The Communist International: Its Relevance Today

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1600 ... May 6, 2018

The Communist International: Its Relevance Today

John Riddell

Thirty-five years ago I undertook to translate and publish the record of the Communist International in Lenin’s lifetime, covering the preparatory years from 1907 to its foundation in 1919 and through 1923. Ten books totalling 7,000 pages are published or in preparation. This has been a team effort of more than 100 collaborators in several continents backed up with a broad community of readers, critics, and supporters.

During its first years, the project was sponsored by a U.S. Marxist group, the Socialist Workers Party. After publication of six books, work broke off. In 2008, I resumed the series as an independent venture, publishing through the Historical Materialism Book Series and Haymarket Books.

Last year, I... passed on direction of this work to my long-time collaborator Mike Taber, but I share in the work.

The Communist International or Comintern was the most ambitious expression yet seen of socialist internationalism, aiming to lead in achieving workers’ power on a world scale. It failed in this task. Apart from Lenin, almost all its founding leaders perished in Stalin’s frame-up purges of the 1930s. Stalin dissolved the Comintern in 1943, and thereafter it was little remembered.

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