Tag Archives: History

via Jake Cortez / fb

( Philately: Anarchism and Stamps

There is a long anarchist tradition of stamp collecting. In most cases, receiving non obliterated stamps paid for the expenses. But often some comrade would start a collection and sell it to philatelists for the benefit of the movement.

Though many anarchists reached an international fame, it was very rarely that states would picture them, and whenever it was the case their philosophy was never mentioned.

Nevertheless, there are a few anarchists represented in stamps, the most frequent one probably being count Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace. The Spanish Civil War also occasioned a set of anarchist stamps, which were used for purposes of propaganda. There were also false stamps, for instance of Nestor Makhno.

The anarchist stamps that were printed in Spain during the 1936 Civil War are very rare and today very valuable. After Franco’s victory, people who kept them risked their lives.

Some of those who created those anarchist stamps and posters are relatively famous. Carles Fontseré (1916 – 4 of January of 2007) worked for the Spanish FAI, the CNT and the POUM. He worked with Salvador Dalí and Cantinflas and later was in Hollywood,

There has also been some exercise in imagination. New Zealand anarchist Bruce Grenville was the mastermind in the 1970s behind an extraordinary hoax involving the creation of an imaginary state: Occussi-Ambeno. See the stamps of Occussi Ambeno

Philately: Anarchism and Stamps, What’s new: 15 January 2007. [Online].

Earlier post in this topic:

(europeans against the political system/fb) July 20, 1899
New York City newsboys go on strike, refusing to sell the New York Journal and the New York World. Not allowed to return unsold papers (which they had to buy up front), newsboys—who were desperately poor and often homeless—typically earned around 30 cents a day and worked late into the night. The strike ended after two weeks when the companies agreed to start buying back unsold papers.

( The 1934 Minneapolis Teamster Strike

THE 1934 MINNEAPOLIS TRUCKERS STRIKE On “Bloody Friday”, July 20,1934,at 3rd and 6th, 67 striking truckdrivers and their supporters were shot by Minneapolis police, acting on orders from the Citizens Alliance, an anti-labor employers’ group, which controlled city government. Seventy-five years later, WE REMEMBER THEIR SACRIFICE!

This weekend Minneapolis returned to an old tradition and celebrated the 1934 general strike in Minneapolis, that brought unionism to Minneapolis. The first day was a music festival in the streets where the fighting took place. Today was a picnic attended by relatives of strikers, and representatives of the UE who took part in the Republic Windows occupation in Chicago. No known 1934 strikers are living.

Teamsters got their name from starting out organizing drivers of teams of horses. There was less time between the 1934 stike and the Civil War, than the strike and today.

By Dave Riehle

Read more:

1936. David an unemployed young man, leaves Liverpool to join the fight against Fascism in the early days of the Spanish Civil War. He joins an international section of the Republican Militia on the Aragon front where he experiences the trials and anguish of the war.

Wounded, he convalesces in Barcelona and is caught in the conflict on the Republican side between the Communist Party and his revolutionary comrades in the militia.

The resolution of this conflict and David’s return to the front may seem tragic but his belief in the possibility of revolutionary change is unshaken. His story is revealed only after his death, sixty years later, in letters discovered by his granddaughter.

( On aug. 1st 1917, Wobbly labor organizer Frank Little was abducted from his hotel and hanged from a railroad trestle in Butte, Montana.

An executive board member of the radical International Workers of the World, the half-Cherokee Little had only rolled into Montana’s copper mining hub two weeks before. A roving agitator who had organized workers all around the west, he would be a signal martyr to America’s nascent Red Scare.

It was a fraught moment nationwide, and worldwide. After winning re-election on the slogan “He kept us out of war,” Woodrow Wilson upon his inauguration immediately (try to act surprised) got the United States into World War I. Just as it had in Europe, the question of war put American labor to the test: would it transfer opposition to war into resistance, or would it line up patriotically with its state?

This outstanding IWW poster (via the University of Arizona’s web exhibit on the labor deportations that had expelled Frank Little from Arizona just days before he arrived in Butte) pits the militant Wobbly position against the nationalist American Federation of Labor.*

And Little was one of the most stridently anti-war in his movement.

Either we’re for their capitalist slaughter fest or against it. I’m ready to face a firing squad** rather than compromise. (Source)

Anaconda Copper could nowise welcome this character’s arrival, where he would organize already-striking miners and mix in militant anti-war rhetoric with incendiary potential in the cocktail of immigrant workers being asked (in many cases) to wage war on their homelands.

The local labor conflict, an exceptionally brutal instance of a pattern across the country and especially in western mining country, was probably savage enough on its own to make Little a marked man. Whether his anti-war activity or his union activity motivated his death is not sure, but the dilemma was probably a false one for his killers just as it was for Little himself: they were two heads of the coin. As American troops poured into Europe, and particularly as the Bolshevik Revolution later in 1917 spurred a worldwide Communist scare (and a separate American military expedition), both public and private power violently pursued left-wing elements.

Caption: Copper Trust to the Press: “It’s all right, pal; just tell them he was a traitor.” (Source.)


This note was found pinned to Little’s body. “3-7-77″, a Montana vigilante calling card, indicates the dimensions of a grave.

Officially (again, act surprised), it’s an unsolved crime. Even though the New York Times report the day after the hanging quoted a labor official claiming “certain” knowledge of five of the six men in the posse, and a prosecutor vowing, “it is a cold-blooded murder and every effort will be used to apprehend the men who did it,” nobody ever went on trial for lynching Little.

Company goons, likely aided by the infamous union-busting Pinkerton detective agency, are the presumed culprits. And it is the nature of lynchings to make extrajudicial the rough justice sought by a certain constituency, as expressed by Montana’s Helena Independent:

Good work! Let them continue to hang every I.W.W. in the state. The time has come. It is beyond the comprehension of the average citizen why the war department has not ordered certain leaders arrested and shot. The people will not stand for much more.

A massive funeral turnout brought federal troops to quash labor unrest in Butte … and in the years to come, the IWW would be hunted from pillar to post.


( A detailed introduction to the role anarchism played in the Spanish Civil War and the anarchist revolution within the republican zone.

Much has been written about the Spanish Civil War but the contribution of the Anarchists has been either totally ignored or reduced to a few footnotes which were often composed of blatant lies. To set the record straight this pamphlet was produced. It is not a history of the Civil War, that would require many hundreds of pages to do justice to the subject. It is an uncovering of the “hidden history” of the Anarchist participation in Spain’s anti-fascist struggle.

The anarchist masses threw themselves into a fight against fascism, and its cause, capitalism. Unfortunately the revolution was not complete, the CNT leaders held it back. Indeed their behaviour highlights the effect that power can have on even those who lay claim to anarchism. Spain provided important lessons for anarchists.

1st published 1986
2nd edition 1993
e-mail addition 1994
HTML Markup 1995
This web publication June 2011

PDF file of the entire text for download



membership “Internacjonał” (“The Internationalist”)

( Social and political situation in Lodz at the beginning of XX century: At the beginning of XX century Lodz was a dynamically developing centre of the cotton and woollen industry. The favourable location of the city and its developing industrial infrastructure caused a rapid migration of the workers in search of the employment in its factories. At the same time, very low salaries and the lack of social security institutions caused the numerous unrests, until the year of 1906 and the general strike with so called “Lodz’s lockout” that follow.

The troubles begun in November 1906, when the management of Poznanski’s cotton factory decided to fire 96 workers, that they believed to be the leaders of the conflict and unrest within the factory. Learning the list of workers to be sacked, the rest of the factory crew protest against it and Ignacy Poznanski decided to locked out the factory from 17 of December 1906 until the workers accept his decision. In an act of solidarity with Poznanski, owners of six further factories decided to close their gates as well. So, from the beginning of the new year, the biggest city’s factories got closed, leaving 25000 workers and 75000 of their family members without job and the means to survive. Workers got support from the Polish society and the international workers movement, so in the first phase of the conflict they kept on demanding the reemployment of 96 sacked leaders. On January 31, 1907 delegation of the workers meet Poznanski in his palace to achieve an agreement including employing the sacked again, but he rejected this demand saying “all of you will die of starvation anyhow”. When the rest of protesting workers got to know his stance during the mass rally that followed, they promised a vengeance on him, that couldn’t be fulfilled as he escaped to Berlin. After three months of strike and lock out the situation of most families became so difficult that the workers decided to accept the sacking and end the dispute. So the production resumed on 6th of April 1907. The defeat caused a lot of frustration among the working class, and the working conditions after lockout become much worse, as the employers tried to cover the losses caused by lockout by intensifying the pace of production, and generally were taking advantage over defeated workers. This led to the further conflicts between the workers organizations, accusing each other of contributing to the defeat. The conflict soon turn into armed struggle between workers militias of NZR (National Union of Workers – nationalists ), SDKPiL (Social Democracy of Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania – the communists), PPS (Polish Socialist Party) and PPS FR (Revolutionary Fraction of PPS – a split leftist group of main PPS), leaving 130 dead. After the assassination of the officers from Russian infantry units based in Lodz on the city main street, Piotrkowska, armed patrols of Russian soldiers were sent to the streets. In April 1907, interparty conference was held in Lodz to stop the wave of terror. During the conference, it was agreed to establish the factory commissions to oversee the observing the truce between the fractions.

Growth of the popularity of workers parties and the lack of reading skills among workers created a need for constant agitation. Workers parties started do employ the agitators from intelligentsia to recruit new members and organize the workers. This duties were carried out semi-legally, so the agitators were heavily invigilated by a secret police and in case of cover-up either fee the city or gave the names of workers that had joined the party to the Tzarist police. This was the cause of distrust towards the intelligentsia, and the open hostility once the members of this class became a leaders of the workers parties. On the other hand, joining the illegal party made it impossible to continue the legal way of life. Party members were facing the choice: either to stay in the party, pay the contributions and follow the instructions of the leaders, risking the arrest and prison, or to leave the party, or even create an own clandestine group of “economical terror” against the intelligentsia. The leaders of the parties, especially PPS-FR defrauded the party funds. All this led, after the lockout, to the massive withdrawal from the parties, with some workers even tearing their party membership cards. Out of the workers disappointment the first anarchist groups have emerged. When the level of living of the working class had fallen dramatically after the lost strike, the anarchist militant groups, committed to both economical terror and the attacks on the management and factory owners, started to gain popularity among the workers. Their actions soon led to 20 casualties among the higher ranks of society. Read More