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World Crisis

INSURGENT NOTES ISSUE 3

Just to let you know that our on-line journal Insurgent Notes has just posted issue No. 3. (contents below): http://insurgentnotes.com

Loren Goldner

March 2011

Introduction

From Cairo to Madison, The Old Mole Comes Up For An Early Spring, PDF Version, Loren Goldner

Bleeding Wisconsin, PDF Version, S. Artesian

Rethinking Educational Failure and Reimagining an Educational Future, PDF Version, John Garvey

How the French pension system works, PDF Version, Henri Simon

Of Forests and Trees, PDF Version, S. Artesian

Anti-Capitalism or Anti-Imperialism? Interwar Authoritarian and Fascist Sources of A Reactionary Ideology: The Case of the Bolivian MNR, PDF Version, Loren Goldner

 

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PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM MATTERS!

UPDATE 18th FEBRUARY 2011

SOAS Palestine Society Conference Organizing Collective

On 5-6 March 2011, the Palestine Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London will hold its seventh annual conference, “Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine. ” This year’s conference aims to understand Zionism as a settler colonial project which has, for more than a century, subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation and erasure in the pursuit of a new Jewish Israeli society. By organizing this conference, we hope to reclaim and revive the settler colonial paradigm and to outline its potential to inform and guide political strategy and mobilization.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often described as unique and exceptional with little resemblance to other historical or ongoing colonial conflicts. Yet, for Zionism, like other settler colonial projects such as the British colonization of Ireland or European settlement of North America, South Africa or Australia, the imperative is to control the land and its resources — and to displace the original inhabitants. Indeed, as conference keynote speaker Patrick Wolfe, one of the foremost scholars on settler colonialism and professor at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, argues, “the logic of this project, a sustained institutional tendency to eliminate the Indigenous population, informs a range of historical practices that might otherwise appear distinct — invasion is a structure not an event.”

Therefore, the classification of the Zionist movement as a settler colonial project, and the Israeli state as its manifestation, is not merely intended as a statement on the historical origins of Israel, nor as a rhetorical or polemical device. Rather, the aim is to highlight Zionism’s structural continuities and the ideology which informs Israeli policies and practices in Palestine and toward Palestinians everywhere. Thus, the Nakba — whether viewed as a spontaneous, violent episode in war, or the implementation of a preconceived master plan — should be understood as both the precondition for the creation of Israel and the logical outcome of Zionist settlement in Palestine.

Moreover, it is this same logic that sustains the continuation of the Nakba today. As remarked by Benny Morris, “had he [David Ben Gurion] carried out full expulsion–rather than partial–he would have stabilised the State of Israel for generations.”[ii] Yet, plagued by an “instability”–defined by the very existence of the Palestinian nation–Israel continues its daily state practices in its quest to fulfil Zionism’s logic to maximize the amount of land under its control with the minimum number of Palestinians on it. These practices take a painful array of manifestations: aerial and maritime bombardment, massacre and invasion, house demolitions, land theft, identity card confiscation, racist laws and loyalty tests, the wall, the siege on Gaza, cultural appropriation, and the dependence on willing (or unwilling) native collaboration and security arrangements, all with the continued support and backing of imperial power.

Despite these enduring practices however, the settler colonial paradigm has largely fallen into disuse. As a paradigm, it once served as a primary ideological and political framework for all Palestinian political factions and trends, and informed the intellectual work of committed academics and revolutionary scholars, both Palestinians and Jews.

The conference thus asks where and why the settler colonial paradigm was lost, both in scholarship on Palestine and in politics; how do current analyses and theoretical trends that have arisen in its place address present and historical realities? While acknowledging the creativity of these new interpretations, we must nonetheless ask: when exactly did Palestinian natives find themselves in a “post-colonial” condition? When did the ongoing struggle over land become a “post-conflict” situation? When did Israel become a “post-Zionist” society? And when did the fortification of Palestinian ghettos and reservations become “state-building”?

Such an alignment would expand the tools available to Palestinians and their solidarity movement, and reconnect the struggle to its own history of anti-colonial internationalism. At its core, this internationalism asserts that the Palestinian struggle against Zionist settler colonialism can only be won when it is embedded within, and empowered by, the broader Arab movement for emancipation and the indigenous, anti-racist and anti-colonial movement-from Arizona to Auckland.

SOAS Palestine Society invites everyone to join us at what promises to be a significant intervention in Palestine activism and scholarship.

For over 30 years, SOAS Palestine Society has heightened awareness and understanding of the Palestinian people, their rights, culture, and struggle for self-determination, amongst students, faculty, staff, and the broader public. SOAS Palestine Society aims to continuously push the frontiers of discourse in an effort to make provocative arguments and to stimulate debate and organizing for justice in Palestine through relevant conferences, and events ranging from the intellectual and political impact of Edward Said’s life and work (2004), international law and the Palestine question (2005), the economy of Palestine and its occupation (2006), the one state (2007), 60 Years of Nakba, 60 Years of Resistance (2009), and most recently, the Left in Palestine (2010).

For more information on the SOAS Palestine Society 7th Annual Conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine: http://www.soaspalsoc.org

SOAS Palestine Society Organizing Collective is a group of committed students that has undertaken to organize annual academic conferences on Palestine since 2003.

First published on: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/661/past-is-present_settler-colonialism-matters
______

[i] Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event, Cassell, London, p. 163

[ii] Interview with Benny Morris, Survival of the Fittest, Haaretz, 9 – January 2004: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=5412

 Original Post, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine (including a detailed programme of the event), 25th January 2011, is at: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/past-is-present-settler-colonialism-in-palestine/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

ANARCHISM AND SYNDICALISM IN THE COLONIAL AND POSTCOLONIAL WORLD

Book Announcement: Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940
URL: http://labourhistory.net/news/i1012_6.php

“Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940: The Praxis of National Liberation, Internationalism, and Social Revolution”
Edited by Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt
Preface by Benedict Anderson

Narratives of anarchist and syndicalist history during the era of the first globalization and imperialism (1870-1930) have overwhelmingly been constructed around a Western European tradition centered on discrete national cases. This parochial perspective typically ignores transnational connections and the contemporaneous existence of large and influential libertarian movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Yet anarchism and syndicalism, from their very inception at the First International, were conceived and developed as international movements. By focusing on the neglected cases of the colonial and postcolonial world, this volume underscores the worldwide dimension of these movements and their centrality in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles. Drawing on in-depth historical analyses of the ideology, structure, and praxis of anarchism / syndicalism, it also provides fresh perspectives and lessons for those interested in understanding their resurgence today.

“Table of contents”

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
List of Contributors

Preface, Benedict Anderson

Rethinking Anarchism and Syndicalism: the colonial and post-colonial experience, 1870-1940, Lucien van der Walt and Steven J. Hirsch

PART ONE: ANARCHISM AND SYNDICALISM IN THE COLONIAL WORLD

“Diverse in race, religion and nationality. but united in aspirations of civil progress”: the anarchist movement in Egypt 1860-1940, Anthony Gorman
Revolutionary syndicalism, communism and the national question in South African socialism, 1886-1928, Lucien van der Walt
Korean Anarchism before 1945: a regional and transnational approach, Dongyoun Hwang
Anarchism and the Question of Place: thoughts from the Chinese experience, Arif Dirlik
The Makhnovist Movement and the National Question in the Ukraine, 1917-1921, Aleksandr Shubin
Syndicalism, Industrial Unionism, and Nationalism in Ireland, Emmet O’Connor

PART TWO: ANARCHISM AND SYNDICALISM IN THE POSTCOLONIAL WORLD

Peruvian Anarcho-Syndicalism: adapting transnational influences and forging counterhegemonic Practices, 1905-1930, Steven J. Hirsch
Tropical Libertarians: anarchist movements and networks in the Caribbean, Southern United States, and Mexico, 1890s-1920s, Kirk Shaffer
Straddling the Nation and the Working World: anarchism and syndicalism on the docks and rivers of Argentina, 1900-1930, Geoffroy de Laforcade
Constructing Syndicalism and Anarchism Globally: the transnational making of the syndicalist movement in São Paulo, Brazil, 1895-1935, Edilene Toledo and Luigi Biondi
Final Reflections: the vicissitudes of anarchist and syndicalist trajectories, 1940 to the present, Steven J. Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt

More at http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=28985

* Please note that this is the hard cover edition. Please consider ordering for your library. It is intended that a paperback follows at some point. 

—END—

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

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CLR James

SAVE THE CLR JAMES LIBRARY

The CLR James Library, in Hackney, east London, is being ‘renamed’. History is being re-written, and a proud tradition and a significant historical figure are being downgraded and hope for the future marginalized on the alter of managerialism.

Sign the petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveclrjameslibrary/

At the Rendezvous of Victory

September 22, 2010

By Scott McLemee

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee307

One of the turning points in my life came in 1988, upon discovery of the writings of C.L.R. James. The word “discovery” applies for a couple of reasons. Much of his work was difficult to find, for one thing. But more than that, it felt like exploring a new continent.

James was born in Trinidad in 1901, and he died in England in 1989. (I had barely worked up the nerve to consider writing him a letter.) He had started out as a man of letters, publishing short stories and a novel about life among the poorest West Indians. He went on to write what still stands as the definitive history of the Haitian slave revolt, The Black Jacobins (1938). His play based on research for that book starred Paul Robeson as Toussaint Louverture. In 1939, he went to Mexico to discuss politics with Leon Trotsky. A few years later — and in part because of certain disagreements he’d had with Trotsky — James and his associates in the United States brought out the first English translation of Karl Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. (By the early 1960s, there would be a sort of cottage industry in commentary on these texts, but James planted his flag in 1947.)

He was close friends with Richard Wright and spoke at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church. At one point, the United States government imprisoned James on Ellis Island as a dangerous subversive. While so detained, he drafted a book about Herman Melville as prophet of 20th century totalitarianism — with the clear implication that the U.S. was not immune to it.

Settled in Britain, he wrote a book on the history and meaning of cricket called Beyond a Boundary (1963). By all accounts it is one of the classics of sports writing. Being both strenuously unathletic and an American, I was prepared to take this on faith. But having read some of it out of curiosity, I found the book fascinating, even if the game itself remained incomprehensible.

This is, of course, an extremely abbreviated survey of his life and work. The man was a multitude. A few years ago, I tried to present a more comprehensive sketch in this short magazine article, and edited a selection of his hard-to-find writings for the University Press of Mississippi.

In the meantime, it has been good to see his name becoming much more widely known than it was at the time of his death more than two decades ago. This is particularly true among young people. They take much for granted that a literary or political figure can be, as James was, transnational in the strongest sense — thinking and writing and acting “beyond the boundary” of any given national context. He lived and worked in the 20th century, of course, but James is among the authors the 21st century will make its own.

So it is appalling to learn that the C.L.R. James Library in Hackney (a borough of London) is going to be renamed the Dalston Library and Archives, after the neighborhood in which it is located. James was there when the library was christened in his honor in 1985. The authorities insist that, in spite of the proposed change, they will continue to honor James. But this seems half-hearted and unsatisfying.

There is a petition against the name change, which I hope readers of this column will sign and help to circulate.

Some have denounced the name change as an insult, not just to James’s memory, but to the community in which the library is located, since Hackney has a large black population. I don’t know enough to judge whether any offense was intended. But the renaming has a significance going well beyond local politics in North London.

C.L.R. James was a revolutionary; that he ended up imprisoned for a while seems, all in all, par for the course. But he was also very much the product of the cultural tradition he liked to call Western Civilization. He used this expression without evident sarcasm — a remarkable thing, given that he was a tireless anti-imperialist. Given his studies in the history of Africa and the Caribbean, he might well have responded as Gandhi did when asked what he thought of Western Civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.”

As a child, James reread Thackeray’s satirical novel Vanity Fair until he had it almost memorized; this was, perhaps, his introduction to social criticism. He traced his ideas about politics back to ancient Greece. James treated thefuneral oration of Pericles as a key to understanding Lenin’s State and Revolution. And there is a film clip that shows him speaking to an audience of British students on Shakespeare — saying that he wrote “some of the finest plays I know about the impossibility of being a king.” As with James’s interpretation of Captain Ahab as a prototype of Stalin, this is a case of criticism as transformative reading. It’s eccentric, but it sticks with you.

Harold Bloom might not approve of what James did with the canon. And Allan Bloom would have been horrified, no doubt about it. But it helps explain some of James’s discomfort about the emergence of African-American studies as an academic discipline. He taught the subject for some time as a professor at Federal City College, now called the University of the District of Columbia — but not without misgivings.

“For myself,” he said in a lecture in 1969, “I do not believe that there is any such thing as black studies. There are studies in which black people and black history, so long neglected, can now get some of the attention they deserve. … I do not know, as a Marxist, black studies as such. I only know the struggle of people against tyranny and oppression in a certain political setting, and, particularly, during the past two hundred years. It’s impossible for me to separate black studies from white studies in any theoretical point of view.”

James’s argument here is perhaps too subtle for the Internet to propagate. (I type his words with mild dread at the likely consequences.) But the implications are important — and they apply with particular force to the circumstance at hand, the move to rename the C.L.R. James Library in London.

People of Afro-Caribbean descent in England have every right to want James to be honored. But no less outspoken, were he still alive, would be Martin Glaberman — a white factory worker in Detroit who later became a professor of social science at Wayne State University. (I think of him now because it was Marty who was keeping many of James’s books in print when I first became interested in them.) James was the nexus between activists and intellectuals in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and his cosmopolitanism included a tireless effort to connect cultural tradition to modern politics. To quote from the translation he made of a poem by Aimé Cesaire: “No race holds the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of strength, and there is a place for all at the rendezvous of victory.”

Having C.L.R. James’s name on the library is an honor — to the library. To remove it is an act of vandalism. Please sign the http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveclrjameslibrary/.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Loren GoldnerNEW TEXTS ON LOREN GOLDNER’S WEBSITE

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/

Article on the origins of Turkish communism and of the reactionary
ideology of “anti-imperialism” in the 1917-1925 period (Nov 2009)

“Socialism in One Country” Before Stalin, and the Origins of
Reactionary “Anti-Imperialism”: The Case of Turkey, 1917-1925 (2009)

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/turkey.html

Ssangyong Motor Strike in South Korea Ends in Defeat and Heavy
Repression (2009)

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/ssangyong.html

General Perspectives on the Capitalist Development State and Class
Struggle in East Asia (2009)

http://home.earthlink.net/~lrgoldner/asiamarx.html

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The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk