Marking a heroic homecoming with pride
JOURNALIST Martha Gellhorn, reporting on the volunteers who fought fascism in the Spanish civil war, wrote: “They were fighting for us all, against the combined force of European fascism. They deserved our thanks and our respect and got neither.”On Saturday, in towns and cities across Britain, communists and comrades chose to differ.In an overwhelming display of solidarity, gratitude and honour, they came with wreaths, flowers, flags and banners.Staging more than a dozen events, commemorating the homecoming of the International Brigaders in October 1938, the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) was supported by the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT).In the face of Covid-19 restrictions changing at the last minute, plans were made and remade.Cheshire East Councillor Joy Bratherton was set to attend the Manchester event with colleague Mick Roberts from Unite, but as their home town of Crewe was blanketed in tougher measures, they laid wreaths at the memorial bench in the town’s cemetery honouring brigaders George Fletcher and Eddie McQuade.In Kingston-upon-Thames, a small group took to a boat on the river, remembering brigader Felicia Browne, the first British citizen to die, fighting with the Karl Marx militia in Aragon.Flowers in the vibrant red, yellow and purple of the Spanish Republican flag were cast into the Thames.In Middlesborough, too, a group walked to the Newport Bridge and cast their wreath into the river Tees.Martin Levy from the CPB said: “They fought because they had knew that if fascism was not stopped in Spain it would soon come knocking at our own door. The best way to honour the brigaders’ memory is to fight for peace and democracy and to build worldwide solidarity against imperialism.”
Welcome to the “Anarchist Jurisdiction” of New York — Where Cops Crush Every Tiny Protest
ON SATURDAY night, the New York Police Department arrested nearly a third of a 300-person protest. Demonstrators had gathered in Times Square to call for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. The protesters did no more than march and chant. They stayed on the sidewalk. Police outnumbered them 3 to 1. One demonstrator told CNN that officers “descended from all sides” and “started ripping people off of the sidewalk.” There were 86 arrests.In the preceding days, small protest after small protest in New York had been crushed by overwhelming police force and aggressive arrests.Such is the state of unchecked liberation in this, the “anarchist jurisdiction” of New York City.Alongside Seattle and Portland, New York City earned the official “anarchist jurisdiction” label from Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday. Other cities under Democratic leadership are likely to be added to this farce of a naughty list, targeting areas where potent antiracist, antifascist protests have erupted this summer. The designations are the latest act in President Donald Trump’s theater of the absurd.Because of the designation, the localities now stand to lose significant federal funding. There’s no subtlety in Trump’s cynical base-pandering, aided once again by Barr’s Justice Department in service as the president’s private law firm.
Chile: Looking Back on a Year of Uprising
October 18, 2020 marks the one-year anniversary of the revolt in Chile. In Chile, the US, and beyond, we stand at the intersection of a pandemic, an economic crisis, and growing uprisings against the police. In this tangled situation, demands for police abolition erupt in a context in which many people imagine that only increased police intervention can manage this moment of crisis.In the US, at least at the level of street mobilizations, the growing desire to abolish the police has overshadowed concerns over a new stimulus package or a moratorium on evictions. It appears that the George Floyd uprising has produced a political crisis that eclipses any potential crisis that a nascent rent strike movement could have produced. Every time it seems the uprising dies down, another video of police murder goes viral and it erupts again with a new ground zero—Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Kenosha, Rochester. Large numbers of people are now concerned about community self-defense after suffering white supremacist violence and federal special forces’ brutality. Yet amid these new concerns, the ongoing economic crisis presents another unstable terrain for state surveillance, control, and repression. We offer the following reflections from the past year in Chile in an attempt to answer the question central to the global uprisings of 2019: “How can we contest territory in ways that render it ungovernable?”