Abstract

How rooted were Latin American communists in the national versus the international and did this relationship change over time? Most studies of communist parties in the Americas have either focused on individual parties in their national context or on their connection with the Communist International (Comintern) or the Soviet Union. This tendency toward narrow and isolated studies hinders our ability to understand the full importance of the attitudes and actions that militant activists in different countries took to a range of different topics and issues. This volume places local parties in a broader, transnational context and asks what was unique and what was similar about the conditions and challenges they faced. To do so, it explores the connections communist parties in Latin America had with each other and with their counterparts throughout the world, as well as with the broader nationalist, anti-imperialist, women’s rights, labor, solidarity, or other social movements with which they were allied or in contention. The essays in this volume emphasize how issues of gender, race, and ethnicity influenced Latin American communists in their international relationships. By broadening the field of analysis to include a range of communist parties throughout the Americas, this book sheds light on the variety of realities in which the parties operated and the diversity of programs, policies, and analyses they developed.

The topics and research questions that this book seeks to address include:

  • What impact did the Bolshevik Revolution have in Latin America?
  • How did Latin American communists adapt Marxist principles to local conditions, and what was new about their interpretations?
  • The connections between Latin American communisms, nationalisms, and anti-imperialisms
  • Cold War impacts on Latin American communist policies and ideologies.
  • Conflicts between local communist parties and the Comintern.
  • How did experiences of exile and immigration impact communists’ understanding of the nation and the international?
  • What role did communists have in organizing and leading labor movements and unions and what tensions and benefits arose as a result of these relationships?
  • How did communist parties respond to different movements or demands for racial and women’s equality, both in society and within the party? Did they address gender issues and challenge male supremacy? If so, when, how, and with what results?

The editorial collective for this project is comprised of Marc Becker (Truman State University), Margaret Power (Illinois Tech), Tony Wood (New York University), and Jacob Zumoff (New Jersey City University). We have a preliminary agreement to publish this edited volume with the University of Illinois Press.