Dale Street: Lions Led by Jackals – Stalinism in the International Brigades

Dale Street:

Lions Led by Jackals – Stalinism in the International Brigades

Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, January 2016, no ISBN]

This 40-page A4 pamphlet published by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty traces the history of the International Brigades by way of sifting through the trove of documents from the Communist International’s archives of the International Brigades, which have recently been made available online. These offer interesting insights into the structure of the Brigades as well as the histories and motivations of those who joined them.

The International Brigades (IB) were troops set up by the Communist International who fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) on the side of the Republican forces against the fascist military coup led by General Franco and supported by Italy and Germany. The primary motivation of many members was to “fight fascism”, which showed a high level of individual and collective courage. Many certainly thought that they were, while fighting against fascism, also fighting for communism. They were about to be disappointed. As Street writes, “The goal of the Popular Front [Republican] government, which included representatives of the Spanish Communist Party, was not working-class revolution, but defense of bourgeois power and property relations” […] “Confronted with the greatest working-class insurrection in Europe since the October Revolution, Stalinism sought to demobilise and confine that insurrection to the limits of a “bourgeois-democratic revolution’”. The International Brigades were disbanded by the Republican government in 1938.

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Hedonism och revolution

1.

Så länge som det funnits en tanke på universell befrielse genom kommunistisk revolution, har detta projekt rymt en spänning mellan två tillvägagångssätt – två motsatta positioner, bland människor som, ytligt betraktat, strävar efter samma slutmål.

Å ena sidan finner vi ett synsätt som kan sammanfattas med dessa ord: Endast revolutionen kommer att öppna för ett verkligt lustfyllt liv, och för att nå dit måste vi agera som asketiska kadrer.

Den motsatta sidan menar: Bara genom att utveckla våra lust och följa våra begär kommer revolutionen att öppna sig som en möjlighet.

Om vi blickar tillbaka på det gångna seklets två stora faser av revolutionära kamper (den första kring 1917–23, den andra kring 1967–77, med geografiska variationer), så finner vi genast att det för många revolutionärer varit grundläggande och självklart att hedonism och revolution måste gå hand i hand.

Frågan är nära kopplad till synen på arbete. “Frihetens rike börjar i själva verket först där det arbete som är bestämt av nödtvång och yttre ändamålsenlighet upphör”, skriver Marx i det tredje bandet av Kapitalet. Han lämnar inga tvivel om att frihetens rike alltid måste bygga på nödvändighetens rike, men heller inte om att människans mål måste vara att uppnå största möjliga frihet. Och detta måste inbegripa lönearbetets avskaffande.

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No borders, no fatherland! France – What’s New for the Left? (book review)

Book review: No borders, no fatherland!
France – What’s New for the Left?

(Ni patrie ni frontières, Paris 2017, 454p., no ISBN)

I first came across the journal Ni patrie ni frontières (subtitled: Ni États, ni Eglises – Ni “races”, ni ethnies – Traductions et débats) around 2003/2004 when they published a collection of texts in English by the Dutch group De Fabel van de illegaal, titled Nationalism, Anti-Semitism and the Anti-globalisation Movement (1998-2003). At a time when things were going seriously wrong in the radical Left and especially the wider “anti-globalisation” movement, the brochure was a welcome signal that there were critical voices that were sensitive to the growing overlap of far right and far left anti-imperialist positions, often manifesting themselves as “anti-Zionist”.

I started picking up copies of Ni patrie ni frontières whenever I could find them. The French journal was started in 2002 by Yves Coleman and a fair number of issues appeared in quick succession. Initially published in the form of photocopied and staple-bound A4 editions, they switched to printed softcovers in 2007 with issue 21/22.

The journal presents a wide range of historical texts and contemporary analysis of the pressing questions of the “revolutionary” Left, with views from a spectrum of radical writers and groups ranging from Left Communism to anarchism and Third Camp Trotskyism. Among the writers are Loren Goldner (Insurgent Notes), and the groups the Alliance for Worker’s Liberty, (the German) Wildcat publication, Temps critiques, Movement Communiste, the Worker-Communist Parties of Iran and Iraq, as well as anarchist and left communist classics.

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Alexander Reid Ross: Against the Fascist Creep (Book Review)

Alexander Reid Ross
Against the Fascist Creep
AK Press, Chico, Oakland, Edinburgh, Baltimore, 2017
ISBN 978-1-84935-244-4

In the introduction, Alexander Reid Ross, who is a lecturer in geography at Portland State, explains what he means by ‘fascist creep’: it ‘refers to the porous borders between fascism and the radical right, through which fascism is able to “creep” into mainstream discourse. However, the “fascist creep” is also a double-edged term, because it refers more specifically to the crossover space between right and left that engenders fascism in the first place’.

Summing up different theories about fascism, he concludes: ‘fascism is a syncretic form of ultranationalist ideology developed through patriarchal mythopoesis, which seeks the destruction of the modern world and the spiritual alingenesis (“rebirth”) of an organic community led by natural elites through the fusion of technological advancement and cultural tradition’.

In the 390-page book he sets out to document this ‘creep’ from its beginnings to its current manifestations, from classical fascism to third positionism, national bolshevism, and autonomous nationalism. He also makes meaningful distinctions between the ‘radical right’, fringe ‘conservatives’, and neo-fascists or neo-Nazis without obscuring their many overlaps.

One of the difficult things to grasp about fascism is its fundamentally contradictory nature if one is looking at it in terms of a coherent program, philosophy, or ideology. This is something that has not been denied but rather celebrated by different fascist spokesmen, from Benito Mussolini to Armin Mohler, who emphasised that fascism rather than being bothered about its discrepancies in theory was more concerned with ‘style’. [Read more →]

Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Christoph Fringeli

HFK
[Rouge de Colere 11]

The Toolbox sublabel reserved for the fast and hard sounds is back with one of its best releases yet. The four-tracker starts with some mental hypnotic hardcore which would also fit in a more out-there tek set, then starts evolving into more speedcore inspired experiments. It’s not that extreme and comes of as quite rounded, but evolves with multiple listens to a great addition to the catalogue.

Molecule SCAM vs. HFK
[AcidNight 20]

The first side credited to Molecule SCAM is an epic digital acid excursion with nice progressions, but definitely nothing outside of the genre. This is what happens on the flipside where HFK is giving the old Jones & Stephenson track The First Rebirth (released in 1993 on Bonzai) a manic flashcore workover. Of course it’s tongue in cheek, but since I have no nostalgic feelings towards early 90s hard trance I find it hard to get into, although I can imagine there to be the right moment at a party for mixing in and out of this track. Pretty good is the final track where hardcore, speedcore and broken elements in the beat structure are combined with nervous bleeping loops and descending hisses. Overall a welcome addition to the Acid Night catalogue, especially with its genre-bending tendencies.

Cyclic Backwash
[Neurotrope NRT039]

Very prolific in the last couple of years, Cyclic Backwash appears on Neurotrope with a varied 3-tracker. Most interesting is the a-side with its combination of acid lines, resonating stabs and psychedelic progression with a slightly broken beat. [Read more →]

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