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Lives well-lived 1: Higinio Carrocera — The Hero of El Mazucu a profile by Fernando Romero (translated by Paul Sharkey)

 Anarchism in Asturias  Comments Off on Lives well-lived 1: Higinio Carrocera — The Hero of El Mazucu a profile by Fernando Romero (translated by Paul Sharkey)
Jul 262015
 

Higinio Carrocera (1908-1938)

Higinio Carrocera Mortera was born in Barros (Langreo) in January 1908, five years after the launch of the ‘La Justicia’ Workers’ Club, an atheneum organised by the workers of the Duro Felguera engineering company. It was here that Carrocera – as with many other libertarians – learned to read. Gijón and La Felguera were the two strongholds of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT in the predominantly socialist (UGT) Asturias. It was in this anarchist setting that Higinio grew up to become a champion of “The Idea” that Ricardo Mella had spread so successfully while in Asturias.

During the Primo de Rivera dictatorship (1923) the young 15-year-old Carrocera began attending workers’ rallies and became involved in labour disputes. By the end of the dictatorship the name of Higinio Carrocera was well-known at public meetings because of his charisma and his organisational abilities.

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I COULDN’T PAINT GOLDEN ANGELS. Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation by Albert Meltzer (Kindle and Kobo editions)

 anarchism, Anarchism in Britain  Comments Off on I COULDN’T PAINT GOLDEN ANGELS. Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation by Albert Meltzer (Kindle and Kobo editions)
Jul 252015
 

GoldenAngelsI COULDN’T PAINT GOLDEN ANGELS. Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation by Albert Meltzer (Kindle and Kobo editions)
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Albert Meltzer (1920–1996) was involved, actively, in class struggles since the age of 15; exceptional for his generation in having been a convinced anarchist from the start, without any family background in such activity. A lively, witty account of sixty years in anarchist activism, and a unique recounting of many struggles otherwise distorted or unrecorded, including the history of the contemporary development of anarchism in Britain and other countries where he was involved, notably Spain. His story tells of many struggles, including for the first time, the Anglo-Spanish cooperation in the postwar anti-Franco resistance and provides interesting sidelights on, amongst others, the printers’ and miners’ strikes, fighting Blackshirts and the battle of Cable Street, the so-called Angry Brigade activities, the Anarchist Black Cross, the Cairo Mutiny and wartime German anti-Nazi resistance, the New Left of the 60s, the rise of squatting—and through individuals as varied as Kenyata, Emma Goldman, George Orwell, Guy Aldred, and Frank Ridley—all of which have crowded out not only his story, but his life too.

***

Albert002In spite of the self-effacing sub-title, the life of Albert Meltzer was far from “commonplace”. It is a witty account of the never-ending and tireless struggle — sometimes Herculean, sometimes Schvejkian — against the hydra-headed nonentities who seek to impose their order and their certainties on the universe.

Since his schooldays, throughout his working life and in “retirement”, anarchism was the guiding star which fuelled Albert’s thankfully incurable and infectious optimism and faith in the ultimate common sense of humanity. He was a worker, active in trade unionism, a tireless but unpaid editor, a traveller, a public speaker and a challenger of humbug. His character, ideas, good humour (mostly) and generosity of spirit have touched and influenced many people in many lands during the past sixty years. I am grateful to have been one of those links in the chain. Others, some of the many younger people Albert inspired, will undoubtedly be the future torchbearers of anarchism — a vision of a free, just and self-managed society — in the twenty-first century.

However did Albert Meltzer get to be one of the most enduring figures in the active international anarchist movement in the second half of the twentieth century? How did his commitment to anarchism survive the destruction of the Revolution and defeat in the Civil War in Spain? How did it survive the Second World War? What was the anarchist contribution to the revolutionary impetus of the 1960s and 1970s? How did it respond to the more demanding reactionary challenges of the 1980s and 1990s? These are important questions with a valuable bearing on the human condition in this century. “I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels” does not provide any easy answers but it does provide sharp and invaluable insights into how anarchists are formed and sustained — unpretentious, without illusions, prepared for everything and forgetting nothing. — Stuart Christie

The obscure title may require some explanation, inasmuch as the following introductory paragraph was accidentally omitted from the printed version: “A nineteenth century sentimental love lyricist of German poetry, who was also its sharpest political satirist, wrote a book of art criticism in Paris. He said he was determined to keep to the one subject, but the revolutions of that year broke out and he could not help bringing in his political prejudices and sympathies. He compared himself with an “honest fellow-tradesman”, a signwriter whose speciality was to paint red lions. Offered a commision to paint a golden angel as a house sign, he declined, saying he was only capable of painting a red lion, and if he attempted to paint a golden angel it would turn out to look like a red lion just the same. This was intended to be by way of being an account of an untypical working life, far from golden and never angelic but I couldn’t keep the red lion of anarchist history from emerging”

Albert Meltzer

 

THE MORAL BASIS OF ANARCHISM by Pietro Gori

 anarchism  Comments Off on THE MORAL BASIS OF ANARCHISM by Pietro Gori
Jul 202015
 

Gori1THE MORAL BASIS OF ANARCHISM by Pietro Gori (Kindle and Kobo editions)
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In this 1904 pamphlet, Italian anarchist composer and poet, Pietro Gori considers the moral and ethical evolution of human society from its origins to the present day. Gori challenges the bourgeois media’s negative representation of anarchism as synonymous with disorder and violence: i.e., propaganda by authoritarian institutions and bourgeois vested interest groups intended to demonise anarchists and anarchism. For Gori violence is anathema and, indeed, originates with power and provokes popular struggle as an inevitable response. The moral foundations of anarchy, then, lie in the dawn of a new future, founded on new principles, such as mutual aid and solidarity.

En recuerdo a Juan Gómez Casas (1921—2001) por Juan Busquets Verges

 Anarchism in Spain, CNT  Comments Off on En recuerdo a Juan Gómez Casas (1921—2001) por Juan Busquets Verges
Jul 162015
 

GomezCasas“Hace tiempo que quería testimoniar mi más profunda estima al compañero y amigo, que con su ejemplo moral influenció en mí y a otros compañeros que lo frecuentaron, Hablar de Juanito, como solíamos llamar sus más íntimos, no es una tarea fácil.

Juan Gómez Casas nació en Burdeos en 1921. Fue detenido en Madrid, en su domicilio de Carabanchel bajo, el 15 de enero de 1948, siendo Secretario General de las Juventudes Libertarias y del Comité Peninsular de la FAI. La policía le incautó la imprenta donde editaban Tierra Libre y Juventud Libre, condenado por un Tribunal Militar a 30 años de reclusión de los cuales cumplió 14.

Cuando ingresé en el penal de San Miguel de los Reyes (Valencia) en 1950, procedente de la Modelo de Barcelona, después de pasar (el denominado periodo sanitario) veinte días incomunicado, salí al patio donde había centeneras de presos. El primero que se acercó para saludarme fue Juanito, era un hombre de mediana estatura, delgado como la mayoría de los detenidos que estaban allí a causa del hambre que se pasaba.

Con una voz amable me informó sobre algunos aspectos de la vida en el penal, pertenecía al grupo mayoritario de la CNT, unos tres cientos compañeros.

Juan Gómez Casas, tenía una cultura sólida. Se pasaba parte de su tiempo estudiando, haciendo muchos apuntes que más tarde le sirvieron para publicar cuando salió en libertad en 1962. Hablaba correctamente el francés y el esperanto. En la cárcel aprendió el inglés y el alemán. Idiomas que le sirvieron cuando recuperó la libertad para traducir varias obras clásicas del anarquismo.

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JOSEPH FOUCHÉ: The Portrait of a Politician by Stefan Zweig (Kindle, Kobi and Mobi)

 France, Historical, Politics  Comments Off on JOSEPH FOUCHÉ: The Portrait of a Politician by Stefan Zweig (Kindle, Kobi and Mobi)
Jul 162015
 

Fouchecover2Check out all Christiebooks titles on Kindle & ChristieBooks on KOBO   However, for some unknown reason (possibly because they have a more expensive edition available from which they take a larger cut!) Amazon Kindle have made this title available only on their .com site at $3.00 , but we can provide a mobi file (which you can read on a Kindle reader) for £2.00/$3.00 by Paypal. The title is also available on Kobo at £2.00

“Joseph Fouché, one of the most powerful men of his day, and one of the most remarkable men of all time, was little loved by his contemporaries and has received even less justice from posterity. Napoleon in St. Helena; Robespierre at the Jacobin Club; Carnot, Barras, and Talleyrand in their memoirs; the French historians, no matter whether royalist, republican, or Bonapartist—one and all spit venom as soon as his name cornes up for discussion. He is a “born traitor,” a “pitiful intriguer,” a “man with a slimy reptilian nature,” a “professional turncoat,” a “creature with the base spirit of a policeman,” a “contemptible immoralist.” No term of abuse is spared him; and neither Lamartine nor Michelet nor Louis Blanc makes any serious endeavour to throw light on his character, or (which would be more to the point) to analyse the springs of his amazingly persistent lack of character—his unfailing want of principle. The first effective presentation of his personality is to be found in Louis Madelin’s monumental biography, from which I myself like most other writers on Fouché have mainly drawn for my facts. In general, however, we find that this man who during one of the most salient periods in history was a leader of every party in turn and was unique in surviving the destruction of them all, this man who in duels upon the psychological plane was able to get the better of a Napoleon and a Robespierre, is tacitly relegated to the back rows among the supers instead of being given his proper place in the centre of the stage.

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THE LAW OF NUMBERS by Ricardo Mella (Translated by Paul Sharkey). LA LEY DEL NÚMERO (en Castellano) Kindle and Kobo editions

 anarchism, Anarchist ideas  Comments Off on THE LAW OF NUMBERS by Ricardo Mella (Translated by Paul Sharkey). LA LEY DEL NÚMERO (en Castellano) Kindle and Kobo editions
Jul 102015
 

NumbersCoverTHE LAW OF NUMBERS y LA LEY DEL NÚMERO by Ricardo Mella (Kindle and Kobo editions)
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Edición español — aqui

Ricardo Mella Cea (1861–1925) was a prominent Spanish anarchist writer and activist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who remains one of the most profound,  penetrating, lucid and theoretically sophisticated of anarchist thinkers.

“Spencer has it that the great political superstition of the divine right of kings has been replaced by the great political superstition of the divine right of parliaments. He goes on to say, “The anointing oil seems to have switched undetected from one head to many, consecrating them and their rights.”

Let us take a look at the great superstition which drew such eloquent words from the premier positive philosopher.

Whether we are talking about monarchies or republics, the origin of parliament is the will of the majority, in theory at any rate. At the same time, the supremacy of the greater number rests upon its incontrovertible right to govern everyone, directly or indirectly. The claim is — and the querying of it is scarcely tolerated — that the majority is more far-sighted on every issue than the minority and that, since all men have much in common, it is only reasonable and necessary that the majority should determine how and in what manner general purposes are to be served.

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El Movimiento Libertario Español Pasado, presente y futuro (Suplemento a Cuedernos de Ruedo iberico. 1974) José Martínez y José Martin-Artajo (Redactores)

 Anarchism in Spain, News  Comments Off on El Movimiento Libertario Español Pasado, presente y futuro (Suplemento a Cuedernos de Ruedo iberico. 1974) José Martínez y José Martin-Artajo (Redactores)
Jun 292015
 

MLECover1El Movimiento Libertario Español. Pasado, presente y futuro (Suplemento a Cuedernos de Ruedo iberico, 1974) redactado por José Martínez y José Ignacio Martin-Artajo (Kindle and Kobo editions)
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El primer imperativo que nos impusimos fue el de evitar que nuestro conjunto tuviera un carácter arqueológico. Caer en la tentación arqueológica era fácil. Abordar la historia reciente del anarquismo español, tratar de la práctica actual de sus organizaciones, ceñir aunque sólo sea flojamente los problemas que tiene planteados es tarea ardua que nos ha procurado muchos sinsabores. El segundo imperativo era evitar el monolitismo, no incurrir en el pecado de aplicar una línea estricta al fascículo. Esto exigía no caer en «el fetichismo de las siglas», no centrarnos en el estudio de las organizaciones libertarias actuales y de las posiciones oficiales de éstas, sino intentar partir de una realidad más profunda, de la «corriente libertaria» a que aluden algunos de los colaboradores del suplemento, soporte no sólo de aquellas organizaciones y portadora de sus doctrinas «oficiales» sino fenómeno subyacente productor de una mayor riqueza de formas orgánicas, de valores ideológicos y de prácticas concretas. imponía alinear a lo largo de sus páginas trabajos críticos construidos a partir de ideologías no libertarias y colaboraciones de miembros de las diversas tendencias libertarias.

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GANGRENE by Béchir Boumaaza (Kindle and Kobo editions — .mobi files available as well)

 France, repression  Comments Off on GANGRENE by Béchir Boumaaza (Kindle and Kobo editions — .mobi files available as well)
Jun 042015
 

GangreneGANGRENE Béchir Boumaaza (Translated from the French by Robert Silvers) (Kindle and Kobo editions)
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A damning account of the merciless brutality of the torture methods employed by the security apparatus of De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic in its repression of the Algerian struggle for independence. Gangrene consists of the dispassionate depositions made by seven Algerians (a commercial traveller, students, a journalist, and a pharmaceutical assistant) arrested in December 1958 by the French counter-intelligence service, the D.S.T. (La Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire) on the orders of its then director, Roger Wybot, and Paris police chief and former Petainist and Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon*. Originally published in France on 16 June 1959, La Gangrène was immediately banned and the print run seized by the De Gaulle government; on June 23, French police smashed the plates intended for a second edition. In spite of the sadistic treatment to which the students were subjected, the language and style of the narrative is told in a restrained and unsensational manner; how a man who refused to speak was forced to strip naked, hung upon a spit like a trussed turkey, electrodes applied to his genitals, his head plunged into a tub of liquid containing urine and vomit. It is an historical irony that many of the police ‘specialists’ involved in these horror-steeped activities, particularly Wybot himself — De Gaulle’s ‘Beria’ in London— were former ‘heroes’ of the so-called French Resistance. As one of them remarked: “I was tortured by the Nazis; now I do it myself.” Perhaps the final irony was that these tortures — carried out in the name of the Fifth Republic — took place in the basement of 11 rue des Saussaise, the former Paris headquarters of the Gestapo, where many of their own comrades had been subjected to a similar fate. Plus ça change!

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A Dominie’s Log, A Dominie Dismissed and A Dominie in Doubt A. S. Neill (Kindle, Kobo and .mobi editions)

 Anarchist education  Comments Off on A Dominie’s Log, A Dominie Dismissed and A Dominie in Doubt A. S. Neill (Kindle, Kobo and .mobi editions)
May 242015
 

Dominie1 For reasons known only to themselves Amazon/Kindle have made these editions available solely in the US market — USA : $3.00. However, we can provide .mobi files of these wonderful books that can be copied to – and read – on your Kindle device. (Payment by Paypal). The books are available, without regional discrimination, on KOBO.

A DOMINIE’S LOG by A.S. Neill (£2.50) A Dominie’s Log was directly due to the Scottish Code of Education, by which it is forbidden to enter general reflections or opinions in the official log-book. Requiring a safety-valve, a young Dominie decides to keep a private log-book. In it he jots down the troubles and comedies of the day’s work. Sometimes he startles even his own bairns by his unconventionality. There is a lot in Education that he does not understand. The one thing, however, that he does comprehend is the Child Mind, and he possesses the saving quality of humour. (1915)

DominieDismissedA DOMINIE DISMISSED by A.S. Neill (£2.50) In consequence of the Dominie’s go-as- you-please methods of educating village children, the inevitable happens he is dismissed, giving place to an approved disciplinarian. The unhappy Dominie, forced to leave his bairns, seeks to enlist but the doctor discovers that his lungs are affected, and he is ordered an open-air life. He returns as a cattleman to the village where he has previously been a school master. Incidentally, he watches the effect of his successor’s teaching, the triumph of his own methods and the discomfiture of his rival at the hands of the children, in whom the Dominie cultivated personality and the rights of bairns. (1917)

DominieDoubtA DOMINIE IN DOUBT by A.S. Neill (£2.50) One day when re-reading A Dominie’s Log, its author decided that a book is out of date five minutes after it is written. In other words, he was in doubt—terrible and perplexing doubt. Do I really understand children? he asked himself. Are my ideas upon education right or wrong ? He decided that he had not sufficiently studied the psychology of children and that, in consequence, he had been guilty of almost criminal neglect. In the same delightfully discursive and humorous manner the Dominic reveals himself, as attractive in his doubts as in his convictions. He does not repent his unconventions. On the contrary, he reproaches himself for having been a heretic, whereas he ought to have been an arch-heretic.  (1920)

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ChristieBooks on KOBO  — A DOMINIE’S LOG by A.S. Neill£2.50  ;   A Dominie Dismissedby A.S. Neill — £2.50 ; A Dominie in Doubt by A.S. Neill — £2.50 ;

 

ASNeill

Alexander Sutherland Neill was born in Forfar in the N.E, of Scotland on 17 October 1883 (d. 23/9/1973) to George and Mary Neill. He was raised in an austere, Calvinist house and instilled with values of fear, guilt, and adult and divine authority, which he later repudiated. His father was the village dominie (Scottish schoolmaster) of Kingsmuir, near Forfar in eastern Scotland; his mother, too, had been a teacher before her marriage. The village dominie held a position in the community of prestige, but hierarchically beneath that of the gentry, doctors, and clergymen. The dominie, typically, controlled overcrowded classrooms with the tawse (the belt), as the means of maintaining good order and discipline.

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ANARCHY AND CHRISTIANITY Two essays on Christian Anarchism: ‘On Anarchy’ and ‘The Kingdom Of God Is Within You’ by Leo Tolstoy (Kindle and Kobo editions)

 anarchism, Religion  Comments Off on ANARCHY AND CHRISTIANITY Two essays on Christian Anarchism: ‘On Anarchy’ and ‘The Kingdom Of God Is Within You’ by Leo Tolstoy (Kindle and Kobo editions)
May 202015
 

TolstoySMALLANARCHY AND CHRISTIANITY Two essays on Christian Anarchism: ‘On Anarchy’ and ‘The Kingdom Of God Is Within You’ by Leo Tolstoy. Read Inside. NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.91 .  Check out all Christiebooks titles HERE UK : £1.91 ; USA : $3.00 FRANCE : €2.62 ; SPAIN : €2.62 ; ITALY: €2.62 ; GERMANY : €2.62; NETHERLANDS : €2.62  ; JAPAN : ¥ 358CANADA : CDN$ 3.60 ; BRAZIL : R$ 8.99 ; AUSTRALIA : $3.73 ; INDIA : R191 ; MEXICO : $45.02

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The Kingdom of God Is Within You [Tsarstvo Bozhiye vnutri vas]) and On Anarchy by Leo Tolstoy are philosophical treatises on the organisation of society based on a literal Christian interpretation of the New Testament. The former first appeared in Germany in 1894, after being banned in his home country of Russia; the latter essay was written in 1900.

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