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

From the archive of struggle no.66

On This Deity:

* 1ST JANUARY 1804THE BLACK JACOBINS AND THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION

*1ST JANUARY 1994THE ZAPATISTA UPRISING

*4TH JANUARY 1960THE DEATH OF ALBERT CAMUS

*8TH JANUARY 1972THE DEATH OF KENNETH PATCHEN

*11TH JANUARY 1943THE ASSASSINATION OF CARLO TRESCA

From Bastard Archive, via Ent.:

Anarcho-Surrealist Insurrectionary Feminists, September 1973 from Melbourne/Australia from Bastard Archive, with the article Desire and Need by Murray Bookchin.

J.A. Andrews – A brief biography

by Bob James. Published by Monty Miller Press. Originally published in 1985. John Arthur Andrews was an Australian anarchist and early member of the Melbourne Anarchist Club in the nineteenth century. This brief biography by Australian anarchist historian Bob James covers his emergence into the Australian labour and anarchist scene at the turn of the century.

From archive.org via Ent.

* Dittmar Dahlmann: Land und Freiheit. Machnovschina und Zapatizmo als Beispiele agrarrevolutioärer Bewegungen (1986)

* Arthur E. Adams: The Great Ukrainian Jacquerie (1977) Article in the anthology The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution, edited by Taras Hunczak, 1977

Anarchism Tree (by Hogeye Bill)

Image by Adam Crowe via Flickr

From libcom via Ent.:

-  John Foster: Class Struggle and the industrial revolution: early industrial Capitalism in three English Towns

- Robert Weldon Whalen: Like fire in broom straw: Southern Journalism and the Textile Strikes of 1929-1931

- Antonio Negri: Books for Burning: Between Civil War and Democracy in 1970s Italy

- Lucien Van Der Walt/Michael Schmidt: Black Flame: The revolutionary class politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism

- Benjamin Franks: Rebel Alliances: The means and ends of contemporary British anarchism

- Errico Malatesta: At the Café: Conversations on anarchism

Anarchist Alexander Berkman speaking in Union ...

From the Irish Anarchist History archive:

Anarchist Workers Alliance expose fascist meeting – April 1981

Alexander Berkman -The Only Hope of Ireland (1916)

From anarkismo:

Del desgaste del modelo neoliberal al ciclo de protestas. by Horacio Vergara Tello

polonia.gifAniversario del golpe militar en Polonia (dic. de 1981) y del colapso de la URSS (dic. del… by Frank Mintz

“The Anarchist Movement In Egypt 1860–1940″ by Anthony Gorman (2010)

*Emilienne Morin

mejias_collazo.jpg*Las luchas revolucionarias de la región, a calzón quitado by Daniel Tirso Fiorotto

facon_grande.jpg*Facón Grande: en la Patagonia cuentan proezas del legendario carrero entrerriano by Daniel Tirso Fiorotto

From the Marxist Internet Archive:

*Added to the Raya Dunayevskaya ArchiveState Capitalism and the Bureaucrats, 1960. This is what Criticism etc has to say about it:

A January 1960 text by Raya Dunayevskaya—”State Capitalism and the Bureaucrats“—has just been released by the Marxists Internet Archive. This article originally appeared inThe Socialist Leader, the newspaper of the Independent Labour Party. Although long past its heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, the ILP maintained a newspaper until it re-merged into the Labour Party in 1975.

Dunayevskaya had just visited Italy to attend an international conference of tendencies adhering to a state-capitalist (regarding the USSR) position, which was organized by Onorato Damen. The text of speeches she delivered to workers in Genoa and Milan on this occasion can be found in the microfilmed Raya Dunayevskaya Collection (see #9470 and #9474). Dunayevskaya also visited the UK on this trip, meeting with Peter Cadogan, who was instrumental in publishing her Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revolutions in Britain in 1960, and the Scottish Marxist-Humanist Harry McShane.

The text is a stirring indictment of the theory and practice of what can be called the high era of automated production. This piece is notable for Dunayevskaya’s discussion of such figures as sociologist C. Wright Mills, the philosopher Hannah Arendt, and Norbert Weiner, the father of now largely forgotten school of cybernetics. Note that in this piece she cites her 1947 manuscript, Marxism and State Capitalism (see The Raya Dunayevskaya Collection, #472-#504). This was the text that was to be developed into Marxism and Freedom, published in 1958.

*Added to the French  Boris Souvarine ArchiveAprès le Congrès de Tours et la scission salutaire [1920]

*Added to the Maurice Brinton Internet Archive:  France: Reform or Revolution, Solidarity Leaflet (May 1968); France: The Theoretical Implications, Solidarity, V, 8 (March 1969); The Events in France, Solidarity, V, 9 (April 1969); A Question of Power, Solidarity Leaflet (July 1969)

*Added to the Chris Harman ArchiveResponse to Christopher Hitchens (1994) (Letter to the London Review of Books)

*Added to the new Arthur Rosenberg ArchiveA History of the German Republic, 1936

* The Spanish Section greets the new year with the addition of a text to the Archivo Andreu NinEl marxismo y los movimientos nacionalistas (1934)

*Added to the French Trotskyists under the Occupation History ArchiveBulletin interne of the Parti Communiste Internationaliste, 1944

From radicalarchive.org:

*Murray Bookchin: Anarchism vs anarcho-syndicalism (1992)

An antidote to Tito nostalgia

Spartacus (Fast novel)

Image via Wikipedia

 Criticism etc writes on Raya Dunayevskaya, Tito nostalgia, Howard Fast and Spain. Extract:

[…] Dunayavskaya’s passing mention of Tito’s activities in Spainduring the revolution. Tito was a seasoned Comintern functionary long before he lead the partisan war against the Germans and it is an accepted part of his biography that in the 1930s he funneled volunteers from the Balkans to Spainto serve in the International Brigades. Proof that Tito was actually in Spainduring the revolution is scant, but the novelist and recipient of the Stalin Peace Prize, Howard Fast, author of Spartacus(which was made into the film starring Kirk Douglas), wrote a 1944 homage with the immortal title The Incredible Tito which places him in the country. If this is accurate, it is entirely possible that Tito participated in the Stalinist repression of the POUM and the Trotskyists (or the Bolshevik-Leninists, as they called themselves).

Fast claims in his memoir Being Red, that at the time in 1946 when he was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities about his work with the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee he learned that the Josip Broz in Spain he had heard about as an employee of the Office of War Information during WWII was not the one we know as Tito, but rather another person by that name (Fast was questioned about aid that may have helped Broz escape occupied France). Criticism &c. is inclined to belive the story as Fast recorded it in 1944. Regardless, Dunayevskaya may well have been informed from sources closer to the topic than Fast was privy to.

The irony in all of this is that in their frantic search for post-WW II perspectives, the Trotskyists went strongly pro-Tito for a time afterYugoslavia’s expulsion from the Cominform.

 C etc is right in noting the Tito nostalgia that pervades the left, both neo-Pabloite Trots and fellow travelling social democrats like Tony Benn. It was one of the factors that led much of the left to find themselves on the wrong side of the Yugoslav conflicts of the 1990s, when many associated the irredentist and ultimately genocidal Serbian nationalism with the partisan cause and the Croatian, Bosnian and other resistances to it with the Ustache.

All this and more

From Criticism etc:

Raya Dunayevskaya’s Marxism and Freedom has been translated into Arabic and published in a small edition. The project was undertaken by the Victor Serge Foundation, based in Montpellier, France, and organized by the American expatriate and Serge translator Richard Greeman (New York Review Books has just published his translation of Serge’s novel Conquered City). A brief account of a book release event held in the Moroccan coastal town of Benslimane (“On Socialism and Freedom in Morocco“) appears in the new issue of News & Letters. A fuller account of Greeman’s visit to the country (“Violent Crackdown in Morocco Fails to Halt Movement“) can be found on his Z Space blog. A PDF version of the translation of Marxism and Freedom can be found on the web site of the U.S. Marxist-Humanists.

and

The new issue of Against the Current features a long essay by historian Alan Wald on the U.S. Socialist Workers Party (“A Winter’s Tale Told in Memoirs“), of which he was a member in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is safe to characterize the piece as largely an exercise in SWP nostalgia and nowhere near as interesting as his book The New York Intellectuals (1987), in which he discusses in penetrating depth the actual period of the disintegration of the SWP and Trotskyism as a whole (1939-1941). Wald, a sympathizer of the Cannonite tradition, instead places the decline in 1970s when the (in his account) semi-natural phenomenon of “radicalization” began to wane and the current leadership consolidated its position. Even though  this piece is disappointing, Criticism &c. looks forward to the third installment of Wald’s trilogy on American leftist writers (see Exiles from a Future Time and Trinity of Passion for the first two).

and:

Brown University Library’s Center for Digital Initiatives hosts a collection of scanned images of two important U.S. New Left/post-New Left journals, Radical America and Cultural Correspondence. The two journals, closely connected with the prolific historian of the left and left culture Paul Buhle, were among the more interesting intellectual by-products of Students for a Democratic Society.

Also, elsewhere:

Platypus: Ian Morrison: Trotsky’s Marxism // Lars T. Lih: October 1921: Lenin looks back

Principia Dialectica: Putting Counterfire’s John ‘Bonzo’ Rees to bed

Anthony Painter: The phone-hacking crisis calls for Ed Miliband to prove his dad wrong

The Free Voice of Labor:

Check out this fab doco on the American Yiddish anarchist paper Freie Arbeiter Stimme. Here is the blurb that goes with the video:

The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists” traces the history of a Yiddish anarchist newspaper (Fraye Arbeter Shtime – The Free Voice of Labor) publishing its final issue after 87 years. Narrated by anarchist historian Paul Avrich, the story is mostly told by the newspaper’s now elderly, but decidedly unbowed staff. It’s the story of one of the largest radical movements among Jewish immigrant workers in the 19th and 20th centuries, the conditions that led them to band together, their fight to build trade unions, their huge differences with the communists, their attitudes towards violence, Yiddish culture, and their loyalty to one another.

It is a pretty great story. What I would have liked to have seen would be the sites where tensions in such a movement lied. Where did the characters in this story depart in their politics? Where did they think their activism “worked” and where, with all that time to look back on the production of the paper, did they think they could have focused their energies more? [READ THE REST]

Below the fold, lots of rich material from Signalfire: (more…)

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm  Comments (7)  
Tags: ,

Criticism etc: Marxist humanism

A recommendation for the Criticism &c blog. And some items from  it for our From the archive of Struggle series:

Surrealist Leonora Carrington, an accomplished painter and writer, passed away in Mexico City on May 25. She was the author of (among other books) The House of Fear: Notes from Down Below. The New York Times ran an obituary on May 26, describing her as “one of the last living links to the world of André Breton.”

***

The Marxists Internet Archive has made available a 1958 piece by Raya Dunayevskaya called “Colonial Revolts and the Creativity of People.”

•••

The editors of the journal Revolutionary History have released a new issue on the Iranian revolutionary movement, “The Left in Iran: 1941-1957″ (Vol. 10, No. 3). Unfortunately, this valuable resource for the history of international Trotskyism isn’t widely distributed in the U.S.

•••

Poetry Magazine included four of the new John Ashbery’s translations from Arthur Rimbaud’s Illuminations in its April issue (RoyaltyTo a ReasonMorning of Drunkenness;Genie). The book is now available.

•••

Dick Howard, author of The Specter of Democracy, has a chapter titled, “In Search of a New Left” in a new book called Promises of 1968: Crisis, Illusion and Utopia.

Paresh Chattopadhyay has a review of a book titled The Seductions of Karl Marx by Murzban Jal in the April 30-May 6 2011 issue of Economic and Political Weekly.

***

News & Letters has compiled a list of all of the texts by Raya Dunayevskaya that have been reproduced in the print and online versions of the newspaper since 1997.

Needless to say, there is much of great interest here. A cursory set of recommendations includes:

A Restatement of Some Fundamentals of Marxism against ‘pseudo-Marxism’ An excerpt from an important polemic directed against Joe Carter, one of the main theorists of the Workers Party’s bureaucratic collectivist analysis of the U.S.S.R. This piece is a response by Dunayevskaya (Freddie Forest) to an attack by Carter on a 1942 text (“Production for Production’s Sake”) by C.L.R. James (J.R. Johnson).

The Revolt of the Workers and the Plan of the Intellectuals, Parts I and II Excerpts from a major text directed against two representatives of orthodox U.S. Trotskyism (George Novak and John Wright). This dates from the period when the State-Capitalist Tendency operated as a minority in the Socialist Workers Party (1947-August 1951).

Rough Notes on Hegel’s Science of Logic:  Part I (Preface and Introduction) / Part II (Doctrine of Being) / Part III (Doctrine of Essence) / Part IV (Doctrine of Notion) • A four-part serialization of Dunayevskaya’s important study of the entirety of Hegel’s (larger) Logic undertaken in 1960 and 1961. The document appears in The Power of Negativity: Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx.

From the archive of struggle

First, a couple of quick links: Gene on the German radicals in nineteenth century America who helped liberate the slaves. Review of a new edition of Vasily Grossman writings.

From the archive of struggle

*POUM: The General Policy of the Workers Party of Marxist Unification, 3 September 1936
*Raya Dunayevskaya: New Turn To The “Popular Front” [1955]; International Women’s Day and Iran [1979/80]
*Paul MattickLa gestion ouvrière/La gestión obrera [1967]
*Victor SergeThe Old Man [SV] [ 1942]
*The Communist Party of France during the Resistance Archive: Join the Party of the Executed!, 25 August 1944
*The Workers World newspaper. The complete 1919 run of this Left-Wing Socialist pre-Communist Party journal had 35 issues, all of which have been digitized into PDF format by the Riazanov Library for placement on the MIA. Variously edited by both Earl Browder and James P. Cannon, The Workers World, published out of Kansas City, was one of the many left wing SP periodicals inspired by and firmly supporting the Russian Revolution, and (like many other such left wing SP periodicals) ended as those involved in it left the SP to organize the new Communist Party of America and Communist Labor Party, and develop new periodicals for those organizations.
*Natalia Sedova: 1940 – Bagaimana itu Terjadi [How it Happened, Indonesian]

Anarchist documents on Poland, 1980-82:
*Poland on the Edge: Revolution or reform? by Various Authors (Fifth Estate, December 31, 1980)
*Poland: Triumphs and Defeats (Fifth Estate, Vol. 15, No. 2, (Whole number 303), October 20, 1980)
*Two articles on Poland by Various Authors (Howard Besser and Terry Downs: Gdansk: an eye-witness account/The betrayal begins, Freedom, London, vol. 41 no. 18, September 13, 1980)
*It’s Us They’re Shooting In Warsaw / Under the Polish Volcano (December, 1981) (London, June 1982)
*El Salvador and Poland: Two Paths to Revolution (Strike! August/September 1981, page 11)
*Poland: Communique of the Emmanuel Goldstein Group (Warszawa, 16 June, 1983)
*The Summer Strikes in Poland, 1980 (Echanges et Mouvement, Number 23, November, 1980)
*Poland, 1982 (Collective Inventions, 1982)
*Address to the Proletarians of Poland by The Scoffer (1980, The Scoffer/Le Frondeur, France)
*Poland 1980: Won’t Get Fooled Again / Meet the New Boss by Joey Stalin (North American Anarchist, October-November, 1980)
*Who are the Workers in Polish Solidarity and what do they want? by Andrzej Tymowski (Commonwork Pamphlets, 1982)
*Poland: Return of the Anarchists by Brian Amesly (Strike!, February 25, 1983)

Unsung heroes of struggle:

*John Alan/Allen Willis: Marxist-humanist and fighter for black freedom (1916-2011)
*Vicki Scarlett; librarian, socialist, feminist, yoga teacher and campaigner for social justice (1934-2011)
*John Watson: soldier and decent man
*Ann Blair: tenant activist
*Alice Beer: Quaker, potter, poet
*Peter Owen: trade unionist

From the archive of struggle: Generation online

Via Hutnyk, the wonderful Generation Online, and its fantastic reference library.

1968 Wages for Housework G. W. F. Hegel Ludwig Feuerbach Karl Marx Alfred Sohn-Rethel Jean-Paul Sartre Antonio Gramsci Commodity Form Louis Althusser Nicos Poulantzas Georg Lukacs Uneven Development V. I. Lenin Productive/ Unproductive Labour Regis Debray C.L.R.James Lucio Colletti Immaterial Labour George Bataille Pierre Macherey Exodus Antonio Negri Dialectics Guy Debord Hasdai Crescas Andre Glucksmann Braudel - Annales School Saul Alinski Surrealism Aglietta - REGULATION SCHOOL POST MARXISM - Hindess  & Hirst Maurice Godelier Refusal (to work) I.I.Rubin International Situationists Roger Garaudy Resnick/Wolfe/ Rethinking Marxism Piero Sraffa Existentialism Alexandre Kojeve Etienne Balibar Maria Rosa Dalla Costa Silvia Federici

Some fragments, links, translations, etc:

Raniero PanzieriSocialist uses of workers’ inquiry From Spontaneita’ e organizzazione. Gli anni dei “Quaderni Rossi” 1959-1964

Breton and TrotskyManifesto: towards a free revolutionary art.

Gramsci: Notes on Americanism and Fordism.

II Rubin as critic of Negri.

And elsewhere:

Via Criticism Etc:

The HathiTrust Digital Library has made available full-text scans of sixteen pamphlets published byNews & Letters between the years 1960 and 1984. Among them are several classics which have never received the audience they deserve, including Workers Battle Automation (1960) by Black autoworker Charles Denby and American Civilization on Trial (1963), published as an organizational statement, but written by Raya Dunayevskaya. Links are provided below.

•••

Workers Battle Automation (1960)

American Civilization on Trial: the Negro as Touchstone of History (1963)

The Free Speech Movement and the Negro Revolution (1965)
·Includes texts by Mario Savio and Robert Moses

Black Mass Revolt (1967)

China, Russia, USA—State Capitalism and Marx’s Humanism or Philosophy and Revolution (1967)
·A major text which originally appeared in the December 1966 issue of News & Letters as Dunayevskaya’s contribution to a debate on state capitalism with Japanese Marxist Tadayuki Tsushima

Czechoslovakia: Revolution and Counter Revolution (1968)
·Joint statement issued with the Marxist-Humanist Group of Scotland on the U.S.S.R.’s invasion of Czechoslovakia

France, Spring 1968: Masses in Motion, Ideas in Free Flow (1968)

Mao’s China and the “Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (1968)

A Report on the Black-Red Conference: Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 12, 1969 (1969)

Two Articles on New Emerging Forces (1969)
·Unfortunately, the scanned image is missing the first four pages of “The Arab-Israeli Collision, the World Powers, and the Struggle for the Minds of Men”, Dunayevskaya’s analysis of the 1967 war

Maryland Freedom Union: Workers Doing and Thinking (1970)

Notes on Women’s Liberation: We Speak in Many Voices (1970)

Black, Brown and Red: the Movement for Freedom Among Black, Chicano, and Indian (1972)

Working Women for Freedom (1976)

The Fetish of High Tech and Karl Marx’s Unknown Mathematical Manuscripts (1984)

Nationalism, Communism, Marxist Humanism and the Afro-Asian Revolutions (1984 edition, originally published in 1959)
·A major text from 1959, reissued in Britain 1961 by the Left Group in Cambridge with an introduction by Peter Cadogan

And from Entdinglichung:

* Petr Kropotkin: Moderne visenshaf un anarkhie (1913) [Note this is wrongly marked up at archive.org – I’ve given the correct title here; it means Modern science and anarchy, and is a Yiddish translation of this text. It is published by the Arabyter Fraynd group, which is Rudolf Rocker’s group in London, although archive.org says it is published in New York – I can’t make it out from the scan. I’m 99% sure this is the translation by Rocker, published in London.]

(more…)

On a roll, no.3

Continuing the very slow tour through the links roll, from the bottom up.

One blog

US Marxist-Humanists

This is the blog of one of the many fractious factions of the American “Marxist-Humanist” current, the political and philosophical current inaugerated by Raya DunayevskayaDunayevskaya was Russian-born and multilingual, emigrating to the United States as a child. She joined the Communists young, but became part of the Trotskyist left opposition early on. She joined the left opposition group around Antoinette Konikow, which, after leaving the CP formally constituted itself as the Independent Communist League (see “Letter to Lovestone“, 1928). Konikow’s group threw in its lot with the larger Trotskyist group around Shachtman, Cannon and Abern, the Communist League of America which we looked at here. She was briefly one of Trotsky’s fleet of secretaries in Mexico in 1937. (According to Will Lissner, “Ms. Dunayevskaya joined Trotsky’s entourage  in 1937. She served as his Russian secretary, which is to say his economist. (Trotsky’s Russian secretaries always collaborated on his economic  articles.)”) For a while, Dunayevskaya was closely associated with CLR James; they parted with the Trotskyists; and then they parted ways with each other. It was at this point, in the 1950s, that she began to articulate her position as “Marxist-Humanism”.

Personally, I have a real problem with the kind of proper-noun nature of “Marxism-Humanism”, the way that it imagines itself as a fully formed, complete system which encompasses everything. It feels very theological to me, and inherits some of the worst traits of orthodox Leninism in this regard. It is probably for that reason that Marxist-Humanists have been as sectarian and fractious as the Trotskyists, especially in their American homeland, where the roots in the Trotskyist milieu and its sectarian culture are probably strongest.

The “US Marxist-Humanists” are an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization. Its three gurus are, I believe, Peter HudisKevin Anderson and David Black, who are all extremely interesting Marxian scholars. The website has a number of interesting articles, including, for example, on the possibility of war with North Korea, on economic turbulence, on Marxism and non-Western societies, on Hegal and Rosa Luxemburg, and lots more. Well worth a good rummage around the archives.

Four non-blogs

Wilson Quarterly

Actually not on my blogroll, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to link to Irving Horowitz’s review of A Dictionary of 20th Century Communism, edited by Silvio Pons and Robert Service.

William Morris Society

I am a big fan of William Morris, one of Britain’s few original Marxist thinkers, and a key figure in the development of libertarian socialism, as well as a good writer and designer. The William Morris Society tends to lean towards his arts work rather than his politics, but has lots of fascinating stuff. American readers should check out what the Society is doing on that side of the Atlantic, while British-based readers should check out the UK branch‘s events. There’s also a branch in CanadaNews from Anywhere is the blog of the William Morris Society.

They have a journal. The new issue of the Journal (Volume XIX, Part 1, Winter 2010), which will be appearing shortly, contains the following articles (among others): “‘Socialism” and “What we have to look for’”: Two unpublished lectures by William Morris’ (Florence S. Boos); Denys P. Leighton, ed, Lives of Victorian Political Figures IV. Volume 2: Thomas Hill Green and William Morris (reviewed by Tony Pinkney); Laurence Davis & Ruth Kinna, eds, Anarchism and Utopianism (reviewed by David Goodway). The Winter 2011 issue of the Journal (Volume XIX, Part 3) will be a special issue with the theme ‘Morris the Green’.

What Next?

What Next? is an occasional magazine of independent-minded left socialism in the UK, deeply engaged with the history of the Marxist tradition, and bursting out of the straitjacket of orthodox Trotskyism. It is edited by Bob Pitt, and sadly Pitt seems to have spent more and more of his time on his IslamophobiaWatch project; his involvement with the reactionary politics of the apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood has, alas, been very much to the detriment of the development of British marxism, and the journal now almost never appears.

The “current” issue is from 2007, it contains a load of nonsense from Tony Greenstein about the AWL and a welcome “enlightened” criticism by my comrade Andrew Coates of the SWP’s Ian Birchall and his defence of Islamism (written, I think, before the smallest mass party in the world divorced Respect). More relevant to our purposes are WHAT HAPPENED IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR? in which Jim Creegan takes apart some of Counterpunch’s Stalinist propoganda and THE ‘SPIRIT OF PETROGRAD’?  THE 1918 AND 1919 POLICE STRIKES in which Owen Jones rescues some British radical history.

The  ever about to be published issue no.32 may or may not contain the following items, among others: LESSONS OF THE ANTI-NAZI LEAGUE by Toby Abse, THE MAY DAYS IN BARCELONA by Andrés Nin and some items of Sri Lankan Trotskyism. Browsing through some of the back issues, some gems include UNDERSTANDING FASCISM:  DANIEL GUÉRIN’S BROWN PLAGUE David Renton, A DANISH TROTSKYIST IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR Åge Kjelsø, THREE DOCUMENTS, 1921-1926 Victor Serge, AUSTRO-MARXISM AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION Andrés Nin, TOGLIATTI:  LOYAL SERVANT OF STALIN Tobias Abse, LIFE AFTER TROTSKYISM: A PERSONAL ACCOUNT Harry Ratner, NDEPENDENT LABOUR POLITICS Martin Sullivan, STALIN: WHY AND HOW Boris Souvarine, TROTSKYISTS AND THE LABOUR PARTY: SOME LESSONS FROM HISTORY John Archer, and lots more.

Weekly Worker

There is a significant overlap between the Weekly Worker milieu and the What Next? milieu, despite the former’s Stalinist heritage and the latter’s Trotskyist one. Weekly Worker, the organ of the party currently known as the CPGB, not to be confused with the old CPGB, or indeed with the legendary New York nightclub CBGB.

In the early 1990s, I used to read a fascinating magazine called Open Polemic, which eventually mutated, more or less, into the Weekly Worker. OP was a heavy-duty theoretical journal dedicated to “communist rapprochement”, which utterly failed to rapproche many communists. WW is indispensable reading for all left trainspotters. It is particularly good on Iran and trade unionism, and particularly bad on Zionism and the war on terror.

Here are some articles you should read: Theocracy threatens bloodbath as mass movement grows: Iranian workers are one the offensive, reports Chris Strafford; Not explaining the crisis: David Osler reviews Chris Harman’s Zombie capitalism: global crisis and the relevance of Marx; Anarchist bombs and working class struggle: David Douglass reviews Louis Adamic’s Dynamite: the story of class violence in America AK Press; More glasnost, less perestroika: Maciej Zurowski interviews Circles Robinson of ‘Havana Times’, a web magazine that features critical writing from Cuba.

Published in: on January 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm  Comments (13)  
Tags: , , , , ,

History notes

Current affairs

Orwell’s Kilburn flat is getting a new blue plaque, which is nice. And it is Orwell Prize nomination time of year again. Phil AVPS picks his best ten posts here, and reckons Laurie Penny will get it because she is surfing the zeitgeist, a suggestion Paul in Lancashire beautifully deconstructs here. I’m not sure if I’ll nominate myself; I don’t think I managed ten decent posts in 2010.

Totally unrelated, here’s Ron Radosh on the decline of the New York intellectuals. Talking of NY intellectuals, Alfred Kazin’s journals are soon to be published.

The Accidental Anarchist: an interview with writer Bryna Kranzler.

The latest Carnival of Socialism is hosted by Luna17 here. It takes the theme of “Debating the way forward”, very necessary indeed. This is from right at the end:

Charlie Pottins pays tribute to Jayaben Desai, who uttered these immortal words:

“What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. In a zoo, there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are those lions, Mr Manager.”

On the 20th January we’re with Bob from Brockley and then at the beginning of Feb we’ll be with the Great Unrest.

From the archive of struggle

Mostly via Ent.. as usual.

Dublin Council of Trade UnionsIn Dublin City in 1913: Songs and Stories of the Workers of Dublin, May Day Festival, 1988. There are articles on 1913, on May Day in Dublin since 1890, a profile of Jim Larkin and James Connolly and a range of other materials of interest.

* [Leon Trotsky] Leo Trotskij: Revolutionen i Spanien och kommunisternas uppgifter (1931). In Swedish.

* National Youth Committee, Communist League of America (Opposition)Young Spartacus, Nr. 1-11 (1931-1932) // Opposition Group in the Workers (Communist) Party of America/Communist League of America (Opposition): The Militant, 1-18 1929 // Communist League of America (Opposition): The Militant, 1-34 1930 /The Militant, 1-37 1931. // * Hugo Oehler: Americas role in Germany (1933) / Communist League of America (Opposition) (CLA):  The Militant, 8. Dezember 1934. These are early texts of the Trotskyist movement in America, mainly written by James P Cannon, Max Schactman and Martin Abern. The movement went through a number of incarnations until 1940, when Shachtman and Abern, with James Burnham, left to form the Workers Party (taking Hal Draper, CLR James and the other most intelligent members of the movement).

* Karl KorschThe Passing of Marxian Orthodoxy: Bernstein-Kautsky-Luxemburg-Lenin (1937). In this dense and not particularly readable short text, Korsch argues that Eduard Bernstein, Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Vladimir Lenin were all essentially exemplars of a moribund orthodox Marxism which fetishised the form of the political party.

* Raya DunayevskayaEisenhower-Khrushchev Spectacular (1959). Dunayevskaya had been a member of the Shachtman/Cannon Trotskyist movement, following Shachtman in his break from Cannon’s orthodox Trotskyism in 1940, along with her close colleague CLR James. This text is from News and Letters, the magazine of Dunayevskaya’s movement from 1955 onwards, after she had split with James, favouring a stronger organisational form for the revolutionary movement than James countenanced. However, if anything hers was the stronger anti-Stalinism, as comes across in the closing words of this text: “But – just as the steel workers have refused to be cowed, although their stomach are getting pretty empty, and just as all workers, American and European and African, refuse to separate their fight for bread from that for freedom – so the workers in each country on each side of the Atlantic, will prove to be the real antagonists against these hypocritical state-capitalist leaders. Until that struggle is settled, no others can be – because all the others only lead back to the same old exploitative society.” Also new on-line: American Civilization on Trial: Black Masses as Vanguard [Excerpt] (1963)

* Hal DraperMarx and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (1962). This is from New Politics, Vol. 1, No. 4, Summer 1962. It was later, I think, expanded into his major work Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol III: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, published by Monthly Review Press. Around this time, Draper broke from Shachtman (by then leading an entrist faction in the Socialist Party) to form the Independent Socialist Club (ISC), and I think that the article bares traces of his struggle with the legacy of orthodox Trotskyism in the Shachtmanite scene.

* Brian PearceTrotsky as an Historian (1960). I think of Pearce as Britain’s Hal Draper. This from the period of his evolution from Pollit-esque Brit-Stalinism to orth0-Trot politics, writing for The Newsletter, the publication of Gerry Healy’s Trotskyist “Club“, which in 1959 became the Socialist Labour League (later the Workers Revolutionary party) – the paper edited by Pearce’s close comrade the great Peter Fryer, with whom, I think, he had left the CPGB.

*C.L.R. James: World Politics Today (1967) /  Che Guevara (1967) /  World Revolution: 1968 (1967) // Martin GlabermanUpheaval in China (1967) /  The United States and the Russian Revolution (1967) / Martin Luther King, Jr (1968)
* Martin Glaberman: Regis Debray: Revolution Without a Revolution (1968) / Indonesian Communism: The First Stage (1968) / On Balance: The French Events (1968) // George RawickToward a New History of Slavery in the U.S. (1967) / A New Nation in a New World (1967) /George Rawick: Notes on the American Working Class (1968). These are texts by three figures then involved in the journal Speak Out, monthly newsletter (edited by Glaberman) of the Facing Reality group, which evolved from the Johnson-Forest Tendency founded by James and Dunayevskaya as they moved away from the Trotskyist movement. Kent Worcester, in C.L.R. James: A Political Biography, sees this period as Facing Reality flirting with Maoism, so it is interesting to read these texts in that light.

* Israeli Revolutionary Action Committee (Abroad) (ISRAC)ISRAC, Mai 1969. According to Wikipedia, “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, supporters of Matzpen abroad published Israca (Israeli Revolutionary Action Committee Abroad). The magazine included many articles published in Matzpen. Some of Matzpen was censored and that material was republished in IsracaMoshé Machover, Eli Lobel, Haim Hanegbi and Akiva Orr were all part of the editorial board. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, supporters of the organisation and other radical left academics and activists formed another journal in the UK, Khamsin, in which they published their analyses of current events.”

* International-Communist League (I-CL)Debate on Cambodia, 1979 (1978/1979). The I-CL was the forerunner of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL).
* Alan JohnsonThe „other Trotskyists“ and Palestine (~ 1997). Here Johnson, then of the AWL, discusses the politics of Hal Draper’s movement.

Texts from libcom: (more…)

Anarchism and the student protests, etc

The lessons of the Spanish Civil War continued: Carl Packman has a thought-provoking post on “left unity” in the context of student activism in the UK today, drawing out some of the lessons of the Spanish Civil War. I’m not totally sure what he’s saying about the POUM, but I think I agree with what he says about the students.

Anarchism re-evaluated: Comrade Coatesy has a post on anarchists and the student protests. He makes excellent points. I was thinking about the long history of the relationship of centrist Marxism to anarchism, of which Keir Hardie‘s defence of the anarchists at the formation of the Second International is one example, and the POUM-CNT axis another.

Here, meanwhile, is the most embarassing defence of anarchism I’ve seen in a while, from someone my uncle describes as “famous mediocre intellectual” and “a stupid child who never grew up — and is proud of that fact.”

ADDED: Ian Bone asks why today’s anarchists are so scruffy.

Principia Dialectica on Ralph Rumney:

New exhibition of Ralph Rumney’s works here through December 2010.

The funny thing about Rumney is what Debord told me about him. According to Debord, a cow’s tail dipped into paint would have done better than what Ralph Rumney produced as art. Strangely enough Debord was diverting what Krutschev said about Picasso.The SI NEVER criticized Picasso’s art. Since his stuff was against socialist-realist art. The day Stalin died in 1953, L’Humanite , the paper of the PCF asked Picasso to do something for their beloved dead leader. The drawing by Picasso was really funny, Stalin had an enormous moustache. It created as scandal amongst the faithful of the PCF and also amongst the fellow-travellers. RUMNEY NEVER CREATED A SCANDAL Now some people seem determined to cash in on his name and his membership to the SI.. A sad affair. But then again art is dead …

Below the fold, some items from the archive of struggle: (more…)

From the archive of struggle no.51

Proclamation of the Lyon Commune of 1870, co-w...

Image via Wikipedia

Some radical history notes:

Big Flame history blog: on some other radical history projects on the web.

Trotskyism: new blog on IS origins; new blog on IMG history.

Anarchism: Brighton SolFed on the IWA conference in Leon, Spain. An anarchist flow-chart by Division by ZerO. Celebrating 100 years of the CNT.

Labour history: A tale of two speeches – John Lewis to the CIO, 1937, Richard Trumka to the AFL-CIO, 2010.

Democratic socialism: Happy birthday, Oscar Wilde, Fabian anarchist.

New and not so new archival material below the fold. (more…)

From the archive of struggle no.49

Via Entdinglichung, treasures from the back archives of Common Sense. Issue 3 includes Martyn Everett: Anarchism in Britain – A Preliminary Bibliography (1987); 10 has Elisabeth Behrens on workers’ struggles under the Nazis and Harry Cleaver on the gauchos of Argentina; 14 includes Sergio Bologna “Money and crisis: Marx as correspondent of the New York Daily Tribune, 1856-57”; 16 includes his “Nazism and the working class 1933-93″; 17 is largely devoted to Zapatistas with more in 19 and 20 and 22.

I’ve generally neglected this series, leaving it to the more capable Ent., but here are some highlights: Extracts from The Spanish Revolution Vol. I N°3. November 4. 1936; Raya Dunayevskaya: Death, Freedom and the Disintegration of Communism (1956); Tico Jossifort: The Black Sea Revolt and The Revolt at Radomir (on two 1918 workers’ rebellions, in France and Hungary respectively); Rudolf Rocker: Durruti in Berlin (19??); Paul Mattick: Les barricades doivent être retirées – Le fascisme de Moscou en Espagne (1937); Voline: Synthèse anarchiste (1934); The Call/Workers’ DreadnoughtThe Allied intervention in Russia/ Hands off Russia/ The Russian Revolution in danger(1918/1919).

Last edition here.

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…

(more…)

From the archive of struggle no.45

In my last post in this series, I did not include anything from the Marxist Internet Archive, which has had a huge amount of interesting material added to it since I last looked. You’ll find a selection below the fold, but first some other archival links.

Via Espace contre ciment, I have found a few sites I don’t think I’ve seen before, which I have or am adding to the blogroll.

Barataria: Situationism in French from Belgium. Recently added: some picture of the Mexican revolution: Exécution d’un officier fédéral; Barricade; Armes saisies aux troupes fédérales; American Insurrectos.

Patlotch! Free texts, regularly added to, mostly French.

Les Gimenologues: On some partisans of the Spanish war, mainly in French. Recent books include:

JPEG - 56.3 ko JPEG - 31.6 ko

If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats: Extraordinary blog, trawling through the visual detritus of American modernity. Here are some fragments:

They Were Collaborators #634


Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin

Seminal Image #994


La Mort en ce jardin
(Death in the Garden)
(Luis Buñuel; 1956)

This Sporting Life #16


Jesse Owens lands the Gold Medal in the long jump at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Ofenschlot: A German language blog which excavates the web for texts which help to explode capitalism. For English-speaking readers, this post links through to a pdf of a 1980 Marxism Today review of the important but neglected marxist economic theorist Bob Rowthorn.

From the Marxist Internet Archive: (more…)

On this day: 7 August

At the bottom of the post, below the fold, book notes and the archive of struggle.

On this day, from Anarchoefemerides:

On this day in 1900, in Mexico, Regeneración: Periódico Jurídico Independiente was founded by Jesús Flores Magón,  Antonio Horcasitas, and Ricardo Flores Magón. This was a key event in Mexican anarchism and in starting the Mexican revolution. Read more here, here and here.

On this day in 1894, in Gijón in Asturias, Avelino González Mallada was born. He died earlier this month. Orphaned when he was six, he was brought up by his grandmother, and started work at a factory aged 11. In 1911 he joined the National Confederation of Labor (CNT) and was fired shortlywards. After a spell in Paris, he returned to Spain and, blacklisted for his politics, worked in the anarchist movement, editing periodicals likeVida Obrera and Solidaridad and teaching in libertarian schools. y, luego, de CNT de Madrid. During the Civil War, he supported the Popular Front and was active in its military defence, in the Provincial Committee of the Popular Front in Oviedo and later the Defense Committee in Gijón and the Commissariat of War on behalf of the CNT. On October 15, 1936, he was elected mayor of Gijón. In 1938, he was appointed special delegate of the General Council of the International Solidarity Antifascist and moved to United States to seek help. There he died in a car accident on March 27, 1938. [Source/Source]

On this day in 1927, there were global demonstrations against the execution in the US of the Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. In Paris, 200,000 supporters marched. More on Sacco and Venzetti from the People’s Informative.

Continue reading for reviews of books on Mandel, Silone, Orwell and Berlin and for archival material on Brinton, James, Dunayevskaya and others.

(more…)

Poumahoola

Alternative presents:

Galician metal workers on the barricades. Interview with Venezuelan anarchists of El Libertario.

Tragic presents:

Antisemitism, Human Rights and Acceptable Jews in Buenos Aires.

Alternative histories:

Yugoslav “self government” by Dan Jakopovich. Otto Bauer on film. Notes on the Portuguese revolution. A little theory by Malatesta.

Iconography/iconoclasm:

Lenin’s butt remodelled. The equivalence of totalitarianisms: no Che on Polish t-shirts.

Fascism and anti-fascism:

SlackBastard writes:

Don PalabraZ is a Subversive Historian. mister word’s latest post recalls the day in 1938 Joe Louis defeated Max Schmeling for the heavy-weight boxing title. Curiously, despite being championed by a dead incestuous coprophiliac dicktator, and acting as a mouthpiece for the Nazi regime, Schmeling was:

Compassionate and Modest
…On Kristallnacht, Schmeling took an enormous risk and hid the two teenage sons of a Jewish friend in his Berlin hotel room. The boxer claimed to be sick and did not allow any visitors. When the opportunity presented itself, Schmeling smuggled the two boys out of the country. Henri Lewin, who became a Las Vegas hotelier, credits Schmeling with his life; characteristically, the modest Schmeling made no mention of this episode in his own autobiography.

Below the fold – From the archive of struggle, no.24: (more…)

Poumerouma

The libertarian socialist tradition

New blog: Big Flame, on the history of this UK radical group of the 1970s.

Why Philosophy? Why Now? On the Revolutionary Legacies of Raya Dunayevskaya, CLR James and Anton Pannekoek, By David Black at The Hobgoblin

Andre Gorz, or the Ecological Demand, by Serge Audier at Principia Dialectica.

Anarchist Studies: Perspective 2009. On the legacy of Murray Bookchin.

Poster art, folk song and historical memory

More from BCNDesign: The everyday comes to Santa Coloma: Local things for local history. Graphic design in 1930s Spain.

History Today: The Mexican suitcase. British volunteers and Republican posters.

Rio Wang: Russian poster design and the war on coca-cola. Carlos Gordel and the zorzal.

George Szirtes: Fado da Tristeza.

Polish gentile, Jan Jagielski, chief archivist at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, to receive the Irena Sendler Memorial Award from the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture.

The extraordinary anti-Nazi photo-montages of John Heartfield.

Scoop Review of Books: Kiwi Compañeros: NZ’s anti-Franco volunteers. See more in TNC‘s comment here. Which led me to these two great older posts: Fieldtrip to the International Center for Photography (Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, Francesc Torres and poster art). ¿Viva la Insurgencía?: The Spanish Civil War and the Legacy of the Totalitarian International Brigades. There’s plenty more TNC posts on memory and archives and on Communism.

Watch Land and Freedom at A Complex System of Pipes.

From the archive of struggle, no.14 (below the fold) (more…)

Against undemocratic centralism

philosophy and revolution

From the archive of struggle, no.5: Raya Dunayevskaya on Leon Trotsky at The Commune.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 212 other followers