An “empire” without imperialism? A study of the Soviet-colonial dialectic from the October Revolution to its defeat

Date

2021-10-22

Authors

Strandlund, Tyson Riel

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Abstract

An analysis of Soviet history and political thought in the context of imperialism and colonialism This study attempts to clarify problems with dominant liberal narratives and historiography relating to the Soviet Union, particularly relating to questions of empire and colonialism, and instead platforms Third World Marxists and other anti-imperialist scholars and revolutionaries whose views have been effectively sidelined and stifled. By tracing the history of political thought around these questions from pre-revolutionary Marxists through to Cold War era anti-colonial and pan-African scholars and revolutionaries alongside developments in the dynamic and forms of imperialism, and by situating anti-colonial nationalisms in the context of worldmaking rather than state building, this text aims to contribute to analyses of Soviet policy and its relationship to the global history of decolonisation in the 20th Century. This work identifies serious theoretical and ideological deficiencies in existing literature and concludes that concise definitions of imperialism and empire such as those used by V.I. Lenin and Kwame Nkrumah are not consistent with commonly held beliefs about the role played by the Soviet Union in the history of anti-colonial and national liberation movements. Western liberal literature on this subject has suffered significantly as a result of political and ideological prejudices stemming directly from the US Cold War victory and psychological warfare campaigns targeting communist and anti-colonial movements to this end. My research indicates that misidentification and misuse of terms relating to empire and colonialism pose serious obstacles and risks to present and future efforts geared towards global peace and equality which add urgency to the correction of mistakes both in scholarly and popular historical, political, and cultural approaches to interpretations of Soviet history.

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Keywords

Soviet, History, Decolonisation, Racism, Imperialism, National Liberation, Colonialism, Africa, Anti-Imperialism, Asia, Cold War, Communism, Cosmopolitanism, Engels, Ethno-nationalism, European History, Fascism, George Padmore, Global History, Historical Materialism, Hitler, India, KUTV, Kwame Nkrumah, Lenin, Marx, Marxism, M.N. Roy, Marxism-Leninism, Nationalism, Nazism, Nehru, Neocolonialism, October Revolution, Pan-Africanism, Philosophy, Political History, R. Palme Dutt, Social Democracy, Soviet Union, Socialism, Social History, social fascism, social imperialism, Theoretical History, United Nations, USSR, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Globalisation, Walter Rodney, WWI, WWII, United States, Empire, Russian Empire, Third World, Anti-Colonialism

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