Jews versus Stalinists in the Spanish Civil War

In the last three decades, since the publication of Albert Prago’s Jews in the international brigades in Spain in 1979 by Jewish Currents, there has been considerable interest in the massive role of Jewish fighters in the Spanish civil war. Most of them were within the orbit of the official Communist movement, which controlled and dominated the International Brigades – and also the narration of its later history.  As Gerben Zaagsma and Martin Sugarman argue, the Stalinist version of that history obscured the specifically Jewish dimension to their motivations. This Jewish dimension was retrieved in the 1970s and 1980s by Jewish radical groups like Jewish Currents in the US and Jewish Socialist in the UK. However, their important commemorative work tends to focus on the Communists of the International Brigades. Lenni  Brenner’s polemic Zionism in the Age of Dictators approached the issue from a different angle: showing that the Zionist movement had no interest in anti-fascism in Spain. However, although he also provides some interesting exceptions, his emphasis confirms the Stalinist historiography in marginalising the specifically Jewish motivations and the non-Stalinist participants.

In this blog post, I want to simply mention some of the Jewish participants in the Spanish Civil War who were also part of the anti-Stalinist movement, and specifically participants who were associated with the “Three and a Half International”, the anti-Stalinist socialist international that also included the Spanish POUM and the British ILP. The information is taken from Martin Sugarman, of AJEX, Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, and his booklet Against Fascism. I have added hyperlinks. Material in italics comes from other sources, as given at the end of the extracts. (more…)

Leib Davidovich Bronstein (Trotski) y la cuestión judía

By Arlene Clemesha at Plumas Socialdemócratas A.C:

La trayectoria y las ideas de Trotsky con relación al judaísmo presentan un múltiple interés. Primero, obviamente por el propio origen judío de Trotsky. Pero también se debe tomar en consideración el peso del antisemitismo en la tradición histórica rusa, en especial como política de gobierno de la autocracia zarista; el amplio uso del antisemitismo en la lucha de Stalin contra la oposición trotskista en la URSS, como mostró recientemente Dimitri Volkogonov; y finalmente la importancia del Holocausto perpetrado por el nazismo, como paradigma de la barbarie contemporánea. [READ THE REST – IN SPANISH]

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rudolf Rocker

From Bob From Brockley:

This month is the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Rudolf Rocker, one of my heroes. The Jewish East End Celebration Society (JEECS) is holding an event at Toynbee Hall [in London] on Sunday to mark this. There is a walk in the morning (details below) and a celebration in the afternoon.

Rocker was a non-Jewish German anarchist bookbinder who lived for a couple of decades in the East End of London as the “rabbi” of the Yiddish anarchist and labour movement there. He later lived in Germany, where he was a key figure in the syndicalist movement, and then in upstate New York, where he was associated with the Freie Arbeiter Stimme group and the libertarian education movement. His great works include The Tragedy of Spain, The Truth About Spain, Anarchism or Sovietism and his magumn opus Nationalism and Culture. [MORE]

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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