Talking heads

[Note, today, 20 December, is Sidney Hook’s birthday.]

Bayard Rustin vs Malcolm X, on black nationalism and Islam

Sidney Hook on liberalism, socialism and social democracy

Leon Trotsky on the Moscow trials

Emma Goldman on returning to the United States

EP Thompson on “society” for historians and for anthropologists

Raya Dunayevkaya on being a radical

No Gods, no bosses, no husbands: the other half of anarchy

This article appears in Italian in Corriere della Sera’s La ventisettesima ora

Fifteen “rebellious women” of the twentieth century But who are their heirs? by 

Fifteen fascinating and scandalous women , fifteen women rebels… largely forgotten by history. Educated women, aristocratic or workers, publishers, poets, journalists, writers, activists, who from Italy to Japan, Russia to England, Spain to Argentina choose a rough path of autonomy , siding always on with the weak and exposing the same oppression of fascism, Nazism and Communism. Denounced, arrested, imprisoned, exiled, sometimes victims of violence, in one case killed: their stories are told for the first time by Lorenzo Pezzica, historian and archivist of Milan, who, with her book Anarchists: Rebel women of the twentieth century (Shake editions, 2013) fills a void in the history of anarchism, reserved so far only for men.

Forget therefore Bakunin and Kropotkin, Malatesta and Pisacane. Here are red Emma, the Lithuanian Goldman, the only internationally known, called “the most dangerous woman in America”, pioneering feminist and champion of free love, despite being tormented by jealousy. And Virginia Bolten who only twenty years old, 1 May 1890, is the first woman speaker of the nascent labor movement in the city of Rosario, and wrote “Ni Dios, ni patron ni marido”.

Or Dora Marsden, petite and daring suffragette arrested in London in 1909, believing that it is high time for women to take control of their lives. She joined , the first feminist magazine of the 1900s, but would eventually break from movement, denouncing its hierarchical organization too . And again, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, declared lesbian, forced to go underground in Franco’s Spain, who throughout her life will try to reformulate the identity of “those who do not count.” Then, Nancy Cunard, depicted on the cover of the book, provocative dark lady and convinced anti-racist, who? rejects the English aristocracy from which committed all his energies in the Spanish revolutionary cause, and will pay its unconventional choices with loneliness and cultural existential…

Among the best stories is that of May Picqueray , French and pacifist anarcho-syndicalist, independent woman who lived by the tragedies of the twentieth century, raising her three children alone had three different companions… Not to mention, finally, the Italian: Maria Luisa Berneri, a tireless opponent of all wars in its short existence marked by the tragic death of her father Camillo, who was killed in 1937 in Barcelona by the assassins of the Comintern. And Luce Fabbri, a life spent in exile in Uruguay, recalling that totalitarian nightmare of Orwell, a  machinery of power increasingly sophisticated and oppressive that, although experienced as a painful wound, never translates [for these women] into a sense of helplessness…

Beyond their ideas, shared or not, I am struck by the determination and courage of these women perpetually wandering, uncomfortable and insubordinate, here and now they want to accomplish their dream of a better life. Women, as  Ida Fare writes in the introduction , linked by a network that truly embodies the words of the song anarchist “Our homeland is the whole world, our law is freedom.”

But who today could represent an ideal continuity with their thinking, with their willingness to transgression is difficult to find examples of disruptive approved in the current world, where it quickly becomes polluted every thrust antagonist.

The article nominates  Aliokhina Maria, the youngest member of Pussy Riot, serving two years in prison for the anti-Putin punk prayer in the Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow. Or the fierce Inna Shevchenko, leader of Femen, the movement that was born in Kiev with its clamorous protest topless which spread to, among others, the Tunisian blogger Amina.  Or Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian activist and renowned psychiatrist, or Vandana Shiva , the Indian environmentalist, champion of biodiversity.
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The hammer strikes

Syndicalism and gefilte fish

The Jewish Socialist Group has organised an event this week in London on “United Against Sweatshop Slavery: The 100th Anniversary of the Great 1912 Tailors Strike” – Wednesday night at the Bishopsgate Institute (scheduled to be in the same building as SWP/Respect renegades John Rees and Lindsey German doing a rather overpriced “A People’s History of London“, so be careful not to stray into the wrong room). Speakers include Donnacha DeLong, who blogs here. More details on Indymedia and the Facebook event. A couple of days later, on Sunday 27 May at 6pm, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists’ Group will lead a walk through the radical history of the East End, focussing on the 1912 strike, starting at Freedom Books in Whitechapel – details on Indymedia.

Other events: in Dublin, the anarchist bookfair is at the weekend – details here.

Jews and the left

I’ll probably return to this at some point when I have more time, but the YIVO conference earlier this month on Jews and the left sounds to have been fascinating. Some coverage: The Tablet, American Thinker, Commentary, Forward. Related, and following up my last linky post, read Ralph Seliger on Did the kibbutz really fail, responding to Michael Lerner.

Bobism

Tendance Coatesy with a wonderful post on the Bob Avakian Institute.

Mother Jones

Great article about a wonderful woman on the WSM website, also in the new issue of their Workers Solidarity.

From the archives of struggle

Below the fold, via Entdinglichung. (more…)

From the archive of struggle no.69: Emma Goldman, anti-fascism, etc

Most important link today is an apparently previously unpublished text by Emma Goldman on “The political Soviet grinding machine“, written in Barcelona in 1936.

I’ve only recently noticed the newish website Anti-Fascist Archive, which mainly has material from the history of British militant anti-fascism. Here’s a recent weekly update to give you an idea of what’s there:

Most relevant to this blog, I guess, is the pre-war stuff, so here’s a taster.

img074 img075 img076 img077img072 img073

The Two-Gun Mutualist site has been updating its translations. Among the updated are: “Nihilism” by Voline (ca.1929); Joseph Déjacque,Authority—Dictatorship (Down with the Bosses!) and Exchange; Henri Rochefort, letter on Louise Michel; Han Ryner, from “The Congress of Poets” and “The Revolt of the Machines“.

There’s lost more from the radical archive at Entdinglichungmainly in French but also including Rare texts by the Situationist International 1966-1972 and Nestor Machno’s The Anarchist Revolution (192?).

Below the fold, what’s new at the Marxist Internet Archive: (more…)

On this day in 1943: Treblinka uprising

Treblinka holocaust memorial, Nachlat Yitschak...

Image via Wikipedia

From On this deity:

“Resistance to tyranny is a man’s highest ideal,” wrote Emma Goldman. But when humanity has been stripped of everything until the very concept of ‘ideals’ is but a bourgeois luxury – as in the case of the Jewish prisoners who planned and executed the Treblinka Revolt sixty-seven years ago on 2nd August 1943 – it is impossible to measure the superhuman fortitude required to resist the most inhuman of tyrants.

Those who were spared instantaneous extermination at Treblinka II were transferred to the forced labour camp at Treblinka I where between 700 and 1000 prisoner at any time, nearly all Jews, were given the unfeasible task of aiding the smooth running of the extermination process. Within this Hieronymus Bosch-like realisation of Hell, which in itself offered no guarantee of survival as labourers were selected every day for the gas chambers in exchange for stronger newly arrived prisoners, a dream of resistance and revenge was hatched. [READ THE REST]

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Happy new year

Emma_goldman_new_year_greeting

courtesy The Emma Goldman Papers, University of California, Berkeley. via Little Red Hen 2007.

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 11:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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Revolutionary Ghosts of Waldheim Cemetery

From Andrea Gibbons, on a Chicago cemetary, a year ago. Some extracts:

Haymarket…back from the time we didn’t have at least the stated standard of an 8 hour day. To win it there was a general strike on May 1st, 1884. On May 3rd, police killed two strikers. On May 4th there was a rally in Haymarket square, a bomb went off, people died. I think it was probably the Pinkertons, but the police arrested 8 anarchists for simply inciting the act and hanged 4 of them. It didn’t help when they were later cleared of all blame…the damage was done, the press had crucified all ideals of justice and so we live in a country that inspired May Day and yet has never celebrated it properly…

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Poumastise

Anarchism versus Marxism

A Greek tragedy (on the Leninist fight against petit bourgeious violence in the revolution).

Marxist theory

Reading The Grundrisse; Thinking About Athens’ Rage

Bonapartism, Bureaucracy, Categories, Lessons And The Revolution Betrayed

Chris Harman: not all Marxism is dogmatic

Daniel Bensaid: Working class, social movement, alliances – and the limits of radical democracy

Stalinism and anti-Stalinism

Stalin, Robeson, and Me.

Claire Berlinski at City Journal wonders why hardly anyone cares about the unread Soviet archives [via Michael Totten]. Ron Radosh responds. Berlinksi replies to him. Ron comes back again.

Human Rights Watch in the NYRB on Castro’s Cuba. (And Radosh’s response to that.)

Anarchist theory

Murray Bookchin’s political development.

Dave Graeber interview (original source here, with unreadable formatting).

Iberian culture

On this day

From the Daily Bleed.

Severino di Giovanni.jpg1931 — Severino Di Giovanni dies in a shoot-out with the police.

Typographer. He fled to Argentina in 1923 to escape Italian Fascism, where he joined the Anarchist Circle (Renzo Novatore) in Buenos Aires & printed & published the review “Culmine”.

He organizes a demonstration for the release of Sacco & Vanzetti, but when they are executed on August 23, 1927, Di Giovanni turns to violent actions with the Scarfo brothers (Alejandro & Paulino); many bombs are set off, especially aimed at North American interests. For example, on December 25, 1927, the National City Bank was bombed, & on May 3, 1928, the Italian consulate.

This spiral of violence is condemned by the anarchists of FORA (Fédération Ouvrière Régionale Argentine) & “La Protesta.” See Osvaldo Bayer, Severino Di Giovanni, the idealist of violencia (1970).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6AgtgLbaTw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severino_Di_Giovanni

1935 — James T. Farrell finishes his Studs Lonigan trilogy with the final volume, Judgment Day.

1935 — Canada: Emma Goldman‘s four lectures in Yiddish this month continue to be her most successful in Montreal, drawing an audience of 200 when Emma speaks on “the element of sex in unmarried people” today, & raising money for the first time in Montreal when she speaks again to the women’s branch of the Arbeiter Ring on Feb. 17.

During the month Emma decides to return to France in the spring after receiving further discouraging reports from friends who have met with Labor Department officials in Washington, D.C., about chances for readmission into the Land of Freedom.

As other possibilities close, she looks increasingly to her proposed book venture as a means of support; she also pursues the idea of a sustaining fund as she inquires about receiving an advance from a publisher.

Source: Emma Goldman Papers

1936 — México: Workers strike the Vidreria Monterrey.

Shoot them like partridges

I don’t care much for people who enjoy killing things, but I am willing to put up with hunters as long as they don’t carry their habits into private and public life. (Trotsky wired Zinoviev re the Kronstadt sailors, in revolt for the fulfillment of the promises of the Revolution, “Shoot them like partridges.” Bertrand Russell commented, “A hunter should never be allowed to lead a revolution.”)

—Kenneth Rexroth “Hemingway”, 1961

***

“You think perhaps I am a Royalist? No. If there was anybody in heaven or hell to pray to I would pray for a revolution — a red revolution everywhere.”

“You astonish me,” I said, just to say something.

“No! But there are half a dozen people in the world with whom I would like to settle accounts. One could shoot them like partridges and no questions asked. That’s what revolution would mean to me.”

“It’s a beautifully simple view,” I said.

—Joseph Conrad The Arrow of Gold, 1919

***

In a recent post, I quoted Michael Ezra thus:

In [Isaac Deutscher's] account of the Kronstadt rebellion, there is no mention of Trotsky’s famous order, “shoot them like partridges.”

In a comment, Steve Parsons writes:

I might be wrong but I think it was Zinoviev who is associated with the phrase “shoot them like p[h]easants”.

For an extensive review – a political critique but also a partial listing of some of the numerous factual inacurracies – of Service’s biography on Trotsky see David North’s ´In the service of historical falsification’

I’ve always thought it was Trotsky, but wondered if it was one of those urban myths, so present here the fruits of some of my googling. It seems it was a committee that Zinoviev chaired, although Trotsky may have had a role in its distribution. However, I think it is fair to say that Trotsky shared the sentiment.

TrotskyParade01.JPG (60177 bytes)Quick background: in February 1921, the sailors of Kronstadt in Russia, a stronghold of the revolution, raised 15 demands for greater freedom for working class people and peasants. In March, the Red Army moved to suppress the sailors, killing over 1000. Leon Trotsky, as Commissar for War, played a key role in this suppression. As did Zinoviev, by 1921 head of the Petrograd party organization, chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, and a full member of the party’s Politburo.

1. From Israel Gertzler Kronstadt 1917-1921: The Fate of a Soviet Democracy (2002, p.220):

on 4 March 4 an ‘Appeal’ by Zinoviev‘s Defence Committee of Petrograd denounced ‘all those Petrichenkos and Tu[k]ins’, meaning Kronstadt’s Revolutionary Committee, as ‘puppets who dance at the behest of Tsarist general Kozlovsky’ and ‘other notorious White Guards’, and demanded the Kronstadters’ unconditional surrender, or else ‘you will be shot down like partridges‘.

2. From The Soviet image: a hundred years of photographs from inside the TASS archives by Peter Radetsky, p.59:

Trotsky ordered leaflets airdropped over the [Kronstadt] base, informing his former comrades that if they didn’t surrender within twenty-four hours, “I’ll shoot you like pheasants.”Downtown, Buenos Aires: Viva the Kronstadt rebellion by michaelramallah.

3. Ida Mett, from “The Kronstadt Commune” (1938):

On 5th. March, the Petrograd Defence Committee issued a call to the rebels.

‘You are being told fairy tales when they tell you that Petrograd is with you or that the Ukraine supports you. These are impertinent lies. The last sailor in Petrograd abandoned you when he learned that you were led by generals like Kozlovskv. Siberia and the Ukraine support the Soviet power. Red Petrograd laughs at the miserable efforts of a handful of White Guards and Socialist Revolutionaries. You are surrounded on all sides. A few hours more will lapse and then you will he compelled to surrender. Kronstadt has neither bread nor fuel. If you insist, we will shoot you like partridges.

‘At the last minute, all those generals, the Kozlovskvs, the Bourksers, and all that riff raff, the Petrichenkos, and the Tourins will flee to Finland, to the White guards. And you, rank and file soldiers and sailors, where will you go then? Don’t believe them when they promise to feed you in Finland. Haven’t you heard what happened to Wrangel’s supporters? They were transported to Constantinople. There they are dying like flies, in their thousands, of hunger and disease. This is the fate that awaits you, unless you immediately take a grip of yourselves. Surrender Immediately! Don’t waste a minute. Collect your weapons and come over to us. Disarm and arrest your criminal leaders, and in particular the Tsarist generals. Whoever surrenders immediately will be forgiven. Surrender now.

‘Signed: The Defence Committee’.

4. Alexander Berkman, from The Kronstadt Rebellion:

smp1Trotsky had been expected to address the Petro-Soviet, and his failure to appear was interpreted by some as indicating that the seriousness of the situation was exaggerated. But during the night he arrived in Petrograd and the following morning, March 5, he issued his ultimatum to Kronstadt:

The Workers and Peasants Government has decreed that the Kronstadt and the rebellious ships must immediately submit to the authority of the Soviet Republic. Therefore I command all who have raised their hand against the Socialist fatherland to lay down their arms at once. The obdurate are to be disarmed and turned over to the Soviet authorities. The arrested Commissars and other representatives of the Government are to be liberated at once. Only those surrendering unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic.

Simultaneously I am issuing orders to prepare to quell the mutiny and subdue the mutineers by force of arms. Responsibility for the harm that may be suffered by the peaceful population will fall entirely upon the heads of the counter-revolutionary mutineers. This warning is final.

TROTSKY
Chairman Revolutionary Military Soviet of the Republic

KAMENEV
Commander-in-Chief

The situation looked ominous. Great military forces continuously flowed into Petrograd and its environs. Trotsky’s ultimatum was followed by a prikaz which contained the historic threat, “I’ll shoot you like pheasants”.

[Note: The same text is in Voline’s The Unknown Revolution, bk.3, pt.1, ch.5, and in Berkman’s The Paris Commune and Kronstadt, which notes that the threat was distributed “by a military flying machine”].

5. Daniel Bell, from “First Love and Early Sorrows” (Partisan Review, 1981):

frontpiecesome anarchist relatives, cousins of my mother, a Russian Jewish couple who lived in Mohegan Colony… took me to see Rudolf Rocker, the venerable Anarchist leader, an imposing and portly man with a large square head and imposing brush of gray hair, who then lived in the Colony… In parting, he gave me a number of Anarchist pamphlets, by Malatesta, by Kropotkin (on the Paris Commune), and in particular two pamphlets by Alexander Berkman, The Russian Tragedy and The Kronstadt Rebellion, pamphlets in English but “set up and printed for Der Syndikalist,” Berlin 1922–pamphlets That I have before me as I write (one inscribed in a large round hand, “with fraternal greetings, A.B.. “)–and he suggested that I read Berkman’s The Bolshevik Myth, the diary of his years in Russia, 1920-1922, a copy of which I soon found, and still have.

Every radical generation, it is said, has its Kronstadt. For some it was the Moscow Trials, for others the Nazi-Soviet Pact, for still others Hungary (The Raik Trial or 1956), Czechoslovakia (the defenestration of Masaryk in 1948 or the Prague Spring of 1968), the Gulag, Cambodia, Poland (and there will be more to come). My Kronstadt was Kronstadt.

… I wish it were possible to reprint in full the twelve pages of Berkman’s diary in Petrograd, from the end of February through mid-March 1921, for no bare summary can convey the immediacy, tension and drama as the sailors from the First and Second squadrons of the Baltic Fleet at Kronstadt, the men from the naval base at Petrograd who had catalyzed the October days in 1917, now appealed, following the spontaneous strikes of workers in Petrograd and Moscow, for the establishment of freedom of speech and press “for workers and peasants, for Anarchist and Left Socialist parties,” for the liberation of “all political prisoners of Socialist parties,” to “equalize The rations of all who work,” etc.

For Trotsky, who was Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Soviet, This was mvatezh, or mutiny. He demanded That the sailors surrender or “I’ll shoot you like pheasants.” The last three entries of Berkman’s diaries tell of the sorry end:

March 7. –Distant mumbling reaches my ears as I cross the Nevsky. It sounds again, stronger and nearer, as if rolling towards me. All at once I realize that artillery is being fired. It is 6 A.M. Kronstadt has been attacked! ….

March 17.–Kronstadt has fallen today.

Thousands of sailors and workers lie dead in its streets. Summary execution of prisoners and hostages continues.

March 18.7-The victors are celebrating the anniversary of the Commune of 1871. Trotsky and Zinoviev denounce Thiers and Gallifet for The slaughter of the Paris rebels.

6. Victor Serge, from“Kronstadt ’21″, originally published in Dwight and Nancy MacDonald’s politics (1945):

The Political Bureau finally made up its mind to enter into negoiations with Kronstadt, lay down an ultimatum, and, as a last resort, attack the fortress and the ice-bound battleships. As it turned out, no negotiations ever took place. But an ultimatum, couched in revolting language, appeared on the billboards over the signature of Lenin and Trotsky: ‘Surrender or be shot like rabbits!’. Trotsky, limiting his activities to the Political Bureau, kept away from Petrograd.

7. John G Wright, of the American SWP, in New International (1938):

In his recent comments on Kronstadt, Victor Serge concedes that the Bolsheviks once confronted with the mutiny had no other recourse except to crush it. In this he demarcates himself from the assorted varieties of Anarcho-Menshevism. But the substance of his contribution to the discussion is to lament over the experiences of history instead of seeking to understand them as a Marxist. Serge insists that it would have been “easy” to forestall the mutiny – if only the Central Committee had not sent Kalinin to talk to the sailors! Once the mutiny flared, it would have been “easy” to avoid the worst – if only Berkman had talked to the sailors! To adopt such an approach to the Kronstadt events is to take the superficial viewpoint: “Ah, if history had only spared us Kronstadt!” It can and does lead only to eclecticism and to the loss of all political perspectives.

8. Emma Goldman, from “Trotsky Protests Too Much” (1938):

Victor Serge is now out of the hospitable shores of the workers’ “fatherland.” I therefore do not consider it a breach of faith when I say that if Victor Serge made this statement charged to him by John G. Wright, he is merely not telling the truth. Victor Serge was one of the French Communist Section who was as much distressed and horrified over the impending butchery decided upon by Leon Trotsky to “shoot the sailors as pheasants” as Alexander Berkman, myself and many other revolutionists. He used to spend every free hour in our room running up and down, tearing his hair, clenching his fists in indignation and repeating that “something must be done, something must be done, to stop the frightful massacre.” When he was asked why he, as a party member, did not raise his voice in protest in the party session, his reply was that that would not help the sailors and would mark him for the Cheka and even silent disappearance. The only excuse for Victor Serge at the time was a young wife and a small baby. But for him to state now, after seventeen years, that “the Bolsheviki once confronted with the mutiny had no other recourse except to crush it,” is, to say the least, inexcusable. Victor Serge knows as well as I do that there was no mutiny in Kronstadt, that the sailors actually did not use their arms in any shape or form until the bombardment of Kronstadt began. He also knows that neither the arrested Communist Commissars nor any other Communists were touched by the sailors. I therefore call upon Victor Serge to come out with the truth. That he was able to continue in Russia under the comradely régime of Lenin, Trotsky and all the other unfortunates who have been recently murdered, conscious of all the horrors that are going on, is his affair, but I cannot keep silent in the face of the charge against him as saying that the Bolsheviki were justified in crushing the sailors.

Leon Trotsky is sarcastic about the accusation that he had shot 1,500 sailors. No, he did not do the bloody job himself. He entrusted Tuchachevsky, his lieutenant, to shoot the sailors “like pheasants” as he had threatened. Tuchachevsky carried out the order to the last degree. The numbers ran into legions, and those who remained after the ceaseless attack of Bolshevist artillery, were placed under the care of Dibenko, famous for his humanity and his justice.

Tuchachevsky and Dibenko, the heroes and saviours of the dictatorship! History seems to have its own way of meting out justice. [Tukhachevsky and Dibenko were executed by Stalin in 1937.]

[serge]9. Gabriel and Dany Cohn-Bendit, from Obsolete Communism, the Left-Wing Alternative (1968):

Every attempt to settle matters peacefully was rejected out of hand by the government; Trotsky ordered his troops ‘to shoot the Kronstadt “rebels” down like partridges’, and entrusted the task to Toukhatchevsky, a military expert taken over from the Old Regime.

10. Ian Birchall, from “Victor Serge: Hero or Witness?” (1998):

Serge’s position on Kronstadt is fairly clear (see the extensive treatment in The Serge-Trotsky Papers). At the time, although profoundly unhappy, he decided to accept the suppression of the revolt as necessary. Later, in the 1930s, when he was trying to explain why the revolution had degenerated, he came to see Kronstadt as one of the key stages. This led to a sharp exchange of views with Trotsky, which became perhaps unnecessarily polarised.

11. Cajo Brendel, from “Kronstadt: Proletarian Spin-Off of the Russian Revolution” (1971):

The Kronstadt Rebellion destroyed a social myth: the myth that in the Bolshevik state, power lay in the hands of the workers. Because this myth was inseparably linked to the entire Bolshevik ideology (and still is today), because in Kronstadt a modest beginning of a true workers’ democracy was made, the Kronstadt Rebellion was a deadly danger for the Bolsheviks in their position of power. Not only the military strength of Kronstadt – that at the time of the rebellion was very much impaired by the frozen gulf – but also the demystifying effect of the rebellion threatened Bolshevik rule – a threat that was even stronger than any that could have been posed by the intervention armies of Deniken, Kolchak, Judenitch, or Wrangel.

For this reason the Bolshevik leaders were from their own perspective or better, as a consequence of their social position (which naturally influenced their perspective) – forced to destroy the Kronstadt Rebellion without hesitation. While the rebels were – as Trotsky had threatened being ‘shot like pheasants’, the Bolshevik leadership characterized the Rebellion in their own press as a counterrevolution. Since that time this swindle has been zealously promoted and stubbornly maintained by Trotskyists and Stalinists.

This is what a pheasant looks like. This is what a partridge looks like. This is what the Red Army looked like.

Related reading: Steve Parsons on Robert Service’s A History of Twentieth Century Russia; The Truth About Kronstadt.

History is Made at Night

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to come to your revolution” – (Not actually said by) Emma Goldman.*

The great blog History is Made at Night, which narrates alternative histories by excavating stories of the revolutions made in the nighttime, is on a real roll at the moment. Here are two examples.

We Must Refuse Boredom


Georges Bataille, The Sacred Conspiracy, 1936

Marx and the Mazurka?: Dancing with the First International

Did Marx dance a Palermo Polka?

And here’s something HiM@N would like:

Shekar Hanim – Tchakidji: Anatolian Greek outlaw music.

***

*What Emma Goldman actually said: (more…)

Published in: on November 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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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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From the archive of struggle, no.25: The anarchist library

From Paul Stott’s site, I have found a new website, the Anarchist Library, which aspires to be “the largest resource on the web for downloadable Anarchist books and publications”, quite an ambition given how many resources there are of this nature already out there. The archive, however, is just a couple of weeks old, and already it has loads in it. My pick after the fold, with particular highlights in bold. (more…)

Notes

Orwellia: Rosie compares notes with George Orwell. Max Dunbar on why Richard Seymour should have won the Orwell Prize (not).

Iberia/Anti-fascism: Portugal’s cultural revolution 35 years on. Franco has only got one ball. Hearing Emma Goldman’s voice is justification enough for the internet. Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin.

North African diaspora/music and dance: Barcelona Maghrebi music. Dancing: for Visteon, in Spain, and in the Paris Commune.

Obituaries: On the passing of Chris Gray. On the passing of Ernest Millington: from Roy Roebuck, Graham Pointer, Around the Edges, Yorkshire Ranter, Hopi Sen.

Poumarama

Blog notes

YourFriendinTheNorth: Ending the silence (on the demons of the Spanish Civil War). Max Dunbar: Where to begin? (on the right wing claim that Britain is close to Orwell’s Oceania). Norm, like Trotsky before him, is aging. Orwell’s Diary reaches a new high.

Biographies and obituaries

* Hoang Khoa Khoi (1917-2009): death of a Vietnamese Trotskyist.
* Gustav Doster, aka Gustl, 1904-1977: German anarchist and veteran of the Erich Mühsam and Sacco-Vanzetti Centuries in Spain.
* Alberto Meschi, 1879-1958: Italian syndicalist and anti-fascist, active in exile in Argentina and France, founder of the Antifascist Concentration and of the Italian League of Human Rights, and veteran of the Rosselli Column in Spain.
* Albert De Jong, 1891-1970: Dutch syndicalist and anti-Nazi resistance fighter.
* Heinrich Friedetzky, 1910-1998: German anarchist, anti-fascist hero and Spanish civil war fighter.

From the archive of struggle, no.10: multilingual edition [below the fold] (more…)

Poumtastic

In no particular order:

Coatesy: The Spirit of Factions and Sects

Jewish Socialist: Review of Rick Kuhn on Henryk Grossman [pdf]

Steve Fraser in the LRB: on Emma Goldman [subs]

Norman Geras: on Orwell on Dickens; Winston Smith in the shower.

The Normblog profile: Jim Denham

The Daily Maybe: Alexandra Kollontai

Airforce Amazons: Sketches of Mallorca

HarpyMarx: the Matchgirls

David Semple: Hobsbawm’s unmarxism.

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