Views & Comments Number 29
A monthly publication of The Libertarian League
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Views and Comments
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Views and Comments is printed and published entirely by voluntary labor.
SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE RECESSION 2
HOW THE PEOPLE OF CARACAS STRUCK FOR FREEDOM by Voluntad 4
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH 5
PRINCIPLES AND LESSONS OF THE SPANISH REVOLUTION (second of a series on the Spanish collectives) 7
SLOW DEATH IN FARRAPAL by Edgar Rodriguez 10
ARGENTINA LOCKS OUT REVOLUTIONARY UNION 11
BELIZE by Eustasio Beaumont W. 12
A REVOLUTIONARY FIGHTER—NESTOR MAKHNO by Liberto Callejas 14
THE LIBERTARIAN BOOKSHELF 16
A PLEA FOR MORE VOCAL DIRECT ACTION by Gregory Storm 17
LETTER FROM THE BIBLE BELT 18
From the Editors
You will note that this issue is delayed again—though a little larger than usual. It's partially due to the same old complaint—lack of money. But we've also had the job and expense of relocating the New York Libertarian Center to a new and (we hope) better location. See the back cover for the address; out-of-town visitors are always welcome.
Also please note that all mail for the Libertarian League, the Center or Views and Comments should be directed to the post office box address on the masthead.
The plague of this fuddled financial system we live under has slowed that long-promised union pamphlet down but it's coming off the press now. See the LIBERTARIAN BOOKSHELF. The cost is terribly high—even with labor donated we still have to buy paper, negatives, plates, ink, chemicals, etc.
Besides money (sic) we're also interested in people to contribute material for VIEWS AND COMMENTS. Like a lot of other journals we're looking for something new—but unfortunately we don't often find it. We can't offer money—we can't even offer sure publication but if you can write and have something to say, we'd like to hear from you.
Dept. of Extremely Red Editorial Faces: Last issue we ran a translation of a poem by Aikichi Kuboyama (p. 16) that was attributed to the German Libertarian Monthly BEFREIUNG, which is where our translator found it. David MacReynolds, Editorial Secretary of LIBERATION informs us that the poem originally appeared there, in the September, 1957 issue. He notes that we should read LIBERATION more carefully which—come to think of it—isn't a bad idea for anybody. If you're interested the address is: LIBERATION, 110 Christopher St., New York 14, N.Y. and subscriptions are $1 a year (monthly publication). Money well spent in our opinion.
The Social Impact Of The Recession
Economic journalists and statisticians have depicted the extent of the American economic slump in terms of figures, and in specialized economic terminology which can be understood only by those who are specially trained. Without underestimating the importance of statistics and economic analysis, the fact still remains that the effect and welfare of the workers most effected by the workings of capitalist economics is obscured by the calculations of the specialists. The workers and their dependents know nothing of formal economics, but they are forced to translate cold numbers into human and intimate sufferings.
We see and feel the effects of the recession all around us, among our friends and neighbors as well as in our own lives. It is reflected in the news, and although special articles about what the slump is doing to people are not encouraged by the capitalist press, they do sometimes accidentally "let the cat out of the bag."
From the NY Times of May 5th or 6th and the Wall Street Journal of April 23, we gather some extremely interesting information about the catastrophic results of the economic "decline."
The Times article is headed: "IMPACT OF SLUMP ON FAMILY CITED." It deals with the reports of social workers and community welfare bodies. The president of the Community Service Society, Richardson Dilworth, in discussing the emotional impact of unemployment, calls the increasing applications for help a "psychological emergency." The decline of the living standards of low income families caused increased marital conflict, clients come to the agency "at the end of their rope economically and emotionally." They are then referred to the Welfare Department. When this happens deep psychological and economic adjustments must be made. What they are is summarized in the article.
"These problems include the preparation of a man for the necessity of taking a lesser job and the disappointment involved in being turned down repeatedly in his job search. He said that in many cases the feeling against seeking public assistance had been so strong that counselors had had to help families overcome their dread of going to the Department of Welfare."
The Wall Street Journal is, of course, most concerned with the effects of the depression on profits and on the living conditions of the plutocrats and their high income flunkies. Thus:
"Last December, a $40,000-a-year New York advertising executive received some unnerving news: His usual $5,000 year-end bonus was being omitted.
"'The company was cutting down on its costs,' relates psychoanalyst Harry Gershman, 'but my patient took it personally. He went into a tailspin.'
"To pull him out of his despondency, Dr. Gershman prodded him into telling what he planned to do with the bonus.
A Trip to Pakistan
"'He told me,' Dr. Gershman says, 'that he was going to buy his wife another mink coat and that they were going to take a trip to Pakistan because they had been all over Europe already. When we finally talked it out, he realized he'd been living with a set of tinsel values and he since has cut down on his whole scale of extravagant living.'"
We would not bother quoting the article if it dealt only with the case of the disappointed executive. It is axiomatic that wealth and power corrupts the rulers as well as the ruled. However, the article deals with the sufferings of low income and middle class people also. As such, the Wall Street Journal unintentionally gives the picture of an infected social system. Here are some of the facts to illustrate this point.
"Talks with sociologists, police officials, welfare workers, psychiatrists and business executives indicate the recession is being cited increasingly as a cause or at least a contributing factor in the changes taking place in the way folks live, work and play." The contention of Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that competition for scarce jobs increases racial tensions is borne out by the U.S. Department of Labor.
"Of the total work force, the department figures 16% of non-white workers were unemployed in February, compared with 7% for white workers. Since February, 1957, the department notes, the number of unemployed non-whites has climbed from less than 400,000 to over 700,000.
"Puerto Rican migrants also have been hard hit. and, as a consequence, many are returning to their native land. Between December, 1957, and February, 1958, some 7,891 Puerto Ricans left the mainland for Puerto Rico, compared with only 2,871 in the comparable period a year earlier, according to figures compiled by the Puerto Rican department of labor in New York."
The Wall Street Journal gives interesting information about the close connection between bad times and family troubles, delinquency and other social sores. H.G. Stark, director of the California Youth Authority said that:
"'The recession,' states Mr. Stark, 'is one of the major factors in contributing to the 17% increase in delinquency in one state last year over 1956. Unemployment is partly to blame. Youths just out of high school and jobless—turn first to mischief, then to crime.'
"One night recently, a 12-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., lad who worked as a delivery boy slipped into a local church and was nabbed as he looted the poor box...
"This social worker contends the recession and consequent unemployment have forced people into economic conditions they've never had to face before...
"When she asked Johnny why he dipped into the church poor box, she reports he replied: 'My father's been laid off for a couple of months now. And I can't make enough money as a delivery boy.'
"With hard times straining some family ties, the number of desertions and abandonments tends to increase, notes James R. Dumpson, First Deputy Welfare Commissioner in New York City, 'Our aid to dependent children cases has been rising since the end of last year, and it's still going up.'
"Statistics show the marriage rate already is heading downward—in some cities, at least. In Wayne County (Detroit) Mich., where auto output cutbacks have brought a sharp rise in unemployment, there were 3,772 marriage licenses issued in the first three months of this year, down 10.7% from a year earlier. In New' York City, there were 8,892 licenses issued in the first two 1958 months, a decrease of 12% from the 1957 period.
Jobs and Marriage
"Take the case of a machine tool worker about 30 years old who had been earning $150 a week with overtime before he was suddenly laid off last winter. 'Now that I'm laid off,' he tells a social worker, 'I have to rely on my wife's $65 pay check and it makes me feel like a woman.'
"'I stay home during the day and watch the children, clean the house and cook the meals while my wife works. I feel like I should be wearing dresses and nylons instead of pants, and I can't stand it.'"
These facts, it will be contended, are known and it is obvious that economic disasters have adverse social effects. We don't think the facts are as well-known as is assumed. Also, it is necessary to debunk the illusion that capitalism can overcome its defects. From this it is derived by all too many progressives and ex-radicals that the class struggle is a thing of the past, and collaboration between the exploiters and the exploited is best for all concerned. In this scheme the State plays the main part. It is supposed to adjust the relations between groups and individuals; a combination umpire and benevolent Santa Claus dispensing gifts in a happy, though sometimes discordant family.
Such fallacious ideas have disastrous consequences. They must be exposed and counteracted. The social impact of the current "recession" will open the eyes of many, and will help explode false notions.
How the People of Caracas Struck for Freedom
The following was written by a participant in the recent struggles that overthrew the dictatorship of Perez Jiminez in Venezuela. The details are reminiscent of the methods used by the valiant Freedom Fighters of Hungary in 1956.
We have just overthrown one of the bloodiest and most atrocious dictatorships in all Latin America. The social and political prisoners were freed from all the jails of Venezuela and from the Guasina concentration camp. The offices of the National Security Police (the local GPU), where the secret police sadistically tortured social and political opponents of the regime, was destroyed by fire. All public liberties which had been suppressed as in the times of the tyrant Gomez, were restored. Speaking and writing had been crimes punishable by imprisonment or death. The state police who, during the "January Days" had slaughtered the students and others with machetes, were dissolved.
The general strike that had first been called by the students, journalists and printers, was completely successful and extended throughout the country, tying up all business and industry, including the banks—which, fearing the tumult in the streets, closed down their establishments.
Myself, I participated in the revolt with the students and workers, stimulating their action, drawing up manifestoes and helping to give orientation to the movement. I had shut down the machines on my job during the strike when attempts were made to force us to work at bayonet point. It was necessary to sleep in different places each night during the movement.
Bottles of gasoline, stones, sticks end tacks sown in the streets were this weapons used by the people in their offensive against the patrol vehicles of the steel-helmeted police forces, and the motorized army of Perez Jimines, which fought back with tear gas, fire hoses, machetes and firearms.
The first day gave a balance of several hundred dead and thousands of wounded and imprisoned. We were then joined by the younger officers of the Air Force and the Navy—who felt themselves a part of this same mass that clamored and fought for liberty—thus giving the final death blow to the dictatorship.
In the skirmishes at "El Silencio"—in the heart of Caracas—I received two machete slashes from a police officer during hand-to-hand fighting, but he was also wounded by a shower of rocks from the little boys that were all around me. Among these young fighters for freedom, I was just one more of the boys, a somewhat older boy, born many years ago on the hill at Montevideo, where I too had learned my guerrilla fighting with rocks. As I write these lines my back is burning with fever and my eyes still smart from the gas—but the people of Venezuela won.
Long live liberty!
Israeli Pool Scored by Orthodox Jews
From the New York Tines
More than 3,500 persons filled Manhattan Center yesterday afternoon to protest what were termed "actions against Jewish orthodoxy in Jerusalem by the Government of Israel."
The meeting was held under the auspices of the National Committee for Freedom of Religion in Israel. A spokesman said the committee was composed of "various Jewish Orthodox groups."
Speakers criticized the building of a swimming pool in Jerusalem for use by men and women. They said the pool violated Orthodox religious principles.
The committee said the protest was based on religious grounds. It said the rally was not a political attack against the Israeli Government.
Straight from the Horse's Mouth
The following extracts from an article that appeared in the organ of Big Business—The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 27, 1958) reveal a few of the disgusting aspects of class collaboration which is the main root-cause for corruption in the American Labor Movement.
"We don't want any palsy-walsy stuff around here."
So says an executive of a Philadelphia company who, like most other businessmen, has strong opinions on the art of living with labor. "We don't curry the favor of union leaders. We're civil, but that's as far as it goes," he explains. Leaning back in his chair, he reflects: "Of course, We do contribute to some union affairs, such as their annual Christmas Party. But that's just because they invite underprivileged children."
...Yet most of the 70 executives interviewed by the Wall Street Journal admitted they use a variety of techniques to try to smooth working relations with union members and their leaders. Among them: Testimonial dinners to union chiefs, contributions to union charities, informal socializing with labor officials, subsidies to union schools and news papers, token gifts to union officials.
The theory behind these techniques is fairly obvious: The union leader who is easy to chat with over the luncheon table is likely to be easier to deal with at the bargaining table. Moreover, good will between labor and management may generate improved on-the-job performances.
"We don't have a regular policy, but we've done things like tickets for local affairs to union leaders," explains the vice president of a large railway equipment company. "And our president makes it a point to chat with local officers about joint contributions to the United Fund appeal."
"If a big union official was coming to town and had trouble making a hotel reservation, we'd help him find a room," says an executive of a Midwest electrical equipment company.
In some cases, several companies in an industry will subsidize a Union activity. Since the start of the year the maritime industry has been paying the operating costs of a school; established by the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union near Santa Rosa, Calif. „"I suppose it will cost the industry about $50,000 to $60,000 a year," says Robin Hatfield, industrial relations manager for American President Lines, Ltd. But he believes the industry's contribution is evidence of its "mature attitude" toward labor-management relations.
Companies often help support union publications by buying advertising. In many cases, of course, the prime aim of the ads is to sell products. But in some instances, a major target has been union good will.
Eating with Eaton
But many executives insist dollars can't provide the whole answer.
"We often have union leaders, especially new officers, in for lunch with various company or division officials," says Paul E. Minsel, vice president in charge of industrial relations of Eaton Manufacturing Co., Cleveland, maker of automobile parts." We feel it's absolutely beneficial and have never had any embarrassments." He adds that when he passes through the headquarters city of any of the unions represented at Eaton plants, he drops in to see the international officers and invite them out to dinner.
United Air Lines threw an elaborate dinner party several weeks ago for union and management representatives to celebrate signing of a new contract with the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association. Some union personnel were flown to Chicago by United—free of charge—for the talks and party from as far away as Denver and New York. "When you need a friend, you can't create one overnight," says Russell F. Ahrens, United's senior vice president in charge of personnel.
Union leaders aren't content to play the role of constant guests, however. In Pittsburgh, union brass occasionally invite their corporate counterparts to their homes or country clubs. And many labor chieftains in other cities pick up the tab after a dinnertime get-together.
Executives stress that they try to avoid business talk at these informal sessions. "We never talk grievances—just exchange stories and relax," says the vice president of a Pennsylvania company. Nonetheless, table talk sometimes slides into the field of corporate affairs and the company men must decide just how far to go.
Many companies believe it's extremely important to keep the unions up to date on most details of corporate life. Others acquaint labor only with those policies which directly affect most workers. "When we closed our Bakersfield Calif. plant, we called in the unions and explained exactly what we were doing and why," explained an official of Lockheed Aircraft Corp.
When a company is about to introduce new machinery in its plant, a common tactic is to take union leaders on an expenses-paid tour of other plants where similar machinery is in operation. Companies argue this is simply good business, since it often helps head off union grievances.
"Keeping unions advised at all times of all decisions affecting employees is our principal method of maintaining good relations with our workers," says an official of General Telephone Co. of California.
Most corporate officials draw the line, however, at union participation in policy decisions. "Policy making is just none of their business," says an Oregon lumber company official. "After all, I've never been invited to a union policy meeting.
Still, in some cases, union men have been called in to help work out the details of certain policy decisions. Officials of one major union now are cooperating with executives of an electrical equipment company in formulating a plan for a reduction in the working force. The union agreed to the cutback but insisted on having a hand in working out a severance pay plan for senior employees.
Regardless of the time or money devoted to labor relations, the success or failure of a company's program obviously depends on the men entrusted to carry it out. These "labor relations experts" represent a motley assortment of men—former professors and ministers, youngsters fresh from college, hardened ex-laborers who worked their way into the executive echelon, former agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Thompson Products, Inc., Cleveland, employs a Congregational minister, Robert Hauserman, who wrote the company saying that he wanted to put his precepts to a more practical test. Says a Thompson official: "We hired him and put him in a touchy situation at a plant where an outside union was stirring things up. He did a remarkable job at smoothing things out." The minister now is manager of human relations for Thompson's biggest division.
Some companies prefer their labor relations staffers to be college men with advanced degrees in industrial psychology. But many executives claim it's an advantage to have more "earthy" folk at the bargaining table. Says Treasurer Fritz Stadelhofer, whose father, Fred, is president of Berkeley Pump Co., Berkeley, Calif.; "My father is an ex-machinist who can argue just as loud and pound the table just as hard as any labor leader."
Agrees George M. Abbott, director of industrial relations for International Shoe Co., St. Louis: "Men with experience as machine operators know what it is to be a working man—they understand the union point of view. You can't learn that sort of thing in college or at the country club."
Similarly, while many concerns have hired F.B.I. veterans to deal with their unions, this practice is by no means universally accepted. Ford Motor Co., among others, employs a coterie of former Federal agents headed by John S. Bugas. But, says an official for a Philadelphia-based corporation: "Ex-F.B.I. men have negotiated some of the most horrible contracts in history—they can get way over their heads."
Many other corporate officials also observe that union leaders occasionally may be harmed by an overly solicitous labor relations man. Says L.D. Webster, vice president of Lone Star Steel Co., Dallas: "We don't ask union officials to picnics or such—they'd be accused of selling out."
Pittsburgh businessmen recall the case of the extravagant, $20-a-plate testimonial dinner honoring David J McDonald, president of United Steelworkers of America. This 1953 banquet was heavily subsidized by local industry. Many union men openly expressed resentment at the time that McDonald should accept such adulation after only one year in his presidential assignment.
Similarly, several union leaders also criticized McDonald for joining with the then president of U.S. Steel, Benjamin Fairless, in a series of "good will" plant tours. This project, which was abandoned after a year or so, at first won the approval of both management and labor.
In many instances, of course, business opposition to friendly gestures toward labor is motivated by out-and-out hostility to unions and union leaders. This is especially true in some parts of the South and Southwest, for example, where organized labor only recently has begun to make inroads.
Says one Southern company official: "I'm flatly against all union officials—they're chiselers. They want power and they're primarily interested in their own ends. As for the workers, that's something else."
Principles And Lessons Of The Spanish Revolution
(reprinted from RESISTANCE)
Second of a series.
[The first in this series is: COLLECTIVIZATION IN MEMBRILLA by Enrique P. Vidal, Issue 28, page 8]
In juridical principle the Collectives were something entirely new. They were not syndicates, nor were they municipalities in any traditional sense; they did not even very closely resemble the municipalities of the Middle Ages. Of the two, however, they were closer to the communal than the syndicalist spirit. Often they might just as well have been called Communities, as for example the one in Binefar was. The Collective was an entity; within it, occupational and professional groups, public services, trade and municipal functions were subordinate and dependent. In form of organization, in internal functioning, and in their specialized activities, however, they were all autonomous.
The agrarian Collectives, despite their name, were to all intents and purposes libertarian communist organizations. They applied the rule "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Where money was abolished, a certain quantity of goods was assured to each person; where money was retained, each family received a wage determined by the number of members. Though the technique varied, the moral principle and the practical results were the same.
In the agrarian Collectives solidarity was carried to extreme lengths. Not only was every person assured of the necessities, but the district federations increasingly adopted the principle of mutual aid on an inter-collective scale. For this purpose they created common reserves to help out villages less favored by nature. In Castille special institutions for this purpose were created. In industry this practice seems to have begun in Hospitalet, on the Catalan railroads, and was applied later in Alcoy. Had the political compromise not impeded open socialization, the practice of mutual aid would have been much more generalized.
A conquest of enormous importance was the right of women to livelihood, regardless of occupation or function.
In about half of the agrarian Collectives, women received the same wages as men; in the rest women received less, apparently on the principle that they rarely lived alone.
The child's right to livelihood was also ungrudgingly recognized: not as State charity, but as a right no one dreamed of denying. The schools were open to children to the age of 14 or 15—the only guarantee that parents would not send their children to work sooner, and that education would be really universal.
In all the agrarian Collectives of Aragon, Catalonia, Levante, Castille, Andalusia and Estremadura, the workers formed groups to divide the labor or" the land; usually they were assigned to definite areas. Delegates elected by the work-groups met with the Collective's delegate for agriculture to plan out the work. This typical organization arose quite spontaneously, by local initiative.
In addition to these methods—and similar meetings of specialized groups—the Collective as a whole met in a weekly or bi-weekly or monthly Assembly. This too was a spontaneous innovation. The Assembly reviewed the activities of the councillors it named, and discussed special cases and unforeseen problems. All inhabitants, men and women, producers and non-producers, took part in the discussion and decisions. In many cases the "individualists" (non-collective members) had equal rights in the Assembly. In land cultivation the most significant advances were the rapidly increasing use of machinery and irrigation; greater diversification; and forestation. In stock-raising: the selection and multiplication of breeds; the adaptation of breeds to local conditions; and large-scale construction of collective stock barns.
Production and trade were brought into increasing harmony and distribution became more and more unified: first district unification, then regional unification, and finally the creation of a National Federation. The district (comarca) was the basis of trade. In exceptional cases an isolated Commune managed its own, on authority of the district Federation which kept an eye on the Commune and could intervene if its trading practices were harmful to the general economy. In Aragon the Federation of Collectives, founded in January, 1937, began to coordinate trade among the communes in the region, and to create a system of mutual aid.
The tendency to unity became more distinct with adoption of a single "producer's card" and single "consumer's card"—which implied suppression of all money, local and national—by decision of the February, 1937, Congress.
Coordination of trade with other regions, and abroad, improved steadily. When disparities in exchange, or exceptionally high prices, created surpluses, they were used by the Regional Federation to help the poorer Collectives. Solidarity thus extended beyond the district.
Industrial concentration—the elimination of small workshops and uneconomical factories—was a characteristic feature of collectivization, both in the rural Communes and in the cities. Labor was rationalized on the basis of social need—in Alcoy's industries and in those of Hospitalet, in Barcelona's municipal transport and in the Aragon Collectives.
The first step toward socialization was frequently the dividing up of large estates (as in the Segorbe and Granollers districts and a number of Aragon villages). In certain other cases the first step was to force the municipalities to grant immediate reforms (municipalities of land-rent and of medicine in Elda, Beni Carlo, Castillone, Alcaniz, Caspe, etc.)
Education advanced at an unprecedented pace. Most of the partly or wholly socialized Collectives and municipalities built at least one school. By 1938, for example, every Collective in the Levante Federation had its own school.
The number of Collectives increased steadily. The movement originated and progressed swiftly in Aragon, conquered part of Catalonia, then moved on to Levante and later Castille. According to reliable testimony the accomplishments in Castille may indeed have surpassed Levante and Aragon. Estremadura and the part of Andalusia not conquered immediately by the fascists—especially the province of Jaen—also had their Collectives. The character of the Collectives varied, of course, with local conditions.
We lack exact figures on the total number of Collectives in Spain. Based on the incomplete statistics of the Congress in Aragon in February, 1937, and on data gathered during my stay in this region, there were at least 400. In Levante in 1938 there were 500. To this the Collectives in other regions must be added. In my research I found only two Collectives which failed: Boltona and Ainsa, in Northern Aragon.
Sometimes the Collective was supplemented by other forms of socialization. After I left Carcagente, trade was socialized. In Alcoy consumers cooperatives arose to round out the syndicalist organization of production. There were other instances of the same kind.
The Collectives were not created single-handed by the libertarian movement. Although their juridical principles were strictly anarchist, a great many Collectives were created spontaneously by people remote from our movement ("Libertarians" without being aware of it). Most of the Castille and Estrernadura Collectives were organized by Catholic and Socialist peasants; in some cases of course they may have been inspired by the propaganda of isolated anarchist militants. Although their organization opposed the movement officially, many members of the Socialist UGT (Union General de los Trabajadores) entered or organized Collectives, as did Republicans who sincerely wanted to achieve liberty and justice.
Small landowners were respected. Their inclusion in the consumer's card system and in the Collective trading, the resolutions taken in respect to them, all attest to this. There were just two restrictions: they could not have more land than they could cultivate, and they could not carry on private trade. Membership in the Collective was voluntary: the "individualists" joined only if and when they were persuaded of the advantages of working in common.
The chief obstacles to the Collectives were:
a) The existence of conservative strata, and parties and organizations representing them: Republicans of all factions, Socialists of Left and Right (Largo Caballero and Prieto), Stalinist Communists, and often the POUMists. (Before their expulsion from the Catalonian government—Generalidad—the POUMists were not truly a revolutionary party. They became so when driven into opposition. Even in June, 1937, a manifesto distributed by the Aragon section of the POUM attacked the Collectives.) The UGT was the principal instrument of the various politicians.
b) the opposition of certain small landowners (Catalan and Pyrenees peasants).
c) The fear, even among some members of Collectives, that the government would destroy the organizations once the war was over. Many who were not really reactionary, and many small landowners who would otherwise have joined the Collectives, held back on this account.
d) The open attack on the Collectives: by which is not meant the obviously destructive acts of the Franco troops wherever they advanced. In Castille the attack on the Collectives was conducted, arms in hand, by Communist troops. In the Valencia region, there were battles in which even armored cars took part. In the Huesca province the Karl Marx brigade persecuted the Collectives. The Macia-Companys brigade did the same in Teruel province. (But both always fled from combat with the fascists. The Karl Marx brigade always remained inactive, while our troops fought for Huesca and other important points; the Marxist troops reserved themselves for the rearguard. The second gave up Vivel del Rio and other coal regions of Utrillos without a fight. These soldiers, who ran in panic before a small attack that other forces easily contained, were intrepid warriors against the unarmed peasants of the Collectives).
In the work of creation, transformation and socialization, the peasant demonstrated a social conscience much superior to that of the city worker.
(reprinted from RESISTANCE)
* * *
No man can realize his own worth or his own full development if he does not recognize the worth of his fellows, and in co-operation with them realize his own development through them. No man can emancipate himself unless at the same time he emancipates those around him.
* * *
It is unquestionably true that government is begotten of aggression and by aggression.
—Spencer (Man versus The State)
Slow Death In Farrapal
Digested from an article by Edgart Rodriguez in Reconstruir, Argentine Libertarian Monthly.
Oliveira Salazar became the ruler of Portugal in 1932 and that year sent emissaries to Italy, where they studied the structure and methods of Italian Fascism, which were, with appropriate modifications, introduced in Portugal. On the 30th of January, 1933, Hitler took over Germany and instituted political terrorism. Salazar lost no time in copying also the methods of Hitler.
At the end of 1933, Salazar published two decrees, one transforming the unions of the workers into puppets of the State and the other creating the "National Institute of Labor," which dictated orders to the "new syndicates." The opposition of the workers' organizations to these decrees caused Salazar, in January, 1934, to deport hundreds of union men. To make room for all those who dared oppose Portuguese fascism, Salazar established in 1935 a concentration camp in Angola, a Portuguese colony in Africa. For some reason it did not satisfy Salazar's expectations and in the following year, decree 26-593 established the concentration camp of Farrapal, in the Archipelago of Cape Verde, island of Santiago, a Portuguese colony in the middle of the ocean between Africa and South America, a spot almost as isolated as Saint Helena, where Napoleon was interned.
People who were sent to Farrapal were not expected to return—alive or dead. The policy of the administration was to murder the prisoners by slow death. Farrapal is an area of 40,000 square meters. The soil is rocky and was completely deserted when the first prisoners arrived. The process of "death on the installment plan" began when the deportees were forced to level the ground and build roads and barbed wire fences. They slept in canvas tents on the bare and damp ground and contracted tropical fevers which caused the death of various workers. Indispensable medicines were not supplied.
The first director of this hell was captain Martin dos Reis, with a long experience in repressive tortures in the prison of Isla Tercera in the Azores. His first act upon arrival in Farrapal was to construct a comfortable mansion for himself, surrounded by lovely grounds and with a wide road leading to the main entrance. Around this estate was constructed a moat, 3 meters wide and 4 deep, which was intended to isolate the Captain's palace from the concentration camp proper. Then the prisoners were forced to build houses for the guards and later, they constructed seven brick buildings and two wooden ones. These quarters were used as workshops and barricades. The carpenter shop was among the first to be erected because coffins were needed in anticipation of the coming slow murders of the condemned. Very little machinery was used. The stones which were used to build Farrapal were broken with heavy hammers and dynamite was forbidden, The long hours, the terrible heat, the exhausting manual labor—all soon began to leave their ghastly effects. Those who did not succumb were physically and in many cases mentally wrecked. Added to this was the inhuman treatment by the guards, who were recruited from the most depraved and cruel dregs of humanity.
The camp was encircled by a moat, or deep ditch, filled with water, in which festered death-dealing mosquitoes and other pests, which caused yellow fever and other diseases. In addition to the moat, the camp was enclosed by a thick maze of barbed wire, two meters high and six wide. In the center of the camp was a small circular enclosure, two or three meters in diameter, where those prisoners who were disobedient or those whom the guards disliked, entered by a small door. Within this chamber the victims were forced to walk on the wire floor for several days. Many perished and those who survived were crippled for life. One of the head guards, Captain Pompilio, who ordered this torture many times, was made to pay for his crimes by the prisoners. It was abolished and replaced by another sadistic practice; the "heladora" (freezer).
The "freezer" was a cement box divided into two compartments with steel doors perforated with small holes, through which penetrated a little air. When inside the box the African sun heated the cement and the prisoners would roast. At night the evaporation and the coolness would cause the prisoner to freeze. Few left the "heladora" on their own feet. They had to be carried out. Many never recovered from the injuries suffered.
The so-called infirmary was at one time headed by a charlatan with the title of "Doctor," Esmeraldo Prata. This character was famous for the number of sick and tortured people whose deaths he hastened. For these "services" he was duly rewarded. Upon returning to Portugal he was honored by the Church, whom Salazar's regime represents. He was appointed director of the Catholic Daily newspaper, Beira Dao.
This is Farrapal. This is the true nature of Portuguese fascism. We call attention to this because in the preoccupation with the "big countries" and the "great powers" we are prone to forget the great crimes in small places.
Paul Johnson in the New Statesman, London, quotes Salazar as follows: "I am anti-Liberal, anti-parliamentarian, and anti-Democratic."
The Police maintain submission of the people with tranquil and efficient ferocity. Censorship prevents scandal, but it is known that in the prisons and other places of detention systematic torture to extract information is generally practiced. Portuguese laws adapted the principle that "intention" is a crime. Any person can suffer preventative imprisonment, without charge or trial, for months and can be indefinitely held by the police. There are many cases where political prisoners have been forcibly detained for many years without formal charges.
—Pierre Gringoire in C.N.T., Libertarian Journal published in Toulouse, France.
Argentina Locks Out Revolutionary Union
Condensed from the Bulletin of the I.W.M.A., Paris, France, March, 1958.
For the last 15 days, 15 thousand striking stevedores have been scabbed on by the army. A 24-hour strike by the F.O.R.A. (Anarcho-Syndicalist Labor Federation) for a wage increase and against oppressive government regimentation has been the pretext for the lock-out and the government scabbing. What even Peron would hesitate to do, his successors, the "democrats" of the "liberating revolution' are doing. Their aim is clear. They want to destroy this valiant union. They are afraid that the F.O.R.A. will have a "bad" influence on the Argentine labor organizations, who might follow its example. This is why the F.O.R.A. is the only union that they treat in this manner.
When a delegation of the F.O.R.A. appeared before the press and other channels of information and protested the absence of all publicity about the outrageous conduct of the government, the delegation was told that: "The government has prohibited any mention of the F.O.R.A. for any reason whatsoever, so our hands are tied." This is an example of the unequal struggle against numerous and powerful enemies that our comrades in Argentina face. The revolutionary union movement is attacked by politicians, the labor bureaucracy, the bolsheviks and other elements who see in the F.O.R.A. a threat to their anti-labor positions and their sinecures.
The Anarcho-Syndicalist international Workingmen's Association (IWMA), to which the F.O.R.A. is affiliated, calls on all its sections all over the world, upon workers everywhere to make the facts known and register their indignation against the acts of the government and its allies. It is necessary to denounce before the world the scabbing of the government, the discrimination against the oldest and most revolutionary union in Argentina, the F.O.R.A. The press censorship of the "democratic" rulers of Argentina involves not only the F.O.R.A. It threatens the whole labor movement, and the civil liberties of all the people of Argentina.
Belize by Eustasio Beaumont W.
The swing bridge swung out of reach just as I neared it. I had a fifteen minute wait before me. I occupied the time in looking at the river traffic, and in observing the dozen or so natives waiting there along with me.
Ranging from musty to coal black, they were just about the finest physical specimens I had ever seen—tall, well-built, handsome, perfect teeth.
Of infinitely varying mixtures of bloods—roughly 60% Central American Indian (Maya, Mosquito, Carib), 30% Negro, and 10% European—they reminded me of the fact that some two hundred years ago, British buccaneers, ostensibly turning a new leaf, obtained a concession from the Spanish Crown and began exploiting these virgin forests with the aid of African slaves.
The bridge spans the Belize River at its principal outlet, and is the only land connection between the north and South halves of the 20,000 population town of Belize. Belize is the name not only of the chief town, but also of the hilly, subtropical, little-known 3,000 square mile piece of Guatemala that lies just south of Yucatan, and comprises practically the whole Guatemalan Atlantic seaboard.
The British, who actually occupy Belize, contrary to all norms of international law, have renamed it British Honduras. Officers and men of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, the Royal Welsh Fusilliers, the R.A.F. and the Royal Navy make up about ten percent of the population. Another five percent is made up of British-uniformed, natives (quislings) and West Indian troops.
The convoy of motor boats, each towing a string of three or four laden barges, chugged slowly past and out into the shallow, silted harbor. The cargoes were six foot thick, blood red mahogany logs (the best in the world), bales of chicle—chewing gum in the raw (the best in the world), and fresh and canned grapefruit (also the best in the world).
All this wealth on its way to the waiting ships and the markets of Europe and North America was in shocking contrast to the rags that flapped about the frames of the native bargemen and their kinfolk on shore, the tumbledown shacks, the narrow, crooked, unpaved streets without sidewalks—the general air of squallid poverty everywhere.
On this, my first day back home in the land of my birth, after twenty years' absence, I was rapidly beginning to realize that the things I had read in British papers and heard on the BBC about British colonies were worse than eyewash.
This train of thought was interrupted by a friendly hand on my arm, and a pleasant voice greeting me.
It was Aubrey Laing, a thirtyish, handsome sambo, and my buddy in kindergarten days. We embraced Latin-American fashion, then started to exchange notes in "Creole," the local patois. Most Belizeans speak English today, after generations of British rule; but all are more at home in some other tongue—Mayan, Spanish, Carib, Creole, etc.
Aubrey had travelled out a bit; had worked in the United States, Canada and Panama. It didn't take him long to put the $64,000 question.
"Bwah, da weh you di do yah? You no know self dis di wus country inn di world?" (Boy, what are you doing here? Don't you realize that this is the worst-off country in the world?).
That was six years ago. But, in his way of thinking, Aubrey was not a lone wolf then. And he isn't now. The vast majority of us Belizeans feel the same way. Ever since the British (pirates' descendants) hauled down the blue and white Central American flag on the "Battlefield," as the town's central plaza is called, in 1861. That flag had been run up in 1821 when Simon Bolivar proclaimed the independence of all Spanish America. At the same time he abolished slavery in all these lands. The British hoisted the Union Jack in its stead. It still flutters there.
Thousands of Belizeans have suffered persecution, imprisonment, and death for refusing to give up the aim of seeing our bit of country free once again.
Like World War I private (British West India Regiment) James McLean, better known as "The Lion of Judah," whom I got to know a few days later. This robust, six-foot two-inch Negro with a walrus moustache and the burning eyes of a seer, was giving a soap box speech in Mule Park. Mule Park lies half-way between, and a stone's throw from both the "Battlefield" and the swing bridge.
"I am not British. We are not—have never been British. We are Central Americans," he bellowed. "I don't care if they put me back in the Bastille again right now. The Bible says 'the truth shall make us free,'" and so on.
His clipped, Oxford accent and shabby, Job-like aspect contrasted unbelievably with his fiery words.
"The Lion" had been imprisoned more than a dozen times on charges of sedition and the like, flogged in prison, and, wagging an accusatory forefinger at Her Majesty's Prison (perhaps the largest building in Belize), he would exclaim, "Their intention is evil. They work with the Devil!"
A few months afterward "The Lion" was arrested for the final time. As he was unable to "prove" that he was not a public charge, he was committed to the Poor House. (Unemployment in Belize runs as high as sixty percent! ) Here, a few weeks later, he passed away from "inanition," according to the Principal Medical Officer's certification.
His leonine figure leads no more the processions and demonstrations of patriotic protest. Mule Park has been demolished, and public meetings forbidden on that traditional spot.
But Nature in her Edenic beauty in Belize seems oblivious to the vileness of man. The coral cays (more than 1000 of them) put the South Sea Islands in the shade. A trip there in a glass-bottomed boat pays off better in thrill and beauty than anywhere else in the world. The coconut palms cover the cays and even grow out of the warm, shallow, crystal sea near shore. The lobsters, conchs, turtles, kingfish and dozens of other kinds of sea food continue to beg to be taken. The planes loaded with them take off daily for Miami and points north.
Perhaps that's why 30-year-old, dapper little Mayan Jose Garcia accepted—when he, his wife and two little daughters, aged five and seven, were invited to week-end at San Pedro Cay, one of the largest islets, some twenty-five miles northeast of Belize-town. Jose, Guatemalan university graduate and millionaire's son, was Guatemalan Consul in Belize around 1954. Guatemala, without ever ceasing to protest before world opinion the British usurpation of this one-sixth of her territory, maintains a consulate there, as the best a small, weak nation can do under the circumstances.
Jose should have known better. His latest-model, pink-and-cream Packard had been wrecked in an "accidental" collision with a ten-ton truck just a few days previously. He had escaped with his life by a miracle. Jose should have tied this in with his fearless and energetic denunciation of certain British Colonial actions in Belize: The Cromwell-like dissolution and closing of the 60% elected, 40% nominated Legislature by Governor Sir Ronald Garvey. The legislators had refused by majority vote to hang a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the Chamber. The jailing of two newspapermen for publishing an article entitled "Ten Days In Paradise" after a short stay in Guatemala City; and an excerpt from Thomas Paine's immortal "Rights of Man" under the caption "Kingship and the People."
Garcia went fishing in choppy weather accompanied by a notorious "tough." The canoe overturned and sank some two miles from shore. This was an almost unheard of thing there where everyone above the age of ten is an expert seaman. Garcia, a good swimmer, knew nothing of the local tides and currents; and this "accident" had taken place at the most treacherous spot in the area. The " tough" easily swam to shore where; a few days later, he was spending a lot of folding money. Jose Garcia failed to make it.
Today, his widow and orphans in Guatemala City have the rest of their lives to mull over what Bonaparte called "Albion's perfidy."
There are still some fair-play-loving Englishmen in the world. Like British university professor Huxley, who spent three days in Belize in 1953. On returning to England he published an article about the place entitled "Britain's Forgotten Colony." Some excerpts: "When I landed in Belize I felt ashamed of the fact that I am an Englishman." "British Honduras is the garbage dump of the Commonwealth."
But in Belize the children still wade in the noisome, open, sewage-clogged canals from which local butchers draw water to swab down their stalls! The accusations of treason and sedition, the arrests, the jailings, the beatings and "accidental" deaths still go on.
George Price, intelligent, young (in his thirties) native leader of the Peoples' United Party which has polled upwards of 75% of the votes in every (British supervised) election held in Belize since 1940, was tried recently by a judge imported especially from England for the case. The charge: having "contact" with the rest of Guatemala! The judge's salary: $1,000 dollars a month. Average Belize wages: thirteen cents an hour.
Price was freed but subsequently arbitrarily removed from his seats in the Legislature and on the Executive Council(Cabinet). This judge then declared: "There is no Communism in British Honduras."
All the "Belize Question" needs, then, for its solution is an act of forthright international justice—the righting of a century-old wrong. The average Belizean is not anti anything; he is just pro Central American. The two most widely played sports, baseball and cricket, are equally popular.
Regarding the present situation in Belize, as one native was inspired to remark to a group of Englishmen on the verandah of modern, little Fort George Hotel (Belize's best), "It may be the principles and procedure that built the British Commonwealth, but it just isn't cricket!"
A Revolutionary Fighter—Nestor Makhno by Liberto Callejas
Reprinted from DIRECT ACTION.
Nestor Makhno died in Paris on July 28th, 1934. He died poor and consumptive. In remembering this figure of struggle let us recall his years of exile in France. Slight of stature, fiery, always restless, the Russian guerilla lived in the old suburb of Belleville. From the Jardin de Buttes Chaumont the great network of proletarian Paris can be seen, very different from that of the other districts; bourgeois Passy and decadent Montmartre. Belleville was the centre of the conspirators. From the Place de la Nation to the Place de Combat, extended the web of the exiles. Reunions, congresses, periodicals, pamphlets, weapons. Everything emanated from this area, just like the 5th District of Barcelona.
Nestor Makhno figured among the group of Russian revolutionaries. Archinoff, Voline, etc. We wish that they could have died in Spain, in the wheat-fields and in the sun.
But Makhno did not die in the wheat-fields and under the hot sun of Spain, so like his native Ukraine. He died at the age of forty-four, spitting blood.
* * *
Nestor Ivanovitch Makhno was born on October 27th, 1889. His father was a peasant and ploughed the earth from sun-up to sun-down. Misery reigned in their home, and the silence of death covered the Russian land. The Czar was Lord and Master over lives and goods, The Cossacks dominated the towns and villages with blood and fire. Gulai-Polye was a small village of lowly huts, and there the future guerilla guarded the flocks. At the age of ten he became an orphan. He hired out his strength to the rich granaries of the district. He suffered the exploitation of the master and the tyranny of the government. After the hard toil of the fields he read with avidity the works of Kropotkin, Bakunin, Tolstoy, Maxim Gorki, his favourite authors. At fifteen he struggled in the revolutionary ranks and embraced the ideal of Anarchism with all the passion of his youth. Possessed with a quenchless fire, strong-willed, and distinguished by the strength of his brow and his serenity when faced with danger, he grew into a man of action and of few words. Taciturn and silent, he listened to the old militants and then acted upon their advice.
He abandoned the countryside and went to the cities, where he entered into the struggle with fierce decision. In 1908 he felled a tyrant like an ox. The policeman, Lipetchenko, an official under the orders of the crowned autocrat, paid with his life for the cruelties he had committed against the revolutionary vanguard. Makhno was arrested and condemned to the gallows. The sentence was commuted to thirty years imprisonment. He was in the Moscow Central Prison for nine years.
The prison was like a school. He learned much there, both among the books and the men.
In 1917 he was liberated.
He left the city and went to the fields once again. There were his brothers, there were the slaves of the soil, the poor mujiks, scorned and slaughtered by the authorities. He devoted himself to them. Ukraine was his field of action. He went from place to place organizing and conspiring. The poor of the land received him in an affectionate manner, calling him "little father," and placing at his disposal horses, equipment, food, men. He succeeded in founding a free commune, without authorities or politics. He propagated the free society, and travelled from the north to the south of the Ukraine. The influence of the anarchist guerilla was felt to be preeminent.
The revolution raged, and this agricultural region, as a result of its inviting open front to the west, was the first objective of the political adventurers ; Skoropadski, then Petliura, yet later Wrangel, Denikin and Kolchak fell like hyenas on the Ukraine.
But the Ukraine was neither humiliated nor conquered. There were Makhno and his guerillas. The black banner of Anarchism waved in the wind and was a symbol of liberation. Land and free Soviets! That was the watchword of the Ukrainian peasants.
Makhno saved the Ukraine. The cunning Bolsheviks, from Lenin to Trotsky, were aware of this. Makhno was one of the most ardent defenders of the Soviet revolution. This, the communists of the party, who even recently insulted, and still insult, his person, are not unaware of. Makhno was the animator, the man of action of the Ukraine. He united with the communist revolutionaries in order to fight the capitalist counter-revolution. He was neither a traitor nor a separatist. The army of Makhno did what was expected of it.
The hard fight against the Austro-German forces, the ominous result of the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed by the Bolsheviks, with the Kaiser's Germany, and Denikin's offensive, was won by Makhno and the courageous Anarchist peasants. Makhno was a hero of the revolution. All Russia recognised this. If our comrade had liked, and had followed the suggestions of Trotsky, he would have become a marshal of the Red Army. He did not wish it, for he was neither a careerist nor a political adventurer. He had respect for his ideas, the rejection of all government and dictatorship. He fought against dictatorial Bolshevism as he had fought against the capitalist reaction. He was driven out and defamed and the Communists opened an infamous period of repression against the Ukrainian Anarchists.
This was Makhno, the self-denier, the humble comrade who lived in exile in Paris, his body covered with' wounds, working as a carpenter, together with his wife and little son.
He died loyal to his ideas and his faith. He died as a man. Treachery did not blemish his name.
* * *
"Is a young man bound to serve his country in war? In addition to his legal duty there is perhaps also a moral duty, but it is very obscure. What is called his country is only its government, and that government consists merely of professional politicians, a parasitical and anti-social class of men. They never sacrifice themselves for their country. They make all wars, but very few of them ever die in one. If it is the duty of a young man to serve his country under all circumstances then it is equally the duty of an enemy young man to serve his. Thus we come to a moral contradiction and absurdity, so obvious that even clergymen and editorial writers sometimes notice it."
from Minority Report, H.L. Mencken's Notebooks
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A Plea For More Vocal Direct Action by Gregory Storm, Chicago
As revolutionists we must carry the case for what we consider desirable social change to the vast masses of millions of people in this country. Condemned by God and our present numbers to starting small, let us make the best of what we now must be.
We rub elbows with "the many" each day of our lives. Every time we rub elbows (or every other time, if we cherish our moments of profound meditation) we should let some of our ideas rub off. Not necessarily quotations from Malatesta, though that too is good, but a refined, deliberate gripe, with possibly a bold hint of ideological underpinnings, which may seem perfectly reasonable or perhaps at least three-fourths justifiable to the Speaker.
The working people, the middle-class folk, students, just friends, should hear straight from the horse's mouth what a harnessed fellow-creature has to say about the saddles on all our bent backs, and those greasy, shifty equestrians who profit so richly from our position.
Under the thin skin of Coca Cola culture, conformity, apathy (a response in large part due to fear) we can find opinions startlingly similar to our own. We know for example the popular American distrust of politicians, fine. Develop that point the next time someone cracks a joke — good or poor — about some political balderdash that he heard out of the TV set in Maxy's greasy Spoon.
To many Americans—I'm counting in the millions—"Big Business" is "unjust" and "something should be done about" the free-wheeling capitalists. And to many of these same souls, "Labor Bosses" are a sign of evil in American unions, and "Big Government" very, very bad.
These are beautiful starting points for us! We should not overlook the common ground we have with many, many people in the United States who have never even heard of anarchism.
I suggest that those of us who so convincingly voice our opinions to each other at meetings, express ourselves each by his lonesome or with companions in the streets, at the bar and grill, almost everywhere, except in such places and at such times where and when silence is truly golden.
It may be surprising to some of our newer new-comers to hear this necessity for vocal direct action emphasized so urgently, but the fact is that it is necessary to wag libertarian tonsils more, competing just that much more with Madison Avenue and Capitol Hill, thus effecting-one more degree of change in the ideological climate of the Main Streets and the side streets of the world in which we live, move and breathe with such difficulty.
Letter From The Bible Belt
The following was received from North Carolina, in reply to a letter by a League member suggesting the possibility of some radical activity.
When it comes to any "local discussion groups of non-conformists on a grass-roots level"—in this area—words sort of fail us. It is to laugh—or to weep maybe. These cornfields of conservatism! Sweet "land of sow-belly and segregation!" We build churches, worship conformity, and save souls. You want your soul saved, you come here. Revivals? Have you read The Rebel Yell (H. Allen Smith, I think); there's more truth than exaggeration in it and it applies to rural areas as well as the towns.
Baptists and Methodists predominate. I tried saying my little piece about war, in the women's Sunday School class in a chapel not far from here. I had tried to build up to this, previously, speaking in the simplest terms of social injustice. But that day, the minister—a really good man, now unfortunately transferred the way Methodists are—glorified the Korean war and Billy Graham's praise of it, and this I couldn't take. When I got through, most of those nice ladies said angry things to me—I guess Billy Graham is Jesus Christ to them. But three of them said nothing until later, when they came to me singly and said quietly and consolingly, "You are right." But I had had enough. So you see I'm not good at spreading ideas—although perhaps three out of 24 is not so bad a percentage at that.
There are some worse-sounding things than Baptists; there are churches of the Pentecostal Holiness and what not, and a church whose members cut themselves off from all who enter any other church, and this in the name of Christian love. I don't mean to be funny; it is tragic. And I didn't intend to say so much about religion, but that's what everything is here.
Not a meeting—or a school session —but is opened by some religious ritual. And are there meetings!—Grange, PTA, Friendly Book Club, Home Demonstration Club, Women's Society for Christian Service, prayer meetings, special meetings, and regular church. Preaching twice a month, and the congregation otherwise does its own services, and it takes care of janitor duty.
The women especially do so much; a farmer never bothers with vegetables—his wife raises them and everything else, including helping him farm. One day we picked up a poor old duffer who was trudging along and gave him a lift to his home. He said he'd lost his wife a few weeks ago; he looked so ramshackle and pitiful that I lavished a good deal of sympathy on him, saying he must miss his wife terribly. "Yes," he said feelingly, and aggrievedly, " I have to get up and git my own breakfast now." Not all are quite like that—but nearly so.
There are extremes here—from cabins to modern ranch house construction. We are in a farmhouse with board walls on which cloth is tacked, then paper applied. I doubt whether even new construction uses plaster. (I ought to explain that we are far out in the country; I can see other roofs in one direction only). A rather nasty little nearby town—not like New England villages—is ten miles away and is simply our post office address. The cities, very small according to northern standards, have real mansions, old and new. Some have the latest in appliances—electricity is the one thing a place would have if nothing else—but most of my "neighbors" have outdoor toilets and my nearest neighbor gets water from a pump... as many do... and boils her clothes in an iron pot outdoors over a fire, and irons with "sad irons" heated on a wood fire; wood is the only fuel she uses. But she has the latest in a set of dining-room furniture.
Many can hardly read or write. Many women still dip snuff; most men chew tobacco, and that means spitting. We are in a backward area, as my daughter laughingly says, on whose account we came here. Some don't get beyond third grade; by then, they figure they've had enough. Others go on to college, and teach; there's a plethora of colleges in this state but I suppose they aren't very liberal. Even a nearby Quaker college does not yet admit negroes, though it admits the dark skinned from many countries.
Race is something you don't talk about here. You can't. You can just see the people stiffen and freeze. We are liked, of that I am sure, but in spite of our "queerness" about race and war, which, believe me, is known all over the place. (They know when one of our children is home before we do; they know every car!) I enjoy the colored people here (more than I enjoy most whites) and those who know us like us and beam and wave at us—but I am still not sure that they entirely trust us. We always pick up a colored man who needs a lift; I have seldom been able to persuade a colored woman, if she is alone, to enter the car. They are polite but terrified.
We went to an NAACP-sponsored musical program in one of the big A.M.E. churches nearby; we then and there joined the NAACP—terribly moved by the singing, for one thing—but were never asked to further events; they were scared of us. Why should they trust us?
The aforementioned minister—who had been about the world in YMCA work and is a bit liberal—told me I must try to understand the deplorable attitude of my white neighbors, they had been so indoctrinated. He himself preferred to attend a colored church when possible, felt more welcome there.
The South seems sad to me. I am conscious of Civil War damage still. Cattle are grazing where the worst battles were fought, but there are markers so often, of this raid or that, and the memorial statues I have seen are of a quiet and sorrowful sort.
Now as for the cities, both of the nearby ones have Friends Meetings and they have Unitarian Fellowships. But there is nothing even in these areas that would parallel the small discussion groups of Eastern cities, And I can't get to those places anyway. There is no public transportation. You go by your own car or start out and get picked up. You can see that a drive of 25 or 50 miles, and back, is not to be undertaken lightly or often.
Here in the country there are no Catholics, Jews or, really, Quakers, but these are looked upon with respect. Only Unitarians are outside the pale of religious respectability—specifically because they assume responsibility for their own sins instead of putting them onto Christ.
North Carolina Baptists are currently denouncing some of their number who associated (as a church) with the unimmersed—not just unbaptized but unimmersed. Don't you wish that was all you had to worry about.
On the other hand, there is a great spirit of cooperation. If your house burns down, the neighbors get together to build you one, or they re-outfit your family, or both, and sometimes with real sacrifice to themselves.
Theocracy In Action In Israel
From the "Jewish Newsletter"(Feb. 10, 1958:
In an article entitled, "Back to the Middle Ages," Lebensfragen, official organ of the Jewish Labor Bund in Israel (Jan. 1958), lists the following rulings by the rabbinate which became part of civil law.
1) All farmer-tenants living on land belonging to Keren Kayemeth (state owned) must sign an agreement that they will not smoke on the Sabbath, that they will light candles on Friday evening and observe all other Torah laws.
2) The same tenants must answer a written questionnaire as to whether they are Jews or Christians, whether they are married according to Orthodox law, and whether their children have been circumcised.
3) Merchants and artisans working on Friday evening after dark can be brought to trial on the say-so of a Sabbath observer and, if found guilty, they have to pay a fine.
4) The city councils of various municipalities in Israel have the power to prohibit the raising or sale of pigs in areas under their jurisdiction. Thus Israel is the only country in the world where city councils can determine what the population may or may not eat.
The city councils are also empowered to enforce strict observance of the Sabbath in all theatres, concert halls and places of entertainment. They have the right to forbid the sale of tickets, the use of electricity and the playing of any musical instrument on the Sabbath.
From the Atlanta Constitution:
"Corroboration that convict labor has been used illegally to do work on private road contracts and additional allegations of use of convict labor for work on private property are more instances in the maze of incredible disclosures about state government operations in recent weeks.
"In one city, Baxley, Department of corrections Director Jack Forrester has charged that convict labor was used illegally in road and street work and that labor costs could exceed $50,000. Mayor J.M. (Buck) Dunn of Baxley allegedly was paid about $125,000 for construction work on which an undetermined number of convicts worked."
No comment necessary.
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"If it were possible to make an accurate calculation of the evils which police regulations occasion, and of those which they prevent, the former should exceed the latter."
—Wm. Von Humboldt in The Sphere of Government
Village In Spain
"In 1922, Puerto de Pollensa was still an unspoiled fishing village. The inhabitants—technically "anarchist-communists"—ran their fishing industry on co-operative lines. The secretary of the Posito de Pescadores, a Venezuelan, was almost the only man in this Arcadian village who could read and write. He transacted all the business for the community and, by explaining their illiteracy, sent the tax-collector empty away. As there was no Law and no Order in the village, there was no crime. The honesty of these people was absolute and instinctive: no one ever tried to get the better of anyone else. If one of the men stayed up too late drinking with the foreigners, his wife appeared and dealt with the misdemeanour so drastically that it was never repeated. Everyone had enough to eat, wine was plentiful and everyone was happy. The nearest church was five miles off, in the town of Pollensa, and I never saw a priest in the village."
—Douglas Goldring: Some Personal Memories.
Libertarian League Financial Reports
Press Payment $ 38.00
Press Equipment 1.00
Office Supplies 3.00
Negatives (for Press) 33.00
Gas and Electric 17.06
Rent for Libertarian Center 75.00
Total Expenses $237.06
Donations $ 94.25
Total Income $166.26
Deficit for April $ 70.80
Deficit for March 43.13
Total Deficit: $113.93
Paper $ 40.00
Press Equipment 27.43
Press Payment 38.00
Office Equipment (Addressograph) 121.18
Negatives for Press 53.00
Upkeep of Hall 18.89
Rent for New Hall 95.00
Deposit on new Hall 95.00
Gas and Electric 11.64
Moving Expenses: 7.50
Deficit from April 113.93
Total Expenses: $683.49
Total Income: $342.72
Total Deficit: $340.17
What We Stand For
Two great power blocs struggle for world domination. Neither of these represents the true interests and welfare of Humanity. Their conflict threatens mankind with atomic destruction. Underlying both of these blocs are institutions that breed exploitation, inequality and oppression.
Without trying to legislate for the future we feel that we can indicate the general lines along which a solution to these problems can be found.
The exploitative societies of today must be replaced by a new libertarian world which will proclaim—Equal freedom for all in a free socialist society. "Freedom" without socialism leads to privilege and injustice; "Socialism" without freedom is totalitarian.
The monopoly of power which is the state must be replaced by a world-wide federation of free communities, labor councils and/or co-operatives operating according to the principles of free agreement. The government of men must be replaced by a functional society based on the administration of things.
Centralism, which means regimentation from the top down, must be replaced by federalism, which means co-operation from the bottom up.
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THE LIBERTARIAN LEAGUE will not accept the old socio-political cliches, but will boldly explore new roads while examining anew the old movements, drawing from them all that which time and experience has proven to be valid.
86 East 10th St. (between Third and Fourth Ave.) New York City
ROUND TABLE YOUTH Discussions EVERY FRIDAY AT 8
Dinner and social on the third Saturday of every month at 7:30 PM