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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Frankenstein, or the 8-Bit Prometheus – Micro-literature, hyper-mashup, Sonic Belligeranza records 17th anniversary by Riccardo Balli

The Reddit Controversy

Riccardo Balli, however obscure and enigmatic he might appear in his writing and featured on his picture discs, has shown that he can be highly lucid and brilliantly persuasive in expounding his ideas when he is provoked to defend himself by attacks, such as the one Toby Reynolds, the literary critic of Datacide, launched against him on Reddit in the summer of 2018.

In reviewing ‘Frankenstein, Or The 8-Bit Prometheus’, Reynolds warned his readers of the danger that Balli might become the messiah of the enemies of realism. “Here at last was a self-proclaimed advocate of anti-writing: explicitly anti-realist and by implication anti-reality as well. Here was a writer ready to declare that words were meaningless and that all communication between human beings was impossible. Reynolds conceded that Balli presented a valid personal vision, but “the peril arises when it is held up for general emulation as the gateway to writing or music of the future, that bleak new world from which the humanist heresies of faith in logic and belief in man will forever be banished.’ Balli was moving away from realism, with “characters and events [that] have traceable roots in life” – from the writing of Paul Virilio, Stewart Home, Bill Drummond, Mark Manning, Lester Bangs, Brecht and Sartre.1
Reynolds’ attack opened one of the most interesting discussions on this subject ever conducted in public. Balli replied that he certainly did not see himself as a messiah,

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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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A Fascist Tulpa in the White House? Right-wing ‘Meme Magic’ and the Rise of Trump

A review article of ‘Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump’ by Gary Lachman, 2018

Friday 13th July 2018 – The US President is on a visit to Britain and on the streets of London one of the biggest week day demonstrations in living memory is taking place, with as many as 250,000 people marching to Trafalgar Square to oppose Donald Trump. There is a wide range of banners, portable sound systems, marching bands (including ‘Trumpets Against Trump’) and home made placards weird and wonderful. It seems that every contemporary cultural reference point is being mobilised. A group of women in red are dressed as characters from the Handmaid’s Tale with a sign declaring ‘Gilead steals our babies too’ alluding to the caging of children of migrants caught crossing the Mexican border. Trump is satirised as a baby, as the devil (a placard pictures him with the caption ‘Not today Satan’) and as an evil dementor from the Harry Potter tales with the words ‘Expecto Patronum’ – the magic charm used by Potter to raise a spirit guardian to defend against the dark forces of Voldemort. )

But supposing occult forces really are at work in the Trump aeon? That is the thesis of Gary Lachman’s ‘Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump’ (2018), which sets out to explore the ‘new incursion of far-right occultism into the contemporary political landscape’ both in the USA and in Putin’s Russia.

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Buchvorstellung Meuterei auf der “Deutschland” 1918/19

Buchvorstellung und Verlagspräsentation im neuen Disconnect Store.

Dienstag, den 26.3. 19.30

Praxis Records & Books

c/o Disconnect Store Berlin, Finowstr. 25, 10247 Berlin-Friedrichshain

Die Meuterei auf der „Deutschland“ 1918/19 – Anpassung, Aufbäumen und Untergang der ersten deutschen Arbeiterbewegung

• Autor: Klaus Dallmer
• Seiten: 320 / ISBN SBN 978-3-9819243-5-0
• Weitere Infos: Covergestaltung: Andreas Hesse

Buchvorstellung mit dem Autor und Präsentiation des Verlags Die Buchmacherei

Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie passte sich zu Anfang des letzten Jahrhunderts der Expansionspolitik der herrschenden Klassen des Kaiserreichs mehr und mehr an, und schließlich ließ sie sich auch in deren Kriegskurs einbinden. Aus der Opposition gegen den Krieg und gegen die reformistische Anpassung der Sozialdemokratie ist in Generalstreiks und revolutionären Kämpfen die deutsche kommunistische Bewegung entstanden. Als Antwort auf die Verhältnisse in einem entwickelten Industrieland betonte sie die Eigenständigkeit der Massenbewegungen in Richtung zu einer demokratischen Machtergreifung und Machtausübung der Arbeiterklasse, und stand damit in diametralem Gegensatz zu der in Russland zur Macht gelangten hierarchischen Organisationsweise. Der deutsche Kommunismus scheiterte an der revolutionären Ungeduld und Empörung der radikalisierten Minderheit der  Arbeiterschaft und an seiner Blendung durch das siegreiche russische Beispiel – die für Deutschland angemessene Vorgehensweise zur Überzeugung der Mehrheit konnte nur inkurzen Episoden zum Tragen kommen. Die regierende Sozialdemokratie setzte den überwunden geglaubten Militarismus zur blutigen Niederschlagung der revolutionären Ansätze ein und vertiefte damit die Kluft zwischen den beiden Arbeiterparteien. Mit der Einigelung in der radikalen Selbstdarstellung, der Unterwürfi gkeit gegenüber den sowjetischen Eingriffen, der hierarchischen Unterdrückung der freien Diskussion warf die KPD ihre eigene Tradition über Bord und versagte vor ihrer historischen Aufgabe, eine gemeinsame Abwehrfront der Arbeiterklasse gegen den zur Macht strebenden Faschismus zu organisieren – durch Einheitsfrontangebote an die Sozialdemokratie, die dann dem Druck ihrer Mitglieder hätte nachgeben müssen, wäre das möglich gewesen.


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