Download The Transnational World of the Cominternians by Brigitte Studer (auth.) PDF

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By Brigitte Studer (auth.)

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74 The Cadre Department was one of the really powerful bodies within the Comintern. The data it collected and recorded flowed directly into the surveillance system of the Soviet state security organizations. 78 This involved, among other things, ‘support for the organization of international schools, the 38 The Transnational World of the Cominternians direction of the same, control of the composition of their apparatus, and organizing the selection of student contingents for them’. Like the rest of the Comintern, the Cadre Department got caught up, in both the substance and manner of its activity, in the spiral of suspicion and repression that would culminate in the Great Terror.

36 The transformation of the Comintern into a tool of the Soviet state can therefore not be understood as a Manichaean story of Moscow against all the other parties. Nor was it a purely linear process, either in terms of political chronology or in terms of the development of party cadres’ own thinking. Harry Pollitt’s rejection of the Comintern line against ‘imperialist war’ in September/October 1939 shows that even those cadres propelled to leadership positions by Stalinization were not simply spineless ‘creatures of Moscow’, with individuals again and again stepping out of line and provoking rifts in the consensus.

Not only did the ‘screening’ (prosvechivanie – ‘fluoroscopy’) of Communist cadres effect a symbolic suspension of the division between public and private to the advantage of the institution,69 but with time the instances and techniques of control became yet more efficient and far-reaching. The disciplinary techniques characteristic of the modern period have been familiar since Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. 70 While surveillance of the population began as early as 1918, with the establishment of the Cheka,71 surveillance of the membership of the Bolshevik Party started in the early 1920s with the introduction of cadre control and the establishment of the Cadre Department of the Central Committee.

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