European histories: 1934, 1959, etc

From The Commune:

The last week has seen much media coverage of the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, largely devoted to nostalgia and a hefty chunk of British (and Polish) nationalism. What is rarely commented on is the dynamics of political struggle within the countries participating in the bloodbath, and less still the activity of the workers’ movement, which did not in fact purely and simply support the Allies, and had to resist authoritarian measures imposed to varying degrees by each state enforcing wartime control measures.

While some of the struggles that took place had an immediate and significant effect on the outcome of the war, others which totally failed are equally worth remembering. While popular culture venerates Nazis-turned-good, as in the 2008 Tom Cruise film Valkyrie which depicts the 20th July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler by aristocratic militarists who had lost faith in their Führer, less well-known are the stories of those who fought Nazism from start to finish, from a position of far less power, severe privations and heavy repression. How many people know that the first action in defiance of the Holocaust was nothing to do with the Allies (who infamously refused to bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz and did little to stop it), but a two-day general strike started by communist dockworkers and tramdrivers in response to raids of Jewish homes in Amsterdam in February 1941? [READ THE REST]

From Eurozine:

The Hungarian Quarterly 195 (2009)

Two books dealing with the state security apparatus in communist Hungary emphasize the extent to which its members, from informants and their handlers up to high-ranking politicians in the Ministry of the Interior, were subordinate to the Communist Party hierarchy, writes historian and journalist Sándor Révész. This radically calls into question the common treatment of “informants” as scapegoats and shifts the focus to Party officials, many of whom became respected politicians after 1989.

“The sources show clearly that a much wider circle of people than the network of agents were responsible for the disadvantages, and even vilification, suffered by thousands of people”, writes Révész. “This makes it hardly surprising that researchers pushing for freedom of information on state surveillance find little support. The response to publications that do find their way to a wider readership is jittery, with researchers generally being accused of the very thing that is least true of them, i.e. that they are only interested in unmasking and pillorying those who were recruited into the informer network.”

After 1956, writes Révész, the covertly totalitarian Kádár regime strove for omniscience as opposed to omnipotence, which in turn entailed a new form of policing. “If a legitimate, constitutional opposition is not allowed to exist, then every activity, person and group represents a threat to national security should it carry the seeds of dissidence.” The lesson to be learned “is that no general conclusions can be drawn about the possibility of refusing to cooperate with the state security services”.

Also:

Slavenka Drakulic on Tito. Timothy Snyder on totalitarianism’s Baltic killing fields. Ben Peck on the Hitler-Stalin pact. Nada Prlja on the red bourgeoisie in Yugoslavia and the coming black communism

In other news: Lyndon LaRouche’s creeps peddle softcore Holocaust denialism – an Armenian Holocaust survivor is arrested for stopping them.

American histories: 1934

I already featured a couple of these, but thought it is worth making more of a splash:

The rebellion in Minneapolis

The history of the Teamster Rebellion in Minneapolis is packed with lessons, especially the importance of mobilizing a militant rank and file. [Socialist Worker US September 29, 2009]

The 75th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike (Part 1)US: The 75th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike (Part 1)

The 1934 Teamsters strike in Minneapolis, led by the Trotskyists of the Communist League of America (the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party), was a decisive moment in the US labor and socialist movements. During the years preceding the strike, few would have expected the upsurge that took place in 1934. [By David May, Marxist.com, 17 July 2009]

The 75th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike (Part 2)

After a bitter coal yard workers’ strike and organizing campaign in early 1934, Teamsters Local 574 won the right to represent thousands of workers in Minneapolis. But by May, a second strike became necessary, after the trucking and warehouse bosses refused to recognize the local. [By David May, Marxist.com, 24 September 2009]

Picketers surround Fank Hubay, one of two people killed by National Guardsmen during the Toledo strikeLabor’s breakthrough in Toledo

The 1934 Auto-Lite strike in Toledo, Ohio showed how workers could unite, employed with unemployed, to defeat the power of the bosses. [Socialist Worker US, September 15, 2009]

Strikers march through San Francisco streets during the 1934 strike

The battle for the docks

The San Francisco General Strike in July 1934 involved 200,000 workers up and down the West Coast, making it the largest general strike in U.S. history. [Socialist Worker US, September 21, 2009]

Added: For more links on the SF General Strike, go to the Holt Labor Library, from which the below is taken:

The song, “Frisco Strike Saga,” was penned by Stephen Karnot and Earl Robinson to commemorate the strike. It is reprinted from Songs of the People published in 1937 by Workers Library Publishers.

"Frisco Strike Saga" lyrics and music

From the archive of struggle no.32

Some old and not so old documents archived, and some recent articles about the radical past. Below the fold, Marxist stuff Entdinglichung has already covered. Browse the rest of the series here.

Direct Action (Solidarity Federation):

* The Great Dock Strike of 1889
* Reviews: Live Working or Die Fighting (Paul Mason); Meltdown: The end of the age of greed (Paul Mason); A Grand Cause: The hunger strike & the deportation of anarchists from Soviet Russia (G. P. Maksimov); The Federación Uruguaya Anarquista (translated & edited by Paul Sharkey); Salvador Puig Antich & the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación (edited by Anna Key & translated Paul Sharkey)

The Anarchist Library:

* “A Fury For Justice: Lucy Parsons And The Revolutionary Anarchist Movement in Chicago” by Jacob McKean (1994) [source]
* “Facing the Enemy”: A platformist interpretation of the history of anarchist organization by Jason McQuinn, Killing King Abacus [source]
* Wooden Shoes or Platform Shoes?: On the “Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists” by Bob Black, Killing King Abacus [source]
* Preface to “Socialist Documents” by Charles Malato (1904) [source]
* Peru: The Ideology Of Apocalypse Shining Path To What? by Manolo Gonzalez (1993) [source]
* “Chavistas open fire, injure eight protestors in Caracas” by Peter Gelderloos (2007)
* “Beer and Revolution: Some Aspects of German Anarchist Culture in New York, 1880-1900” by Tom Goyens (2009) [source]
* “Dreams, Demands, and the Pragmatic Pitfall: The Barcelona Bus Drivers Strike” by Peter Gelderloos (2009)
* “Esperanto and Anarchism” by Will Firth (1998) [source]

Socialist Worker (ISO-US):

* The battle for the docks (the 1934 San Francisco dock strike)
* Labor’s breakthrough in Toledo (the 1934 Auto-Lite strike)

Monthly Review:

*Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Indigenous Resistance in the Americas and the Legacy of Mariátegui (Review of Marc Becker, Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador’s Modern Indigenous Movements, 2008).

Louis Proyect:

* Mariategui (2009)

US Marxist-Humanists:

*Statement of Principles (2009)
*Towards an organisational history of Marxism-Humanism in the US, Part 1 (2009)

In These Times

* Ralph Seliger on Albert Einstein and Israel/Palestine (2009)

(more…)

Poumishly

Anti-Stalinism

Eugene Debs: war resistor. Ilse Mattick: a great woman. Leni Jungclas: A great woman. Stieg Larsson: The Trot Who Played with Fire. Dwight MacDonald: Partisan Middlebrow. Barroso v Cohn-Bendit: debating European politics. George Orwell: poet of the everyday. Martin Simecka: dissident legacy. Added: Alas, poor Trotsky (against Justin Raimondo).

Stalinism

All that pink: Nancy Astor and Bernard Shaw with Uncle Joe. Stalin nostalgia. Fauxialism, in Venezuelan, Chinese and British varieties. Russia, Poland and the history wars.

More on Irving Kristol

Hendrik Hertzberg, Cas Muddle, Dave Osler.

Roma Marquez Santo

I’m not sure whether or not I’ve linked already to this short interview with Roma Marquez Santo, POUM veteran of the Spanish Civil War, recently in Dublin. There is an inaccuracy in the title: I’m pretty sure Roma is not a veteran Spanish anarchist, but a veteran Spanish socialist, but thanks to WSM for publishing this anyway. He was in a POUM militia, and when the Popular Front government regularised the Republican army (as part of the Stalinist-led counter-revolution within the anti-fascist struggle) this became ‘s 29th Division. It was liquidated after the Barcelona “May events”, and after it was liquidated joined the 28th Division, which was basically an anarchist militia. Also, Roma was a member of the CNT (the anarcho-syndicalist affiliated union), whereas most Poumistas were in the UGT (the socialist affiliated union).

Sources: Helen Graham The Spanish Republic at War; Andy Durgan “The hidden story of the Spanish Revolution”; Harry Owens “Roma Martez Santo”.

P.S. Also at WSM: Biography of Dr John Creaghe, cosmopolitan Irish anarchist.

Intellectuals

Leon Trotsky and the annihilation of classical Marxism. A Tomb for Boris Davidovich by Danilo Kiš. Generations – Partisans. The Twilight of the intellectuals. Pilgrim of doubt. Remembering Irving Kristol: Lexington Green, Robert Kagan, J Podheretz, Joe Leiberman, Alan Wolfe, and in his own words. [Added: more from TNC and But I Am.]  A nation of commentators. Frankfurt on the Hudson.

partisan_review_193805

Graphic Witness

This is wonderful: Karl Marx’s Capital in lithographs, by Hugo Gellert, from 1934, reached via Hak Mao. Gellert illustrated Max Eastman’s The Liberator too. File:Liberator-cover-1803.jpg

Below the fold, From the Archive of Struggle, no.31. I think this edition is almost completely stolen from Entdinglichung.

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From the archive of struggle, no.30

Above the fold: American democratic socialists from archive.org and Russian anarchists from Libcom. Below the fold: links purloined from Ent, from assorted renegade Marxists and Third Campists. Browse the whole series here.

Archive.org:

*1905 Average Paid Membership by States, Socialist Party of America.
*Ticket of the Socialist Party of Texas, 1906.
*Socialist Party of America campaign book (1908).
*Report of the Socialist Party of the United States to the International Congress at Copenhagen, 1910 – Hillquit, Morris,; 1869-1933; Berger, Victor L.,; 1860-1929; Barnes, J. Mahlon.
*Armenian Revolutionary Federation Report in Socialist International Congress 1910.
*Report of the Hungarian Socialist Federation to the National Committee of the Socialist Party of America, May 1913.
*Patterson, Joseph Medill. The notebook of a neutral (1916).
*The congress of the labour and socialist international. (1920)
*National Convention. Socialist Labor Party. Reports, Resolutions, Platform, etc. (1921)
*Norman Thomas Socialist Party 1928 election platform.
*Proceedings of the 1962 National Convention of the Socialist Party [of America] (1962)
*Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation. Socialist platform 1960.

Libcom:

Budanov Avraam ( 1886? – 1928?1929?).

A short biography of Avraam Budanov, who fought with the Makhnovists and continued an underground struggle after the defeat of the movement.

Vdovichenko, Trofim Yakovlevich (1889-1921)

A short biography of Trofim Vdovichenko, gifted guerilla commander and one of the most heroic figures of the Makhnovist movement

Trofim Vdovichenko was born into a family of poor peasants in Novospasovka in the Ukraine. He received a primary education. From 1910 he was a member of the Novospasovka group of anarchist-communists, alongside Viktor Belash ,Vassily Kurilenko, Luca Bondarets, Filipp Goncharenko, Vladimir Protsenko and Fomenko who also all had leading roles in the Makhnovist movement later on.

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On this day: 13 September 1944

Oops. Forgot that Drink-Soaked Trots is down. What’s going on there? Anyway, have pasted the whole text below the fold.

Victor Serge, “Les Carnets (notebooks) 1944″, guest posting at the Drink-Soaked Trots.

Second meeting of the committee of the independent socialist groups, to go over the draft of the political document worked out by M.P [Marceau Pivert*]., Giron [Enrique Gironella*] and W.S. It’s a kind of very primary Communist Manifesto, going back over all the old stock phrases of its kind.

I criticise it severely, considering that this kind of text can only discredit the handful of men who are responsible for it. They listen to me with interest and inward peevishness. I say that we cannot draft these documents on the spur of the moment today, since all the terms and all the ideas are due for revision in the light of the new realities, and launched into the raging storm. Confused and rather painful debate.[READ THE REST]

At this point, Serge was based in Mexico and involved in a group Socialismo y Libertad (other members included Julian Gorkin, Fritz Fränkel, René Lefeuvre and Luce Fabbri).

*For texts by Pivert in this period, see “Everything is Possible” (1936), “Down with national unity!” (1938), “Letter to Trotsky” (1939), “The Idea of a socialist Europe” (1947). Pivert was the leader of the PSOP, the POUM’s French sister party. Gironella was a POUM leader. Both were exiled in Spain. I’m not sure who W.S. is, although I ought to. Is it Wilebaldo Saldano? I think he was in France in 1944, and this meeting was in Mexico.

See also:

(more…)

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Poumatic

Stalin, Hitler’s enabler, and his aristocratic apologists today. Podcast on the 1934 San Francisco General StrikeRecommended reading for ordinary peopleWin a CLR James T-shirt. Victor Serge: `dishonest authoritarian’, `anti-worker anarchist’ or revolutionary Bolshevik? An incredibly superficial A-Z of socialism, with one highlight being Ian Birchall’s U for United Front. Lindbergh in Des Moines. Roland’s Link-O-Mania. TNC’s last link-o-mania.

Josefa Pepita Reimundi

Thanks to Ent for news of the death of comrade Josefa Pepita Reimundi, a POUM veteran and active in the Fundació Andreu Nin. Below the fold is an edited version of a google translation of the obituary.

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Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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History is made at night in Catalunya

Read this great post: Homage (from a beach) in Catalonia. Illustrations extracted below.

CNT sticker in Catalonia last week

Image from the Franco period (I found this on a 1975 Calendar)

Poster in Girona last week promoting musical and other events ‘per la Independencia i el Socialisme’

1922

From Locust St.:

We hailed “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Recuerdo,” collected in A Few Figs From Thistles.

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Poumnik

Rosie on Orwell as Autumn and war advance. AWL’s Jim D on SWP’s Keith Flett on Derry 1969. Photography and memory. The posthumous life of Leon Trotsky. WWII and the socialist project today. Radical thinkers?

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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European archives

From La Bataille Socialiste, I recently found ena.lu: European Navigator, a collection of documents on the history of the idea of Europe, which has much of interest to those who are interested in the topics of this blog.

The section “1945-1949″ has a section called “Europe in the ruis”, which has a sub-sub-section on the resistance movement, that includes the Italian anti-fascists’ Ventotene Manifesto (also here). It includes a 1944 document written by militants from resistance movements of several European countries who meet secretly in Geneva to discuss the problems related to the reconstruction of a democratic, federally-based Europe after the war, taken from Europe speaks: issues on behalf of the ISK, Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampfbund (Militant Socialist International). Also in “1945-1949″, in the Cold War sub-section, is a space about the Greek civil war, with fascinating documents and photographs.

There is also a sub-section on federalist movements, which includes a space on the Movement for the Socialist United States of Europe, whose President was André Philip, with texts from the Brussels left newspaper Le Phare Dimanche, and from Marceau Pivert. The officers of the movement in 1947 were Bob Edwards and John Mcnair (UK, ILP – both had fought with the POUM in Spain, as part of the ILP Contingent), Jef Last (Holland – Last, another veteran of Spain, had been in Sneevliet‘s RSAP, but I’m not sure where he was in 1957), Witte (Demetrious Yotopoulos, leader of the Archeiomarxists, Greece), Enrique Gironella (POUM, Spain) and Henri Frenay (France, involved in the Combat group during WWII and I think involved in the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance by 1947).

Poumist ephemera

This blog has been around long enough to now be the number one google hit for the term “Poumista”, and people clearly are coming here to find out about the POUM. However, I realise that I don’t have much actually about the POUM on this site. This post is not an attempt at any kind of comprehensive account of the POUM, but rather a disorganised pointer towards various sources of information, including some pieces of ephemera that I have recently come across.

First, some introductory texts: Poum at Wikipedia, Poum at Spartacus.

Other key wikipedia pages: Anti-Stalinist left, ILP Contingent, International Revolutionary Marxist Centre (aka London Bureau, Three and a Half International).

Recent bloggery: Justice Triumphs at La Bataille Socialiste, Markin on Trotsky on the POUM, Markin on the ortho-Trot International Communist League on the POUM, Markin on Andy Durgan on the POUM, Liam on Pierre Broué and Emile Teminé on the Spanish Civil War. All POUM posts at La Bataille Socialiste.

From the journals: The Spanish Left in its own words, Andy Durgan on the POUM and the Trotskyites, A Brandlerite militant in the POUM militia on the Huesca front, Keith Hassell on Trotsky on the POUM, Don Bateman on Georges Kopp and the Poum militias, Richardson and Rogers on Schwartz and Alba (Revolutionary History); A Danish Trotskyist in the POUM militia (What Next); The Foreign Legion of the Revolution (Libcom); Land and Freedom, Martine Vidal, The Hidden Story of the Revolution, Andy Durgan, The Meaning of a Defeat, Pelai Pagès (New Politics).

From the Marxist Internet Archive: The Manifesto of the POUM; Walter Held on Stalinism and the POUM; Pietro Fancelli Letters from Barcelona; The Weisbord Archive.

Ephemera: A Poum militia uniform. The flag of the Lenin Barracks; The flags of the Poum; The Philosophy Football POUM T-shirt.

My Poum pages: Roma Marquez Santo 2, Vicente Ferrer, Not Just Orwell…, Roma Marquez Santo, May 1, Poumish (a bloggish miscellany), From the archive of struggle, no.26, From the archive of struggle, no.7, Benjamin Péret: songs of the eternal rebels, Ramón J. Sender, Stephen Suleyman Schwartz on POUM historiography.

From the archive of struggle, no.29

This week, as a response to a visit from Julie Herrara, I am delighted to add the Labadie Collection to my blogroll, and to feature it here. Below the fold, much more, including Maurice Brinton, the 1946 RAF mutiny, and much more. Browse the whole series here.

The Joseph A. Labadie Collection, as its website describes it, is the oldest research collection of radical history in the United States, documenting a wide variety of international social protest movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is named for anarchist and labor organizer Joseph Antoine Labadie (1850-1933).

The website of the Colletion has a number of on-line exhibitions:  Jo Labadie and His Gift to Michigan: A Legacy for the Masses, Radical Responses to the Great Depression, Joseph Ishill and the Authors and Artists of the Oriole Press, The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, August 1968, Anarchist Images: Posters from the Labadie Collection.

Here are some of the treasures. Click on them to find yourself in the exhibition:

Among those I’ve featured here are the poster for a CNT speaker in New York, a Yiddish poster advertising Rudolf Rocker speaking about Spain, material relating to Norman Thomas and his Socialist Party, a magazine of the Marxist Workers League, and a novel by James Farrell.

(more…)

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