South–South Organizing in the Global Plantation Zone: Ramón Marrero Aristy, the novela de la caña, and the Caribbean Bureau

Anne Garland Mahler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This essay proposes a theory of the elided interwar novela de la caña (sugarcane novel), arguing that the genre participates in a transnational political exchange and cosmopolitics in which it uses regional contexts to examine global capitalist relations. Specifically, many of these works parallel the discourse of the understudied Caribbean Bureau of the Communist International. The Caribbean Bureau attempted to create workers’ movements on US-owned sugar plantations and, due to the efforts of black American intellectuals, aimed to respond to issues facing black labor, including Haitian and West Indian migrant labor. Using Dominican novelist Ramón Marrero Aristy’s controversial novel Over (1939) as a case study, the essay considers how some novels within this broader genre parallel Comintern discourse. That is, they consider the bridging of anti-capitalist organizing with racial justice struggles and meditate on the possibilities and limitations of an alternative world relation to global capitalism. While recent scholarship and literature on so-called South–South organizing–organizing among subaltern groups across national, linguistic, racial, and ethnic lines–tends to examine solidarity in the face of shared experiences of oppression, Marrero Aristy’s Over pivots in a different direction by presenting a self-conscious critique of the difficulties of forging transnational, translinguistic, and transracial political collectivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-260
Number of pages25
JournalAtlantic Studies : Global Currents
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Communism
  • Dominican Republic
  • Marrero Aristy
  • plantation
  • race
  • sugar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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