News from the Kate Sharpley Library

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on May 28, 2022

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 105, May 2022 has just been posted on our site.
Contents:

Question and answer on Anarchism [Anti-Imperialism] by Albert Meltzer "Whenever we see the word ‘anti-imperialism’ nowadays we sniff at it carefully before opening the package, not as one would for explosives, but to see if the milk has gone sour. "

Library update (May 2022) "As you might expect, other people have been busy digging away at anarchist history too."

Bessie Kimmelman: fragments of an anarchist life "No doubt more fragments of her life are waiting to be found!"

The Makhnovshchina and Its Aftermath: Documents from the movement and its survivors [Book review] "Black Cat Press have (again) added to what we know about the Makhnovist movement."

Alternatives to suicide by Albert Meltzer "In 1980 Cienfuegos Press published Towards a citizens’ militia: anarchist alternatives to NATO & the Warsaw Pact. Various politicians complained. An earlier article in Black Flag declared ‘to be attacked by these people is like having the Good House­keeping seal of approval.’ (v.6, n.3, June 1980) Here Albert probes the motives behind their fear of the idea of popular self-defence and speculates on what they would have done if Hitler had successfully invaded Britain. Would they really kill themselves rather than collaborate?"

Ken Williams [a tribute from Hastings] by Alex Price "The character me and my friends knew was probably semi-unrecognisable from the anarcho-syndicalist legend of 1980s London, although we knew he was in there."

You can read the bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/31zf3c The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/mw6p4g

Kate Sharpley

1 year 8 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on September 22, 2022

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 106, September 2022 has just been posted on our site.

Contents:

Union-Bashing Economics [1975] by Albert Meltzer "It is the language of myth called in to justify power – an economic myth to replace the patriotic myth, but in this case using the same ‘national necessity’ ploy as in war."

Remembering Stuart, two years on "Copies of A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader arrived in the UK at the very end of June 2022... We’d like to see copies in libraries: have you asked your local library to get one?"

A ‘good example’: A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader [Book review] by Mark R. "There is undoubtedly, a new world waiting to be built, and from those members of that ‘strange, unknown, unappreciated tribe’ who came before us, and in whose ranks Stuart Christie now stands, we can find the inspiration to fight on; for as another of those fighters once said; ‘we are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that.’"

A living book : 'A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader' [book review] by Richard Warren "A life for anarchy is a proper reader – not a dry memorial, not a dusty headstone, but a living book to keep handy, to dip into repeatedly and to relish."

Immense enthusiasm and optimism : 'A Life For Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader' [book review] by Chris Ealham "I was impressed by his literary references, which ranged from obscure Scottish poetry to popular culture; this was always very natural, lightly worn, in no way jarring or artificial. He also displayed immense enthusiasm and optimism. Many of these admirable traits are attested to in the final section, which consists of tributes paid to Stuart by his comrades, friends and loved ones, although the frontiers between these categories were very fluid."

The use and need for a union by Léa Wullschleger "Certainly, if they cannot fight against the bosses with the same weapons as them, capital, since they don’t own any, they can achieve anything through numbers and organisation; since we are no doubt the more numerous."

Joe Thomas [obituary] by Albert Meltzer "he was (to the surprise of his many friends in the trade union movement) a good friend to revolutionary anarchism and to the practicalities of anarcho-syndicalism (to the dismay of his Marxist friends)."

Audrey Beecham [1915-89] by Albert Meltzer "She was a good friend to Miguel Garcia and myself. I took back from Barcelona this October many messages of greetings from Spanish friends both of the ‘thirties and ‘sixties, which will never now be delivered."

Anarchist history roundup Aug. 2022

Advice to My Anarchist Comrades (1901) by Élisée Reclus (and Stuart Christie) "What then should we do to maintain our intellectual vigor, our moral energy, and our faith in the good fight?"

You can read the bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/dv43bp The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/xpnxzt

Kate Sharpley

1 year 5 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on December 17, 2022

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No.107-108, December 2022 has just been posted on our site.

It's a double issue partly because there are lots of book reviews but also because our attempt to unravel the Albert Meltzer-George Woodcock conflict turned out to be quite long. Did it really start in the 1940s? Or was it that after the war they drew ‘opposite conclusions from twentieth century history’?

Contents:
Kate Sharpley Library collective interviewed by the Tyneside Anarchist Archive "are the days of physical literature numbered? What forthcoming titles are planned?"

Slaughter or slander? Notes on the Albert Meltzer-George Woodcock conflict "Albert Meltzer was a longstanding critic of non-revolutionary and ‘intellectual’ trends described as ‘new anarchism’ or ‘militant liberalism’ (depending on your point of view). Part of this was his conflict with the Canadian writer George Woodcock. I want to examine that conflict and when and how it arose in particular."

Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward [Book review] by Albert Meltzer "What the book is is an honest, though circumscribed, attempt to show how a limited application of anarchist principles may be made within in State preserving some civil rights."

The Idea by Nick Heath [Book review] "The Idea is a full (and honest) history of anarchist communism"

Spanish Participation in the Haute Savoie Resistance by Imanol "The Spanish contribution to the resistance in the Alps was not only sizeable but the libertarian presence there was significant."

War And Peace by Proudhon [Book Review] by Coco Shrapnel "Many a stimulating yet unhappy hour can be spent with this book, pondering the wars in Yemen, Syria or Ukraine and the prospects for world peace."

Chris Jones [Chris Braithwaite] by Mat Kavanagh "Chris Jones left his home in the West Indies quite young and followed the sea. He saw capitalism at work under all conditions, and it aroused all his native antagonism to injustice and poverty."

Library Update [Nov. 2022] News from The Sparrows' Nest, Judy Greenway and (some of) what's new on the KSL site.

Leeds Anarchist Group (1935) by Herbert Foster "In the industrial hell of Leeds there is nothing so striking as the stark contrasts between extreme wealth on the one hand and the extreme poverty on the other. Such is the essence of Civilization."

You can read the bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rr50f1. The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9kd6nt

Kate Sharpley

1 year 2 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on March 25, 2023

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 109, March 2023 has just been posted on our site.

Contents:
The Wooden Shoe is on the other foot: examining a myth "The Wooden Shoe was an anarchist bookshop at 42 Old Compton Street in London which ran from 1966 to 1967. Donald Rooum blamed it for starting a dispute between Albert Meltzer and Vero (Vernon Richards), but that seems to be wrong."

Keeping Alive the Spirit of Revolt : Some thoughts on Albert Meltzer and his writings by Barry Pateman "Albert provided myself and many others with a road map to anarchism we could travel with."

Frank Leech by Albert Meltzer "Frank Leech was tireless over many years in speaking, giving practical aid to unofficial strikers, and issuing papers and pamphlets."

Anarchist archives, terrorism and censorship by the Centro Studi Libertari/ Archivio G. Pinelli "If archives cannot preserve all the existing documents relating to a political movement, or referring to a certain historical period, what kind of history would one end up making?"

Letterpress Revolution: The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture [Book review] by Peter Good "Anarchism has always been an assembly of factions and we can be certain that every tendency produced its own paper. Ferguson is to be praised for tracing the many forgotten printers..."

Looking Back (then and now) "Our comrades from the Workers Solidarity Movement have issued the closing statement they promised when they stopped in December 2021. [...] The defeated anarchist militants who had opposed the official ‘collaborationist’ line during the Spanish Civil War carried out some similar soul-searching."

You can read the bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2v6zdb The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/3n5vsb

Kate Sharpley

10 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on August 3, 2023

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 110-111, August 2023 [a Double issue] has just been posted on our site.

Contents:
‘Our Cause May Grow The Richer,’ Some thoughts on Billy MacQueen by Barry Pateman. What do 'his scattered writings and publications tell us about him and the anarchist world he was part of'?

Remembering Roy Emery. ‘I remember Roy as someone who would stand up for his beliefs’.

‘Not a good look’? Reading Dave Cope on British anarchist publishing history. 'Cope reacts badly to Albert [Meltzer]’s self-declared sectarianism.'

Anarchism: Arguments for and against [2023, review] 'It’s good to have this classic back in print.'

Papers from Saint Louis. 'We have just posted some issues of anarchist newspapers published in Saint Louis (or nearby).'

Guillamón and the Nebula. 'We have recently put up two translated articles by Agustín Guillamón which look at affinity groups.'

To The Miners by Janet Grove 'Away with masters, one and all,… and, workers, we’ll be Free!'

The day we took the white tower [Price Waterhouse occupation, Glasgow, 1984] by Brian Biggins 'In retrospect, the group felt that the action was relatively successful – not from the narrow view of publicity for the Clydeside Anarchists – but because it was a positive action on behalf of the miners to the ruling class offensive.'

Papers and Projects. (Fundación Anselmo Lorenzo / Marie Goldsmith / Past Tense / Stuart Christie / Yiddish anarchist papers / Libcom / Cleveland / MayDay Rooms / Police Spies Out of Lives / The Salish Sea Anarchist Archive)

Library Notes [July 2023] New subject headings!

Join the Professionals: The army of the unemployed. 'The Army doesn’t exist to do you a favour, it’s a force of repression, not a holiday club.'

You can read the Bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/34tp7t The PDF is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/j0zr8v

Kate Sharpley

7 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on October 29, 2023

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 112, October 2023 has just been posted on our site.

Contents:
The Paris Commune by Jules Scarceriaux (with cartoon by Richard Warren) 'We could never live in those mansions; there are carpets three inches thick; the furniture is too luxurious to be touched'

Jules Scarceriaux. Anarchist by the Dockstader Anarchist Mutual Aid Society 'The FBI made special note of Scarceriaux’s ability to speak nine separate languages, which made him a useful organizer for the I.W.W.'

Seth Dockstader by the Dockstader Anarchist Mutual Aid Society 'For those who are unaware of Seth, he is not an anarchist from early period of the anarchist movement, but rather a contemporary who was a loyal friend and comrade to many still active today.'

Walking in the old ruts by H. Mace 'the emancipation of labour from the wages system is an economic problem, and that to make an assault on the House of Commons through the medium of a political Labour party to achieve its salvation is as fatal as practising nudism at the poles.'

History notes (Sept. 2023) links to 'The Unstoppable Anarchist Ersilia Cavedagni' and 'The Patacons, a libertarian band in the Prades Mountains'

Defeat and Revival : Thoughts on The Weight of the Stars [Book Review] 'The Weight of the Stars is an essential contribution to the history of the anarchist struggle against Francoism.'

Everyday Anarchist by Nick Mamatas 'A Life for Anarchy: A Stuart Christie Reader, edited by the Kate Sharpley Library, is an excellent step in cementing Christie’s posthumous reputation, and those of his comrades.'

Fighting the “monster of ignorance” [Book review] by Barry Pateman (Review of 'Letterpress Revolution' by Kathy Ferguson): 'This work opens up many paths for militants, researchers and writers to follow in trying understand anarchism and anarchists and their relation to anarchy.'

Mat Kavanagh: A Tribute by John Hewetson 'Wherever he found himself Mat was always an anarchist. His experience taught him to adhere to the traditional ideas of the movement and his judgment was always sane, well-balanced and expressed with characteristic humour.'

Mat Kavanagh [Letter] by Henry Moorhouse 'Mat was the boy to remind them of certain principles which no amount of political opportunism could change or destroy.'

Audrey Beecham [letter] by Kevin E 'we were approached by this posh elderly woman who turned out to be Audrey. We were all in our early 20’s at the time, so it seemed unusual, but she was obviously interested and when she talked about her time in Spain we all got on fine.'

You can read the bulletin via https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/63xv5h The pdf is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bk3m09

westartfromhere

7 months ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 30, 2023

Sent this to my spouse who wants to replace our thin, worn bedroom carpet and trash and bruck the furniture and substitute with new:

'Still, the same workers went back to the Committee to tell them: “We could never live in those mansions; there are carpets three inches thick; the furniture is too luxurious to be touched … we find it impossible to live in such high class dwellings.” ʼ

Kate Sharpley

7 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on October 31, 2023

The full paragraph is "Part of the workers’ dwellings – continued Constant – had been destroyed by the result of the siege. To provide shelters for the homeless, the record of empty mansions, left by capitalists who had made their escape to Versaille, had been made, and shelterless workers were sent to those mansions to live there with their families. Still, the same workers went back to the Committee to tell them: “We could never live in those mansions; there are carpets three inches thick; the furniture is too luxurious to be touched … we find it impossible to live in such high class dwellings.” To no avail was the reply: “You, workers, have built those mansions, carved the stones and furniture, woven the carpets and the draperies…!” The workers would not enter the mansions and prefered to live in the storage room or even in the stables. "
Not sure 'new carpet after the revolution' is the answer to your internal furnishings discussion, though.

westartfromhere

7 months ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on November 1, 2023

My issues with refurnishing and recarpeting are twofold. Refurnishing feels like the bourgeois solution for Gaza: smash it all down and partially rebuild with gated communities. Recarpeting is a problem because I have a habit of taking a piss unconsciously on the carpet when under the influence of beer and weed. I really am in a quandary.

syndicalist

6 months 4 weeks ago

Submitted by syndicalist on November 2, 2023

Always great to see KSL up!

Kate Sharpley

5 months 1 week ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on December 23, 2023

We spend a lot of time thinking about anarchist libraries, but we’re not the only ones. Luigi Balsamini has written A brief history of the Centro Studi Libertari/ Archivio Giuseppe Pinelli, an important and active library and archive. There’s a review on our website: ‘Their story is not only ‘local history’ but throws light on anarchist activities and connections from the seventies onwards.’ https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/b8gw74 You can read the pamphlet online at https://centrostudilibertari.it/en/csl-history

Their project is named after Giuseppe Pinelli, a Milanese anarchist who was murdered by the police as part of the ‘Strategy of Tension’. The Centro Studi Libertari have have just posted the English translation of Lucio Lanza’s book Secrets and bombs: Piazza Fontana, 1969 at http://omeka.bida.im/s/pinelli/item/6428

Also from Milan, we have posted Nuovo Canzoniere Rivoluzionario Internazionale (an illustrated anarchist songbook from 1914) at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/ht78f7 This songbook was published by the Libreria Editrice Sociale and contains songs in English, French, German and Spanish among the most Italian ones.

Coincidentally, ‘No Master’ by William Morris appears there and also in: Ruling of man by man : a brief review of the history of ruling of man by man, and its disastrous effects on the well-being of mankind by John Humphrey (1936 or ’37). https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/f7m263 That was purchased by the KSL from a donation in memory of Roy Emery by the comrades in Bristol Solidarity Federation, as was Dyer D. Lum’s Philosophy of Trade Unions : An Essay Devoted to the Interests of the Thousands Who, in the Daily Struggle for Labor’s Rights, do Battle for the True Freedom of the Human Race which you can read at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/4qrh5s

Finally, we have posted a leaflet from Freedom Press from 1948 relating to ‘peacetime’ conscription: We MUST Resist! anti-militarism, anti-conscription, anti-war, anti-government https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/sf7p2h

Enjoy the reading (and singing)!

Kate Sharpley

2 months ago

Submitted by Kate Sharpley on March 26, 2024

March 2024 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online
KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 113, March 2024 has just been posted on our site: https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/h44kx6 The pdf is up at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/c5b1n5

Contents:
Sport, War & Aggression [Letter, 1966] by Albert Meltzer "But let us face it, the majority who resisted conscription, either by objection or indiscipline, desertion or struggle within the forces, were the aggressive types, or, as the psychologists might have it, the ‘delinquents’."

Looking for Decio Anzani "Anzani was arrested as an ‘enemy alien’ (because he was a ‘subversive’) and killed when the Arandora Star was torpedoed (2 July 1940)."

Decio Anzani by Alfio Bernabei "In 1903 he was called up into the army but deserted instead and had then to leave Italy. The State Archives in Rome show reports about him from Italian spies in Switzerland, France, Belgium and Great Britain."

Decio Anzani [tribute, 1946] "An attack by fascists was answered by the deportation of antifascists to Canada!" ... "His case is a good illustration of the queer sort of antifascism to which those ruling Britain subscribed."

Unsettled Questions in Socialism & Anarchism at the International School "These leaflets had been used as scrap paper to write a translation of Edmund Burke from English into French on their back, and were archived in a file bearing no connection at all to the London French, so this was an entirely chance discovery which revealed the role of the School as a meeting place where debates were organised by the British anarchist Agnes Henry."

Peter Good and the Cunningham Amendment by Seymour Di Sobedience "who can top the handmade, multicolour hedonism of the R Supward Press? Thank you, Peter!"

A brief history of the Centro Studi Libertari/ Archivio Giuseppe Pinelli by Luigi Balsamini [Review] "Their story is not only ‘local history’ but throws light on anarchist activities and connections from the seventies onwards."

For a Future Made By Us All [Book Review] "it felt like a dialogue: respectful and the opposite of preachy."

Georges Levezan, a Rumanian Student in the International Anarchist Movement by Adrian Tataran "How and where Georges Levezan died we do not know; there is every likelihood that he stayed on in France until the end of his days."

March 2024 KSL Update "We have just bought another selection of anarchist ephemera – thanks to our Friends and others who have made donations to the KSL."