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  • Ari Patrinos

The Origins of ‘Black Liberation’ in Soviet Foreign Policy

This is a short sketch, based on research into the origins of today's preeminent Afro-American political ideology. I had focused on its flawed 'politics of racism' , but the deeper problem lies in its doctrine of freedom, 'black liberation', because its interpretation of 'racism' is a function of this doctrine of freedom.


Note that 'black liberation' is a wholly 'racialized' doctrine of freedom. Only recently did I realize that so-called 'black liberation' was at its core a doctrine of Afro-American secession, of 'black secession'. In fact, the so-called 'fight against institutional racism' & 'black self-determination', as interpreted by 'black liberation', can only be realized via 'black secession'.


Black American spokespersons have articulated a variety of doctrines of ‘freedom’ over the years. Today’s popular doctrine of ‘black liberation’ has strong roots in the old USSR and Communist Party (CPUSA) doctrine of ‘negro liberation’. By the 1930s, ‘negro liberation’, in conjunction with the kindred doctrine of ‘negro self-determination’, formed the basis of the Stalin administration’s foreign policy towards ‘race in America’. This was effectively to encourage ‘black secession’ in ‘majority black areas’, akin to Pakistan’s future secession from ‘greater India’ in 1948. Initially, the Southern ‘black belt’ was targeted.


The CPUSA’s approach to race in America, and consequently, Soviet foreign policy towards ‘race in America’, was not born fully formed like Pallas-Athena in 1919, when the CPUSA was founded. Instead, the CPUSA learned about race in America, not only by studying literature and the environment around them, but also through the efforts of its black radical recruits, starting in the 1920s. They learned by ‘trial & error’. These were black radicals who rejected Marcus Garvey’s ‘Back to Africa’ movement, but embraced the ‘Russian Revolution’ and its leader, Vladimir Lenin. They saw some special relevance between Lenin’s cause and their own. The formulations of ‘negro liberation’ that white and black CPUSA members propagated over the next four decades formed the basis of Stokely Carmichael and the Black Power movement’s doctrine of ‘black liberation’.


Moreover, both the CPUSA doctrine of ‘negro liberation’ and the Black Power doctrine of ‘black liberation’, as articulated in Carmichael’s book, Black Power, are more or less true to Vladimir Lenin’s interpretation of the ‘race problem’ in America. They are in fact interpretations of Lenin’s various remarks on this subject. This POV sees black Americans as a separate ‘nation’ from whites. Lenin equates ‘race’ and ‘nation’ in his interpretation of ‘race in America’. Furthermore, blacks in the US are viewed as ‘colonial subjects’, analogous to Africans living under European colonial rule. This is also Lenin’s interpretation. While not stated as explicitly as Lenin or Carmichael, today’s doctrine of ‘black liberation’, as articulated by establishment black spokespersons, is still rooted in this deeply alienated worldview. The danger here is not actual ‘black secession’ or ‘Marxist-Leninist Revolution’, but instead the alienating and destabilizing effects that this doctrine of ‘freedom’ may reap, if it remains the predominant view of the black American political, cultural, and intellectual establishment.


Aristarchus Patrinos (Il Trovatore); March 5, 2021; ~ 400 words







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