Monday 17 September 2018

African Safe Havens Initiatives

Tunisian activist Lina Ben Mhenni, author of the blog A Tunisian Girl, gives the keynote address at Safe Havens 2015, noting youth concerns with the attempted roll-back of the Tunisian Revolution by reactionary forces.

Michael Schmidt, Convenor, Southern African Cities of Refuge Project

With repeated failures by UN peace-keeping missions to protect refugees, Africa has probably done better by its animals than by its people – so I was intrigued when introduced in 2012 to the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), which provides refuge for persecuted writers, artists and activists.  ICORN wanted to expand its network of cities into the developing world. The desire to do so was partly to prevent ICORN becoming another “West saves the Rest” initiative, as well as to reduce the culture shock experienced by displaced people.  For example, when Kenyan poet Philo Ikonya was relocated to Norway by ICORN, her teenage son had to learn Norwegian to complete his schooling; he could have studied in English were they relocated to South Africa.
Back in 2012, ICORN’s sole city outside Western Europe was Mexico City. Since then it has expanded to include – apart from new cities in North America – Oaxaca in Mexico and Belo Horizonte in Brazil, with more being negotiated elsewhere.  In Southern Africa, we are targeting the cities of Windhoek in Namibia, plus Cape Town, Johannesburg and the university town of Stellenbosch in South Africa, to bring them on board as ICORN cities.  The project was founded under the aegis of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism of which I was then Executive Director.  After moving to freelance work in 2015, I relocated project oversight to the Professional Journalists’ Association, and PEN’s South African chapter has since partnered with us.
Progress has been steady but slow, as working with universities and municipalities can be bureaucratic. However, the project held launches in Johannesburg in May and in Cape Town in July 2014 to introduce academics and city officials to the Cities of Refuge concept; films relevant to the exiled creative experience were screened – Beate Arnestad’s Silenced Voices on Sri Lankan journalists and Marion Stalens’ Silence or Exile on ICORN guest writers. Because most exiled creatives – whether choreographers, film directors, poets, journalists or painters – want to continue doing what got them into trouble in their home countries, the project requires the assistance of third parties to give them that platform. So we have engaged the Universities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Stellenbosch to explore possibilities – and have also established relations with the Holocaust and Genocide Centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town because of our mutual interest in interrogating issues of migration and prejudice.
So far, the most progress has been made in Cape Town where, initially, the fact that the city is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance assured that its decisions in this regard would not be aligned to national politics and foreign policy concerns (this is why ICORN works at city and not national level). We conducted an ICORN tour of Cape Town in May 2015, bringing guest writers Parvin Ardalan, an Iranian journalist, and Ramy Essam, an Egyptian musician, to meet officials, academics, and activists, and were tentatively offered a defunct museum in a converted suburban house as a possible ICORN residence. A bilateral agreement signed in 2016 between the mayors of Cape Town and Malmö in Sweden, a City of Refuge, will now be used to drive that project to signature and activation – hopefully in 2018.
Stellenbosch has proven slower. The original mayor who we met with in 2015 has been replaced, but the local university’s journalism department is interested in the project. Johannesburg was revived in 2017 by a range of discussions on possible venues that incorporate theatres, dance studios, computer rooms, exhibition spaces, and residential apartments. There, our project coincides with a similar initiative by the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders’ Network (PAHARDN) which aims at establishing Safe Hubs for persecuted human rights defenders in: Johannesburg, because of its cosmopolitanism; Kampala, Uganda, because of it successfully absorbed Somali and Burundian refugees; Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, because of a new law explicitly providing for such safe haven, and; Tunis in Tunisia, because of its new democratic dispensation; the initiative was launched in October 2017 with ICORN participation: here .
In June 2016, we relocated a Zimbabwean human rights defender in exile in South Africa to Windhoek, Namibia, who was seriously at risk of assassination by state agents. Two of his colleagues had already been murdered and one narrowly survived a poisoning. Relocation funds were provided by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). It was an operation fraught with danger that almost failed twice and resulted in the defender eventually returning to South Africa. But it taught us valuable lessons about such relocations which we shared at a conference with PAHRDN in August 2016. We have since, in 2017, successfully relocated a persecuted poet and blogger from Lesotho to South Africa, and are involved in monitoring the status of several other at-risk creatives. Our hope is that 2018 will finally see the project mature with Cape Town and perhaps Johannesburg signing on as ICORN cities.


Wednesday 12 September 2018

Hurricane: Updated Contents

My writing of the text of In the Shadow of a Hurricane crossed the half-million-word mark this time last week - meaning that published it will be well over a thousand pages long! But it is almost completed, after 18 years' research in 14 languages. Because of its extreme length, I cut the entire Part 6 which was a series of theoretical-practical explorations of global anarchist praxis today (this will become a separate book or monograph); I also dropped the Thematic Index for the same reason. I have recently translated the only book on the Belorussian anarchist movement and am now rewriting the very final sections, assessing revolutionary Spain. Here is the updated contents table.:



About the Author

(The coherence of the broad anarchist tradition; Defining my terms; My “Six Waves” historical periodisation; Explaining the structure of this book; On translations and names)

Part 1: The Latin Heartland and its Peripheries

Chapter 1: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: Latin Europe, Brazil and the Southern Cone of Latin America
(Pre-Revolutionary Spain and Portugal: the “revolutionary gymnasium” and the fiery roses of the CNT, the FAI and CGT; Italy: Errico Malatesta, Armando Borghi, Women’s Sections, the USI and UAI, the factory occupations and the Fascist menace; Argentina: Pietro Gori, John Creaghe, Juana Rouco Buela, Severino di Giovanni and the southern bastion of the FORA, CORA and FACA; Chile: José Domingo Gomes Rojas, Juan Gandulfo, and the revolts of the FORCh, IWW, CGT and FACh; Uruguay and Paraguay: Virginia Bolten, the FFREU, FORU, FORPa, FAU and the challenge of welfare reforms; Brazil: Neno Vasca, Domingos Passos, Maria Lacerda de Moura and the FORB/COB and FORGS)

Chapter 2: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: the Andes, Central America, and the Caribbean
(Bolivia and Peru: the FOL, FORPe, Petronila Infantes, Manuel González Prada, Rafael Tupayachi and the indigenous question; Colombia and Ecuador: Juan Francisco Moncaleano, the CON, MTWIU and FTRE and dockside syndicalism; Venezuela, French Guyana and Surinam: the UOV and SAF in the margins of Bolivarismo and colonialism; Mexico: the PLM, COM, Lucha, CGT and FAC, Emiliano Zapata, the Flores Magón brothers, Antonio Gomes y Soto, Juana Belém Gutiérrez de Mendoza and the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920; Nicaragua and Central America: Augusto Sandino, the CAS, FOH and the “banana republics”; Puerto Rico: the FLT, Louisa Capetilla and the question of who gets to wear the pants; Cuba: Enrique Roig San Martin, the FTC, FGAC, and the CNOC against imperialism, bigotry and the dictatorial elite)

Part 2: The Western Imperial Centre and its Peripheries 

Chapter 3: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: Western and Northern Europe and North America
(France and Belgium: the CGT, CSB, FCRA/UA, GCL, Jean Grave, Fernand Pelloutier, Ernest Tanrez and the syndicalist laboratory; Germany and Switzerland: the Jura Federation, AKP, AFD, LAB, Gustav Landauer, Fritz Kater, André Boesinger and the anti-militarist, anti-Nazi struggles of the FVdG/FAUD, MTWIU and the AAUE; the Netherlands: the LVC/LFVC, NSV, “Domela” Nieuwenhuis, Christiaan Cornelissen, Harm Kolthek and the forgotten syndicalist template of the NAS; Sweden, Norway and Denmark: the SAC, NSF, FS, Martin Tranmǽl, Christian Christensen and industrial unionism against the seductions of reformism; Britain and Ireland: the IWB, ITGWU, James Connolly, Tom Mann and the refuge of Freedom; the United States and Canada: the IWPA/CLU, IWW, FRAKG, Daniel de Leon, “Big Bill” Haywood, industrial unionism and desegregation)

Chapter 4: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: Eastern and Central Europe
(Pre-Revolutionary Russia, the Ukraine, Belorussia, and the Georgian Commune of 1905-1907: the NWU, Cherny Peredyel, Afanasy Matiushenko and Varlaam Cherkezeshvili among the narodniks, nationalists and terrorists; Poland, Finland and the Baltics: the ZZZ, FAKGPiL and the shadow of Imperial Russia; Hungary and Austria: the URW, URS, Sandor Czismadia, Ervin Szabó and Leo Rothziegel in the heart of the empire; Czechoslovakia: the FČAK, ZJH-O, Bohuslav Vrbenský and the seductions of national liberation; Yugoslavia and the Balkans: Miloš Krpan, Krsto Cicvarić, Paul Zorkine and the direktaši workers’ faction; Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania: the LCB, FAKB, BONSF, FAY, Mikhail Guerdzhikov, Gueorgui Cheitanov, Mariola Sirakova, Manol Vassev and platformism armed; Greece: the Democratic Popular League of Patras, “Kostas” Speras, the SEMS and the lessons of direct democracy)

Part 3: The Colonial and Postcolonial World

Chapter 5: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: South, East and South-East Asia, and Oceania
(Japan and Formosa: Ōsugi Sakae, Itō Noe, Kanno Sugako, Hatta Shūzō, the Zenkoku Jiren, Nihon Jikyo, AKP and the struggle against gender oppression and Japanese imperialism; China: Liu Shifu, the Wuzhengfu Gongchan, HSX and LXL, multinational resistance and the Guangdong-Fukien Revolution of 1921-1925; Korea and Manchuria: Shin Chae-ho, Yu Rim, Lee Jung-Kyu, Lee Eul-Kyu, the HMY, HMGY, HCH and the Manchurian Revolution of 1929-1932; Tonkin, Annam, and Cochinchina: Phan Bội Châu, Nguyễn An Ninh, Trương Thị Sáu, the Phuc Viet and the question of class consciousness; South Asia: Lala Har Dayal, M.P.T. Acharya, the Ghadar Party, Bhagat Singh and insurrectionist anti-imperialism; Malaya and the East Indies: Liu Shixin, Lau Hak Fei, Wong So-ying and the insurrectionists in anti-colonial struggles; the Philippines and Oceania: Isabelo de los Reyes, the UOD and the universal appeal of anarcho-syndicalism)

Chapter 6: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: the Middle East, Africa, and the Antipodes
(Anatolia and the Middle East: Alexandre Atabekian, Daud Muja‘is and radicalism in the declining Ottoman Empire; Palestine and Cyprus: Joseph Trumpeldor, Leah Feldman, and left-Zionism; Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal: Mohamed Saïl, Albert Guigi-Theral, Joseph Rosenthal, the INA, CGTU and CGT-SR; Mozambique and Lusophone Africa; Central Africa, South Africa and Southern Africa: Andrew Dunbar, “Bill” Thibedi, Johnny Gomas, Bernard Sigamoney, the Industrial Workers of Africa, and the critique of White Labourism and craft unionism; Australia and New Zealand: Tom Glynn, the Red Feds, Wobblies, Maoris and multiracial labour solidarity) 

Part 4: October 1917 and its Aftermath

Chapter 7: The Global Rupture of 1914-1923, and the Russian and Ukrainian Revolutions
(The Global Rupture: ten years that shook the world; the Russian anarchists of the PAF, PAKF and MFAG and the February Revolution of 1917; The PAKF, Iosif Bleikhman and the July Days; anarchists in the October Revolution of 1917; Anarchists in the Soviets, Factory Committees and the emergent Bolshevik state; The Kronstadt Uprising and a “Third Revolution”; Marusya Nikiforova, Nestor Makhno, the Black Guards and proletarian counter-power in Ukraine; The RPAU, Nabat and KBOP: the Ukrainian Revolution and Bolshevik Counter-revolution; Makhnovist resistance to Bolshevik treachery; Anarchist resistance in Belorussia and the West; Nestor Kalandarishvili, G.F. Rogov, I.P. Novoselov, the AFA and the defence of the Revolution in Siberia, Central Asia and the Far East)

Chapter 8: A Blazing Star at Midnight: Anarchist Resistance to Red and Brown Corporate States
(The anarchist underground in Ukraine, Belorussia, Russia and Siberia: the neo-Makhnovist resistance; Anarchism versus fascism in Spain: power and counter-power contest; The July Revolution against Falangism and militarist-clerical-monarchist reaction: the CNT Defence Committees victorious; The proletariat in arms: the people’s militia and confederal mechanised infantry columns; The heart of the Revolution in agriculture, industry and society: the redoubts of Aragón and Lleida, and the multiple roles of Mujeres Libres; Fascist, bourgeois, communist – and “libertarian” – counter-revolution; The Friends of Durruti-led revolutionary current attempts to rescue the Revolution; Rearguard, collapse and the bitter arguments of the exile MLE; West European partisans against brown fascism; East European partisans against red fascism)

Part 5: Survival and Revival

Chapter 9: The Cold War, Syndicalists, Guerrillas and Anti-Imperialism, 1945-1975
(Syndicalism after the war: the Metropole and New Zealand; Syndicalism after the war: the Latin Heartland; The MLNA, MDC and traces of libertarian socialism in Africa; Ghadarite and anarchist echoes in India and Indonesia; Vietnamese and Algerian anarchists and the dismantling of the French Empire; Revival and reformism in East Asia: the Japanese Anarchist Federation, and the Korean moderate turn; Cracks in the Communist Bloc: the Black Flag Rebellion of 1953 in the Gulag, the Hungarian Revolt of 1956, and Chu Cha Pei’s guerrilla actions; Anarchist resistance in the Heartland: the CNT-Interior and the anti-Francoist guerrillas, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile; The Cuban Revolution and Counter-Revolution; The “New Left” and counter-culture, Prague Spring and the Global Revolt of 1968-1969; Shengwulian: libertarian socialism re-emerges in China; Yugoslav “syndicalism” and Caribbean “self-management”; Post-war counter-power: the Uruguayan citadel of the FAU and CNT; Anarchist guerrilla forces in the Heartland: OPR-33, ROE, PVP, Resistencia Libertaria, and the MIR versus the Operation Condor death-squads; Anarchist guerrilla forces in the Metropole and Japan: Defensa Interior and the GPM-MIL-GARI Iine, the Angry Brigade and other insurgents)

Chapter 10: Neo-liberalism, Fascist / Soviet Collapse and Anarchist Reconstruction, 1976-2016
(The collapse of Iberian fascism and the resurgence of anarchism; Anarchist alternatives to authoritarian autonomism in the Metropole; Turkey, the Middle East, Shagila, the CHK and the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979; Japan, South Korea, India and resistance in the Far East: the Gwangju Free Commune of 1980; Zapatismo, Magónismo, the FAT, FAM, EZLN, CIPO-RFM, and resistance in the Andes; Self-management and factory occupations in the Southern Cone; African anarchism versus capitalist “liberation movements”: the PALIR, Awareness League, IWW, and ZACF choose libertarian federalism over tribal centralism; Seeds beneath the snow: the end of the Soviet Empire and the re-emergence of anarchist mass organisations; Twilight of the IWA, and the rise of the CGT and the independent revolutionary and grassroots syndicalist unions; Social insertion in the new millennium: the anarchist movement flowers again; The RKAS-NM and its neo-Makhnovist revolutionary project in Ukraine; The Arab Spring and the Rojava Revolution of 2012-today: autonomous directly-democratic confederalism, anarchist guerrillas, and women’s liberation; Instead of a conclusion: surfing the Seventh Wave)

Part 6: Appendices

Appendix A: Maps & Tables
(First Wave: Emergence 1868-1894; Second Wave: Consolidation 1895-1921; Third Wave: Realignment 1922-1949; Fourth Wave: Insurgency 1950-1975; Fifth Wave: Rearguard 1976-1991; Sixth Wave: Reconstruction 1992-2016; Anarchist Bids at Counter-power: Mexico, Ukraine, Manchuria, Spain; Anarchist Movement Periodic Table)

Appendix B: Organisational Index