Broadening the Native Republic Thesis: De-siloing Comintern histories

Twentieth Century Communism - ISSN 1758-6437
Volume 2023 Number 24

Broadening the Native Republic Thesis: De-siloing Comintern histories


After the Sixth Comintern Congress in 1928, the Native Republic Thesis, or Black-Belt Thesis, became a noted platform for the Communist Parties of South Africa and the United States. The platform called for self-determination for Black Africans and Black Americans respectively. Historians have often reframed this platform as a call for self-determination on racial lines, and the thesis has become a prominent part of histories of these communist parties. Taking a comparative and transnational approach, this article argues that the Native Republic Thesis and its key tenets (including calls for a workers’ and peasants’ republic or for a nation within a nation) may have extended beyond the issue of racial self-determination. These tenets can be found, with some variation, in similar contemporaneous communist platforms in Latin America, Australia, Belgium and the Balkans. In the process of developing this argument, this article highlights the benefits of taking a fresh look at Comintern platforms from a transnational and comparative perspective; here this approach has suggested new questions about communist or Soviet perspectives on self-determination and nationhood, and about Comintern leadership.

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To cite this article
OLEKSA DRACHEWYCH (2023) Broadening the Native Republic Thesis: De-siloing Comintern histories, Twentieth Century Communism, 2023(24), 110-131

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