Music Mondays: Flamenco Candido

Kellie of Airforce Amazons has a post about his first and last vinyl LPs at Bob’s Beats. This is an extract from that:

The other early LPs I remember my brother and I listening to were two Burl Ives LPs, and a loud flamenco record: Flamenco Candido, by The Curro Amaya Dancers with Domingo Albarado, vocal, and Juan Jiminez, guitar. The record was first published in 1959, but ours was a later reissue on the Pye Golden Guinea label.

Flamenco Candido back of sleeve

Here is another Amaya, Carmen Amaya performing Buleria from a 1963 film, Los Tarantos. I think Curro Amaya was Carmen Amaya’s nephew, and Buleria is also included on his LP. More about the Amaya family on Omayra Amaya’s website.

So, here is the guitarist, Juan Jimenez, with the great dancer Eduardo Serrano Iglesias, El Güito, again performing a bulerías.

And here is a granaína taken from a Curro Amaya record:

This day in 1903: George Orwell born

109 Jahre George Orwell

“I was born in 1903 at Motihari, Bengal, the second child of an Anglo-Indian family. I was educated at Eton, 1917-21, as I had been lucky enough to win a scholarship, but I did no work there and learned very little, and I don’t feel that Eton has been much of a formative influence in my life…”
Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 9:56 am  Comments (1)  
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75 years ago today: Orwell flees Spain

The square in Barcelona re-named in honour of George Orwell

On the morning of June 23rd 1937, George Orwell boarded a train at Barcelona station with his wife, Eileen, and two companions, John McNair and Stafford Cottman. The train was bound for the French border and Orwell (or Eric Blair – he had yet to adopt his now famous nom de plume) was posing as a wealthy English businessman travelling with his wife and associates. In reality, they were fugitives, hunted not only by the fascist forces they’d come to Spain to fight, but also by the communists. McNair was leader of a contingent of fighters organised by the Independent Labour Party (ILP) who had left England to try and stem the rising fascist tide. This small group of revolutionaries and idealists – one among many such groups from all over the world –included Orwell. Prior to boarding the train that morning he had spent much of the previous six months in the trenches until a sniper’s bullet pierced his throat. By the time he’d sufficiently recovered to leave hospital, the internal divisions within the anti-fascist forces had shattered whatever slim chances they’d had of defeating Franco and his allies. [READ THE REST, from Jim Bliss]

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 8:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Historicity

The NY Daily News has a feature on historical pictures which have been altered. Stalin’s airbrushing out of photos anyone who he wanted politically disappeared is a well known act of totalitarian historical revisionism. Less well known is Fidel Castro’s similar antics. This is from no.12 of the slide show:

COURTESY OF FOURANDSIX
Fidel Castro (r.) approved a Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1968 causing Carlos Franqui (bottom c.) to split with Castro’s regime. Castro then decided to split with any images including Franqui.

Franqui wrote:

discover my photographic death.

Do I exist?
I am a little black,
I am a little white,
I am a little shit,
On Fidel’s vest.

While I’m here, some links via Entdinglichung: From Wiesbadener Kurier on Rudolf Rocker (DE) in the Guardian a biographical interview with Selma James (EN), the Fundación Andreu Nin recall the stalinist disappearing of Andreu Nin und Camillo Berneri 75 years ago in  Barcelona (ES). In Libcom, notes on some key battles in the class struggle: The Finnish Class War 1918 (1993),  The 1946 General Strike of Rochester, New York (2007) and The occupation of the factories: Paris 1936, Flint 1937 (1999), plus Emma Goldman on The Social Importance of the Modern School (19??). And in Anti-Fascist Archive: K. Bullstreet: Bash the Fash: Anti-Fascist Recollections, 1984-1993 (199?); London Anti-Fascist Action: Filling the Vacuum (1995); and Newspaper Articles on Red Action and Anti-Fascist Action from The Guardian (1983-1996).

Gilad Atzmon’s war on the Bund

Following up from this post, anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein writes about the ex-Israeli Holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon and his war against the Bund.

It is a great tragedy that although Gilad Atzmon became revolted at what he saw in the Lebanon War of 1982, he accepted the basis premise of Zionism that it is indeed the sole representative of Jewish identity…  But he also attacks those manifestations of past Jewish identity which don’t fit in with his schema.  In particular the Bund, which as I pointed out last night and he accepted, represented 85% of the Jewish Council seats in Warsaw in 1938 are more detestable to Atzmon than Zionism.

Atzmon despicably attacks the Bund and that small remnant who weren’t wiped out by the Nazis who made their way to Israel in 1948.  A film has been made about them, a very sad and tragic film.  The Bund in Israel sought both to keep the memory of their fight in Poland alive and stay together to cherish their heritage.  I doubt if there are many Palestinians who would resent or oppose these survivors of the holocaust settling in Palestine as it then was.  Just as today Black Africans have formed a community in south Tel Aviv and been the victims of the most appalling pogroms and racist abuse. [see Xenophobia in Tel Aviv, ‘We must not let nationalism, threatened sense of identity turn us into old-time Europe’ Daniel Feldman]

The remnants of the Bund came as refugees not colonisers.  The Zionists came as colonisers and used the Jewish refugees as a battering ram, actively campaigning against their admission to the USA and elsewhere in the world.  Yet Atzmon attacks this tiny remnant who sought to preserve their socialism in the midst of a contradiction of being Jewish in a ‘Jewish’ state.  In fact the Produce Eran Torbiner, a young late 40s Bundist is a supporter as he told me of the Boycott Within.  Yet Atzmon seems to attack these of all people. Gilad Atzmon: The Bund- A Disturbing Jewish Political Exercise (must watch) 

Atzmon cites Yaacov Belek, an elderly Bundist, that “The Bund was a unique Party. It wasn’t like any other party… it was an empire. A bund member was a different kind of person. … For years we grew bigger and bigger. Before the beginning of WWII it was the largest party in Poland. We possessed everything. We had the youth, future, SKIP, sport, so many schools, we were the new type, we were the new man’   This is an example of ‘Jewish Power’  The absurdity should be obvious to anyone.  The Bund actively worked with the Polish Socialist Party.  They led the Warsaw ghetto resistance.  They campaigned against the Zionists and represented the Jewish oppressed which Atzmon terms a ‘Jews only’ party.  Well yes, the oppressed do have the right to organise separately.  Do we call the Black Panther movement in the USA ‘Blacks only’ as if it and not the KKK were the racists?  Perhaps Atzmon could consult David Duke about all of this!

Published in: on June 17, 2012 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blogging Victor Serge

Victor Serge seems to be becoming more and more prominent these days, which I welcome. It’s partly because his novel The Case of Comrade Tulayev features on various lists of books to read before you die and NYRB have added Memoirs of a Revolutionary to their library of his books in their Classics series, with an intro by the wonderful historian Adam Hochschild. I think it is also fair to say that Christopher Hitchens’ championing of him has played a role, Hitchens having come to Serge in his youthful International Socialist days, before their Leninist turn. In 2003 he wrote:

After Dostoyevsky and slightly before Arthur Koestler, but contemporary with Orwell and Kafka and somewhat anticipating Solzhenitsyn, there was Victor Serge. His novels and poems and memoirs, most of them directed at the exposure of Stalinism, were mainly composed in jail or on the run. Some of the manuscripts were confiscated or destroyed by the Soviet secret police; in the matter of poetry Serge was able to outwit them by rewriting from memory the verses he had composed in the Orenburg camp, deep in the Ural Mountain section of the Gulag Archipelago.

Serge features in Hitchens’ posthumous Arguably: as one of the “intellectual misfits…ground to powder between the upper and nether millstones of Stalin and Hitler”, dying in “penurious exile in Mexico”.

Far less well known than Hitchens, Richard Greeman deserves credit for keeping the Serge legacy alive too. You can listen to his “Conscience of a Revolution” broadcast here.

Here is some recent Serge-blogging:

  • James Bloodworth nominates him as an intellectual hero.
  • Adam David Morton starts what looks like an excellent series on his novels.
  • Orwell mentions him in his 1942 diary:  The Communists in Mexico are again chasing Victor Serge and other Trotskyist refugees who got there from France, urging their expulsion, etc., etc. Just the same tactics as in Spain. Horrible depressed to see these ancient intrigues coming up again, not so much because they are morally disgusting as from the reflection; for 20 years the Comintern has used these methods and the Comintern has always and everywhere been defeated by the Fascists; therefore we, being tied to them in a species of alliance, shall be defeated with them.
  • More negatively: A Churl attacks Susan Sontag’s introduction to Serge’s The Case of Comrade Tulayev (from the same NYRB series mentioned above). The petty, mean-spirited, Stalinoid post is mainly worth reading for his quotations from Sontag, which I reproduce below the fold.

Image above via War and Peace, from whom I also took the Hitchens quote.

***

Sontag:

It was the climate of opinion that made the courageous Romanian-born writer Panaït Istrati (1884-1935) consider withdrawing his truthful report on a sixteen-month stay in the Soviet Union in 1927-1928, Vers une autre flamme (Towards Another Flame), at the behest of the powerful French literary patron, Romain Rolland, which, when he did publish it, was rejected by all his former friends and supporters in the literary world; and that led André Malraux in his capacity as editor at Gallimard to turn down the adversarial biography of Stalin by the Russian-born Boris Souvarine (1895-1984; real name: Boris Lifchitz) as inimical to the cause of the Spanish Republic.[…]

And there was more: a memoir of the anarchist movement in pre-First World War France, a novel about the Russian Revolution, a short book of poems, and a historical chronicle of Year II of the Revolution, all confiscated when Serge was finally allowed to leave the USSR in 1936, as the consequence of his having applied to Glavlit, the literary censor, for an exit permit for his manuscripts – these have never been recovered – as well as a great deal of safely archived but still unpublished material.[…]

Music Mondays: El Grito

Contentious Centrist writes:

In the art of poetry, silence is usually a fraction of a void, an emptiness, a pause, between words that sound and resound. And for some poets, the silence can only be contrasted by a great scream of emotion or anguish or joy.

Lorca was such a poet.

None understand better the meaning of the cry (“el grito”) — the scream, the howl, that is punctuated by short, stylized silences — than the Spaniards, with their Flamenco, their duende, and the immensity of feeling they funnel through their poetry and music.

“Not unlike the guitar, in fact, the voice of the cantator is considered an instrument of the cry, the cry that dares to break the silence, just as the hands are an instrument to break the stillness, and the feet. “

The Cry

The ellipse of a cry
echoes from mountain
to mountain.

From the olive trees
a black rainbow
veils the blue night.

Ay!

Like the bow of a viola
the cry vibrates long strings
of wind.

(Translated by Ralph Angel)

There are two different choral settings of El Grito, one by Argentinian composer Maria de los Angeles cuca Esteves (here) and one by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (below). To be honest, I don’t much like either one. Although they do use silence and are powerfully unsettling, they lack duende. Would you agree?

Library of Congress photography

I know I have featured the amazing photography collection of the Library of Congress more than once in the past, but am not sure if I have featured its blog, Picture This. Here are some recent entries:

A Window on the Bolshevik Revolution

February 23rd, 2012 by Kristi Finefield

When James Maxwell Pringle departed for Russia in November 1917, his intent was to visit the Petrograd (St. Petersburg) branch of his employer, National City Bank. His business trip turned into an unexpected window on the Bolshevik Revolution. Arriving in Petrograd in the days just after the October Revolution, when Bolshevik forces overthrew the Russian …


Petrograd – Scenes of the burial of the victims of the March Revolution on the Field of Mars. Photos by James Maxwell Pringle, betw. 1917 and 1918. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31329

Arriving in Petrograd in the days just after the October Revolution, when Bolshevik forces overthrew the Russian Provisional Government, the photo album Pringle compiled is peppered with the effects of the conflict.  His photographs in Moscow, Petrograd, and other Russian cities show bullet-riddled buildings, prisoners, parades and marches, ceremonies to memorialize those killed and everyday Russians living amidst the turmoil.

Moscow – Results of the Fighting. Photo by James Maxwell Pringle, betw. 1917 and 1918. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.31325

This photo album was a recent gift to the Prints and Photographs Division by Pringle’s nephew, Robert M. Pringle, and offers a unique outsider’s perspective on the internal conflict that eventually reshaped Russia into the Soviet Union.  The photos document his travels through Russia and into Asia over the course of many months as he made his way back to the U.S. with a group of travel companions.

Pringle’s album joins the Library’s strong collections of personal photo albums and extensive research resources on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. A selection of images from the album has been digitized and the full album can be viewed by appointment in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

Learn More:

Visible Resistance: Civil Rights Photographs

February 1st, 2012 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

Students at the Woolworth's lunch counter on the second day of the sit-in, Greensboro, North Carolina

Students at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on the second day of the sit-in, Greensboro, North Carolina. UPI photo, 1960 Feb. 2. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.08095

On February 1, 1960, four young men sat down at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and ordered coffee and doughnuts.  More than fifty years later, this may not seem like a daring act, but it was.  First the waitress and then the store manager explained that the lunch counter was reserved for white people and that they could not serve the four freshmen from the nearby Agricultural & Technical College, because they were African American.

The four men– Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, David Richmond, and Joseph McNeil–refused to leave, and the next day fellow students joined the sit-in. As news of the protest spread, African Americans sat down at segregated lunch counters elsewhere in the South, and picketers demonstrated in front of Woolworth stores in New York City, even though segregation was not practiced at their lunch counters.

One-man demonstration at a closed lunch counter in Nashville

One-man demonstration at a closed lunch counter in Nashville. UPI photo, 1960 March 25. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c35490

Protest by ministers

Protest by ministers. AP photo, 1960. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.08096

Photographs of the sit-ins distributed by the news wire services convey the resolve of the students, the hostile reaction they endured, as well as the impact on lunch counter business.  The images helped raise  awareness of racial injustice and growing resistance to it.  Today they offer a continuing reminder of the many individual acts of courage that made up the Civil Rights movement.

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C.

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C. Photo by Warren K. Leffler for U.S News & World Report, 1963 Aug. 28. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.04297

Our pictorial collections document many events of the Civil Rights era.  We have digitized quite a few of the images, and  hundreds more can be viewed with an on-site visit.  Because of rights considerations, many digitized images from the period display only in small size outside Library of Congress buildings, but we also have images that have no known restrictions on publication, with digital images that can be seen in greater detail from anywhere.  We have assembled a selection of such images in our reference aid, “The Civil Rights Era in the U.S. News & World Report Photographs Collection: A Select List .”

As we begin African American History Month, we hope that the pictures and many other resources of the Library of Congress offer an opportunity to learn and to reflect.

Learn more:

Is the conflict in Syria the new Spanish civil war?

As reported in the ALBA veterans magazine, Barry Rubin is the latest commentator to suggest that Syria is the Spanish civil war of our time, a contention contested from the right by Daniel Larison. Already in March, veteran journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave had made the same point: Is Syria 2011 the same as Spain 1936

And a fortnight ago, the great human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell tweeted “#Homs & #Houla are the #Guernica of our era. Fascist-style bombing by killer”. That point too was made by the nutty LaRouchite pseudo-historian Webster Griffin Tarpley in an interview with the propaganda outlet of another totalitarian regime, Press TV:

It is also beginning to resemble the Spanish civil war, I think, of Guernica, the bombing of this little town in the Basque country by German Nazi and Italian fascist aviation that killed about a thousand people. This time it is Guernica but undercover; it is a stealth Guernica that has been imposed and I think it is important for people in the world that are interested in truth to trumpet this from their house tops.

One blogger, Trenchant Observer, writes:

An image from the Spanish civil war, Pablo Picasso’s painting “Guérnica”, may express the terror which confronts the Syrian people. Ironically, a tapestry based on that painting, which symbolizes the horrors of war (see above), adorned the entrance to the Security Council chambers until Colin Powell insisted that it be removed before his press conferences justifying the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is now on loan to a gallery in England, pending “remodeling” at the U.N.

So should the “international right of protection” be forgotten at Homs, just as constitutional government was left to shift for itself in the 1930s in Spain?

And, of course, the same points were made about Libya last year – see e.g. here and here.

Is there any justification in the comparison?

 

Well, the problem is that the people making these comparisons (not Barry Rubin, though, by the way) tend to remember Spain as a two-sided struggle between Bad fascism and Good freedom. The Right Thing to do was to sign up in the International Brigade and for democratic nations to arm the Republicans. In this analogy, the Right Thing must be to become foreign fighters in the Free Syrian Army or at least to arm it.

In fact, though, the Spanish war was at least three-sided: Rubin mentions a “coalition of democrats both social democratic and liberal; communal nationalists [e.g. Catalan]; anarchists, Communists, and independent Marxists”, but of course this coalition was a tense one, with Communists (including the International Brigade) killing anarchists, democrats and independent Marxists at the same time as they were fighting fascism. In fact, though, this is the real situation in Syria, with Assad’s fascist regime challenged by democrats and “communal nationalists” (Kurds, Druze, etc) and the left – but also by the right-wing brotherhood and a small current of jihadi Islamists who make Franco look benign.

So, I don’t know what the Poumist position on Syria should be, but I think it is actually helpful to think about it.

Published in: on June 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm  Comments (7)  
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¡Pistoleros!

Carlo Tresca (1879-1943) was an Italian-born A...

Carlo Tresca (1879-1943) was an Italian-born American anarchist, newspaper editor, and labor agitator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the wonderful Christie Books site:

Book Review: ¡Pistoleros! – The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg, Vol. 3: 1920-24 by Phil Ruff

Spanish anarchism and revolutionary action – 1961-1974 by Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac, ChristieBooks (Kindle edition)

The anti-Francoist guerrilla in Galicia — Mario Rodríguez Losada (O Pinche) by Antonio Téllez (Kindle edition)

And, below the fold, From the archive of struggle, no,75, mostly via Entdinglichung: (more…)

Music Mondays: Tiene Corazón

I just read this post at one of my favourite blogs, For the Sake of the Song:

Back with the only album I managed to score during a wonderful but busy trip to my beautiful Catalunya: Canastera. One of the few Camarón classics I didn’t own yet, it’s another collaboration with the mighty Paco De Lucía on guitar. Here’s two choice cuts, sung straight from the heart as always.
El Camarón De La Isla – No Dudes De La Nobleza
El Camarón De La Isla – Las Campanas También Lloran

Here is a YouTube video of “No Dudes De La Nobleza”. The song is a fandango, I think written by Antonio de la Calzá, from Seville, and it celebrates Gitano (Gypsy) identity, which was quite subversive in 1972, the dusk of the Franco dictatorship, when Camarón and De Lucía made this record, the fourth in their string of more or less annual collaborations in this period.

Published in: on June 4, 2012 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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