Anti-Colonialism, Terrorism and the ‘Politics of Friendship’: Virendranath Chattopadhyaya and the European Anarchist Movement, 1910-1927

Spring 2019

This article traces the life and activities of the Indian anti-colonial nationalist Virendranath ‘Chatto’ Chattopadhyaya in the European anarchist movement from 1910 to 1927. While Chatto is better known for his role as secretary for the Comintern-led League Against Imperialism (1927-1933), this article argues that his peripatetic movements in European revolutionary networks during the early decades of the twentieth century suggests a much closer attraction to the ideas and practices of anarchism – including insurrectionist terrorism – than often acknowledged. Drawing on Leela Gandhi’s insight into the revolutionary practices of the ‘politics of friendship’, it opens a window onto the cross-fertilised world of anticolonial and anarchist internationalism in the early twentieth century.

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