An overview of some of the material Juan Conatz contributed to the libcom.org library during May 2016.
A varying amount of my free time since 2010 has been spent reposting, transcribing, scanning, OCRing, creating PDFs and reformatting material to put in the online archive of libcom.org. So I thought I'd write a monthly post of 10 of the, in my opinion, more notable things I've added.
1. An overview of the 1934 Toledo Auto-Lite strike - Philip A. Korth & Margaret R. Beegle
This is the second chapter of (the out-of-print?) I remember like today: the Auto-Lite strike of 1934, an oral history, and a decent account of the strike.
2. Excerpt from 'Left of the left: my memories of Sam Dolgoff' - Anatole Dolgoff
Looking forward to reading this when it comes out. I even pre-ordered it. Spending a lot of time getting the 1930s anarchist publication, Vanguard online (which Dolgoff was a part of) and being in the IWW, this book looks it provides some of the background of what was happening.
3. Interview with the International Communist Party on the SICobas movement from Communist League of Tampa.
I found the parts where the questions are answered by referring to party documents both offputting and a bit cultish. I suppose its not surprising if you remember the few times that members of that group have posted here, but still, disappointing. You should be able to explain stuff without referring to approved party documents.
Other than that, I'm glad this interview was done because there doesn't seem to be much English-language information on the SI Cobas, or really any of the Cobas organizations.
The history of the Metal and Machinery Workers Industrial Union #440 in Cleveland during the 1930s-1940s has been a recent fascination for me. Mostly because it was one of the IWW's most stable workplace organizations in its entire history. The tension between revolutionary unionism and bread-and-butter trade unionism is always one present in syndicalism, but it is very obvious when looking at 440 in Cleveland. While being a beacon of hope for the union as it declined, it pushed the IWW to compromise, first on signing contracts and NLRB elections in the late '30s and then with adhering to Taft-Hartley's anti-Communist pledges for officers. While the IWW changed its rules for the former, it balked at the latter. Cleveland 440 eventually left.
Frank, along with his wife Jennie and brother, Tor, were all IWW members for varying amounts of times and periods. Frank mostly worked as a paid organizer for the union in the 1930s, concentrating his efforts in Detroit and Cleveland. He later came back to active IWW involvement in the 1970s. To me, he's always been an under-recognized and lesser known Wobbly that deserves to have a biographical sketch done of him.
6. Anarchist history: confessions of an awkward pupil - Barry Pateman
Thought this article by Barry Pateman is the closest I've seen to describing why I spend so much time trying to track down and make available this older stuff. Probably everything he says here applies to any kind of history.
Free Flowing was a radical newspaper produced out of Ames and Iowa City, Iowa back in the 1970s. Politically it was pretty mixed. Some issues feature Chairman Mao on the cover, while others include the writings of the Ames Anarchist Group. One issue I have is entirely dedicated to Iowa members of the Socialist Party, while others consist mostly of protest blurbs and cultural concerns.
There were probably hundreds, if not thousands of these 'underground' publications during the 1960s and 1970s, but coming from a place like Iowa, not known for its political dissent, Free Flowing seems unique.
Over the last few years, I've been slowly building up what I hope will eventually be the largest collection of Industrial Worker material on the internet.
9. Anarchism's mid-century turn - Kristian Williams
A thought-provoking review of the best history of 20th Century American anarchism around, Andrew Cornell's Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century.
10. November 11, fifty years ago - Lucy Parsons
There isn't a whole lot of Lucy Parsons writings out there, so was glad to get this online.