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Oct 212014
 

5. America First

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After reciting the Pledge students were often instructed to say: “One Country! One Language! One Flag!”

The members of the Un-American Activities Committee were not the only U. S. congressmen involved in the secret war the Axis was waging against America in the days before Pearl Harbor. There were other Representatives and Senators who, wittingly or unwittingly, proved extremely useful to Axis agents operating in the United States.

There was, for example, Senator Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota. On June 19, 1940, Lundeen delivered on the floor of the Senate a lengthy speech attacking Lord Lothian, then British Ambassador to the United States. Lundeen’s speech was widely distributed by American fifth column organizations after being reprinted by a publishing house called Flanders Hall, Inc.

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Oct 212014
 

Fifth Column in Congress

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William Dudley Pelley, Silver Shirt chief and Nazi collaborator

In August 1936 an extraordinary national convocation attended by American fascist and anti-Semitic propagandists took place at Asheville, North Carolina. The gathering, which was called the National Conference of Clergymen and Laymen, had been arranged with the assistance of the prominent Liberty Leaguer and lumber king, John Henry Kirby, and his aide, Vance Muse, who together had organized the fascist Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution.

Among those present at the Asheville assembly, whose promoters had the avowed purpose of making anti-Semitism a key issue in the 1936 Presidential campaign, were William Dudley Pelley, Silver Shirt chief and Nazi collaborator; James True, pro-Axis propagandist and inventor of a patented blackjack called the “kikekiller”; and George Deatherage, head of the “official Fascist Party,” the American Nationalist Confederation, who was later to attend a World Congress of anti-Semites held in Erfurt, Germany, and there dehver a speech entitled, “Will America be the Jews’ Waterloo?”

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Oct 202014
 

3. Murder in the Middle West

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Black Legion regalia included this high powered rifle and a leather-bladed bludgeon used to beat their victims.

Of the myriad fascist organizations that mushroomed in the United States during the 1930s, none practised greater violence or perpetrated more appalling crimes than the Black Legion. A secret society, whose night-riding members wore black robes with slitted hoods adorned with skull and crossbones, the Black Legion maintained a reign of terror from 1932 to 1936 in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and other mid western states. In its wake, the Legion left a grisly trail of bumed-down homes, bombed union halls, fearstricken communities, and dead and crippled human beings.

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Oct 082014
 

Ready for RevolutionWhen I received Ready for Revolution from AK Press, my heart sank. The voluminous literature on the Spanish Revolution did not, I felt, need expansion. I placed it on my ‘to read’ pile, then thought little more of it until a chance conversation returned it to my mind. Despite my initial misgivings, I was pleased to be reminded of it, as I soon found this little volume to be one of the best books about revolution – let alone the Spanish Revolution – I have encountered. It may not have the immediacy of the action of Tom Barry’s Guerrilla Days in Ireland, nor the style of Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia: but what it does have, what makes it in my mind a very important book, are its revelations about the role and organization of the CNT’s Defence Committees in Barcelona. Narratives by protagonists like Barry, like Orwell, and like Arshinov are, in their way, excellent. They are necessary. They pass on the energy and emotions of a time when desires could easily become reality and the bounds of normal, workaday life were burst for thousands of men and women. But these works, the narratives of revolution, show the swan gliding on the water, not the frenetic movement beneath the surface which propels the bird. Revelations about this unseen motor, the organization which facilitates revolution, are rare, and frequently appear only many years after the events. This delay can mean that the context in which they occurred has been lost, and technology or social change prevents them being of other than historical interest.

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Sep 282014
 

AtravesllaMetrallaA TRAVÉS DE LA METRALLA. Escenas Vividas en Los Frentes y en La Retaguardia por ARMAND GUERRA. NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.53 READ INSIDE  Check out all Christiebooks titles HERE UK : £2.53 ; USA : $4.00 France :  €3.21 ; Spain:  €3.21 ; Italy :  €3.21 ; Germany : €3.21 Japan : ¥ 436Canada : CDN$ 4.39 ; Brazil : R$ 9.47 ; Mexico: $52.84 ; Australia : $4.48 ; India : R243

Las memorias personales de un cineaste anarquista de la guerra civil entre 18 de Julio y Deciembre 1936. ESTÍVALIS CABO, José María: Más conocido como Armand Guerra. A veces citado como Estívalis Calvo y Gerard Guerra. Liria (Valencia), 4-1-1886 / París (Francia), 10-3-1939. Hijo de campesinos educado en la religión, fue monaguillo y seminarista hasta su total ruptura con la divinidad para dedicarse a la imprenta (desde los trece años) y al teatro y más tarde al cine en el que destacará en todas sus facetas (director, guionista, actor, etc.). Su pertenencia al movimiento anarquista es antigua. Preso en 1907 a consecuencia de una huelga de tipógrafos, es posible que anduviera un tiempo por las Antillas antes de recalar con un hermano en París (1908).

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Sep 192014
 

AsesinosNOSOTROS, LOS ASESINOS (Memorias de la Guerra Civil Española 1936-39). por Eduardo de Guzmán. NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.53 READ INSIDE  Check out all Christiebooks titles HERE

UK : £2.53 ; USA : $4.00 France :  €3.18 ; Spain:  €3.18 ; Italy :  €3.18 ; Germany : €3.18 Japan : ¥ 429Canada : CDN$ 4.44 ; Brazil : R$ 9.36 ; Mexico: $53.03 ; Australia : $4.43 ; India : R243

Nacido en Villada (Palencia) en 1909 pero residente en Madrid hace medio siglo, Eduardo de Guzmán inicía muy joven sus actividades profesionales trabajando en diversos periódicos. En 1930 es nombrado redactor jefe del diario madrileño «La Tierra», cargo que desempeña durante cinco años. En 1935 pasa a «La Libertad» como editorialista y redactor político. En febrero de 1937 se le designa director del periódico matutino «Castilla Libre», órgano de la C.N T en la capital de España.

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Sep 182014
 
JARAMA BATALLON LINCOLN

Lincoln Battalion, Madrid, 7 February 1937

I lived in Spain some nine months, and had not made friends with one Spaniard. I hardly knew what a Spanish man or woman thought, except by what I read in the papers. My only intimacy with any Spaniard had been with whores in bordellos. I did have Spanish nurses, mostly aides to women of the International Brigades. They were hardworking and friendly, but disappeared after work to homes we never visited. For nine months I lived under the aegis of Moscow-trained leaders, policed by men with guns on their hips. Wherever I went, Albacete, Villanueva de la Jara, the front, Murcia, side trips to Alicante and Cartagena, and later Valencia and Barcelona, I lived under the eyes of commissars and Party strongarms, apparatchiks, call them what you will. I might very well have been living in what later became an Eastern European Communist dictatorship.

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Sep 182014
 
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William Herrick, 1915-2004 (photo Dick Duhan)

Back in Murcia, now ensconced in an office on Calle Nicolai, several blocks from the Street of Ragshops, I worked on the hospital newsletter with the help of an American boy who suffered from epilepsy. Why he had come to Spain in his condition, I don’t know. He had been wounded, and frequently suffered from seizures. When in high school I had had experience with someone suffering from petit mal, a boy who sat next to me, and I had learned how to be helpful, putting a handkerchief in his mouth so he wouldn’t bite his tongue, and so on. In Murcia, the kid’s name was Bercovici and he was related to a writer who was to become one of the Hollywood blacklisted.

Men were now being repatriated, but I didn’t ask, nor did Oscar Hunter, my pol, say anything to me about it. The men now coming to Spain from the States were told their hitch was only for six months. My group had not been told there would be a time limitation; we just assumed it was for the duration. Later, the limitation was arbitrarily rescinded. When men insisted they wanted to be repatriated after six months, they were vilified as Trotskyites or cowards or spies, and those who decided to leave without salvo conductos were called deserters. A number were shot. It got so bad that Tony DeMaio, as I’ve said, was dispatched to Barcelona to stand outside the American Embassy to nab those seeking refuge there.

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Sep 182014
 
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Anthony DeMaio in Spain, 1938, Russian State Archives of Social and Political History, Moscow, 545.6.880.

“In the realm of totalitarian kitsch,” Milan Kundera wrote, “all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions. It follows, then, that the true opponent of totalitarian kitsch is the person who asks questions. A question is like a knife that slices through the stage back-drop and gives a look at what lies hidden behind it.”

I was now fully outside the compact mass, yet so indoctrinated was I in my Party, by my very birth, that I was able to give the answers without even being asked the questions. I was on automatic pilot. I was able to dissemble without truly being aware of it. My anger and my fear combined to protect me against my new enemy, my former self. I became impossible. Just say one word of criticism of the Comintern, the leadership, the line, and I was down your throat. I hated the very idea of giving up my nest, my mass, my friends. Doug would look pained, shrug, walk off. Joe might very well kill me. If Oscar Hunter, my political commissar—Mickey Mickenberg had by now called the commissariat at the front “comic stars”—knew what had happened to me, he said not a word. We carried on as before. Besides, suddenly we all had something to be exhilarated about; the great Republican offensive had begun in the center front for the relief of Madrid, victory after victory almost daily. There! It could be done. Followed by despair, for the Nationalist army had retreated in orderly fashion, then turned and regained all the territory it had lost.
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Sep 182014
 
OliverLaw

Oliver Law — left (October 23, 1900 – July 9, 1937) African-American CP commander of the Lincoln Battalion for 4 days in July 1937.

Supine in an ambulance train, doped up, head immobile, a Spanish nurse feeding me slices of orange and the sweet meat of pitted dates, the passage of time snail-like, I arrived with hundreds of I.B. wounded in the rich market city of Murcia. I was deposited in a hospital named after La Pasionaria. Forgive me my latter-day bitterness; she was an impressive figure, a great orator, who kissed Joe Stalin’s ass before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and once more before going to bed. She blackmailed the Spanish govemment: the Soviet freighters lying outside its harbors would not unload their cargo of arms unless there was acceptance of the Party demands that each army unit have political commissars (and who were they to be?) , that the voluntary collectives be demolished and abolished, and that the POUM be outlawed. In Mundo Obrero, the Communist Party newspaper, she wrote that it is better to kill a thousand innocent people than to permit one Trotskyite to live. She was a charming woman who afiirmed her love for Joseph Stalin until the day she herself died, long after his own people had convicted him for his massive docket of crimes. There are those who still call her a great woman. I am not among them.

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