On December 3, I will be taking up the position of Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Flinders University, working in the School of International Studies (where I did my PhD incidentally). I am very excited to be working back at Flinders and about starting my new research project. My project is titled ‘Anti-Colonialism and Communism in the Commonwealth: A Comparative History of the Communist Parties of Great Britain, Australia and South Africa, 1920-1960’.
Here is a quick summary of my project:
This project will compare how anti-colonial politics were embraced by the Communist Parties in Britain, Australia and South Africa during the interwar period and post-war period. Inspired by the October Revolution and the anti-colonial programme of the Communist International (Comintern), Communist Parties worldwide believed that the proletarian revolution in the global West was tied to the anti-colonial struggle. As Britain was the largest imperial power at the time, Communist Parties within the British Commonwealth (under this title from 1931 onwards) were seen as vitally important in promoting socialist revolution and engaging in anti-colonial work. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), at the centre of the imperial metropole, was entrusted with special responsibilities by the Comintern to disseminate anti-colonial propaganda and provide assistance to anti-colonial activists throughout the Commonwealth. Communist Parties in the settler colonies, such as South Africa and Australia, were also obliged by Moscow to participate in anti-colonial activities. This project will explore how the internationalist network established by the Comintern, flowing from Moscow, competed with the network between the CPGB, the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), based on the pre-existing colonial network of the British Commonwealth.
I will soon be adding a page to this blog with more information about this project.
I am especially excited as this project means a lot of travelling – to the UK and South Africa, as well as to Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne (and to San Fransisco and Moscow if funds/timing allows me to).
Anyone interested in the CPA and the CPSA, particularly in regards to recommending archival sources, should get in touch with me.