attacks on workers’ self-organisation in germany

22 02 2010

by Mark Harrison

Whilst trade unions in Britain are on the receiving end of landmark anti-union legislation, the same is true for low paid workers self organising in Germany.

On Saturday members of the Free Workers’ Union (German section of the IWA) staged a demonstration at the Berlin International Film Festival at New Babylon Cinema, to highlight the fact that workers should decide how they organise, not the state. This is in response to the fact that the FAU is now effectively banned as a union. Read the rest of this entry »





the shipwrecked (part IV): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

29 10 2009

The ideological breakdown of the left and extreme left at the time cannot be explained if we forget the fate of the hundreds of thousands of ‘shipwrecked’. Last in a series by João Bernardo: see here for parts one, two and three. Translated by Carlos Ferrão.

baconstudies

As odd as it may seem, after all I have discussed in the previous articles, in the last days of the Second World War there were still those who dreamed of revolution. Read the rest of this entry »





the shipwrecked (part III): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

27 10 2009

“Save one million Jews! And to do what with them? Where will we put them?” Third in a series by João Bernardo: see here for parts one and two.

baselitz1987

I mentioned in the previous article that, during the time of the German-Soviet Pact, the Polish Jews that managed to escape from the Nazi-occupied areas of Poland to the areas occupied by the Red Army were deported or put in concentration camps, a sad fate, but at least they were accepted and nobody ever sent them back across the border. Far more sinister was the UK’s and the USA’s attitude. Read the rest of this entry »





the shipwrecked (part II): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

24 10 2009

Knowing how to fight one enemy means knowing how to fight another: this sentiment underlay the Stalinist politburo’s attitude towards refugees from the fascist countries. Second in  a series by João Bernardo: see here for part one.

jorn-11

Why did those who fled from fascism, only to end up in the democratic countries’ prisons, not seek exile in the Soviet Union? Moreover, what happened to the people who did go to there, the country of the October revolution and the socialist fatherland? Read the rest of this entry »





the shipwrecked (part I): anti-fascist refugees during world war II

11 10 2009

The refugees who tried to save themselves by crossing the frontiers: hated by the fascists for being communists, hated by the Nazis for being Jews, and hated by the democracies for their being anti-capitalists. By João Bernardo.

beckmanndeparture

In the early days of July 1940, off the Irish coast, a German submarine attacked and sank a ship carrying around 1200 civilian passengers. More than half died, not least because the ship did not have enough lifeboats. Read the rest of this entry »





issue 8 of the commune

9 10 2009

The October issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

issue8cover
we’re not ‘all in it together’ – editorial of The Commune

update on the activities of our network

tuc congress: an opportunity wasted? – by Gregor Gall

fragile livelihoods at cowley mini factory – by  Brian Rylance

what is the london postal strike really about? – interview of CWU reps by Sheila Cohen

gordon brown’s workhouses for single mothers – by Zoe Smith

‘new’ tactics versus rubbish bosses – by Adam Ford

lessons of the tower hamlets esol strike – interview with two members of teaching staff

how we fought education cuts in tamworth – by Rob Marsden

on the necessity of pluralist communism – by Nathan Coombs

a letter from tegucigalpa: resisting the honduran coup – by a member of Socialismo o Barbarie

political report from the land of the haggis-eating surrender monkeys – by Allan Armstrong

electoral parties: let’s not put old wine in new bottles – by David Broder

a beginners’ guide to cuts – by Robert Kirby

platform of our communist network





electoral parties: let’s not put old wine in new bottles

8 10 2009

by David Broder

If June’s European election results were disastrous for the traditional social democrat parties like Labour, France’s Parti Socialiste or the German SPD, they were unspectacular for the so-called ‘radical left’, despite the capitalist crisis. Yet recent general election results for Die Linke (‘The Left’) in Germany and Bloco de Esquerda (‘Left Bloc’) in Portugal have bolstered some left groups’ keen-ness to try and create something similar in Britain.

dielinke

Die Linke won more than 5 million votes; 76 of the 622 seats; and the most votes in two of Germany’s 16 states. The Bloco de Esquerda in Portugal increased its support to over 10%. Certainly these results are the envy of any coalition the British left has managed to put together: from the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Labour Party to Respect and, worst of all, ‘No2EU’, the various unity initiatives have failed to make any impact on the national political scene, despite the size of movements such as Stop the War or the significant rightwards drift of the Labour Party. Read the rest of this entry »





the jewish orphanage in cracow

1 10 2009

by Roman Rosdolsky
(Translated by Diana Rosdolsky)

Roman Rosdolsky, the Ukrainian Marxist scholar best known for his Making of Marx’s Capital, left a moving memoir of his stay in Auschwitz, which was published in English translation in Monthly Review in January 1988. He also wrote another memoir with reference to the Holocaust originally published as “Das jüdische Waisenhaus in Krakau” in Arbeiterzeitung, 15 April 1948. It appears below in an English translation by his granddaughter. (John-Paul Himka)

During the first months of the war I lived on Dietel Street in Cracow. It was a street that had the character of a boulevard with many lovely trees. For many hundreds of years it had separated the old, squalid suburb of Kazimierz, mostly inhabited by Jews, from the actual city of Cracow. Read the rest of this entry »





workers in uniform: class struggle and world war II

6 09 2009

David Broder looks at the activities of the European workers’ movement in World War II and the actions of activists who tried to help  German soldiers organise on a communist basis

The last week has seen much media coverage of the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, largely devoted to nostalgia and a hefty chunk of British (and Polish) nationalism. What is rarely commented on is the dynamics of political struggle within the countries participating in the bloodbath, and less still the activity of the workers’ movement, which did not in fact purely and simply support the Allies, and had to resist authoritarian measures imposed to varying degrees by each state enforcing wartime control measures.

While some of the struggles that took place had an immediate and significant effect on the outcome of the war, others which totally failed are equally worth remembering. While popular culture venerates Nazis-turned-good, as in the 2008 Tom Cruise film Valkyrie which depicts the 20th July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler by aristocratic militarists who had lost faith in their Führer, less well-known are the stories of those who fought Nazism from start to finish, from a position of far less power, severe privations and heavy repression. How many people know that the first action in defiance of the Holocaust was nothing to do with the Allies (who infamously refused to bomb the train tracks to Auschwitz and did little to stop it), but a two-day general strike started by communist dockworkers and tramdrivers in response to raids of Jewish homes in Amsterdam in February 1941?

Read the rest of this entry »





reprints of the commune’s pamphlets – buy online

7 08 2009

We have printed more copies of our series of pamphlets, several of which (in particular the long-unavailable Venezuela pamphlet) were out of print. See below for a list of the seven pamphlets available. They cost £1 +50p postage per copy. To order online, work out the total of your purchases then ‘donate’ the money here, making sure to specify in the text box what you are ordering.

communestall

Alternatively, write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





the european elections: a political analysis

24 06 2009

by Allan Armstrong

In the absence of major class struggles in the UK, the European elections provide us with a snapshot view of the current state of politics. The following analysis looks at the election results in Europe, the UK & Ireland and, in a bit more detail, in Scotland, in order to identify some significant political trends. Read the rest of this entry »





nuclear waste transport protests in germany: ‘we shall be in the way’

13 06 2009

by Ella Seebacher

‘Castor kommt. Du auch?’ (Castor is coming. You too?) has been the uniting chant since April 1995, when the first cross country transport of radioactive waste from France has brought the rural farming village Gorleben in the region of Wendland in Lower Saxony in the north-east of Germany to controversial fame. It triggered an overwhelming movement of protest, such as Germany has not seen since the student revolution around Rudi Dutschke in the 1960s. Typically, the corporate newspapers had a field day with pointing out the millions of Deutschmarks the immense police operation to stop the ‘Atomchaoten’ (nuclear rioters) would cost the taxpayer and were quick to blame ‘den schwarzen Block’, the anarchists. But no, far from it, the anti-nuclear protesters taking part were coming from all ways of life: the guy who runs a gardening service, the carpenter, the supermarket cashier, farmers, grandmothers, small town politicians sitting in the constituency of Lüchow-Dannenberg, teachers and pupils. Doctors and punks and indeed, a complete army of vicars from every village and small town around expressed their opposition loudly.

Read the rest of this entry »





the commune’s pamphlets: reprints now available

10 06 2009

More copies of our pamphlet series, many of which had sold out, are now available. The text of each of  the seven pamphlets is online (see the list of subjects below), but you can also order paper copies – £1 +50p postage per copy.

communestall

Write to uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to place your order. We take payment by cheque (addressed to ‘The Commune’, at The Commune, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London EC1V 4PY) or by transfer to Co-op account S/C 089299, A/C 65317440. Read the rest of this entry »





revolutionary history: rosa luxemburg issue

30 03 2009

Rosa Luxemburg: Selected Political and Literary Writings
Guest Editor: Mike Jones

Mike Jones has edited August Thalheimer and German communism, and is a frequent contributor to the journal Revolutionary History.

Editorial Committee: Ted Crawford, Paul Flewers, Esther Leslie and John Plant

Rosa Luxemburg, perhaps the most remarkable and original figure among German Marxists thinkers and activists, was one of the earliest victims of fascism, murdered in Berlin, in 1919. This volume presents selected political essays, writings previously unavailable in English.

They reveal Luxemburg’s aversion to splits in the Labour movement, particularly in Germany and Russia, and aspects of her thinking about culture, nationalism and women’s rights. Each essay is annotated, introduced and placed in context. Read the rest of this entry »








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