Vietnam War Protest Songs

This is a Guest Post by Michael Ezra

The 1960s was an important period in socialist history. It saw the rise of the New Left, those that looked to third world revolutionary leaders such as Che Guevara, Mao Tse Tung and Ho Chi Minh for inspiration. As opposed to the Old Left of course, which idolised Stalin and the Soviet Union. The movement reached its zenith in 1968, a year that as Tod Gitlin reports (The Sixties [Bantam Books, 1993]p.344),  an opinion poll of US college students showed more of them identifying with Che Guevara (20 percent) than with any of the presidential candidates. Max Elbaum adds (Revolution in the Air [Verso,2006] p.40), “For thousands and even tens of thousands … revolution had become the most important thing in their lives.”

Dominating much of the New Left’s political activity for the latter part of the decade was opposition to the Vietnam War. The 1960s will be remembered by those that were teenagers and in their twenties during it for many things – sexual liberation, mind altering drugs and the music scene. It was not surprising that many put pen to paper and composed songs either against the war, in favour of peace or in favour of a win by Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong. Below are a few of those songs, all of which have been taken from Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber’s The Vietnam Songbook (Guardian Books, 1969): (more…)


Have been blogging too much. Here is a recap of January so far. Later today, hopefully, a quality guest post, and then no new posts for a week, promise!

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Meretz event in London on Sunday on refugees

A very interesting event this weekend, which I read about here. It is organised by Meretz UK and looks at the connections between refugees in Britain, Israel/Palestine and elswhere, at the time of the 1905 Aliens Act, the kindertransport, and today.

One of the speakers, of whom Poumista is a fan:

David Rosenberg: is a teacher and writer who also leads guided walks on London’s radical history ( He is on the National Committee of the Jewish Socialists’ Group and on the editorial committee of the Jewish Socialist Magazine. During the 1980s he was co-ordinator of the Jewish Cultural and Anti-Racist Project and then worked for the Runnymede Trust – a research and information body dealing with issues of racism and discrimination.

Meretz, by the way, are part of the extended Poumista family, in that, although a member of the reformist social democratic Socialist International, it was born from the Poale Zion Left (the Marxist wing of the pre-WWII Zionist movement) and Hashomer Hatzair Workers Party. The latter, a socialist binationalist movement in Palestine and the Jewish diaspora, was affiliated to the “Three-and-a-half” International, the International Revolutionary Marxist Centre (also known as the “London Bureau”), and was thus a sibling party of the POUM. Lenni Brenner writes:

Only one Zionist tendency, the Hashomer Hatzair, ever tried to grapple with the deeper implications of the Spanish revolution. Its members had devoted considerable efforts to try to win over the British Independent Labour Party (ILP) to a pro-Zionist position, and they closely followed the fate of the ILP’s sister party in Spain, the Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista (POUM). The political failure of the Popular Front strategy in Spain prompted a broad critique of the Stalinists and Social Democrats. However, there is no evidence that any of their members went to Spain, certainly not in an official capacity, or that they did anything for the struggle there beyond the raising of an insignificant donation, in Palestine, for the POUM.

More here, here, here and here – the latter actually inaccurate, as it was HaPoel members, not Hashomer members, who were in Barcelona; I am not sure which militias they fought with.

Sixty years since the death of Orwell


Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

New blogs: self-governing socialism and radical archives

What looks like it will be a great blog, Self-Governing Socialism, here. Read about the Catalan collectives here, and the CNT here. The blogger is also a bit of a Poumista.

On new blogs and stuff, see also Slack Bastard Bloggy Tuesday. Among its links, just recently added to my blogroll too, is radicalarchives, a blog cataloging enticing tidbits of radical thought. So far, extracts from the following: (more…)

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm  Comments (3)  
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Resources for critical thought:

Kronstadt and its revenges… an anarchist dissection of the corpse of Trotskyism today.

Platypus: Review of Dave Renton’s Dissident Marxism.

Platypus: Review of Perry’ Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism.

Andrew Flood: Towards an anarchist history of the Chinese revolution.

Paul LeBlanc: Marxism and revolutionary democracy (review of Simon Pirani and Soma Marik).

Paul LeBlanc: Trotsky lives! (on Robert Service).

Larry Gambone: Principled Bakuninism in Latin America.

Declaration against re-intensified oppression in Cuba. [Spanish source, and signatories.]

International Communist Tendency: Kronstadt 1921: The beginning of the counter-revolution.

On Arthur Koestler: Christopher Hitchens, Louis Menand, Bernard Avishai, Christopher Caldwell.

Iain McKay: anarchist-communist critique of mutualism.

Libertarian communist forum in Moscow.

Catalunya: Amadeu Casellas announces new hunger strike.

Heather Gautney: Which Anarchism? Which Autonomism? Between Anarchism and Autonomist Marxism.

From the archive of struggle no.43

Ultra-lefitsm galore. Guy Debord, Sam Moss, Chris Harman, Peter Kropotkin, Sylvia Pankhurst and more in English, and, further down, stuff in several languages.


Morning Star/Daily Worker: 80 years of lies


This day in 1911: Carlo Tresca murdered

1943 January 11 Carlo Tresca, editor of the Socialist Italian-language newspaper Il Martello, is murdered in Manhattan after seeking political asylum in the United States. Tresca’s assassination, supposedly carried out by mobster Carmine Galante, was said to have been arranged by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascist government. [source]

Gerald Meyer: Carlo Tresca: The Dilemma of an Anti-Communist Radical.

More from Wikipedia.

The Daily Bleed below the fold. (more…)


Mostly still catching up on stuff that is now so last decade…

*Clayola Brown of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (which was started by Bayard Rustin) has her name abused by Labor for Palestine.

*Champagne Charlie on the “leftists” who support theocratic brutality.

These idiots really don’t understand what “critical but unconditional support”  (a bad formulation) was supposed to mean, or the role of DN Pritt and Captain Ramsay (the forerunners of [George] Galloway) in the run-up to WW2. These supposedly “left” groups really are contemptible, pro-fascist scum.

*On the abuses of George Orwell, continued. This time it’s the BNP and pubs.

*Politics, fascism, anti-fascism, and sport. Including this on Eric Cantona:

“If Cantona espouses any political theory, it is anarchism. Conventional politics, he says, leaves him cold. Another hero is the anarchist singer Léo Ferré, whose songs taught him “the taste of rebellion”. “There’s a fine line between freedom and chaos. To some extent I espouse the idea of anarchy. What I am really after is an anarchy of thought, a liberation of the mind from all convention.” ~ Eric: Le Roi., Andy Mitten, Relentless, April 16, 2009.

*100 years of the CNT: a new series from Molly.

*The international campaign against anarchist terrorism 1880-1930. (See also: Tales of Ordinary Fatuousness.)

*The big strike of 1956.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

From The Archive of Struggle no.42

Just a short one.


Maurice Brinton: The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control

Pierre Broue: The German Revolution 1917-1923

Colin A. Palmer: Eric Williams & the Making of the Modern Caribbean

Anton Pannekoek : Lenin as Philosopher: A Critical Examination of the Philosophical Basis of Leninism

Anton Pannekoek and John Holloway: Pannekoek on Organisation (Introduced by John Holloway)

Ernest Mandel: An Introducion to Marxist Economic Theory//Late Capitalism

Marcel van der Linden: Western Marxism and the Soviet Union (Historical Materialism Book Series)//Workers of the World// Workers of the World: Essays toward a Global Labor History

See also another index at AGT.


World Labor News:

*G. P. Maximoff: Constructive Anarchism – The Debate on the Platform (1930)

Peace Pledge Union:

*Albert Camus: Neither Victim Nor Executioner (politics, 1947)

Anarchist Library:

*Voline: (The) Unknown Revolution, 1917-1921. (1947)

**Book One. Birth, Growth and Triumph of the Revolution
**Book Two. Bolshevism and Anarchism
**Book Three. Struggle for the Real Social Revolution

*Pjotr Arshinov: The Two Octobers (1927)

Below the fold, more via Ent.: (more…)

Communism from below, in theory, in history and in action

Two long and interesting theory articles. What in the hell … is right and wrong with autonomist marxism? looks at Negri and other authonomists and their problematic axioms on historical materialism and inadequacy on the organisation question. (Here’s more on Hardt and Negri from the same source.) Trade unions, worker militancy, and communism from below by Property is Theft looks at the history of militant working class self-organization.

Relevant to the latter issue are the next few items, mostly from Conatz, on anarcho-syndicalist and other forms of self-organization.

Most relevant, from Argentina, a report on worker-run factories.

Via the Turista, Tom Wetzel on the fight for free unionism in Germany. Includes a brief history of the FAU:

The FAU itself is roughly the German equivalent of the American IWW. The FAU derives from a tradition that goes back to the decentralist unions of the late 1800s and early 1900s, which separated from the main centralist labor federation (predecessor of the present DGB) over the issue of local autonomy. After World War 1, the autonomous unions came together to form the Freie Arbeiter Union Deutchlands (FAUD). The FAUD was part of the radical grassroots unionism in Germany in the years immediately after World War 1. Famous German anarcho-syndicalists like Rudolph Rocker and Augustin Souchy participated in the FAUD in those years.

In the late ’20s the FAUD had about 30,000 members. The FAUD was  banned after the Nazis came to power in 1933, and many of its members ended up in concentration camps. Kersten, my Frankfurt FAU contact, told me that during World War 2, the German SS rounded up thousands of FAUD members and formed them into an armed battalion and stuck them out on the eastern front, facing the Red Army. An SS division was behind them, armed with machine guns. The FAUD people were told, “You fight the Russians or we kill you.” Few FAUD members survived to tell about that.

In the late ’70s a new generation of German anarcho-syndicalists decided to rebuild the FAU.

More info here.

Also from the Turista, 2010 is the CNT’s centenary.

In Brazil, the Federação Anarquista de São Paulo (FASP – Anarchist Federation of São Paulo) has been launched, This is from its manifesto:

The FASP is part of a tradition that has always been a majority in the libertarian camp, that of “social anarchism” or “anarchism of the masses”, which was responsible for the rise of certain phenomena of great importance such as revolutionary syndicalism. However, notwithstanding our belief in the need for anarchism to act within the popular movements – what some have called the “vectors of social anarchism” – we believe that in order to do this it is essential for there to be specific anarchist organization, a position that has not always been a majority one. This is, though, the position historically held, since the birth of anarchism, by Bakunin (Alliance of Socialist Democracy), Malatesta, and even Kropotkin at certain times, and also by the Russian anarchist communists of Delo Truda and the Federation of Anarchist Communists of Bulgaria (FAKB). In Latin America there have been important experiences such as the Junta of the Partido Liberal Mexicano, the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya and Resistência Libertária in Argentina.

Federação Anarquista de São PauloIn Brazil, this mass tradition of social anarchism has existed for over 100 years, and was responsible for the union mobilizations that were so important in the early 20th century. It was comrades from this tradition who organized the Brazilian working class that started the struggle for gains such as the eight-hour working day. They inspired events such as the 1917 Strike, which had significant anarchist participation. With regard to specific anarchist organizations, there have been groups who tried to organize militants, but without much success, given that at that time, anarchism in Brazil – like elsewhere in the world – was hegemonised by syndicalist ideas, which did not deem the establishment of anarchist organizations important for work in the unions. Examples of organizations of this type are the first Brazilian Communist Party (1919), the Anarchist Alliance of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo groups that formed around newspapers at the time, and which supported differentiated levels of activity – the anarchist organization and the popular movements, known by some as “organizational dualism”.

Previously on this topic: Libertarian socialism.

Published in: on January 3, 2010 at 11:04 am  Comments (4)