4 Bolshevism and African American agency in the African American Radical Press, 1917-1924 – Cathy Bergin
5 International Communist Trade Union Organisations and the call to Black toilers in the interwar Atlantic world – Holger Weiss
6 Firebrands, trade unionists and marxists: The shadow of the Russian Revolution, the colonial state, and radicalism in Guyana, 1917-1957- Nigel Westmaas
7 Racializing the Caribbean Basin: The communist racial agenda for the American hemisphere, 1931-1935- Sandra Pujals
8 The Left Book Club and its associates: The transnational circulation of socialist ideas in an Atlantic network- Matheus Cardoso da Silva

Part III Africa, the Soviet Union and the Cold War
9 The beginning of the Cold War in the Gold Coast? – Marika Sherwood
10 Decolonization and the Cold War: African student elites in the USSR, 1955-1964 – Harold D. Weaver
11 ‘People’s Friendship’ in the Cold War: The Patrice Lumumba People’s Friendship University – Rachel Rubin
Afterword: A Black Journey of Red Hope – Maxim Matusevich

Watch the online London launch hosted by the London Socialist Historians Group with Winston James, Olga Panova and the editors on 18 October 2021 here

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