John Riddell


April 18, 2018, 6:30pm-9:00pm, Centre for Social Innovation (Annex) – 3rd Floor


Founded in 1919, the Communist International sought to extend the example of the Russian revolution to the entire world. The most ambitious attempt to give organizational form to Marxist internationalism, the Comintern declined during the Stalin era and dissolved in 1943. This session of The Capitalism Workshop showcases and engages with John Riddell’s archival research on the Comintern. Since 1983, John has translated nine volumes of documents on the Comintern, totaling some 6,500 pages. He is now preparing a book entitled Comintern Revisited: Studies in Global Revolutionary Politics. This session will revisit the Comintern’s formation and assess its record of success and failure, of policy and experience, with regard to socialist strategies and struggles today. The Comintern debates are old, but they may help us find a new strategies for present. 

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John Riddell is a social historian who has been active in the socialist movement in Canada, the United States, and Europe since the 1950s. John is the editor of a series of books about the Communist International including To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Community International, 1921 (HaymarketBooks, 2016), and Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922 (HaymarketBooks, 2012). He is also the editor (with Mike Taber) of Clara Zetkin: Fighting Fascism (Haymarket Books, 2017). John regularly writes for journals including International Socialist Review, Links: International Journal of Social Renewal, and The Bullet, and his writings on a wide range of topics can be found at his blog, John Riddell: Marxist Essays and Commentary. John is a member of Socialist Project and active in East End Against Line 9.


The first entry describes the Comintern publishing project; the other entries provide a flavour of the debates and the discussions the new volumes have provoked in the international socialist movement.

John Riddell, ‘About the Communist International publishing project

John Riddell, ‘Thirty-five years of Comintern publishing: A balance sheet

John Riddell, ‘The Comintern as a school of socialist strategy’ 

John Riddell, ‘Weighing the legacy of Lenin’s Comintern’

John Riddell, ‘Daniel Bensaïd and the Shape of Socialist Strategy’