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Various Authors & Editors

Comintern Archives: Files of the Communist Party of Mexico

The Comintern archives: Top secret
The Communist, or Third, International (Comintern) and its archives, kept hidden away for many years, have been shrouded in rumor, conjecture, and myth. Its influence was heavily felt even in countries where it could only operate in semi- or total illegality, through secretive activities, yet it is impossible to write twentieth-century history without these archives. The archives, which are held in the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History in Moscow, contain 55 million pages of original documents in almost 90 languages covering the entire period during which the organization was active (1919-1943). However, access to this indispensable source of information – 15 linear kilometers of shelving classified as "top secret" – was virtually impossible for many years. In 1992, the archives were opened up to the public, but were still difficult to access, due to their vastness and complexity.

Communist Party of Mexico
The Comintern ruled over the international Communist movement through its 70 partner organizations in Europe, Asia, America, and Africa, and deeply influenced the political life of many countries worldwide. In the 1920s, Mexico became subject to the steadfast attention of the Comintern. The CPM was considered to be an advanced post of the struggle against American imperialism. The Pan-American Bureau was created in Mexico as the Comintern’s regional body to coordinate the communistic movement in Latin America and the continental committee of the Anti-Imperialist League.

Unique Collection
The files of the Communist Party of Mexico ( fond 495, opis' 108) cover the period 1919-1940 and include extensive documentation of relations between the Comintern and its counterparts in Mexico and other countries in Latin America. Among the documents of the CPM, the most informative are letters, reports, and reports to the Executive Committee of the Comintern concerning workers’ and communist movements, the creation of the Popular Front, financing the work of the party, the presidential elections, and the activities of the churches in Mexico. Many documents in these collections are unique, for instance, the documents on two muralists – Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Sikejros (Siqueiros) – and correspondence between Sikejros and Secretary General of Profintern, A. Lozovskii. The collection also includes rare periodicals and newspapers, and many valuable photos. Until 1992, access to the documents of Communist parties was extremely limited; for example, researchers were allowed access only to printed materials, individual resolutions, and reports on the performance of CP delegates at the congresses of the Comintern.

The collection contains:
• Relations between the Comintern and its counterparts in Latin America, North America, and Europe;
• Material of the Caribbean Bureau, the Latin American Bureau, and the Pan-American Bureau;
• History of the Communist Party of Mexico and that of the USA;
• Correspondence with the Communist Party of the USA;
• Labor history, trade unions, and youth organization in Mexico;
• Pamphlets, ephemera, leaflets;
• Collection of rare periodicals and newspapers: Bandera Roja, Vida Nueva, La Voz del Campesino, El Machete, and Nuestros ideales.