THEORY

From the Civil War to the Comintern – Fighting Racism in the USA

Originally published May 1995

The oppression suffered by black workers in the USA from the last quarter of the nineteenth century eliminated much of the gains of the early post Civil War period. The reformist labor leaders of the time helped entrench this racism within the trade unions. In the first of two articles, John McKee explains the roots of this apartheid within the labor movement and shows how a radical, if incomplete, break with this legacy formed part of the early years of US communism under the influence of Lenin’s Third International. More