Today in 1957: fighting Franco

From Stuart Christie:

NOW AVAILABLE! FACERÍAS  — Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957). The Libertarian Movement’s Struggle against Francoism in Spain and in Exile by Antonio Téllez Solà (ISBN 978-1-873976-49-4), 413pp (indexed with 16 pp of photographs) £15.95 (+£3.50 p+p UK) (PDF) (ISSUU)
Anarchist urban guerrilla and member of the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (FIJL) since 1936, José Lluis Facerías fought on the Aragón front during the Spanish Civil War, where he was taken prisoner and held until 1945. Following his release he rejoined the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the CNT, and dedicated himself to the armed struggle against the Francoist dictatorship. From March 1946 until his death in a police ambush in 1957, Facerias was the driving force behind the anarchist defence groups operating in Barcelona.

BARCELONA, Friday, 30 August 1957, 10:45 am. In the deserted Sant Andreu district of Barcelona, a burst of automatic gunfire crackles and, as if pushed by some mighty hand, a man on the corner of the Paseo Verdún and the Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist slumps against a low wall. A pistol appears in his hand. His eyes scan the tree-lined boulevard leading off to his right towards the Santa Cruz mental clinic, but he sees no sign of life. Suddenly, he realises he has been betrayed. Unseen assailants are shooting at him from windows overlooking the junction of the Paseo Urrutia and Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist. The first burst of gunfire shatters the man’s ankle. Further rifle shots ring out and bullets ricochet around him . . .

Monday music: Jordi Barre

Rcan featuring Jordi Barre: Décloisonnement intergénérationnel

It’s a long while since I did a Monday music post. This one follows on from my earlier series on Catalan music, but also kicks off a new (non-musical) series I’m going to start soon about the Catalan lands that are now part of France. Barre died earlier this year. He is very little known in the English-speaking world and consequently has no English wikipedia page. Below is my loose translation of the French page.

Jordi Barre (born Georges Bar on 7 April 1920 in Argeles-sur-Mer and died on 16 February 2011 in Ponteilla) was a Catalan-speaking singer-songwriter. Taking to the stage very young, he sang in the village dances of the plain of Roussillon and then turned sailor, typographer, foreman. In the mid-1960s he met the poet Albert Esteve, who encouraged him to devote himself exclusively to the song.

In 1974 he moved to Barcelona where he met the great figures of Nova Cançó, moving close to the autonomous musical community of the end of the Franco era. Still standing away from political movements, Jordi Barre advocated through song for a recognition of culture and especially of the Catalan language and quickly became an institution for the people of Northern Catalonia.

His voice was gravelly and profound, its deep timbre through “which run cool water streams, the rocky hills, the blue of the sea and the madness of the north wind” (Jean-Michel Collet); his impressive concerts are great moments of emotion and intensity on a par with a Paco Ibanez or a Silvio Rodriguez.

Antisemitic anti-Zionism in the German Communist movement before 1933

Cross-posted from Anti-National Translation:

To add to the German article, “Class-Strugglers against their own Will: The German Communist Party and the Antisemitism in Weimar Republic“, by Olaf Kistenmacher that I already linked to, here are two more texts, this time in English, by Olaf, from the Engage journal:

From ‘Judas’ to ‘Jewish Capital’: Antisemitic Forms of Thought in the German Communist Party (KPD) in the Weimar Republic, 1918-1933 [May 2006]

From ‘Jewish Capital’ to the ‘Jewish-Fascist Legion in Jerusalem’: The Development of Antizionism in the German Communist Party (KPD) in the Weimar Republic, 1925-1933 [September 2006]

The argument, essentially, is that a trajectory towards a malignant form of anti-Zionism in the post-1945 anti-imperialist left was already present in the 1920s. “It did not need to be invented after 1945 in order to identify ‘Zionism’ with imperialism and capitalism, and the socialist and communist left after 1945 were not the first to advocate the hatred of ‘Zionism’. This has already been done in the 1920s. It is also important that the conversion of anti-imperialism into anti-Zionism marked a considerable shift in the worldview of the left: Throughout the Weimar Republic, the KPD drew a fetishistic picture of capitalism, as if the German working class possessed its ‘working power’ as a quasi-natural property that could create ‘values’ independent of the historical circumstances.” Although pre-1933 anti-Zionism cannot be equated to its post-Shoah forms, the intellectual basis was already deeply rooted.

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.

Histories of the present: The riots etc

On British social unrest and its antecedents: The “historian” David Starkey has been much in the news in Britain lately for his pronouncements on the riots, but here I turn to other historians, citizen-historians, who draw out some more interesting stories from the past. History is Made at Night on the Sun’s reporting of 1981 and 2011 concludes a fascinating series on the long hot summer of 1981, and at Transpontine on the Deptford Red Flag riots of 1932. SolFed commemorates Liverpool’s 1911 Bloody Sunday. Red Star Commando declares that order prevails. David Osler remembers the Corn Law riots of 1816.

 On other things: A nice article by Dominic Cavendish on the other Orwell, George Orwell as family man. A piece from the Spanish CNT-FAI on the 75th anniversary of the Spanish revolution. Carl Packman’s note on Cuba, the Left and Private Capital. Paul Cotteril Beyond Letwinism and Toynbeeism: the return of the guild. David Osler on Lenin’s tomb (the actual tomb that is, not the blog). Peter Ryley on the stupidity of intellectuals. Criticism etc on the Jacques Camatte unit of the Department of Needed Translations. James Kirchik on anti-fascist veteran Karl Pfeifer. James Bloodworth on the cult of Che Guevara. Andrew Coates on the collapse of the American SWP.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm  Comments (3)  
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Ninety years ago: the death of Aleksandr Blok

From On This Deity: The Russian poet, Aleksandr Blok, died eighty-nine years ago today on 7th August 1921 at the age of forty-one. A visionary and prophet, Blok believed that the poet’s role was to serve as a conduit between this and “other … Continue reading →

Published in: on August 7, 2011 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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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On this day in 1917: Frank Little lynched

From on this Deity: 

  Ninety-three years ago today on 1st August 1917, Frank Little – labour leader, militant activist, agitator, executive board member of the Industrial Workers of the World and anti-war dissident – was asleep in the room he was renting in … Continue reading →

Published in: on August 1, 2011 at 10:17 am  Comments (1)  
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