What famous communists or anarchists have you met?

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Lexxi
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Nov 30 2009 00:19
What famous communists or anarchists have you met?

I use famous for lack of a better word. What well-known militants have you met? Explain your experience. How were they personally? Were they what you expected? Did they inspire you in any way?

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 30 2009 01:22

At the 2008 anarchist bookfair I met Chris Knight and Wayne Price.

They are both idiots. After meeting them both I came away thinking that I really shouldn't go around calling myself an anarchist in case people associate me with people like that.

~J.

Jason Cortez
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Nov 30 2009 01:25

DP

Jason Cortez
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Nov 30 2009 01:25

I have met all of the LibCom admins and they have been a big inspiration to me and have not disappointed me in any way, shape or form.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 30 2009 01:33

I like that all Jack's anecdotes involve him getting punched in the face.

~J.

Yorkie Bar
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Nov 30 2009 01:40

How do you know? He punch you in the face too?

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mikail firtinaci
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Nov 30 2009 01:41

If Wayne Price is a "celebrity" for the anarchist milleu, I have met him once in New York 4 years ago. I was already a left communist then. However I was an anarchist communist before, and NEFAC and WSM was a huge source of inspiration for our group in turkey back these days when I was in AKİ (anarchist communist initiative now defunct). That is why I was exited to meet Wayne Price in New York. However after talking with him for about an hour or so in a cafe, I lost whatever sentimental sympathy remained for NEFAC. His arguements and ideas was very close to the turkish liberal leftists, academic multi-culturalists. His positions on the necessity of a wider alliance btw. oppressed people, working class, gays etc irritated me since even when we were anarchists communists we were at least clearly arguing that it was not single issue struggles but working class struggle alone had the potential to liberate society from oppression. I can say it made me lose a childish attachment to class struggle anarchism; not an attachment I had consciously but an attachment coming from being involved in anarchism since I was first politicised in it, and having comrades and friends in that tendency...

petey
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Nov 30 2009 01:53

i met that sid vicious once.

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Juan Conatz
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Nov 30 2009 03:12

Does Chuck0 count?

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888
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Nov 30 2009 03:42

My first ever encounter with an anarchist was the strange bread-eating Green Anarchist selling beardie in Oxford in 1996. Also I met Rata's arch-enemy.

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 30 2009 04:31

-David Graeber was at Goldsmiths the last year I was. I'm actually gonna keep my mouth shut on this one though (for once!).

-I also met Dundee Utd. He was lovely until he figured out who I was.

-Chris Knight walked by me going into my friend's halls to address the CPGB Communist University. It was about 11am and he had a bright red face, was stumbling and his denim jacket was hanging precariously off his shoulders. He clearly hadn't slept. He apparently lives on the same street as said halls.

-I drunkenly heckled Tony Benn and got told "shut up, I wanna liiiiisteeen!" by someone who went on national TV over G20 posing as "the anarchist".

-I got drunk with Rata and he told me SF conference was "boring".

-Raw, Coffeemachine et al once stormed Freedom and tried to kick my ass.

-I've squatted with about 1/2 of Libcom.

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Lexxi
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Nov 30 2009 06:15

>=(

A couple of years ago there was a knock on the door, I was in my kitchen and I had just gotten up. I opened the door and there was a man in a suit and tie, and he said good-morning to me, and extended his hand. I thought he was a real-estate agent because we often got letters and flyers from real estate agents wanting to rep you. He asked me if my parents were home and I said no, that I lived with my brother and he wasn’t there. Then he asked me what I was studying. He gave me a fridge magnet and went away. I was still kinda sleepy then cos I had just woken up, but later I looked at the fridge-magnet he gave me, and he wasn’t a real-estate agent, but was an MP from the liberal party (read, the conservative party), door-knocking in his electorate. I met the local MP in my underwear eek

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OliverTwister
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Nov 30 2009 06:46

I've met George Sossenko, veteran of the Durruti Column. Wonderful man...

I've also briefly met Elaine Brown, who was the second Chairman of the Black Panthers (I don't consider her a communist but many do).

Also I thought I knew quite well Anna the spy, who isn't an anarchist but played one on TV.

I've met Jon Bekken a few times, who is (in)famous as the editor of Anarcho-syndicalist review and former editor of the Industrial Worker. He's a real teddy bear in face-to-face conversation.

syndicalist
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Nov 30 2009 07:12

This is a silly conversation...but.....

NYC old timers from 1920s & 1930s....the Dolgoff's, Frank Brandt, Valerio & Ida, the CNT veterans, the Bulgarian's in exile and countless others. This movement is the countless "johnny higgins", the envelope stuffers, the guaranteed picketer, they're the sinew that holds it all together.

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fnbrill
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Nov 30 2009 07:16

I agree with syndicalist.

Most of the "famous" folks I've met became the ones I least respected as organizers, etc. The ones i learned the most from were those who did the shit work without the glory.

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Lexxi
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Nov 30 2009 08:01
fnbrill wrote:
I agree with syndicalist.

Most of the "famous" folks I've met became the ones I least respected as organizers, etc. The ones i learned the most from were those who did the shit work without the glory.

No one was glorifying any of these people, or alternatively ignoring the work of the unknown, so get off your high horse. I find it interesting when people talk about some of the well known militants they have met, because it shows that the struggles that these people were involved with were not so long ago, and that they were/are people just like us. Also, its interesting to see the historical roots of the political tendency from which you come from.

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Nov 30 2009 08:29

Marsella.

Sorry, but I never said you were glorifying. I was simply making the observation that the folks I have been most impressed by were those who were the 'nobodies'.

But now I take it somewhat back.

One of my favorite 'famous' comrades I've met is Henri Simon. He's not only had an interesting life as a revolutionary - his stories contradicting the situationist myths were eye opening - but he's simply a wonderful man who enriched my life. He stayed with me in Oregon back in the 1980s.

Two others who stand out are Penelope and Franklin Rosemont. I only got to spend part of an afternoon with them in person. Amazing minds and caring comrades.

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Nov 30 2009 09:21

For me it was Archie Green just months before he died. It was at a union hall on San Francisco's waterfront. He and I added details to a presentation on Wobbly graphics, further explaining one depicting involvement of gringo I.W.W. members in the "Desert Revolution" in Baja California in 1911.

At his memorial at SF State University this summer, I heard Hazel Dickens sing coal mining classics like "Black Lung." Elaine Purkey and Mike Seeger sang other labor classics, finishing with the whole audience joining in a moving rendition of "Solidarity Forever." Afterward I talked with Archie's son Derek and found out that Archie had grown up in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles, about 3 blocks from where my great-grandparents raised my grandmother -- and about a block and a half from where Stan Weir grew up. All three went to the same high school (Roosevelt). Small world!

Jason Cortez
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Nov 30 2009 09:47

Well, Albert Meltzer was a member of my local. I am so old and socialable that i pretty much know most of the anarchists in London, some of whom have attain a certain notoriety. Briefly met Stuart Christie. Whilst my big claim to fame is that, that well known 'inernational terrorist' Rata stayed at my place.

888 wrote:
Also I met Rata's arch-enemy.

You met the Serbian state?

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888
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Nov 30 2009 10:07
Jason Cortez wrote:
You met the Serbian state?

A. Grubacic

Jason Cortez
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Nov 30 2009 10:09

I don't want to know about your sordid sex life

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Devrim
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Nov 30 2009 10:26
Jason Cortez wrote:
Well, Albert Meltzer was a member of my local. I am so old and socialable that i pretty much know most of the anarchists in London, some of whom have attain a certain notoriety. Briefly met Stuart Christie. Whilst my big claim to fame is that, that well known 'inernational terrorist' Rata stayed at my place.

I think that it is just about being a certain age. Basically, I have met all the people who you would expect someone my age to have met. Like Jason, I was in the same branch as Albert, but I think a lot earlier, I once had tea with Stuart at his house in Cambridge, and met Rata in Warsaw.

Jack wrote:
I also met Loren Goldner. He has the softest hands known to man.

I took him out for lunch the other week. I didn't notice.

mikail firtinaci wrote:
If Wayne Price is a "celebrity" for the anarchist milleu, ...

I think that if anything its probably because he is American, so that not so many people on here have got to meet him. I don't think many people would think of Nick Heath as a celebrity although he has been around for a long time, was a founder member of the AF, and has written a hell of a lot, purely because he is sombody you can see in a political meeting.

Marsella wrote:
I find it interesting when people talk about some of the well known militants they have met, because it shows that the struggles that these people were involved with were not so long ago, and that they were/are people just like us.

I think that there is a point here. For people my age (early 40s) and older (and I got involved in politics quite young), we knew people who had been around in the revolutionary period. Most of us would have at least met people who were involved in the Russian and Spanish revolutions, or at least heard them speak at meetings. If you look at the people in France who formed RI, which later became the ICC, they were the kids of Spanish anarchists, who had left Spain after the civil war. My grandfather was a founder member of the CP.

For those of my generation, or older, the revolution was something that people we knew had experienced, not something that was confined to history books. I imagine for young people today, it can seem a very long time ago.

Devrim

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Nov 30 2009 12:44

Cajo Brendel was at the Solidarity conference in London in 1973 where the 'marxist fraction' split to form Council Communism and then World Revolution. ICC Comrades in Belgium and Holland knew him very well. But he sided with the 'Cardanists' rather than the 'marxists' on that occasion. I met Jan Appel at a conference of the 'international tendency' that went on to form the ICC, along with Workers Voice and Revolutionary Perspectives Grandizo Munis was at the second conference of groups of the communist left in Paris in 1978. He spoke very eloquently, but then walked out because he couldn't accept that there was an economic crisis. Marc Chirik, Clara and Mousso were three comrades from the Communist Left of France (and in Marc's case, Bilan and the left opposition) who were members of the ICC. They were all part of a generation that had been through the depths of the counter-revolution. However, Marc remembered being taken by his older brother, a Bolshevik, to workers' meetings during the Russian revolution in 1917. My dad wasn't very political, but he recalls his dad taking him to a cafe in east london where he met Chicherin, later the first foreign minister of the soviet republic.

petey
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Nov 30 2009 15:15
Devrim wrote:
If you look at the people in France who formed RI, which later became the ICC, they were the kids of Spanish anarchists, who had left Spain after the civil war. My grandfather was a founder member of the CP.

a little while back i put up a thread about a recent book on life in the CP in england (the lost world of british communism by raphael samuel), and was surprised by how many people here were the sons/grandsons of tankies or others involved in left politics.

fnbrill wrote:
Henri Simon ... Penelope and Franklin Rosemont.

how very highhorsey of you to mention that you met these people, and others less well known, and have an opinion about them, on a thread dedicated to that topic.

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oisleep
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Nov 30 2009 15:32
Quote:
However, Marc remembered being taken by his older brother

eek

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mikail firtinaci
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Nov 30 2009 16:10

oisleep;

Quote:
Quote:

However, Marc remembered being taken by his older brother

eek

Yes, this might seem ridiculous at a surface level. However beeing raised in an atmosphere surrounded with the daily implications of and enthusiasm in wider society of a world revolution should have been something totally different. Afterwall what you then encounter daily would be worker's discussioning revolutionary politics in... worker's councils etc. Compare this to the realy ridiculous west Berlin communes of "libertarian education" in which the children only experiance the life in isolated islands of "communes".

Compared to that the generation of 1920's probably had a much more deep and "natural" (in terms of daily engagement) connection with revolutionary politics and working class struggle. Their generation had lots of people who probably saw marx giving a speech, remembering the debates in the IWMA, or the other internationals. Communist like Pannekoek, Bordiga or anarchists like Malatesta were around with their publications coming out and these militants were accesible both on an organizational and face to face level! Compare this with our generation's situation who can only get an idea of these movements/militants from a very limited number of publications-articles or from a very distorted image of academic ignorance.

What came to worker's of 1920's generation as "normal" and "daily" is something difficult to access for our generation since there are far more less communists or anarchists to speak with. That generation had an physical continuity with the generations of 1789, 1848, IWMA, 2nd International... However our connection most probably comes from, as I said from the distorted images of mainstream media, stalinist/trotskyist lies or the very little and mostly written (in a fashion that is more difficult to connect with your directly empirical daily existance) sources that you have to waste too much time to form your ideas-opinions.

This is why as it was discussed in "parasitism" thread, that many things seems "abnormal", especially the organizational questions, since these were more or less borrowd from one generation to the other in a-non textual, experiance level in 1920's and which are thus lost or distorted for us. Is not it interesting that the generation of revolutionaries who made the revolution in Russia had their descendants in 1870's populists plus 1900's social democratic party plus 1905 generation plus the 1917 generation... Add to that the wider scene of revolutionaries mainly all over in Europe in US that they have interacted with...

ICC sees at the basis of that problem the long counter revolution that only ended -subjectively- after 1968... Obviously our generation is still in a process of recovering from that damage; I mean the damage taken from the physical destructruction of our older generation...

vanilla.ice.baby
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Nov 30 2009 16:18

I know Ian Bone and the McLibel Two quite well.

I think I've said it before, I was around a non political mate's house and I heard a friends voice coming from his equally non political housemate's room, it was a bit weird then later when talking to the housemate in question I realised he had been watching the McLibel documentary. surprised

I've met Tony Benn on several occasions, including on a chat show...

Come to think of it, I've probably met most "leading" lefties and anarchists in the UK over the last nine years, which just goes to show what a small world it is.

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oisleep
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Nov 30 2009 16:26
mikail firtinaci wrote:
oisleep;
Quote:
Quote:

However, Marc remembered being taken by his older brother

eek

Yes, this might seem ridiculous at a surface level. However beeing raised in an atmosphere surrounded with the daily implications of and enthusiasm in wider society of a world revolution should have been something totally different. Afterwall what you then encounter daily would be worker's discussioning revolutionary politics in... worker's councils etc. Compare this to the realy ridiculous west Berlin communes of "libertarian education" in which the children only experiance the life in isolated islands of "communes".

Compared to that the generation of 1920's probably had a much more deep and "natural" (in terms of daily engagement) connection with revolutionary politics and working class struggle. Their generation had lots of people who probably saw marx giving a speech, remembering the debates in the IWMA, or the other internationals. Communist like Pannekoek, Bordiga or anarchists like Malatesta were around with their publications coming out and these militants were accesible both on an organizational and face to face level! Compare this with our generation's situation who can only get an idea of these movements/militants from a very limited number of publications-articles or from a very distorted image of academic ignorance.

What came to worker's of 1920's generation as "normal" and "daily" is something difficult to access for our generation since there are far more less communists or anarchists to speak with. That generation had an physical continuity with the generations of 1789, 1848, IWMA, 2nd International... However our connection most probably comes from, as I said from the distorted images of mainstream media, stalinist/trotskyist lies or the very little and mostly written (in a fashion that is more difficult to connect with your directly empirical daily existance) sources that you have to waste too much time to form your ideas-opinions.

This is why as it was discussed in "parasitism" thread, that many things seems "abnormal", especially the organizational questions, since these were more or less borrowd from one generation to the other in a-non textual, experiance level in 1920's and which are thus lost or distorted for us. Is not it interesting that the generation of revolutionaries who made the revolution in Russia had their descendants in 1870's populists plus 1900's social democratic party plus 1905 generation plus the 1917 generation... Add to that the wider scene of revolutionaries mainly all over in Europe in US that they have interacted with...

ICC sees at the basis of that problem the long counter revolution that only ended -subjectively- after 1968... Obviously our generation is still in a process of recovering from that damage; I mean the damage taken from the physical destructruction of our older generation...

cry

syndicalist
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Nov 30 2009 16:30

I met Albert M. several times, but I couldn't really understand him. I think our "english" was quite different and he seemed to jump all over the place.But you had to respect him cause he was just that sort of person. Bookchin, was just a pompus anti-anarcho-syndicalist jerk.Paul Avrich had such a wealth of information, but always seemed to distance himself from anarchism -- like it sort of died along with many of the folks he interviewed. But he was a "nice" person in spite of this. A real tragedy that alzhieimers took such a gifted mind.

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Steven.
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Nov 30 2009 17:28
Jack wrote:

Altho my point of comparison for anarchists on TV was DD in Wife Swap. embarrassed

it wasn't wife swap, it was a show called "sleeping with the enemy"

vanilla.ice.baby
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Nov 30 2009 17:53
oisleep wrote:
mikail firtinaci wrote:
oisleep;
Quote:
Quote:

However, Marc remembered being taken by his older brother

eek

Yes, this might seem ridiculous at a surface level. However beeing raised in an atmosphere surrounded with the daily implications of and enthusiasm in wider society of a world revolution should have been something totally different. Afterwall what you then encounter daily would be worker's discussioning revolutionary politics in... worker's councils etc. Compare this to the realy ridiculous west Berlin communes of "libertarian education" in which the children only experiance the life in isolated islands of "communes".

Compared to that the generation of 1920's probably had a much more deep and "natural" (in terms of daily engagement) connection with revolutionary politics and working class struggle. Their generation had lots of people who probably saw marx giving a speech, remembering the debates in the IWMA, or the other internationals. Communist like Pannekoek, Bordiga or anarchists like Malatesta were around with their publications coming out and these militants were accesible both on an organizational and face to face level! Compare this with our generation's situation who can only get an idea of these movements/militants from a very limited number of publications-articles or from a very distorted image of academic ignorance.

What came to worker's of 1920's generation as "normal" and "daily" is something difficult to access for our generation since there are far more less communists or anarchists to speak with. That generation had an physical continuity with the generations of 1789, 1848, IWMA, 2nd International... However our connection most probably comes from, as I said from the distorted images of mainstream media, stalinist/trotskyist lies or the very little and mostly written (in a fashion that is more difficult to connect with your directly empirical daily existance) sources that you have to waste too much time to form your ideas-opinions.

This is why as it was discussed in "parasitism" thread, that many things seems "abnormal", especially the organizational questions, since these were more or less borrowd from one generation to the other in a-non textual, experiance level in 1920's and which are thus lost or distorted for us. Is not it interesting that the generation of revolutionaries who made the revolution in Russia had their descendants in 1870's populists plus 1900's social democratic party plus 1905 generation plus the 1917 generation... Add to that the wider scene of revolutionaries mainly all over in Europe in US that they have interacted with...

ICC sees at the basis of that problem the long counter revolution that only ended -subjectively- after 1968... Obviously our generation is still in a process of recovering from that damage; I mean the damage taken from the physical destructruction of our older generation...

cry

Don't you just love the proletarian milieu? smile