From the Tricontinental to the Global South

Race, Radicalism, and Transnational Solidarity

Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 14 illustrations Published: May 2018

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Latin American Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

In From the Tricontinental to the Global South Anne Garland Mahler traces the history and intellectual legacy of the understudied global justice movement called the Tricontinental—an alliance of liberation struggles from eighty-two countries, founded in Havana in 1966. Focusing on racial violence and inequality, the Tricontinental's critique of global capitalist exploitation has influenced historical radical thought, contemporary social movements such as the World Social Forum and Black Lives Matter, and a Global South political imaginary. The movement's discourse, which circulated in four languages, also found its way into radical artistic practices, like Cuban revolutionary film and Nuyorican literature. While recent social movements have revived Tricontinentalism's ideologies and aesthetics, they have largely abandoned its roots in black internationalism and its contribution to a global struggle for racial justice. In response to this fractured appropriation of Tricontinentalism, Mahler ultimately argues that a renewed engagement with black internationalist thought could be vital to the future of transnational political resistance.


"From the Tricontinental to the Global South is particularly effective in its close reading of cultural texts and thus makes a significant contribution to cultural studies and cultural criticism. In centering Latin American and Black Radical intellectual and artistic traditions in its discussion of left transnational politics, anti-capitalism, and anti-imperialism, it effectively shifts the focus from Western Marxist traditions to racialized, oppressed, and dispossessed scholar-activists. Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Black Power studies, and subfields of history, sociology, and political science that focus on power relations, political organizing, and social movements will benefit from this framing." — Charisse Burden-Stelly, Black Perspectives

"Mahler convincingly argues that movements many readers may be familiar with, such as the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, and Black Lives Matter, were inheritors of or collaborators in this Tricontinental aesthetic. Reproductions of striking film stills and bold graphic design make the book as visually captivating as it is wonderfully written—modeling the Tricontinental’s commitment to a well-designed revolution." — Amanda Reid, Public Books

"[A] rich, interdisciplinary history of the Tricontinental. . . . Historians of the United States will find interesting the many links between conceptions of the Global South and of the American South." — Nico Slate, Journal of American History

"From the Tricontinental to the Global South is a compelling read and should appeal to a broad range of scholars who are interested in racial transnational social movements, racial capitalism, and the politics of culture in the Americas." — Juan De Lara, Aztlán

"A conceptually rich examination of the political and aesthetic vocabularies produced by and around the Tricontinental, combining rigorous historical investigation with close formal analysis of works of literature, film, and visual culture. . . . Not only does From the Tricontinental to the Global South offer a long history of resistant politics in which Latin American, Afro-descendant, and African American intellectuals have played a central role, it provides a long view of contemporary understandings of the Global South, which both grounds the concept and gives it renewed critical heft. It is crucial reading for anyone interested in and working on the Global South today." — Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra, Chasqui

"Mahler’s work adds to transnational literary and cultural criticism and offers hopeful models for political organization and resistance that criticize both global capitalist exploitation and the role of racial oppression in that process. Despite any limitations found by readers outside the author’s own disciplinary boundaries, the study keeps one thinking about these aforementioned connections long after finishing the book." — Eileen Ford, The Americas

"Mahler’s book joins a growing literature on transnational radicalism. . . . Her close readings of texts, films, and images are thought-provoking, and her broader arguments made with an appealing urgency." — Tony Wood, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"[This book] rewrite[s] into hegemonic records of international relations the historic, yet neglected, anti-imperial movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America."
  — Sharon Cheong, Geopolitics

"It is refreshing to have a scholar unafraid to demonstrate the racism of socialism as well as of capitalism." — Jonathan C. Brown, HAHR

From the Tricontinental to the Global South is both interesting and challenging. . . . This would be a good book to use in graduate seminars on global history, the history of radicalism, and theory and history. Specialists will appreciate Mahler’s attention to detail and how she employs different types of evidence to analyze a largely forgotten radical movement.”

— Evan C. Rothera, African Studies Quarterly

"This book enriches the oeuvre of contemporary Cold War studies and critiques of neoliberalism. It builds on transnational scholarship that moves the Global South and Third Worldism away from national or regional paradigms to explain oppression and its resistance. … Mahler should be commended for the voluminous material she dissects and for jumping into the thorniness of these overlapping issues." — John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco, American Historical Review

"From the Tricontinental to the Global South deftly combines a strong theoretical framework with the close-reading of a wide variety of literary and visual texts, both canonical and those seldom studied. . . . An excellent analysis of this solidarity movement, and, most significantly, a call for a critical approach that responds to the 'world of protest' of today." — José Chavarry, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies

“[From the Tricontinental to the Global South suggests] rich new directions for the study of aesthetics and politics across an expansive Americanist archive.”

— Alexander Mazzaferro, American Literature

"From the Tricontinental to the Global South offers an indispensable historical perspective for understanding our tumultuous present; until Mahler releases an updated edition with a Tricontinentalist reading of the immediate post-George Floyd era, readers can only wait in anticipation." — Daniel Cooper, American Literary History

"From the Tricontinental to the Global South is an outstanding and at times astounding book…. This book is likely to actually reshape the way fields, such as Latinx and postcolonial studies, define their relation to a centrally important but chronologically neglected history. I can imagine many graduate students not only adding this book to their Ph.D. reading lists but rethinking the entire trajectory of their future work because of it."

— Alfred J. López, Modern Fiction Studies

“Anne Garland Mahler's From the Tricontinental to the Global South brings to life the political project of the Tricontinental, the pole of left-wing anti-imperialism of the mid-twentieth century. Cuba is at the center of this project, but so too are the dreams of people from Africa and from the Americas. Out of the Cold War emerged this powerful statement against hierarchy and in favor of equality, against racism and for humanity. Mahler’s close reading of the fundamental texts of the Tricontinental shows how central it was to the creation of an anti-imperialist imagination that struggles to remain alive in our time." — Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South

From the Tricontinental to the Global South is a comprehensive, groundbreaking, and intellectually honest study of the Tricontinental's internationalist agenda for understanding the Global South's challenges to imperialism and racial oppression. Anne Garland Mahler outlines how social movements, politics, and artistic engagement and black internationalist reflection provide a necessary critical approach to a transnational political resistance in the fight against racial inequalities. From the Tricontinental to the Global South is an absolutely must-read for all committed to a Global South political and scholarly resistance.” — William Luis, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish, Vanderbilt University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Anne Garland Mahler is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
1. Beyond the Color Curtain: From the Black Atlantic to the Tricontinental  19
2. In the Belly of the Beast: African American Civil Rights through a Tricontinental Lens  68
3. The "Colored and Oppressed" in Amerikkka: Trans-Affective Solidarity in Writings by Young Lords and Nuyoricans  106
4. "Todos los negros y todos los blancos y todos tomamos café": Racial Politics in the "Latin, African" Nation  160
5. The (New) Global South in the Age of Global Capitalism: A Return to the Tricontinental  200
Conclusion. Against Ferguson? Internationalism from the Tricontinental to the Global South  241
Notes  247
Bibliography  299
Index  329
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