• Gay Rights,  History

    On 100th anniversary of Georgian independence, a struggle for LGBT rights

    Eric Lee of LabourStart has written an excellent history of the tragically short-lived experiment in democratic socialism in the Republic of Georgia a century ago, crushed by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1921. Georgia remained under the control of the Soviet regime in Moscow before regaining independence with the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Eric and Peter Tatchell have written about the struggle for LGBT rights in democratic Georgia on the 100th anniversary of the founding of a Menshevik-led state.

  • History

    RIP Anthony Acevedo

    Anthony Acevedo, the first Mexican American soldier to be designated a Holocaust survivor, has died at the age of 93. He was a corporal when he and other members of his depleted unit were captured Jan. 6, 1945. He was first taken to a large POW camp, Stalag IX-B, where he was interrogated by a German officer. “He pointed at me with his baton,” Mr. Acevedo told the Press Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., in 2009. “He knew everything about me. He knew about my family. He talked to me in Spanish and English. He said, ‘You were born in San Bernardino and raised in Pasadena. Your parents were kicked out…

  • Far Left,  Far Right,  History

    The neo-Bolsheviks: Corbyn and the alt-Right

    Anne Applebaum, one of the leading historians of the horrors of Soviet Communism, writes on the 100th anniversary of the “Great October Revolution” (which, she notes, was not great, was not in October and was not a revolution): History repeats itself and so do ideas, but never in exactly the same way. Bolshevik thinking in 2017 does not sound exactly the way it sounded in 1917. There are, it is true, still a few Marxists around. In Spain and Greece they have formed powerful political parties, though in Spain they have yet to win power and in Greece they have been forced by the realities of international markets, to quietly…

  • History

    Whatever happened to Isadore Greenbaum?

    If you watched the video I posted of the 1939 pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square in New York, you saw the footage of a young Jewish man who charged the stage being beaten by the Nazis and hauled off by the police. The Washington Post tells his story. He went on to serve as a chief petty officer in the Navy during World War II and later moved to southern California, where he was remembered fondly on his death in 1998. Rest in peace, Mr. Greenbaum.

  • Anti Fascism,  antisemitism,  History

    When 20,000 pro-Nazis rallied in New York

    On February 20, 1939, more than 20,000 people gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York for a rally sponsored by the pro-Nazi German-American Bund. Watch this remarkable footage from the rally: At that time Hitler had been in power for more than six years and Kristallnacht— the opening salvo in the Holocaust– had happened the previous November. The ostensible reason for the rally was to mark George Washington’s birthday. Note the disturbing blend of Nazi ideas and symbols with those of American patriotism. A New York Times report the day after the rally provides some context for the video.

  • History,  Ireland

    Ireland honors Che Guevara with stamp

    Some years ago, I was pleased to receive a postage stamp issued by Sweden honoring the great Swedish-born IWW organizer and songwriter Joe Hill. In the 1960s the late Phil Ochs sang Joe Hill’s story. As deserving as Joe Hill was of the honor of appearing on a stamp, the Stalinist mass killer Che Guevara is not. So I was surprised to learn that the Irish postal service believes he is. The stamp, which features a famous image of Guevara by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary’s death on October 9, 1967. Born in Argentina, Guevara helped Fidel Castro overthrow the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.…

  • History,  Israel

    May Day in Tel Aviv: 70 years ago

    To mark International Workers Day, here are some photos from the 1947 May Day Parade in Tel Aviv– the year before the State of Israel was declared. Many of the participants in that parade– including deluded Stalinists– went on to fight (and some to die) in Israel’s war of independence the following year. More photos here.

  • Book Review,  History,  Hungary

    The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later

    Review by Karl Pfeifer One of the reasons for the hate-campaign against Hungary’s Central European University (CEU) and the law against CEU is that this university does not advocate narrow-minded nationalism and that it is contradicting the fabrication of fake history so dear to Prime Minister Victor Orbán. The Holocaust in Hungary: Seventy Years Later provides a scholarly overview of the newest trends in the study of the Holocaust in Hungary. It includes twelve selected papers organized under four thematic groups: –The newest tendencies in the historiography of the Holocaust in Hungary. –The anti-Jewish policies of Hungary during the interwar period. –Recent research on the Holocaust era in Hungary. –National…

  • History,  Israel

    Interview with Colin Shindler

    Karl Pfeifer interviewed Colin Shindler, Emeritus Professor at SOAS University of London and author of Israel and the European Left In November, we will mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour opposition, said that this declaration was a mistake. How will he react this time? It was in 2013 that he offered his opinion on the Balfour Declaration. It arises from his lack of understanding of both the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and of Jewish history itself. He reduces everything to a very simplistic approach. He sees everything in terms of British colonialism and western imperialism. However, the conflict is far…

  • History,  Stateside

    “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    William Faulkner wrote that. And as a Southerner (the chronicler of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi), he knew whereof he wrote. The New York Times reports on the goings-on in my little town of Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The largely-liberal town itself (as opposed to the region) isn’t all that divided on the matter of Confederate flags, however. I arrived back in town from the Arizona desert late Friday night and missed the MLK march on Saturday morning, but my sister, her husband and their daughter participated. I only wish the Confederate nostalgists understood the extent to which the Civil War on the Southern side was, as…