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).”

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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.

 

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THE BUTCHER OF LES HURLUS (Le Boucher des Hurlus) by Jean Amila (Jean Meckert). Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00

 Fiction, France  Comments Off on THE BUTCHER OF LES HURLUS (Le Boucher des Hurlus) by Jean Amila (Jean Meckert). Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00
Mar 112016
 

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Jean Amila (Jean Meckert, 1910-1995), libertarian author and son of an anarchist and a deserter, wrote twenty-one thrillers, in most of which he revealed his anarchist, anti-militarist, anti-statist and anti-clerical sympathies. Following the publication of his 1971 novel ‘La vierge et le Taureau’ (The Virgin and the Bull)— which dealt with highly immoral French nuclear and bacteriological experiments in French Polynesia (presaging the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and the murder of photographer Fernando Pereira in Auckland harbour in 1985)— he was brutally attacked, probably by French government agents, and left for dead. ‘The Butcher of Les Hurlus’ (Le Boucher des Hurlus ) is the story of Michou, the eight-year-old son of a soldier shot for mutiny in WWI. His mother, ridiculed and harassed by her neighbours as the wife of a mutineer, is interned and Michou sent to an orphanage where he and three young companions decide to take their revenge. With the ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic decimating the towns and villages of France, they head for the front line to kill one of the architects of their and France’s misfortunes, divisional general Des Gringues….

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ANARCHISM Kropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. First published 1910. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).

 anarchism  Comments Off on ANARCHISM Kropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. First published 1910. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).
Mar 102016
 

AnarchismKropotkinsmallKropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910). £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ). Also available on Kobo

Anarchism is “the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.”

“ANARCHISM (from the Gr…., and …., contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent – for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary – as is seen in organic life at large – harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

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ANARCHY Élisée Reclus. First published 1894. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).

 anarchism  Comments Off on ANARCHY Élisée Reclus. First published 1894. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).
Mar 102016
 

ReclusAnarchysmallANARCHY by Élisée Reclus. First published 1894. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ). Also available from Kindle and Kobo

The anarchist ideas of renowned French geographer, writer and activist Élisée Reclus (5 March 1830 – 4 July 1905) who produced his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes (“Universal Geography“), over a period of nearly 20 years (1875–1894). In 1892 he was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work, despite having been banished from France because of his role in the Paris Commune of 1871. The text is based on a talk originally delivered to the Brussels Masonic Lodge ,“The Philanthropic Friends,” on June 18, 1894. It was later published as l’Anarchie in Les Temps Nouveaux 18 (May 25-June 1,1895).

An Anarchist on Anarchy

It is a pity that such men as Elisée Reclus cannot be promptly shot.” — Providence Press

To most Englishmen, the word Anarchy is so evil-sounding that ordinary readers of the Contemporary Review will probably turn from these pages with aversion, wondering how anybody could have the audacity to write them. With the crowd of commonplace chatterers we are already past praying for; no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting. Public speakers on social and political subjects find that abuse of Anarchists is an unfailing passport to public favor. Every conceivable crime is laid to our charge, and opinion, too indolent to learn the truth, is easily persuaded that Anarchy is but another name for wickedness and chaos. Overwhelmed with opprobrium and held up with hatred, we are treated on the principle that the surest way of hanging a dog is to give it a bad name.

 

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THE SPANISH COCKPIT. An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War by Franz Borkenau. Foreword by Gerald Brenan. First published 1937. eBook £1.50/€2.00

 Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on THE SPANISH COCKPIT. An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War by Franz Borkenau. Foreword by Gerald Brenan. First published 1937. eBook £1.50/€2.00
Mar 102016
 

BorkenausmallTHE SPANISH COCKPIT. An Eye-Witness Account of the Political and Social Conflicts of the Spanish Civil War by Franz Borkenau. Foreword by Gerald Brenan. First published 1937. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf ). Also available from Kindle and Kobo

Austrian sociologist and disillusioned former Comintern official Franz Borkenau visited Republican Spain between August and September 1936, and again in January-February 1937. The account of his first-hand experiences as an independent socialist observer in revolutionary Spain, ‘The Spanish Cockpit’, was published in the early summer of 1937, when it impressed and influenced the recently-returned POUM miliciano George Orwell who recommended it (in a letter dated 1 August 1937) as ‘an excellent book’ for anyone wishing to understand Spanish affairs.

SPborkenau

Franz Borkenau 1900-1957

“The amount of expropriation in the few days since 19 July is almost incredible. The largest hotels, with one or two exceptions, have all been requisitioned by working class organisations (not burnt, as had been reported in many newspapers). So were most of the larger stores. Many of the banks are closed, the others bear inscriptions declaring them under the control of the Generalitat. Practically all the factory-owners we were told, had either fled or been killed, and their factories taken over by the workers. Everywhere large posters at the front of impressive buildings proclaim the fact of expropriation… All the churches had been burnt.(The Spanish Cockpit, pp 70-71)

“The Spanish revolution and civil war of 1931-39 has produced an oceanic quantity of original source materials, including documentation and memoirs, along with secondary studies, seldom matched in 20th century historiography. It is a paradox of this topic that the ‘history of its history’ has been controversial and remains so, eight decades later.

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“Our brother Salvador” A personal memoir by the sisters of Salvador Puig Antich (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

 Anarchism in Spain, News  Comments Off on “Our brother Salvador” A personal memoir by the sisters of Salvador Puig Antich (Translated by Paul Sharkey)
Mar 062016
 
Salvador

May 30, 1948 – March 2, 1974

Forty-two years ago this month — 2 March 1974 — anarchist Salvador Puig Antich was garroted in Barcelona’s Modelo Prison. The following is a personal account by his sisters of the events leading up to his judicial murder.

“In his cell, facing a warder, the impeccably uniformed soldier informed our brother, alvador Puig Antich, of the double death sentences passed on him. According to the witnesses, Salvador wept. He was the third born of a family of six brothers and sisters. From an early age he had shown a tendency to advocate on behalf of the poor. He was expelled mid-way through the school year from the Bonanova De La Salle College for defending a fellow pupil unfairly treated by a teacher. It was hard to find another college to take him, but he did go back to school, the Pompeya Capuchin College; a year later he entered the Salesian College in Mataró where he sat his baccalaureate. It was there that he met Father Manero, the priest who was to be his companion during his last night a few years later.

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Cipriano Mera’s letter to the “comrades from SERE” — Camp Morandon , 15 July, 1939. (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

 Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on Cipriano Mera’s letter to the “comrades from SERE” — Camp Morandon , 15 July, 1939. (Translated by Paul Sharkey)
Mar 052016
 

The Mera1Servicio de Evacuación de Refugiados Españoles or Servicio de Emigración de los Republicanos Españoles (SERE) (Emigration/evacuation service for Spanish Republican refugees) was, supposedly, a non-sectarian refugee support organisation set up in February 1939 under the aegis of pro-Stalinist prime minister Juan Negrín. Distribution of SERE’s funds — responsibility for which had been arbitratrily arrogated to themselves by Negrín and his Socialist Party (PSOE) cronies — was suspended in July 1939 on the grounds the organisation had ‘run out of money’. In reality, according to many informed observers, including Cipriano Mera and anarchist historian Francisco Olaya Morales, the funds had been misappropriated, administered and distributed without any proper oversight, and benefited, primarily, senior Republicans close to Negrín. Cipriano Mera wrote the following letter to SERE clarifying his role in militarisation, the National Defence Council and in the pre-emptive coup against Negrín — and effectively informing them what they could do with their offer to him of financial support.

“Those like myself who have travelled a piece down life’s highway, a path strewn more with thorns than with flowers; those like myself who are over the hill in life and closer to its setting than its rising; those like myself who have spent twenty years fighting to see to it that the long-suffering worker may live, if not well then at least a touch less badly; those like myself who have been, not onlookers but actors in the drama of war, are entitled, not to force others to follow in our footsteps, but to give us a hearing, since, amid the enormous brutality called war, we have left chunks of our dignity, pained by the impossibility of our acting in accordance with the dictates of our revolutionary consciousness; those like myself whose hearts have been hardened over the course of the struggle by the brutal errors made by an infinite number of individuals – some irresponsible for want of the understanding required to make a clear distinction between good and evil, but others bearing great responsibility because endowed with their vast learning – we, I say again, are within our rights in speaking candidly to any Spaniard who in one way or another, has had a hand in the war waged against international fascism.

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