A wonderful gallery at Libcom. Here’s just a taste – go enjoy the real thing.
Stamps from CNT/FAI coll. BG H14/60
When it became clear that the Spanish Republicans were losing the Civil War, contacts between the IISH and the anarchist organizations CNT and FAI were established. They hoped to be able to shelter the archives far from Franco’s Spain. Internal problems and military control delayed the beginning of the transfer. In March 1939 Franco embargoed the archives. Yet, in April, 22 wooden boxes with papers and photos were transferred to the London department of the IISH. Those boxes contained the latest stamps: the last validated date on the FAI stamp was 21 January 1939, five days before the fall of Barcelona
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Read this great post: Homage (from a beach) in Catalonia. Illustrations extracted below.
From the archive of struggle, no.19. Non-anoraks, skip this post, and go to this one, on Obama’s taste in reading and an alternative to the Richard and Judy book club, or this one, on early jazz and recent fado, or this one, on how blogging has re-invigorated radical history.
First of all, ArchivesHub last month highlighted the Greater Manchester Collection of Steve Cohen, lawyer and anti deportation campaigner, 1975-1996. Go here for the website, which includes links to selected websites and some excellent suggested reading.. For background on Steve Cohen, check Engage/Bob.
Marxist Internet Archive:
- Added to the J. T. Murphy Archive: The Communist Party of Great Britain (1943) and The Last Great Split in World Communism (1948) [Poumista: Latter is particularly recommended. Murphy played a part in the 1926 expulsion of Trotsky from the Communist International, was expelled himself in 1932 for challenging its disasterous ultra-left Third Period politics, and reflects here on these two expulsions and on Tito's. By the way, Murphy's wikipedia page badly needs editing!]
- Added to the Rudolf Hilferding Archive: State Capitalism or Totalitarian State Economy 1940 [Poumista: This piece is also important, as a key intervention in the debate about the character of the Soviet Union. Hilferding wrote it as the Nazis boot was stamping on the face of France, not long before he was handed by the Vichy French to the Gestapo, who would murder him and take his wife Rose to Auschwitz, where she perished. His characterisation of the Stalinist system as totalitarian has considerable force.]
- Added to the Brian Pearce Archive: Rank-and-file Movements of the Thirties, 15 November 1958 (Constant Reader) [Poumista: Pearce is another important, neglected character. Like EP Thompson, he was part of the Communist Party Historians Group, but re-thought Stalinism in the wake of Russia's counter-revolution crushing of the Hungarian revolution 1956, getting himself expelled in 1957. A close associate of Peter Fryer, he passed with him through the orbit of Gerry Healey. This piece, I think, dates from his time with Healey's Club, and is an important contribution to the 1950s' revisioning of Anglo-Stalinist and labour history.]
[Beneath the fold: Spanish anarchist histories, and more besides] (more…)
A Great of the Workers’ Movement: Abel Paz (1921 – 2009).
Abel Paz, pen name of Diego Camacho, has died.
Brought to politics in the 1930s as a member of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) (CNT Obituary) Diego fought in Spain against Franco and the counter-revolution. A member of the legendary Durruti column he took part in some of the most violent batttles. As a supporter of the libertarian syndicalist side he participated in the – failed – 1937 Barcelona combat against the Stalinist take-over. At the end of the war, when Catalonia finally had gone down in 1939, Paz survived and fled to France. The author of a number of important histories of the Spanish war, he remained a committed anarchist all his life, saying that,
“El anarquismo invoca una vida completamente diferente. Trata de vivir esta utopía un poco cada día.
Anarchism means a completely different form of life. Try to live a little of this utopia every day.
If anyone on the left dismisses anarchism, one should contemplate the life of this hero of the international workers’ movement.
Read “Barcelona in Flames”, an extract from his Durruti book, here.
Yes, I know there are more important things going on in the world today, but here are some tidbits from the history of struggle. From the archive of struggle, no.9.
- UK: Sean Malgamna on Gerry Healey and the failure of British Trotskyism 
- UK/US: Sean Matgamna on Shachtmanism 
- UK: Ray Challinor on class war in the Blitz 
- US/global: Trotsky and CLR James in debate 
- Scotland/Spain: Stan Crooke on Scottish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War (review of Daniel Gray’s Homage to Caledonia 
- US: Norman Birnbaum on C Wright Mills 
- Netherlands: An eyewitness account of Henk Sneevliet’s execution in a Nazi prison 
- US: Fred Hart on Stalinism and Negro intellectuals 
- France/UK: John McNair on the birth of the PSOP [1938, in French]
- Mexico/France/global:Alfred Rosmer on Julian Gorkin’s account of Trotsky’s murder 
- US: Luke Tripp on the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) 
- Spain: Interview with a CNT militant from the Seville shipyards 
Many via Entdinlichung.
From Anarchist Writers:
Review of The CNT in the Spanish Revolution by Jose Peirats
The Meltzer Press should be congratulated on producing Peirats classic history of the CNT. It is a wonderful book and a vital resource on the history and politics of the CNT. While its cost may put people off buying it, all I can say is that it is worth the money. It is a goldmine of useful information and facts, presenting an honest and comprehensive account of the CNT from its founding in 1911 to approximately the end of 1937.[...]
THE SPANISH REVOLUTION BEGINS:It was not a dark and stormy night, but the atmosphere in the streets of Barcelona was just as electric. On July 14, 1936 General Mola had summoned military commanders to his headquarters in northern Spain to finalize the details of a military coup against the Popular Front government. On July 17 General Franco flew to Morocco where the military uprising had already begun. The Spanish government dithered and proclaimed the situation “under control”. The government censored a notice in the CNT’s paper Solidaridad Obrera warning the workers of the impending coup, but the anarchists considered it important enough to reprint and distribute by hand. The local government of Catalonia refused to turn over arms to the CNT’s Defence Committees, and anarchist longshoremen stormed ships carrying arms on the night of the 17th and turned them over the the CNT. The government tried to recover the arms but failed. Throughout the 18th the workers in Barcelona obtained what arms they could while the government issued paper decrees in the absence of any real authority. [...]