Poumed

At the head of everything is God, the Lord of Heaven.
Everyone knows that.
Then comes Prince Torlonia, lord of the earth.
Then come Prince Torlonia’s guards.
Then come Prince Torlonia’s guards’ dogs.
Then, nothing at all.
Then, nothing at all.
Then, nothing at all.
Then come the peasants. And that’s all.

~ Ignazio Silone, Fontamara (1931). (via @ndy)

Debates and arguments: David Cesarani, Marek Edelman and Michal Kaminski - click the link from Engage, then return to read the comment thread.

From the magazine rack: 1989 Timothy Garton Ash (NYRB); What Is to Be Learned? Thinking about 1989 Mitchell Cohen (Dissent); The Memory That Will Not Die: Exhuming the Spanish Civil War Julius Purcell (Boston Review); 100 Years of Servitude: Gabriel García Márquez’s Infatuation With Castro and Other Dictators Enrique Krauze (New Republic); Terry Teachout on the Congress for Cultural Freedom (Commentary).

Book reviews: John Gray on Robert Service’s Trotsky; Jonathan Yardley on Kati Marton’s Enemies of the People; DG Myers on two Lionel Trilling biographies; Colm Toibin on Sheila Rowbotham’s Edward Carpenter.

Some Irving Kristol obits I missed: Christopher Hitchens, David Brooks, Myron MagnetEric Alterman , Michael Lind, Justin Vaïsse, Kevin Mattson, Seth Lipsky, John Guardiano, Christopher DeMuth, Mary Eberstadt, Joseph Epstein, Danny Finkelstein.

Archival: Walter Lacquer on Why the Shah fell (1979).

Democratiya

I don’t know if it’s been there for a while, but I just noticed that Dissent has an archive of really nicely pdfed back issues of Democratiya. Here are some gems:

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Nestor Makhno at 121

Nestor Makhno was born today in 1888.

Nestor Makhno

In office
January 5, 1919 – August 28, 1921

Born October 26 (November 8), 1888
Flag of Russia.svg Huliaipole, Russian Empire (today Ukraine)
Died July 6, 1934
Flag of France.svg Paris, France
Nationality Black flag.svg Free Territory
Political party Anarchist communism
Spouse(s) Agafya Kuzmenko
Children Yelena
Occupation Anarcho-communist revolutionary, painter, stagehand
Religion Atheist

For further reading, go to the Nestor Makhno Archive, and also the Kate Sharpley Library:

From the archive of struggle, no.36: radical America

Last week, I featured the Holt Labor Library. Today, I feature a few different American radical history archives with smaller on-line exhibitions. Other stuff below the fold. Browse the whole series here.

The George Meany Memorial Archives

“The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) established the George Meany Memorial Archives in 1980 to honor the memory of George Meany, its first president, and to provide a program to preserve its historical records and make them available for research. In 1987 the archives moved from the AFL-CIO headquarters to the forty-seven acre campus of the George Meany Center for Labor Studies (now the National Labor College) in Silver Spring, Maryland, an educational institution for labor officers, representatives, and staff of AFL-CIO affiliates.”

On-line exhibit: A. Philip Randolph, 1889-1979.

Illinois Labor History Society

“The Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) was formed on August 5, 1969 in the office of the late Joseph M. Jacobs, attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union, Meatcutters, and other labor organizations. The mission of the ILHS was set forth: It shall be the Purpose of the Illinois Labor History Society to encourage the preservation and study of labor history materials of the Illinois Region, and to arouse public interest in the profound significance of the past to the present.”

On-line exhibit: Labor Union Hall of Fame.

Indiana State University Debs Collection

The Debs Collection has an absolutely enormous amount of Eugene Debs material. The photos and videos are of particular interest. This is apparently the only known video of Debs.

Inkworks Press Archive

Inkworks is a leftie print co-op in the Bay area. Their poster archive includes many treasures dating from 1974 onwards. Earlier material includes cool posters for UFW salsa benefits, Chilean folk music gigs, Cinco de Mayo fiestas, Pablo Neruda woodcuts, and lots more. A little bit on a Stalinist/Second Campist/Third Worldist tip, but beautiful.

LARC

The Labor Archives and Research Center in San Francisco: “Few regions can rival the rich, lively labor history of the San Francisco Bay Area. This history is preserved in primary source and vintage history materials at the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC). Founded in 1985 by trade union leaders, historians, labor activists and university administrators, the Labor Archives is a unit of the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University.”

Two on-line exhibitions: Look for the Union Label: A Celebration of Union Logos and Emblems and Cultivating Creativity: The Arts and the Farm Workers’ Movement During the 1960s and 1970s. The first is just lots of labels, badges and such like. The second is awesome, with sections on the Farm Workers Logo, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Theater, Songs and Poems, El Malcriado (the UFW paper), Posters, Drawings and Murals, Photography and Cesar Chavez as Icon.

Brandeis Special Collections

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections house the gems of Brandeis University’s library. They have a blog with monthly spotlights on the collection. July featured the Radical Pamphlets collection, but unfortunately it seems totally dominated by the CPUSA and its fronts. June was the Léon Lipschutz collection of Dreyfusiana and French Judaica. The Hall-Hoag Collection of Extremist Literature in the United States includes far right material and also the likes of the Weather Underground. The Sacco and Venzetti collections are a highlight.

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Poumatised

An extract from SlackBastard’s Bloggy Tuesday:

Gathering Forces is another blog what I think I’ve referred to before — but, now that I search for it, actually haven’t, I don’t think — that raises some interestink questions. If anything I wrote made the slightest difference to the success of their project, I’d wish them luck. It doesn’t, so I won’t.

Poumista is a blog I’ve referred to before, but as it’s totally neat-o, I thought I may as well do so again. It draws together a phantastic array of sauces on anarchist / Marxist / socialist history, and, like any good library, infoshop or second-hand bookshop, invites you to become lost in its wares, only to realise years have passed, and you’ve wasted your life reading. (And then you die.)

Stalin’s Moustache is all about Stalin and his moustache. Rather cleverly, the writer’s obsession with the facial hair grown on the upper lip of Uncle Joe is disguised by his authorship of various blogposts, articles and even books, seemingly dedicated to exploring such notions as socialism, biblical studies, politics, theology, philosophy “and so on”, but which the discerning reader, armed with the relevant machinetranslation, will soon discover are really all about Stalin (and, moreover, his moustache).

Stalin is alleged to have remarked that ‘Everybody has a right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege’. ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’ is a phrase often credited to P.T. Barnum (1810–1891), an American showman. ‘Never give a sucker an even break’, said W. C. Fields.

There then follows a long piece by Jorge Semprun which I highly recommend. Read it.

More links below the fold. (more…)

The life of Trotsky

Excellent post by Michael Ezra a propos of Robert Service’s new biography of Trotsky, but mainly taking apart Isaac Deutscher’s hagiography of Trotsky. Extract:

In [Deutscher’s] account of the Kronstadt rebellion, there is no mention of Trotsky’s famous order, “shoot them like partridges.” He  was also not immune from errors of fact. For example, Deutscher claimed that the Kronstadt rebellion was “led by Anarchists.” In truth, as Robert Daniels had previously shown (American Slavic and East European Review, December 1951), it was “a strong opposition movement … in Communist Party organisations” that had been at the forefront of the rebellion. Despite the fact that thousands were killed by the Bolsheviks for this rebellion, Deutscher does not draw the logical conclusion that P.G. Maximoff had earlier drawn:

As in many other instances we have here a clear case of mass murder subject to criminal prosecution.

If anyone is any doubt as to the way Deutscher viewed Trotsky, his following sentence should give some clarification:

The passions of [Trotsky’s] intellect and heart, always uncommonly large and intense… swelled into a tragic energy as mighty and high as that which animates the prophets and the law-givers of Michelangelo’s vision.

Some interesting stuff too in the comments thread.

And from an opposite perspective, the Cedar Lounge Revolution on a review by Robert Harris of Service’s book. Also an interesting comment thread.

Or, for a totally different sort of Trotsky biog, check this out.

Bonus links: Trotsky on terrorism 1 & 2, Exile in Buyukada, Peter Taafe on Robert Service, Trotsky on factionalism, Sergei Essenin.

The image at the top comes from a wonderful photoset which goes with this nice post: The Trotsky Museum.

Click here for related posts, including Trotsky’s bad driving, Hitchens and Service chatting about Trotsky, Stalin’s nemesis, Trotsky’s ashes based into cookies.

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 11:10 am  Comments (7)  
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From the archive of struggle, no.35: Holt Labor Library special

In previous editions, I have featured the Labadie Collection and the Greater Manchester Collection. This week, we focus on the Holt Labor Library, with more below the fold. Browse the whole series here.

The Holt Labor Library in San Francisco has a truly exemplary website. Below are some snippets from some of its exhibitions, which are hyperlinked to their source pages.

The Bob Mattingly Button Exhibit.

[1991] Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) was formed in 1976 from a number of reform groups including Teamsters for a Democratic Contract and UPSurge. They were reacting to corruption within the union caused by leadership being too close to businesses, as well as their alleged affiliation with organized crime and the Nixon administration. Professionals Drivers’ Council (PROD) merged with TDU in 1979, bringing their lobbying and legal expertise, and new members from the East Coast and South. As a reform group within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, TDU believes in a democratic union with control resting in the membership. Their Rank and File Bill of Rights emphasizes election of union leadership, majority approval of contract votes, equality throughout the union, workplace standards and fair salaries. Over the years, several of their goals have been implemented union-wide. In 1988, Majority Rule on Contracts became part of the IBT Constitution. TDU won direct election of officers through a federal RICO lawsuit in 1989. With the election of TDU-backed Ron Carey as Teamsters president in 1991, officers’ pay was slashed and financial waste ended. The TDU was active in the successful 1997 UPS strike. They supported Tyson Foods workers in Pasco, Washington in 1999 who called a strike even without IBT support. Today they continue their reform struggle against current IBT president James Hoffa, Jr., who they blame for new corruption and a loss of union membership.

[1984] United Farm Workers (UFW) leader César Chávez called for a third boycott on California table grapes in 1984. Whereas previous UFW boycotts had been about farm worker conditions, this one called for a ban on five major pesticides used in grape fields. The UFW claimed in their 1989 film, “Wrath of Grapes,” that the chemicals caused cancer and birth defects, and that they were getting into the ground water of surrounding communities. Chávez went on a 36-day hunger strike in 1988 to promote the boycott, receiving support from many politicians and celebrities. Later that year, city leaders in San Francisco, San Jose and Alameda County joined the boycott. UFW continued its boycott after Chávez’s death in 1993, ending it in 2000 when four of the five pesticides in question had been banned and the fifth regulated.

[1996] “The long-running, low key but aggresive campaign to organize a new party anchored firmly inside the American Labor Movement, will culminate next June in Cleveland, Ohio when delegates from across the nation formally launch a grassroots, working class-based political movement.” (Labor Party Advocate, August 1995) According to the organization’s website, the founding conference attracted “1,400 delegates from hundreds of local and international unions as well as individual activists.” They adopted a 16-point program, the “Call for Economic Justice,” that “demands that everyone who wants to work have a right to a decent-paying job. As long as millions of us remain jobless or employed at jobs that pay poverty wages, all of us will suffer.” (Labor Party: FAQs. http://www.thelaborparty.org/a_faqs.html )

Holt Labor Library Audio Collection

A selection of the library’s audio collection is online in mp3 format, hosted by the Marxists Internet Archive. Currently, lectures by George Breitman, James P. Cannon, Farrell Dobbs, Tom Kerry, Ernest Mandel, Robert Langston, Larry Trainor, Evelyn Reed and Harry Ring are available, with more to be added.

There are also special features, each with lots of links, on topics such as the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 (including folk song sheet music), the late Sylvia Weinstein, Sacco and Venzetti, Joe Hill, the Lawrence textiles strike, and the United Farm Workers of America.

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Zog nit keynmol: Yiddish partisan march

Cross-posted at Anti-German Translation.

Song of the partisans: a Yiddish partisan march, with breakbeats, by geberk.

History is Made at Night, a propos of Marek Edelman:

Yesterday’s post on mandolins and anti-fascist resistance in Warsaw has prompted this response from Ruin Gebirk in Berlin:

“I read your story about the mandoline, it was interesting, I too have a strong interest in the jewish resistance history and I am specially fascinated by the “little” stories. When I was young we were singing the jiddish songs of Hirsh Glik and others… since I know about your electronical music background I wanted to share my new track with you: I called it jiddish partizan marsh, it’s based on the melody of Sog nit kejnmal als du gejst den letztn”.

jiddish partizan marsh by gebirk

Wikipedia: Hirsch Glick (1922 Vilna, Poland – 1944 Estonia) was a Jewish poet and partisan.

Glik was born in Vilna in 1922. He began to write Yiddish poetry in his teens and became co-founder of Yungvald (Young Forest), a group of young Jewish poets. After the German assault on Soviet Union in 1941, Hirsh Glik was imprisoned in the Weiße Wache concentration camp and later transferred to Vilna Ghetto. Glick involved himself in the ghetto’s artistic community while simultaneously participating in the underground and took part in the 1942 ghetto uprising. In 1943 he wrote his most famous work, the song Zog nit keynmol, az du geyst dem letstn veg (זאג ניט קיינמאל, אז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג), which became the anthem of the Jewish partisan movement, and Shtil, di nakht iz oysgeshternt. He was inspired to write this work by news that arrived of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Glik managed to flee when the ghetto was being liquidated in October 1943, but was re-captured. He was later deported to a concentration camp in Estonia. During his captivity he continued to compose songs and poems. In July 1944, with the Soviet Army approaching, Glik escaped. He was never heard from again, and was presumed captured and executed by the Germans (reportedly in August 1944).

Glick’s songs on youtube

[1]shtil di nakht [2] Partisan Song (zog nit keynmol) [3] Partisan Song (zog nit keynmol)

Wikipedia: Zog Nit Keynmol

“Zog Nit Keyn Mol” (Yiddish: זאָג ניט קיין מאָל) (also referred to as “Partizaner Lid” or “Partisan song”, though it shares this title with other works) is the name of a Yiddish song written in 1943 by Hirsh Glick, a young Jewish inmate of the Vilna Ghetto. The song is considered one of the chief anthems of Holocaust survivors and is sung in memorial services around the world. During the war it was the anthem of various Jewish partisan brigades.

A mural of Mordechai Anielewicz and his girlfriend Mira Fuchrer in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The mural is headed by the opening line of the song.

The lyrics Glik wrote were later set to music by Dmitri Pokrass.

Meaning

The title means “Never Say”, and derives from the first line of the song, “Never say that you have reached the final road.” “Zog Nit Keynmol” was adopted by a number of Jewish partisan groups operating in Eastern Europe. It became a symbol of resistance against Nazi Germany‘s persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust.

Lyrics

English translation

Never say this is the final road for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message: we are here!

From lands so green with palms to lands all white with snow.
We shall be coming with our anguish and our woe,
And where a spurt of our blood fell on the earth,
There are courage and our spirit have rebirth!

The early morning sun will brighten our day,
And yesterday with our foe will fade away,
But if the sun delays and in the east remains –
This song as password generations must remain.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead,
It’s not a little tune that birds sing overhead,
This song a people sang amid collapsing walls,
With pistols in hand they heeded to the call.

Therefore never say the road now ends for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message: we are here!

Yiddish in transliteration

zog nit keyn mol, az du geyst dem letstn veg,
khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho,
s’vet a poyk ton undzer trot: mir zaynen do!

fun grinem palmenland biz vaysn land fun shney,
mir kumen on mit undzer payn, mit undzer vey,
un vu gefaln iz a shprits fun undzer blut,
shprotsn vet dort undzer gvure, undzer mut!

s’vet di morgnzun bagildn undz dem haynt,
un der nekht vet farshvindn mit dem faynt,
nor oyb farzamen vet di zun in der kayor –
vi a parol zol geyn dos lid fun dor tsu dor.

dos lid geshribn iz mit blut, un nit mit blay,
s’iz nit keyn lidl fun a foygl oyf der fray,
dos hot a folk tsvishn falndike vent
dos lid gezungen mit naganes in di hent.

to zog nit keyn mol, az du geyst dem letstn veg,
khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho –
es vet a poyk ton undzer trot: mir zaynen do!

Original Yiddish

זאָג ניט קיין מאָל, אַז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג,
כאָטש הימלען בלײַענע פֿאַרשטעלן בלויע טעג.
קומען וועט נאָך אונדזער אויסגעבענקטע שעה –
ס׳וועט אַ פּויק טאָן אונדזער טראָט: מיר זײַנען דאָ!

פֿון גרינעם פּאַלמענלאַנד ביז ווײַסן לאַנד פֿון שניי,
מיר קומען אָן מיט אונדזער פּײַן, מיט אונדזער וויי,
און וווּ געפֿאַלן ס׳איז אַ שפּריץ פֿון אונדזער בלוט,
שפּראָצן וועט דאָרט אונדזער גבֿורה, אונדזער מוט!

ס׳וועט די מאָרגנזון באַגילדן אונדז דעם הײַנט,
און דער נעכט וועט פֿאַרשווינדן מיט דעם פֿײַנט,
נאָר אויב פֿאַרזאַמען וועט די זון אין דער קאַיאָר –
ווי אַ פּאַראָל זאָל גיין דאָס ליד פֿון דור צו דור.

דאָס ליד געשריבן איז מיט בלוט, און מיט בלײַ,
ס׳איז ניט קיין לידל פֿון אַ פֿויגל אויף דער פֿרײַ,
דאָס האָט אַ פֿאָלק צווישן פֿאַלנדיקע ווענט
דאָס ליד געזונגען מיט נאַגאַנעס אין די הענט.

טאָ זאָג ניט קיין מאָל, אַז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג,
כאָטש הימלען בלײַענע פֿאַרשטעלן בלויע טעג.
קומען וועט נאָך אונדזער אויסגעבענקטע שעה –
ס׳וועט אַ פּויק טאָן אונדזער טראָט: מיר זײַנען דאָ!

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Poumaholic

Some alternative histories: The shipwrecked: anti-fascist refugees during WWII. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia a century after his death. Rising East: London radical history day. Karl Pfeifer in Jerusalem.

Marek Edelman: Two more for the list: Terry Glavin’s post has a fascinating comment thread (I agree with The Plump), plus: This mandolin kills fascists.

La lucha continua: Venezuelan anarchism: Introducing El Libertario. Save Obtilia Eugenio Manuel. A visa for Principe Gabriel Gonzalez.

On old and new Stalinisms: Repelling Stalinoid attacks on Makhnovism. Happy Honecker! Nazi-Comintern collaboration and the DDR. A glorious leap backward. Socialist Unity: From Soviet Union to the GDR, and the People’s Republic of China. Stalin a mass murderer after all.

The democratic socialist tradition: The uncollected Michael Foot. Changing times: Minnie Lansbury and Poplarism. Reading about George Lansbury. Tom Paine for today.

Theory and praxis: Murdering the dead: on Amadeo Bordiga today. Castoriadis and magnanimity.

Politics and morality: The IMG and the morality of the Brighton bombing. The new McCarthyism and the BNP. A fitting tribute to Anna Politkovskaya.

See full size imageDurham Miners' Gala, Michael FootFrancisco Ferrer's PicturePolitkovskaya
Below the fold: Libcom’s most recent anarchist biographies. (more…)

Libertarian socialism?

My last post was on anarchist history, the one before on Marxist theory. This post links to some blog posts that try and think through the relationships between those two traditions. Many of these take as their starting point Staughton Lynd and Andrej Grubacic Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History (which you can buy here).

Lady Poverty: Politics and class; Communists/Rudolf Rocker.

Socialist Humanism with a human face: Towards socialism; Anarchism and Marxism.

Eric Kerl, International Socialist Review: Debating how to change the world.

Revol68, LibCom: Marxism and Anarchism.

Upping the Anti: Wobblies and Zapatistas.

Independent Working Class Association: Economic democracy – the need for a vision, part 1.

Poumovout

I’m running out of names for my posts in my occasional series which are simply links to other people’s posts I like. So, here goes.

Fist, some with a Bundist theme, in honour of Marek EdelmanDoikeyt or living here and now. Five years in the Warsaw Ghetto. Who will write our history?

Some relating to the European right and the politics of history: Euro-fascists in Manchester. Vukovar pride and solidarity. The Tories, Michal Kaminski And Jedwabne. Controversy around MEP Kaminski grows deeper. Excellent work on that dubious figure Kaminski.

And not related to either of those themes: Eugene Debs’ socialist circle. Jack Jones and the spooks.

Anarchist histories

Anarchist histories from Ian Bone. (Plus, below the fold, From the Archive of Struggle no.34, anarchist special, and some new books from AK Press.)

FELICIA BROWNE – ONLY PHOTO OF SPANISH CIVIL WAR FIGHTER

img059.jpg picture by sidstreet

KRONSTADT VIDEO

SPANISH ANARCHISTS SHOULD HAVE ELIMINATED COMMUNISTS IN JULY 1936

Ethel MacDonald writing from Barcelona.

ANARCHIST MEDALS

One for Leah Feldman.

MALATESTA FILM 1970?

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Marxist theory 2

From The Commune:

From Workers Liberty:

Sketchy Thoughts:

Notes and Commentaries:

Links:

Marxist Theory 1 here.

Marek Edelman

I learn from Entdinglichung that Marek Edelman has passed away. Here is how wikipedia describes him:

During World War II, he was one of the founders of the Jewish Combat Organization. He took part in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and became its leader following the death of Mordechaj Anielewicz. He also took part in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. When he died on the 2nd of October 2009 he was the last surviving leader of the Ghetto Uprising.[2][3]

After the war he remained in Poland and became a noted cardiologist. From the 1970s he collaborated with the Workers’ Defence Committee and other political groups opposing Poland’s Communist regime. As a member of Solidarity, he took part in the Polish Round Table Talks of 1989. Following the peaceful transformations of 1989, he was a member of various centrist parties. He also authored books documenting the history of wartime resistance against the German Nazi occupation.

I am gratified that, unlike the normal situation when one of my heroes dies, there are many obituaries of him already. Here are some: Moshe Arens, Nick Lowles, History is Made at Night, Tim Collard, MJ Rosenberg, the Tomb, Charlie Pottins, ZWord, Contested Terrain Jew on this, Rislu, Third Estate, Anne Frank’s Drumkit, Socialist Unity, the JC, Telegraph, Yossie Melman, NYT… and the US State Department.

Added: Read this comment by Michael Ezra, on Zionists and Bundists in resistance to the Nazis – kind of relevant to this post too.

Added 2: Another appreciation from David Rosenberg.

From the archive: Commentary debates Edelman in 1987 (via). Hannah Krall’s conversations with Edelman in 1977.

Jews versus Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War

In the last three decades, since the publication of Albert Prago’s Jews in the international brigades in Spain in 1979 by Jewish Currents, there has been considerable interest in the massive role of Jewish fighters in the Spanish civil war. Most of them were within the orbit of the official Communist movement, which controlled and dominated the International Brigades – and also the narration of its later history.  As Gerben Zaagsma and Martin Sugarman argue, the Stalinist version of that history obscured the specifically Jewish dimension to their motivations. This Jewish dimension was retrieved in the 1970s and 1980s by Jewish radical groups like Jewish Currents in the US and Jewish Socialist in the UK. However, their important commemorative work tends to focus on the Communists of the International Brigades. Lenni  Brenner’s polemic Zionism in the Age of Dictators approached the issue from a different angle: showing that the Zionist movement had no interest in anti-fascism in Spain. However, although he also provides some interesting exceptions, his emphasis confirms the Stalinist historiography in marginalising the specifically Jewish motivations and the non-Stalinist participants.

In this blog post, I want to simply mention some of the Jewish participants in the Spanish Civil War who were also part of the anti-Stalinist movement, and specifically participants who were associated with the “Three and a Half International”, the anti-Stalinist socialist international that also included the Spanish POUM and the British ILP. The information is taken from Martin Sugarman, of AJEX, Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, and his booklet Against Fascism. I have added hyperlinks. Material in italics comes from other sources, as given at the end of the extracts. (more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.33

A quick one, extracted from Entdinglichung. Victor Serge, Marceau Pivert and others from La Bataille Socialiste, mostly in French. Socialisme ou Barbarie from 1949, in French. Various Trotskyists from the Marxist Internet Archive, mostly in English. Previous edition here. Next edition will be an anarchist special. (more…)

Hall of Fame

Following on from this, read this:

Coatesy’s Hall of Leftist Fame (and Honour).

Within its Shade We’ll Live…..

The Morning Star (see below) has published a list of 10 Leftists who never sold out.

There are surely better candidates than many of theirs.

We accept that they should be twentieth and twenty-first century figures (otherwise we could go back to Ur).

However, the rules should be a bit laxer than the Star’s. They  concentrate exclusively on Office Holders. Having a degree of political or social power and influence should be the major criterion. In any kind of politics (from Cabinets to movements). This would mean no pure academics or theorists. But would embrace a wide swathe of those who’ve helped shaped the world for the better. Without them necessarily having been in charge of government.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Rosa Luxemberg. Three things stand out. Her utterly uncompromising defence of democratic freedom – against all comers. Her activism on behalf of  the power and ability of ordinary people to organise and decide for themselves.  And Rosa’s brilliant contribution to Marxist theory. Murdered by Fascist Freikörps backed by German Social Democrats. Our greatest Martyr.
  • Jean Jaurès. A founding democratic socialist Jaurès combined ethical idealism, French republicanism, internationalism, and undogmatic Marxism. In 1914 shot by nationalist. Paid for his anti-war campaigning with his life.
  • Andrés Nin. Leading figure in the Spanish POUM. Independent  Marxist  and anti-Fascist fighter, defender of  the Republican cause.  Tortured to death under the supervision of Stalin’s NKVD.
  • Antonio Gramsci. Leader of young Italian Communist Party. Imprisoned by Mussolini until his death. Active supporter of workers’ councils, and theorist of hegemony.
  • Emma Goldman. For her love of life, her free spirit, and her contribution to the cause of liberation. Loathed by bullies:  from the USA’s plutocrats  to the bureaucrats of Soviet Russia.

Now for some more recent people.

  • Michalis N. Raptis (’Pablo’). Innovative Marxist who developed out of Trotskyism into a backer of self-management. participated actively in the Algerian Revolution, and backed Thrid World Causes before this became fashionable.
  • Alain Krivine. The living embodiment of the best in European Marxist activism.
  • Evo Morales. A real Latin American leftist leader. From his work in the Indian communities of Bolivia to the mines and urban centres, Morales is a democrat and a socialist who’s got his feet on the ground. Not his head wrapped  in self-promotion and glorious deeds.
  • Aimé Césaire. Poets are the ‘unacknowledged legislatures of the world’. One of the greatest, he helped bring ”Third-world’ culture to the World at large.
Be sure to read the comments thread too, with various suggestions for no.10, including Henk Sneevliet or José Carlos Mariátegui from entdinglichungJim Larkin from modernity, and these from bob:

Died prematurely, but not too young to have turned down the chance to sell out:
* Rosa Luxembourg
* Andreu Nin
* Jean Juares

Lived plenty long enough for us to be sure about them:
* CLR James
* William Morris
* Rudolf Rocker and Millie Witkop
* Daniel Guerin
* Emma Goldman (actually got much better with age)
* Pierre Bourdieu

Might be too early to tell:
* Evo Morales


Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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What George Orwell would have said about Roman Polanski

Two versions: from Rosie Bell and Andrew Brown.

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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