Wednesday, 26 May 2021

"Ne por medaloj mi batalis..." - "I did not fight for medals"

La originala artikolo estas el Stano 

En 1945 Artjom Skaĵutin havis nur 21 jarojn. Krome li jam havis sep klasojn de vilaĝa lernejo, nefinitan militlernejon, tri medalojn kaj du vundojn. Sian vivon li rememoris sen bedaŭroj kaj plendoj.


Kampara infanaĝo
Mi naskiĝis la 7-an de aprilo 1924 en la vilaĝo Turuŝeva, tiutempe ĝi apartenis al Ŝatrova kaj nun al Isetska distrikto. La gepatroj estis kamparanoj. La familio laŭ tiamaj kutimoj estis ordinara – 11 homoj, inkluzive sep infanojn. Ni havis bovinojn kaj ĉevalojn. Kiam komenciĝis kolektivigo, oni decidis malkulakigi nin. La brutojn, konstruaĵojn – ĉion oni forprenis por la kolĥozo “Aktivulo”.

La patro forveturis al Tjumeno kun sia pli aĝa fratino Maria por serĉi laboron kaj tiel nutri la familion, sed malsukcesis. Do li mortis sola ĉi tie. La fratino longan tempon veturadis kun lia kadavro sur ĉaro de unu tombejo al alia – neniu deziris akcepti lin. Finfine en la Parfjonov-tombejo oni lin sepultis. Poste mi serĉis lian tombon por starigi monumenton, sed senrezulte – en plej bona kazo oni starigis tiutempe lignan krucon sen nomo kaj ĉio ĉi malaperis rapide.

Kvar klasojn mi finis en mia vilaĝo kaj poste devis marŝi al la vilaĝo Mostovka. Ni venis tien lunde kaj revenis hejmen vendrede, loĝante dum tiu periodo en luataj domoj. Ni prenis kun ni platkukojn – tio estis nia manĝaĵo por semajno. Tiel mi finis sepjaran lernejon.

La unua batalo
Oni rekrutigis min la 12-an de aŭgusto 1942. En Tjumeno oni sendis min al loka militlernejo kiel estontan oficiron. Sed mi ne havis tempon por fini eĉ reduktitan kurson, oni sendis nin antaŭtempe al fronto. Unue oni prenis unu grupon, poste alian. Oni diris ke tio ne koncernos nin, ke plej bonaj lernantoj ricevos tempon por fini la kurson. Sed poste ankaŭ nin oni forprenis, donis al ni serĝentan rangon anstataŭ tiu de leŭtenanto kaj sendis al fronto. Tio okazis en marto 1943.

Mi trafis la 145-an regimenton de la 66-a pafista divizio – ĝi ĵus eliris Stalingradon por rearanĝo. En Voroneĵa provinco tio okazis kaj poste ni ekmarŝis antaŭen.


La unuan batalon mi partoprenis apud Kursko. Ĉio komenciĝis la 5-an de julio 1943. Unue ni okupis defendajn poziciojn, germanoj penis forĵeti nin de tie. La 12-an de julio ni komencis ofensivon apud Proĥorovko. Mi jam estis komandestro de grupo en plotono de kontraŭtankaj fusiloj.

Matene ni vekiĝis kaj vidis ke la suno brilis fortege. Nu, kiam komenciĝis tanka batalo ĉio ŝanĝiĝis. La suno ne plu videblis, ĉie estis nur fumonuboj, brulodoro tia ke eĉ spiri estis malfacile.

Ni okupis ravinon, fosis tranĉeon. Antaŭen oni sendis grupon de Ŝerman – ni konis unu la alian ekde la militlernejo. Komenciĝis bombardado kaj ĝi trafis ilin, li tuj pereis. Mi domaĝis lin, ja li estis bona bubo. Poste jam niaj artileriistoj faris preparan bombardon kaj ni komencis ofensivon, sed tuj alfrontis mitralpafadon kaj kuŝiĝis. Tio estis grandkalibra mitralo, kun kuglo 16 mm. Oni ordonis al mi likvidi ĝin. La ordonon mi plenumis kaj tiel ricevis la unuan medalon “Pro kuraĝo”.

En tiu tago ni antaŭeniĝis ĝis la vilaĝo Koĉetovka (Belgoroda provinco) kaj okupis ĝin. Ni setliĝis en iu dometo rande de la vilaĝo, petis mastrinon kuiri terpomojn por ni, donis al ŝi monon, tamen ŝi plu grumblis – evidente ŝi nemalbone vivis kun germanoj. En alia rando de la vilaĝo, ĉe lago haltis tankistoj. Kiam komenciĝis bombardado, ili preskaŭ ĉiuj pereis. Sed la niaj tamen daŭrigis ofensivon, pripafado estis tiom forta ke germanoj fuĝis en aŭtoj laŭ fervojo.

Mitralisto
La duan medalon “Pro kuraĝo” mi ricevis ankaŭ pro mitralisto, pro likvidita pafejo. Kiam ni transiris ravinon, mi ekvidis tiun germanon de proksime – li ankoraŭ estis viva, la kapo ĉe la tempio trafita, li ĝemis. Kaj mi ekkompatis lin. Kvankam li ĵus kontraŭ ni pafis, sed… Tiam venis leŭtenanto, nia rotestro kiu komandis stabon kaj diris: “Mortpafu! Finbatu lin!” Sed kion fari, mi estis ankoraŭ bubo 19 jarojn aĝa. “Mi ne finbatos lin!” mi diris. Nun mi komprenas ke pro neplenumo de la ordono mi povus trafi militan tribunalon. Sed en tiu momento la nervoj estis streĉitaj ĝis ekstreme.

Helpis ke apude estis terkabano de tiu mitralisto. La leŭtenanto enkuris tien kaj eliris kun manoj plenaj je silkaj vestoj – evidente germanoj preparis sin al lavado. Do li malatentis min por momento. Kaj tiam helpis al mi bubo el Krasnojarsko. Li estis ĉasisto, por li ĉio ĉi estis senprobleme. Li alkuris kaj finbatis tiun germanon el fusilo. Nun mi pensas foje ke eble tiu ulo povus saviĝi, vivi plu, sed en tiu tempo… Mi bone memoras tiun ĉi kazon.

Vundoj
Poste estis rutino – ĉiutage ni iris de unu batalo al alia, ja milito estas milito. Nur iom mi ne atingis Poltavon – mankis 20 km. Oni poste alinomis nian divizion je la 66-a Poltava gvardea ruĝstandarda divizio.

Tiutage ni ĵus ekiris kaj germanoj tuj rimarkis nin. Infanterio evidente mankis al ili, do ili komencis rekte pripafi nin el tankaj kanonoj. Mi nur ekvidis kiel ekkriis nia mitralisto kaj subite en la okuloj ĉio malheliĝis, sango superverŝis la okulojn. Splitaĵo eniris la kapon super la frunto. Ĝi estas tie ĝis nun, mi povas ĝin palpi. Kuracistoj diris ke se ĝi ne ĝenas min, prefere ĝin ne tuŝi. Nu ni haltis, buboj bandaĝis min. Unu semajnon mi restis en hospitalo kaj poste oni sendis min al rezerva regimento.

Ĉiutage venadis “aĉetantoj”- reprezentantoj de trupoj, kiuj serĉis soldatojn. Sed min oni longan tempon ne forlasis. Mi eĉ kverelis tiam kun komandestro, diris ke mi mem foriros al fronto. Finfine mi trafis oficiran lernoregimenton, kiu samtempe estis la fronta.

La duan fojon mi estis vundita en Voroŝilovgrada provinco – nun ĝi nomiĝas Luhanska kaj ofte aperas en novaĵoj. Mi estis vundita ĉe la kruro, sub la genuo, sed ne grave – kuglo trairis la muskolojn sen tuŝi la oston. Mi nur perdis multe da sango, la boto estis plena je ĝi.

Mi ekkuris tiam direkte al hospitalo kaj ekvidis – la niaj sterniĝis surtere. Rekrutoj, ankoraŭ en civilaj vestoj, ili eĉ ne havis tempon alivestiĝi en militan uniformon. Mi alkuris al ili: “Kial vi kuŝas? Germanoj batas nin kaj vi ĉi tie…” Ili silentas. Mi venis pli proksimen kaj ekvidis ke ili ĉiuj estas mortaj, jam mortigitaj.

Medalo de Georgo Ĵukov
La Venkotagon mi renkontis en hospitalo en Pollando. La vetero estis bona, sunoplena. Kiel mi eksciis pri la venko? Tuj estiĝis bruego – ĉiuj eksciis en unu momento.


Poste ni iris al Germanio, tie mi trafis militpolicon en Frankenbergo. La eta, pura, komforta urbeto. Mi memoras ke ni venis tien kaj oni renkontis nin per la vortoj: “Ni nenion preparis speciale, do jen kion ni havas ĉi-momente”. Mi rigardis – kaj tie estis ovoj, kazeo, acidkremo! Ni ja dum marŝi al Germanio malsatis iom kaj ĉi tie jen… Tie mi servis preskaŭ du jarojn. Ni evakuadis germanajn militkaptitojn, gardis la ordon.

Foje kaze de la Venkotago oni transportis nin al Berlino, vicigis sur placo. Paradon gvidis marŝalo Georgo Ĵukov. Mi malofte survestis la medalojn, do ankaŭ tiutage iris sen ili. Ĵukov haltis apud mi: “Kie estas viaj medaloj, gvardeano?” Mi diris: “Kamarado marŝalo de Soveta Unio, mi militis ne por medaloj – por la patrujo!” Kaj malantaŭ Ĵukov sekvantaro iris – generaloj, koloneloj. Li ridetis: “Bone vi respondas. Premiu lin!” Tiel mi ricevis la trian medalon “Pro kuraĝo”.

Laborista vivo
Poste oni komencis po unuope voki “maljunulojn” [tradicia nomo de malnovaj soldatoj en la sovetia kaj rusia armeo] kaj prepari ilin por forsendo. Mi maltrankviliĝis, aliris majoron – ja kial oni ne vokas min? Li diris: “Atendu iom, poste vi dankos min!” Kaj vere estis tiel – ja tiujn ulojn oni sendis al la milito kontraŭ Japanio. Mi restis en Germanio.

En 1947 mi finfine malmobiliziĝis kaj revenis al mia vilaĝo. Ioman tempon mi laboris kiel inspektoro pri aĉetado de lakto en vilaĝo Isetskoje kaj en 1953 mi transloĝiĝis al Tjumeno. Mi edziĝis al samvilaĝanino kaj ĝis nun ni estas kune. Poste estis laboro, la tutan vivon mi estis laboristo. Mi ricevis apartamenton en kvinetaĝa domo kaj ĉi tie mi loĝas ĝis nun.


En la 1960-aj jaroj mi dungiĝis en TjumenNIIgiprogazo – mi laboris tie en lignaĵejo ĝis 1997. Veteranoj tiutempe en la instituto ankoraŭ haveblis, sed malmulte – ĉirkaŭ 15 homoj. En la Venkotago oni gratulis nin kaj regalis. Nun mi restas la lasta.

P.S. Mi interparolis kun Artjom Skaĵutin en februaro 2015 en lia hejmo, ĉar li jam estis tro malforta por iri eksteren. La 15-an de oktobro 2015 li mortis.



"I did not fight for medals"

In 1945 Artyom Skajutin was only 21 years old. In addition to passing through seven grades at a village school, an unfinished course at military school, he had three medals and two wounds. He remembers his life without regrets or complaints.

Peasant Youth

I was born on the 7th of April 1924, in the village of Turusheva, at the time it belonged to Shatrova and now it is in the Isetska district. My parents were peasants. The family lived according to the ordinary customs of the time - 11 people, including seven children. We had cows and horses. When the collectivisation policy began they decided to de-kulakise us. The cattle, buildings, everything was taken away and given to the "Activist" Kolkhoz.

Father travelled to Tyumen with my older sister Maria to look for work and feed the family, but they didn't succeed. So he died there alone. For a long time my sister travelled from graveyard to graveyard with his body on a cart - No one wanted to accept him. Finally, in Parfyonov a cemetery buried him.  Later, I searched for his grave or burial marker, but without success. In those days the best case was a wooden cross without a name, everything was quickly forgotten.

I passed four grades in my own village and after that I had to walk to the village of Mostovka. We went there on Monday and returned home on the Friday, in the week we stayed at confiscated houses. We took with us flat cakes, that was our food for the week, this was how I finished my seventh grade in school.

The first Battle

I was recruited on the 12th of August 1942. In Tyumen they sent me to a local military academy for future officers. But I didn't have enough time to even complete the reduced course, before long they had sent us to the front. First they sent away one group then later, another. They that should not concern us, as the best students would be given enough time to finish the course. But soon we were also deployed, given Sergeants ranks instead of the promised Lieutenancy and went to the frontlines. That happened in March 1943. 

I joined the 145 Regiment of the 66th rifle division - it had just left Stalingrad for reorganisation. This was being done in the Voronezh Oblast, and after that we began to advance.

The first battle I participated in was at Kursk. It all started on the 5th of July 1943. At first we occupied defensive positions, while the Germans tried to force us out of them. 12th of July, we began offensive operations near Prokhorovka. I was already a group commander in a platoon of anti-tank riflemen. 

In the morning when we awoke we saw the sun shining very brightly. When the tank battle began that all changed. The sun was no longer visible, everywhere there was only smoke and fumes, the smell of burning made even breathing difficult.

We occupied a valley and dug a trench. A group of Sherman tanks(1) were sent forward, I knew one of the men in that unit, we had met at the military academy. When the bombardment began they were hit and he perished immediately. I felt sorry for him, he was a good boy. Immediately after our artillery had finished its preparatory bombardment we launched an offensive but quickly ran into a machine gun post and had to lay down. That was a high calibre machine gun, with 16 mm bullets. I was ordered to destroy it, fulfilling that order was what earned me the firs medal "for courage".

In that day we advanced as far as the village of Kochetovka (Belgorod Oblast) and occupied it. We settled into some cottages at the edge of the village, and asked the mistress of the house to cook potato's for us, which we paid for, however she kept grumbling, evidently she had gotten along well with the Germans. The tank crews halted on the other side of the village by the lake. When a bombardment started nearly all of them were killed. But we continued to advance, our shooting was so heavy that the Germans fled in cars to the railway.

Machine Gunner

The second medal "for courage" I also received thanks to a machine gunner, due to an execution. When we were crossing through a valley, I spotted a nearby German. He was still alive but was hit in the temple, he sighed. I felt sorry for him. Even though he had been shooting at us, but then a Lieutenant arrived, he was in charge of our staff, he said: "shoot him! Finish him!" but what to do, I was still a boy, 19 years old. "I will not kill him!" I said. Now I understand that for not obeying that order I could have been sent to a military tribunal.  But in that moment my nerves were stretched to their extreme limit.

It helped that the machine gunner had a hut nearby. The Lieutenant ran in and came out with his hands full of silk clothes - apparently the Germans had been preparing to wash. So he forgot me for a moment. And then a boy from Krasnoyarsk helped me. He was a Cossack, for him nothing was a problem. He ran up and shot the German with his rifle. Now I think sometimes that that guy could have been saved, live on, but at the time,... I remember this case well. 

Wounds

Later, everything was routine, we went from one battle to the next, war certainly is war. I didn't reach Poltava for awhile, it was 20 km away. Later they renamed our division to the 66th Guards Rifle Division, and awarded the honourable name Poltava and given the Order of the Red Banner(2). 

We had just sett off when the Germans almost immediately noticed us. They were clearly lacking in infantry so fired upon us with tank cannons. I had only just seen them and shouted to the machine gunner when suddenly my eyes went dark, blood filled my eyes. A splinter hit the top of my forehead. It is still there, I can still feel it. Doctors say that if it doesn't bother me I should leave it alone and not touch it. When we halted some boys bandaged me, I rested for a week in a hospital and was then sent to reserve unit.

"Buyers" came everyday, representatives of units looking for soldiers. But I was not abandoned for a long time. I even quarrelled with a commander saying I would go back to the front myself. Eventually I joined an officer cadet regiment that was at the front. 

I was wounded for the second time at Voroshilovgrad - now called Luhansk Oblast and often appears in the news(3)-  I was wounded in the leg, beneath the knee, but not seriously, the bullet travelled through the muscle without touching the bone. I just lost a lot of blood, the boot was full of it.

I ran straight for the hospital and saw our soldiers lying about the ground. Recruits, still in civilian clothes, they did not even have time to change into their military uniforms. I called out to them "Why are lying about? The Germans are hitting us and you're here"... they were silent. I got closer and started to see that they were all dead, already killed.

Medal from Georgy Zhukov

I was in a hospital in Poland when Victory day arrived. The weather was good, full of sunshine. How did I learn of the victory? There was commotion at once, every one found out at the same moment. 

Later we were sent to Germany, there I met the military police of Frankenberg. The small clean, comfortable city. I remember that we arrived there and were met with the words "We have prepared nothing special, so here's what we have right now". I looked- and there was eggs, curd, sour cream! and we were a little hungry on the march to Germany. I served there for nearly two years. We evacuated German war prisoners and kept order.

Sometimes on Victory Day we were transferred to Berlin, and ranked in the square. For a parade led by Marshal Zhukov. I rarely wore my medals, so on that day I was without them. Zhukov halted in front of me: "Where are your medals Guardsman?" I said, "Comrade Marshal, I did not fight for medals, but for the fatherland!" and behind Zhukov his followers came - Generals, Colonels. He smiled "You answer well, reward him!" that was how I received the third medal "for courage".

Working Life

Then they began calling us "Old ones" [traditional for soldiers in the Soviet and Russian armies] and prepared us for demobilisation. I was unhappy with the Major and wanted to know why he would not call for me? He said: "Wait a little, later you will thank me!" and he was correct - the men he called up were sent to the war against Japan. I remained in Germany.

In 1947 I was finally demobilised and returned to my village. For some time I worked as a milk purchasing inspector in the village Isetskoye, and in 1953 I moved to Tyumen. I married a woman from the village and we are still together. Afterwards there was more work, I have been a worker my whole life. I got an apartment in a five storey house and still live there.

In the 1960s I was hired at TyumenNIIgiprogas (4) - I worked there in a carpentry until 1997. There were still some veterans at the institute, but few, about 15 people. On Victory Day we were congratulated and treated. Now I am the last.   

P.S. I spoke with Artyom Skajutin in February 2015 in his home, because he was already too weak to go outside. He died, on the 15th of October 2015.

Translated into English by Reddebrek.

________________________________________
1: I initially thought this was a case of mistaken memory since as far as I was aware Sherman tanks were delivered as part of lend lease in 1944, when this battle took place in July 1943. However after looking it up and asking for advice I've learnt that referred to the 76mm Sherman tank, while small numbers of 75mm Sherman and other American tanks like the M3 Lee were sent in small numbers to the Soviet Union via British convoys as early as 1942, and one person showed a detailed document on the subject of Sherman's in the USSR that had this passage

"The use of M4A2 tanks on the North Caucasus Front in the winter and spring of 1943 was rather rare. The first real use of M4A2 tanks in combat was in the summer of 1943 during the Battle of Kursk. The only unit with these tanks was the aforementioned 229th Tank Regiment. It is usually stated that it fought as a part of the 48th Army, but that is not the case. By early July the regiment was included into the 13th Army, which fought in the north of the salient. The regiment was supposed to support the 148th Rifle Division, but in practice ended up supporting its neighbour, the 74th Rifle Division. The regiment did not take part in the battle for Ponyri, remaining in reserve. The regiment lost 14 tanks burned and 17 knocked out between July 15th and 18th with 117 men lost. The report stated that tanks were chiefly lost after being hit with HEAT shells, which caused ammunition detonation that tore off the tanks' turrets."

The British Churchill tank also saw action in the battle.

2: The Ukrainian 22nd Mechanised Brigade traces its origins to this division.

3: I think this is a reference to the pro-Russian separatist movements in Ukraine of which Luhansk is at the frontline with insurgents controlling large parts of it. 

4: A division of Gasprom.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - the Last Post

 

I've been working my way through lists of war and anti-war films, I stumbled upon this Argentine short film about the Falklands conflict and was intrigued, can't think of many films that tackle it outside of films about the UK in the 80s which use it as a sort of footnote.

Its 16 minutes including credits and can be viewed on the directors youtube channel Santanna Brothers Films,

The Falklands War, 1982. In the heat of battle, a young British soldier, Mark, deserts his post, only to be captured by an injured Argentinean, Jose Francisco. Gradually the two men form an understanding of friendship and trust, until the arrival of a unit of British Paras, who force Mark to choose between his patriotic duty and his conscience. BAFTA Nominated film starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Kevin Knapman

The few reviews and snippets I've seen are of a similar vein and talk about its bleak message for example this off IMDB

This film tells us that there is no sides that are all good and all bad in a war.

 To put it bluntly its all nonsense. It doesn't tell us this at all, I don't even believe the Last Post qualifies as an anti-war or even war sceptical film. Its pretty blatant in showing who it thinks are the bad in that war. 

In outline its quite similar to many other stories about conflict, including some that are openly opposing conflict as an endeavour, two soldiers from opposite sides find themselves in close contact with each other and both isolated from their sides. There's tension as they try and navigate this frightening environment and eventually try to reach some common ground with language barriers being just one of the obstacles. Its similar to the film about the break up of Yugoslavia No Man's Land (also from 2001) about two Bosniaks and a Serb in a trench in between the lines.

But the issue is in the framing, the ugliness of war is all put on one side, the British who are clearly shown as the aggressors, Knapman and his unit are introduced night marching towards Argentine positions, the post where the surviving Gael Garcia Bernal is sheltering has already been neutralised with the rest of the Argentines already dead. The brief shots of Argentina depict it as a perfectly nice and ordinary nation, not the turbulent, brutal and crumbling dictatorship it was. And there isn't really much tension at all, Bernal surrenders quickly the two don't really bond beyond sharing a cigarette so there's not much in the tragedy of Knapman's decision at the climax when Bernal is murdered and his body used as a cruel and pointless insult to his loved ones, and that's it. Brits attack, Brits torment, Brits murder, Brits desecrate a corpse. 

My disquiet isn't that I don't find this believable, the really nasty Brit soldiers are Paras to make it even more believable that they would do such a thing. Its that this film seems to have been made to feed into Argentine myths of victimhood. Ever since losing the conflict many Argentine governments and cultural luminaries have put a lot of time and effort into constructing a myth of victimisation from British Imperialism, totally erasing the century or more of collaboration with the British government, the brutal military dictatorship that was in the middle of a bloody civil war against its own population and the invasion and occupation of the islands and the oppression of its civilian population. The only thing the Argentine government and military is shown to be at fault for is being out of its depth.

The Last Post, an Argentine film supposedly about the ill effects of war and uses this conflict as its platform fails to address or even acknowledge any of this and that's frankly cowardly if the intent wasn't deliberately made to appeal to this revanchist spirit. 


Saturday, 15 May 2021

Anarchist Tactic for Palestine by Albert Meltzer




Anarchist Tactic for Palestine

Written on the 25th of March 1939, by Albert Meltzer

The Arab revolution is centred on Palestine. The re-awakening of the Arab nation and the consequent nationalist revolution has brought the masses of Palestine in conflict with British Imperialism. Every movement against British Imperialism must be welcomed as the rulers of this country rule (or, synonymously, misrule) the larger part of the world’s colonial peoples. The opposition of revolutionaries to British Imperialism and its allies must be taken for granted.

The clashing of two nationalisms (Jewish and Arab in this case) has inevitably given rise to controversy abroad. In the Houses of Parliament sympathy is naturally pro-Zionist; as one MP is reputed to have said, when asked why he supported the Jews in Palestine against the Arabs: “In my constituency I have thousands of Jewish voters, I haven’t a single Arab”. The Labour Party, free from responsibility in the Government of a bloody suppression of all vestiges of Arab life, urges the Government to insist upon a policy of a Jewish National State. The majority opinion here seems to be pro-Zionist, perhaps because the Zionists are so definitely pro-Imperialist while the Arabs are vaguely accused of being pro-Fascist. It would be a surprise therefore, to read about the Government’s rejection of the Jewish side in the Palestinian talks (up to the moment of writing) if the Government had not to reckon with millions of other Arab and Moslem subjects in the Empire. Chamberlain’s policy of `Appeasement` has up to now not been primarily in the interests of the Democratic Imperialisms, and in the Palestine issue, again, he is far less concerned with the maintenance of Imperialism than his `Left` opponents!

What is the case for Zionism? Zionism represents the age-old desire of the Rabbis to return to the `Holy Land`. The significance of the word `Zion` (the Biblical and traditional name) will be noted. The Rabbis, whose jobs depend on the keeping-up of the race-barriers and the consequent survival of the religion, in the fear of assimilation, have fostered these artificial laws in order to maintain, by tribal `totems and taboos` a separate race. Naturally, they have failed, and Zionism is the way they are endeavouring to succeed. There is to-day no pure race, despite the claims of Hitler and the Rabbis. It will be noted that the revival of Judaism has only been a reaction to pogroms and persecution. In times and countries where there has been complete racial and religious toleration, assimilation has begun; intolerance always defeating its own ends.

Herzl began the move for `Back to Zion`. Was his primary concern for the refugees, then fleeing from the pogroms of the Tsar? On the contrary, Herzl refused far more suitable land in Africa, insisting on the `Holy` Land. Finally, the Balfour War Government promised Palestine to the Jews, as well as to the Arabs, when Turkey was defeated. Since the Mandate, the introduction of capitalist Western ideas has undoubtedly benefited the Arab workers, as has the introduction of the proletarian organisations of Europe. But this no excuse, whatever the Zionists may say. Capitalism introduced in this fashion benefited everywhere the working class; the same thing happening in Russia was hailed as a triumph of `communism`. It was nothing of the sort. Despite the coming of capitalist benefits, the struggle against capitalist malevolences must be fought.

Originally there was no agitation against Jewish immigration; moreover there was never previously any anti-Semitism in the Arab countries. Not until immigration became colonisation, and the aim of a Jewish state, did the trouble commence. The Zionist leaders, keeping up a pretence that they were struggling against Fascism, have been the motivators of Fascism in Palestine and have the responsibility for the heavy toll of wasted lives. Fascism? From the `Jewish Hitler`, Vladimir Jabotinsky, with his `Storm Troop` Revisionists to the Rothschild and Imperialist Zionists in London (who take good care to keep out of the `Holy` country), from the `Nuremberg` laws of the synagogue to the basic ideology of Zionism (nationalism based on race and not on country) the whole of the Jewish nationalist movement has been as fascist as any other nationalist movement which has left its early liberal phase. The labour leaders like Ben Gurion accuse the Arabs of being in the pay of Hitler and Mussolini and under that pretence act the Hitlers and Mussolinis. Meanwhile they dupe the masses of Jewish workers in the pogromist countries that there is only one future – Palestine – and furnish the excuses for the anti-Semitic governments.

Undoubtedly the Arab revolution must have the support of the workers abroad. Let us not be duped as `Revolutionary Socialists` have been duped, however. There is no hope for the future in a Palestine under the Grand Mufti and Company. There is no reason to suppose that a bourgeois nationalist government will do more for the working class than did the Imperialist government. The lesson of Ireland alone affords proof. The struggle must be against Imperialism first, against Zionism secondly, and lastly against the bourgeois nationalist government when created.

There is no evidence that the present nationalist movement is capable of such a task. The task is to forget the past and to build up a revolutionary labour movement in Palestine, without consideration of nationality. The only hope there for workers’ unity is a movement that will not include within its ranks the religious leaders of Judaism or Mohammedism, and exclusive of Jewish or Arab or British exploiters. From which side it will come remains to be seen, there is little hope of a revolution in Palestine becoming a social revolution. It may be necessary at the moment to struggle alongside the petty bourgeoisie against Imperialism, but it must be borne in mind that they can neither play a revolutionary role, and that neither the Nehrus in India nor the Muftis in Palestine can be considered as friends, but only as pawns, of the revolutionary-working class.

The programme of the new Palestinian labour movement must be for the overthrow of the Mandate; for autonomy; for a struggle against the autonomous government when created, for workers’ control and freedom. The anarchist tactic for the situation in Palestine is the only road that will lead away from the present debacle; the co-operation of the Arab revolutionaries throughout the Near East, in co-operation with anti-Zionist Jewish minority and all workers, of whatever race, will alone push forward the opportunity for a complete revolution.

25th of March 1939)

ALBERT MELTZER

 


Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Monarchy in Malaysia



From Reddit 

 I have no idea where else to go to share this, without being in risk of being thrown in prison.

Just to give a brief description in malaysia there are 9 royal families that take turn ruling as king every 5 years or so. (has been since we got independence)

We cant critique or even point out the flaws that were done by them without risk of imprisonment. There is no law that actually forbade this, however they have abused the Sedation Act to keep the people silent.

Some of them has described themselves as "Eagles" (term is also used by normal folk to describe oligarchs) and the rest of us as mere sparrows. They have sold of much of our land to foreign investors while our people dont have any affordable housing. Given the pandemic most of the common folk are suffering and some of these royals have flaunted their wealth on Instagram (literally made a video like a rapper with super-cars and private jets) amidst the pandemic.

These people who are considered "Eagles" are allowed to hold large gathering without any fines or such. where as a normal folk like us would be fines RM10,000 (1,700 pounds) just for not wearing face mask in public. From single parents, college students to beggars without any mercy.

Recently there was shortage of vaccine in the country even most frontliners couldn't get them. Then news broke some of the royals flew to Saudi and bought vaccines for about 2000 for their family members. In which some common folk decided to question this at which the current queen replied "Are you jealous" on Instagram.

In response to this many people took to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Then a cartoonist / activist decided to make a spotify playlist titled "are you jealous" and decided to share it. (just a week back)

Today 20 cops broke into his house and arrested him before he could even contact his lawyers.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/04/23/activist-fahmi-reza-arrested-for-alleged-sedition/1968982


I just dont know what to do, i feel like my country is sinking in all aspects due to the monarchs & the politicians that are in league with them.

p.s i had to make a new account + VPN just to post this.



Monday, 19 April 2021

Ĉu Mentoro de Orwell? - A Mentor of Orwell?



 El Mondmilito

Eugène Adam (Lanti) kaj la disreviĝo de maldekstruloj

La literaturo pri George Orwell (1903-1950), la aŭtoro de la rakonto La besto-farmo kaj de la romano Mil naŭcent okdek kvar, estas abunda. Unue dank’ al la biografio de Bernard Crick (1970) ni scias ankaŭ, ke li rilatis kun maldekstraj esperantistoj. Apartan atenton trovis la ligo de Nellie Limouzin (1870-1950), onklino de Orwell, kiun li multe ŝatis kun Eugène Adam (1879-1947), kiu sub la nomo Lanti iĝis konata kiel la fondinto de Sennacieca  Asocio Tutmonda (SAT). Tamen, nur iom pli ol tridek jarojn post la morto de Orwell estis publikigita eldiro (de tiam ofte citita), kiu supozigas pri frua influo de Lanti al la pensado de Orwell. Laŭ intervjuo farita en 1983 kun Lucien Bannier, kunfondinto de SAT,  Lanti kaj Orwell en 1928/29 akre disputis pri kiel juĝi Sovetan Union. Ĉeestis onklino Nellie, vivkunulino (de 1934 edzino) de Lanti, kiu dum deko da jaroj agadis en SAT ankaŭ kiel lia asistanto.

Tiu fonto elvokis interesiĝon ĉe ĉiuj, kiuj esploris la radikojn de la kontraŭtotalismo de Orwell, ĉar oni longe pensis, ke unuavice pro siaj travivaĵoj en la hispana milito li iĝis arda kontraŭulo ne nur de faŝismo, sed ankaŭ de stalinismo. Entute estas malmultaj fontoj pri la pozicio de Orwell fine de la dudekaj kaj komence de la tridekaj jaroj; li verŝajne kiel multaj britoj tiutempe havis iluziojn pri Soveta Unio kaj emis defendi ĝ in jam pro la ĝenerale malamika sinteno de la reganta klaso.

Ni scias iom pli pri la evoluo de Lanti. Unue anarkiisto, li estis arda komunisto, kiam en 1921 li fondis SAT, internacian asocion de laboristaj esperantistoj. Li unue klopodis kroĉi SAT al la komunista movado, en kio Nellie subtenis lin. En aŭgusto 1922 li vojaĝis al Petrogrado kaj Moskvo por havigi al SAT la subtenon de Komintern. La trisemajna vojaĝo profunde influis lin, malpli pro la rifuzo de Komintern subteni Esperanton, ol pro la diskutado kun gvidaj sovetiaj esperantistoj (kiuj ne ĉiuj estis komunistoj) kaj, pli multe, pro la ricevitaj impresoj pri la vivo en Soveta Rusio, kiuj kreis en li fortan skeptikon pri la efektivigeblo de komunismo. En Sennacieca Revuo li senkaŝe raportis pri la apudekzisto de korŝira mizero kaj senhonta lukso – sekvoj de la postrevolucia t.n. Nova Ekonomia Politiko. Lanti tamen ne volis endanĝerigi SAT kaj publike silentis pri siaj impresoj kaj la estiĝintaj duboj. Tio helpis al li dum kelkaj jaroj konservi la multtendencan, superpartian karakteron de SAT kiel „kultura kaj interhelpa organizo de prolet-esperantistoj“. Centran rolon ludis la deziro uzi Esperanton por la rekta interrilatigo de laboristoj kaj progresemuloj ĉiulandaj, precipe per korespondado. Serio da artikoloj kun la titolo „Tago el mia vivo“, kiuj aperis en Sennaciulo ekde februaro 1927, respegulis la deziron interŝanĝi raportojn pri la labor- kaj vivkondiĉoj de ordinaraj homoj.

La fortikiĝo de stalinismo ekde 1928 pli kaj pli malfaciligis la mezan vojon de Lanti. Korespondante  kun sovetiaj esperantistoj, inter kiuj troviĝis homoj sendepende pensantaj, li estis regule informata pri kontraŭdiroj en Soveta Unio, kiuj konfirmis la dubojn de 1922. Sian longtempan starpunkton, ke  por la bono de SAT necesas silenti pri negativaĵoj en la evoluo de la sovetia reĝimo, Lanti nur iom post iom modifis, sub la  influo ankaŭ de du francaj komunistoj-esperantistoj, Lucien Laurat kaj Robert Guiheneuf, kiuj longe vivinte en Soveta Unio revenis de tie plene senreviĝinte. Ĉirkau la sama tempo membroj en kaj ekster Sovetio spertis, ke ilia scivolo pri vivkondiĉoj ĝenis la gvidantojn de Sovetrespublikara Esperantista Unio (SEU). Ili en julio 1928 publike alarmis kontraŭ misprezentoj kaj mensogoj pri la sovetia vivo penetrintaj en la vicojn de esperantistoj. Lanti insistis, ke pri malakordo necesas diskuti, kaj en 1928 ankoraŭ atingis, ke la plej multaj SAT-anoj interkonsentis pri deklaro, laŭ kiu ĉia dogmemo estas malaprobinda. Poste, pro la  rifuzo de Lanti fermi la revuojn de SAT al kritiko kontraŭ Soveta Unio, la rilatoj kun SEU tiagrade malboniĝis, ke en 1930 kotizoj de sovetianoj destinitaj por SAT estis blokitaj en Moskvo.

Kvankam Lanti komence de 1928 eksiĝis el la Franca Komunista Partio, li ne ĉesis varbi por la subteno de komunistoj al SAT. Sed samtempe li sentigis sian deziron plifortigi la sendependan profilon de SAT, pluevoluigante la fondiĝan sennaciecan idearon al aparta  doktrino, kiun li nomis sennaciismo. Estis radikala formo de kontraŭnaciismo. Kvankam ne deviga por la membroj, oni povis kompreni ĝin ankaŭ kiel direktitan kontraŭ la varbado por Sovetio kiel imitinda modelo por la kunvivado de plej diversaj etnoj kadre de unu granda ŝtato.

La sovetiaj esperantistoj nun estis devigitaj batali kontraŭ SAT, insulte nomata socialfaŝisma. La rompo definitiviĝis en aŭgusto 1932 per la fondo de Internacio de Proleta Esperantistaro (IPE). Por Lanti tio estis tre dolora evoluo. En 1933 li retiriĝis el la gvido de SAT. Tiuokaze li konfesis, ke sian iaman admonon al la SAT-kamaradoj esti unue revoluciuloj kaj nur poste esperantistoj li ne plu konservas kaj ke en la ideologia konflikto pli gravas resti fidela al Esperanto. Por la sovetianoj la rompo kun SAT estis simile dolora, ĉar ili perdis sian plej karan manieron praktike uzi Esperanton: la korespondadon.

Dum Orwell ankoraŭ kredis pri la revolucia potencialo de Soveta Unio kaj verŝajne ĝis la komenco de la tridekaj jaroj konsideris sin komunisto, Lanti, ĉefe surbaze de la scio akirita per Esperanto-kontaktoj, pli kaj pli dubis, ke en Soveta Unio socialismo estas konstruata. Li renkontis Orwell, kiam anoncis sin la kunpuŝiĝo de SAT kun la defendantoj de Soveta Unio. Poste la vidpunktoj de la du proksimiĝis. Orwell laŭ propra deklaro estis konvinkita ekde 1937, ke por renovigi socialismon necesas detrui la »sovetian miton«. Lanti faris tute similajn eldirojn, sed fakte tiurilate antaŭis Orwell je kelkaj jaroj. En 1933 Lanti karakterizis la sovetian sistemon kiel ŝtatkapitalismon kun privilegiita burokratio kaj nomis plej urĝa tasko detrui en la menso de sinceraj homoj la “mistikan kredon” pri kontribuo de Moskvo al la emancipo de la proletaro. Komence de 1935 Lanti lanĉis la revueton Herezulo, kaj meze de 1935 aperis broŝuro verkita de li kune kun Guiheneuf, laŭ kies konkluda frazo “en Sovetio regas RUĜA FAŜISMO” – karakterizo ekstreme provoka por tiamaj komunistoj. En 1937 Orwell travivis en Hispanio spertojn, kiuj konvinkis lin, ke la komunistoj estas pli dekstraj ol la konataj kontraŭrevoluciuloj. Estis lernprocezo de Orwell, kiu kondukis lin al la verko La besto-farmo (1945), kies ĉefa temo estas la “perfidita revolucio”.

Lanti en 1936 komencis mondvojaĝon, dum kiu li apenaŭ rimarkis, kio vere okazis en Soveta Unio en 1937/38, nome la pereo de la Esperanto-movado. Orwell ne plu povis lerni de Lanti, sed li havis aliajn fontojn por profundigi sian dubon pri Soveta Unio. Al tiuj apartenis ankaŭ esperantistoj: la geedzoj Westrope en Londono, en kies librovendejo Orwell ekde 1934 laboris kaj portempe loĝis. John Atkins, amiko de Orwell, postmilite jam antaŭ la publikigo de la intervjuo kun Lucien Bannier atestis, ke Orwell dank‘ al „homaj kaj sinceraj personoj“ kiel Lanti kaj Westrope diferencigis inter Soveta Unio kaj socialismo kaj frue avertis kontraŭ la danĝero de totalismo. Alia rimarkinda esperantisto (kiun Orwell ne renkontis) estis la menciita SAT-pioniro Lucien Laurat. Post sia reveno el Moskvo Laurat aliĝis al la rondo ĉirkaŭ Boris Souvarine kaj aliaj gvidaj maldekstraj kontraŭkomunistoj; li per siaj verkoj kontribuis al scio pri la reala situacio de la sovetia ekonomio .

Post la milito, komence de 1947, Lanti suicidis en Meksiko. Tri jarojn poste mortis Orwell, duonan  jaron post la apero de lia fama romano. La interesiĝo pri Orwell konstante kreskis tra la jardekoj, kun memoro pri la nazia reĝimo kaj kun aparta rigardo al la evoluo de la sovetia reĝimo. Post ties falo oni donis pli da atento al trajtoj de komunismo longtempe preterviditaj aŭ misjuĝitaj pro ideologiaj motivoj. Ĉi-kunlige atenton trovis la komence menciita intervjuo kun Bannier. Poste ne aperis aliaj fontoj pri la frua penso-evoluo de Orwell, sed ĝenerale oni jam ne plu pridubas la tie prezentitan influon de Lanti. La brita historiisto John Newsinger memkritike konfesas, ke li longe opiniis Orwell dekstrulo, ĝis fine li apartenigis lin al la “antaŭtempaj kontraŭstalinistoj« aŭ, pli precize, ĝis li, Newsinger, komprenis, ke homoj kiel Lanti kaj Orwell pionire eltrovis kaj malkaŝis, ke la sovetia komunismo ne havis ion komunan kun socialismo.

Ulrich Lins

La kompleta artikolo de U. Lins (“Orwells Tutor? Eugène Adam (Lanti) und die Ernüchterung der Linken”, en Cyril Robert Brosch; Sabine Fiedler ed., Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik 2020, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, pp.103-124), estas elŝutebla ĉe nia kolekto HAL-Esperanto Historio.


Eugene Adam (Lanti) and the disappointment of the leftists.

The literature about George Orwell (1903-1950) the author of the fable Animal Farm and the novel Nineteen Eighty Four is abundant. Firstly thanks to the biography of Bernard Crick (1970) we know that he had contacts with left wing Esperantists. Of particular note is the links between his aunt Nellie Limousin (1870-1950) and Eugene Adam (1879-1947) who under the name Lanti became the founder of the Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda World Anti National Association (SAT). However, just a little over thirty years after Orwell's death a statement was published (since then often quoted) that suggests Lanti's early influence on Orwell's thinking. According to an interview from 1983 with Lucien Bannier, cofounder of SAT, Lanti and Orwell sharply disputed over how to judge the Soviet Union. There was Aunt Nellie, Lanti's life partner (since 1934), who also worked for SAT for ten years as his assistant.

This source evoked interest in all those who explored the roots of Orwell's anti-totalitarianism, as it had long been thought that primarily because of his experiences in the Spanish War he became an ardent opponent not only of fascism but also of Stalinism. In total, there are few sources about the position of Orwell at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 30s. he probably like many British people at the time had illusions about the Soviet Union and tended to defend it already because of the general hostility of the ruling class.

We know a little more about the development of Lanti, at first and anarchist he was an ardent communist when he founded the SAT, the international association of Esperanto workers in 1921. At first he attempted to graft the SAT onto the Communist movement, while Nellie supported him. In August of 1922 he travelled to Petrograd and Moscow to have the SAT join the Comintern. The three week journey affected him deeply, the refusal of the Comintern to support Esperanto had little impact, but the discussions he had with leading Soviet Esperantists (not all of whom were Communists) had a larger impact, but the most important where his impressions of life in the Soviet Union, these three things grew a strong scepticism within him about the implementation of communism. In Sennacieca Revuo (publication of SAT) he openly reported on the heart breaking misery and shameless luxury - the consequences of the New Economic Policy. Lanti however did not want to endanger the SAT and was silent about his impressions and doubts that arose.  This helped him during those years to maintain the multitendency and above party character of SAT as an "Cultural and mutual aid organisation of proletarian Esperantists" whose give role was to use Esperanto for international relations between workers and progressives of every country, mainly through correspondence. A series of articles entitled "A Day in My Life", which had appeared in Sennaciulo since February 1927, reflected the desire to exchange reports on the working and living conditions of ordinary people.

The barriers of Stalinism beginning in 1928 made Lanti's middle road much more difficult to walk. Corresponding with Soviet Esperantists, amongst whom were people of independent minds, he was regularly informed of the contradictions in the Soviet Union, which confirmed his doubts of 1922. His long time standpoint, that for the good of SAT he should remain silent about the negative aspects of the evolution of the Soviet Union, Lanti only modified his views little by little, under the influence of two French communist Esperatists Lucien Laurat and Robert Guiheneuf, who had lived for a long time in the Soviet Union and had returned totally demoralised. Around the same time members in and outside the Soviet Union found that their desires to know about living conditions in the country bothered the leaders of the Soviet Republics Esperanto Union (SEU). In July 1928, they publicly warned against misrepresentations and lies about Soviet life that had penetrated the ranks of Esperantists. Lanti insisted that disagreement needed to be discussed, and in 1928 it seemed that most SAT members agreed on a statement that any dogma was reprehensible. Later, due to Lanti's refusal to close the SAT magazines to criticism against the Soviet Union, relations with SEU deteriorated to such an extent that in 1930 funds  from Soviet Esperantists destined for the SAT were blocked in Moscow

Although Lanti resigned from the French Communist party in 1928 he did not cease campaigning for communist support of SAT. But at the same time he felt his desire to strengthen the independent profile of SAT, further developing the founding anationalist ideas into a particular doctrine he called anationalism. It is a radical form of anti-nationalism. Although not obligatory for the members, anationalism could also be understood as an argument against the Soviet Union being presented as an exemplary model for the coexistence of a wide variety of ethnic groups within one large state.

Now the Soviet Esperantists were instructed to combat the SAT, which was insultingly named "Social fascism". The break was formalised in 1932 with the founding of the International of Proletarian Esperantists (IPE). For Lanti this was a very painful development. In 1933 he retired from the leadership of SAT. In that case, he confessed that he no longer kept his former admonition to the SAT comrades to be revolutionaries and only later Esperantists and that in the ideological conflict it was more important to remain faithful to Esperanto. For the Soviets, the break with SAT was similarly painful, as they lost their most cherished way of using Esperanto in practice: correspondence.

During these events Orwell still maintained faith in the revolutionary potential of the Soviet Union and seems up to the beginning of the 1930s to have considered himself a communist, Lanti, mainly due to the knowledge acquired by Esperantist contacts doubted more and more that Socialism was being built in the Soviet Union. He met Orwell when he announced the SAT's clash with the defenders of the Soviet Union. Later the viewpoints of the two grew closer. According to his own declarations, Orwell by 1937 was convinced that for the revival of the socialist future it was necessary to destroy the "Soviet Myth". Lanti had made similar statements but had come to that conclusion several years before Orwell. In 1933 Lanti characterised the Soviet system as State capitalism with a privileged bureaucracy declared it the most urgent task to destroy in the minds of sincere people the "Mystical faith" in the contribution of Moscow to the emancipation of the proletariat. At the start of 1935 Lanti launched Herezulo, and in the middle of that year a pamphlet appeared written by him together with Guiheneuf which contained the concluding sentence "In the Soviet Union RED FASCISM rules!" an extreme provocation to pro soviet communists. In 1937 Orwell had lived through his Spanish experiences, and come to the conclusion that the Communists where to the right of the more well known counter revolutionaries. This learning process would take Orwell to writing Animal Farm (1945) whose main subject was the "Betrayed Revolution".

 Lanti in 1936 began a world tour, during which he hardly noticed what happened in the Soviet Union in 1937/8, namely the destruction of the Esperanto movement. Orwell could no longer learn from Lanti, but he had other sources that deepened his doubts in the Soviet Union. These also included Esperantists: such as the Westrope couple whose bookshop he had worked and even lived in for a time since 1934. John Atkins, a post-war friend of Orwell's, before the publication of the interview with Lucien Bannier testified that Orwell, thanked the "human and sincere people" such as Lanti and Westrope, who distinguished between the Soviet Union and socialism and warned early on of the danger of totalitarianism. Another notable Esperantist (whom Orwell did not meet) was the aforementioned SAT pioneer Lucien Laurat. Upon his return from Moscow Laurat joined the circle around Boris Souvarine and other leading left-wing anti-communists; through his works he contributed to knowledge of the real situation of the Soviet economy.

After the war, in the beginning of 1947 Lanti committed suicide in Mexico. Three years later Orwell died, half a year after his famous novel was published. The interest in Orwell has constantly grown throughout the decades, with the memory of the Nazi regime and the evolution of the Soviet regime. After its fall, more attention was paid to features of communism that had long been overlooked or misjudged for ideological reasons. In this connection, the initially mentioned interview with Bannier found attention. No other sources have since appeared on Orwell's early development of thought, but in general the influence of Lanti presented there is no longer questioned. The British historian The British historian John Newsinger self-critically admits that he long considered Orwell a right-winger, until he finally accepting that he belonged to the "early anti-Stalinists" or, more precisely, until he, Newsinger, understood that people like Lanti and Orwell pioneered and revealed that Soviet communism had nothing to do with socialism.

Ulrich Lins


Translated into English by Reddebrek

Monday, 12 April 2021

Interview with Augusto Masetti from 1964 now translated into English

 

Awhile a go I discovered the late Stuart Christie's massive anarchist film archive and spent many hours digging through it. Unfortunately while its a great resource very few of the entries have explanations as to what they're about so if it isn't immediately clear from the film or you don't speak one of the dozens of languages the content is in some of them can be very strange and obscure.

For me one of those videos was a short 2 minute video called Augusto Masetti, its a short black and white interview with an elderly man in Italian. The only information was the year of recording 1964, searching the name I found multiple sources all in Italian, but my limited experience and machine translators I found out that in 1911 when the Italian army was about to send troops to occupy Libya Augusto Masetti shot and wounded his superior officer and when being detained and investigated it was found that he had an anti-militarist pamphlet on him and was an Anarchist. He became a sort of celebrity with defence committees setup across Italy to protest in support of him and rally opposition to the military adventures of the Italian state. 

I also found an upload of the video on youtube, and the uploader had some interesting things to say in the comments. 


Intervista del 1964 ad Augusto Masetti, l'anarchico che nel 1910 aveva sparato al suo colonnello inneggiando all'anarchia e contro la guerra di Libia. Durante i giorni della 'Settimana Rossa' del 1914 fu preso come simbolo della lotta antimilitarista. (Questo video - come gli altri sul tema settimana rossa - è stato recuperato da un'unica cassetta vhs (prima Betamax) lasciata da Sergio Zavoli alla biblioteca di Alfonsine, e mai usata dalla RAI. La cassetta era ormai abbandonata in biblioteca da 40 anni e a rischio smagnetizzazione. Su sollecitazione di Luciano Lucci fu riversata da Betamax a VHS, e poi il Lucci stesso ne fece una versione digitalizzata e messa su youtube.) 1964 interview with Augusto Masetti, the anarchist who in 1910 had shot his colonel in praise of anarchy and against the war in Libya. During the days of the 'Red Week' of 1914 it was taken as a symbol of the anti-militarist struggle. (This video - like the others on the red week theme - was recovered from a single vhs cassette (first Betamax) left by Sergio Zavoli at the Alfonsine library, and never used by RAI. The cassette had now been abandoned in the library for 40 years. and at risk of demagnetization. At the request of Luciano Lucci it was transferred from Betamax to VHS, and then Lucci himself made a digitized version of it and put on youtube.)


Which was interesting but didn't help me understand what the video was about. My very weak knowledge of Italian meant I was sure the first question at least was about his time as a soldier and the shooting of thee officer, but that was it apart from a few words about Professors and a song and family.

I turned to the subreddit r/translator for help, and within a few hours user Jordanj got in touch and gave me a transcript in Italian of the conversation and then an English translation.

So mystery solved, and in the interest of preservation I've used both to create subtitle tracks for the video and will reproduce them here as transcripts.



Video Link

Interviewer: Good morning, Mr. Masetti.

Masetti: Good morning.

I: Sorry to bother you.

M: No need.

I: Would you mind coming here a moment, on the balcony?

M: Sure.

I: Here under the light, so we can see you well.

M: But remember I don't want [money].

Me, I'm available for the [king].*

I: What happened at the Salvini barracks in Bologna? Can you tell us?

M: We were 300 soldiers, lined up in three rows, and 8 officers were on the stage, among which was the superior officer, the lieutenant colonel Stroppa, who was making the speech, where he said we all have family, girlfriends, and you know friends, but right this moment we only have our nation to defend... and at that moment, I put my [rifle] on the shoulders of the [second] - I was in the middle, in the middle row - and then I shot once. I was going to recharge, so they jumped on me... officers, and so on.

I: And the lieutenant colonel was only wounded...

M: Wounded, yes, till the shoulder, here. And the bullet deflected, and wounded an unlucky fellow of a soldier right under there.

I: Now, I'd like to ask you, Mr. Masetti. Yours was a an act of folly, but were you indeed crazy, like they were saying?

M:... there's 36 hours I have no recollection of. From the evening of the 29th till the 31 of the morning. Something I've always said and I'll have to always say, because it is so.

I: But, do you feel guilt for that act or not?

M: No, no! How can I feel guilty? Can you feel guilty for something you don't know about (/remember doing)? They were saying that to me In Reggio Emilia too, those professors. "Well, you must feel sorry for [???]." "Me? Why should I feel sorry?" "So you're proud of it?" "No to that too! I can't be proud of something I don't know I did!". And that's how things were, you know.

I: Were you aware that all over Italy, pro Masetti committees were being established?

M: ... Not right away, no, I didn't know right away. I learned it some days after, when the professor... Sacossi and Pedrassani, they were saying "There's a lot of support for you out there". And I said "I know nothing about it, [if there is,???] I know nothing, no one was bringing me anything. They only came the evening, some... middle-class people, you know, outside, to say hello from the window... and then they'd sing a song they made up themselves...

I: How did the song go?

M: Ah, they said "At the cell number 9 the soldier Masetti is being locked up", but then I don't remember anything else of all that stuff.

* I don't fully understand this but Masetti was making a pun the words he uses for King and money sound very similar. "Ma ricordatevi che non voglio [rei]!  Ci sono per [il re] io."


Interviewer: Buongiorno Signor Masetti.

Masetti: Buongiorno.

I: Scusi se la disturbiamo.

M: No.

I: Le dispiacerebbe venire qua un attimo, sul balcone?

M: Si.

I: Venga al sole, si faccia vedere.

M: Ma ricordatevi che non voglio [rei]!

Ci sono per [il re] io.

I: Come andarono le cose alla caserma Salvini di Bologna? Me lo vuole raccontare?

M: Eravamo in 300 soldati, sfilati in tre fila, e 8 ufficiali erano sul palco, il quale l'ufficiale superiore, che era il sergente colonello Stroppa, fece la morale, dove disse che tutti abbiamo la famiglia, abbiamo la fidanzata, abbiamo insomma gli amici, ma in questo momento qua non abbiamo altro che la patria da difendere... e io, in quel momento li', misi il fucile sulle spalle del secondo - ero in mezzo io, nella fila di mezzo - e poi sparai un colpo. Quando ritornai a caricare, allora mi saltarono addosso con... ufficiali, e cosi' via.

I: E il tenente colonnello rimase soltanto ferito...

M: Ferito, si, fino alla spalla qui. E la palla divio', e andette a ferire un disgraziato di un soldato che era li sotto.

I: Ora io vorrei chiederle, signor Masetti. Il suo fu un gesto folle, ma lei era pazzo come si disse, o no?

M: ...io ho 36 ore che non ricordo niente! Dalla sera del 29 fino al 31 della mattina. Cosa che ho sempre detto e che dovro' sempre dire, perche' e' cosi'.

I: Ma lei e' pentito di quel gesto o no?

M: No, no! Posso mica esser pentito? Come fate a esser pentito di una cosa che non sapete? A me lo dicevano anche a Reggio Emilia, i professori la'. "Beh ti dispiacera' pure della [comesono]..." "Io? Cosa vuole che mi dispiace?" "Allora hai piacere?" "Ma neanche! Non posso mica aver piacere di una cosa che non so di aver fatto". E cosi' andavano le cose, insomma.

I: Lei sapeva che in tutta Italia si stavano costituendo dei comitati pro Masetti?

M: ... Subito no, subito non lo seppi. Lo seppi qualche giorno dopo, quando il professore... Sacossi e Pedrassani, mi dicevano "c'e' un gran movimento per te fori". E io dissi "Non so niente", [gh'era la ren se gava] non sapevo niente, nessuno mi portava niente. venivano solo alla sera, dei... borghesi insomma, dal di fori, a salutarmi dalla finestra... E poi cantavano una canzone, che avevano inventato loro...

I: Come faceva questa canzone?

M: Ah, dicevano, "alla cella del numero 9 sta rinchiuso il soldato Masetti", ma io poi non mi ricordo piu' niente di quella roba li'.



Thursday, 8 April 2021

No More Compromise - Pierre Besnard

 No More Compromise 

by Pierre Besnard 



Note: Pierre Besnard (8 October 1886 – 19 February 1947) was a French revolutionary syndicalist. He was the Secretary of the Confédération Générale du Travail-Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire (CGT-SR) from 1929, and the Secretary of the International Workers' Association (IWA). 

During the Spanish Civil War Besnard was a vocal critic of the increasing collaboration of the CNT's national committee with the Spanish Republic and the resulting reversals of revolutionary gains. The CNT's national committee in response mounted a campaign to replace him in the IWA and also launched a sort of rival organisation the Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista (SIA) to handle solidarity and support from abroad.

An article by former IWA secretariat Pierre Besnard about avoiding the mistakes of the CNT during the Spanish Civil War.

Originally appeared in The Vanguard (May 1939)
Provided by the Workers Solidarity Alliance archives in New York

No More Compromise

The following article by Comrade Pierre Besnard, a former secretary of the I.W.M.A. to which the CNT is affiliated, opens up a discussion on the lessons of the Spanish tragedy which we will continue in the Vanguard. While we agree with Comrade Besnard that the fundamental tenets of Anarchosyndicalism were not so strictly adhered to by our revolutionary Spanish comrades, and that these tenets still occupy first place guiding our relations with the capitalist world we find it incumbent upon us to point out that the actions of our comrades in Spain cannot be judged apart from the international situation to which the civil war gave rise. We reaffirm our conviction that collaboration with the bourgeoisie should be shunned, but we must again insist that tribute should be paid to the CNT for the heroic struggle it was capable of maintaining. Our comrades understood their responsibilities and, not being dogmatists, were able to conduct their work as an integral part of the Spanish struggle against the formidable intervention of the fascist powers.

The struggle that is at an end in Spain shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that all collaboration and compromise with the bourgeoise must henceforth be banished from our midst. Between us, one thing exists: The Class Struggle. It is within the power of no one to conceal this fact and only the elimination of classes and the institutions of economic and social equality will result in the disappearance of this struggle. On every occasion that we do not recognise this basic truth, we shall inevitably be defeated in the ensuing struggle.

Each time it finds itself in difficulties, the bourgeoise accepts and even demands collaboration with the proletariat. But when the crisis is over, it resumes its freedom to do as it pleases and, naturally, turns its weapons in full upon the working class. This pattern of events has been followed in all periods of history, not just in revolutionary ones. But, however disastrous might be its practical consequences in the ordinary day to day struggle, it takes on catastrophic proportions when it concerns such elemental societal conflicts as was the case in Spain.

Let bourgeoisie be “left” or use ultra-leftist phrases, invariably they are for a line of action contrary to the interests of the people. Even if they wished to be otherwise, it cannot be so for their interests are forever fundamentally opposed to that of the workers. Let them rally enthusiastically and even aid the revolution in periods when they cannot help doing otherwise, it is only to have their past actions forgotten or overlooked. And when the leading figures and politicians of the dying regime proclaim themselves openly for the new order and support the most radical groups, as they did in Spain, one can be sure that it is only to bore from within and to secure positions of prestige which will permit them in time to strangle the revolution which in a moment of weakness called for and made use of their cooperation.

Too feeble at the outset to speak as masters, they will begin by silently worming themselves into the revolutionary councils where gradually they gain a certain authority and undermine that of true revolutionaries. With an air of innocence they push the sincere into stupid blunders, and one fine day, they show their true colours. When the role these men played will finally be understood, it will be already too late to repair the damage inflicted in the name of some “technical advantage” or other worthless pretext.

The desire to defeat the politicians in the field of politics is the greatest mistake that revolutionaries can commit. The desire to overthrow the bourgeoisie in collaboration with certain of its elements is no less dangerous. These two things are to be avoided at all costs. Nothing must be allowed to effect a reconciliation with our enemies. Not even the most imminent peril! A sudden and certain betrayal is in store for us if we disregard this historic truth, if we place even the slightest faith in those who are destined to be our enemies. Whatever mistakes we make in the course of the revolution, none can be so serious as those which involve us with the opposing class, even if they assume a democratic guise.

The bourgeoisie, since its birth in 1789, has never deviated from its course of deceiving the people and stripping every social upheaval of its accomplishments. So, it was in 1830, 1848 and 1871. The results were identical. The Spanish Revolution of April 14, 1934 followed in the footsteps of its predecessors and the seal has just been placed on the revolution of July 19th. These facts should prevent anyone from still maintaining that collaboration with the bourgeoisie and its politicians is able in some way to insure the success of the revolution. Cold doctrinaires such as we can derive no advantage from the unhappy conclusion of the struggle, but we have the right, in spite of having ardently wished for another end, to say that we had foreseen it. Beyond some relative merit, much in Spain followed the general line of social history. Our one desire is not to see these errors repeated and we will do all in our power toward that end.

Improvements that can possibly be made in society at the expense of solidly entrenched interests are indeed puny. They will merely affect some derail but leave intact the foundations. So it will be as long as we have the class struggle. This fundamental fact has convinced us of a doctrine which experience has tested and which no one can therefore dare modify, presumptive as he might be. Those who for one reason or another have transgressed, have been convinced much to their regret of the law’s inflexibility.

Let us then remain on our own ground where we are strong. I believe that I have sufficiently covered this in my books[1] where I have treated the ideology, the plan of realisation and the morality of our movement on both national and international scale. We have here and in other works by militants since Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rocker and numerous others, all that is necessary to accomplish our task without having recourse to the advice of the bourgeoisie.

Let us then study our literature, take heed of our international congresses and shun false departures from a doctrine which is and must become the practice of tomorrow. We will thus be on the right road. All other roads are misleading which will either get us nowhere or lead us to defeat.

Let us stress the idea that even under the most favourable circumstances all compromise only guarantees us the perpetuation of the authoritarian state and the triumph of our enemies, the politicians, whose program carries but two articles: One, to take power, and Two, to keep this power by all means even the worst. If we sincerely wish to liberate our class and all of humanity we must work towards our goal: for federalism and liberty, and not for centralised power and dictatorship.

Let us go in this direction and in no other, without compromise of any kind. We have the means. Let us have the will!

 

 



[1] “Les Syndicates Ouvries et La Revolution Sociale”
“Le Monde Nouveau”
“L’Ethique du Syndicalism”

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