Do Communists Like Human Rights? Thinking through a Lost Tradition of Internationalism

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In today’s internationalism-sceptical age, the pro-internationalism side is defended from liberal perspectives. Worries concern free trade, free movement, international representative institutions, and senses of global democracy. These are important issues. On the other hand, they cloud the reality that other forms of internationalism have been available to us, including in times not distant from our own. I’m interested to think through ‘red’ internationalisms–internationalisms held by social democrats on one hand and the communist world on the other. Arguing that though a previously close family clearly split, that split might look different than we think. Furthermore, even though one branch of that family lives on, it’s a different creature than it once was. These are ‘lost traditions of internationalism’–internationalisms that were sometimes problematic yet might be worth remembering in times when we often think the options are either disbanding internationalism altogether or supporting the liberal institutionalisms against which populists often rail.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Intellectual History
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)822-842
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Communism
  • human rights
  • internationalism
  • politics and memory
  • social democracy


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