Socialist Wanker

Digesting some of the material about the collapse of the British SWP. Here are some of the links that are relevant beyond UK sectariana but of interest to those interested in Marxist theory and Trotskyist history more broadly. For those interested in the gory details, go to Jim Jepps’ ever-growing link list, from which a couple of the items below are pilfered, or to Mikey’s tabloid version. Apologies this is so un-chronological, with stuff from January through to April.

Leninism, vanguardism, party democracy, activist culture:

Theorising Marxism and feminism:

Tony Cliff, founding figure of the British Int...

Tony Cliff, founding figure of the British International Socialists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “IS tradition”:

The radical movement in Britain

Historical Materialism journal:

Slow

I know I’ve been a slow blogging here lately. Here are some of the things I’ve been reading in my absence, if you know what I mean. Beatrix Campbell and the “invisible” women of Wigan Pier. Hitchens’s introduction to Orwell’s Diaries. Algeria: Fifty Years of Independence. An evening with the SWP. Malatesta on Bakunin as “too marxist”. Book notes: Michael Staudenmaier on the Sojourner Truth Organization. Back to that first International? In what senses can we describe certain political, religious and social movements of the English Revolution (1640-1660) as radical?

Below the fold, some of the gems from Entdinglichung’s weekly workers series. (more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.67

At The Quay, 1935
Strike, 1936
Evening Trip, 1937

First, some items from Roland Dodds’ latest webtrawl, and below the fold, the latest installment of the From the Archives of Struggle series.

Union Rights:  Shiraz Socialist brings to my attention theLabour Start campaign to free Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahraini Teachers Association (BTA) who is currently under arrest. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty has an excellent piece criticizing members of the left that mourned the death of Kim Jong Ill in one form or another. Rossie Huzzard echos my sentiments: “This nonsensical affection for tyrannical “anti-imperialist” states taints the entire left. We are on the side of the international working class against all enemies. Solidarity with the working class of North Korea against their state oppressors!”

Anarchism, Socialism, Unionism: AWL also has a pamphlet debating the role of anarchism in the labour struggle.

And forget the OWS movement, with Newt Gingrich making inroads with Republican voters by criticizing the capitalist culture Romney comes from and perpetuates, Peter Dreier asks if Capitalism is on trial in America.

The Social Democrats USA, the small but influential organization led by Penn Kemble before his death in 2005, has been revived to some degree. Follow their activities at Social Currents.

Some items from Entdinglichung and elsewhere:

Central European Social Democracy 1900-1933 (more…)

Polemics

I enjoyed this post by Alan A at Harry’s Place on the the Stalinist control of  “progressive” political space in Britain. Here’s an extract:

The Guardian’s Wykhamist associate editor, Seumas Milne,  cut his political teeth in the Straight Left faction of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Straight Left were “Tankies”: that is, hardline Stalinist opponents of the liberalising “Eurocommunist” faction within the CPGB. They were called “Tankies” becstdause they (notionally) supported the “liberation” (by tanks) of Hungary and Czechoslovakia from “counterrevolutionaries” in 1956 and 1968. Here’s Milne, demonstrating his lack of repentance:

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment… Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

Milne has helped to fill the comment pages of the Guardian with the supporters and representatives of genocidal antisemitic terrorist movements.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is run by Kate Hudson, who is a leading member of the Communist Party of Britain. The CPB is the Stalinist rump of the CPGB, which reconstituted itself after the Eurocommunist wing dissolved the party. CND itself previously contained a Stasi spy, Vic Allen, at its highest level.

Hudson was previously married to the late Redmond O’Neil, Ken Livingstone’s chief of staff, who was an activist in Socialist Action: which is what the Trotskyite International Marxist Group became after it infiltrated the Labour Party. Socialist Action controls the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Kate Allen, the Director of Amnesty International UK… Under her leadership, Amnesty has hosted a series of meetings promoting the delegitimisation and indeed the destruction of Israel, at which prominent anti-Jewish racists have spoken. Moreover, her team at Amnesty includes Elena Dallas the daughter of Tony Cliff: the founder of the Socialist Workers Party,

The Stop the War Coalition is run by Andrew Murray, also of the Communist Party of Britain. He is also the communications officer of the union, Unite. Famously, he is a supporter of North Korea:

“Our Party has already made its basic position of solidarity with Peoples Korea clear”

I could say more, but you get the general idea.

Stalinism watch:

From The Soviet Files: An American ‘Negro Republic’ – the Communist Secession plot; Paul Robeson, Stalinist;

More polemics:

The AWL versus the anarchists; Carl Packman vs Hugo Chavez.

Book notes:

A review (scroll down) of Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain by Dwight Macdonald (New York Review of Books, October 2011)

Unfortunately, like the political causes Macdonald championed—he was long-involved with the anti-Stalinist left and fancied himself an anarchist—history has not been kind to his cherished concept of Midcult. The cultural lines that Macdonald defended have mostly gone the way of the Berlin Wall, replaced by a heterogeneous culture of blended boundaries.

And from Socialist Review: A Rebel’s Guide to Rosa Luxemburg by Sally Campbell, Classic read – Studs Lonigan by James T Farrell.

History notes:

The AWL on the Clyde Workers’ Committee of 1915; Rosa Luxemburg on trade union bureaucracy; Paul Buhle on syndicalism;

From Entdinglichung:

Erklärung des Barrikade-Herausgebers zu den Ermittlungsverfahren wegen Rudolf Rocker, gefunden auf syndikalismus.tk, die Staatsanwaltschaft Münster hat das vom Rechthaber und bürgerlichen Kommunalpolitiker Heiner M. Becker angestrengte Verfahren gegen einen Genossen wegen angeblicher Verletzung Beckerscher Urheberrechte an Rudolf Rocker eingestellt, hier ein Auszug:

„Die Staatsanwaltschaft Münster hat umfängliche Untersuchungen angestellt und das gesamte Umfeld der FAU und der Internet-Plattform „Syndikalismus.tk“ ausgeleuchtet.

Was bleibt? Bösartige Verleumdung, nachweislich falsche Anschuldigungen, unbewiesene Behauptungen – und eine Staatsanwaltschaft, die nun eine dicke Akte über die aktuelle anarchosyndikalistische Szene („Bewegung“) vor sich liegen hat.

Dies hat nun zwar für mich keine weiteren strafrechtlichen Konsequenzen, aber der Schaden für unsere kleine Bewegung ist immens. Aus diesem Grunde verlange ich eine öffentliche Erklärung der FAU Berlin zu diesem Vorgang und die Übernahme sämtlicher Kosten, die durch diese Beschuldigung [strafrechtlich übrigens ebenso relevant lt. §§ 164 und 187 StGB wie eine Verletzung eines angeblichen Urheberrechts] entstanden sind, durch die Verursacher.

Ansonsten bleibt es dabei: weder Heiner M. Becker noch sonstwer hat die Rechte und private Verfügungsgewalt über das literarische und agitatorische Werk von Rudolf Rocker und seiner Frau Milly Wittkop-Rocker!“

bleibt anzumerken, dass die Schriften aller Revolutionäre der revolutionären Bewegung gehören, woran auch das Rumgepupe von angeblichen Eigentümern – ob sie nun Herr Becker oder Pathfinder Press heissen – nichts ändert!

From the US Marxist Humanists:

An assessment of the Arab Spring half a year later, in light of (1) the “clash of barbarisms” between the U.S. and Al Qaeda, (2) Marx’s concept of revolution, and (3) the possibilities for a revolutionary future Read More…

Marx’s writings on slavery, race, and class in relation to capital are examined in light of critics who paint him as a class reductionist with little awareness of or sensitivity to race

Two round-ups

Democratic left round-up

Some good reads from blogs and websites on the democratic left, at Stuart’s place. Includes:

Marc Cooper blasts  the “worst of both worlds” in Cuba.

Right Wing Watch notes “Historians Agree: David Barton Is No Historian

Christopher Hitchens reviews the letters of Rosa Luxemburg More evidence that those who think Hitch has become a rightist are, to put it gently, wrong.

The week in links

A round-up by my companero Martin. Includes:

Another great column from Hitch (long may he flourish): reviewing Rosa  Luxemburg’s letters, and musing on how different history might have been, had her vision of socialism won out against the Leninist version. And on the subject of insurrectionary leftists, Julie Burchill is in blistering form, attacking the ‘Toytown Trots’ who think smashing shop windows is a revolutionary act, as well as the use of similar bullying tactics against Ahava for selling Israeli goods, so that ‘ we have now seen the first forced closure of a Jewish shop for QUITE A LONG TIME – give yourself a pat on the back for carrying on Hitler’s work so well, gang!’

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Poumossible

Traditional street Obituary notes from Bulgaria

Image via Wikipedia

Four losses

Jean-René Chauvin (1918-2011) – obit in English at AWL, in French at Ent.

Tawfik Toubi (1922-2011) – obits at Jewschool and Ha’aretz.

Bob Fitch (1939-2011) - remembered by Doug Henwood and JW Mason (Read Fitch at New Politics.)

Allen Willis (1916-2011) – remembered by Criticism &c.

Books

Chris Faatz on Peter Marshall’s Demanding the Impossible.

The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg. (Beatrix Campbell profiles her here.)

Muslim  terrorists and Jewish spies

Ron Radosh on Peter Beinart.

From the archive of struggle no.44

I have fallen behind on this task, not having done it for about 6 weeks. Below the fold are basically my personal choices from Entdinglichung’s Sozialistika series.

(more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.41: Anarchist poster special

Today’s feature is the Just Seeds Visual Artsts’ Co-op.

18Pesadilla_170.jpgRafael Baca
Nuestro Mas Hermoso Sueño es tu Peor Pesadilla/Our Most Beautiful Dream is Your Worst Nightmare

ElMaizEsNuestro_170.jpg Favianna Rodriguez
El Maíz Es Nuestro

Dill170.jpg Brains, Brilliancy, Bohemia: Art & Politics in Jazz-Age Chicago.

rio170.jpg Favianna Rodriguez
Rio

16PINK_170.jpg Lapiztola
Emiliano Zapata silkscreen

02emmag_170.jpg
Ben Rubin
Emma Goldman

From the archive, below the fold: (more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.36: radical America

Last week, I featured the Holt Labor Library. Today, I feature a few different American radical history archives with smaller on-line exhibitions. Other stuff below the fold. Browse the whole series here.

The George Meany Memorial Archives

“The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) established the George Meany Memorial Archives in 1980 to honor the memory of George Meany, its first president, and to provide a program to preserve its historical records and make them available for research. In 1987 the archives moved from the AFL-CIO headquarters to the forty-seven acre campus of the George Meany Center for Labor Studies (now the National Labor College) in Silver Spring, Maryland, an educational institution for labor officers, representatives, and staff of AFL-CIO affiliates.”

On-line exhibit: A. Philip Randolph, 1889-1979.

Illinois Labor History Society

“The Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) was formed on August 5, 1969 in the office of the late Joseph M. Jacobs, attorney for the Chicago Teachers Union, Meatcutters, and other labor organizations. The mission of the ILHS was set forth: It shall be the Purpose of the Illinois Labor History Society to encourage the preservation and study of labor history materials of the Illinois Region, and to arouse public interest in the profound significance of the past to the present.”

On-line exhibit: Labor Union Hall of Fame.

Indiana State University Debs Collection

The Debs Collection has an absolutely enormous amount of Eugene Debs material. The photos and videos are of particular interest. This is apparently the only known video of Debs.

Inkworks Press Archive

Inkworks is a leftie print co-op in the Bay area. Their poster archive includes many treasures dating from 1974 onwards. Earlier material includes cool posters for UFW salsa benefits, Chilean folk music gigs, Cinco de Mayo fiestas, Pablo Neruda woodcuts, and lots more. A little bit on a Stalinist/Second Campist/Third Worldist tip, but beautiful.

LARC

The Labor Archives and Research Center in San Francisco: “Few regions can rival the rich, lively labor history of the San Francisco Bay Area. This history is preserved in primary source and vintage history materials at the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC). Founded in 1985 by trade union leaders, historians, labor activists and university administrators, the Labor Archives is a unit of the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University.”

Two on-line exhibitions: Look for the Union Label: A Celebration of Union Logos and Emblems and Cultivating Creativity: The Arts and the Farm Workers’ Movement During the 1960s and 1970s. The first is just lots of labels, badges and such like. The second is awesome, with sections on the Farm Workers Logo, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Theater, Songs and Poems, El Malcriado (the UFW paper), Posters, Drawings and Murals, Photography and Cesar Chavez as Icon.

Brandeis Special Collections

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections house the gems of Brandeis University’s library. They have a blog with monthly spotlights on the collection. July featured the Radical Pamphlets collection, but unfortunately it seems totally dominated by the CPUSA and its fronts. June was the Léon Lipschutz collection of Dreyfusiana and French Judaica. The Hall-Hoag Collection of Extremist Literature in the United States includes far right material and also the likes of the Weather Underground. The Sacco and Venzetti collections are a highlight.

(more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.26

This week, a bumper edition, and a multi-lingual treat. Includes lots of things stolen from Entdinglichung, and possibly repeating one or two things I’ve already mentioned. Features the POUM, the Spanish civil war, Italian anarchists in WWII, Irish anarchists in the 1970s, German left communism, American Trotskyists in the 1930s (including Dwight MacDonald and Hal Draper), Trotsky himself, ultra-leftists on the Iraq war, and much more. Beneath the fold. Stuff in English at the top, scroll down for other languages.

(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…)

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