Beyond the Color Curtain: Empire and Resistance from the Tricontinental to the Global South Open Access

Mahler, Anne Garland (2013)

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Contemporary capitalist globalization creates immense potential for international solidarity among grassroots political movements. Scholars across the humanities and social sciences have attempted to describe this phenomenon in recent years, and the term "Global South" has become widely accepted. Beyond the Color Curtain: Empire and Resistance from the Tricontinental to the Global South argues for grounding this concept of global subaltern resistance in the legacy of the 1966 Tricontinental in which delegates from the liberation movements of eighty-two nations came together in Havana, Cuba to form an alliance against imperialism.

This alliance, called the Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL) quickly became the driving force of international political radicalism and the primary engine of its cultural production. Through an analysis of its journals, newsreels and posters, this study examines how the OSPAAAL, especially through a sustained engagement with the African American Civil Rights Movement, presents a deterritorialized vision of imperial power and an argument for an equally global revolutionary subjectivity. This new Tricontinental subjectivity is articulated through a political signifier of color that is unlocked from a racially deterministic signified, meaning color refers not to physical appearance but to a shared ideology of anti-imperialism, which serves to destabilize racially essentialist or trait-based claims to belonging.

Because the Tricontinental represents the extension into the Americas of the anti-imperialist union of Afro-Asian nations begun at the 1955 Bandung Conference, it points to a moment in which a diverse range of radicalist writers and artists in the Americas began interacting with its discourse. By tracing the circulation of the Tricontinental's ideology in its cultural production and in related texts from Third Cinema, Cuban Revolutionary film, the Nuyorican Movement, and writings by Young Lords and Black Power activists, Beyond the Color Curtain outlines how tricontinentalists laid the groundwork for a theory of power and resistance that is resurfacing in the contemporary notion of the Global South.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: From the Color Curtain to the Tricontinental...1
CHAPTER 1: In the Belly of the Beast: Viewing African American Civil Rights through a Tricontinental Lens...38
CHAPTER 2: Solidarity in Amerikkka: Piri Thomas and the Nuyorican Movement in a Tricontinental Context...82
CHAPTER 3: Todos los negros y todos los blancos tomamos café: Racial Discourse in Tricontinental Cuba...119
CONCLUSION: From the Tricontinental to the Global South...174
Works Cited...181

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