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Bolshevizing Communist Parties: The Algerian and South African Experiences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2003

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Abstract

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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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ARTICLE
Copyright
© 2003 Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis

Footnotes

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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