Category Archives: anti-nationalist

Remembering our comrade Leah Feldman

 by kate Sharpley Library        Leah Feldman was one of the ordinary men and women who rarely get into history books but have been the backbone of the anarchist movement.

Born in Warsaw in 1899, as a schoolgirl she became interested in anarchism. She said that her mother used to hide her shoes so that she could not attend meetings, which were then illegal in Poland. Finally she ran away to her sister in London where she earned her living at the sewing machine.

Leah’s photo album

Working in the sweatshops of the East End she became active in the Yiddish-speaking anarchist movement that flourished at that time. When the Russian revolution broke out in 1917 the overwhelming majority of Russian male Jewish anarchists returned home. Many of those women whose husbands and lovers died at the hands of the Tsarists or the Bolsheviks, remained in England.

Leah, however, had made her own way to Russia. Upon arrival she saw the reality of Bolshevik rule and was not impressed. As a working woman she could see the effects of their dictatorship in a way that visiting intellectuals could not.

Before leaving Moscow she attended Kropotkin’s funeral, the last permitted anarchist demonstration until the collapse of Stalinism. (In a great display of self-discipline all of the anarchist political prisoners who were paroled for the funeral returned to jail, in the hope that the Bolsheviks would give parole to others in the future).12832357_1334137189945424_5788862581512121236_n

Leah travelled south to the Ukraine and joined the anarchist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army led by Nestor Makhno. The Ukranian anarchists fought Tsarism, foreign intervention and then the Bolshevik dictatorship. Though she did not actually fight (some women who could ride horseback did) she joined the train that followed the army and prepared clothes and food for the orphans and strays they picked up everywhere.

When they were defeated in 1921 she got out of the country by changing her nationality through a marriage of convenience to a German anarchist. They did not meet again. She made her way to Paris and then back to London.

There she acquired British citizenship by another marriage of convenience, this time to a derelict ex-serviceman who was paid £10 for his services. They did not see each other until many years later Leah received an official communication that he was in a geriatric hospital. She used to visit him with presents of tabacco.

Before World War 2 she travelled to Poland and Palestine, working her way to both places. In Palestine she organised a federation of anarchists. One surprise was meeting her old friend Paula Green, who had been pressurised into marriage in Russia, so had chosen an atheist zionist with whom she was in love. Paula knew he was active in Labour politics but thought it impossible that he would ever be in government as he thought her ideas impossible.

Green changed his name to Ben Gurion and became the first prime minister of Israel. His wife did not leave him but she never once took part in any public functions with him. She remained a still believing, if passive, anarchist.

When Leah returned to London at the end of 1935 she helped raise money for the German sailors who organised an anti-nazi resistance group in the 1930s. She also did tremendous work for the Spanish anarchist movement when the civil war broke out.

Leah was a member of a working group of immigrant anarchist women in Holborn ever since 1939. How, with the confusion of tongues – broken English, Yiddish, Polish, French, Catalan, Spanish, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot – they understood each other was a mystery to many. But they managed.

Leah had to give up work when her eyesight went after an operation. She was completely blind in one eye thereafter and increasingly so in the other. She used her free time to help the movement she had given her life to. In the 1960s she smuggled arms into Spain for the fighters who had continued resisting the Franco regime since 1939. The Catalans, who are prone to giving nicknames, christened her “la yaya Makhnowista” (the Makhnovist granny).

Her last years were sad. Not only were all her family and her early friends dead, there was nobody left with whom she could talk in her own language. But she never gave up. She still supported anarchist meetings and always attended the annual London Anarchist Bookfair when her health permitted.

Our movement has been built by working women and men like Leah. It is right that we do not forget their contribution.


A Rebel Spirit (obituary of Leah Feldman) – by Albert Meltzer at Kate Sharpley Library

http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/fj6qrv       Leah (Leila) Feldman, who was cremated at East London in the presence of some fifty comrades from DAM, ABC, Black Flag and the feminist movement, on January 7th 1993, was a history lesson in herself. She merits more than an obituary…. While she was still a schoolgirl she become interested in anarchism  ……..George Cores said that “most of the work that was done (in building the Anarchist movement) was due to the activities of working men and women, most of whom did not appear as orators or writers in printed papers”, Cathy and Margaret, and our late comrade Leo Rosser, obtained in a series of interviews, and a video, notes of her life which have been transcribed but are voluminous though chronologically jumbled. We hope that these can be edited into a coherent volume, which will be well worth publishing, far more so than the oft-repeated hagiographies of the ‘secular saints’ of the movement in the past…    …. continues


The ABC of Anarchism… by Alexander Berkman.. free download

 
A gifted writer for the anarchist movement, Alexander Berkman left Russia for the United States in 1888 when he was eighteen. Thirty-one years later, after serving a prison term for an attempted assassination, he was expelled to the Soviet Union, a country which he eventually renounced.
But before his repudiation of the Soviet system, Berkman attempted to answer some of the charges made against anarchism and to present its case clearly and intelligently. This book, first published in 1929, is the result of those efforts.  
 
Thorough and well stated, The ABC of Anarchism is today widely regarded as a classic declaration of the movement’s goals and methods. For those who have questions about anarchism, Berkman provides lucid answers. In conversational tones, he discusses society as it existed in the early twentieth century; why in his opinion, anarchy was necessary; the myths surrounding it; and necessary preparations for its successful implementation. Continue reading The ABC of Anarchism… by Alexander Berkman.. free download

Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell.. Free Download, PDF

Literature,  shared with thanks

…”They [Catalans] had attempted to produce within the militias a sort of temporary working model of the classless society. Of course there was no perfect equality, but there was a nearer approach to it than I had ever seen or than I would have thought conceivable in time of war.”…

FREE DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE

Homage to Catalonia (1938) is what it says, George Orwell’s homage to the people of Catalonia who attempted an anarchist/socialist revolution in response to the army’s attack on their fledgling democracy, and more broadly in response to centuries of harsh rule by feudal landowners supported by the Catholic church and the monarchy. A revolution that was brought down not by the civil war but by the backsliding of right-wing socialists in the Republican government and by the treachery of the Communists.

In this it resembles (or presages) another account of anarchist ‘revolution’ undone by Communists, Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative(1968) about the Paris uprisings of that year and which I have owned almost since it was written. In fact, a great deal of Orwell’s book, particularly about the lies invented and propagated by the news media, serves to show plus ca change etc.

Homage to Catalonia has two parts – Orwell’s memoir of his time as a volunteer soldier, and an analysis of the failure of the Revolution – written in the immediate aftermath of his service, “five months ago” as he says, and before the end of the Spanish war (1936-1939). The book contains a third part, Looking Back on the Spanish War, written in 1943. But that deals in particular with the partisan, dishonest role played by the press and deserves a separate review. Continue reading Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell.. Free Download, PDF

FREE ALPHABET PICTURE BOOK ABOUT EUROPE’S VIOLENT COLONIAL RACISM

by Eye Candy at AfroPunk        Spain-based Peruvian writer Daniela Ortiz’s new book is the history lesson I never got as a child but always needed.  free download HERE.

The ABC of Racist Europe seeks to expose how Europe’s racist, colonial laws came to be and can still be felt today in xenophobic migrant and refugee policies.

According to Telesur, the book began as part of an exhibit showcased earlier this month at The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in Middlesbrough, England.

“Each letter has an imperialist message, for example, the letter K was for King … where the image shows a king imprisoning Africans, an image that today would be unacceptable,” Continue reading FREE ALPHABET PICTURE BOOK ABOUT EUROPE’S VIOLENT COLONIAL RACISM

Who are these Anarchists? and What the Hell do they Want?


 

WHO ARE THE ANARCHISTS AND WHAT IS ANARCHISM?

  By      Thomas Giovanni   at   Black Rose Anarchist Federation: …………..   In the wake of the use of militant street tactics at the Trump inauguration protests, the controversial shut down of two prominent right-wing speakers at the University of California, Berkeley, and a variety of high profile actions against the far right, anarchists have received increased media attention in the USA and sparked widespread debate, particularly around anti-fascist struggles.see also> Murray Bookchin: anarchist heretic who Inspired spreading Revolution in Middle East

But many people are still confused about anarchism, associating it with indiscriminate violence, chaos, and disorder. This distorted image runs counter to more than a century of anarchist activity in and outside the United States.

So if not chaos or disorder, what does anarchism stand for? What do anarchists believe in?

Core Anarchist Values

At the most basic level, anarchists believe in the equal value of all human beings. Anarchists also believe that hierarchical power relations are not only unjust, but corrupt those who have power and dehumanize those who don’t. Continue reading Who are these Anarchists? and What the Hell do they Want?

From June 5 to July 5 / Month for the Earth and against Capital.


Month for the Earth‘ is a Latin American campaign, going now for 5 years and gaining strength..We hope it will spread world wide!!

….”Security remains the favorite subject of our enemies, the defenders of the state and capitalist order, territories full of police and security cameras, populations losing completely the meaning of life,  replaced by frenetic consumption to “be something” … Continue reading From June 5 to July 5 / Month for the Earth and against Capital.

Anarchist Lighthouse shines for 30 years in Barcelona’s Raval

  summarized translation  en catalá abaix.    “Those who have known and lived with El Lokal, see it as a beacon for social movements in the city, a center of constant social and political unrest; a space for training, debate, organization and  coordination of local and international  struggles. Always ready, always on the ball.

see also…New Mutual Aid Hotline Blocks dozens of Evictions, Threats and Toxic Capitalism

Last Sunday we celebrated its 30th birthday at the adjacent  ‘Agora Juan Andrés Benítez’ occupied space, which is named in  memory of a neighbor killed by the Mossos local police in 2013- with a debate that brought together some of the anarchist and autonomous struggles of today. Continue reading Anarchist Lighthouse shines for 30 years in Barcelona’s Raval