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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Freund, Bill 2013. Labour Studies and Labour History in South Africa: Perspectives from the Apartheid Era and After. International Review of Social History, Vol. 58, Issue. 03, p. 493.

    Rahal, Malika 2013. A local approach to the UDMA: local-level politics during the decade of political parties, 1946–56. The Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 18, Issue. 5, p. 703.

    Drew, Allison 2007. Urban Activists and Rural Movements: Communists in South Africa and Algeria, 1920s–1930s1. African Studies, Vol. 66, Issue. 2-3, p. 295.

  • International Review of Social History, Volume 48, Issue 2
  • August 2003, pp. 167-202

Bolshevizing Communist Parties: The Algerian and South African Experiences


In 1924 and 1925 the Comintern introduced its policy of Bolshevization. A goal of Bolshevization was the creation of mass-based communist parties. In settler societies this meant that the local communist party should aim to be demographically representative of the entire population. This article traces the efforts of the communist parties in Algeria and South Africa to indigenize, seeking to explain why their efforts had such diverse outcomes. It examines four variables: the patterns of working-class formation; the socialist tradition of each country; the relationship between the Comintern and the two communist parties; and the level of repression against communists in both societies. The cumulative weight of the variables in the Algerian case helps to explain why communist activity in the 1920s – including the communist party's ability to indigenize – was far more difficult in Algeria than South Africa.

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Research for this article was made possible by a grant from the British Academy, and I am very grateful to the Academy for its support. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the European Social Science History Conference, The Hague, 27 February–2 March 2002. I would like to thank René Gallissot, David Howell, and an anonymous referee for their comments.
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International Review of Social History
  • ISSN: 0020-8590
  • EISSN: 1469-512X
  • URL: /core/journals/international-review-of-social-history
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