On 12 November 2011, Wembley Stadium hosted a friendly between the football teams of England and Spain. Amongst the usual pre-match shots of flags and anthem singing, the television cameras picked out one English fan in the crowd with a home-made placard commemorating the British volunteers of the International Brigade, who had fought for the Spanish Republic 75 years earlier. The incident was an example of how the Spanish Civil War has maintained its place in the British popular consciousness in a way that is perhaps only exceeded by the two world wars.
In recent years it has been the subject of popular history books and formed the backdrop to best-selling novels and an HBO made/Sky broadcast television series starring Nicole Kidman; meanwhile the often bitter debates between supporters of different Republican factions in 1936-39 continue to be played out on internet message boards. Despite this public and academic interest, only a small quantity of primary sources in English were freely available to researchers online – last year the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, added over 13,000 pages more. (more…)
Forty-seven years ago today, in 1963, two young Spanish anarchists were executed by General Franco’s obscene regime for a Passport Office bombing of which they had no knowledge, while the real perpetrators slipped quietly away. Despite the absence of any evidence of their involvement, Francisco Granados (27) and Joaquin Data Martinez Delgado (29) – both members of the anti-Franco movement called the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth – were interrogated, brutally tortured, tried behind closed doors and executed by garotte at Franco’s notorious Carabanchel Prison, and all of this in just eighteen days after having been arrested.
For many, these unfortunates were but two more victims of an unrestrained and merciless tyrant estimated to have executed almost two million non-combatants between 1939-75, during his arduous near four-decade-long reign of terror. But what separated this grotesque event from the rest of Franco’s merciless pogroms against his own people was that it took place not at the chaotic post-Civil War beginning of his ‘reign’, but twenty-four grueling years into his rule, and during this cynical tyrant’s attempt to pass off his regime as ‘respectable’ to the rest of the Western World. For, as a resurgent wave of underground resistance began –throughout 1963 – to rise up from the ashes of violent repression, General Franco openly recommenced his policy of institutionalised revenge and intent to eradicate from Spain all democrats, liberals, socialists and – above all others – his most-despised enemies from the war, the communists and anarchists. (more…)
What is the Third Square?
The Third Square (Arabic: الميدان الثالث) is an Egyptian political movement created by liberal, leftist and moderate Islamist activists who reject both Muslim Brotherhood and military rule following the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état.
The movement first appeared when the Egyptian defence minister, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations on 26 July 2013 to grant his forces a “mandate” to crack down on “terrorism”, which was seen as contradicting the military’s pledges to hand over power to civilians after removing Mr. Morsi and as an indication for an imminent crackdown against Islamists. The announcement by General Al-Sisi was rejected by a number of political groups that had initially supported the military coup, such as the revolutionary April 6 Youth Movement, the moderate Strong Egypt Party, the Salafi Al-Nour Party and Egyptian Human Rights groups.
In the Atlantic: The Lawyer Who Told FDR He Couldn’t Censor a Trotsky Speech.
From Howie’s Corner: Why do they call themselves “Socialist” Unity? / Martin Smiths “confidential resignation” / Is the Socialist Party heading for a split? / The “forgotten” Socialist Party (of Great Britain)..
From the archive of struggle, no.78
I have recently discovered Monoskop Log. Here are some treasures from it:
And from a similar site, UbuWeb:
*Man Ray (1945-1998): Les Mystères du château de Dé (1929) / Emak Bakia (1926) / Le Retour à la raison (1923) / L’Étoile de mer (1928) / Home Movies (1923-1937) / Home Movies (1938) / The Bazaar Years (1990, documentary)
- Und Was Bekam Des Soldaten Weib? 6:16
- Der Anstreicher Spricht Von Kommenden Grossen Zeiten (Intro) 0:56
- Der Barbara-Song Oder Die Ballade Vom Nein Und Ja 10:58
- O Du Falada, Da Du Hangest… 7:06
- Ballade Vom Weib Und Dem Soldaten 6:17
- An Die Nachgeborenen 6:39
- Kinderkreuzzug 1939 14:05
- An Meine Landsleute 3:50
- Vier Aufforderungen An Einen Mann Von Verschiedener Seite Zu Verschiedenen Zeiten 1:36
- Vom Sprengen Des Gartens 0:54
In the Marxist Internet Archive:
*Added to the Grace Lee Boggs Archive in the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL): The Chinese Sailors “Mutiny” (as Ria Stone) (1942) / “March on Washington” Movement Stirs Again (as Ria Stone) (1942) / Negroes, March on Washington! (as Ria Stone) (1942)
*Added to the Irving Howe Archive in the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL): Labor Action Replies to Christian Science Monitor (1942) / The Saturday Evening Post Slanders the Jewish People (1942) / Labor Action Answers California Eagle Attack (1942) / Stalinists Defend War Profiteers! (1942) / Jim Crow – Who Will Win the New Orleans Race? (1942)
*Added to the Hugo Oehler Archive in the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL): The Negro and the Class Struggle (series) (1932) / The S.P. “Lefts’” Program (1932) / The Slogan of the Defense of the U.S.S.R. (1932)
And here’s a sample of new material added to the wonderful Early American Marxism website: (more…)
Two interesting items:
The appearance of the Egyptian Black Bloc in Cairo’s streets in January 2013 triggered gullible excitement in Western anarchist circles. Little thought was given to the Egyptian Black Bloc’s political vision – or lack thereof – tactics, or social and economic positions. For most Western anarchists, it was enough that they looked and dressed like anarchists to warrant uncritical admiration. Facebook pages of Israeli anarchists were swamped with pictures of Egyptian Black Bloc activists; skimming through the US anarchist blogosphere during that period would have given one the impression that the Black Bloc was Egypt’s first-ever encounter with anarchism and anti-authoritarianism. But as American writerJoshua Stephens notes, the jubilant reaction many Western anarchists have towards the Black Bloc raises unflattering questions concerning their obsession with form and representation, rather than content and actions. And in this regard, these anarchists are not different from the Islamists who were quick to denounce the Black Bloc as blasphemous and infidel merely because they looked like Westerners. Further, many Western anarchist reactions to the Black Bloc unmask an entrenched orientalist tendency. Their disregard of Egypt and the Middle East’s rich history of anarchism is one manifestation of this. As Egyptian anarchist, Yasser Abdullah illustrates, anarchism in Egypt dates back to the 1870’s in response to the inauguration of the Suez Canal; Italian anarchists in Alexandria took part in the First International, published an anarchist journal in 1877, and took part in the Orabi revolution of 1881; Greek and Italian anarchists also organised strikes and protests with Egyptian workers. Yet these struggles are nonchalantly shunned by those who act today as if the Black Bloc is the first truly radical group to grace Egyptian soil….
I begin by showing that colonial attitudes made the Republicans of the Spanish Revolution neglect Spanish colonialism in North Africa, leading them to focus solely on fighting fascism at home. That the Spanish Revolution continues to serve as an important reference for today’s anarchist movements, it is not surprising that similar colonial attitudes lead today’s movements to write-off centuries of anti-authoritarian struggle in Asia, Africa and the Middle East….
Exceedingly Immersed in their fight against fascism and tyranny in Spain, the [Spanish] revolutionaries ignored Spain’s colonialism, fascism and tyranny across the Mediterranean. The level of dehumanisation toward the “Other” was so high that, according to most pro-revolution narratives, the only role colonised Moroccans were given to play was one of mercenaries brought in by General Franco to crush the Popular Front. Much pro-revolution sentiment would go as far as referring to Moroccans in a racist manner. While it is difficult to argue that mutual solidarity between Spanish revolutionaries and colonised Moroccans could have changed the outcome of the War, it is also difficult to know whether this kind of solidarity was ever feasible in the first place. As the late American historian Howard Zinn puts it: “In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.” On the other hand, anarchism, in its essence, means rejecting and fighting against any form of authority and subjugation, including colonialism and occupation. To be truly anti-authoritarian, therefore, any struggle against fascism and dictatorship at home should be internationalist and cannot be separated from the struggle against fascism and tyranny abroad, in its role as a colonial power….
And Palestinian Anarchists in Conversation: Recalibrating anarchism in a colonized country, by Joshua Stephens, originally in the Lebanese magazine The Outpost. Extract:
“I’m honestly still trying to kick the nationalist habit,” jokes activist Ahmad Nimer, as we talk outside a Ramallah cafe. Our topic of conversation seems an unlikely one: living as an anarchist in Palestine. “In a colonized country, it’s quite difficult to convince people of non-authoritarian, non-state solutions. You encounter, pretty much, a strictly anticolonial – often narrowly nationalist – mentality,” laments Nimer. Indeed, anarchists in Palestine currently have a visibility problem. Despite high-profile international and Israeli anarchist activity, there doesn’t seem to be a matching awareness of anarchism among many Palestinians themselves.
See also: anarchist tagged posts on Tahrir-ICN about Egyptian anarchists.
Related articles (more…)
This article appears in Italian in Corriere della Sera’s La ventisettesima ora
Fifteen fascinating and scandalous women , fifteen women rebels… largely forgotten by history. Educated women, aristocratic or workers, publishers, poets, journalists, writers, activists, who from Italy to Japan, Russia to England, Spain to Argentina choose a rough path of autonomy , siding always on with the weak and exposing the same oppression of fascism, Nazism and Communism. Denounced, arrested, imprisoned, exiled, sometimes victims of violence, in one case killed: their stories are told for the first time by Lorenzo Pezzica, historian and archivist of Milan, who, with her book Anarchists: Rebel women of the twentieth century (Shake editions, 2013) fills a void in the history of anarchism, reserved so far only for men.
Forget therefore Bakunin and Kropotkin, Malatesta and Pisacane. Here are red Emma, the Lithuanian Goldman, the only internationally known, called “the most dangerous woman in America”, pioneering feminist and champion of free love, despite being tormented by jealousy. And Virginia Bolten who only twenty years old, 1 May 1890, is the first woman speaker of the nascent labor movement in the city of Rosario, and wrote “Ni Dios, ni patron ni marido”.
Or Dora Marsden, petite and daring suffragette arrested in London in 1909, believing that it is high time for women to take control of their lives. She joined , the first feminist magazine of the 1900s, but would eventually break from movement, denouncing its hierarchical organization too . And again, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, declared lesbian, forced to go underground in Franco’s Spain, who throughout her life will try to reformulate the identity of “those who do not count.” Then, Nancy Cunard, depicted on the cover of the book, provocative dark lady and convinced anti-racist, who? rejects the English aristocracy from which committed all his energies in the Spanish revolutionary cause, and will pay its unconventional choices with loneliness and cultural existential…
Among the best stories is that of May Picqueray , French and pacifist anarcho-syndicalist, independent woman who lived by the tragedies of the twentieth century, raising her three children alone had three different companions… Not to mention, finally, the Italian: Maria Luisa Berneri, a tireless opponent of all wars in its short existence marked by the tragic death of her father Camillo, who was killed in 1937 in Barcelona by the assassins of the Comintern. And Luce Fabbri, a life spent in exile in Uruguay, recalling that totalitarian nightmare of Orwell, a machinery of power increasingly sophisticated and oppressive that, although experienced as a painful wound, never translates [for these women] into a sense of helplessness…
Beyond their ideas, shared or not, I am struck by the determination and courage of these women perpetually wandering, uncomfortable and insubordinate, here and now they want to accomplish their dream of a better life. Women, as Ida Fare writes in the introduction , linked by a network that truly embodies the words of the song anarchist “Our homeland is the whole world, our law is freedom.”
But who today could represent an ideal continuity with their thinking, with their willingness to transgression is difficult to find examples of disruptive approved in the current world, where it quickly becomes polluted every thrust antagonist.
The article nominates Aliokhina Maria, the youngest member of Pussy Riot, serving two years in prison for the anti-Putin punk prayer in the Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow. Or the fierce Inna Shevchenko, leader of Femen, the movement that was born in Kiev with its clamorous protest topless which spread to, among others, the Tunisian blogger Amina. Or Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian activist and renowned psychiatrist, or Vandana Shiva , the Indian environmentalist, champion of biodiversity.