Saturday, November 09, 2019

*From The Lenin Archives- On The Centenary Of His Philosophical Treatise "Materialism And Empiro-criticism "-A Guest Commentary

On The Anniversary Of The Russian Revolution Of 1905-

By Frank Jackman

For the attentive reader of this unabashedly left-wing publication which moreover not only takes history seriously but commemorates some historical nodal points worthy of attention today I have drawn attention this month of January to the 100th anniversary of the assassinations of key nascent German Communist Party leaders Rosa Luxemburg, the rose of the revolution, and Karl Liebknecht the heart of the left-wing German workers movement. In that commentary I noted that history in the conditional, especially when things turned out badly as they did in Germany with the failure of the Communists to take power within a few years of the Armistice and aid the struggling isolated and devastated Russian revolution, is tricky business. There were certainly opportunities closed off by the decimation of the heads of the early German Communist Party that were never made up. That failure helps in its own way to pave the road to the Nazi takeover and all that meant for Europe and the world later. I also cautioned against stretching such conditionals out too far without retreating to an idea that the rise of the Nazis was inevitable. Give it some thought though.
History in the conditional applies as well to events that would in the future turn out well, well at the beginning in any case, and that leads to the role played by what many parties including Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky referred to as the “dress rehearsal” for the October Revolution in Russia in 1917. That was the Revolution of 1905 which although it was shattered and many of the leading participants either killed, exiled or banished still provided some hope that things would turn on that proverbial historical dime in the end. The key organization structure set up in 1905, the Workers Soviets, councils, which in embryo provided the outline for the workers government everybody from Marx and to his left argued for to bring socialist order to each country, to the world in the end almost automatically was reestablished in the early days of 1917. Who knows in conditions of war and governmental turmoil what would have happened if that organizational form had not already been tested in an earlier revolutionary episode. Again, let’s not get too wide afield on history in the conditional on this end either. Think about those episodes though as we commemorate that 1905 revolution. 


   

Click on title to link the Vladimir Lenin Internet Archive's copy of his philosophical treatise in defense of the Marxist worldview, "Materialism and Empirio-criticism"

Workers Vanguard No. 945
23 October 2009

In Defense of Dialectical Materialism

(Quote of the Week)


This year marks the centennial anniversary of the publication of Materialism and Empirio-criticism,written by Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin in 1908 during the period of victorious reaction following the defeat of the 1905 Russian Revolution. This work is a powerful repudiation of bourgeois philosophical idealism—embraced at the time even by some Bolshevik leaders—which in the end always amounts to a defense of reaction and the status quo. In the excerpt below, Lenin provides a concise exposition of the Marxist materialist outlook.

Yesterday we did not know that coal tar contains alizarin. Today we have learned that it does. The question is, did coal tar contain alizarin yesterday?

Of course it did. To doubt it would be to make a mockery of modern science.

And if that is so, three important epistemological conclusions follow:

1) Things exist independently of our consciousness, independently of our sensations, outside of us, for it is beyond doubt that alizarin existed in coal tar yesterday and it is equally beyond doubt that yesterday we knew nothing of the existence of this alizarin and received no sensations from it.

2) There is definitely no difference in principle between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself, and there cannot be any such difference. The only difference is between what is known and what is not yet known....

3) In the theory of knowledge, as in every other sphere of science, we must think dialectically, that is, we must not regard our knowledge as ready-made and unalterable, but must determine how knowledge emerges from ignorance, how incomplete, inexact knowledge becomes more complete and more exact.

Once we accept the point of view that human knowledge develops from ignorance, we shall find millions of examples of it just as simple as the discovery of alizarin in coal tar, millions of observations not only in the history of science and technology but in the everyday life of each and every one of us that illustrate the transformation of “things-in-themselves” into “things-for-us,” the appearance of “phenomena” when our sense-organs experience an impact from external objects, the disappearance of “phenomena” when some obstacle prevents the action upon our sense-organs of an object which we know to exist. The sole and unavoidable deduction to be made from this—a deduction which all of us make in everyday practice and which materialism deliberately places at the foundation of its epistemology—is that outside us, and independently of us, there exist objects, things, bodies and that our perceptions are images of the external world.

—V.I. Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism (1909)

On Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International*From The Pen Of Communist International Leader Karl Radek -The Labor Movement, Shop Committees And The Third International"

Click on title to link to the Karl Radek Internet Archive for other of the works of this important secondary Bolshevik leader and high Communist International official.


Markin comment:

No revolution can succeed without men and women of Radek's caliber. Although Radek had his ups and downs in his later days as a Comintern official he stood tall in October. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

Friday, November 08, 2019

*From The Archives Of "Women And Revolution"-How the Bolsheviks Fought for Women's Emancipation

Click on the headline to link to the "Leon Trotsky Internet Archive' online copy of his 1923 article, "From The Old Family To The New".

Markin comment:

The following is an article from the Spring 1988 issue of "Women and Revolution" that may have some historical interest for old "new leftists", perhaps, and well as for younger militants interested in various cultural and social questions that intersect the class struggle. Or for those just interested in a Marxist position on a series of social questions that are thrust upon us by the vagaries of bourgeois society. I will be posting more such articles from the back issues of "Women and Revolution" during Women's History Month and periodically throughout the year.

**********

Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky

How the Bolsheviks Fought fo Women's Emancipation


On the second anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin announced, "In the course of two years of Soviet power in one of the most backward countries of Europe more has been done to emancipate women, to make her the equal of the 'strong' sex, than has been done during the past 130 years by all the advanced, enlightened, 'democratic' republics of the world taken together" ("Soviet Power and the Status of Women," Collected Works). This truth has a fundamental materialist basis. Only a socialist revolution, breaking the bonds of private property, can create the conditions necessary for the emancipation of women. It's more than ever true today: amidst the barbarous social decay of the imperialist "democracies" like the United States, where reactionary bigots target women's rights, even a mere statement of formal equality like the ERA can't make it into law.

Women and Revolution here reprints three early Soviet decrees addressed to the emancipation of women. Codifying the hard-fought gains of the Bolshevik Revolution, these decrees laid out a perspective for the introduction of new social forms to replace the institution of the family and to draw women into the socialist construction of society. As Lenin said in November 1918, "The experience of all liberation movements has shown that the success of a revolution depends on how much the women take part in it. The Soviet government is doing everything in its power to enable women to carry on independent proletarian socialist work" ("Speech at the First All-Russia Congress of Working Women," Collected Works).

Women in the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was sparked by the working women of St. Petersburg, when, 71 years ago, they celebrated International Women's Day with a spontaneous strike and march through the streets. Thousands of women standing in bread lines joined them; hastily improvised red banners rose above the crowd, demanding bread, peace and higher wages. Years of imperialist war had brought the mammoth social tensions of tsarist Russia, where modern capitalism existed superimposed upon entrenched medievalism, to the breaking point.

The Bolsheviks had long been active in organizing Russian proletarian women. The journal Rabotnitsa (The Working Woman), founded in 1914, was only one means by which the Bolsheviks sought to win the ranks of working women over to revolutionary socialism. Social backwardness and poverty in Russia before the revolution fell doubly hard on its women: even mai the minimal gains which capitalism had made possible in the more advanced industrialized countries Europe did not exist in semi-feudal Russia, where serfdom had been abolished a mere 56 years earlier, life lay in the grip of the Orthodox church an priests; religious prejudices were deeply rooted in poverty and ignorance. Peasant women in particular lived under indescribably primitive conditions, cultural impoverished that in 1897 the illiteracy rate was as as 92 percent.

The Bolsheviks understood that the oppression of women could not be legislated out of existence family as the capitalist economic institution for bearing the next generation could not simply be swept away by decree. It had to be replaced with socialized child and housework to remove the burden of doing chores from women, enabling them to participate fully in social and political life. Such a revolutionary restructuring of society could occur only with large-scale industrialization, necessarily years in the future. While fully committed to this revolutionary program, the Bolsheviks were handicapped by terrible objective conditions. For the first few years of Soviet rule their meager resources were absorbed by the Red Army's drive to defeat the imperialists and White Guards who launched a counterrevolutionary war against the young workers republic.

Sweeping Away the Filth of Tsardom

Once in power, the Bolsheviks moved immediately to end all the old legal impediments to women's equality. Women were given the vote, at a time when only Norway and Denmark had legalized women's suffrage. Marriage and divorce were made a simple matter of civil registration, while all distinctions between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children were annulled. In 1919 the Communist Party created the Department of Working Women and Peasant Women, Zhenotdel, for special work among women, which included organizing over 25,000 literacy schools.

In 1920 the Soviet government legalized abortion and made it free. The People's Commissariat of Health pressed for development of and education about birth control methods, which barely existed in Russia at that time, while discouraging abortion as a threat to health in this age before antibiotics. Even more crucial was the workers government's commitment to eliminating the poverty which drove many women to abortion for sheer lack of ability to provide for their children. The Bolsheviks' aim was to build childcare centers and socialized dining halls to enable women to work knowing their children would be well cared for and fed; single mothers were to receive special help. Despite the severe objective limits facing Soviet society, the birth rate went steadily up and the infant mortality rate steadily down.

The workers revolution in Russia, in sweeping away the rotten filth of tsardom, also abolished in December 1917 all the old laws against homosexual acts. As Dr. Grigorii Batkis, the director of the Moscow Institute of Social Hygiene, pointed out in "The Sexual Revolution in Russia," published in the Soviet Union in 1923:

"Soviet legislation bases itself on the following principle:

'It declares the absolute non-interference of the state and society into sexual matters so long as nobody is injured and no one's interests are encroached upon.... "Concerning homosexuality, sodomy, and various other forms of sexual gratification, which are set down in European legislation as offenses against public morality—Soviet legislation treats these exactly the same as so-called 'natural' intercourse. All forms of sexual intercourse are private matters." [emphasis in original]

The Fight for Women's Rights in Soviet Central Asia

Nowhere was the condition of women more downtrodden than in the primitive Muslim areas of Soviet Central Asia. The Bolsheviks believed that women, having the most to gain, would be the link that broke the feudal chain in the Soviet East, but they could not with one blow abolish oppressive Muslim institutions. The Bolshevik approach was based on ma¬terialism, not moralism. The Muslim bride price, for example, was not some sinister plot against womankind, but had arisen as an institution central to distrib¬uting land and water rights among different clans (see "Early Bolshevik Work Among Women of the Soviet East," W&R No. 12, Summer 1976, for a fuller discussion).

Systematic Bolshevik work among Muslim women was only possible in 1921, after the end of the bitter Civil War. Dedicated and heroic members of the Zhenotdel donned veils in order to meet Muslim women and explain the laws and goals of the new Soviet republic. Special meeting places, sometimes "Red Yertas" or tents in nomadic areas or clubs in cities, were a key way for the Communist Party to begin to win the trust of these women. Such clubs followed Lenin's policy of using Soviet state power to carefully and systematically undermine native tribalism by demonstrating the superiority of Soviet institutions. The tremendous pro¬ductive capacity of the Soviet planned economy provided the services, education and jobs that finally decisively undercut the ancient order and liberated women from their stifling subjugation.

Today the condition of women in Soviet Central Asia is centuries removed from the oppression their sisters across the border in Afghanistan still face. We said "Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!" because the 1979 Soviet Army intervention against murderous Islamic counterrevolution (whose rallying cry is keeping women under the veil) posed the possibility of a revolutionary transformation of this hideously backward country. Under the protection of the Red Army, the women of Afghanistan have been taught to read and write, and a major¬ity of university students are now women and girls; many hold jobs outside the home; and there are 15,000 women in the Afghan army, defending their new freedoms.

Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky!

Many of the gains made by Soviet women under the Bolsheviks were subsequently reversed by the Stalinist political counterrevolution. In 1936, abortion was made illegal. (It was again legalized in 1955.) Divorce becar difficult to obtain, co-education was abolished, horr sexuality was again outlawed. As Trotsky said, "The actual liberation of women is unrealizable on a basis 'generalized want.' Experience soon proved this ai tere truth which Marx had formulated eighty years before." The cruel Civil War decimated the proletariat in the young workers state. Most fundamentally, failure to extend the Revolution internationally strengthened the Stalinist bureaucratic caste in the isola Soviet Union. Workers democracy was smashed." Leninist internationalist program was abandoned favor of the search for "peaceful coexistence" versus imperialism, while domestically the Stalinists sou social props and ideological justifications for bure cratic rule. Exploiting social backwardness to strenghten their grip over society, the Stalinists rehabilitated family as a useful institution of social conservatism control.

Trotsky denounced the Stalinist bureaucracy "Thermidor in the Family" (The Revolution Betray "These gentlemen have, it seems, completely fogooten that socialism was to remove the cause which impels woman to abortion, and not force her into the 'joys of motherhood' with the help of a foul police interference in what is to every woman the most mate sphere of life....

"Instead of openly saying, 'We have proven still poor and ignorant for trie creation of socialist tions among men, our children and grandchildren realize this aim,' the leaders are forcing people together against the shell of the broken family, and not only that, but to consider it, under threat of extreme penalties, the sacred nucleus of triumphant socialism. It is hard to measure with the eye the scope of the retreat."

Despite these counterrevolutionary measures, capitalist private property has not been restored in the Soviet Union. The tremendous productive capac the Soviet planned economy has opened opportunities for women—in education, jobs, social service—which capitalism can never provide. We defend the USSR today unconditionally against imperialism because the fundamental gains of the October lution remain; it is a society based on production for social needs, not capitalist profit. At the same time call for political revolution to re-establish workers democracy and to return the Soviet Union to the liberating goals and program of Lenin and Trotsky.

Today there is great interest in the Soviet Union, in part because of the visible difficulties of American imperialism, but also because of Gorbachev's promises of glasnost (openness). Yet this "enlightened bureaucrat" will never tell the truth about the revolutionary work of the Bolshevik Party. Between that tradition and today's bureaucracy lies the gulf of the bloody political counterrevolution carried out by Stalin.

To appease the nuclear nuts in the White House, Gorbachev appears willing to pull out of Afghanistan. The Kremlin bureaucracy's willingness to abandon Afghan women to illiteracy, the veil and chattel slavery starkly exposes the gulf separating them from the Bolsheviks, who understood that the question of women's liberation,was key, above all in such backward, feudal areas.

In imperialist countries like the United States, only the abolition of private property will make women's emancipation a historical reality. It will take a socialist revolution in the U.S. to win the basic rights and social institutions the Bolsheviks fought for in the early years of the USSR. Given the tremendous productive capacity of U.S. industry and a far higher level of culture than that which the Bolsheviks inherited from the tsar, we have no doubt that the American workers government will be able to quickly implement such far-reaching social programs. For women's liberation through socialist revolution!

Soviet Measures to Liberate Women

Decree of the People's Commissariat of Health and Social Welfare and the People's Commissariat of Justice in Soviet Russia

During recent decades the number of women interrupting pregnancy by abortion has risen both in the West and in our country.

The legislation of all countries combats this evil by severe punishment of the women undergoing abortions as well as of the doctors performing them. To date this method has succeeded only in making the operation illegal, performed in secrecy, and in making women the victims of ignorant quacks or unscrupu¬lous doctors who turn a profit from abortion. As a result, 50 percent of these women become seriously ill and 4 percent of these die from the consequences of the operation.

The Workers and Peasants Government regards this phenomenon as a terrible evil for the entire society. The Workers and Peasants Government sees the consolidation of the socialist order and agitation against abortion among the broad masses of the female working-class population as the way to successfully combat it. It combats this evil in practice with the most far-reaching protection of mothers and children, hoping that it will gradually disappear. However, as long as the remnants of the past and the difficult economic conditions of the present compel some women to undergo an abortion, the People's Commissariat of Health and Social Welfare and the People's Commissariat of Justice regard the use of penal measures as inappropriate and therefore, to preserve women's health and protect the race against ignorant or self-seeking profiteers, it is resolved:

I. Free abortion, interrupting pregnancy by artificial
means, shall be performed in state hospitals, where
women are assured maximum safety in the operation.

II. It is absolutely prohibited to perform this operation without a doctor.

III. Midwives or "wise women" who break this law
shall forfeit their license to practice and be handed over to the People's Court.
IV. Doctors performing this operation in their private offices for personal gain shall also be brought before the People's Court.


Women's Work in the Economy

Women as Participants in the Construction of Soviet Russia


Resolution of the Eighth Congress of Soviets

Considering that the primary task of the hour is raising the level of industry, transportation and agriculture; that women comprise more than half of the population of Soviet Russia—women workers and peasants; that implementing the proposed unified economic plan is only possible by involving all the female labor power: the Eighth

Congress of Soviets resolves that:

a) Women workers and peasants are to be
involved in all economic organizations which are
working out and realizing the unified economic
plan; likewise in factory administrations, in fac¬
tory committees and in the administration of the
trade-union organizations.

b) For the purpose of reducing the unproduc¬
tive work of women in the household and in child-
care, the Eighth Congress of Soviets requires that
the local Soviets encourage women workers to
support, with their initiative and activity, the
reforms of social institutions, the beginnings of
communist construction, such as organizing com¬
munal dwellings and workshops for washing and
mending laundry in city and village, organizing
squads of cleaning women, creating foster care
centers, communal laundries and dining halls.

The Eighth Congress of Soviets charges the newly constituted Central Executive Committee of the Soviets to immediately begin working out measures aimed at reducing the unproductive work of women in the household and family, thereby increasing the supply of free labor power to raise the people's standard of living and augment the productivity of the Workers Republic.

Social Institutions for the Relief of the Housewife Communal Kitchens in Moscow

The Russian Soviet bodies are committed to the opinion that the traditional housework performed by the mothers of families in individual households must pass over to socialized institutions. This is both in the interest of women, who squander their time and energy in arduous, grinding, unproductive tasks, and in the interest of society, which can make full use of women's talents and accomplishments in the economy and culture. In Moscow there are at present no fewer than 559 communal kitchens in which hot midday and evening meals are prepared daily for 606,100 adults. The children take their meals in the childcare and educa¬tional centers where they have found places or which they attend during the day.

Compare the blessings of "orderly conditions" in the states that are still capitalist with this result of "Bolshevik chaos"! Part and parcel of these "orderly conditions" is the fact that in all major cities, in all industrial centers, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands go without a warm midday meal every day and in the evening in an uncomfortable home they choke down a meal their harried wives have prepared hurriedly and with insufficient means. Increasingly, women in the proletariat and also in the petty bourgeoisie must con¬tribute to the family's income. The double burden of working for a living and running the household rests on her. Meals in common—insofar as they occur at all— unite an overtired mother, a husband who is often grouchy because he does not find at home what he seeks, and children whose eyes and clothing bespeal their lack of care and attention.

'In Russia the working woman can throw off the burden of household obligations. She knows not only she herself, but, more importantly, her husband and children are better cared for than she could manage a home even with great energy and devotion. The home can now be a home in the most noble sense for husband and wife, for parents and children, a place to be together, for thinking and striving together, for enjoyment. Women have the time and leisure to learn, to educate themselves, to participate in all areas of social life, both giving and receiving. Oh, these Bolshevik "wreckers" and "destroyers"! Is that no what the philistines of all the capitalist countrie are still prattling?

Note on the documents: The three pieces reprinted here are our own translations from the April 1921 issue of Die Kommunistische Fraueninfernationat (Communist Women's International), the official German-language journal of the Women's Secretariat of the Communist International. In W&R No. 9 (Summer 1975) we reprinted another version of the abortion legislation, which included at the end the signature "N. Semashko, People's Commissar of Health; Kursk) People's Commissar of Justice." That was taken fron the book Health Protection in the U.S.S.R. by N./A Semashko, published in London by Gollancz in 1934 The date given for the decree on abortion in Semashki is 18 November 1920. Regarding "Women's Work in the Economy": the Eighth Congress of Soviets was held in Moscow from 22 to 29 December 1920. We were unable to find a date for the third piece; the Comintern women's journal did not give a source."

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Karl Radek

Click on title to link to the Karl Radek Internet Archive for the work of the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Karl Radek.

Markin comment:

No revolution can succeed without men and women of Radek's caliber. Although Radek had his ups and downs in his later days as a Comintern official he stood tall in October. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*Marxism, War and the Fight For Socialist Revolution- " No One Penny, Not One Person For The War"- A Guest Commentary

Click on title to link to a classic exposition of the Marxist anti-war position on imperialist war,the fight against it, and the need to struggle to change the system that allows it to thrive.


On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-


By Frank Jackman

History in the conditional, what might have happened if this or that thing, event, person had swerved this much or that, is always a tricky proposition. Tricky as reflected in this piece’s commemorative headline. Rosa Luxemburg the acknowledged theoretical wizard of the German Social-Democratic Party, the numero uno party of the Second, Socialist International, which was the logical organization to initiate the socialist revolution before World War II and Karl Liebknecht, the hellfire and brimstone propagandist and public speaker of that same party were assassinated in separate locale on the orders of the then ruling self-same Social-Democratic Party. The chasm between the Social-Democratic leaders trying to save Germany for “Western Civilization” in the wake of the “uncivilized” socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had grown that wide that it was as if they were on two different planets, and maybe they were.

(By the way I am almost embarrassed to mention the term “socialist revolution” these days when people, especially young people, would be clueless as to what I was talking about or would think that this concept was so hopelessly old-fashioned that it would meet the same blank stares. Let me assure you that back in the day, yes, that back in the day, many a youth had that very term on the tips of their tongues. Could palpably feel it in the air. Hell, just ask your parents, or grandparents.)

Okay here is the conditional and maybe think about it before you dismiss the idea out of hand if only because the whole scheme is very much in the conditional. Rosa and Karl, among others made almost every mistake in the book before and during the Spartacist uprising in some of the main German cities in late 1918 after the German defeat in the war. Their biggest mistake before the uprising was sticking with the Social Democrats, as a left wing, when that party had turned at best reformist and eminently not a vehicle for the socialist revolution, or even a half-assed democratic “revolution” which is what they got with the overthrow of the Kaiser. They broke too late, and subsequently too late from a slightly more left-wing Independent Socialist Party which had split from the S-D when that party became the leading war party in Germany for all intents and purposes and the working class was raising its collective head and asking why. 

The big mistake during the uprising was not taking enough protective cover, not keeping the leadership safe, keeping out of sight like Lenin had in Finland when things were dicey in 1917 Russia and fell easy prey to the Freikorps assassins. Here is the conditional, and as always it can be expanded to some nth degree if you let things get out of hand. What if, as in Russia, Rosa and Karl had broken from that rotten (for socialism) S-D organization and had a more firmly entrenched cadre with some experience in independent existence. What if the Spartacists had protected their acknowledged leaders better. There might have been a different trajectory for the aborted and failed German left-wing revolutionary opportunities over the next several years, there certainly would have been better leadership and perhaps, just perhaps the Nazi onslaught might have been stillborn, might have left Munich 1923 as their “heroic” and last moment.  

Instead we have a still sad 100th anniversary of the assassination of two great international socialist fighters who headed to the danger not away always worthy of a nod and me left having to face those blank stares who are looking for way forward but might as well be on a different planet-from me. 

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Grigorii Zinoviev

Click on title to link to the Gregory Zinoviev Internet Archive's copy of his 1921 statement on the disciplinary measures on Paul Levy and Serrati. This is an important statement about Communist International discipline.

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Zinoviev's role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I know that he ran rough shot over the Communist International (although he also did some good work there). I also know that he was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's right hand man in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here. Hell, call me an unreconstructed Cannonite but that is the way the deal went down.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Grigorii Zinoviev

Click on title to link to the Gregory Zinoviev Internet Archive's copy of his 1919 article " To The Proletarian Youth".

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Zinoviev's role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I know that he ran rough shot over the Communist International (although he also did some good work there). I also know that he was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's right hand man in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here. Hell, call me an unreconstructed Cannonite but that is the way the deal went down.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko.

Markin comment:


No revolution can succeed without men and women of Antonov-Ovseyenko's caliber. Although he did Stalin's dirty work Spain in the 1930s his military bravado during the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917 is what he is being saluted for here. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Grigorii Zinoviev

Click on title to link to the Gregory Zinoviev Internet Archive's copy of his 1916 article "What Is Imperialism?".

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Zinoviev's role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I know that he ran rough shot over the Communist International (although he also did some good work there). I also know that he was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's right hand man in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here. Hell, call me an unreconstructed Cannonite but that is the way the deal went down.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Grigorii Zinoviev

Click on title to link to the Gregory Zinoviev Internet Archive's copy of his 1916 article "Wars-Defensive And Aggressive".

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Zinoviev's role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I know that he ran rough shot over the Communist International (although he also did some good work there). I also know that he was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's right hand man in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here. Hell, call me an unreconstructed Cannonite but that is the way the deal went down.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Grigorii Zinoviev

Click on title to link to the Gregory Zinoviev Internet Archive's copy of his "Opening Address To The Second Congress Of The Communist International". Zinoviev was the first president of the Communist International, for better or worst.

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Zinoviev's role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I know that he ran rough shot over the Communist International (although he also did some good work there). I also know that he was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's right hand man in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here. Hell, call me an unreconstructed Cannonite but that is the way the deal went down.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Lev Kamenev

Click on title to link to the Lev Kamenev Internet Archive's copy of his 1924'contribution' to the Soviet Communist Party's intra-party political struggle over the course the revolution should take and the struggle of personal power against the Trotsky-led Left Opposition, "Leninism Or Trotskyism".

Markin comment:

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming I know that Kamenev's, like Zinoviev's, role in the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power was ugly ("strikebreaker" being the kindest way to express his position). I also know that he, again like Zinoviev his political bloc partner, was less, far less than brave in his opposition to Stalin and was wobbly at the end. But remember this- he was Lenin's man in Russia while he was in exile and in the key period before 1917 when World War I was going full blast and when revolutionary internationalists were scarce as hen's teeth he stood his ground. It is for that and his agitation during the months before the revolution that he gets a nod here.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Joseph Stalin

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin.

Markin comment:

Once again, before everyone starts yelling, Stalin, although not the puffed up 1917 revolutionary leader that he had his Communist Party political apparatus make him out to be, was a central leader (including being on the Bolshevik Central Committee that decided to seize power on behalf of the Soviets)of the 1917 revolution. We will leave the falsification of our precious common Communist history, in this case by an unforthright omission where acknowledgement is necessary, to the Stalinist remnant and others who still get weak at the knees on hearing his name.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Joseph Stalin

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin.

Markin comment:

Once again, before everyone starts yelling, Stalin, although not the puffed up 1917 revolutionary leader that he had his Communist Party political apparatus make him out to be, was a central leader (including being on the Bolshevik Central Committee that decided to seize power on behalf of the Soviets)of the 1917 revolution. We will leave the falsification of our precious common Communist history, in this case by an unforthright omission where acknowledgement is necessary, to the Stalinist remnant and others who still get weak at the knees on hearing his name.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Joseph Stalin

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin.

Markin comment:

Once again, before everyone starts yelling, Stalin, although not the puffed up 1917 revolutionary leader that he had his Communist Party political apparatus make him out to be, was a central leader (including being on the Bolshevik Central Committee that decided to seize power on behalf of the Soviets)of the 1917 revolution. We will leave the falsification of our precious common Communist history, in this case by an unforthright omission where acknowledgement is necessary, to the Stalinist remnant and others who still get weak at the knees on hearing his name.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- Joseph Stalin

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader Joseph Stalin.

Markin comment:

Once again, before everyone starts yelling, Stalin, although not the puffed up 1917 revolutionary leader that he had his Communist Party political apparatus make him out to be, was a central leader (including being on the Bolshevik Central Committee that decided to seize power on behalf of the Soviets)of the 1917 revolution. We will leave the falsification of our precious common Communist history, in this case by an unforthright omission where acknowledgement is necessary, to the Stalinist remnant and others who still get weak at the knees on hearing his name.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Nadezhda Krupskaya

Click on title to link to Nadezhda Krupskaya Internet Archive's copy of a section of her very important work, "Reminiscences Of Lenin". This is inside stuff and required reading for those who want to get an idea of Lenin as a developing revolutionary leader.

Markin comment:


No revolution can succeed without men and women of Krupskaya's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Nadezhda Krupskaya

Click on title to link to Nadezhda Krupskaya Internet Archive's copy of a section of her very important work, "Reminiscences Of Lenin". This is inside stuff and required reading for those who want to get an idea of Lenin as a developing revolutionary leader.

Markin comment:


No revolution can succeed without men and women of Krupskaya's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Nadezhda Krupskaya

Click on title to link to Nadezhda Krupskaya Internet Archive's copy of a section of her very important work, "Reminiscences Of Lenin". This is inside stuff and required reading for those who want to get an idea of Lenin as a developing revolutionary leader.

Markin comment:


No revolution can succeed without men and women of Krupskaya's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Nadezhda Krupskaya

Click on title to link to Nadezhda Krupskaya Internet Archive's copy of a section of her very important work, "Reminiscences Of Lenin". This is inside stuff and required reading for those who want to get an idea of Lenin as a developing revolutionary leader.

Markin comment:


No revolution can succeed without men and women of Krupskaya's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-V.I. Lenin

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the great 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader V. I. Lenin. No added comment is needed in this space for the work, life and deeds of this man.

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- "Nikky" Bukharin

Click on title to link to the Nicolai Bukharin Internet Archive's copy of Bukharin's 1926 classic right-Bolshevik article, "The Tasks Of The Russian Communist Party".

Markin comment:

I want to spend more time on this revolutionary, his early leftism (in some senses ultra-leftism, especially the opposition on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with the Germans taking Russia, bloody and broken, out of World War I , his subsequent rightist (right Communist, that is, which in agrarian Russia could only mean conciliating some segment of the vast peasantry) bloc with Stalin and his later, post-Moscow Trials, place in Soviet thinking in the 1980s when he, again, became a 'poster child' for accommodation to the forces of "market socialism". The fate of the Soviet Union,and defeat for the international working class in its struggle against capitalism, rather undercuts the 'virtues' of those theories. But, more later

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- "Nikky" Bukharin

Click on title to link to the Nicolai Bukharin Internet Archive's copy of Bukharin's 1924 article, "Imperialism And The Accumulation Of Capital".


Markin comment:

I want to spend more time on this revolutionary, his early leftism (in some senses ultra-leftism, especially the opposition on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with the Germans taking Russia, bloody and broken, out of World War I , his subsequent rightist (right Communist, that is, which in agrarian Russia could only mean conciliating some segment of the vast peasantry) bloc with Stalin and his later, post-Moscow Trials, place in Soviet thinking in the 1980s when he, again, became a 'poster child' for accommodation to the forces of "market socialism". The fate of the Soviet Union,and defeat for the international working class in its struggle against capitalism, rather undercuts the 'virtues' of those theories. But, more later

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- "Nikky" Bukharin

Click on title to link to the Nicolai Bukharin Internet Archive's copy of Bukharin's 1921 article, "New Economic Policy Of Soviet Russia".

Markin comment:

I want to spend more time on this revolutionary, his early leftism (in some senses ultra-leftism, especially the opposition on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with the Germans taking Russia, bloody and broken, out of World War I , his subsequent rightist (right Communist, that is, which in agrarian Russia could only mean conciliating some segment of the vast peasantry) bloc with Stalin and his later, post-Moscow Trials, place in Soviet thinking in the 1980s when he, again, became a 'poster child' for accommodation to the forces of "market socialism". The fate of the Soviet Union,and defeat for the international working class in its struggle against capitalism, rather undercuts the 'virtues' of those theories. But, more later

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- "Nikky" Bukharin

Click on title to link to the Nicolai Bukharin Internet Archive's copy of Bukharin's 1917 article, "The Significance Of The Russian Revolution".

Markin comment:

I want to spend more time on this revolutionary, his early leftism (in some senses ultra-leftism, especially the opposition on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with the Germans taking Russia, bloody and broken, out of World War I , his subsequent rightist (right Communist, that is, which in agrarian Russia could only mean conciliating some segment of the vast peasantry) bloc with Stalin and his later, post-Moscow Trials, place in Soviet thinking in the 1980s when he, again, became a 'poster child' for accommodation to the forces of "market socialism". The fate of the Soviet Union,and defeat for the international working class in its struggle against capitalism, rather undercuts the 'virtues' of those theories. But, more later

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution- "Nikky" Bukharin

Click on title to link to the Nicolai Bukharin Internet Archive's copy of Bukharin's classic Bolshevik restatement of the Marxist program up until the time of the Russian revolution, "The ABC Of Communism" (written with Eugenii Prebrazhensky).

Markin comment:

I want to spend more time on this revolutionary, his early leftism (in some senses ultra-leftism, especially the opposition on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with the Germans taking Russia, bloody and broken, out of World War I , his subsequent rightist (right Communist, that is, which in agrarian Russia could only mean conciliating some segment of the vast peasantry) bloc with Stalin and his later, post-Moscow Trials, place in Soviet thinking in the 1980s when he, again, became a 'poster child' for accommodation to the forces of "market socialism". The fate of the Soviet Union,and defeat for the international working class in its struggle against capitalism, rather undercuts the 'virtues' of those theories. But, more later

On The 60th Anniversary Defend The Gains Of The Cuban Revolution- *Those Who Fought For Our Communist Future Are Kindred Spirits- Honor Ernesto "Che" Guevara




In Honor of Anniversary Of The July 26th Movement


From The Pen Of Frank Jackman (2015)


Every leftist, hell, everybody who stands on the democratic principle that each nation has the right to self-determination should cautiously rejoice at the “defrosting” of the long-time diplomatic relations between the American imperial behemoth and the island of Cuba (and the freedom of the remaining Cuban Five in the bargain). Every leftist militant should understand that each non-capitalist like Cuba going back to the establishment of the now defunct Soviet Union has had the right (maybe until we win our socialist future the duty) to make whatever advantageous agreements they can with the capitalist world. That despite whatever disagreements we have with the political regimes ruling those non-capitalist states. That is a question for us to work out not the imperialists.

For those who have defended the Cuban Revolution since its victory in 1959 under whatever political rationale (pro-socialist, right to self-determination, or some other hands off policy) watching on black and white television the rebels entering Havana this day which commemorates the heroic if unsuccessful efforts at Moncada we should affirm our continued defense of the Cuban revolution. Oh yes, and tell the American government to give back Guantanamo while we are at it.   



Click on the title to link to a "YouTube" film clip of "Che" Guevara.

Every January, as readers of this blog are now, hopefully, familiar with the international communist movement honors the 3 Ls-Lenin, Luxemburg and Leibknecht, fallen leaders of the early 20th century communist movement who died in this month (and whose untimely deaths left a huge, irreplaceable gap in the international leadership of that time). January is thus a time for us to reflect on the roots of our movement and those who brought us along this far. In order to give a fuller measure of honor to our fallen forbears this January, and in future Januarys, this space will honor others who have contributed in some way to the struggle for our communist future. That future classless society, however, will be the true memorial to their sacrifices.

Note on inclusion: As in other series on this site (“Labor’s Untold Story”, “Leaders Of The Bolshevik Revolution”, etc.) this year’s honorees do not exhaust the list of every possible communist worthy of the name. Nor, in fact, is the list limited to Bolshevik-style communists. There will be names included from other traditions (like anarchism, social democracy, the Diggers, Levellers, Jacobins, etc.) whose efforts contributed to the international struggle. Also, as was true of previous series this year’s efforts are no more than an introduction to these heroes of the class struggle. Future years will see more detailed information on each entry, particularly about many of the lesser known figures. Better yet, the reader can pick up the ball and run with it if he or she has more knowledge about the particular exploits of some communist militant, or to include a missing one.

Markin comment:

The name Ernesto "Che" Guevara will live, and I believe rightly so, as long as injustice reigns in this sorry old world and people seek models for revolutionary struggle. I have almost always been politically distant from "Che"s politics, but he deserves this recognition.

From The Pages Of Workers Vanguard-Those Who Labor Must Rule!(Quote of the Week)

Click on the headline to link to the International Communist League (ICL) website.

Workers Vanguard No. 989
28 October 2011

Those Who Labor Must Rule!(Quote of the Week)

Emerging in the first half of the 19th century as a mass independent workers movement, the British Chartists advanced revolutionary republican principles while leading the workers in class struggle. James Bronterre O’Brien, an Irish-born leader of the movement, gave voice to the need for the working class to fight in its own interests instead of begging its oppressors.

I hate long discussions and disquisitions upon the rights and privileges of the oppressed. I hate such arguments as go to prove that hawks should not prey upon doves; wolves on lambs; or the idlers of society upon the productive classes; I hate all appeals to the morality of monsters....

We have had enough of moral and learned strictures upon abstract rights and duties, which have left the respective parties in statu quo—the one plundering, the other being plundered....

My motto is...“What you take you may have.” I will not attempt to deal with the abstract question of right, but will proceed to show that it is POWER, solid, substantial POWER, that the millions must obtain and retain, if they would enjoy the produce of their own labour and the privileges of freemen.

—James Bronterre O’Brien (1837), quoted in Dorothy Thompson, The Chartists: Popular Politics in the Industrial Revolution (1984)

Thursday, November 07, 2019

*From The Film Archives-In Honor Of The Birthday Anniversary Of Bolshevik Leader Leon Trotsky

Click on title to link to part one (of five, just click from part one) of YouTube's film clips detailing the highlights (and lows) of the life and death of the great Bolshevik leader, Leon Trotsky. In Honor Of His Birthday Anniversary.

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-The100thAnniversaryYearOfTheBolshevik-LedOctoberRevolution-LessonsForToday- "The Internationale"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of our international working class anthem ,"The Internationale".

As is always appropriate on international working class holidays and days of remembrance here is the song most closely associated with that movement “The Internationale” in English, French and German. I will not vouch for the closeness of the translations but certainly of the spirit. Workers Of The World Unite!

The Internationale [variant words in square brackets]

Arise ye workers [starvelings] from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We'll change henceforth [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E'er the thieves will out with their booty [give up their booty]
And give to all a happier lot.
Each [those] at the forge must do their duty
And we'll strike while the iron is hot.




________________________________________

L'Internationale

Debout les damnés de la terre
Debout les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passe faisons table rase
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout

C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain (bis)
L'Internationale
Sera le genre humain

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud

L'état comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a crée s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
A faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien, de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.


________________________________________

Die Internationale

Wacht auf, Verdammte dieser Erde,
die stets man noch zum Hungern zwingt!
Das Recht wie Glut im Kraterherde
nun mit Macht zum Durchbruch dringt.
Reinen Tisch macht mit dem Bedranger!
Heer der Sklaven, wache auf!
Ein nichts zu sein, tragt es nicht langer
Alles zu werden, stromt zuhauf!

Volker, hort die Signale!
Auf, zum letzten Gefecht!
Die Internationale
Erkampft das Menschenrecht

Es rettet uns kein hoh'res Wesen
kein Gott, kein Kaiser, noch Tribun
Uns aus dem Elend zu erlosen
konnen wir nur selber tun!
Leeres Wort: des armen Rechte,
Leeres Wort: des Reichen Pflicht!
Unmundigt nennt man uns Knechte,
duldet die Schmach langer nicht!

In Stadt und Land, ihr Arbeitsleute,
wir sind die starkste Partei'n
Die Mussigganger schiebt beiseite!
Diese Welt muss unser sein;
Unser Blut sei nicht mehr der Raben
und der machtigen Geier Frass!
Erst wenn wir sie vertrieben haben
dann scheint die Sonn' ohn' Unterlass!
Labels: communism, COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL, KARL LIEBKNECHT, karl marx, leon trotsky, russian revolution, V.I. Lenin

In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The Founding of The Communist International-From The Archives- *Honor The 91st Anniversary Of The Russian Revolution- From Leon Trotsky's "The History Of The Russian Revolution"-"The October Insurrection"

Click on title to link to the Leon Trotsky Internet Archives version of Bolshevik chief insurrection organizer Leon Trotsky's Volume Three, Chapter 46, "The October Insurrection", from his seminal "The History Of The Russian Revolution"

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*In Honor Of The Anniversary Of The Russian Revolution-Our Anthem-"The Internationale"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of our international working class anthem ,"The Internationale".


As is always appropriate on international working class holidays and days of remembrance here is the song most closely associated with that movement “The Internationale” in English, French and German. I will not vouch for the closeness of the translations but certainly of the spirit. Workers Of The World Unite!

The Internationale [variant words in square brackets]


Arise ye workers [starvelings] from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We'll change henceforth [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E'er the thieves will out with their booty [give up their booty]
And give to all a happier lot.
Each [those] at the forge must do their duty
And we'll strike while the iron is hot.




________________________________________

L'Internationale

Debout les damnés de la terre
Debout les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passe faisons table rase
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout

C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain (bis)
L'Internationale
Sera le genre humain

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud

L'état comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a crée s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
A faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien, de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.


________________________________________

Die Internationale

Wacht auf, Verdammte dieser Erde,
die stets man noch zum Hungern zwingt!
Das Recht wie Glut im Kraterherde
nun mit Macht zum Durchbruch dringt.
Reinen Tisch macht mit dem Bedranger!
Heer der Sklaven, wache auf!
Ein nichts zu sein, tragt es nicht langer
Alles zu werden, stromt zuhauf!

Volker, hort die Signale!
Auf, zum letzten Gefecht!
Die Internationale
Erkampft das Menschenrecht

Es rettet uns kein hoh'res Wesen
kein Gott, kein Kaiser, noch Tribun
Uns aus dem Elend zu erlosen
konnen wir nur selber tun!
Leeres Wort: des armen Rechte,
Leeres Wort: des Reichen Pflicht!
Unmundigt nennt man uns Knechte,
duldet die Schmach langer nicht!

In Stadt und Land, ihr Arbeitsleute,
wir sind die starkste Partei'n
Die Mussigganger schiebt beiseite!
Diese Welt muss unser sein;
Unser Blut sei nicht mehr der Raben
und der machtigen Geier Frass!
Erst wenn wir sie vertrieben haben
dann scheint die Sonn' ohn' Unterlass!

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*In Honor Of The Russian Revolution-Our Anthem-"The Internationale"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of our international working class anthem ,"The Internationale".

As is always appropriate on international working class holidays and days of remembrance here is the song most closely associated with that movement “The Internationale” in English, French and German. I will not vouch for the closeness of the translations but certainly of the spirit. Workers Of The World Unite!

The Internationale [variant words in square brackets]


Arise ye workers [starvelings] from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We'll change henceforth [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E'er the thieves will out with their booty [give up their booty]
And give to all a happier lot.
Each [those] at the forge must do their duty
And we'll strike while the iron is hot.




________________________________________

L'Internationale

Debout les damnés de la terre
Debout les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passe faisons table rase
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout

C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain (bis)
L'Internationale
Sera le genre humain

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud

L'état comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a crée s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
A faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien, de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.


________________________________________

Die Internationale

Wacht auf, Verdammte dieser Erde,
die stets man noch zum Hungern zwingt!
Das Recht wie Glut im Kraterherde
nun mit Macht zum Durchbruch dringt.
Reinen Tisch macht mit dem Bedranger!
Heer der Sklaven, wache auf!
Ein nichts zu sein, tragt es nicht langer
Alles zu werden, stromt zuhauf!

Volker, hort die Signale!
Auf, zum letzten Gefecht!
Die Internationale
Erkampft das Menschenrecht

Es rettet uns kein hoh'res Wesen
kein Gott, kein Kaiser, noch Tribun
Uns aus dem Elend zu erlosen
konnen wir nur selber tun!
Leeres Wort: des armen Rechte,
Leeres Wort: des Reichen Pflicht!
Unmundigt nennt man uns Knechte,
duldet die Schmach langer nicht!

In Stadt und Land, ihr Arbeitsleute,
wir sind die starkste Partei'n
Die Mussigganger schiebt beiseite!
Diese Welt muss unser sein;
Unser Blut sei nicht mehr der Raben
und der machtigen Geier Frass!
Erst wenn wir sie vertrieben haben
dann scheint die Sonn' ohn' Unterlass!

*In Honor Of The Russian Revolution-Our Anthem-"The Internationale"

Click on title to link to YouTube's film clip of our international working class anthem ,"The Internationale".

As is always appropriate on international working class holidays and days of remembrance here is the song most closely associated with that movement “The Internationale” in English, French and German. I will not vouch for the closeness of the translations but certainly of the spirit. Workers Of The World Unite!

The Internationale [variant words in square brackets]


Arise ye workers [starvelings] from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We'll change henceforth [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They'll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E'er the thieves will out with their booty [give up their booty]
And give to all a happier lot.
Each [those] at the forge must do their duty
And we'll strike while the iron is hot.




________________________________________

L'Internationale

Debout les damnés de la terre
Debout les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passe faisons table rase
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout

C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain (bis)
L'Internationale
Sera le genre humain

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud

L'état comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a crée s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
A faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien, de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.


________________________________________

Die Internationale

Wacht auf, Verdammte dieser Erde,
die stets man noch zum Hungern zwingt!
Das Recht wie Glut im Kraterherde
nun mit Macht zum Durchbruch dringt.
Reinen Tisch macht mit dem Bedranger!
Heer der Sklaven, wache auf!
Ein nichts zu sein, tragt es nicht langer
Alles zu werden, stromt zuhauf!

Volker, hort die Signale!
Auf, zum letzten Gefecht!
Die Internationale
Erkampft das Menschenrecht

Es rettet uns kein hoh'res Wesen
kein Gott, kein Kaiser, noch Tribun
Uns aus dem Elend zu erlosen
konnen wir nur selber tun!
Leeres Wort: des armen Rechte,
Leeres Wort: des Reichen Pflicht!
Unmundigt nennt man uns Knechte,
duldet die Schmach langer nicht!

In Stadt und Land, ihr Arbeitsleute,
wir sind die starkste Partei'n
Die Mussigganger schiebt beiseite!
Diese Welt muss unser sein;
Unser Blut sei nicht mehr der Raben
und der machtigen Geier Frass!
Erst wenn wir sie vertrieben haben
dann scheint die Sonn' ohn' Unterlass!

The Centennial Of Pete Seeger’s Birthday (1919-2014)- For Bob Dylan- * From The Prairies Of Brooklyn- The Music Of Ramblin' Jack Elliot

CD REVIEW

Hard Travelin': Song By Woody Guthrie and Others, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Fantasy, 1989

I have spent a fair amount of time in this space over past year running through the male folk singers who I listened to in my youth in the 1960’s, at a time when that type of music was making one of its periodic revivals on the edges of the American musical scene. I have spilled much ink, appropriately so I think, on the continuing saga of Bob Dylan’s influence on that period. I have also posed the question, a familiar one now to readers of this space about those who did, for one reason or another, not become “king of the hill” in the very competitive folk world of that period. The search for gold in that case being to snag a record contract and be heard by more than the fifty people in the audience of some back street Greenwich Village coffeehouse. The artist under review and one time very close Dylan associate, the cowboy aficionado (from the prairies of Brooklyn, I believe) Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, fits into that category as one of the potential contestants.

One of the most important connecting strands that drove the folk revival of the early 1960’s and from which all potential folk singers drew sustenance was the work of Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan readily acknowledged that influence. Ramblin’ Jack has made something of a career of continuing that legacy unsullied.

And what was at the core of Woody’s influence? Well, a quick listen to any Woody ballad will make two things apparent- a devotion to telling the stories- in song- of ordinary people and of the humdrum topics of the day and telling those stories in a ‘talking blues’ format. Dylan perfected those two points early in his career, and then moved on. Rambin’ Jack stayed there. If there is a dispute about what these two artists owed to Woody’s legacy that is the center of the dispute. To keep the Woody shrine clean or move on. We know who “won” that fight but we also know that Ramblin’ Jack has performed a role in keeping Woody’s songs and spirit alive (to be taken up by Arlo and other Guthrie children later but he held on to the legacy in the meantime).

To answer the question posed above: in short, Ramblin’ Jack in the great contest of the folk revival of the 1960’s essentially opted out and rather took the role of “keeper of the flame”. This compilation of his covers of Woody’s songs and those of others is a tribute his dogged adherence to that task. That said, Ramblin’ Jack does some nice covers here on Woody’s “Talking Dust Bowl”, “Hard Travelin’”, and “Talking Columbia”. Of the other covers “Railroad Bill”, “Candyman” and “Sadie Brown” stick out. If you want to hear what we were listening to on those late Sunday night radio folk revival shows in the early 1960’s listen here.

Dust Bowl Blues Lyrics

Woody Guthrie


I just blowed in, and I got them dust bowl blues,
I just blowed in, and I got them dust bowl blues,
I just blowed in, and I'll blow back out again.

I guess you've heard about ev'ry kind of blues,
I guess you've heard about ev'ry kind of blues,
But when the dust gets high, you can't even see the sky.

I've seen the dust so black that I couldn't see a thing,
I've seen the dust so black that I couldn't see a thing,
And the wind so cold, boy, it nearly cut your water off.

I seen the wind so high that it blowed my fences down,
I've seen the wind so high that it blowed my fences down,
Buried my tractor six feet underground.

Well, it turned my farm into a pile of sand,
Yes, it turned my farm into a pile of sand,
I had to hit that road with a bottle in my hand.

I spent ten years down in that old dust bowl,
I spent ten years down in that old dust bowl,
When you get that dust pneumony, boy, it's time to go.

I had a gal, and she was young and sweet,
I had a gal, and she was young and sweet,
But a dust storm buried her sixteen hundred feet.

She was a good gal, long, tall and stout,
Yes, she was a good gal, long, tall and stout,
I had to get a steam shovel just to dig my darlin' out.

These dusty blues are the dustiest ones I know,
These dusty blues are the dustiest ones I know,
Buried head over heels in the black old dust,
I had to pack up and go.
An' I just blowed in, an' I'll soon blow out again.

Talking Dust Bowl Blues Lyrics

Woody Guthrie


Back in Nineteen Twenty-Seven,
I had a little farm and I called that heaven.
Well, the prices up and the rain come down,
And I hauled my crops all into town --
I got the money, bought clothes and groceries,
Fed the kids, and raised a family.

Rain quit and the wind got high,
And the black ol' dust storm filled the sky.
And I swapped my farm for a Ford machine,
And I poured it full of this gas-i-line --
And I started, rockin' an' a-rollin',
Over the mountains, out towards the old Peach Bowl.

Way up yonder on a mountain road,
I had a hot motor and a heavy load,
I's a-goin' pretty fast, there wasn't even stoppin',
A-bouncin' up and down, like popcorn poppin' --
Had a breakdown, sort of a nervous bustdown of some kind,
There was a feller there, a mechanic feller,
Said it was en-gine trouble.

Way up yonder on a mountain curve,
It's way up yonder in the piney wood,
An' I give that rollin' Ford a shove,
An' I's a-gonna coast as far as I could --
Commence coastin', pickin' up speed,
Was a hairpin turn, I didn't make it.

Man alive, I'm a-tellin' you,
The fiddles and the guitars really flew.
That Ford took off like a flying squirrel
An' it flew halfway around the world --
Scattered wives and childrens
All over the side of that mountain.

We got out to the West Coast broke,
So dad-gum hungry I thought I'd croak,
An' I bummed up a spud or two,
An' my wife fixed up a tater stew --
We poured the kids full of it,
Mighty thin stew, though,
You could read a magazine right through it.
Always have figured
That if it'd been just a little bit thinner,
Some of these here politicians
Coulda seen through it.

Talking Columbia Lyrics

Woody Guthrie


Well, down along the river just a-sittin' on a rock
I'm a-lookin' at the boats in the Bonneville lock.
Gate swings open, the boat sails in,
Toot that whistle, she's gone again.
Gasoline goin' up. Wheat comin' down.

Well, I filled up my hat brim, drunk a little taste,
Thought about a river just a-goin' to waste;
Thought about the dust, an' thought about the sand,
Thought about the people, an' thought about the land.
Folks runnin' round all over creation,
Lookin' for some kind of little place.

Well, I pulled out my pencil, scribbled this song,
Figured all them salmon just couldn't be wrong;
Them salmon fish is mighty shrewd,
They got senators and politicians, too.
Just about like the president. They run every four years.

You just watch this river, though, pretty soon
Everybody's gonna be changin' their tune;
The big Grand Coulee and the Bonneville dams
Run a thousand factories for Uncle Sam.
And everybody else in the world. Turnin' out
Everything from fertilizers to sewing machines,
And atomic bedrooms and plastic --
Everything's gonna be plastic.

Uncle Sam need houses and stuff to eat,
Uncle Sam needs wool, and Uncle Sam needs wheat,
Uncle Sam needs water and power dams,
Uncle Sam needs people, and the people need land.
'Course I don't like dictators none myself,
but then I think the whole country had ought to be run by
e-lec-trici-ty.

Tom Joad (Part 1) Lyrics

Woody Guthrie


Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester Pen;
There he got his parole.
After four long years on a man killing charge,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road, poor boy,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road.

Tom Joad, he met a truck driving man;
There he caught him a ride.
He said, "I just got loose from McAlester Pen
On a charge called homicide,
A charge called homicide."

That truck rolled away in a cloud of dust;
Tommy turned his face toward home.
He met Preacher Casey, and they had a little drink,
But they found that his family they was gone,
He found that his family they was gone.

He found his mother's old fashion shoe,
Found his daddy's hat.
And he found little Muley and Muley said,
"They've been tractored out by the cats,
They've been tractored out by the cats."

Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor's farm,
Found his family.
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car,
And his mother said, "We've got to get away."
His mother said, "We've got to get away."

Now, the twelve of the Joads made a mighty heavy load;
But Grandpa Joad did cry.
He picked up a handful of land in his hand,
Said: "I'm stayin' with the farm till I die.
Yes, I'm stayin' with the farm till I die."

They fed him short ribs and coffee and soothing syrup;
And Grandpa Joad did die.
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road,
Grandma on the California side,
They buried Grandma on the California side.

They stood on a mountain and they looked to the west,
And it looked like the promised land.
That bright green valley with a river running through,
There was work for every single hand, they thought,
There was work for every single hand.

The Joads rolled away to the jungle camp,
There they cooked a stew.
And the hungry little kids of the jungle camp
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."

Now a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man,
Shot a woman in the back.
Before he could take his aim again,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track, poor boy,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track.

They handcuffed Casey and they took him in jail;
And then he got away.
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge,
And these few words he did say, poor boy,
These few words he did say.

"I preached for the Lord a mighty long time,
Preached about the rich and the poor.
Us workin' folkses, all get together,
'Cause we ain't got a chance anymore.
We ain't got a chance anymore."

Now, the deputies come, and Tom and Casey run
To the bridge where the water run down.
But the vigilante thugs hit Casey with a club,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground, poor Casey,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground.

Tom Joad, he grabbed that deputy's club,
Hit him over the head.
Tom Joad took flight in the dark rainy night,
And a deputy and a preacher lying dead, two men,
A deputy and a preacher lying dead.

Tom run back where his mother was asleep;
He woke her up out of bed.
An' he kissed goodbye to the mother that he loved,
Said what Preacher Casey said, Tom Joad,
He said what Preacher Casey said.

"Ever'body might be just one big soul,
Well it looks that a-way to me.
Everywhere that you look, in the day or night,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma,
That's where I'm a-gonna be.

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain't free.
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm a-gonna be."


Tom Joad (Part 2) Lyrics

Woody Guthrie


Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester Pen;
There he got his parole.
After four long years on a man killing charge,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road, poor boy,
Tom Joad come a-walkin' down the road.

Tom Joad, he met a truck driving man;
There he caught him a ride.
He said, "I just got loose from McAlester Pen
On a charge called homicide,
A charge called homicide."

That truck rolled away in a cloud of dust;
Tommy turned his face toward home.
He met Preacher Casey, and they had a little drink,
But they found that his family they was gone,
He found that his family they was gone.

He found his mother's old fashion shoe,
Found his daddy's hat.
And he found little Muley and Muley said,
"They've been tractored out by the cats,
They've been tractored out by the cats."

Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor's farm,
Found his family.
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car,
And his mother said, "We've got to get away."
His mother said, "We've got to get away."

Now, the twelve of the Joads made a mighty heavy load;
But Grandpa Joad did cry.
He picked up a handful of land in his hand,
Said: "I'm stayin' with the farm till I die.
Yes, I'm stayin' with the farm till I die."

They fed him short ribs and coffee and soothing syrup;
And Grandpa Joad did die.
They buried Grandpa Joad by the side of the road,
Grandma on the California side,
They buried Grandma on the California side.

They stood on a mountain and they looked to the west,
And it looked like the promised land.
That bright green valley with a river running through,
There was work for every single hand, they thought,
There was work for every single hand.

The Joads rolled away to the jungle camp,
There they cooked a stew.
And the hungry little kids of the jungle camp
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."
Said: "We'd like to have some, too."

Now a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man,
Shot a woman in the back.
Before he could take his aim again,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track, poor boy,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track.

They handcuffed Casey and they took him in jail;
And then he got away.
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge,
And these few words he did say, poor boy,
These few words he did say.

"I preached for the Lord a mighty long time,
Preached about the rich and the poor.
Us workin' folkses, all get together,
'Cause we ain't got a chance anymore.
We ain't got a chance anymore."

Now, the deputies come, and Tom and Casey run
To the bridge where the water run down.
But the vigilante thugs hit Casey with a club,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground, poor Casey,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground.

Tom Joad, he grabbed that deputy's club,
Hit him over the head.
Tom Joad took flight in the dark rainy night,
And a deputy and a preacher lying dead, two men,
A deputy and a preacher lying dead.

Tom run back where his mother was asleep;
He woke her up out of bed.
An' he kissed goodbye to the mother that he loved,
Said what Preacher Casey said, Tom Joad,
He said what Preacher Casey said.

"Ever'body might be just one big soul,
Well it looks that a-way to me.
Everywhere that you look, in the day or night,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma,
That's where I'm a-gonna be.

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain't free.
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights,
That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm a-gonna be."

Once Again Haunted By The Question Of Questions-Who Represented The “Voice” Of The Generation Of ’68 When The Deal Went Down-And No It Was Not One Richard Millstone, Oops, Milhous Nixon




By Seth Garth

I have been haunted recently by various references to events in the early 1960s brought to mind by either seeing or hearing those references. First came one out of the blue when I was in Washington, D.C. on other business and I popped in as is my wont to the National Gallery of Art to get an “art bump” after fighting the dearies at the tail-end of the conference that I was attending. I usually enter on the 7th Street entrance to see what they have new on display on the Ground Floor exhibition areas. This time there was a small exhibit concerning the victims of Birmingham Sunday, 1963 the murder by bombing of a well-known black freedom church in that town and the death of four innocent young black girls and injuries to others. The show itself was a “what if” by a photographer who presented photos of what those young people might have looked like had they not had their precious lives stolen from them by some racist KKK-drenched bastards who never really did get the justice they deserved. The catch here, the impact on me, was these murders and another very disturbing viewing on television at the time, in black and white, of the Birmingham police unleashing dogs, firing water hoses and using the ubiquitous police billy-clubs to beat down on peaceful mostly black youth protesting against the pervasive Mister James Crow system which deprived them of their civil rights.
Those events galvanized me into action from seemingly out of nowhere. At the time I was in high school, in an all-white high school in my growing up town of North Adamsville south of Boston. (That “all white” no mistake despite the nearness to urban Boston since a recent look at the yearbook for my class showed exactly zero blacks out of a class of 515. The nearest we got to a black person was a young immigrant from Lebanon who was a Christian though and was not particularly dark. She, to my surprise, had been a cheer-leader and well-liked). I should also confess, for those who don’t know not having read about a dozen articles  I have done over the past few years in this space, that my “corner boys,” the Irish mostly with a sprinkling of Italians reflecting the two major ethic groups in the town I hung around with then never could figure out why I was so concerned about black people down South when we were living hand to mouth up North. (The vagaries of time have softened some things among them for example nobody uses the “n” word which needs no explanation which was the “term of art” in reference to black people then to not prettify what this crowd was about.)
In many ways I think I only survived by the good graces of Scribe who everybody deferred to on social matters. Not for any heroic purpose but because Scribe was the key to intelligence about what girls were interested in what guys, who was “going” steady, etc. a human grapevine who nobody crossed without suffering exile. What was “heroic” if that can be used in this context was that as a result of those Birmingham images back then I travelled over to the NAACP office on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston to offer my meager services in the civil rights struggle and headed south to deadly North Carolina one summer on a voting drive. I was scared but that was that. My guys never knew that was where I went until many years later long after we had all gotten a better gripe via the U.S. Army and other situations on the question of race and were amazed that I had done that.         
The other recent occurrence that has added fuel to the fire was a segment on NPR’s Morning Edition where they deal with aspects of what amounts to the American Songbook. The segment dealt with the generational influence of folk-singer songwriter Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ as an anthem for our generation (and its revival of late in newer social movements like the kids getting serious about gun control). No question for those who came of political age early in the 1960s before all hell broke loose this was a definitive summing up song for those of us who were seeking what Bobby Kennedy would later quoting a line of poetry from Alfred Lord Tennyson call “seeking a newer world.” In one song was summed up what we thought about obtuse indifferent authority figures, the status quo, our clueless parents, the social struggles that were defining us and a certain hurried-ness to get to wherever we thought we were going.
I mentioned in that previous commentary that given his subsequent trajectory while Bob Dylan may have wanted to be the reincarnation Plus of Woody Guthrie (which by his long life he can rightly claim) whether he wanted to be, could be, the voice of the Generation of ’68 was problematic. What drove me, is driving me a little crazy is who or what some fifty plus years after all the explosions represented the best of what we had started out to achieve (and were essentially militarily defeated by the ensuing reaction before we could achieve most of it) in those lonely high school halls and college dormitories staying up late at night worrying about the world and our place in the sun.
For a long time, probably far longer than was sensible I believed that it was somebody like Jim Morrison, shaman-like leader of the Doors, who came out of the West Coast winds and headed to our heads in the East. Not Dylan, although he was harbinger of what was to come later in the decade as rock reassembled itself in new garb after some vanilla music hiatus but somebody who embodied the new sensibility that Dylan had unleashed. The real nut though was that I, and not me alone, and not my communal brethren alone either, was the idea that we possessed again probably way past it use by date was that “music was the revolution” by that meaning nothing but the general lifestyle changes through the decade so that the combination of “dropping out” of nine to five society, dope in its many manifestations, kindnesses, good thought and the rapidly evolving music would carry us over the finish line. Guys like Josh Breslin and the late Pete Markin, hard political guys as well as rabid music lovers and dopers, used to laugh at me when I even mentioned that I was held in that sway especially when ebb tide of the counter-cultural movement hit in Nixon times and the bastinado was as likely to be our home as the new Garden. Still Jim Morrison as the “new man” (new human in today speak) made a lot of sense to me although when he fell down like many others to the lure of the dope I started reappraising some of my ideas -worried about that bastinado fate.  

So I’ll be damned right now if I could tell you that we had such a voice, and maybe that was the problem, or a problem which has left us some fifty years later without a good answer. Which only means for others to chime in with their thoughts on this matter.