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'Bitter with the Past but Sweet with the Dream': Communism by Cathy Bergin

By Cathy Bergin

The legacy of the connection among African American writers and Communism within the US is a contested one. Bergin argues that during 3 novels, by way of seminal mid-century authors (Wright, Himes and Ellison) Communism isn't disregarded as incapable of assembly the calls for of black political identification yet is castigated for its refusal to take action. a close specialise in the political milieu during which those texts function demanding situations the various presumptions concerning the ‘inability’ of Communism to understand racial oppression, which dominate literary severe techniques to those novels. She attracts at the advanced formations black political corporation presumed and reproduced via American Communism through the Depression.

Biographical note
Cathy Bergin (DPhil (2004) is a Senior Lecturer within the Humanities Programme on the college of Brighton.

All attracted to the contested courting among African American writers and Communism and the connection among politics and literary shape.

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Additional info for 'Bitter with the Past but Sweet with the Dream': Communism in the African American Imaginary. Representations of the Communist Party, 1940-1952

Example text

64 Foner and Shapiro 1987, p. 168. 66 The dark history of the purges in Stalinist Russia in the mid-1930s offer a sobering context for reviewing these events and certainly throughout the 1930s dissenting comrades were expelled from the American Party under a variety of pretexts. However, as with so much of this history, there is a contradictory element. By taking an uncompromising stand on racism and privileging black experience of discrimination, the Party signalled that it was a unique force on the Left.

44 The attempts of the Party to infiltrate the UNIA are detailed in Solomon 1998, pp. 33–7. 45 For a discussion of the Communist relationship to radical black history see pp. 57–64 below. 46 Marable, 1993, p. 182. 47 Garvey 1967a, vol. 1, p. 69. 49 In the early 1920s African-American socialists and reformers were horrified that Garvey had agreed a deal with the KKK on the basis of its continued opposition to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). NAACP founder Du Bois was appalled, and the socialists A.

319. 55 Of the many successful cults and street corner movements led by grass roots leaders in the 1930s, Sufi Abdul Hamid’s campaign for ‘Jobs for Negroes’ against discriminatory employment practices of white shop owners was particularly successful. See Muraskin 1972, pp. 361–73. 57 Whilst the leadership of the Garveyite movement was dismissed as ‘degenerate,’ rank-andfile members were seen as potential converts to Communism, and the paper approached them as militant radicals who were being deceived by reactionary politics.

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