Liberate the Colonies!

Communism and Colonial Freedom 1917-1924

Edited by Vijay Prashad, John Riddell, Nazeef Mollah


LeftWord Books, New Delhi, 2019

Language: English

294 pages

6.25" x 9.25"

Price INR 450.00
Book Club Price INR 315.00
INR 450.00
In stock

In the first years after the 1917 Russian revolution, a bold new cry was heard around the world, ‘Liberate the Colonies!’ It was voiced in Moscow by Marxists combating tsarist oppression of Asian peoples. It came from the world of Communism, which launched a great International for a global freedom struggle. It came from the colonies, where activists such as M.N. Roy, Ho Chi Minh, Tan Malaka and others worked to break the chains of empire.

Over the decades, anti-colonial freedom movements transformed the face of the world. This book portrays how this movement took shape.

Pioneer revolutionists from oppressed countries, in their own words, pinpoint the movement’s weaknesses, debate its problems, and develop a global strategy and programme. Among other things, the book highlights how

  • in 1920, at a conference in Baku, women won the right to comradeship with men on an equal basis;
  • revolutionary leaders from Asia convinced the Moscow government to combat chauvinist abuses of Soviet power; and
  • V.I. Lenin and M.N. Roy – the old strategist of Russia and the young rebel of India – debated and reached a common framework for unity in the freedom struggle.

This precious historical record is vitally important to all those who seek a socialist future.

John Riddell

John Riddell is general editor of the Comintern Publishing Project (1983–2017), and editor of several volumes of Comintern documents.

Nazeef Mollah

Nazeef Mollah is Editor, LeftWord Books.

Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian and journalist. Prashad is the author of forty books, including Washington Bullets, Red Star Over the Third World, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. He is Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter, and editor at LeftWord Books. He has appeared in two films – Shadow World (2016) and Two Meetings (2017). Previously, he was the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and a professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, United States, from 1996 to 2017.


By rigorously tracing the evolving position of the colonial question in communist thinking and practice from 1917 to 1924, this collection has made an invaluable contribution to an understanding of the world communist movement of the early twentieth century. … The early Comintern discussions, recorded in this book, reveal the importance given to the emancipation of the colonies and semi-colonies by the Bolshevik leaders.

Suchetana Chattopadhyay, Frontline