Thursday, October 20, 2011

Daily Bleed Radical Literary History for October 20th

Buffeted against the storm's sullen breath
the lark rises
over the grey dried grasses
rises & sings.

Herbert Read, from "The Contrary Experience,"
A World Within A War (1945)


Gay French poet, gunrunner, anarchist activist, bad boy of Paris.

Feast Of No Excuse For A Feast.

Revolution Day (Guatemala).

Kenyatta Day (Kenya)

National Brandied Fruit Day.

Oil rig

Change Your Oil Day. (Your hair will appreciate it!)

1808 -- Author Karl Theodor Andree lives.

1818 -- 49th parallel set as the border between the US & Canada.

Charles Ostyn
1823 -- Charles Ostyn lives (1823-1912). French Communard & anarchiste.

1832 -- US: Treaty of Pontotoc Creek; Chickasaw Nation cedes northern Mississippi & moves west of Mississippi River.

1854 -- Arthur Rimbaud lives, Charleville, France. Published his first poem at age 16, quit writing at age 20. Precocious boy-poet of French symbolism, wrote some of the most remarkable poetry & prose of the 19th century before he abandoned writing for gun-running.

"You will always be a hyena..." etc., protests the devil who crowned me with such pleasant poppies. "Attain death with all your appetites, your selfishness & all the capital sins!"

A Season in Hell

"Rimbaud did not see the absolute, or try to become an angel...

He very simply tried to take the pretensions of poetry seriously & to re-form art so that it could alter the meaning of reality. He decided this was a hoax & an activity beneath the dignity of grown men ... However, he almost succeeded, & poetry will never be the same again."

Kenneth Rexroth, Classics Revisited

"rimbaud. no more the daring young horseman of high abyssinian plateau. such ardor is petrified forever."

— Patti Smith, "rimbaud dead"

1873 -- Nellie McClung, author & women's rights advocate, lives.

Charles Ives
1874 -- Modernist composer Charles Ives lives, Danbury, Ct. Uses 'strange time.' When friends were heckling at a dissonant performance of works by Charles Ruggles, Ives got up & shouted,

"Hey, shut up you sissies. Why don't you use your ears like men!"

1890 -- British adventurer Richard Francis Burton dies, Trieste, Italy.

1895 -- Gaston Leval, antiauthoritarian/writer, lives, Saint-Denis. Active in France, Spain, Argentina.

Wrote The Collectives in Aragon, & Collectives in Spain

Leval book cover

1898 -- US: Burley Colony founded (cooperative brotherhood).

1905 -- Russia: Great General Strike begins; lasts 11 days.

1905 -- Mystery author Ellery Queen lives.

Margaret Sanger
1916 -- US: Appearing in court to testify on behalf of Bolton Hall, Emma Goldman is arrested for distributing birth control information on May 20th. (Hall is later acquitted of the charge.)Emma is released on $500 bond; Harry Weinberger serves as her attorney.

Her friend Margaret Sanger is also arrested, on the 26th, for distributing birth control information.

Further details/ context, click here; anarchist-feminist, libertarian, anarchist, anarchy[Details / context]

photo: Margaret Sanger

1917 -- Russia: Today, at the first Congress of Factory Councils, a motion inspired by anarchism was presented. It proposed "control over production, & that control commissions should not be simply investigative bodies, but . . . from this moment on cells of the future preparing to transfer production to the hands of the workers."

"In the very early days of the October Revolution," Anna Pankratova reported, "anarchist tendencies were the more easily & successfully manifested, because the capitalists put up the liveliest resistance to the enforcement of the decree on workers' control & actually refused workers' participation in production."

— Anarchism in the Russian Revolution

German recruiting poster; source:
1918 -- Germanany: Government accepts US peace terms, effectively ending WWI. The "war to end all wars" & the treaty (signed 11 November) are stage props for WWII.

1918 -- US: With the spread of a deathly strain of influenza, a quarantine is established at the penitentiary in Jefferson City, Mo., during this month, where Emma Goldman is imprisoned; all outside visits are suspended.Red Emma Goldman, anarchist

Also during the month:

Anti-Anarchist Act passed by Congress, granting the government authority to deport aliens living in the US, & this will be applied by renegade law enforcement officers under Mitchell Palmer.

Roger Baldwin is tried before US District Judge Julius Mayer for failure to register for the draft; sentenced to a year in prison. Emma congratulates her lawyer Harry Weinberger for his brave defense in the Abrams case; Jacob Abrams, Samuel Lipman, & Hyman Lachowsky are convicted on charges of violating the Espionage Act & sentenced to 20 years in federal prison; anarchist Mollie Steimer sentenced to 15 years.

Also, Emma's nephew, the talented violinist David Hochstein, dies in battle; news about his death does not reach family members until Jan. 1919.

1922 -- H.R. Harris is the first to parachute from a disabled plane.

Philip Whalen
1923 -- Beat poet & anarchist Philip Whalen lives, Portland, Oregon.


My real trouble is
People keep mistaking me
for a human being.

Olson (being a great poet) says
"Whalen!—that Whalen is a—a—
That Whalen is a great big vegetable!"

He's guessing exactly in the right direction.


It is interesting to note that upon publication of Overtime the following luminaries came out to praise & celebrate this wise & good-hearted "Zen Falstaff": Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane diPrima, David Meltzer, Clark Coolidge, Joanne Kyger, Bill Berkson, Lewis MacAdams, Phoebe MacAdams, Jackson Mac Low, Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman, Anselm Hollo, Jack Collom, Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge, Charles Bernstein, Lewis Warsh, Anne Tardos, Eileen Myles, & many others.

The spirit of honor & admiration for Philip Whalen extends beyond the Beat Generation. He is honored by some as one of the progenitors of the Language School movement of poetry. & by others he said to be the progenitor of Zen poetry in America.

One thing for certain, he spread an "ecology of permission" that enabled poets of every style & taste to go beyond the limits of the known to explore their new creative selves.

— Michael Rothenberg

A roommate of future poets Gary Snyder & Lew Welch at Reed College in Oregon. ("Shit, how come when I look back at my old college roommates all I see is one lawyer, one salesman & one eternal grad student?" comments one Reed grad).

Whalen did not pursue a career in poetry, but fell into it after Snyder asked him to take part in the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in 1955. A good portrait of Whalen, Snyder's slightly older & chubbier Zen-poet friend, appears in The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac (as Warren Coughlin).

1924 -- US: The "First Colored World Series" of baseball is held in Kansas City, Mo. The series was organized by the famed Rube Foster.

1925 -- American author & humorist Art Buchwald lives.

"I worship the quicksand he walks in."

— Art Buchwald

Debs in prison
1926 -- US: Good Ol'Days? Labor activist, anti-militarist & socialist Eugene Debs dies. His "radical" reforms included an eight-hour workday, pensions, workman's compensation, sick leave, social security — commonplace today. Ran for president from his jail cell. [Seems to us it's the elected ones should be ensconced in the hoosegow.]

"We [propose] to destroy the capitalist & save the man. We want a system in which the worker shall get what he produces & the capitalist shall produce what he gets."

— speech, December 10, 1905

(Apropos the Pullman Strike, which he was involved in):

(Debs is)... a lawbreaker at large, & enemy of the human race ... Debs should be jailed, if there are jails in his neighborhood, & the disorder his bad teaching has endangered must be squelched."

"The New York Times" editorial, 1894

"The time has come when forbearance has ceased to be virtue. There must be some shooting, men must be killed, & then there will be an end to this defiance to law & destruction of property. Violence must be met with violence. The soldiers must use their guns. They must shoot to kill."

— Rev. Herrick Johnson, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Chicago, 1894

His belief in the people was very genuine, & his vision of socialism quite unlike the State machine pictured in Marx's communist manifesto. Hearing his views, I could not help exclaiming: "Why, Mr. Debs, you're an anarchist!" "Not Mister, but Comrade," he corrected me; "won't you call me that?" Clasping my hand warmly, he assured me that he felt very close to the anarchists, that anarchism was the goal to strive for, & that all socialists should also be anarchists. Socialism to him was only a stepping-stone to the ultimate ideal, which was anarchism. "I know & love Kropotkin & his work," he said; "I admire him & I revere our murdered comrades who lie in Waldheim, as I do also all the other splendid fighters in your movement. You see, then, I am your comrade. I am with you in your struggle."

1928 -- Reviewing A. A. Milne's House at Pooh Corner in her "Constant Reader" column for "The New Yorker," Dorothy Parker exclaims: "'Tonstant Weader fwowed up."

Michael McClure stamp
1932 -- Michael McClure, beat poet, lives, Marysville, Kansas.

Grew up in Seattle, & was fascinated by nature & wildlife & expected to become a natural scientist. Participated in a poetry workshop with Robert Duncan, & was sucked into the emerging Beat vortex of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance.

One of five poets at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955. Like Gary Snyder, writes poetry infused with the awareness of nature, but his special interest is in the animal consciousness that too often lies dormant in mankind. He has a consistent message:

"When a man does not admit that he is an animal, he is less than an animal. Not more but less."

1935 -- China: Last day of Chinese Communist Party guerrillas' one year Long March of 8,000 miles.
Source: [Calendar Riots]

1942 -- US: Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader President Roosevelt calls the "relocation centers" "concentration camps" at a press conference. The WRA had consistently denied that the term "concentration camps" accurately described the camps.

Francisco 'Quico' Sabate, Spanish anarchist guerilla extraordinaire
1945 -- Spain: "El Quico" & two other anarchist guérillas, Jaime "Abisinio" Pares Adán & Juan "Roget" Salas Millón, at the request of Committee of Resistance of the CNT, bust three prisoners out of jail in Barcelona. [It appears 1945 is correct year. — ed.]

The audacious urban guerrilla, Francisco Sabaté, known as "Quico," became the nightmare of the Spanish fascists until his death in 1960 in a shoot-out.

Alger Hiss
1947 -- US: HUAC opens dog & pony show into alleged Communist influence in Hollywood.

"Many writers continued their Hollywood careers under pseudonyms, or "fronts," sometimes with comic results. Alfred Levitt, for example, screenwriter of The Boy with Green Hair (1948), relates how a story conference got off on the wrong foot when he was addressed by four different names."

The HUAC hearings were degradation ceremonies. Their job was not to legislate or even to discover subversives (that had already been done by the intelligence agencies & their informants) so much as it was to stigmatize.

For a degradation ceremony to work it needs a denouncer. & the most credible denouncer, with the most impeccable credentials, is the one who has been there himself. The ex-Communists constituted a steady supply of denouncers.

A successful status-degradation ceremony must be fueled by moral indignation. The anti-Communist hysteria of the cold war provided an ideal environment.

1953 -- Jomo Kenyatta & five other Mau Mau leaders are refused an appeal of their prison terms.

1955 -- Jean Cocteau is initiated into the Académie Française, declaring:

"Since it's now fashionable to laugh at the conservative French Academy, I have remained a rebel by joining it."

1956 -- Poland: Gomulka is elected despite Soviet opposition. Anti-Stalinist wave in Poland. See also the 23rd.
Source: [K.S. Karol]

1961 -- Italy: La questura di Roma vieta la proiezione del film di Claude Autant-Lara "Non uccidere" che tratta il tema della obiezione di coscienza, non ammessa dallo stato italiano e quindi fuori legge. Militarismo si coniuga con statismo ed entrambi con cretinismo.
Source: [Crimini e Misfatti]

1962 -- Boris Pucket & The Crypt-Kickers' Monster Mash reaches No. 1.

1962 -- China: Skirmishes on the Chinese-Indian frontier take on the aspect of a minor war. The Chinese drive back the Indian troops, then withdraw, returning their prisoners & even their war material to the Indians.
Source: [K.S. Karol]

1963 -- US: Between 3,000 & 5,000 rally at Seattle's Garfield High School in support of an open housing ordinance for the city.

1968 -- Spain: Gonzalo Arias arrested for Los Encartelados demonstration against Franco regime. Madrid.

1968 -- Gold becomes black as the winners of the men's 1600 metre give the black power salute during the Olympic presentation ceremony.
Source: [Calendar Riots]
Gold (Tommie Smith) & bronze (John Carlos) become black in the men's 200m medal ceremony (there's no 1600m).

Your sick baseball stat guy comrade from the UK.

Go Giants!

— Bleedster Paul T, Oct 2002

1973 -- US: Saturday Night Massacre. President Nixon's Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, announces Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox is dismissed. In addition, he reports, Attorney General Richardson has resigned & Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus had been fired, both for refusing to dismiss Cox.

"Nixon's the One": Congress introduces over 20 impeachment resolutions as protest breaks out across the country (see 13 July). These are lengthened when he claims two of the nine tapes (which Cox was after) don't exist — & still further when an 18 1/2 minute erasure gap is discovered in one tape.

1976 -- Basketball's NY Nets sells Julius "Dr J" Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers. The anti-slavery lobby is outraged.

1977 -- Three days after the release of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Street Survivors," (the LP cover depicts the band standing in flames), their vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister Cindy & a freelance singer are killed with their rented single engine plane crashes in the swamps of Gillsburg, Mississippi.

armored shell
1981 -- US: Three members of Weather underground arrested for armored truck robbery.

"Ya dont' need a weatherman to know which way the bomb blew."

1983 -- US: The Mashantucket Pequot of Connecticut are federally recognized, 300 years after white colonists virtually eradicate the tribe.

1983 -- Deeper In Debt?: Singer/songwriter Merle Travis; no longer owes his soul to the company store. Wrote "Sixteen Tons," "Dark As a Dungeon" & other great tunes.

Ronald Reagan, America's Greatest Half-Wit
1984 -- US: Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Acting US President Nancy Reagun... astrologist Jeanne Dixon...ah, er, uh... Ron Reagan vetoes bill to improve Federal health care for American Indian reservations.

"Maybe we should not have humored them when they asked to live on reservations. Maybe we should have said, No, come join us. Be citizens along with the rest of us."

— acting President Ronald Reagan during a trip to Moscow, when a student asks about US treatment of Native Americans

Caussimon name header; source:
1985 -- France: Libertarian songster Jean-Roger Caussimon dies.

Caussimon photo; source:

I do not want to be a poet...
I try to write songs!

Et quant à nous autres, les "chansonniers" qu'on traîne hors des chaussées poétiques, nous sommes assez à l'aise, dans nos propres caniveaux, pour que nous n'aimions pas à être éclaboussés par d'illustres passants. La boue, c'est la boue, et que les passants passent. Caussimon, dans son caniveau se tient debout, tout seul. Ca valait la peine d'être dit.

Léo Ferré

Jean-Roger Caussimon est un très grand poète.
Léo Ferré a bien de la chance de l'avoir rencontré!

— Charles Trenet


I spent a lot of my time in Paris exploring my biggest musical enthusiasm of the last few years, vintage French popular songs — scouring the flea markets & used record stores for old albums, taping my friends’ collections, & trying to decipher the more obscure, slangy lyrics.

It’s a rich, fascinating world, from nineteenth-century cabaret singers like Aristide Bruant (the guy with red scarf & black cape pictured on the well-known Toulouse-Lautrec poster, which was commissioned to advertise the café where Bruant performed his own songs), through the tragic-sordid chansons réalistes (Fréhel, Damia, early Piaf) & upbeat music hall artists (especially the delightfully zany Charles Trenet) of the 1930s, to the post­World War II renaissance of great poet-singers: Georges Brassens (the greatest, ranging from worldly-wise elegies to outrageous satirical humor), Anne Sylvestre (a lovely lyricist, somewhat reminiscent of early Leonard Cohen or Joni Mitchell), Léo Ferré, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Jacques Brel, Guy Béart, Félix Leclerc; along with many excellent interpreters of earlier material, of whom my favorite is Germaine Montero.

— Ken Knabb, Confessions of a Mild-Mannered Enemy of the State

armored range shell
1990 -- US: Rallies against the Gulf War in 22 cities.

Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader General Norman Schwartzkopf proclaims US troops could "obliterate Iraq, but cautioned that total destruction of that country might not be 'in the interest of the long-term balance of power in this region'."

We could slaughter 17 million people, Noam Chomsky remarks, noting the high moral ground taken, & wipe a country off the face of the earth, but mass extermination might be tactically unwise, harmful to our interests.

crying child

"We have heard that a half million children have died (as a result of sanctions against Iraq). I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. &, you know, is the price worth it?"

Albright replied:

"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we feel that the price was worth it."

1993 -- Serbia: Women In Black attacked by paramilitaries during weekly anti-war vigil, Belgrade.


1994 -- Guatemala: US activist Jennifer Harbury initiates new hunger strike at US Embassy in Guatemala City to force disclosure of her disappeared husband's fate.

2001 -- anarchist book fair logo, animatedanarchist book fair poster & sticker

England: London's 20th annual Anarchist Bookfair.

Be here or be square...

Or somethin....

3000 --

"Maintenant, je peux mourir, j'ai vu réalisé mon idéal." Cela m'était dit dans une des collectivités de la région levantine, par un des hommes qui avaient lutté toute leur vie pour le triomphe de la justice sociale, de l'égalité économique, de la liberté et de la fraternité humaines. Son idéal, c'était le communisme libertaire, ou l'anarchie."

Gaston Leval, Libertarian Spain

Links to Rimbaud, Debs, Ives, Pullman Strike, also at our page:

FAU anarchist sabotage cat
4500 --

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