From the archive of struggle no.76: Poumism and Shachtmanism

Up to January 2013 now with new additions to the extraordinary Marxist Internet Archive. Obviously, the first thing here is of most interest to me.

La Verite

Added to the archive of the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista/Workers Party of Marxist Unification a section of the Spanish Revolution History Archive is the complete run of the POUM’s English Language publication edited in Barcelona by American revolutionary socialists Lois and Charles Orr: The Spanish Revolution.

Spanish Revolution was the English language publication of the P.O.U.M. Edited by Lois and Charles Orr. In 1936 they had setup within the ranks of the Socialist Party of America the Revolutionary Policy Committee of the Socialist Party of the U.S. While the P.O.U.M. itself was never Trotskyist, many in the ranks of Trotskyism, and those near it politically, supported the publication.

Russell Blackwell, who was in Spain as a supporter of the P.O.U.M wrote, 30 years later for the Greenwood Reprints of The Spanish Revolution, the following:

Spanish Revolution faithfully reported events during its period of publication from the point of view of the P.O.U.M. Its first issue appeared on October 21, 1936, at a time when the revolutionary process was already beginning to decline. Its final issues dealt with the historic May Days of 1937 and the events immediately following, which led to the Stalinist takeover.

These 28 issues of The Spanish Revolution  were digitized by Marty Goodman of the Riazanov Library Project

They are all digitised as whole pdfs for each issue.

Other stuff: (more…)

From the archive of struggle; new at MIA

Some texts newly up at the Marxist Internet Archive. (more…)

On this day: 22 June 1937 – Andres Nin murdered

I read this post from Rustbelt Radical last year, a few months after it was posted, and it moved me greatly. Rather than link to it then, I thought it would be good to save it for the anniversary this year. It is Victor Serge’s tribute to a great man and his indictment of Stalinism.

A Spanish Spectre

andreu NIN y Solano

The memory of Stalinism in the collective mind is often focused on the gray tower bloc and the gulag, on the cult of personality and the official lie.  Stalinism’s perfidy was not limited, however, to razor wire on the Siberian steppe or to the assassination chamber of a spattered Moscow basement.  On this day in 1937 in the midst of the Spanish Civil War Andrès Nin, a leading member of the Workers Party of Marxist Unity (POUM), was murdered by Stalinists.

Stalinism’s raison d’être, like all bureaucracies, was the defense of itself and the greatest threat to it came from the working class it claimed to lead.  Perhaps nowhere was that threat greater than in the Spain of the 1930s.  Nin was a partisan of workers’ power, of workers’ democracy- ideas fatal to Stalinism.  He was murdered along with thousands of others in the name of “anti-fascist unity”; that is unity between the Stalinists and the ghosts of the liberal Spanish bourgeoisie.  The fascists won and ruled Spain for the next 40 years.  Never forgive, never forget.

poum copia (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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