Friday, 16 February 2018

Extra-"ordinary" Heroines

People are expected to have heroes, those one looks up to for inspiration on what is possible in a relentlessly tough and unforgiving world. I ran an ice-breaking exercise at my training last year in Colombo (Sri Lanka) as well as in Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai (India), getting participants to chat about their heroes. When I was asked in Mumbai who my hero was, taking my cue from my environment, I said it would be Indian Bakuninist revolutionary Lala Har Dayal (1884-1939), who in 1913 founded the Ghadar (Mutiny) Party that built a world-spanning anti-colonial movement that not only established roots in pre-partition India (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan), particularly in Hindustan and Punjab, but which linked radicals within the Indian Diaspora as far afield as Afghanistan, British East Africa (Uganda and Kenya), British Guiana (Guyana), Burma (Myanmar), Canada, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaya (Malaysia), Mesopotamia (Iraq), Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Siam (Thailand), Singapore, South Africa, Indochina (primarily Vietnam), and the USA, with Ghadarites remaining active in Afghanistan into the 1930s and in colonial Kenya into the 1950s – after Indian independence. But in truth, my heroes are mostly unsung, and they are often women - not just revolutionary women like Lucy Parsons of the US, Maria Lacerda de Moura of Brazil, Kaneko Fumiko of Japan, and Maroussia Nikiforova of Ukraine, but "ordinary" women who bear so much of the load of building society like carrying firewood and water for kilometres over the hills of the Transkei. Here are a few images I have shot around the world that remind me of their tireless labours.

Girls wash pots on the banks of the immense Niger River at Segou in Mali, before the Ansar al-Din Salafist uprising © Michael Schmidt 2008

Young Mayan girls getting the groceries on market day in San Juan Chamula, on the eve of the San Andrés Peace Accords with the Zapatistas, Chiapas, Mexico © Michael Schmidt 1998

Announcer on Mama FM, an all-women-run radio station, with visitors from South Africa and Germany, in Kampala, Uganda © Michael Schmidt 2008

Tattooed anarchist activist woman, Wellington, New Zealand © Michael Schmidt 2014

 Sudanese woman tells of the murder of her aunt at the hands of the Janjaweed militia, El Fasher, Darfur, Sudan © Michael Schmidt 2007

Women record their experiences of migration and xenophobia, Livingstone, Zambia © Michael Schmidt 2009

A pregnant woman hosts a workshop for journalists covering the post-"Troubles" Truth Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands, South Pacific © Michael Schmidt 2010

Women chatting at Occupy Wall Street, New York City, USA © Michael Schmidt 2011


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Anarchist Militia Columns in the Spanish Revolution

A CNT-FAI armoured car rolls off the collectivised production line, celebrated by anarchist militants, and bound for the front.

The volunteer anarchist militia who fought fascism in the Spanish Revolution are usually reduced to a few of the most famous, especially the Durruti Column - but there were scores more, as I detail in my forthcoming book In the Shadow of a Hurricane: 

All officers were elected by the rank-and-file and had no special privileges, and the militias generally fell under the control of the Central Committee of Anti-fascist Militias set up by the CNT in July 1936. Within the anarchist militia, there were a number of different columns. Deployed by the CNT-FAI-JJLL from Catalonia into Aragon on 24 July, there was the Durruti Column, which fought on the Zaragoza front, lead by Buenaventura Durruti himself, at first consisting of 4,900 militiamen and militiawomen but growing to 6,000, the 2,000-strong Ascaso Column, lead by Domingo Ascaso (whose brother died in the early fighting in Barcelona), Gregorio Jover and Cristóbal Alvaldetrecu, which fought on the Huesca front, the 1,500-strong Aguiluchos Column (including 200 female milicianas), lead by García Oliver and Miguel García Vivancos, which fought on the Huesca front, the Kropotkin Battalion consisting of JJLL youth, also on the Huesca front, the Red and Black Column under García Prada on the Huesca front, the Sur-Ebro Column under Antonio Ortiz which fought on the the Calamocha front, and the Land and Liberty Column under Germinal Souza consisting of volunteers from the failed Republican attempt to retake Mallorca from the fascist rebels, and which defended the free communes of Aragon, which were being established, with the CNT in the lead, collectivising the farmlands, suppressing the fascists, expropriating the latifundista gentry, Church, and bourgeoisie, and establishing worker’s control in the cities and towns. In the Pyrennees, the Sabadell CNT would form an Alpine Battalion which fought with the UGT’s Pyrennean Column under Mariano Bueno. International volunteers – perhaps 40,000 in all – flocked to Spain. Some 250 (later rising to 400) foreigners such as the Algerian anarchist Saïl Mohamed, German IWW veteran Heinrich Bortz and Canadian IWW veteran Louis Rosenberg were organised into an International Group of the Durruti Column, under Louis Berthomieu, which had as its training base the former Pedralbes Barracks, which was renamed the Miguel Bakunin Barracks, and comprised the Sacco and Vanzetti Century (English-speaking), the Erich Mühsam Century (German-speaking), the Sébastien Faure Century (French- and Italian-speaking), and the Matteotti Battalion (Italian-speaking). Meanwhile, several hundred Italians exiled in France – many of them former anti-fascist Arditi del Popolo militiawomen and militiamen (there was actually an office of the exiled USI in Barcelona at the CNT headquarters) – formed the Malatesta Century of the Red and Black Column, nick-named the Battalion of Death, which fought on the Huesca front under Cándido Testa, while other Italians were attached to the Justice and Liberty Century of the Ascaso Column, and after May 1937, Italians formed the 25th Ortiz Division within the Land and Liberty Column. About 40% of the XV International Brigade (incorrectly but popularly known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade after one of its subsidiary battalions), though it had been organised by the Comintern, consisted of Wobblies and unaffiliated socialists from the USA. There were only four Wobblies and one anarchist volunteer in the Canadian Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the XV International Brigade.

In Basque Country, the CNT had been a minority force with less than 3,000 members in May 1936, but the anarchist resistance to the fascist putsch saw their membership soar to 35,000, with 6,000 militiamen and militiawomen organised in the following battalions: the 800-strong Bakunin Battalion (CNT No.1) under Luciano Mateos, the 800-strong Malatesta Battalion (CNT No.2) under Jesus Eskauriaza, the 850-strong Isaac Puente Battalion (CNT No.3) under Enrique Araujo, the 800-strong Sacco-Vanzetti Battalion (CNT No.4) under Juan Rivera, the perhaps 500-strong Durruti Battalion (CNT No.5) under Roberto Lago, the 500-strong Celtic Battalion (CNT No.6) under Manuel Mata, plus a reserve International Battalion (CNT No.7) consisting of about 200 anarchists and others, and the 1,000-strong punitive battalion, the 1st Battalion of Engineers named after Manuel Andrés, in which numerous cenetistas served. In Santander, the CNT’s Freedom Battalion and the CNT-FAI Battalion were formed, but most anarchists were curiously members of the socialist UGT and so joined the UGT’s mixed brigades. On the northern front, the ac-hoc mixed columns numbering 10,000 that had arisen to fight the fascist menace were replaced over September to October 1936 by ideologically-defined battalions. In Asturias, out of 52 Republican battalions, the CNT organised the following ten battalions: CNT No.1 under Miguélez, CNT No.2 under Onofre García Tirador, CNT No.3 under Víctor Álvarez, CNT No.4 under Celestino Fernández, CNT No.5 under Higinio Carrocera, CNT No.6 under Faustino Rodríguez, CNT No.7 under Mario Cuesta, CNT No.8 (consisting of FIJL members) under Marcelino Alvarez, CNT No.9 under José García, and the Galicia Battalion comprising Galician refugees from the fascist invasion of their autonomous community, under Ramón Iglesias, with bases in Avilés and Colloto. In addition, the Syndicalist Party – which peaked at 30,000 members in December 1937 at the time founder Ángel Pestaña died as Republican General Sub-commisisoner for War – formed its own battalion. In the centre of the country, the CNT’s “confederal militia” mustered up to 23,000 fighters by December 1936, with battalions in Madrid and its surrounds such as the 2,215-strong Free Spain Column under Cipriano Mera, Ferrer Battalion (600 strong) under Cayuela, Orobón Fernández Battalion (600) under Miguel Arcas, Juvenil Libertario Battalion (650), and the Bakunin Battalion, and the 1,000-strong Palacios Column under Miguel Palacios, plus the four CNT Espartacus Battalions which arrived from Alicante, Murcia, and Cartagena to defend the capital (and later forming the 77th Mixed Brigade of the Republican Army). There were additionally anarchist battalions which were named after the cities of Sigüenza and Toledo which they defended, while other “cenetistas” (CNT members) integrated into Republican columns such as the 1,000-or-so anarchists who joined the Mangada Column. In Extremadura along the Portuguese border, the Pío Sopena Battalion was formed under Olegario Panchón, while in Bujalance in Córdoba, the 4,000-strong Andalusia-Extremadura Column was organised by the Andalusian CNT by merging the remnants of those who had faced the brunt of the rebel Army of Africa’s invasion of the south: the Bujalance Sparrows Century, the Arcas Battalion and the Zimmerman Battalion of Seville, the Pancho Villa Battalion from Jaén, Castro del Río and Baena, the Acoy Battalion, and the Fermín Salvochea Battalion of Almodóvar del Río and Villaviciosa under the brothers Juan, Francisco and Sebastián Rodríguez Muñoz, and in Málaga the following battalions were formed: Juan Arcas, Pedro López, Ascaso No.1, Ascaso No.2, Raya, Makhno, Andrés Naranjo, Sebastian Fauré, and Fermín Salvochea. Also from Málaga came the CEFA Column organised by the province-wide Spanish Confederation of Anarchist Federations (CEFA) under Captain Hipólito and Morales Guzmán. The Maroto Column under Francisco Maroto del Ojo (1906-1940), meanwhile conducted a successful campaign in Córdoba, in which the fascists were besieged in the city, and Granada, but failed to take the latter city because of a lack of arms.

In Valencia, the 2,200-strong Iron Column was formed by Rafael Martí, José and Pedro Pellicer, Elias Manzanera and José Segarra, and fought on the Teruel front, its membership made up of metallurgists, port workers, freed criminals, and about 600 members of the Nosotros anarchist group earning it a fearsome reputation – not only at the front but as Guillamón notes, by making repteated “visits” to the city of Valencia to forcibly “cleanse” the rearguard of reactionary elements and demand that the Republican state’s Assault Guards and Republican National Guards (the reformed Civil Guards) be dispatched to the front to fight. Also from Valencia came the 1,000-strong Iberia Coumn, formed by FAI-FIJL youth who had been expelled from the Iron Column for various reasons, plus the 1,200-strong CNT No.13 Column under Santiago Tronchoni, the 1,500-strong Confederal Column No.2, and the Malatesta Division (actually a battalion of perhaps 500) which split from the Iron Column over political differences with the ex-Nosotros group’s Pellicer brothers and which joined the mostly-CNT Torres-Benedito Column of 2,600 under Colonel Velasco Echave, which included the Jaime Cubedo Battalion of the Syndicalist Party, which by December 1936 was 30,000 strong. In that month, many fighters from of the XIII International Brigade’s Louise Michel Battalion, consisting of French and Belgian volunteers, disgusted at being used as cannon-fodder by their communist commander, defected to the Iron Column, forming its International Century. It needs to be stressed that most histories of the anarchist resistance during the so-called “Spanish Civil War” focus on the CNF-FAI confederal militia operating on the Aragon front, particularly the Durruti, Ascaso and Aguiluchos Columns, and ignore the experience in the rest of the country, with the exception of the Madrid front, and of the Iron Column – and the latter only because of its virulent opposition, alongside the Durruti Column and the Land and Liberty Column, to militarisation of the militias enforced by the Republican state in 1937. Both before and after militarisation, there were also regular Republican army units that had significant anarchist leaders or anarchist and syndicalist membership such as Gregorio Jover's X Army Corps in the Army of the East, and Cipriano Mera's 14th Division (and later his IV Army Corps) in Madrid. 


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Democracy & Diversity in light of the Zimbabwean Coup

Radio Freedom, run  by Taurai Mabhachi of Harare (above left), is a new podcast radio station which campaigns to get community radio stations licensed and on air in Zimbabwe. The topic of our pilot show on 30 November 2017 was informed by the November 15-21 military coup d'etat that ousted President Robert Mugabe - what I have termed the "Continuity Coup" as it reinforced ZANU-PF securocrat rule. Our guests included left academic Prof Patrick Bond, veteran former BBC journalist Andy Moyse, former bank treasurer Daniel Ngwira and former Revolutionary Command Council student Dandira Mushangai. We had a few tech issues, so the sound isn't great but those will be resolved in future and we hope this will be the first in a series of 10 broadcasts ahead of the 2018 elections. The first Radio Freedom podcast is available here.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

Belgium's Failed Guatemalan Colony

My late grandmother, Georgette Hemmerlé, told me her mother, Susana Esmenjaud Estrada, small and dark like her, was of Guatemalan descent and fluent in Spanish, French and "Kuli" (the lingua franca of the "Coolie" labourers). Georgette added other colourful anecdotal details, but I knew very little about that branch of the family - until I met some of them online last year and, in filling in details and sharing photographs of my grandmother as a young girl, sowed the seeds for a historical novel, about the failed Belgian colony in Guatemala. 

Georgette Hemmerlé

The story goes that King Leopold I of Belgium - the father of the psychopath who would steal the entire Congo as his personal fiefdom, enslaving, torturing and murdering millions of Congolese - financially backed the conservative Blanco politician Rafael Carrera y Turcios in his campaign for the  secession of Guatemala from the liberal Colorado-dominated Federal Republic of Central America (1823-1840). Leopold was really only famed as a royal matchmaker, having hooked up Victoria and Alfred, rather than as a statesman, but the bid succeeded and a grateful Carrera repaid Leopold by ceding on 4 May 1841 "in perpetuity" a sizeable chunk of Guatemala's Caribbean coast to a Belgian royal charter company, the Compagnie Belge de Colonisation (CBC), which built a modest little colonial capital, Santo Thomás de Castilla, on the shore of an anchorage in a suitably sheltered bay. An 1844 engraving of the establishment of Santo Thomás shows the usual colonial accoutrements: a church-cum-town hall, a company headquarters, warehouses, company officers, and dark-skinned servants and labourers.

A contemporary map of the colony, located in the Department of Vera-Paz, show it to consist of a generous swathe of varied terrain, stretching from the Caribbean coast, where three Carib villages were located (presumably their inhabitants were handed over to Belgian jurisdiction without consultation), a river, the Rio Dolce, giving waterborne access from the Golfe de Honduras into a lake named Lac d'Isabal, into which the Rio Polochi drains, the gentle backbone of a potentially silver-bearing mountain range, the Sierra del Mico, which loomed over potential plantation lands divided between company-reserved terrain at the coast (tinted yellow in the map below and including the Caribe villages), and a zone (tinted pink) to be sold in 20 hectare plots to holders of private title deeds - presumably colonists like my ancestors - centred on the settlement of Isabal on the eastern shore of the lake and including the hamlet of Santa Catalina on the Rio Montaguilla which marks the border with Honduras.

Three years into the settlement, an 1844 engraving shows two surveyors, one armed with a spyglass and cutlass, looking from the verdant heights of the Sierra del Mico onto Santo Thomás below, with what look like two two-masted topmast schooners and two three-masted barques riding at anchor (it is hard to be sure as their sails are struck), served from the jetty by rowboats. The "capital" has at that stage only seven wood-planked buildings other than the church and company offices already mentioned, so they probably performed multiple functions as store-rooms, victuallers and lodgings. The surveyors are probably determining the commanding location of two future forts each shown on the map above as "Fort (Project)" - one roughly where they are standing and another at the westernmost mouth of the bay, all in line-of-sight of the settlement for semaphore purposes.

But the Belgian colony did not survive for long. Malaria and yellow fever was endemic in the area and most of the colonists perished, winding up in a little cemetery at Santo Thomás (that apparently survived into the 1960s). All that is, except those few like my family who married into the locals, apparently their children being born with immunity. I'm not sure if locals meant mestizo, Caribe or Mayan (the Mayan city of Quiriguá is near the old colony) but my family's darker skin is a legacy of that intermarriage - and the ephemeral settlement occurred against the fascinating regional backdrop of the Caste War of Yucatán in which indigenous Mayans rose up over several decades against mestizo and peninulsare imperialism. The war saw the creation of an autonomous Mayan state - backed by the British - that embraced an area from Tulum in present-day Mexico to the border of British Honduras (today Belize), not far o the north of Santo Thomás. The Belgian presence ended in 1854 when, facing financial ruin, the company withdrew, leaving behind my ancestors and the ruins of what would in the 1960s become the home base of the Guatemalan Navy. I thought the tale of a failed 19th Century tropical colonial experiment would make for a great historical novel, something of the tenor of Bruce Chatwin's The Viceroy of Ouidah, so I am researching this further!


Monday, 15 January 2018

The Makhnovist free cities, their "navy" and bomber aircraft

In contrast to most accounts of the Makhnovists as "peasants with pitchforks" my book In the Shadow of a Hurricane will focus on its control of cities such as Berdyansk - and their deployment of at least one aircraft (below), four armoured trains (below), and a steamship in battle. The first proper studies of urban life under Makhnovist control are so far only available in Ukrainian: on Mariupol (Zhdanov), which had a 1917 population of 45,000, Lev D. Yarutsky, Makhno and the Makhnovists, self-published, Mariupol, Ukraine, 1995, online at ; and on Berdyansk which had a 1917 population of 47,000, Vladimir M. Chop and Igor I. Liman, Free Berdyansk: The Life of a City Under an Anarchist Social Experiment (1918–1921), AA “Tandem-U”, Zaporozhye, Ukraine, 2007, online at The key study on Odessa, which by 1914 had a population of 481,000, and of powerful anarchist formations based in the port city such as the Union of Black Sea Sailors (SCM) of 1906-1918, is also in Ukrainian: Viktor A. Savchenko, Anarchist Movement in Odessa 1903-1916, Almanac Publishing House, Odessa, Ukraine, 2014, but the second volume on the period 1917-1929 is yet to be published. Thanks to Ukraine specialist Malcolm Archibald for directing me to these sources.

French-designed Farman 30 biplane bomber as flown by the Makhnovists, built under license in Berdyansk

Artillery car of the Revolutionary Insurgent Division armoured train, the Terrible

The RPD’s [Revolutionary Insurgent Division's] transformation from a Black Guard guerrilla unit into a specialised modern military formation, the 3rd Dniepr Brigade (3rd DB) was complete – and this was the “Black Army” that, with several captured armoured trains, liberated the Azov Sea port of Berdyansk on 15 March 1919. Chop and Liman describe the taking of Berdyansk in great detail. [This includes the establishment of the Berdyansk Free Soviet there, but I have extracted this section for the purposes of this post]. Chop and Liman stress: “The role of Berdyansk in the history of Makhno is unique. The city was extremely important for the Makhno republic, ‘a free homeland of anarchy’. It was the only complete port of this political formation, the city where the navy and air forces of the Makhno movement first began to form. It was in Berdyansk that for the first time, in full swing, the Makhno and Bolshevik ambitions and elites were in competition for the city center. But this is not the main thing. Berdyansk was the longest of all the cities of Ukraine and Russia under the control of the Makhno rebels. Six times they were in combat, then bloodlessly seized the city and managed it for a long time, carrying out measures of its internal policy. For the first time – in March - June 1919, the second time – in October - November 1919, the third time – in December 1919, the fourth – in November 1920, the fifth – in December 1920, and, finally, in the sixth – in January 1921.”

In the city, which was an important wheat, leather and wine market and industrial centre of agricultural machinery and war materiele production, the Makhnovists found the Shroeder & Matias aircraft factory where the remains of five Farman 30 biplanes sabotaged by the Whites had been left; these were cannibalised by the Makhnovists to make one complete aircraft – the RPD’s sole operational combat aeroplane, armed with a machine-gun and capable of carrying several small bombs. Chop and Liman note that the 3rd DB aircraft was soon flown against enemy forces in taking another Azov port, that of Mariupol to the east of Berdyansk, on 29 March: “The plane took part in the capture by the Makhnovists of Mariupol, from March 28 to 29, 1919; the Farman-30 had a sufficient supply of fuel to fly from Berdyansk to Mariupol and to return. In addition to conducting intelligence, the airplane threw bombs on the territory of the Mariupol port, focused on enemy artillery. In addition to the White Guards, there were also troops of French interventionists and Czechoslovak legionnaires.” The Makhnovist capture of the Azov ports lead to the seizure of enormous quantities of ammunition and equipment from the fleeing Whites, while the 2nd Brigade of the Zanoprovsky Division under former Tsarist officer Nikofor Grigoriev liberated Odessa. In mid-March, two carriages of anarchist literature were sent to Berdyansk and Mariupol, accompanied by anarchist (Nabat?) and Left SR militants; detained by the Reds, their ownward passage had to be negotiated by the Makhnovists.The Farman 30 was used to dramatic effect once more on 31 March when Makhno, uncovering a Boslhevik-sponsored plot to assassinate him, was flown in the plane from Berdyansk to Gulyai-Polye in two and a half hours, roused a local Makhnovist unit which captured the plotters and shot them immediately. Chop and Liman write, however, that “Makhnovists would [in the future] be able to capture airplanes several times as trophies. But, in the absence of skilled pilots and fuel, they would never rise into the air."

Chop and Liman write that even though the Whites had evacuated the bourgeoisie from Berdyansk on the last available gunboat and steamer, leaving the port with no vessels of any size or fighting capacity, in early April the Makhnovist commander Seymon Karetnik acquired a steamer which his men used to ply between Mariupol and Berdyansk; the Makhnvists now had the core of their own tiny navy, crewed by sailors sympathetic to the revolution, likely including members of the famous Odessa-based anarcho-syndicalist Union of Black Sea Sailors; the Makhnovists apparently later acquired a fleet of tugboats too – but this requires further research: “A little ship was repaired a week after the appointment of S. Karetnik in Berdyansk. The head of the garrison took it under his personal control and wanted to make a visit of respect with the ship to his neighbors, to the commandant of the Makhnovists of captured Mariupol… Vasily Kurylenko. For the first time in the history of the Sea of Azov from the port of Berdyansk came a ship with a black-flagged mast.” The authors note that this was a dangerous voyage as the Azov detachment of the White Don Flotilla including the submarine Seal was still active, and “in the sea also swam British and French warships. Just at Mariupol, there were French gunboats and destroyers. They were in talks with the Makhno delegation regarding the fate of coal stored in the Mariupol port. And, at the very height of these negotiations, S. Karetnik's steamer under a black flag broke through the line of French ships. The command of the latter was rather angry. The forceful action of the Karetnik ship seemed to disgrace the French tricolor. The French even demanded to give them the Berdyansk steamer, but the Makhnovists categorically refused to do so. Rather, travelling back and forth from the port of Mariupol, the steamboat was not released to the French.” This amusing event reveals firstly that the Makhnovist vessel was probably a civilian craft – else Chop and Liman would have called it a gunboat or somesuch – though doubtlessly, it was weaponised with makeshift armament like artillery and machine-guns, and then that in the fluidity and chaos of the Civil War some highly unusual situations could develop, as with the French forces trying to beg coal off the Makhnovists who had just expelled them from the port. Vasily Kurylenko, who had joined the Makhnovists at the end of 1918 after serving after the outbreak of the Revolution as the head of the Yekaterinoslav Military Bureau, was installed as Mariupol’s military chief. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner by the Bolsheviks for his actions in a string of six battles that included taking Berdyansk and Mariupol, and his 1st Novospasivsky Divison garrisoned the city. 

 The RPD's 1st Novospasivsky Detachment poses for the camera with its black flag flying.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Desolation Station: a Few Images

In 2016, I started experimenting with new photo-manipulation techniques applied to painted, photographed or found images, mostly for my multimedia project Isandlwana - a Love Story. Here are a few of my favourite images which may not make it into the project however; they seem to encapsulate absence and loneliness, so they might form the seed of a new project...

Peace & Juice © Michael Schmidt 2017

She is always leaving, mystery in her wake © Michael Schmidt 2017

the petrochemical djinn © Michael Schmidt 2017

She walked into the sea and became Yemanya © Michael Schmidt 2017


In the Shadow of a Hurricane: Contents

My magnum opus, In the Shadow of a Hurricane: Global Anarchist Movement Ideological and Organisational Lineages is now in its 18th - and final - year of research and writing! It currently stands at 457,000 words, which will be more than a thousand pages published - and its revised contents list is as below: 



 “Anarchism is no beautiful fantasy. No abstract notion of philosophy, but a social movement of the working masses; for that reason alone it must gather its forces into one organisation, constantly agitating, as demanded by the reality and strategy of the social class struggle,” 
– Nestor Makhno, Ida Mett, Piotr Arshinov and others of the Dielo Truda group, Organizatsionnaia Platforma Vseobshchego Soiuza Anarkhistov: Proekt (Organisational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists: Project), Paris, France, 1926 




About the Author

(The coherence of the broad anarchist tradition; Defining my terms; My “Six Waves” historical periodisation; The origins, evolution and style of this book; 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
(Spain and Portugal: the fiery roses of the CNT-FAI and CGT; Italy: Errico Malatesta, Armando Borghi, the UAI, the factory occupations and the Fascist menace; Argentina: Pedro Gori, John Creaghe, Juana Rouco Buela, Severino di Giovanni and the southern citadel of the FORA, CORA and FACA; Chile: José Domingo Gomes Rojas, Juan Gandulfo, the revolts of the FORCh, IWW, CGT and FACh; Uruguay and Paraguay: 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 and the indigenous question; Colombia and Ecuador: bitter battles at high altitude; Venezuela, French Guyana and Surinam: the UOV and SAF in the margins of Bolivarismo and colonialism; Mexico: the PLM, COM-Lucha, CGT and FAC, the Flores Magón brothers, Antonio Gomes y Soto and the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1922; 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: Central and Eastern Europe
(Pre-revolutionary Russia, the Ukraine, and the Georgian Commune of 1905-1907: the NWU, Cherny Peredyel, Afanasy Matiushenko and Varlaam Cherkezeshvili among the narodniks, nationalists and terrorists; Bulgaria and Romania: the LCB, FAKB, BONSF, FAY, Mikhail Guerdzhikov, Gueorgui Cheitanov, and platformism armed; Greece: the Democratic Popular League of Patras, “Kostas” Speras, the SEMS and the lessons of direct democracy; Finland, Poland and the Baltics: the ZZZ, FAGPL and the shadow of Russia; Czechoslovakia: the FÈAK, ZJH-O, Bohuslav Vrbenský and the seductions of nationalism; Hungary and Austria: the URW, URS, Sandor Czismadia, Ervin Szabó and Leo Rothziegel in the heart of the empire; Yugoslavia and the Balkans: Miloš Krpan, Krsto Cicvarić, Paul Zorkine and the direktaši workers’ faction)

Part 3: The Colonial and Postcolonial World

Chapter 5: Anarchist Mass Organisation 1860s-1930s: East Asia, South-East Asia, and Oceania
(Japan and Formosa: Ōsugi Sakae, Kanno Sugako, Hatta Shūzō the Zenkoku Jiren, Nihon Jikyo, AKP and the struggle against gender oppression and Japanese imperialism; China: Liu Shifu, the Wuzhenfu Gongchan and multinational resistance; Korea and Manchuria: Shin Chae-ho, the KAF, KACF, KPAM and the Manchurian Revolution of 1929-1932; Vietnam: Phan Bội Châu, the Phuc Viet and the question of class consciousness; Malaya and the East Indies: 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, South Asia, Africa, and the Antipodes
(Anatolia and the Middle East: Alexandre Atabekian, Daud Muja‘is and radicalism in the empire; Palestine: Joseph Trumpeldor and left-Zionism; Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Senegal: Mohamed Saïl, Albert Guigi-Theral, the CGTU and CGT-SR; India and South Asia: Lala Har Dayal, the Ghadar Party and violent anti-imperialism; South Africa, Mozambique and Southern Africa: Andrew Dunbar, “Bill” Thibedi, Johnny Gomas, the IWAf, the ICU and the critique of White Labourism and craft unionism; Australia and New Zealand: Tom Glynn, the Red Feds, Wobblies, Maoris and 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 and the February Revolution of 1917; the PACF, Iosif Bleikhman and the July Days; anarchists in the October Revolution of 1917; anarchists and the Bolshevik state; the Kronstadt Uprising and a “Third Revolution”; Marusya Nikiforova, Nestor Makhno, the Black Guards and counter-power in Ukraine; The RPAU, Nabat and KBOP: the Ukrainian Revolution and Bolshevik Counter-revolution; Makhnovist resistance to Bolshevik treachery; Nestor Kalandarishvili, G.F. Rogov, I.P. Novoselov, the AFA and the defence of the Revolution in Siberia)

Chapter 8: A Blazing Star at Midnight: Anarchist Resistance to Red and Brown Corporate States
(The anarchist underground in Ukraine, Russia and Siberia; Anarchism and the rise of Bolshevism; The Comintern, Profintern and the IWA; The conditions for survival, and the Spanish phoenix; Anarchism and fascism in Spain; Fascism or revolution; Revolution in agriculture and industry; Fascist, bourgeois, communist - and "libertarian" - counter-Revolution; Crisis in the anarchist ranks; Counter-revolution and the anarchist split; “Crushing fascism once and for all”; Water and oil: anarchists and government; 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 Heartland; Traces of libertarian socialism in Africa; Ghadarite and anarchist echoes in India and Indonesia; Anarchists and the dismantling of the French Empire; anarchist revival in East Asia; Anarchism and cracks in the East Bloc; Anarchist resistance in the Heartland; The Cuban Revolution and Counter-Revolution; The New Left, “Counter-Culture” 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; Anarchist guerrilla forces in the Heartland; Anarchist guerrilla forces in the Metropole)

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 and the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979; Japan, South Korea, India and reaction in the Far East; Zapatismo, Magónismo and resistance in the Andes; Self-management in the Southern Cone; African anarchism versus capitalist “liberation movements”; The end of the Soviet empire, the IWA and the independent revolutionary syndicalist unions; Social insertion of the broad anarchist movement in the new millennium; The neo-Makhnovist revolutionary project in Ukraine; The Arab Spring and the Rojava Revolution)

Part 6: Reflections on Mass-line Anarchism

Chapter 11: Class Geography and Key Organisational Lineages
(The Western Mediterranean: Iberia, France, Italy and the Barbary Coast; The La Plata River Basin: Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and southern Brazil; The Gulf of Mexico: Mexico, Cuba and the southern USA; The Black Sea: Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Georgia; The Yellow and East Seas: Japan, China, Korea and Manchuria; Key Lineages: “Four Vectors” transmission of The Idea)

Chapter 12: Counter-power: New Theories and Practices for the New Millennium
(The relevance of anarchism today; Social insertion in Latin America; “Three Spheres” balance of forces theory; “Five Forces” militant-to-mass gradient; “Three Axes” of contestation to build counter-power; “Three Levels” asending models of counter-power; Conclusion: building counter-power)

Part 7: Appendices

Appendix A: Maps
(First Wave: Emergence 1868-1894; Second Wave: Consolidation 1985-1921; Third Wave: Expansion 1922-1949; Fourth Wave: Contraction 1950-1975; Fifth Wave: Rearguard 1976-1991; Sixth Wave: Reconstruction 1992-2016; Anarchist Bids at Counter-power: Mexico, Ukraine, Manchuria, Spain)

Appendix B: Organisational Index

Appendix C: Thematic Index

Appendix D: Bibliography