Jacob Zumoff, New Jersey City University, “Afro­-Caribbean Migrants, the Labor Movement, and Communists in the Greater Caribbean, 1900­-1930

This chapter examines Communist approaches to the Afro-Caribbean population in the United States, Panama, and Costa Rica, and Afro-Caribbean migrants’ role in the international Communist movement. While the international Communist leadership recognized the importance of the struggle for Black liberation, among these three parties, only the Communist Party in the United States translated this understanding into increased work among the Black population. In Costa Rica and Panama, founding Communist leaders did not see Black liberation as central to forging Communist Parties, and the Comintern could not force early Communists to focus on the “Negro Question.” As a result, Communists in Panama and Costa Rica failed to recruit many Caribbean migrants.

Keywords: Panama; Costa Rica; United States; Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA); Communist Party of Panama; Communist Party of Costa Rica (PCCR); Afro-Caribbean migration; Communist International (Comintern); Negro Question; Black liberation