An Anarchist in Love with Mao’s China - Herbert Read’s ‘Letters from China’ ... Plus a list of dubious accounts of ‘successful’ revolutions, from Russia to Rojava
In the second year of the Great Leap Forward famine – in which perhaps 30 million died – Herbert Read visited China on an official delegation.
Read’s acceptance of a knighthood for his literary achievements had already discredited him amongst many anarchists. But, at the time of his visit in 1959, he was still the most prominent anarchist in Britain and his published writings had considerable influence on, amongst others, Murray Bookchin.†
In this text based on a presentation delivered in 1985 at a conference on the POUM held in Madrid, the former leader of the Iberian Communist Youth, and the last general secretary of the POUM, reviews the history of the POUM and discusses the background of its leading militants in anarchosyndicalism and Spanish communism, its leading role in the founding of the Workers Alliance and the October 1934 insurrection in Asturias, it founding in 1935, the Popular Front and the February 1936 elections, its fight against Stalinist repression and its persecution under the Negrín government during the civil war, and the fates of the party’s militants underground and in exile.