No Gods, no bosses, no husbands: the other half of anarchy

This article appears in Italian in Corriere della Sera’s La ventisettesima ora

Fifteen “rebellious women” of the twentieth century – But who are their heirs? by 

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.
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On this day: 19 August

From The Daily Bleed:

Federico García Lorca

1864 — Spain: Juan (also spelled Joan) Montseny (aka Federico Urales) lives (1864-1942), Reus, Catalonia. Teacher, novelist, publisher, anarchist militant, companion of Teresa Mañé (Soledad Gustavo) & father of Federica Montseny. [Details / context]
Pierre Jules Ruff, anarchiste
1877 — Algeria: Pierre Jules Ruff lives (1877-1942), Algiers. Militant anarchist & antimilitarist. Arrested & perished in a Nazi concentration camp.
[Details / context]

book cover1888 — Spain: In Seville, Ricardo Mella republishes the newspaper “Solidaridad” which is, as Max Nettlau characterizes it, one of the last ramparts of anarcho-collectivism in Spain. On January 12, 1889 it publishes his article, “La Anarquía no admite adjetivos” (Anarchy needs no adjectives).  [Source: L’Ephéméride Anarchiste] http://www.hetera.org/mella.html

1892: A young Italian woman, Maria Roda, crossed the Atlantic & settled in Paterson in 1892 after dedicating several years of activism to militant workers’ struggles in Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, & England.Garment WorkersShe arrived with her partner, the prominent Spanish anarcho-syndicalist Pedro Esteve, & immediately impressed seasoned radicals & rank-&-file workers with her ability to rouse the masses with the spoken word. While raising eight children & laboring in the silk mills, Maria & Pedro became intellectual leaders within the Paterson circolo & led efforts to organize Italian textile workers into the industrial union movement that was rapidly spreading throughout the country. A charismatic & powerful speaker, Maria regularly accompanied Pedro to Tampa & New York City to assist & support the collective struggles of Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, Spanish, & Italian textile, cigar, & dock workers.

In 1906 she began a series of essays with the title “Alle Donne, Emancipiamoci!” (To the Women: Let’s Emancipate Ourselves!) See Jennifer Guglielmo’s article, archived at the Stan Iverson Memorial Library, Donne Sovversive: The History of Italian-American Women’s Radicalism /library/DonneSovversive.htm

1909 — Jerzy Andrzejewski lives. Polish novelist, short-story writer, & political dissident.

Portrayed in Czeslaw Milosz’s Captive Mind (1953), which revealed the problems of intellectuals living under Stalinism.

In the 1950s & ’60s Andrzejewski moved towards more or less open criticism of the government, starting from the novel The Inquisitors (tr. 1960). His ambiguities of style & thought eluded simplistic interpretation & several of his works went unpublished. In 1979 he helped found the workers’ defence committee (KOR) to aid families of striking workers, who were jailed or dismissed from their jobs.


IWW black cat1909 — First edition of The Little Red Songbook published.

http://www.bloomington.in.us/~mitch/iww/lrs.html

1911 — Source=Robert Braunwart Mexico: Huerta’s troops battle the anarchist Zapatistas, El Texcal & Tetillas.

1920 — Russia: Start of peasant insurrection in Tambov; Bolsheviks unable to suppress the revolt until May 1921. Similar problems had arisen in 1917, when peasants seized land from the gentry, reaching the level of near insurrection in Tambov.


http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/russia/sp001861/bolintro.html
http://www.angelfire.com/nb/revhist17/

1936 — USSR: Purge Trials begin, “Darkness at Noon”. August 19-25, Trial of the Sixteen in Moscow. Convicted of high treason in the first of the Moscow show trials, the old Bolsheviks Kamenev & Zinoviev (former pals of Stalin & Trotsky) are executed. Smirnov executed. Radek placed under arrest.
http://fbuch.com/posters.htm

1936 — Federico García Lorca dies. Andalusian poet/dramatist/artist. Murdered by Franco’s fascists. Accused of subversive activity, however evidence today suggests that it was a hate crime in response to his homosexuality. His writings remained censored until Franco died in 1975. Despite this, Lorca became one of the most widely read writers in the world.

Garcia Lorca

Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of cemeteries,
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
I don't want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don't want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent's mouth
that labors before dawn.
I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that i have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that i am the small friend of the West wing;
that i am the intense shadow of my tears.
Cover me at dawn with a veil.
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me.
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.
For i want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me of the earth;
for i want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

1936 — Spain: Camillo Berneri, after organizing an Italian anarchist column within the Francisco Ascaso Column in the Pedralbes barracks (renamed “Bakunin”), with Angeloni & de Santillán (from the CNTFAI), leaves Barcelona for the Aragonese front.

Berneri landed in Catalonia on July 25 with a cargo of rifles & ammunition. Berneri hosted a rally before 100,000 people in Plaza de los Toros in Barcelona before departing for the front. His unit engages the attacking Nationalist army on the 23rd of this month & drove them back. Because of problems with his vision & hearing, Berneri was sent back to Barcelona. There he worked to warn people about the important implications of the imminent fascist landings in the Balearic Isles, did propaganda work, attacked the Madrid government for its politics of compromise which were damaging Catalan autonomy, & criticized the ambiguous behaviour of the French & English governments. He wrote for ‘Guerra di Classe’, & often visited the ‘Amigos de Durruti ‘ (Friends of Durutti) before Communist agents murdered him in 1937.

http://www.municipio.re.it/manifestazioni/berneri/dopo.htm
http://www.uncwil.edu/hst/homepage/faculty/Seidman2.htm

2000 — Luce Fabbri, (1908-2000) dies. A life-long anarchist thinker, writer & activist.

Luce FabbriLuce died of a heart attack in Montevideo, Uruguay at the age of 92. She wrote many books, including biographies of her father, the famed Italian anarchist Luigi Fabbri, Elisée Reclus, & Machiavelli. She lectured widely & produced numerous books on anarchism, as well as collections of poetry (La poesìa de Leopardi (1971)). Wrote Influenza della letteratura italiana sulla cultura rioplatense (two volumesHer latest book was La Libertad entre la Historia y la Utopia: Tres Ensayos y Otros Textos del Siglo XX (Freedom in History & Utopia; Three Essays & Other Texts of the 20th Century [REA, 1998, 145 pages]). Her life will be documented in a forthcoming biography by Margareth Rago.
http://www.anarchist-studies.org/8whatshappening.htm
http://ytak.club.fr/juillet4.html#25