Friday, August 10, 2012

On This Day in Radical Anarchist Labor & Literary History

Harvested highlights for August 10th from The Daily Bleed, conceived and compiled by Recollection Books & the BleedMeister, who co-founded Books to Prisoners back in the day.

Jorge Amado
Brazilian people's novelist. One-time communist.

The charred bones of Lorenzo, in a reliquary shaped like his head, are carried throughout the streets amid giants, moors & hobby horses. Festive dances & bullfights held.
Wiltshire, England: TAN HILL FAIR is held on the highest peak of Wiltshire Downs, miles from any town, a survival from ancient times. Salt beef & beans eaten. 


1498 -- Henry VII of England rewards John Cabot for the discovery of Canada with 10 Pounds.
"Americans are so benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States."
— J. Bartlet Brebner
 1519 -- Spain: Magellan's five ships leave Sevilla to circumnavigate the Earth. (He doesn't actually put to sea until Sept. 20.) Only one returns.

1568 -- Source=Robert Braunwart México: Fray Toribio de Benavente, defender of Indians, is interred, México City.

1824 -- Charlotte Brontë, 8 years old, is packed off to Cowan Bridge School by her widowed father.

1833 -- US: Chicago, Illinois was incorporated, not as a city, but as a village. The Windy City had a population of less than 200 at the time. 

anarchiste Sabotage cat

1860 -- France: Jules Leroux lives (1860-1926). Militant anarchiste cooperativist. Founded a working coop of shoe makers in Amiens which began manufacturing in 1902 &, in 1906, became the "Société coopérative de production à bases socialistes." Forced to close in 1914, they resumed activity with the end of the war, animated by Jules Leroux. 

1874 -- US: Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Herbert Hoover lives, the first US President born west of the Mississippi River & first to have a telephone at his desk.

1877 -- US: Army troops under Colonel Gibbon attack a sleeping Nez Perce encampment at Big Hole, Idaho, killing over 50 women & children. The "American Way". 

1878 -- Alfred Döblin lives. German Expressionist novelist & essayist whose best-known work isBerlin Alexanderplatz.
Berlin Novels book cover
Berlin Alexanderplatz employs multiple viewpoints to create a complex, teeming narrative that mirrors the disjointed style of life in modern urban areas. Its interior monologue show the influence of James Joyce. Adapted to television play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1980.

After the Nazi takeover Döblin was obliged to leave Germany because of his socialist views & Jewish ancestry. Lived in exile in France & the US like Brecht & Thomas & Heinrich Mann. Returned to Europe & settled in Paris in the early 1950s. His last novel, Hamlet (1956) was an expression of his hope for a new Europe.  

1881 -- Witter Bynner lives, Brooklyn, New York. Poet (Crenstone Poems; The Beloved Stranger), playwright, translator. 

1887 -- US: Engineer of a Toledo, Peoria & Western train notices, at the last possible moment, that the bridge at Chatsworth, Illinois is on fire, so he snaps the coupling on his locomotive & raced across to safety. Eighty-one die when the burning bridge collapses under the rest of the train.

1893 -- US: Chinese are deported from San Francisco under the first Chinese Exclusion Act (passed May 6, 1882, to exclude Chinese workers from the US). 

Fernando Tarrida del Marmol; source l'éphéméride anarchiste

1897 -- France: Fernando Tarrida del Marmol expelled. An anarchist theoretician & militant, he had been jailed in 1896 & just barely able to gain release before escaping the terrorism of the Catholic clerics & the state authorities exacted against workers & militants.
In France Tarrida denounced the atrocities in Barcelona & published the book Un mois dans les prisons d'Espagne, & also articles supporting the insurgents of Philippines & Cuba in their fight against Spanish colonialism, & thus Spain pressed for his expulsion. Tarrida went to Belgium & then to England where he lodged with Kropotkin & Louise Michel.
1904 -- Dorothy B. Hughes lives. American mystery writer/critic. Lived in New Mexico, which served as background to her novels. Among her best are Ride the Pink Horse (1946) & In a Lonely Place (1947), which were adapted to screen. Named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1978.
"In a Lonely Place," adapted to screen, directed by Nicholas Ray, starring Humphrey Bogart, is a story of a screenwriter suspected of murder.
1905 -- NY: New York "Tribune" reports that a strike at Federman's bakery on the Lower East Side led to violence when Federman used scab labor to keep producing, &,
"Policemen smashed heads left & right with their nightsticks after two of their number had been roughly dealt with by the mob..." 

The city has become a battlefield in the sweatshops & elsewhere. Poet Edwin Markham wrote in "Cosmopolitan" magazine in 1907,

"In unaired rooms, mothers & fathers sew by day & by night. Those in the home sweatshop must work cheaper than those in the factory sweatshops... & the children are called in from play to drive & drudge beside their elders.... 

Is it not a cruel civilization that allows little hearts & little shoulders to strain under these grown-up responsibilities, while in the same city, a pet cur is jeweled & pampered & aired on a fine lady's velvet lap on the beautiful boulevards?"

See Howard Zinn, The Twentieth Century: A People's History, pp35-36

1905 -- US: International Assn. of Bridge & Structural Iron Workers calls a national strike against the American Bridge Co., a subsidiary of the US Steel Corp. On May 1, 1906, the National Erectors Association declares that members, including the American Bridge Company, will only operate open shops, a decision that incites union resistance & results in widespread violence & the dynamiting of work sites. 

 1909 -- US: George C. Crockett, Jr. lives, Jacksonville, Florida. First African-American lawyer in the US Department of Labor, hearing officer for the newly formed Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1943, active labor & civil rights lawyer.

1909 -- Leo Fender, inventor of the electric guitar, liiiiiiives.


1912 -- Author Jorge Amado lives (-2001), Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Amado invents a captain who scares off solitude.... 

The captain has never left Brazil, nor set foot on any kind of boat, because the sea makes him sick. He sits in the living room of his house & the house sails off, drifting farther than Marco Polo or Columbus or astronauts ever dreamed.

— Eduardo Galeano
1914 -- India: Samar Ranjan Sen, pacifist writer, lives.

1914 -- Australia: The syndicalist union, Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), greets the outbreak of war with a front page special:
"War is hell! 

Send the Capitalists to hell & wars are impossible ... 

If the politicians of Australia want war, let them take their own carcasses to the front line ... if they want blood, 


1923 -- US: Carlo Tresca, Italian-American anarchist, suddenly arrested. The charge was that he had printed an article, three months before, attacking the Italian monarchy & the Fascists. No such crime, of course, is known to American law, but Tresca was nevertheless arrested. 

"On August 18 the whole issue of Il Martello was held up because it contained an account of a raffle; two other Italian papers, containing precisely the same account, went through the mails unmolested. On September 8 it was held up because it contained a two-line advertisement of a book on birth control. On October 27 it was held up because it printed an account of how the Fascisti had forced an Italian woman to swallow an immense dose of castor oil; all the American newspapers printed the same story, but were not molested. On November 10 it was held up because it printed a letter from a reader predicting that Mussolini would come to the same end as Rienzi; other papers had made the same prediction without challenge. On November 24 it was held up for charging Mussolini with misappropriating funds. September 8, announcing a book in Italian on birth control, showed the way. Experienced witch-hunters from the Department of Justice were rushed to New York, Tresca was indicted for advertising a means of preventing conception, & his trial was called in hot haste. He appeared before Goddard, J., in the United States District Court, on November. 

So far, indeed, but eight persons in all the United States have gone to Tresca's aid. Four are Italian-American politicians. One is a Liberal pastor. Two are old & battle-scarred libertarians, already marked with the scars of a hundred defeats. The eighth is La Sanger, the birth control agitator, herself an experienced goat of the New Jurisprudence. No one else will take any interest in the case."

— H. L. Mencken

1931 -- 
orange diamond dingbat, added 2010, remove 2012
US: Unemployed Citizens Leagues (UCL) are organized around Seattle during this month. The UCL locals cut wood for fuel from vacant land, harvested unsold crops, planted gardens, & caught fish, all with volunteer labor. An emergency health clinic was started by members who later found Group Health Cooperative.

1934 -- 
EG, anarchist feminist
US: Anarchist conference at Stelton, N.J., August 10-11, organized to discuss the creation of an English-language anarchist weekly; Emma Goldman contributes in writing her ideas on anarchist's building alliances with other groups. 

1937 -- Spain: The Council of Aragon is forcibly disbanded by the Republican government.
"[...] the 11th Mobile Division of Commander Lister (a Stalinist), supported by tanks, went into action against the collectives. Aragon was invaded like an enemy country, those in charge of socialized enterprises were arrested..." 
1942 -- US: The first inmates arrive at Minidoka, Idaho concentration camp. Some Americans are more equal than others. 
1948 -- US: Gay rights activist Harry Hay organizes what later becomes the Mattachine Society, a groundbreaking 1950's gay rights organization. 
1948 -- Emmy Hennings dies, Sorengo-Lugano, Italy. Writer/performer associated with the Dada movement in Zurich. Poems by Hennings & other Dadaists on John Buell's DaDa Online.

1949 -- England: "Acid Bath" murderer John Haigh, who confessed to killing & drinking the blood of nine people & dissolving the bodies with acid, hanged, Wandsworth Prison, London.

1953 -- Bulgaria: Alexander Nakov is released from prison.
In December 1948, Nakov & over 600 anarchists were arrested when the communists took power, & sent to a work & re-education camp. Still the recalcitrant anarchist despite his ill-treatment, Nakov immediately resumed his anarchist activities, opposing the existing powers, & demonstrating solidarity with his companions despite constant police surveillance.
1966 -- Daylight meteor seen from Utah to Canada. Only known case of a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere & leaving it again. (Some say it was in 1972.)

1968 -- Vietnam: Eight American GIs killed by US strafing error in .
"Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship [of the media]. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind."

— Gen. William C. Westmoreland, US military commander, 1982
1970 -- US: House of Representatives passes the Equal Rights Amendment by a vote of 350 to 15.
 1977 -- US: Postal employee David Berkowitz arrested in Yonkers, NY, accused of being "Son of Sam" the 44 caliber killer.

1981 -- US: Got Newts? Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader Acting Prez Ronnie Reagun approves work order for the neutron bomb.

1981 -- US: Coca-Cola Bottling Co. agrees to pump $34 million into black business. 

1982 -- Six Greenpeace protesters chain themselves to nuclear-waste dumping ship, The Gem

1984 -- US: John Henry? Two Plowshares activists, Barb Katt & John LaForge, damage a Trident submarine guidance system with hammers at a Sperry plant in Minnesota. Later sentencing them to six months' probation, the judge in the case comments:
"Why do we condemn & hang individual killers, while extolling the virtues of warmongers?" 
1988 -- US: Post Haste? American government offers apologies & reparations to Japanese-American citizens interned during World War II. H.R. 442 is signed into law by Beloved & Respected Comrade Leading Actor President Ronald Reagan. It provides for individual payments of $20,000 to each surviving internee & a $1.25 billion education fund.
After 40 years of sweeping a brutal chapter of US history under the carpet, Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader President Old George Bush is pressured to sign a law compensating victims of US internment camps, where more than 100,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast were held during WWII. In February 1942, Beloved & Respected Comrade Leader President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment, & Japanese Americans were imprisoned in remote desert areas.

Hawaii's 150,000 Japanese Americans were spared internment when the business community, media, local governments & general population rushed to their support. But Japanese Americans on the mainland were isolated.

White farmers viewed them as competitors & openly admitted they wanted their land. The Los Angeles Times questioned their loyalty & echoed local radio, branding them potential spies.
1997 -- US: Nine activists detained but not charged after throwing red paint on the Trident nuclear submarineU.S.S. Ohio at Seattle's waterfront.

1998 -- US: Microradio movement news accounts on the struggle to free the airwaves: — They Want the Airwaves — 
Source: [Pirate Radio Kiosk] 

2001 -- US: Berkeley Critical Mass bike ride.

2011 -- Philip Levine appointed US Poet Laureate. Gave up his anarchist principles, he declared with disappointment some years ago, when he bought a little house up on the hill.
   Near the freeway,
you stop & wonder what came off,
recall the snowstorm where you lost it all,
the wolverine, the northern bear, the wolf,
caught out, ice & steel raining
from the foundries in a shower
of human breath...

       — Philip Levine, "Coming Home, Detroit, 1968"
  • "An interview with Philip Levine" by Wen Stephenson, The Atlantic magazine
  • "Philip Levine, The Art of Poetry No. 39," Interviewed by Mona Simpson, The Paris Review"
  • "In Search of a New Old World: The Anarchist Dream in the Poetry of Philip Levine," by Robert Hedin in American Poetry (1986).

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