In an interview, Kate Evans, the author and artist of Red Rosa, admitted that when she was initially approached about it, she did not know who Rosa Luxemburg was. Evans did, however, do meticulous research that informed how her pictures were drawn, and she also used Luxemburg’s own political writings to convey her inner and political life. The book is lively and characterful, its main goal attempting to draw Luxemburg as a whole person. By this, we mean that Evans includes a lot about Luxemburg’s friendships, and her romantic and sexual life, as well as trying to convey her political ideas.
I’ve been taking part in Black August activities since about 1989 and it has been a tradition here at Holman prison for the last ten years of so to observe Black August.
Black August began in the 1970s as Black August Memorial in the california prison system by the Black Guerrilla Family in remembrance and celebration of their comrades who had fallen in the struggle for black liberation. Black August Memorial has been reserved for members of the Black Guerrilla Family.
This is the first episode of FRR's new books podcast. Our goal is to discuss books(mostly fiction), especially where they intersect with our lives, nihilism, and anarchism. I(rydra) will be the most consistent host with a rotation of friends and others I find interesting broadcasting when we desire to. In this episode we discuss Milan Kundera's final novel, "The Festival of Insignificance." I began reading Kundera as a teenager and my fondness for him has only grown as I have slowly felt the effects of his writing, ideas, and brilliance sink into me over the years.
Snapshots from the History of May Day
May Day is one of the days on which anarchists celebrate self-determination and self-realization. People have lit bonfires to mark the end of winter for thousands of years; it wasn’t until industrialization forcibly disconnected people from the land base that nourished them that May Day came to be observed as a labor holiday. At base, May Day isn’t about labor: it’s about abundance. It’s about excess, pleasure, freedom—the burgeoning source of life itself. As a millennia-old holy day honoring the return of spring, May Day directs our thoughts to nature—a wild and beautiful chaos that flows through us and nourishes us, which we can enjoy but never control. Our joyous acts of rebellion do not point to a world in which workers are paid a little better for their labor, but to the possibility that we could sweep away all the forms of oppression that stand between us and the tremendous potential of our lives.
“The question is not: who has the guns? but rather: what do the people with the guns do? 10,000 or 100,000 proletarians armed to the teeth are nothing if they place their trust in anything beside their own power to change the world. Otherwise, the next day, the next month or the next year, the power whose authority they recognize will take away the guns which they failed to use against it.”
Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist is a classic for good reason: the drama of the story drives it along. Berkman’s mission to assassinate Frick is interspersed with effective flashbacks showing his development to that point. In the prison there’s plenty of conflict which makes you wonder: how can he survive 22 years? Can the prisoners expose their mistreatment and the scams of the management? Will the escape plan work? I loved the cover: a piano with a pick and shovel leaning against it as a nod the outside comrades who dug a tunnel for him, covered by Vella Kinsella ‘tinkling the ivories’. There’s also the odd bit of unintentional comedy, like Berkman’s puzzlement when he first comes across prison slang: ‘I should “keep my lamps lit.” What lamps? There are none in the cell; where am I to get them? And what “screws” must I watch? And the “stools,”—I have only a chair here. Why should I watch it? Perhaps it’s to be used as a weapon.’ [p112]