International Communism and Transnational Solidarity: Radical Networks, Mass Movements and Global Politics, 1919–1939


Editor: Holger Weiss
This book provides an analysis of the articulation and organisation of radical international solidarity by organisations that were either connected to or had been established by the Communist International (Comintern), such as the International Red Aid, the International Workers’ Relief, the League Against Imperialism, the International of Seamen and Harbour Workers and the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers. The guiding light of these organisations was a radical interpretation of international solidarity, usually in combination with concepts and visions of gender, race and class as well as anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-fascism. All of these new transnational networks form a controversial part of the contemporary history of international organisations. Like the Comintern these international organisations had an ambigious character that does not fit nicely into the traditional typologies of international organisations as they were neither international governmental organisations nor international non-governmental organisations. They constituted a radical continuation of the pre-First World War Left and exemplified an attempt to implement the ideas and movements of a new type of radical international solidarity not only in Europe, but on a global scale.

Contributors are: Gleb J. Albert, Bernhard H. Bayerlein, Kasper Braskén, Fredrik Petersson, Holger Weiss.

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Holger Weiss, Ph.D. (1997, Helsinki University), is professor of general history at Åbo Akademi University in Finland. He has published widely on African, global and Atlantic history, including Framing a Radical African Atlantic: African American Agency, West African Intellectuals and the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers (Brill, 2014), (ed.) Ports of Globalisation, Places of Creolisation: Nordic Possessions in the Atlantic World during the Era of the Slave Trade (Brill 2015), and Slavhandel och slaveri under svensk flagg: Koloniala drömmar och verklighet i Afrika och Karibien 1770–1847 [Slave trade and slavery under the Swedish flag: Colonial dreams and reality in Africa and the Caribbean 1770–1847] (Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland, 2016).
"Though neither adult education nor adult learning even appear in the exhaustive index, this scholarly historical collection makes a valuable contribution to the field of social movement learning. [...] this study of the organization, theory, and methods by which these 20th-century movements were able to survive and grow still has some important lessons to teach today’s social movement activists." - Bob Boughton, in: Adult Education Quarterly 69:1 (2019) [DOI: 10.1177/0741713618763127]
List of Figures and Tables ... vii
Abbreviations ... ix
List of Contributors ... xii

Transnational and Global Perspectives on International Communist Solidarity Organisations ... 1
Bernhard Bayerlein, Kasper Braskén and Holger Weiss

1 The “Cultural International” as the Comintern’s Intermediate Empire: International Mass and Sympathizing Organisations beyond Parties ... 28
Bernhard H. Bayerlein

2 The ussr Section of the International Red Aid (mopr): The Institutionalisation of International Solidarity in Interwar Soviet Society ... 89
Gleb J. Albert

3 In Pursuit of Global International Solidarity? The Transnational Networks of the International Workers’ Relief, 1921–1935 ... 130
Kasper Braskén

4 The British Miners’ and General Strike of 1926: Problems and Practices of Radical International Solidarity ... 168
Kasper Braskén

5 Anti-imperialism and Nostalgia: A Re-assessment of the History and Historiography of the League Against Imperialism ... 191
Fredrik Petersson

6 The International of Seamen and Harbour Workers – A Radical Global Labour Union of the Waterfront or a Subversive World-Wide Web? ... 256
Holger Weiss

7 Global Ambitions, Structural Constraints and Marginality as a Choice: The International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers ... 318
Holger Weiss

Index ... 363
All interested in the organisation of radical international solidarity by organisations affiliated to the Communist International during the interwar period and their global ambitions.