Left sectariana: Phoenix Class War post their “joke of the day”, on the Maoist wingnuts of the American RCP at Burning Man festival (note: not to be confused with the British ex-Trotskiyist party of the same name).
Memoires of a democratic socialist: on Michael Foot, Tony Benn and Roy Hattersley.
Tory Francophones: Tawfiq Chahboune posts a quotation from George Orwell on Tory MPs cheering as British ships taking aid to Republican Spain were sunk by the fascist Italian navy – Tawfiq asks if anyone can corroborate this. The resulting comment thread is of an exceptionally high standard, in particular the contributions of Michael Rosen.
Death of an anti-fascist: In this comment thread, Nick Wright also posts the Morning Star obit for its former correspondent Sam Lesser. It’s an odd piece of prose, which manages to smuggle in a good deal of petty and vulgar sectarianism for an obituary. It is also (in typical Morning Star fashion), oddly reticent about Stalinism. It notes that Lesser “was sent by the Daily Worker to cover the 1952 show-trial of Czechoslovakian Communist Party general secretary Rudolf Slansky and 13 other party leaders – an experience which left a deep scar”, but does not explain how he lived with this pain during the subsequent three decades he continued with the Morning Star, including coverage of Budapest in 1956 (where he replaced the great Peter Fryer) and Prague in 1968.
The Spanish cockpit: Darren points me in the direction of a long text I’m not sure if I’ve linked to before: “Spain Turns’ by Roberto, from the International Review, Vol.2 No.3, New York, April 1937. It’s long, and most certainly worth reading. The Socialist Standard adds these further reading recommendations: From the September 1936 issue of the Socialist Standard: The Civil War in Spain; From the May 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard: The SPGB and Spain; From Issue 18 of the journal Subversion (published 1996): Spain 1936, The End of Anarchist Syndicalism?; From the August 2006 issue of the Socialist Standard: For Whom The Bell Tolled.
Petain and the Jews: Modernity points us towards recent research on Vichy France and its shameful record.
This week’s dose of anti-communism: Roger Scruton from 1991.
Also from the archive: The Western Socialist on the Yom Kippur War (1973).
Finally, wearing badges is not enough.
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One of the better defences of Leon Trotsky from Robert Service that I’ve seen: by Hillel Ticktin in the Weekly Worker. There’s also an interview with Ticktin, one of Britain’s smartest Trotskyists, in the same issue, as a celebration of Critique‘s 50th issue.
From the Christopher Hitchens archive: several videos of him talking about George Orwell, and articles on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and on his pal Francis Wheen’s biography of Das Kapital by Marx.
‘In my opinion, Marxism is a great creed of human liberation. It is the creed which says that when all other empires fade and vanish, our business is to enlarge the empire of the human mind.’
On a different topic, Histomatist writes:
There is a fair chance readers of this blog will have come across New Left Review, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, but how many readers of Histomat know a great deal about the original Left Review, founded by sympathisers of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1934? Well, for those who are suitably intrigued, let the late great historian of British Communism Brian Pearce be your guide…
Louis Proyect continues his series with a long and fascinating account of the history of the Third International, which one day I will respond to more thoroughly. He uses an important book by Werner Angress as a key source, and then posts about the Ritchie Boys, one of which Angress was (this is the Jewish paratroopers behind Nazi lines in WW2, the real life inglorious basterds I guess).
Been looking at George Scialabba‘s website lately. Lots of interesting stuff. I think I might have linked to some of this already but here’s some recent texts:
- review of The Red Flag: A History of Communism by David Priestland
- review of Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone by Stanislao Pugliese
- Facing Orwell’s Way
I got to Scialabba via Platypus, which is featuring a conversation with him on intellectuals, which touches on Irving Howe, Michael Harrington and other of my reference points. Also featured: Chris Cutrone on Karl Korsch, Joshua Howard on Lukacs and totality, and Uli von Hagen on Rosa Luxemburg.
Some alternative histories: The shipwrecked: anti-fascist refugees during WWII. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia a century after his death. Rising East: London radical history day. Karl Pfeifer in Jerusalem.
On old and new Stalinisms: Repelling Stalinoid attacks on Makhnovism. Happy Honecker! Nazi-Comintern collaboration and the DDR. A glorious leap backward. Socialist Unity: From Soviet Union to the GDR, and the People’s Republic of China. Stalin a mass murderer after all.
Below the fold: Libcom’s most recent anarchist biographies. (more…)