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More on Rudolf Ställmann, aka ‘The Baron de Koenig’, ‘Rex’, ‘Colonel Lemoine’, etc.

 Parapolitics  Comments Off on More on Rudolf Ställmann, aka ‘The Baron de Koenig’, ‘Rex’, ‘Colonel Lemoine’, etc.
Apr 282016
 
LemoinePassport

‘Lemoine’s’ (von Koenig) passport photo (1930s)

For aficionados of ‘Pistoleros! The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg’ here is some additional source material on Rudolf Ställmann (aka ‘The Baron de Koenig’, ‘Rex’, ‘Colonel Lemoine’, etc.) who, after Bravo Portillo’s murder in 1919, took over the 70-strong anti-union death squads and false-flag terrorists/anti-CNT provocateurs of ‘La Banda Negra’ in Barcelona on behalf of Josep Miró I Trepat and security/police chief General Miguel Arleguí. Ställmann fled Barcelona in 1920 after his murderous activities were exposed in the CNT daily ‘Solidaridad Obrera’. The information comes from a 1941 book, ‘Total Espionage’ (Putnam’s Sons), by Curt Reiss, a US (Austrian refugee and intelligence agent) journalist who seems to have met Lemoine/ Ställmann/Koenig in pre-war Paris. Lemoine’s connection with the Deuxième Bureau is backed up by French fascist journalist Lucien Rebatet (who also worked for the French security service) whose book ‘Les décombres’ describes in detail Ställmann’s forged documents setup at his office in the rue de Lisbonne. Ställmann seems to have taken over the office (with 20 operatives, including ex-Spartakist refugee Frederic Drach) on his return from Spain in 1920-’21. These details confirm Farquhar McHarg’s belief that Ställmann had been advancing French interests since his arrival in Spain in August 1915:

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MORAL COERCION by Ricardo Mella. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism, Ideas, Philosophy  Comments Off on MORAL COERCION by Ricardo Mella. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)
Apr 252016
 

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Galician-born surveyor Ricardo Mella (1861-1925) is regarded by many as one of the major theorists of anarchism in Spain. His moderate tone and outlook set the keynote for fellow-anarchists in Galicia and Asturias as he oposed jacobinism, regionalism, political socialism and extremism of any hue. While many embraced Ferrer’s rationalist educational methods, Mella campaigned for “neutral” education. Himself an anarcho-collectivist by inclination, he was one of those who brought Spanish anarchism out of the ghetto and into the workplace. His wide reading, incisive mind and preparedness to tackle the big subjects without going for extremist position has left a lasting imprint on the libertarian movement in Spain. In this work he considers the question — Can society really cope without law and government? What is the nature of moral coercion? How does it manifest itself in human relationships? What is its role in a free and egalitarian society? and how modern capitalist society turns moral coercion on its head.

“Whenever we posit that in a free society founded upon equality of condition moral coercion will be enough to maintain the harmony and peace between men, we are stating something that cries out for clear and precise proof.

“Folk being used to the belief that everything that happens in the world happens by the efforts and grace of governments, and persuaded that they themselves count for nothing in the life of society, so much so that they think of themselves are mere cogs in the machinery of government, it is going to be hard to explain to them how human society might function with no compulsion other than that deployed naturally and mutually by the members of society. So, even though the impact of moral coercion may be a self-evident fact today, we need to show that the world dances to the tune of said mutually suggestive force and that it, on its own, is enough to ensure that human groups with sound foundations can develop and survive.

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HOW LABOUR GOVERNED 1945-1951 The Syndicalist Workers’ Federation (SWF) eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)

 Politics  Comments Off on HOW LABOUR GOVERNED 1945-1951 The Syndicalist Workers’ Federation (SWF) eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)
Apr 152016
 

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How the Labour Party governed between the years 1945 and 1951, examining their relationship with the working class and how “socialist” it really was.

“I look around my colleagues and I see landlords, capitalists and lawyers. We are a cross-section of the national life and this is something that has never happened before.”
Arthur Greenwood, Labour Lord Privy Seal, Hansard, August 17, 1945.

Atomic insanity
THE war in Europe ended on May 5, 1945. As a result of the General Election that followed, the Labour Government took office on July 26, 1945. Eleven days later, on August 6, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The second atom bomb devastated Nagasaki on August 9. The total casualties from these two insane acts will never be known, but the death roll was certainly upwards of half-a-million and, eighteen years later, victims are still dying from radiation sickness. The dropping of these bombs was not solely an act of American policy. President Truman has stated that he obtained the agreement of the British Government before the mass-murder was committed and the Labour Government had observers, including Group-Captain Cheshire and nuclear scientist Sir William Penney, at the bomb-dropping.

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REPORTER IN SPAIN by Frank Pitcairn (Claud Cockburn). A Stalinist reporter’s account of the SCW. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on REPORTER IN SPAIN by Frank Pitcairn (Claud Cockburn). A Stalinist reporter’s account of the SCW. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Apr 132016
 

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In 1936, Harry Pollitt, the then General Secretary of the Communist Party, asked CPGB member CLAUD COCKBURN (1904-1981) to cover the Spanish Civil War for the Daily Worker. In Spain, under the assumed name of Frank Pitcairn and endorsed by the CPGB, he joined the Quinto Regimiento/Fifth Regiment (formed by the Communist-led Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias — Milicias Antifascistas Obreras y Campesinas — commanded by Enrique Castro Delgado) to report on the war as an ordinary soldier. The result, Reporter in Spain, was published in October 1936 by the Communist Party of Great Britain’s then preferred commercial publishing house, Lawrence & Wishart. In Homage to Catalonia (April 1938) George Orwell attacked Cockburn’s Daily Worker reports from Spain, accusing him of serving the ideological and geopolitical interests of the Soviet Union — particularly with regard to his partisan account of the Barcelona May Days of 1937, views that were reflected in his Soviet sponsored newsletter, ‘The Week’ (1933-1941).

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FEUDAL SOCIETY II — Social Classes and Political Organisation, Marc Bloch (Translated by L. A. Manyon), £1.50

 Feudalism, Government and Society, Historical  Comments Off on FEUDAL SOCIETY II — Social Classes and Political Organisation, Marc Bloch (Translated by L. A. Manyon), £1.50
Apr 092016
 

Feudal Society II , £1.50 eBookshelf (Also available on Kindle and Kobo)

FEUDALISM — which was essentially a political and military system — was above all a personal set of mutual obligations between lord and vassal. At its heart was the oath of loyalty. Before witnesses, a vassal placed his clasped hands between those of the lord and pledged to become “his man,” a relationship usually sealed by a kiss between the two men. The vassal then took an oath of faithfulness. For his part, the lord also promised to “do justice” for the vassal and his family. If he failed to ensure such justice, the vassal might rightfully conclude that the bonds of the relationship had been broken, and that the lord was no longer owed his loyalty. Under the manorial system, the primary economic system that supported feudalism, the lord allowed the peasants to work the land on his estate(s)—or manor(s)—in return for a fixed payment.

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Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, £15.00. Reviewed by Stuart Christie.

 Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, £15.00. Reviewed by Stuart Christie.
Mar 302016
 

Peirats1Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, ISBN 978-1-84935-238-3, £15.00.

In August 1989, José Peirats — anarchist militant, brickmaker, baker, propagandist and chronicler of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT labour unions — ended his intensely lived span of eighty-one years by walking into the sea at Burriana beach. A multitude of deteriorating health issues including Parkinson’s disease meant he could no longer face life— or death — with dignity. As his biographer, Chris Ealham, observes: “As a lifelong activist, existence had little meaning without action — this had been the principle that guided him in his struggle for a better Spain.”

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SPANISH INTELLECT. From the Fifth to the Nineteenth Century by Henry Thomas Buckle. From Vol. II of his History of Civilisation in England, 1861. eBook £1.50 /€2.00

 Historical, Ideas, Polemic  Comments Off on SPANISH INTELLECT. From the Fifth to the Nineteenth Century by Henry Thomas Buckle. From Vol. II of his History of Civilisation in England, 1861. eBook £1.50 /€2.00
Mar 222016
 

Review: New York Times, 28 July 1861 — eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf ). Also available from Kindle and Kobo

SpainBucklesmall“The relation which the second volume of the History of Civilization holds to the first is somewhat peculiar. It is a relation, not of continuity, but of Method. Having, in the first volume arrived, by induction, at certain generalizations regarding the laws of historical progress, he devotes the second volume to testing, by deduction, the truth of those generalizations. The inductive defence comprised a collection of historical and scientific facts which suggested and authorized certain conclusions as to the laws of civilization; the deductive defence consists of a verification of those conclusions by showing how they explain the history of different countries and their various fortunes. This second volume, accordingly, may be viewed as a series of pieces justificatives of the principles of the first installment. These principles, which Mr. BUCKLE regards as the basis of the history of civilization, are: First, that the progress of mankind depends on the success with which the laws of phenomena are investigated and on the extent to which a knowledge of these laws is diffused. Second, that before such investigation can begin a spirit of scepticism must arise, which, at first aiding the investigation, is afterwards aided by it. Third, That the discoveries thus made increase the influence of intellectual truths, and diminish, relatively, not absolutely, the influence of moral truths. Fourth, that the great enemy of this movement, and consequently of civilization, is the Protective spirit; that is, the notion that society cannot prosper unless the affairs of life are watched over and protected at nearly every turn by the State and the Church — the State teaching men what they are to do, and the Church teaching them what they are to believe.

“It is in the history of Spain and of Scotland that he now seeks illustrations of these cardinal propositions. Spain and Scotland exemplify more palpably than any other modern peoples the baleful action of the protective spirit of Church and State; and the use to which he turns the history of those two countries is analogous to the value which the anatomist finds in morbid manifestations for the illustration of natural conditions. Spain is the country where the fundamental conditions of national improvement have been most flagrantly violated, and hence the country where the penalty paid for the violation has been most heavy, and where, therefore, it is most instructive to ascertain how far the prevalence of certain opinions causes the decay of the people among whom they predominate. If Spain illustrates the evil results of loyalty and superstition combined, Scotland exemplifies the evil results of superstition, but at the same time manifests how those evil results may be in part neutralized by the absence of the spirit of loyalty. It is to the elucidation of these considerations that Mr. BUCKLE has devoted the present volume, of which we shall, as a preliminary, try to give a running analysis:

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MY DISILLUSIONMENT IN RUSSIA by Emma Goldman. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Russian Revolution  Comments Off on MY DISILLUSIONMENT IN RUSSIA by Emma Goldman. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Mar 152016
 

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“Deported American anarchist Emma Goldman travels to Russia for the first time in 30 years. She provides a revealing picture on the rampant oportunism throughout the Soviet government and its steady roots throughout the bureacracy. In addition she focuses on how the Soviet government began to open its arms after the Civil War to those who once had fought against it: the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even the old tsarists. While these forces of the right were now coming into cooperation with the Soviet government, those on the extreme left saw an utter betrayal of revolutionary principles. At the one hand, during the Civil War, the Bolsheviks were much too brutal to the rightists, now they were much too nice. The extreme left then began to adamantly push for the overthrow of the Soviet government. Goldman explains life in Soviet Russia from the viewpoint of the extreme left revolutionaries, and charts the undemocratic injustices that occur to them as a result.

“Goldman was dismayed when she discovered that Doubleday, Page & Company had, without informing her, changed the title of her work from “My Two Years in Russia” to “My Disillusionment in Russia.” Even worse, the publisher cut the last twelve chapters of the manuscript (starting with Chapter 22: Odessa), omitting her account of crucial events such as the Kronstadt rebellion and the afterword in which she reflected on the trajectory of the revolution after the Bolsheviks seized power. At Goldman’s insistence, the omitted chapters were published as a separate volume: My Further Disillusionment in Russia (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1924). The complete text in one volume, with an introduction by Rebecca West, appeared the following year: My Disillusionment in Russia (London: C. W. Daniel Company, 1925).”

MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTIONIST by Peter Kropotkin. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism  Comments Off on MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTIONIST by Peter Kropotkin. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Mar 132016
 

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Peter Kropotkin’s (1842-1921) autobiographical account of his journey from privileged childhood, through military service and two years in prison to anarchist thinker and activist; it was originally serialised in The Atlantic Monthly from September 1898 to September 1899, and provides a fascinating account of his intellectual development and radicalisation, of life under tsarist rule, and of the early European socialist movement.

The following footage is of Kropotkin’s funeral procession from the village of Dmitrov, where he died, to Moscow on 13 February 1921. It turned into a protest — the last anarchist demonstration in Russia until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The accompanying sound track is a choral rendition of a traditional Russian folk song: ‘The Sun Descends Over the Steppe’.

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WITHOUT A GLIMMER OF REMORSE. The remarkable story of Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s chauffeur by Pino Cacucci. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf tab below)

 anarchist fiction, Anarchists in France  Comments Off on WITHOUT A GLIMMER OF REMORSE. The remarkable story of Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s chauffeur by Pino Cacucci. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf tab below)
Mar 122016
 

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When in 1910 Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, engaged Jules Bonnot as his chauffeur in London he could hardly have realized that here was a character every bit as colourful as one of his own inventions. Returning to France at the end of that year, Bonnot went to go on to become Paris’s public enemy number one, an inspired bandit leader of a group of anarchists who struck terror into bourgeois pre-WWI France and triggered a ferocious anti-proletarian crackdown. Bonnot’s gang consisted of a group of French anarchists associated with the magazine L’Anarchie. The founder of the group, Raymond Callemin (nicknamed Raymond la Science), regarded Mikhail Bakunin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as his role models. Bonnot joined them in December 1911, and that month their first robbery took place at the Société Générale Bank in Paris, netting them booty equal to 5126 Francs, with more in securities. They have the dubious honour of being the first to use an automobile to flee the scene of a crime – the getaway car was a stolen Delaunay-Belleville — presaging by over twenty years the methods of John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde. The French central police were determined to catch the gang; using the registry of anarchist organizations they managed to arrest one man as well as many of the gang’s supporters. In March 1912, gang member Octave Garnier sent a mocking letter to the Sûreté Nationale – with his fingerprints. The French police did not yet use fingerprinting. Sûreté chief Xavier Guichard took the matter personally. Politicians became concerned, increasing police funding by 800,000 francs. Banks began to prepare for forthcoming robberies and many cashiers armed themselves. The Société Générale promised a reward of 100,000 francs for information leading to arrests. On April 28, police tracked Bonnot to a house in a Paris suburb. They besieged the place with 500 armed policemen, soldiers, firemen, military engineers and private gun-owners. By noon, after sporadic shooting from both sides, Paris police chief Lépine sent three policemen to put a dynamite charge under the house. The explosion demolished the front of the building. Bonnot, hiding in a mattress, returned fire until Lépine shot him in the head. Two weeks later 300 policemen and gendarmes and 800 soldiers began another siege in another Paris suburb. The firing from both sides was intense, and an explosion again decided things in favour of the Sûreté chief, when the remnants of Bonnot’s gang of robbers were blown up once and for all.

Pino Cacucci offers us an affectionate, fast-paced but accurate account of the life of the extraordinary Jules Bonnot — car enthusiast, chauffeur, worker, soldier, bank robber — a man with a long-cherished dream of absolute freedom; an anarchist who felt it his duty to challenge bourgeois society, staking his all. A tragically romantic hero, Jules Bonnot.