Black internationalism, international communism and anti-fascist political trajectories: African American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

Autumn 2014

This paper considers some of the political trajectories of the ninety or so African Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Fifteenth International Brigade. It locates these trajectories as part of broader interventions made by black internationalist intellectuals and activists in shaping the terms of anti-fascist solidarities. Through doing so it draws out the implications of recent scholarship on black internationalism for theorising the intersections of Communist Internationalism and black left(s). The paper considers how the relations between the CPUSA and African Americans both shaped the context through which black volunteers joined the Fifteenth International Brigade and the experiences shaped through combat in Spain. The final section probes some of the limits to black internationalism through discussing how the colonial relations between Spain and Morocco exerted pressure on the formation of anti-imperial solidarities.

TCC7 Exiles and diasporas