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More serious were the warnings of Vladimir Medem, the Bundist leader recently come to the United States, who argued at the [Jewish Socialist] Federation’s 1921 convention that “the dictatorship of the proletariat” must necessarily degenerate into a dictatorship of the ruling party over the proletariat. Only through democracy, Medem insisted, could socialism be fulfilled.*
* In a long-forgotten article published in a 1918 issue of the Warsaw Bundist paper, Lebns-Fragen, Medem wrote: “The guns of the conscripted Bolshevik soldiers are directed not only at the bourgeoisie. They are turned against the socialist working class. The day is not far when revolutionary tribunals of the more ‘kosher’ Bolsheviks will be set up to shoot the more ‘suspect’ of their own comrades… And if today Lenin years to shoot Abramovitch [a Menshevik leader], may he not wish to shoot Trotsky tomorrow?
“A socialist government that turns to the methods of terror signs its own death warrant.”
The debate over Bolshevism brought the Forward to a major crisis. It was not possible to keep these differences locked into the inner circles: polemical articles spilled across the pages of the paper. Opposition to [Forward founder and Bolshevik supporter Abraham] Cahan was led by Vladimir Medem, a leader of the Bund who had recently arrived from Poland and was acknowledged in all segments of the Jewish world as a figure of moral and intellectual authority. Medem launched a principled attack on the enthusiasm so many Jewish socialists were displaying for the Bolshevik dictatorship, and he was especially sharp in the polemical assaults he directed at Cahan. Neither before or since has Cahan been treated so roughly, even unceremoniously, in his own pages. Though other anti-Bolsheviks were briefly kept out of the Forward pages, Medem carried too much prestige to be treated that way. A dying man, he wrote scathingly about the Bolsheviks, attacking Lenin as a kalter gazlen (a cold-blooded thug). The worst apologists for the Bolshevik dictatorship, he wrote, are not those who deny it violating socialist or democratic ethics, but those who say, “Yes, they are doing it and it’s right.” Arguing against Cahan’s quasi-Leninist notion of a “transitional dictatorship,” Medem stated what would become the classical socialist critique of Bolshevism:
This is the same revolutionary conceit which looks upon a cluster of “conscious ones” as the heroes who represent…the wise, the adept, the leaders. … The mass is nothing but inert material to be molded. If it balks at going along peacefully, then it must be dragged along forcibly. If the truth has no effect on it, then lies must be employed.
If a reversion to the Spanish Inquisition is necessary for the realization of socialism, then we can do without such a socialism.
# # #
Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the Eastern European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), pages 328–29, 541
Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel Looking Backward 2000–1887 is often praised as the best-selling agit-prop socialist novel of the late 19th century. In fact, it’s a wooden didactic piece which praises a purely technocractic future, disses the radical left, and is complete with the main character having a super-creepy marriage. In this passage, Bellamy clearly tries to promote the idea that the radical left of his day was a “false flag” operation:
“By the way,” said I [main character Julian West], as the doctor read aloud to us some of these items, “what part did the followers of the red flag take in the establishment of the new order of things? They were making considerable noise the last thing that I knew.”
“They had nothing to do with it except to hinder it, of course,” replied Dr. Leete. “They did that very effectually while they lasted, for their talk so disgusted people as to deprive the best considered projects for social reform of a hearing. The subsidizing of those fellows was one of the shrewdest moves of the opponents of reform.”
“Subsidizing them!” I exclaimed in astonishment.
“Certainly,” replied Dr. Leete. “No historical authority nowadays doubts that they were paid by the great monopolies to wave the red flag and talk about burning, sacking, and blowing people up, in order, by alarming the timid, to head off any real reforms. What astonishes me most is that you should have fallen into the trap so unsuspectingly.”
“What are your grounds for believing that the red flag party was subsidized?” I inquired.
“Why simply because they must have seen that their course made a thousand enemies of their professed cause to one friend. Not to suppose that they were hired for the work is to credit them with an inconceivable folly.* In the United States, of all countries, no party could intelligently expect to carry its point without first winning over to its ideas a majority of the nation, as the national party eventually did.”
* I fully admit the difficulty of accounting for the course of the anarchists on any other theory than that they were subsidized by the capitalists, but at the same time, there is no doubt that the theory is wholly erroneous. It certainly was not held at the time by any one, though it may seem so obvious in the retrospect.
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward 2000–1887, originally published 1888.
The U.S. Green Party is well-known to be a home for antisemites and conspiracy theorists. In fact, this seems to be such an accepted fact in the party that it has nominated Amaju Baraka for vice president, even tho he has a very public history of working with Holocaust Denier Kevin Barrett. This includes being in an anthology Barrett edited, and appearing on his radio show.
- Baraka appears in Barrett’s “false flag” anthology Another French False Flag? Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernadino. The book includes well-known antisemitic contributors like Gilad Atzmon, neofascist Alain Soral, David Dees, and Ken O’Keefe.
- It was not a fluke that Baraka was in the anthology; he appeared on Barrett’s Truth Jihad radio show at least twice: see here and here.
- For Barrett’s views on Holocaust Denial, see here and here.
- A Green Party national co-coordinator replied by smearing those who pointed this out as an attempt to “run interference for apartheid in Israel” — despite the fact that the discussion was in reference to Holocaust Denial, and had no references to Israel.
- Jill Stein, or whoever is running her twitter account, has refused to reply to tweets, but has “liked” a tweet saying it’s acceptable that Baraka is working with a Holocaust Denier.
There is no justification for anyone on the Left working with Holocaust Deniers. This is not a new issue for the Greens either; the Canadian party just expelled a member for Holocaust Denial.
The Green Party needs to publicly denounce Holocaust Denial, break links with deniers, and institute mandatory education about antisemitism for all national and state-level staff.
UPDATE: According to Gawker, Baraka claims he knew nothing about Barrett’s views — despite the fact that they were public before his radio shows appearances. He claims he is the victim of a vast media conspiracy, saying,
“This witch-hunt against Ajamu Baraka is utterly bizarre, and the people participating it—from the media barons who ordered it to the lowly reporters who carry out those orders—are pathetic cowards who disgrace the name of journalism.”
It seems that everyone is to blame except Ajamu Baraka.
Tags: anarchist, AntiGlobalizationMovement, Czech, Prague, ReclaimTheStreets, RTS
“It was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to the effects of globalization on the environment. Up to 3,000 people attended the so-called Global Street Party on náměstí Miru on 16 May , which featured music and dancing. The event was organised by Earth First!, Proti proudu/Rainbow Keepers, and the Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation, was authorized by police, and took place peacefully. But in the later afternoon, an estimated 2,000 participants, mostly youths, started an unauthorized march across Prague. Eventually the march wound its way down to Prague’s Old Town. At that point, a smaller group headed off for Wenceslas Square, where some participants started breaking the storefront windows of McDonald’s and KFC outlets in the square and on Vodičkova Street. After violent clashes, the police managed to disperse the crowd. Initially, more than 60 people were detained and 25 of them were charged with breaking the peace and other offenses. A handful of people filed official complaints about police brutality during the arrests. The entire incident, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, has sparked a debate in the Czech media about the country’s youth and the police’s ability to handle such demonstrations. The following is a selection of articles that appeared in the Czech press after the incident.”
from The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs, June 1998, pages 18-19.
RADICAL ARCHIVES note: The 1998 Global Street Parties were Reclaim the Streets actions held around the world. They were one of a number of events that were direct precursors to the Seattle demonstrations against the WTO in November-December 1999. The Prague one is of note for both its size, location in Eastern Europe, and the fact that it was explicitly sponsored by a self-identified Anarchist federation along with semi-anarchist groups.
This broadsheet is the result of a group effort arising from the Portland General Anarchist meetings. While this has come out of those meetings, it does not represent it. At the present our idea is simply to distribute this for use as a resource sheet. In the future we are interested in seeing it grow, to be used as a forum for a Portland anarchist network – a place for groups and individuals to share ideas, as well as information on gatherings and actions. A question that we had to answer at the outset of the project was whether we should try and draw an ideological line between anarchism and the Left in Portland as criteria for selecting items to print – does it even matter? We say it doesn’t. So while all of these groups are not specifically anarchist, they do express anarchist ideals and are part of the larger anarchist milieu in Portland. One more thing that should be noted is that we wrote all of the descriptions that appear below-please contact us if you would like to see things added, subtracted or generally changed in any way.
Sisters of the Road Cafe was founded on three principles: to be a safe public space, to offer nourishing meals that are affordable, and to offer work experience. “The entire community is welcome to eat in this little restaurant and break the myths that say we are so different from one another” – “come on down order, a cup of coffee, order up a meal and sit down with the rest of our customers.” You can also barter for the cup of coffee and the meal – this is based on Oregon’s minimum wage, which is around six dollars an hour. So if you come in and volunteer an hour of your time, you get six dollars credit to put towards a meal. “It ‘s not a dollar, it’s not a wage exchange, it’s an exchange of work for meals in the cafe.” (info from Street Roots, January 1999, v 1, n 1). Phone them or drop in, 133 NW 6th.
Laughing Horse Books Volunteer run collective sells used/new books and periodicals dealing with political theory, environmentalism, labor history, queer, gender, and minority issues. Offers meeting space for local groups. 3652 SE Division – Portland, OR 97202.
City Bikes 1914 SE Ankeny – Portland, OR 97214. Monday-Friday 11:00am- 7:00pm, Saturday-Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm.
City Bikes Annex Worker owned bike shop. Sells used bikes plus new and used parts. Offers repairs and bike repair classes. 734 SE Ankeny- Portland, OR 97214.
Independent Publishing Resource Center For a small membership fee you get access to a zine library, computers, presses and inks. Everything you need to start a zine or make your own handbills. 917 SW Oak St. #304.
Reading Frenzy Volunteer run. Has a wide selection of independently produced zines, comics, books and pamphlets. Has a good selection of anarchist related materials. 921 SW Oak St – Portland, OR 97205.
Fifth Estate Publishing out of Detroit since 1965 makes this one of the older active anarchist papers. Inside are anarchist views on our national and international social/political/ecological & economic milieu. Available at Laughing Horse Books.
Earth First! Journal The radical environmental journal – or the forum for the no compromise environmental movement. National and international coverage of environmental actions and events from a deep ecology slant, as well as news on the corporate world’s maneuverings to destroy the blue planet in search of a profit. Available at Laughing Horse Books.
Anarchy Magazine (C.A.L. Press – PO Box 466 Columbia, MO 65205-1446) More theory than news. This publication has been around for awhile. Published quarterly and available at Laughing Horse Books.
Slingshot (3124 Shattuck Ave Berkley, CA 94705; website – http://burn.used.edu/~resistslingshot.html) Anarchist paper published quarterly by the Longhaul info shop. Provides national focus on the Berkley/San Francisco area. A good read full of anger and humor. Available at Laughing Horse Books.
Portland Alliance (NW Alliance for Alternative Media and Education – 2807 SE Stark St Portland, OR 97214) Local Portland paper covers local/national, and international events with a socialist/leftist slant. Published monthly and distributed around town (Laughing Horse Books, coffee shops, Laundromats). Contains monthly calendar of events.
Cascadia Forest Alliance works to inspire non-violent grass roots involvement in the protection of the forests of Cascadia. Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6:30pm at the Activists Resource Center, SW 3’d and Burnside. You can also pick-up a copy of their monthly publication Cascadia Forest Roots there.
Portland IWW (PO Box 15005 – Portland, OR 97293-5005) Local branch of the radical labor movement that’s been agitating for social revolution since 1905. They distribute the Industrial Worker and have weekly meetings on Mondays at 8:00pm.
Anarchist Black Cross (Portland ABC (SG)) – PO Box 40660 Portland, OR 97240; 287-6467) Provides info on political prisoners and encourages support of prisoners through letter writing campaigns and pen pals.
Liberation Collective is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to linking social justice movements to end all oppression. Focuses on nonviolent direct action and animal rights. Located at the Activist Resource Center- 2 NW 3rd Ave (corner of 3rd and Burnside) which houses their office and community activist library and low-cost merchandise. Mailing address PO Box 9055 Portland, OR 97207; website http://www.aracnet.com~libcoll/. Meetings second Tuesday of every month.
Peace and Justice Works (PJW) is a nonprofit corporation whose main purpose is to educate the general public on important issues including but not limited to: peace, justice, the environment, and human rights. Located at the Portland Alliance office – 2815 SE Stark. Mailing address: PO Box 42456 Portland, OR 97242; website http://www.rdrop.com/~pjw.
Portland Copwatch, a civilian group (an outgrowth of the People Overseeing Police Study Group) promoting police accountability through citizen action. Publishes People’s Justice Report. Meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the King Facility (4825 NE 7tt. – rm. 142) at 7:00pm. Incident report line: 321-5120; website http://www. teleport.com/~copwatch.
Iraq Affinity Group Meets first Tuesday of the month at the P JW office at 7: l 5pm. Protests sanctions on and continuing bombing of Iraq by the US government every Friday in front of the Federal Building (SW 3rd & and Jefferson) 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Website http://www.rdrop.com/~pjw/irag.html.
Portland Central American Solidarity Committee (PCASC) meets the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm at WOC office (8th and Burnside). Send mail to: 3558 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214.
Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition (CBLOC), a joint effort by PCASC and Jobs With Justice, meets first Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm at 5726 N Missouri. Address and phone same as PCASC.
Portland Jobs With Justice is a coalition of community organizations and labor unions that mobilize for all issues, mainly labor. Steering committee meets first Monday of every month, call for info and the more exciting sub-committees meeting times. Send mail to 815 NE Davis, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97232.
Fair Trade Coalition (anti-MAI) (anti-MAI) meets every second Thursday at 6:30pm at AFSCME, 815 NE Davis, Suite 200 Portland, OR 97232.
Emilio Zapata Anarchist Collective at Reed College – email [only]
Portland Free Mumia Coalition A group of concerned activists educating about the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanding a new trial, as well as issues about the death penalty and political prisoners. Weekly meetings: Sundays, 3:00pm at PSU Smith Memorial Food Court.
Chiapas Urgent Call Education and tabling in support of the Zapatistas (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico. Officially recognized by the National Commission in Mexico – the legal, US wing of the movement. English/Spanish co-learning class, Friday at 6:00pm at the Ainsworth United Church of Christ.
Portland Cacophony Society Trouble. Fun trouble. Creating situations and chaos through the provocation and the absurd. Last actions were dressing in postal worker uniforms and going to a gun show soon after postal shooting, and videotaping Santas in the woods shooting stuffed animals. Meetings: last Sunday of every month, 6:00pm-ish at the Alibi (4024 N Interstate), they have a newsletter.
Food Not Bombs Serves free, hot vegetarian (usually vegan) food and groceries to protest militarism and the unequal distribution of wealth. Wednesday: 5:00pm under the Burnside Bridge. Thursday: 5:30pm under the Burnside Bridge. Friday: 5:00pm under the Burnside Bridge, by Max tracks. Saturday: 5:00pm, Park Blocks (Park and Burnside). Sunday: 6:30pm, Park Blocks (Park and Burnside).
Spurcraft has an ongoing free school with classes in math, massage, drawing, foreign languages, yoga, etc. Pick-up a schedule at the Activist Resource Center.
Direct Action/Civil Disobedience Training for groups of 8 or more in preparation of negative developments in Mumia Abu Jamal’s situation. Contact the Portland Free Mumia Coalition.
Critical Mass Mass bike ride to demonstrate/educate about using bikes for daily transportation instead of cars. Meet: last Friday of every month under the Burnside Bridge (on Waterfront Park – by the maze) at 5:00pm.
Send Off/Pre-Birthday Party For Mumia MLK & Prescott, community room of McCoy Building, Thursday, April 22 from 5:00pm to 8:30pm, donations accepted.
Anarchist Reading Group Know your roots. Held every Sunday at 3:00pm at the Activist Resource Center – readings provided.
Portland General Anarchist Meeting
Meets the first Thursday of each month at Laughing Horse Books (email us to make sure of location). Open meetings to discuss current events, actions, and to network and generally share ideas with other Portland Anarchists.
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RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE:
A snapshot of what was going on in Portland, Oregon directly before the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle, which launched the anti-globalization movement. About one-quarter of the blockade groups there came directly from the Portland scene. Despite the dishonest claims of certain academics, the milieu that created those demonstrations was theoretically self-conscious of its political choices, and did not valorize “direct democracy” as a central idea — as this snapshot shows.