Allan Kaprow, Sacco & Vanzetti, Malvina Reynolds, Alfred Sanftleben, Mollie Steimer, Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Camillo Berneri, Ernst Frick, Johannes Nohl, Emma Goldman, anarchist, libertarian, anarchiste, anarquista, on this day in recovered history, August 23
Between the freeway & the gray conning
towers of the ballpark, miles
of mostly vacant lots, once
a neighborhood of small
SACCO & VANZETTI Executed Italian-American anarchists,
wrote stunning letters from prison.
Lithuania: HARVEST FESTIVAL. Ridiculous speeches, feasting & dancing. In the "Kirvis," a pretty maiden stands in the center of a circle of dancers, holding an axe. The circle sings, the axe is thrown, & the young man who catches it, often bleeding, gets a kiss & a dance.
410 -- [CE] Visigoths sack Rome, putting Roman civilisation to bed.
Source: [Calendar Riots]
1500 -- New Old World: Christopher Columbus, accused of mistreating the natives of Haiti, is arrested & sent back to Spain in chains.
Plunder continued to take precedence over conversion, but the Catholics continued to be embarrassed. Their ideology was not altogether suited to their practice. The Catholics made much of their conquests of Aztecs & Incas, whom they described as empires with institutions similar to those of the Hapsburg Empire & the religious practices as demonic as those of the official enemy, the heathen empire of the Ottoman Turks. But the Catholics did not make much of the wars of extermination against communities that had neither emperors nor standing armies.
Such feats, although perpetrated regularly, conflicted with the ideology & were less than heroic.
1757 -- England: The first riot against the Militia Act occurs at Washingborough, Lincs, from where it spreads rapidly to Beds & Notts.
The Act is meant to conscript troops to fight a colonial war & quell a year of domestic food riots; it succeeds instead, in provoking prolonged & massive rioting across 11 more counties.
"We will not fight for what does not concern us, & belongs to our landlords; let the worst happen; we can but be laborers & tenants as we are at present."
The rioters' primary aims are destruction of militia lists & attacks on officials though they surpass themselves & set about invading the homes of the gentry (who are — surprisingly — exempted from service).
1871 -- Germany: Alfred Sanftleben (aka "Slovak") lives (1871-1952), Thuringe. Militant German anarchist, also active in Switzerland & the US. Typesetter & translator, friend of Nettlau, Landauer, Rocker & the Flores Magón brothers, & greatly influenced by Giovanni Rossi.
1900 -- Folk, protest singer Malvina Reynolds lives, Frisco, California. Was refused her diploma by Lowell High School because her parents were opposed to US participation in World War I. http://www.sisterschoice.com/mal-bio.html
MALVINA REYNOLDS POP/FOLK PROTEST SINGER OF 1960s FAME.
1901 -- Boer prisoners are executed, in the movie "Breaker Morant." Anglo-Australian folk hero, Morant, horseman, drover & poet, was court martialed & executed in South Africa in 1902. Scapegoat of the British Empire, subject of numerous poems, novels & histories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaker_Morant
1903 -- Muhammad Yamin lives. Indonesian writer & politician, member of the leftist Murba Party. One of the pioneers of modern poetry in Indonesia. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/yamin.htm
1907 -- US: The arrest of Mexican anarchists Ricardo Flores Magón, Antonio Villarreal & Librado Rivera after their hiding place has been discovered.
1909 -- US: A group of IWW strikers board a streetcar in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania looking for scabs. A deputy sheriff shoots at them & dies in the return fire. The ensuing battle leaves 11 people dead.
Despite today's battle the strikers hold solid & on September 8th, 1909 the company capitulates to their demands.
Tremors from today's victory shakes other steel towns, leading to more IWW gains.
1911 -- US: Ishi — last member of his stone-age tribe — discovered in California.
of His Tribe
The region is known as the Land of Ishi because this is where the last survivor of the Yahi Yana tribe, a man named Ishi, escaped from settlers who exterminated the rest of the Yahis. They had lived here for at least 3,000 years before being killed off, along with the elk they had hunted, another dreadful moment in the settling of the West.
1911 -- George Allan England receives $500 for his novel Darkness & Dawn.
1916 -- Germany: A military court in Berlin sentences Marxist Karl Liebknecht to four years.
1917 -- US: Riot occurs in Houston, Texass, when the 24th Infantry seeks revenge on the city's white police after the brutal beating of two of the regiment's soldiers.
After two hours of violence, 15 whites, including four policemen, are killed & 12 more injured. Four soldiers die. 118 soldiers are charged in connection with the riots & 19 executed, most in near total secrecy, in one of the most infamous court-martials ever involving African-Americans.
1918 -- US: Mollie Steimer, along with several other members of her group, arrested for distributing leaflets against the landing of American troops in Soviet Russia. (Notable for their selective amnesia, American school books pass over this invasion.)
The Abrams case as it became known, constitutes a landmark in the repression of civil liberties in the US. It was the first important prosecution under the Espionage Act. It is cited in all standard histories, as one of the most flagrant violations of constitutional rights during the Red Scare hysteria following WWI.
The trial of three anarchists & a socialist, lasting two weeks, opened October, 1918, at the Federal Court House in NY. The defendants were Jacob Abrams (legendary anarchist, & cousin of historian Ronald Radosh's* mother), Mollie Steimer, Jacob Schwartz, Hyman Lachowsky, & Samuel Lipman.
Jacob Schwartz, however, never appeared in court. Having been severely beaten by the police, he was removed to hospital, where he died on October 14.
On appeal, despite their convictions, the dissenting opinion of two Supreme Court Justices, Oliver Wendell Holmes & Louis Brandeis, set the foundation for future protection of First Amendment rights.
See Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, & Free Speech (Viking, 1987)
*Abrams was deported from the US for distributing subversive literature. He ended up in Mexico, where he became a fixture in the émigré intellectual community & attempted to help Trotsky defend himself against the conspiracy that would ultimately kill him.
After Abrams gave the Radosh family a set of plates that had belonged to Trotsky, Ronald Radosh used them to serve snacks to his pals in the Stalinist youth movement, who came to include the arch-provocateur David Horowitz — & whose faces paled in horror when they realized which "renegade" hands had once touched them.
1920 -- Mary Roberts Rinehart play "The Bat" opens in NY for 867 performances. In 1933 RCA Victor released The Bat as one of the earliest talking book recordings. Her costumed supercriminal, "the Bat", is cited by Bob Kane as one of the inspirations for his "Batman." An immensely popular writer, Rinehart invented the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing & also helped her sons found the publishing house Farrar & Rinehart. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Roberts_Rinehart
1927 -- US: Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian-born anarchist labor militants, executed in the electric chair, in Boston, despite unprecedented protests worldwide. (see August 24). Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is arrested outside Dedham Prison, Mass.
Never in our full life could we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man as now we do by accident. Our words — our lives — our pains — nothing! The taking of our lives — lives of a good shoemaker & a poor fish peddler — all!
That last moment belongs to us — that agony is our triumph."
Four incidents a good many years apart are somehow sharply related in my mind. Long ago a British judge was quoted as saying he refused clemency at popular demand to uphold the principle of capital punishment & to prove he was not to be intimidated by public protest.
During Hitler's time, Himmler remarked that for the good of the state, popular complaints should be ignored, & if they persisted, the complainers should be punished.
Judge Webster Thayer, during the Sacco-Vanzetti episode, was heard to boast while playing golf, "Did you see what I did to those anarchistic bastards?" & the grim little person named Rosa Baron ... who was head of my particular group during the Sacco-Vanzetti demonstrations in Boston snapped at me when I expressed the wish that we might save the lives of Sacco & Vanzetti: "Alive — what for? They are no earthly good to us alive."
These painful incidents illustrate at least four common perils in the legal handling that anyone faces when accused of a capital crime of which he is not guilty, especially if he has a dubious place in society, an unpopular nationality, erroneous political beliefs, the wrong religion socially, poverty, low social standing — the list could go on but this is enough. Both of these unfortunate men, Sacco & Vanzetti, suffered nearly all of these disadvantages. A fearful word had been used to cover the whole list of prejudices & misinformation, & in some deeply mysterious way, their names had been associated with it — Anarchy.
1927 -- Allan Kaprow (d.2006) happens. "Happenings" event creator. American painter, assemblagist & pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art. He helped to develop the "Environment" & "Happening" in the late 1950s & 1960s, as well as their theory. Fluxus, Performance art, & Installation art was, in turn, influenced by his work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Kaprow [Related Details / context]
1929 -- Palestine: Arabs attack Jews throughout the country, killing many.
1932 -- US: The Seattle Library Board fires married women.
1933 -- US: Fine upstanding citizens Vigilantes assault 200 migrant workers in Yakima, Washington.
1933 -- India: British rulers release Mohandas Gandhi from jail after a one-week fast.
1934 -- Canada: Emma Goldman presides over a poorly attended meeting at Hygeia Hall organized by the Libertarian Groups of Toronto to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the executions of Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti; Heiner also speaks at the meeting.
The prosecution left a trail of doctored eyewitness accounts, altered testimony & false ballistics reports. That trail appears to exonerate the victims while convicting the executioners.
On June 22, 1935, one-time Ford motor plant employee Joe Louis laid out Italy's Primo Carnera in the sixth round before a crowd of 60,000 in NY's Yankee Stadium.
"Whether it was the South Side of Chicago, St. Antoine Street of Detroit, or the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Negro communities throughout the nation went crazy with joy," reported the NY Amsterdam Star-News. A folk hero had been born.
One of the great women of the blues, Memphis Minnie reflected that joy in a recording session two months after the
Louis-Carnera bout. (She also waxed a "Joe Louis Strut.")
1936 -- Spain: Camillo Berneri, after organizing an Italian column within the Francisco Ascaso Column in the Pedralbes barracks (renamed "Bakunin"), takes part in the harsh engagements on the "bare mountain," where the anarchists Mario Angeloni, Vincenzo Perrone & Michele Centrone died, Angeloni singing the Internationale.
After defeating the Nationalist troops, because of problems with his vision & hearing, Berneri was sent back from the front & returned to Barcelona to do propaganda work (& was murdered there by Stalin's communist agents).
1936 -- Thomas Mann completes his novel Joseph in Egypt.
1939 -- Germany/USSR: Pen Pals? Hitler-Napoleon Non-Aggression Pact signed in preparation for Germany's September visit to Poland. The pact confirms the structural homogeneity of the two regimes. The nations later called "Allies" had refused to sign any protective pact with Russia, hoping the Nazis would bring down the Bolshevik regime.
Why this determination to show "everything" in pictures? A word, a glance, silence itself communicates more & better... the Holocaust is not a subject like all others. It imposes certain limits.
1943 -- US: Workers strike the Brewster fighter plant at Warminster, Pa. for four days. The head of the local union is quoted as saying,
"If I had brothers at the front line who needed the 10 or 12 planes that were sacrificed in the strike, I'd let them die... to preserve our way of life."
1943 -- Life magazine spotlights the US dance craze the Lindy Hop. Buncha hop-heads.
1944 -- England: US bomber crashes into an English school & explodes in flames. Seventy-one, 51 of them children, lose their lives.
1946 -- US: Three white men are fined $10 in Collins, Mississippi for the attempted rape of three young black women at gunpoint.
1946 -- Humphrey Bogart movie "The Big Sleep" opens. Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler.
1948 -- France: Adrienne Montegudet (née Victorine Valdant) lives (1885-1948). Militante communiste et syndicaliste révolutionnaire puis libertaire. Frequenter of Monatte's circle.
Involved in anarchist activities in 1936, she became secretary of the Comité des femmes libertaires & also assisted Italian & Spanish refugees. During WWII, in contact with Célestin Freinet, she aided & helped hide Czech refugees (primarily Jewish). http://www.ephemanar.net/aout23.html#montegudet
1956 -- Ernst Frick (1881-1956) dies. Swiss anarchist, artist, archaeologist & scholar of primitive languages.
Frick was involved with the circle around Erich Mühsam, Johannes Nohl (anarchist & one of Hermann Hesse's analysts), & the anarchist Freudian Otto Gross.
1958 -- China: Shell Game? Communists begin an artillery blockade of Quemoy (-Sept.). A compromise is subsequently worked out, whereby China can shell the islands on odd dates & the KMT can resupply them on even dates.
1962 -- US: JFK's administration approves a massive sabotage effort against Cuba.
1964 -- Beatles do Hollywood Bowl concert.
1966 -- Australia: 200 Gurindji people begin struggle for reclamation of tribal land, Northern Territory.
Gurindji cattle workers began a nine-year strike for wage improvements which developed into a successful claim for return of traditional Gurindji lands.
1968 -- US: Yippies sponsor the "Festival of Life" at the Democratic Convention & get national headlines by nominating Pigasus the Pig for President & threatening to spike the Chicago water supply with LSD.
10,000 unarmed Yippies are attacked by 23,000 armed soldiers, national guardsmen, & police.
Today classes are held in Lincoln Park on karate, snake dancing & other means of self-defense. Police litter the park, posting "11 p.m. curfew" signs in park trees (in some cities they would go to jail for such acts of vandalism).
1977 -- Germany: Marxist philosopher Rudolf Bahro is imprisoned in East Germany.
Released from prison in 1979 & came to West Germany, aligned with "Deep Ecology" & Green Party movements, calling for new synthesis of a revolutionary cultural movement to dismantle the industrial system (the "exterminist megamachine") & reconstruct human society & cultural reproduction on a communitarian basis. Called an "ecoanarchist theorist," Bahro's vision was extra-parliamentary, that is, Greens should focus their organizing outside of parliament. Watermelon Man...Green on the outside, Red on the inside.
1987 -- Lithuania: Protesters demonstrate against the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939. In 1989 East German historian Heinz Kuehnrich confirms the existence of secret protocols to the Hitler-Stalin pact. Time wounds all heels.
1987 -- England: First strike in its 195-year history shuts down the London Times.
1989 -- Over one million join hands across three Baltic States in 400-mile-long chain of resistance to USSR, on the 50th anniversary of the secret agreement which made them part of the Soviet Union.
1990 -- Ecuador: A sit-in at Conoco Ecuador HQ protests road development thru Yasuni NP.
1991 -- Nicaragua: National Assembly votes to return property Sandinistas distributed.
1991 -- High Seas: A computer error sinks a Norwegian offshore oil platform; damages are nearly $1 billion.
1993 -- US: Detroit cops are convicted of beating Malice Green, an African American, to death.
1996 -- 'Today the net worth of the world's 358 richest people is equal to the combined income of the poorest 45 per cent of the world's population — 2.3 billion people.'
— James Gustave Speth, administrator UN Development Programme, International Herald Tribune, 23 August 1996
1998 -- US: Seattle HempFest; includes Artis the Spoonman. An estimated 35,000 people, according to the Seattle Police Department,
came to Myrtle Edwards Park to display their affection for the ever so popular garden weed. By 2006 the crowds number 150,000 & includes former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, an advocate for legalization of drugs, calling America's "Drug War" a racket.
The Daily Bleed: Allan Kaprow, Sacco & Vanzetti, Malvina Reynolds, Alfred Sanftleben, Mollie Steimer, Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Camillo Berneri, Ernst Frick, Johannes Nohl, Emma Goldman; Timeline, Almanac of Radicalism, Arts, Literature, Authors, Poets, Anarchists... a radical annotated chronology, almanac, daybook, anarchist CALENDAR, anarchisten, anarchism, anarchico, anarchiste, anarquista, anarsizm, anarţizme, Anarţist, Anarquismo, Anarchismus, sindicalismo, anarquia, anarchia, anarchisme, anarchizm, anarkisme, anarki, anarkist, libertarian, syndicalist, anarcho-syndicalist, anarcho-communism, black cats, What Happened on this day, in recovered memory, suppressed history, A People's History, AUGUST 23
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