From the archive of struggle no.66

On This Deity:

* 1ST JANUARY 1804THE BLACK JACOBINS AND THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION

*1ST JANUARY 1994THE ZAPATISTA UPRISING

*4TH JANUARY 1960THE DEATH OF ALBERT CAMUS

*8TH JANUARY 1972THE DEATH OF KENNETH PATCHEN

*11TH JANUARY 1943THE ASSASSINATION OF CARLO TRESCA

From Bastard Archive, via Ent.:

Anarcho-Surrealist Insurrectionary Feminists, September 1973 from Melbourne/Australia from Bastard Archive, with the article Desire and Need by Murray Bookchin.

J.A. Andrews – A brief biography

by Bob James. Published by Monty Miller Press. Originally published in 1985. John Arthur Andrews was an Australian anarchist and early member of the Melbourne Anarchist Club in the nineteenth century. This brief biography by Australian anarchist historian Bob James covers his emergence into the Australian labour and anarchist scene at the turn of the century.

From archive.org via Ent.

* Dittmar Dahlmann: Land und Freiheit. Machnovschina und Zapatizmo als Beispiele agrarrevolutioärer Bewegungen (1986)

* Arthur E. Adams: The Great Ukrainian Jacquerie (1977) Article in the anthology The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution, edited by Taras Hunczak, 1977

Anarchism Tree (by Hogeye Bill)

Image by Adam Crowe via Flickr

From libcom via Ent.:

-  John Foster: Class Struggle and the industrial revolution: early industrial Capitalism in three English Towns

- Robert Weldon Whalen: Like fire in broom straw: Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931

- Antonio Negri: Books for Burning: Between Civil War and Democracy in 1970s Italy

- Lucien Van Der Walt/Michael Schmidt: Black Flame: The revolutionary class politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism

- Benjamin Franks: Rebel Alliances: The means and ends of contemporary British anarchism

- Errico Malatesta: At the Café: Conversations on anarchism

Anarchist Alexander Berkman speaking in Union ...

From the Irish Anarchist History archive:

Anarchist Workers Alliance expose fascist meeting – April 1981

Alexander Berkman -The Only Hope of Ireland (1916)

From anarkismo:

Del desgaste del modelo neoliberal al ciclo de protestas. by Horacio Vergara Tello

polonia.gifAniversario del golpe militar en Polonia (dic. de 1981) y del colapso de la URSS (dic. del… by Frank Mintz

“The Anarchist Movement In Egypt 1860–1940″ by Anthony Gorman (2010)

*Emilienne Morin

mejias_collazo.jpg*Las luchas revolucionarias de la región, a calzón quitado by Daniel Tirso Fiorotto

facon_grande.jpg*Facón Grande: en la Patagonia cuentan proezas del legendario carrero entrerriano by Daniel Tirso Fiorotto

From the Marxist Internet Archive:

*Added to the Raya Dunayevskaya ArchiveState Capitalism and the Bureaucrats, 1960. This is what Criticism etc has to say about it:

A January 1960 text by Raya Dunayevskaya—”State Capitalism and the Bureaucrats“—has just been released by the Marxists Internet Archive. This article originally appeared inThe Socialist Leader, the newspaper of the Independent Labour Party. Although long past its heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, the ILP maintained a newspaper until it re-merged into the Labour Party in 1975.

Dunayevskaya had just visited Italy to attend an international conference of tendencies adhering to a state-capitalist (regarding the USSR) position, which was organized by Onorato Damen. The text of speeches she delivered to workers in Genoa and Milan on this occasion can be found in the microfilmed Raya Dunayevskaya Collection (see #9470 and #9474). Dunayevskaya also visited the UK on this trip, meeting with Peter Cadogan, who was instrumental in publishing her Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revolutions in Britain in 1960, and the Scottish Marxist-Humanist Harry McShane.

The text is a stirring indictment of the theory and practice of what can be called the high era of automated production. This piece is notable for Dunayevskaya’s discussion of such figures as sociologist C. Wright Mills, the philosopher Hannah Arendt, and Norbert Weiner, the father of now largely forgotten school of cybernetics. Note that in this piece she cites her 1947 manuscript, Marxism and State Capitalism (see The Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, #472-#504). This was the text that was to be developed into Marxism and Freedom, published in 1958.

*Added to the French  Boris Souvarine ArchiveAprès le Congrès de Tours et la scission salutaire [1920]

*Added to the Maurice Brinton Internet Archive:  France: Reform or Revolution, Solidarity Leaflet (May 1968); France: The Theoretical Implications, Solidarity, V, 8 (March 1969); The Events in France, Solidarity, V, 9 (April 1969); A Question of Power, Solidarity Leaflet (July 1969)

*Added to the Chris Harman ArchiveResponse to Christopher Hitchens (1994) (Letter to the London Review of Books)

*Added to the new Arthur Rosenberg ArchiveA History of the German Republic, 1936

* The Spanish Section greets the new year with the addition of a text to the Archivo Andreu NinEl marxismo y los movimientos nacionalistas (1934)

*Added to the French Trotskyists under the Occupation History ArchiveBulletin interne of the Parti Communiste Internationaliste, 1944

From radicalarchive.org:

*Murray Bookchin: Anarchism vs anarcho-syndicalism (1992)

Books/Obituaries

Stuart at New Appeal to Reason posts his books of 2011. Here are some of them. Note: the numbers are messed up here, but it seems too fiddly to change. Sorry. Read the original.

  1.  John Nichols, The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition…Socialism
    Nichols has written a persuasive case that socialism is as American as apple pie.  From the forgotten radical economics of founding father Thomas Paine and the utopian socialists who founded the Republican Party to Victor Berger, the socialist Congressman from Milwaukee, who opposed WWI to Michael Harrington it is a great read.
    The subtitle is a little misleading.  Nichols leaves out some important topics that even a short history should contain: the Populist movement of the 1890s and the most successful Socialist Party of the Debs era–the Oklahoma socialists, discussed brilliantly in Jim Bissett’s Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson, and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920.
  2. Joe Burns, Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America
    Carl Finamore reviewed it on Talking Union
    a valuable contribution to resurrecting fundamental lessons from the neglected history of American labor.
    As the title suggests and as he emphasized to me, “the only way we can revive the labor movement is to revive a strike based on the traditional tactics of the labor movement.”But he doesn’t stop there. The author reviews for the reader the full range of tactics and strategy during the exciting, turbulent and often violent history of American labor.Refreshingly, he also provides critical assessments normally avoided by labor analysts of a whole series of union tactics that have grown enormously popular over the last several decades.
  3. Louisa Thomas Conscience Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family–a Test of Will and Faith in World War I Even though I’ve read two biographies of Norman Thomas, this book by Thomas’s great-granddaughter greatly added to my knowledge and appreciation of Thomas.

    Alan Riding’s review in the New York Times seems on the mark

    Louisa Thomas, who never knew her great-­grandfather, might well have chosen to write his biography as a way of meeting him. Instead, in her first book, “Conscience: Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family — A Test of Will and Faith in World War I,” she has been far more daring. In fact, the lengthy subtitle is a bit misleading. Yes, Norman and his brother Evan were pacifists and their brothers Ralph and Arthur joined the Army. And yes, Evan was jailed as a conscientious objector and Ralph was wounded in the trenches. Yet the thrust of this enthralling book lies with its title: through the experience of her forebears, Thomas examines how conscience fares when society considers it subversive.

    At issue is not Norman Thomas’s socialism: it barely enters the picture because he joined the Socialist Party only a month before the end of the war. Instead, we are shown the “making” of a socialist, formed not by Marx but by the Bible.

    Also recommended is Mark Johnson’s review and interview of Louisa Thomas on the Fellowship of Reconciliation blog.

     
  4. Bruce Watson, Freedom Summer
  5. Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice  

    Two outstanding books on critical episodes in the civil rights movement: the 1961 Freedom Rides to confront the segregation of interstate bus terminals and the 1964 Freedom Summer to register  African Americans in Mississippi.  Watson is the author of an excellent book on Sacco and Vanzetti (which I have read) and one on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike. Aresensault’s book is a long one, but there  is an abridged version and a DVD of the PBS documentary based on it.

    9.   Philip Dray, There is Power in the Union

    I bought this at the bookstore at the 2011 Netroots nation and found that it lives up to its subtitle “Epic Story of Labor in America.” It is now out in paperback.    There are other recent general  histories of US labor (Mel Dubofsky’s Labor in America: A History and Nelson Lichtenstein’s 2003 State of the Union: A Century of American Labor, A.B. Chitty’s 2002 From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend, and the 2007 two-volume Who Built America).  They might be preferred by academics or labor studies professionals, but for the general reader, union activist, or occupier, There is Power in the Union is highly recommended.
    10. Barbara Clark Smith The Freedoms We Lost:Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America

    This is an eye-opening study of the real-life freedoms in revolutionary America. In a post on the History News Network, Smith brings out the huge differences between today’s Tea Party and the original. If you find that post  intriguing, you might want to check out the book.

And here are two obituaries of two we lost in 2011, from Criticism etc:

Daniel Bell, 1919-2011

Now largely forgotten, Bell was once an influential intellectual and sociologist from the milieu of those who have come to be known as the New York Intellectuals. He editedThe New Leader, the organ of the right-wing of American  social democracy, during World War II and went on to receive a PhD in sociology from Columbia University. He taught for many years at Harvard. Raya Dunayevskaya often cited his The End of Ideology (1960) as the quintessence of the false intellectual representation of the official capitalist society of the age of state capitalism, while the revolts of the time, among them Hungary and the colonial world, represented the negation of that falsification of reality. Bell contributed to  the development of the school of thought of neoconservatism, so-called, (he helped launch the journal Public Interest with William Kristol), although he did not move as far to right as many of his cohort.

• • •

Lana Peters (also known as Svetlana Alliluyeva), 1926-2011

An almost ghost-like figure from another time, Stalin’s daughter lived a peripatetic life after defecting from the USSR during the early years of the Brezhnev era. She authored several memoirs, including Twenty Letters to a Friend and Only One Year. Alliluyeva’s mother was Stalin’s second wife, Nadezhda Aliluyeva, who committed suicide in 1932. Svetlana Alliluyeva married a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright-Olgivanna Wright circle, William Peters, and had a daughter with him. Although Alliluyeva had harshly criticized the USSR after her emigration, she returned there briefly in the 1980s, but once again left it behind for England and the United States. She died in Wisconsin. The New York Times obituary features several photographs, including one of her as a child in her Young Pioneers uniform.

A few pints

Drinking: The perfect pubA tax on the drinking classes. Absent friend. Double Johnny Walker Blacks.

Arguing: Morning Star’s “fellow feeling” with Cameron on EURichard Gott on the Falklands. Socialism and democracy. Michael Foot the extremist. Anarchism and syndicalism.

Hitchens

Cross-post: an extract from a longer piece at Bob From Brockley: On reading obituaries of Christopher Hitchens

I’ve barely started going through the flood of obituaries and memories of Christopher Hitchens. I started writing my own, but it seems a little surplus to requirement. Kellie provides the definitive list of links (as well as Hitchens commenting on totalitarianism, in light of the departure of the North Korean dictator), and a good first point of call is Vanity Fair. Rosie sums up the rest: “The tributes are pouring in, the reminiscences, the summings ups, the paying off of old scores. The famous, the obscure, the mandarin and the meanest of spirits are all having their say. I’ve read a few of their pieces and liked David Frum’s best of all for its warmth and this final paragraph from Jacob Weisberg.” Terry Glavin’s, of course, is especially lovely, as is George Szirtes’. And, although it feels strange to say it, given how little regard I’ve had for Peter Hitchens up to now, his lovely brotherly obituary in the Mail is probably the single thing most worth reading.

Francis Sedgemore comments on the throwaway nature of many of the obits, and in a highly recommended short post shows how journalism has changed for the worst since Hitchens entered the trade. Francis is right, and most of the ones I’ve read have irritated me more than anything else.[…]

Drink-Soaked Popinjay

I think this post at Harry’s Place best captures what Hitchens meant in the last decade or so to people like me, who groped for “an anti-Islamist, anti-Saddam, pro-democracy left” in the new world order opened up by 9/11, as we watched our former comrades on the left go deeper and deeper into the abyss of isolationist, anti-American, anti-democratic “anti-imperialism” and its alliance with various forms of right-wing politics, an alliance we could not have imagined a few years before. As the author says, Hitchens was an inspiration for the early noughties trans-Atlantic political blogging explosion (that I was one of the later, smaller tremors), due to the strange synchronicity between the availability of Web 2.0 as a platform and the locking out of morally decent people from the old platforms of the mainstream left.

This point is made too when Francis describes Hitchens as a “fellow drink-soaked popinjay”, taking up as a badge of pride the wonderful term of abuse coined by the eloquent George Galloway, which of course was the name of the collective blog Francis was part of a few years back, which defined the range of anti-totalitarian radicalism so well.

I’m not sure what the connection is between the drink-soaked thing and the anti-totalitarianism, but there is one: totalitarianism is based on the suppression or deferral of human desires and pleasures. Marx, a spendthrift, hard-drinking bon viveur beloved by small children, would have been unable to live under the regimes he gave his name to, while Chomsky’s priggish hatred of sport, music or anything fun illuminates why his brand of libertarianism is ultimately actually authoritarian. Hence the contempt from the puritans Ian Leslie callsthin-lipped disapprovers”.

Here’s Nick Cohen, who famously turned up splendidly drunk to denounce the right-wingers honoured with a prize named after George Orwell (a truly libertarian socialist, as well as a man who liked to smoke and drink), on the BBC’s mean-spirited obituary:

[It was delivered by its media correspondent, Nick Higham, a ferrety cultural bureaucrat who has never written a sentence anyone has remembered. He assured the nation that Hitchens was an “alcoholic”. Hitchens could certainly knock it back. But [if] he were a true alcoholic he… would he have been loved, for addicts are too selfish to love. Something else the BBC broadcast inadvertently explained was why the world feels a more welcoming place for the tyrannical and the censorious without him.

Francis Wheen makes a more important point: “Even when he reached for another late-night whisky, his perception remained unerringly sober.” And Michael Weiss: “Friendship was his only real ideology.”

Former Trotskyist Bushite

Leninists (not least those of bourgeois origin, i.e. most of them) would no doubt call the imperative to not speak ill of the dead a form of “bourgeois morality” to be dispensed with. Of course, they’re right, and Hitchens would agree with them: Kim Jong-il’s passing does not exempt him from derision and hatred, and nor would that of, say, Ahmadinejad or Kissinger (example: Hitchens the day after Jerry Falwell died). But I was irritated by the petty-ness of some of the vindictive lightweights coming out to kick Hitchens’ corpse and of some of the Leninist inquisitors coming out to confirm his ex-communication from the sect.

The reliably appalling Guardian paleo-conservative Simon Jenkins come out with one of the standard lines: writes: “The identikit Trot of our early friendship had became a rabid Bushite defending the Iraq war”. It’s worth noting that his Trotskyism was of a very particular sort: he was inducted into the International Socialists (the forerunner of the current, dreadful SWP) by Peter Sedgwick, in its most heterodox, intellectually vibrant period, a time when its publications were open to several non-party members, and when it was as much in thrall to the anti-Leninist Rosa Luxemburg as it was to Trotsky. (Hitchens, in turn, helped induct Alex Callinicos into the party of which he is now a leading member and Callinicos has written a nice and surprisingly generous obit for the Socialist Worker.) The IS did an important job, in a period when the left dominated by the authoritarian Third Worldist fantasies epitomised by Tariq Ali’s IMG, of retrieving a libertarian, democratic tradition within Marxism, the tradition of William Morris, Hal Draper, Victor Serge, CLR James, Sylvia Pankhurst, Max Shachtman and George Orwell. Arguably, it is this anti-Stalinist left that has been the model for the anti-totalitarianism of the so-called decent left, especially its more left-wing varieties.

HP retorts against Jenkins: “Although he was a Marxist to the end and certainly a Trotskyist for many years, I find it hard to imagine Hitchens as ‘identikit’ in any way. And, of course, he certainly never became a ‘rabid Bushite’. I’ll get to the Bushite bit later, but want to amplify the point about Marxism. Here’s Michael Weiss: “Well unto the toppling of Saddam, the only time I heard Hitch use the word “conservative” in a laudatory fashion was when it preceded the word “Marxist.””[…]

Traitor

The hatred of Hitchens from the Seymours is the hatred of the cult-member for the apostate. He betrayed the left, and it can’t forgive him. Most of them frame Hitchens’ right-ward turn as literally selling out, as exchanging correct thought for the yankee dollar. As David Aaronovitch puts it:

Typical was this, written in May last year, from the high-table revolutionary Terry Eagleton in the New Statesman, claiming that “those who, like Christopher Hitchens, detest a cliché turn into one of the dreariest types of them all: the revolutionary hothead who learns how to stop worrying about imperialism and love… Paul Wolfowitz”. In other words, he was the lean young man corrupted by proximity to power and need for money, and turned into the fat shill of the people’s enemy.*#

Smarter critics understand Hitchens’ turn in the context of the religious structure of leftist thought. Andrew Coates’ review of the book explores the issue of Hitchens’ relationship with the faith of leftism, and faith is exactly the right term. Leftism is a religion, and Hitchens’ boring obsession with religions in general must be connected to his own relationship to the leftist faith. A more interesting analysis of his apostasy was written up by Guy Rundle in the Spiked Review of Books a year of two ago (h/t AC). Worth noting that Spiked’s origins are also in the IS of that era: its guru Frank Furedi left “in 1975 on issues that remain obscure to all concerned”. Like other escapees from the Tony Cliff cult, Furedi’s RCP also eventually became apostates for the left, right-wing libertarians who make Hitchens’ alleged Bushism look like orthodox Trotskyism. Rundle suggests that Hitchens

took from the IS/SWP’s oppositionality, not a mode of doing politics, but a form of political moralising that rapidly becomes a tiresome and inecessant [sic] judgement on the taking and wielding of power itself. Thus in the early Oxford Union years we continually encounter revolutionaries, activists, writers and so on held to be bursting with brilliance, only to be tagged with the premonitory phrase about the thugs, monsters or moral failures they became. Overwhelmingly this is because they took the power they were campaigning for, and having done so, had to make some grisly choices. But for Hitchens, the result is an endlessly repeated political Fall, in which oppositionality becomes a series of impossible standards.

Perhaps this says less about Hitchens than it does about Spiked’s cringeful adoration of power in the form of the Conservative party (for Rundle, Hitchens reached his “low point” when he slagged off Matthew Parrish for being… a Conservative!) and their pose of oppositionality to the “liberal elite”. But it rings true on one level.

However, the notion that Hitchens abandoned the left is simplistic. First, it ignore the fact that in some ways he was always a dissident within the left. In Hitch-22, he describes the double life he led in his early IS days, when by night he dined, drank and fucked with the most decadent dredges of the ruling class in Oxford, and later his early (limited) enthusiasm for Margaret Thatcher. His support for Solidarity and other Eastern Bloc rebels was shared with the rest of the anti-Stalinist left (including, I think, the SWP). His support for Western intervention in the 1990s also presaged his post-9/11 position. As Aaronovitch puts it:

Rwanda provided the embers, Bosnia the fire. Any internationalist, any progressive, any leftwinger would want to intervene to try to prevent such horrors – and not just because they were horrible either, but because they made the world worse for everyone.*

And the idea of Hitchens as turncoat also ignores the continuity in his leftism after 9/11. Not just the obvious points that he continued his crusade against Kissinger and Mother Teresa, against the moral majority dominant strand of American conservatism, and so on, and pretty sharp criticisms of Bush, as well as his attacks on his friend Martin Amis’ ignorant anti-communism in Koba the Dread and his championing of Trotsky on Radio 4. But more fundamentally that his opposition to Ba’athism and to Islamism was rooted in left-wing values not conservative ones. In short, the caricature of Hitchens is, again quoting Aaronovitch, “a self-comforting lozenge that the lazy intellectual Left sucks on to make its pain and doubts go away.”

What the meme reveals is the extent to which the Iraq war, even more than Israel, has acted as a cultural code, a shibboleth, for the self-definition of a left that has lost its moral compass as it has abandoned its core constituency and core values. Aaronovitch again: “When the Iraq war finally began in the spring of 2003 after almost a year of argument, it became clear that many on the Left now regarded being against the war as the test of belief, as the essential membership card for comradeship.” Perhaps now, as the last American troops withdraw from Iraq, the left has the opportunity to let go of its obsession and move on. But probably not…


Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Happy new year from Poumista

This is a post to say thanks to all of you for reading and especially for commenting and linking.

My top referrers, not counting google etc, in 2011 were:
1. Rooieravotr
2. Tendance Coatesy
3. Shiraz Socialist
4. Boffy
5. Bob From Brockley
6. Luxemburger Anarchist
7. ΟΥΤΕ ΘΕΟΣ – ΟΥΤΕ ΑΦΕΝΤΗΣ
8. Journeyman
9. Histomatist
10. David Osler
11. Inveresk Street
12. Entdinglichung
13. Lady Poverty
14. On A Raised Beach (much missed)
15. A Very Public Socioloigist

Most popular posts were:

  1. Anarchism or your money back
  2. Amidah: Defiance
  3. Globalise the jasmine revolution: some notes from history and theory
  4. From the archive of struggle no.43
  5. On this day, 1945: Eileen O’Shaughnessy died
  6. On this day: 22 June 1937 – Andres Nin murdered
  7. Jews versus Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War
  8. Books
  9. Christopher Hitchens and Robert Service talk Trotsky
  10. Shoot them like partridges
  11. From the archive of struggle no.37
  12. Orwell turning in his grave?
  13. Music Monday 1: Carnation revolution
  14. From the archive of struggle: student activism in the 1930s
  15. Poumatica

Most commented on posts:

  1. More catching up
  2. Anarchism versus Leninism
  3. Workers’ Liberty
  4. Max Shachtman, Hal Draper and the anarchists
  5. My obsessions
  6. Uses and abuses: George Orwell and Norman Thomas
  7. Orwell turning in his grave?
  8. War, and class war
  9. On a roll, no.3
  10. Shoot them like partridges
  11. Democratic Green Stalinist?

Most popular search terms:

  1. poumista
  2. dirlewanger [I have no idea why!]
  3. poum
  4. spanish civil war
  5. carnation revolution
  6. george orwell
  7. eugene debs
  8. andres nin
  9. trotsky
  10. victor serge
  11. leon trotsky death
  12. trotsky dead
  13. anarchism
  14. spanish civil war posters
  15. leon trotsky
  16. mika etchebéhère
  17. spanish anarchists
  18. united farm workers logo
  19. robert service trotsky
  20. poum poster
  21. emma goldman
  22. eileen o’shaughnessy
  23. gerda taro
  24. manolis glezos

Most prolific commenters:

1. Michael Ezra
2. Petey
3. Entdinglichung
4. Kellie Strom
5. Darren

Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm  Comments (3)  

Today in 1939: Returning from Spain

From Getty Images:

01 Jan 1939
Irish volunteers injured during the Spanish Civil War arrive back in Dublin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
By: Keystone
Collection: Hulton Archive
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