This dissertation investigates the associational lives of northeastern Cuba's diverse laboring classes in order to explain how and why the region became a hub of radical internationalism during the interwar years. In the early twentieth century, powerful American companies, including the United Fruit Company and the Cuban American Sugar Company, established vast sugar-producing territories along the northern coast of Cuba's Oriente Province. The region became one of the most concentrated zones of U.S.-controlled export agriculture in the Caribbean during a time of rising American economic power and was long considered a closed space of company dominance. Detailed archival research carried out in three countries, however, reveals that it was in this prototypical region of company control that several of the period's most significant movements of transnational solidarity proliferated, including Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, world communism, and support for Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
This study explores the dynamic interaction between capital expansion and internationalist activism and argues that, in establishing agro-export enclaves devoted to the business of sugar production, foreign companies facilitated the development of internally diverse, complex local societies deeply embedded in transnational flows of capital, migration, and ideas. The avenues opened by foreign companies in pursuit of profit took on a life of their own as popular classes living in coastal Oriente, both immigrant and Cuban, responded to the incursion of foreign capital by envisioning their own struggles with company and state in global terms and embracing innovative forms of internationalism.
|Commitee:||Gomez, Michael A., Grandin, Greg, Thomson, Sinclair, Weinstein, Barbara|
|School:||New York University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American history, Caribbean Studies, Modern history|
|Keywords:||African diaspora, Caribbean, Communism, Community building, Cuba, Garveyism, Popular internationalism, United States imperialism|
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