A New Culture of Solidarity? Proletarian Indignation and the Empowerment of the Victims of Reaction and Fascism

Activity: Talk or presentationConference presentation


In this paper I will analyze the ways in which communist organisations created a broad culture of solidarity in Europe and the USA that strived to empower the ‘victims of capitalist reaction, white terror and fascism’. They had the greatest emancipatory and revolutionary potential that exemplified how victims could be transformed into active agents: The righteous resisters against oppression, the martyrs of the struggle, and the heroic fighters for the workers’ movement sparked the imagination of the Communist International. Their common culture of solidarity was constructed on the notion of shared victimhood, but the victims of oppression were not presented as helpless or passive but perceived as full of vitality, agency and a will to fight. In this new culture of solidarity, the concept of ‘awakening’ was of crucial importance: When workers in industrialized countries or the peoples in the colonial world started resisting oppression, unique moments for solidarity were created. Such transformative moments of awakening were usually triggered by dramatic events that were translated by the sympathizing organisations into calls for public indignation at the atrocities and crimes committed against them. This solidarity was not about helping the helpless, but about empowering those who were (finally) ready to fight.
Period20 Jun 2022
Event titleThe Comintern and the ‘Cultural International’ : Workshop organised by the AHRC Rethinking International Communism Network
Event typeWorkshop
LocationLiverpool, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • solidarity
  • communism
  • Comintern
  • awakening