Fascism

A reminder from Snowball:

Fascism has opened up the depths of society for politics. Today, not only in peasant homes but also in city skyscrapers, there lives alongside of the twentieth century the tenth or the thirteenth. A hundred million people use electricity and still believe in the magic power of signs and exorcisms. The Pope of Rome broadcasts over the radio about the miraculous transformation of water into wine. Movie stars go to mediums. Aviators who pilot miraculous mechanisms created by man’s genius wear amulets on their sweaters. What inexhaustible reserves they possess of darkness, ignorance, and savagery! Despair has raised them to their feet fascism has given them a banner. Everything that should have been eliminated from the national organism in the form of cultural excrement in the course of the normal development of society has now come gushing out from the throat; capitalist society is puking up the undigested barbarism. Such is the physiology of National Socialism.

Leon Trotsky, ‘What is National Socialism?’ (1933)

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Poumarama

Blog notes

YourFriendinTheNorth: Ending the silence (on the demons of the Spanish Civil War). Max Dunbar: Where to begin? (on the right wing claim that Britain is close to Orwell’s Oceania). Norm, like Trotsky before him, is aging. Orwell’s Diary reaches a new high.

Biographies and obituaries

* Hoang Khoa Khoi (1917-2009): death of a Vietnamese Trotskyist.
* Gustav Doster, aka Gustl, 1904-1977: German anarchist and veteran of the Erich Mühsam and Sacco-Vanzetti Centuries in Spain.
* Alberto Meschi, 1879-1958: Italian syndicalist and anti-fascist, active in exile in Argentina and France, founder of the Antifascist Concentration and of the Italian League of Human Rights, and veteran of the Rosselli Column in Spain.
* Albert De Jong, 1891-1970: Dutch syndicalist and anti-Nazi resistance fighter.
* Heinrich Friedetzky, 1910-1998: German anarchist, anti-fascist hero and Spanish civil war fighter.

From the archive of struggle, no.10: multilingual edition [below the fold] (more…)

Poumlicious

Nick Cohen takes no shit. Trotsky on religion. A Los Barricados: folk songs and other songs from On A Raised Beach. Anglo-Buddhist Combine: Maurice Brinton/Christopher Pallis. Harry Barnes’ military service: Basra, Bombs, and Books. SlackBastard’s books (including Haymarket: A Novel by Martin Duberman, Julián Casanova’s Anarchism, the Republic and Civil War in Spain: 1931–1939, Stuart Chrsitie’s We The Anarchists!: A Study Of The Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927–1937, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four). Paul as Orwell. Hamas kills opponents, Clare Short turns blind eye.

Seven songs for Spring

I’ve been quite a reticent blogger until recently, but seem to have got it more or less worked out now, although I’m not as sociable as a good blogger should be. Nonetheless, I seem to have arrived in the ‘sphere, by being tagged for a meme by someone I consider a fairly big league blogger, Roland of But I Am A Liberal. The instructions are this:

“List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.”

Well, here we go. Not very spring-like, I know.

1. Leonard Cohen “The Partisan”
Here’s two versions from YouTube – poor quality live, with Spanish subtitles, or good quality from the record, with cool slide show. Here’s the story of the song, originally “La complainte du partisan”, written in London during 1943, by Emmanuel D’Astier de la Vigerie (called “Bernard” in the French Resistance, a Stalinist til 1956, then an anti-Stalinist) and Anna Marly. (Here‘s Marly’s version.)

2. The Pogues “Lorca’s Novena”

YouTube here, last.fm here, homepage here.

Ignacio lay dying in the sand
A single red rose clutched in a dying hand
The women wept to see their hero die
And the big black birds gathered in the sky

Mother of all our joys, mother of all our sorrows
Intercede with him tonight
For all of our tomorrows

The years went by and then the killers came
And took the men and marched them up the hill of pain
And Lorca the faggot poet they left till last
Blew his brains out with a pistol up his arse

Mother of all our joys….

The killers came to mutilate the dead
But ran away in terror to search the town instead
But Lorca’s corpse, as he had prophesied, just walked away
And the only sound was the women in the chapel praying

Mother of all our joys….

I was tempted to pick “The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn”,  some of the backstory here.

3. Victor Jara “Luchin”

See also two other songs I love: Arlo Guthrie’s “Victor Jara” (words by the late Adrian Mitchell), and Calexico’s “Victor Jara’s Hands”. [Download mps of last from HaHa Music, Captains Dead, Tonegents.]

4. Manu Chao “Desaparecido”

Last.fm/YouTube; homepage.

I carry on me a pain and sorrow,
that doesn’t let me breathe,
I carry on me a final sentence,
That’s always pushing me along

They call me the disappearer
when they come I’ve already gone,
Flying I come, flying I go
Quickly, quickly on a lost course.

5. Gotan Project “Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)”

YouTube/Last.fm; MySpace. Everyone knows this I guess. It’s a bit too ubiquitous, on loads of TV ads, but it’s still great.

6. Woody Guthrie “Hard Travellin’”

I wanted to pick something by Woody, as I’ve been listening to him a lot recently. Browsing through YouTube, I found a slightly lame Klezmatics version of “Mermaid Avenue”, some live footage of “Ranger’s Command” from 1945, and “All You Fascist’s Are Bound To Lose” with Sonny Terry from a (WWII-era?) radio show. However, “Hard Travellin’” is the Woody song I first fell in love with, many years ago.

7. The Durutti Column “Homage To Catalonea

Lovely summery Spanish guitar from my favourite post-punk proto-glitch outfit. On album Vini Reilly. Included in a great playlist here.

I’m tagging: Renegade Eye, Fat Man on a Keyboard, Terry Glavin, Francis Sedgemore, Hak Mao, History is Made at Night and (why not?) Nick Cohen.

Jack Jones

Funny, I’d been thinking about Jack Jones since I went last week to see the new hang of “After Guernica” at the Whitechapel. Jack Jones fought in the International Brigades, and was wounded at the Battle of Ebro. There was a letter from Jack Jones’ son, Mick, sending in some photographs of Clement Atlee at the Whitechapel. Sad to hear of his death. Perhaps more later, but for now, nice obituaries from Red Maria and Modernity. And another by Mick Hall.

More obits coming in: Charlie McAndy Newman.

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 9:11 am  Comments (1)  

Ashes, teabags, etcb

Leon Trotsky’s ashes stolen and baked into cookies.* Will as George Orwell, part 2. The battle of ideas in Cuba. Nestor Makhno and the Anarchist Black Cross. Maps on EP Thompson on William Morris. And on the last days of Max Jacobs (a propos of fascist desecrations at Drancy).Tony Allen at Speaker’s Corner. Theodore Dalrymple on the word “so”.

*UPDATE from Roland.

Franklin Rosemont, fellow worker, surrealist poet, great American

franklin-rosemong-envelope

Franklin Rosemont RIP. Obits from Reading the Maps, Histomatist, IWW, Mike Klonsky, SlackBastard, Samizdat, LibCom, AK, Kate Khatib, Marc Moscato, Patrick Murfin, Pearl Handel.

Image from Literago.

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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Poumtastic 2

Some of these items follow up yesterday’s.

More Abel Paz obituaries: Happy Medium (with beautiful photographs), SlackBastard (with three perfectly chosen YouTube videos).

More on Kuhn on Grossman from Bob Gould. And more from Bob G: the sad, contradictory life of Wilfred Burchett.

A little bit of left history relevant to this: PatriotDems on the “Red Dunhams” of Washington State, 1956.

No Borders 1935: on Emma Goldman and South Wales.

St John: T.R. Healey on John Cornford.

Martin Rowson in Tribune: To the Barricades!

Tribune Book Reviews: Emmanuel Cooper on Marc Chagall, Geoffrey Goodman on the Miners’ strike in Wales, Nathaniel Mehr on Mary Davis on Labour history.

It’s twenty years since Solidarnosc was made legal in Poland. Henri Simon: Mass strikes in Poland, 1980. BBC: children of the revolution.

The Underground Rebel Book Club. (Book covers here stolen from there.)

And a news item: Mexican president given copy of Orwell’s 1984 as a present from… the Queen of England.

Poumtastic

In no particular order:

Coatesy: The Spirit of Factions and Sects

Jewish Socialist: Review of Rick Kuhn on Henryk Grossman [pdf]

Steve Fraser in the LRB: on Emma Goldman [subs]

Norman Geras: on Orwell on Dickens; Winston Smith in the shower.

The Normblog profile: Jim Denham

The Daily Maybe: Alexandra Kollontai

Airforce Amazons: Sketches of Mallorca

HarpyMarx: the Matchgirls

David Semple: Hobsbawm’s unmarxism.

Abel Paz

Coatesy:

A Great of the Workers’ Movement: Abel Paz (1921 – 2009).

Abel Paz, pen name of Diego Camacho, has died.

Brought to politics in the 1930s as a  member of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) (CNT Obituary) Diego fought in Spain against Franco and the counter-revolution. A member of the legendary Durruti column he took part in some of the most violent batttles.  As a supporter of the libertarian syndicalist side he participated in the – failed – 1937 Barcelona combat against the Stalinist take-over. At the end of the war, when Catalonia finally had gone down in 1939,  Paz survived and fled to France. The author of a number of important histories of the Spanish war, he remained a committed anarchist all his life, saying that,

El anarquismo invoca una vida completamente diferente. Trata de vivir esta utopía un poco cada día.

Anarchism means a completely different  form of life. Try to live a little of  this utopia every day.

If anyone on the left dismisses anarchism,  one should contemplate the life of this hero of the international workers’ movement.

Hat-tip to Entdinglichung (here), some more details (in French) of his initial internment in France, and  later war-time armed opposition in the Spanish maquis to Franco (here.)

Read “Barcelona in Flames”, an extract from his Durruti book, here.

Guns, etc

An amazing series of juxtapositions from Locust St:

Round 12:


Picasso is a gunslinger

I had thought earlier in the night that you can’t run when you are sodden from head to foot and weighted down with a rifle and cartridges; I learned now you can always run when you think you have fifty or one hundred armed men after you.

George Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia.”

The guns spell money’s ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the Spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.

Stephen Spender, “Ultima Ratio Regum.”

If you find an Afghan rebel that the Moscow bullets missed,
Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist.
Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet
How many monks did the Chinese get?

Joe Strummer, “Washington Bullets.”

He carried a shotgun–a weapon I thought was outlawed in international war–and the shotgun itself was a measure of his professionalism, for to use it effectively requires an exact blend of courage and skill and self-confidence. The weapon is neither accurate nor lethal at much over seventy yards. So it shows the skill of the carrier, a man who must work his way close enough to the prey to make a shot, close enough to see the enemy’s retina and the tone of his skin. The shotgun is not an automatic weapon. You must hit once, on the first shot, and the hit must kill.

Tim O’Brien, “If I Die in a Combat Zone.”

Other things:

Bataille Socialiste, with some wonderful 1936 photos from Paris en images. And, in French, a piece on the late, lovely Mary Low. (In English, see here, here.)

Eamonn McDonagh on the Livingstone formulation in Madrid.

Entdichlung with more from the archive (including Ernie Haberkern: The Left and Max Shachtman Part 1 AWL 1995).

Historical and archival notes

Yes, I know there are more important things going on in the world today, but here are some tidbits from the history of struggle. From the archive of struggle, no.9.

Many via Entdinlichung.

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