Title: Views & Comments Number 39, August, 1960
Date: 1960, August
Source: Scanned from Views & Comments Number 39, August, 1960
Notes: Libertarian League (publisher)

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San Francisco: Cops Riot as Inquisition Meets by B.B.

The present House Un-American Activities Committee, spiritual heir of the McCarthy Committee, descended on San Francisco's City Hall on May 12-13-14, and proceeded to interrogate in front of a carefully selected audience of DARs, American Legionnaires, and a few local college students who had managed to sneak in.

Many persons in the San Francisco Bay area, including myself, objected to the presence of the Committee. On Thursday the 12th we proceeded to make our sentiments known. In the morning, over 100 of us picketed outside of City Hall. After the noon recess, 300 of us gathered outside the Committee hearing room and made it known that we wanted in, to see "Democracy" in action. We sang, chanted, and made pointed remarks.

At one-thirty the riot squad came and two pious speeches by the Sheriff and someone else (theoretically one of us) interrupted our chants of: "Committee, go home!," "Let us in!," etc. About 60 persons still picketed outside. That day eight persons were arrested for a number of imaginary "crimes"—disturbing the peace, rioting, and suchlike. Six witnesses were ejected from the hearing room for seditiously singing "The Star Spangled Banner."

On the 13th occurred the best demonstration since the San Francisco General Strike of 1934. About the same number of people picketed as had the day before. At one-thirty, without any advance warning, the City Hall was turned into a public bath. Two-hundred students (and a few others) were hosed by members of San Francisco's finest, while the soggy crowd sang "We Shall Not Be Moved," and then sat down on the steps so that it would be harder to move them.

Except for one reported case to the contrary the resistance to this provocation was non-violent. Even when 400 policemen came and forcibly dragged them down the stairs, there was no physical violence by the demonstrators.

About 70% of the students were dragged by their heels (or, if girls, by the hair), heads and backs bumping hard against the marble steps. Many of them were beaten and kicked in the stomach and groin. However, only a few obeyed the police and went down the steps on their own power, the rest having to be dragged down forcibly.

It is interesting to speculate where the 400 police came from. The total number of cops on duty in San Francisco at any one time is 1400. Perhaps extra policemen had been called from off-duty in advance. It was reported to me that a government agent was heard pointing out specific persons to be arrested. It can be noted that boys with beards were dragged down first and that 4 or 5 of the students arrested were sons or daughters of "hostile witnesses."

Several local college student leaders were arrested.

Fifty-two students were charged with rioting, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest; two, designated as leaders, were charged with the more serious charge of inciting to riot.

Resisting arrest would be a false charge under legal definition, since the students were not told that they were under arrest until they had already been dragged down the steps, nor when they were passively resisting the police. Disturbing the peace is also a difficult charge, although the demonstration was noisy, since the prosecution would have to find witnesses against each student so charged. It would have been more appropriate to charge the police with rioting and to have the headlines read: FOUR HUNDRED POLICE RIOT AT CITY HALL, instead of: STUDENTS RIOT, or RIOT AT CITY HALL.

On Saturday 5,000 curious and Irate people came down to City Hall as a tribute to the previous day's demonstration.

Some assorted "radicals" and "pacifists" issued a manifesto condemning the noisy demonstration as having interfered with the Committee's right of assembly.

Fifteen hundred students and others picketed that day; they came as individuals protesting against arbitrary authority, police brutality, and most of all, against the Committee's reprehensible tactics.

At the same time two crowds gathered. One across the street from City Hall listened to the hearings. This crowd varied from about one to three thousand people. The other crowd was grouped in front of City Hall itself, where 16 mounted policemen reminiscent of Cossacks tenderly stood guard over those portions of the masses yelling at the Committee proceedings two floors above. This crowd varied from about 500 to 1,700.

One man, editor of "Underhound" (a North Beach publication) was jumped on by at least ten policemen, knocked in the head, kicked, beaten, and thrown in the paddy wagon, for indulging in a "free speech" demonstration. Two others, who came to his aid, were tossed into the wagon with him.

This caused about a third of the park crowd to come over and join those on the steps. The crowd surged up the steps while the horse-cops maneuvered.

The crowd yelled "Fascist" at the State authorities in general and "Cossacks" at the cops. They shouted for Arens, a particularly obnoxious Committee member, to come out.

They thoughtfully and enthusiastically gave him the fascist salute and yelled "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" when he came out on the second story balcony. He looked strangely reminiscent of a South American dictator facing his public 100 safe feet and a police guard away.

The crowd sang "We Shall Not Be Moved," and added a verse referring to the Committee, and on the whole were very spirited and determined. It was certainly the best demonstration the apathetic U.S.A. has had for years and serves as an encouraging sign that radicalism, real radicalism, may again become a force in our society. Stalinists and "Stalinoids" made up a rather small minority of those present.

It is fitting that this sign of resurgence should occur in connection with the Committee on Un-American Activities, an agency which in the guise of fighting Communist CONSPIRACY strikes against all dissident opinion, free expression of any sort, and all manifestations of discontent and desire to change the good old status quo.

It is a good sign that the signal of America's rebirth of dissent and protest should be a protest against the Committee, a modern inquisition and thought police; that the first blow struck should be for freedom and not for somebody's pre-determined program.

The Labor Party Illusion by S.W.

The cry for a Labor Party in the United States is again being heard from various sides. Some of the Socialist Party people are agitating for it. The Trotskyists are currently in favor of it, and Meany, President of the AFL-CIO, climbs on and off of the bandwagon as the spirit moves him or as policy considerations of the moment appear to dictate.

Agitation for a Labor Party is almost as old as the labor movement itself. Numerous beginnings in this direction have at times been made. In 1829 the "Workingmens Party" in New York received 6,000 out of 21,000 votes, a higher proportion than any other independent movement has since achieved.

At times the sentiment for a Labor Party has been confined to small radical and liberal groups on the fringes of the broader labor movement. At other times powerful coalitions with a mass following, including unions and farmers' organizations have organized large mass movements such as the Populists of the last century and the two "Progressive Parties" of Robert La Follette and Henry Wallace.

In the 1936 Convention of the A.F. of L., 104 delegates representing a powerful bloc of unions large and small came close to committing the Federation to working for the establishment of a Labor Party. Such a policy would have been a reversal of the traditional position that called for "rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies" among the capitalist politicians of the Republican and Democratic Parties. Other examples of Labor Party attempts have been the American Labor Party in New York State and the Farmer Labor Party in Minnesota and adjoining states.

In addition to those who have wanted a distinct political party of Labor, based on the unions, independent of and in opposition to the old-line parties, there have been organizations such as the Socialist Party, that oscillated between running their own candidates and supporting capitalist "friends of labor." Despite their differences, all of the radical tendencies supporting parliamentary action by the workers base their attitudes on the belief that such action can in some way alleviate or cure social evils.

Those who favor independent electoral action by Labor reason that: "The United States is a democracy where the majority rules. We the workers, farmers and small businessmen are the majority of the people. We have voted for the Republicans and the Democrats and they have betrayed us. We must establish a political party controlled by ourselves and run our own candidates. They will surely be elected.

At first sight this appears reasonable. What could be simpler? However, a closer examination reveals that this argument is based on fundamental political and economic misconceptions. The idea of a Labor Party is based on the widespread myth that in a democracy the majority rules. This is a myth that must be exposed.

Leon Blum, the eminent French politician, whose vast and unsavory experience qualifies him as an expert on the subject, remarked that, "The parliamentary regime is a regime of PARTIES." Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the philosopher of democratic government, would not endorse "representative government" as it is practiced today. He wrote: "The deputies of the people should not and cannot be the people's representatives, they can only be its servants... The moment that people give power to their representatives, they abdicate their liberty" (The Social Contract).

The fundamental principle of EVERY political party, regardless of the form of government, is the same. V.O. Key, professor of government at Yale University, in his penetrating and scholarly book "Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups," has this to say:

"It is sometimes said that the method by which a party seeks to gain control (of the government) is the unique characteristic of the party as a group. The American party uses the peaceful method of campaigning and appeal for popular support to gain power, which is said to differentiate it from the factions...which struggle for power by the use of military force. The theory...is advanced that the modern party and the democratic electoral process are but a sublimation, perhaps temporary, of the tendency to resort to force to gain control of the government...This theory gives a clue to the nature of the party struggle...The term party is applied equally to the peaceful parties of America and to the Communist Party of Russia, the Nazi Party of Germany, and the Fascist Party of Italy. The methodology of these parties varies, but their fundamental objective—to place and keep their leaders in control of the government—is the same."

A capitalist democracy is a competitive society where predatory pressure groups struggle for wealth and prestige and jockey for power. Because such a society lacks inner cohesion, it cannot discipline itself. It needs an organism which will appease the pressure groups by satisfying some of their demands and prevent the conflicts among them from upsetting the stability of the system. The Government plays this role and in the process, enacts more and more laws, and creates more and more agencies to enforce these laws. The bureaucratic governing group thus becomes a class in itself with interests of its own, and becomes more firmly entrenched as it extends its influence.

The end result of this process will be reached when the State assumes ownership and/or control over the whole of society.

At this stage in its drift towards totalitarianism, the governing group cannot rule alone. It needs the financial and moral support, at any given time, of most of the influential power groups: the financiers, the labor movement, the farmers, the press, the churches, as well as the military and civilian bureaucracies. Despite their differences, all these institutions and groups are inter-dependent and no one of them can stand without leaning on the others. Parliamentary democracy is, at this stage, the political system which safeguards the unjust economic and social order.

The actual rulers in a parliamentary democracy are the class of professional politicians. In theory, they are supposed to represent the people, but in fact they rule over them. They do not represent. They decide. This is why Pierre-Joseph Proudhon the anarchist thinker said, "Parliament is a King with 600 heads." The political parties, or more accurately, the inner clique that controls them, selects the candidates for whom the people vote. The candidates express the will of the party and not that of the people. The platforms of the contending parties are adjusted to trick the voters into balloting for their candidates. Then the immense machinery of mass hypnotism goes into high gear. The press, the radio, television and the pulpit brainwash the public. The stupefied voter casts his ballot for candidates that he never nominated and never knew, whose names he forgets, and whose platforms he has perhaps never read. The electoral swindle is over. The voters go back to work (or to look for work) and the politicians are free to decide the destiny of the millions, as they see fit.

Political machines seek to perpetuate themselves by all sorts of tricks. They sidetrack, channelize and emasculate the popular will. New politicians try to displace old ones by changing the electoral laws, while entrenched politicians defend outworn electoral systems when they feel that the new laws might weaken their positions and perhaps even abolish their sinecures.

For example, the politicians in the big cities are incensed at the politicians from the rural areas who control many state governments, because the state legislature dictates to the cities and deprives them of revenue. Representation in many state legislatures is not relative to actual population but according to districts and counties. These arrangements were made when America's population was predominantly rural. Since then the growing population has concentrated in the cities, yet the system of representation remains the same.

"The Painter and Decorator" of June 1960, in an article entitled "All Votes Aren't Equal," gives many examples, such as:

"...fewer than 300 inhabitants of Union, Connecticut, have the same number of representatives in the state's lower house as the city of Hartford, with a population of over 177,000—giving each Union voter the strength of 685 Hartford voters. Business groups generally defend unequal representation. They have learned that the conservative philosophy of small-town lawyers and businessmen are often closely related to the objectives of organized labor... Such inequities are a major factor in American politics. In the South, political machines have used the county unit system to become self-perpetuating. In many northern states, huge city populations have been denied their proportional voice and vote in enacting legislation essential to their survival."

Labor Parties are no more immune to the diseases inherent in the parliamentary system than are other political parties. If new Labor Party legislators are elected they will have to "play the game" according to the established rules and customs. If they are honest, they will soon become cynical and corrupted and will be swallowed up by the machine. Most of them will find the new environment to their taste because they have already learned how to connive and bamboozle the public when they were operating as big wheels in their own union organizations. The administrations of most labor unions are patterned after the governmental forms of political parliamentary democracy. A course in the school of labor fakery prepares the graduates for participation in municipal, state and national government. When they take political office, they will not represent the members of the unions, but rather the political machine that controls the labor movement.

For the sake of illustration, let us assume that a strong Labor Party in the United States has succeeded in electing thousands of local, state and national officeholders as has happened in England, France, Germany and many other countries. (The history of the parliamentary labor and socialist party movements in Europe gives a good idea of what would happen to a similar movement in the U.S.).

In the competition for votes, the original ideals and principles would be forgotten. The thousands of new office-holders would become a conservative force deeply rooted in the established order, and married to their jobs. They would establish rapport with the business community, with the large agricultural interests, with the clergy. They would cultivate the support of the press and other mass-media interests upon whose support they will come to depend. The Labor Party would then be swamped by hordes of lawyers, bourgeois intellectuals, liberal churchmen, ambitious office-seekers and other careerists, who would infiltrate the organization. The honest workers and the radical elements would be forced into the background. Of "labor," only the name would remain. The once proud Labor Party would become just another party in the machinery of the State.

Matthew Wohl, deceased Vice-President of the A.F. of L. (himself a first-rate conniver), in the debate with the labor party bloc at the 1936 Convention, let the cat out of the bag in an unguarded moment:

"I have watched these politicians in our movement. I followed their methods and regardless of how they talk of their trade union loyalty, my experience has been that when they enter the political arena they begin by talking as politicians, and very soon are thinking like politicians, to the desertion of every trade union activity they pledged to support."

The various factions inside the American labor movement were always sharply divided on the question of parliamentary action in general and the Labor party issue in particular. There are factions that believe in class struggle and also in parliamentary action.

In our opinion, tactics must flow from principles. The tactic of parliamentary action is not compatible with the principle of class struggle. Class struggle on the economic field is not compatible with class collaboration on the political field. This has been demonstrated throughout the whole history of the labor movement in every land. Parliamentary action serves only to reinforce the institutions that are responsible for social injustice—the exploitative economic system and the State.

The strength of the labor movement lies in its economic power. Labor produces all the wealth and provides all the services. Only the workers can fundamentally change the Social system. To do this, they do not need a labor party, since by their economic power they are in a position to achieve the social revolution that is indispensable for human progress. As long as the means of production are in the hands of the few and the many are robbed of the fruits of their labor, any participation in the political skullduggery which has as its sole purpose the maintenance of this system, amounts to tacit and direct support of the system itself. By electoral participation in any form, radicals become accomplices in the fraud.

The North American labor movement today is reactionary. Almost all of the unions are tyrannically controlled by unprincipled bureaucrats and not a few by racketeers, whose ethics are those of the predatory social system in which they operate. They practice class collaboration, and uphold the doctrine that the interests of the employer and his employee, the master and his servant, the mugger and his victim, are identical. This is a secret from no one. In the August 1958 issue of Harpers Magazine, Dick Bruner, ex-political staff executive of the C.I.O. wrote:

"It (the labor movement) lacks its own ideas. On many of the most fundamental political and social issues, it is hard to distinguish Labor's position from that of the National Association of Manufacturers. It has adopted the 'mass market' concept of the big corporations and its leaders treat the rank and file with contempt!"

Any serious Labor Party that is formed will be under the domination of this corrupt, collaborationist union bureaucracy. The same leaders who have repeatedly sold out the workers at the bargaining table will repeat their betrayals in the legislative bodies. Labor partyism means class collaboration on the political field. The same disastrous results are inevitable since it involves making concessions to classes whose interests are diametrically opposed to the basic interests of the working class.

Selig Perlman, the well-known labor historian, in "A Theory of the Labor Movement" writes:

"...under no circumstances can labor afford to arouse the fears of the great middle class for the safety of private property as a basic institution. Labor needs the support of public opinion, meaning, the middle class, both rural and urban..."

The middle class, as the name implies, allies itself not only with the labor legislators, but also with the military faction, the financial interests and other anti-labor pressure groups, when it feels that it has something to gain thereby. The Labor Party will then be forced to support their middle class allies for fear of retaliation when they need its support for some of its own measures. This being the case, it is bound to lose whatever identity it did have, and become as corrupt as any of the old parties.

Those who are today beating the drum loudest for the Labor Party are radicals of various Marxist or pseudo-Marxist groups. These same people will tell you that they believe in the class struggle and economic action by the workers. Some will explain that parliamentary action is only a gimmick to gain a public forum, or free time on television every four years. Others claim that parliamentary action is necessary to supplement and make economic action more effective.

Nothing could be more dangerous to the workers' cause. Electioneering diverts the attention of the working class from militant struggles into essentially counter-revolutionary channels. It vitiates their confidence in the class struggle and in their own independent economic power.

In the supplement to Elzbacher's "Anarchism," Rudolf Rocker deals with this problem in the following terms:

"All the political rights and liberties which people enjoy today, they do not owe to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength... Great mass movements and whole revolutions have been necessary to wrest them from the ruling classes, who would never have consented to them voluntarily. WHAT IS IMPORTANT, IS NOT THAT THE GOVERNMENTS HAVE DECIDED TO CONCEDE CERTAIN RIGHTS TO THE PEOPLE, BUT WHY THEY HAD TO DO THIS (Rocker's emphasis).

"If Anarcho-Syndicalism nevertheless rejects the participation in national parliaments, it is not because they have no sympathy with the political struggles in general, but because its adherents are of the opinion that this form of activity is the very weakest and most helpless form of the political struggle for the workers...

"It is a fact that when socialist labor parties have wanted to achieve some decisive political reforms they could not do it by parliamentary action, but were obliged to rely wholly on the economic fighting power of the workers. The political general strikes in Belgium and Sweden for the attainment of universal suffrage are proof of this. And in Russia it was the general strike in 1905 that forced the Tsar to sign the new constitution. It was the recognition of this which impelled the Anarcho-Syndicalists to center their activity on the socialist education of the masses and the utilization of their economic and social power. Their method is that of direct action in both the economic and political struggle of the time. By direct action they mean any method of the immediate struggle by the workers against economic and political oppression. Among these the most outstanding are the strike in all its gradations, from the simple wage struggle to the General Strike, organized boycott and all other economic means which workers as producers have in their hands. (Pages 257-259.)

In this connection, the reader has but to recall the direct action movements of workers and students in our own Southern states, as well as in South Africa, Korea, Turkey, Japan, Venezuela, Hungary, Poland, and East Germany. The American labor movement turned to parliamentary action not because economic action is ineffective, but because it surrendered its greatest weapon—the right to strike—to the employing class, the State and the union dictators. The labor movement is in deep crisis because the membership has been infected by the counter-revolutionary virus of class collaboration of which parliamentarism is but one form.

Instead of chasing the Labor Party illusion, all who seek a progressive revolutionary transformation of society should work to re-educate and inspire the labor movement with revolutionary principles, from which revolutionary strategy and tactics will logically flow.

The "Civil Rights" Struggle

The student movement to get equal rights for Negroes at lunch-counters in the South, and the solidarity boycott of stores in other sections of the country to force a change of policy by the variety store chains, continue unabated. Several signal victories have already been won.

Most of the Woolworth stores in the New York Metropolitan area have been picketed at least once a week for the past three months. Regular effective lines have been maintained in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, San Francisco and elsewhere.

All of the variety stores have yielded to the student sit-inners in Nashville, Tenn. Three stores in Austin, Texas, recently yielded to the pressure to integrate their lunch-counters.

Mass marches of college students have taken place in Austin, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. In the latter city only the intervention of the State Highway Patrol kept the marchers from reaching their goal at the State Capitol building.

The merchants of Winston-Salem, N.C. have promised de-segregation "in the near future." So far over 200 lunch-counters in seven Southern states have opened on a de-segregated basis.

The Libertarian League is BROKE.

Civilian Military Education in Russia

This article is based on material contained in a paper by M. Andreev in "Freie Rundschau" (Jan.-Feb. 1960), published by the Union of Russian Emigrants from the Soviet Union. The data originally appeared in two official Russian publications, "Voennye Znanija" (Military Science) Nos. 1 and 6, 1958, and "Sovetskij Patriot" (Soviet Patriot) Nos. 11, 13 and 16 (1958).

Despite much talk of "peaceful co-existence," Russia is preparing for war on a much vaster—and more "total"—scale than are its rivals of "the West." In the midst of the international acclaim accorded the Russian educational system, one particularly sinister aspect of that system has been obscured. The whole emphasis of Russian education is geared to the militarization of the entire civilian population. There is special emphasis on the preparatory training of the children and of the youth for military service.

A good example of how this is being done can be found in the activities of the DOSAAF ("Voluntary (?) Society for Cooperation with the Army, Navy and Air Force"). DOSAAF is directly controlled by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and by the Ministry of Defense.

The purely militaristic character of this organization is evident from the declaration of Marshal I. Konev in which he says: "You know that in our land a number of generals, admirals and military officers are in the Reserve. Use these cadres for your work... The Central Committee of the Party expects from the DOSAAF that it pay special attention to the enrollment of great masses of young people who will be given elementary military education."

Anyone reaching the age of 14 can become a member of the DOSAAF and all members of the Komsomol youth movement are eligible. In some districts such as Kherson, Kharkov and Zaporozhe, 40% to 50% of the adult population are members. DOSAAF now plans to establish special sections for Young Pioneers and school-children in general.

DOSAAF does not teach political theory, history of the CPSU or dialectical materialism, but military subjects exclusively. Among these are sharpshooting, forced marches in mountainous or wooded terrain, glider flights, ballistics, and electronic calculations for artillery. While some of the courses are not obligatory for all of the members, everyone is required to take such subjects as "civilian defense," medical defense, defense against chemical warfare and aerial bombing. Special sections train pilots, sailors, parachutists and special military technicians.

In some areas instruction is given near places of employment, although in many cases members are housed in special facilities where they attend a month of lecture courses in the organization's schools, during which they must sleep in the barracks without going home, although they continue to work at their regular outside jobs. Absences for unsatisfactory reasons are severely punished.

Photo caption. A senior Komsomol leader explains to a group of young pioneers the operation of a Model T-34 Panzer Tank.

In order to maintain morale and condition the population to life under a dictatorship, it has been necessary to instill national patriotism. The Russian military state is as fanatically nationalistic and patriotic as any other State. This spirit was introduced under Stalin, who glorified such Russian national "heroes" as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. It was intensified during World War II, which in Russia is referred to as "the Great Patriotic War." The same spirit permeates Russian society in the Krushchev era.

G. Orloff, writing on Russian patriotism in the April 1960 issue of "A.I.T.," European organ of the International Working Men's Association, states the essence of the problem:

"The recourse to patriotism...the necessity for the Kremlin rulers to revive, encourage and cultivate patriotic sentiments, is the best proof of the flagrant bankruptcy of a type of 'socialism' which from the beginning was imbued with Caesarism and inevitably developed into imperialism."

Yet one continually meets sincere, otherwise intelligent people who consider themselves "revolutionary socialists" and who patiently nourish threadbare and worn-out illusions about the (more or less) degenerated "Workers State."

Albert Camus On the Values of Liberty

The noted French writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Albert Camus, was recently killed in a motor accident at the age of 46. He had come of a poor family and in his youth had had to do many kinds of work to support himself. While working, he won a degree in philosophy and became a journalist. He fought with the resistance during the Nazi occupation and published the outstanding underground paper, "Combat."

Camus definitely belonged on our side in the struggle for human freedom. At a time when great numbers of French writers became Communist Party "fellow-travelers" so that their works might be published, he refused to prostitute himself and held fast to his ideas.

In "The Rebel," Camus attributes the crisis in the modern world to the abortion of the revolution by the State. The rise of State "socialism" goes unchecked because respect for human liberty has been undermined. This in turn has had much to do with the temporary decline of the Libertarian movement, since the rule of the authoritarians with the trend towards ever-greater conformity has created an unfavorable climate for the reception of libertarian ideas. We quote him:

"On the very day when the Caesarean revolution triumphed over the syndicalist and libertarian spirit, revolutionary thought lost, in itself, a counter-pose of which it cannot without decaying, deprive itself... The history of the First International, when German socialism ceaselessly fought against the libertarian thought of the French, the Spanish, and the Italians, is the history of the struggle of German ideology against the Mediterranean mind. See Marx's letter to Engels (July 20, 1870) hoping for the victory of Prussia over France: 'The preponderance of the German proletariat over the French proletariat would be at the same time the preponderance of our theory over Proudhon's.'" ("The Rebel," pp. 298-9.)

At a lecture delivered by Camus to an assemblage of union workers in 1953, he said, in part, the following, which to our knowledge has not heretofore been published in English:

"If Liberty is today enchained and humiliated, it is not because her enemies have betrayed her. It is because some of her friends have defected, and because she has in reality lost her natural protectors. Yes, if Liberty is a widow, this must be said aloud, for it is we who have widowed her.

"Liberty has always interested the oppressed, and her traditional protectors have always arisen from the ranks of the oppressed. These protectors have been the communes that in feudal Europe kept the light of freedom burning, the burgs and the cities that brought it to momentary victory in '89, and since the beginning of the 19th Century it has been the labor movements that have taken upon themselves the defense of liberty and justice, which were never considered to be in contradiction.

"It has been the manual and intellectual workers who have given substance to liberty, advancing its interests to the point of making it the basic principle of our thought, the air without which we could not live. If liberty is in decadence today throughout most of the world, this is doubtless because those who represent slavery are better armed than ever; and also because her champions—either through weariness or due to a false concept of strategy and efficiency—have drawn away from her.

"The major event of the Twentieth Century has been the abandonment of the values of liberty on the part of the revolutionary movement, the weakening of libertarian socialism vis-a-vis Caesarist and militaristic socialism. Since then, a great hope has disappeared from the world to be replaced by a deep sense of emptiness in the hearts of all who yearn for freedom.

"When the Marxist idea that liberty was simply a bourgeois amusement began to grow and spread, it was undoubtedly at first a simple confusion of terminology. We are paying for that confusion in the convulsions of the century. It can truly be said that liberty is a plaything, but this has never been its only aspect. It was necessary to also state that bourgeois liberty was not liberty in the full and complete sense; that there were liberties yet to be won and, once won, held steadfastly."

...(Liberty is prostituted and justice is vilified everywhere)... "How can this infernal cycle be broken? It is evident that it can only be done by reaffirming at once, to ourselves and to all the world, the true values of liberty. These must never be sacrificed, even provisionally, nor must they ever be separated from our demands for justice. The slogan for all of us must be: yield nothing where justice is concerned, yield nothing where liberty is concerned. Nor are the few democratic liberties that we still enjoy, inconsequential illusions that we can afford to give up without a protest. They represent no more and no less than that which is left to us of the great revolutionary conquests of the last two centuries. They are not, as so many astute demagogues claim, a negation of true liberty.

"There is no ideal liberty that will some day be awarded us, like an old-age pension. Liberties must be won by constant effort, one by one. Those that we already have are but steps, each insufficient in itself, but steps nonetheless on the road to greater Freedom. If we allow these partial freedoms to be taken away, we shall not be able to use them as points of departure for future conquests. If we allow ourselves to slip back, some day it will be necessary to again traverse the same road. This new effort will then have to be made once again at the cost of mankind's sweat and mankind's blood..." (Translated from "Ni Victimas ni Verdugos," published by Editorial Reconstruir, Buenos Aires.)

In one of the "Free World's" Bastions: Political Prisoners in Franco's Jails

(Espana Libre, May 20, 1960, organ of the Conf. Spanish Societies of the USA.)

Late advices from Madrid indicate that the hunger strike of political prisoners in nearby Carabanchel prison continues, and that 120 of the 180 politicals there are participating in that painful and desperate action. Additional details about the cause of the strike also were given.

The present director of the Carabanchel bastille, Castro, who comes from Gijon, was a Franquist volunteer during the Civil War. On taking charge around March 15 he changed the rules, denying special visits to prisoners, requiring their lawyers to explain and report the defense of their clients to the prison secretary, and imposing various other injustices. Accordingly, the prison guards altered their attitude toward the prisoners, subjecting them to severe humiliation.

For example, they were not allowed to study during the week, except for a short allotted period, at which time they also had to do punishment. In addition, the food was worse than ever—almost inedible—and there was hardly any medical aid.

In the changed atmosphere one of the prisoners, Senor Palmero, was informed one day that he had a visitor. When he realized that the visiting period was almost over, and that he had not been called when the visitor arrived, he asked a guard about it, and was told: "You do not have any visitor, and if you don't keep quiet I'll slap you silly."

Palmero protested that he was entitled to be addressed more civilly. Immediately the guard began to slap him, and burned his face with a lighted cigar. Senor Palmero fell, and another guard stood over him and proceeded to beat him, as the first had done.

Upon hearing of this incident, the political prisoners appointed five of their group, all lawyers, to draw up a list of grievances. They complained of: 1. Bad quality of food; 2. Lack of medical aid; 3. Continuous humiliations which they had had to endure; and 4. They decided to ask that a licensed lawyer be allowed to plead their case before the proper judicial authorities.

The committee presented this list to the prison director, who explained that they "must keep in line." Two or three days later 100 or more of the prisoners began the hunger strike, and then all of them were placed in solitary cells and denied the right of further counsel.

It is said that some of the strikers are suffering from tuberculosis, and thus obviously their lives are endangered by their continuing self-sacrificing abstention from food. Forced feeding by means of injections of a glucose solution every three hours was still going on at last accounts.

The Social Basis of Anarchism

Gaston Leval has written a long article about "The social Content of Anarchism" which appeared serially in the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist paper, "Solidaridad Obrera." We present here a brief summary of the main ideas that he presents.

Leval contrasts two distinct tendencies within the Libertarian movement. The "social" tendency includes Anarcho-Communists, Anarcho-Syndicalists and Collectivists whose ideas were formulated by Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Malatesta, Kropotkin and others. The "individualist" current is based on the theories of Max Stirner, Benjamin Tucker, E. Armand and many others.

Using Spain as an example, the writer points out that the social tendency which believed in organization gave the movement a constructive approach to social problems and worked out practical methods for the realization of our ideals. He goes on to say that in France, where the individualist current exerted a great influence, the movement lost contact with the masses and degenerated into sectarian debating societies. While the "individualists" made a cogent critique of some of the major evils of society, theoretical defects prevented them from exerting significant influence in the great movements for social change.

The following extract illustrates comrade Leval's position:

"While the Anarchists who believe in organization may and do differ on what are the best tactics for the realization of our ideas, they do, however, agree that organization is indispensable... The differences between the two tendencies involve not one form of organization or another, but organization versus ANTI-organization. Our tendency does its best to act in accordance with the realities of modern life. The individualists remain frozen in theoretical abstractions and regard our activity as a deviation and betrayal of Anarchism. Our tendency takes an active part in the battles of labor and participates in other movements for social justice. But the individualists retire from these struggles, constituting themselves into small inactive grouplets, spending their lives contemplating their navels. The organizational tendency makes the solution of the social problem the key to the solution of the individual problem. The individualists, on the other hand, do not concern themselves with the rest of mankind, but make the ego of the individual the ONLY objective of Anarchism."

It is not meant that the anarchist form of organization will suppress the individual or solve ALL problems. In a free society everyone will be free to deal with his own personal problems as he sees fit. Collective problems will be solved collectively by those concerned, instead of allowing the State and other repressive institutions to take care of everybody's personal and public affairs.

In a free social order there can be no conflict between the individual and society since they are dependent on each other. There can be no individual freedom without social freedom. The human person receives his cultural heritage from society. He is nurtured by society. In turn, he enriches society with his own unique contribution. This natural relationship between the individual and society is distorted by the unethical monopoly of economic and political power.

Leval backs up this viewpoint by quotations from Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin. All of them, and especially Kropotkin, regarded Anarchism as a great social movement based on the social nature of man. In "Mutual Aid," "Modern Science and Anarchism" and other writings, Kropotkin gives this theory a scientific, historical and ethical foundation. He based the sociology of Anarchism on the inherent social nature of man, his capacity for mutual aid, and his need for freedom and for love.

These writings and others showed the connection between Anarchism and the class struggle. Bakunin, James Guillaume and the other members of the anti-authoritarian wing of the (First) International Working Mens Association laid the foundations of the modern revolutionary syndicalist movement. They identified Anarchism as a great social movement of the people and had limitless faith in the revolutionary and creative capacity of oppressed mankind.

These great social thinkers recognized the need for ORGANIZED social action, of a decentralized libertarian type. They opposed the organized usurpation of the authoritarians and stressed the necessity for the SELF-ORGANIZATION of the people into organizations that will truly fulfill their needs and aspirations.

It is on such a fundamental concept that the Libertarian League, through its groups in different cities, is working to lay the groundwork of a future revolutionary organization in the United states and Canada.

These ideas are embodied in the Provisional Statement of Principles of the Libertarian League, copies of which will be furnished on request.

In Memory of José Lopez Rios

Died April First, 1960, at the age of 84.

Veteran of 70 years of social struggle, having participated in the strikes of Rio Tinto in his native Spain as an adolescent.

For several decades an active participant in the Spanish-language Libertarian movement in this country, where he helped organize support for the Anti-fascist and Revolutionary struggle in his homeland, and later for the assistance of the refugees from Franco's terror.

Founder and inspiration of the Detroit Group of the Libertarian League.

He was our oldest member and his loss is deeply felt.

South Africa: Strike Action can End Apartheid

Economic pressure of working class direct action, inside and outside Africa, is gradually wearing down the bloody Afrikander overlordship. Little worried by political votes of censure, Vanwoerd and his fellow-fascists take a different view towards economic action, whether this takes the form of strikes in Africa or economic boycott abroad.

Only a movement striking at the very roots of the system could have caused the sending of troops in full battle order into the defenseless native townships of Sanga and Nyanga. Truncheons and heavy rubber whips were used on any native found "loitering."

"They have been out on a stay-at-home strike now for ten days," General Rademeyer explained. "We mean to intimidate the intimidators." The object of the troops was to break the strike. The local hospitals ran out of dressings as large numbers of wounded appeared for treatment.

The economy of South Africa cannot survive without black labor. Africans make up 90% of the total labor force in mining, 80% in construction, more than half in manufacturing and 48% in transport. Nearly one-half million black workers toil in secondary industries, government and municipal undertakings. Wage-rates are far below those of white workers for the same work. Africans are denied the right to organize and are refused membership in trade unions with the white workers.

Even the industrialists are growing restless under the Vanwoerd regime, not from humanitarian considerations but out of fear of diminishing profits. Stock in South African companies has fallen in value. The strike that followed the Sharpeville massacre endangered the position of the South African capitalists.

Once the African worker realized the power of industrial action, the days of white political and economic domination would be near an end. It was this that prompted the stormtrooper raids by the government into the non-white townships where all strikers found were beaten mercilessly.

The use of sheer naked force has won a respite for the miserable Vanwoerd regime. But it cannot last. The struggle between the black-skinned proletariat and the Bible-thumping thugs of the ruling class will soon flare anew.

As against the moral bankruptcy of the Nazi-like Nationalist Party, the human values expressed in the statements of spokesmen of the African workers are refreshing and encouraging. They hold promise of better days to come. We quote these words of Sobukwe of the Pan-Africanist Congress:

"Are we still prepared to be half-human beings in our fatherland, or are we prepared to be citizens-men and women in a democratic, non-racial South Africa? How long shall we be called Bantu, Native, Non-European, Non-White or black stinking Kaffir in our own fatherland? How long shall we starve amidst plenty?...We are either slaves or free men.

"Let the world take note that we are not fighting against the Europeans or Indians or Chinese,...Our energies and forces are directed against a set-up, against a conception and a myth—racial superiority...We are fighting against the Calvinistic doctrine that a certain nation was specially chosen by God to lead, guide and protect other nations. That is our fight. We are not a horde of stupid, barbaric things which will fight against a white man simply because he is a white man...

"...in this campaign we are going to maintain complete non-violence...This is not a game. The white rulers are going to be extremely ruthless. We must resist their hysterical brutality with calm, iron determination. We are fighting for the noblest cause on earth, the liberation of mankind. They are fighting to replace an outworn, anachronistic, vile system of repression...

"WE represent progress. THEY represent decadence We have the whole continent on our side. We have history on our side. WE WILL WIN."

We highly recommend: $4.50 per copy

The American Funeral: A Study in Guilt, Extravagance & Sublimity by LeRoy Bowman

Order directly from the League for Mutual Aid, 104 Fifth Avenue, New York City

Guess Who Said It

"I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court, can save it; no constitution, no law, can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it."

If you think that this statement was made by some "impractical anarchist dreamer" you are wrong. This is the opinion of an outstanding legal expert—former United States Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand!


The Libertarian Book Club's latest publication, "Anarchism" by Paul Eltzbacker is now available.

This important classic work, long out of print, will be reviewed in the next issue of "Views and Comments."

First Libertarian League Conference

A Conference of the Libertarian League was held on July 2nd and 3rd. The scene of this gathering, our first general get-together since the first group of the League was founded in New York in July 1954, was the important steel center of Youngstown, Ohio.

Over two dozen League members from Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Milwaukee and Youngstown participated. Unfortunately there was no representation from the West Coast. Distance, and the problems of time, employment, etc., had made this impossible.

The Conference had been called primarily to discuss organizational matters and the greater part of the discussions dealt with means of improving our educational and recruiting efforts. Shortcomings as well as advances were noted, differences were aired, and "linen" was "laundered."

Some steps were taken for decentralization of tasks which have heretofore (and still are largely) handled by the New York Group. It was decided that Corresponding Secretaries in Youngstown and in San Francisco should henceforth take charge of contact work in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania and California respectively. Carlos Cortez of Milwaukee, whose poems are familiar to readers of the Industrial Worker, agreed to assume responsibility for the artwork in Views and Comments. Russell Blackwell will continue as Corresponding Secretary for international contact and for general League correspondence apart from that in the above mentioned areas.

The general feeling prevailed that the League would not yet be prepared to hold its First Congress in the summer of 1961 as had been. planned. This Congress when held should formally establish and integrate the Libertarian League as a federation of U.S. and Canadian groups. A longer preparatory period is needed. It was, however, decided that a Second Conference be held on Labor Day weekend next year. The summer of 1962 is now the "target date" for the League's First Congress.

Our movement is still in an amorphous, embryonic stage which must be recognized if we are not to deceive ourselves. We do not aspire to erect a big house of cards, but rather to lay firm foundations for a serious responsible organization. The establishment of a federation will only have meaning if it is based on a number of functioning local groups. The Youngstown Conference, bringing together as it did a number of people from various cities, was a milestone in this direction.

In the coming year, it is hoped to develop present contacts for the establishment of new groups in several cities. Through regular public discussions and through increased, responsible participation in the rising tide of the mass movements, it is hoped to further condition our members and our sympathizers to play a serious role in the future as part of an ideological vanguard movement.

The editorial policies and the financial difficulties of Views and Comments were dealt with at some length. It is hoped to really regularize the appearance of the magazine, but greater assistance is needed from our members and our readers, if this is to be achieved.

The Conference decided unanimously to send the fraternal greetings of the Libertarian League to all Anarchist organizations and to the Libertarian press throughout the world.

Following the Conference a picnic was held on July Fourth. All arrangements for eating and sleeping accommodations had been handled most efficiently by the Youngstown comrades. Their tireless efforts and genuine hospitality contributed greatly to making the whole affair a success.

Social Note by R.C.

In the New York Times, April 9, 1960, appeared a description of the baptism of Prince Andrew, third child of Queen Elizabeth. There were five godparents Princess Alexandra, a first cousin of the Queen; the Duke of Gloucester, an uncle of the Queen; Lord Elphinstone, a cousin; the Earl of Euston, whose Wife is a lady-in-waiting to the Queen; and Mrs. Harold Phillips, whose husband is a Lieutenant Colonel. The infant was baptised in water from the Jordan River by the Most Rev. Dr. Geoffrey F. Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. After reading a Gospel passage Rev. Fisher turned to the god" parents and asked: "Dost thou in the name of this child, renounce the Devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh so that they wilt not follow nor be led by them?" The aforementioned each replied: "I renounce them all."

Libertarian League Financial Report

Jan.-June 1960


ARIZONA: Phoenix—A. de T. $5; Tucson—E.B. $4. CALIFORNIA: Berkeley—B.B. $6; Los Angeles—R.B.G. $2; D.M. $2; A.R. $3; L.A. Group $10; San Diego—H.W. $10; San Francisco—E.D. $10; A.G. $5; P.T. $2; S.F. Bay Area Group $19; Vacaville—F.R. $5; Venice—A.L. $2. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: L.K. $1; Anon. $1. FLORIDA: Miami—G.D. $10; B.y. $3; Melbourne—D.S. $3; Orlando—C.D.P. $1. ILLINOIS: Aurora—E.A.B. $2; Chicago—K.R. $4; J.K. $5; L.L. Lines $1; Chicago Free Society $10; Chicago Heights—R.B. $5; Evansville—C.W. $1; Franklin Grove—R.T. $5. IOWA: E.J. $1. KANSAS: Kansas City—S.G. $15. KENTUCKY: Louisville—C.B. $50. MASSACHUSETTS: Boston—J.M. $5. MICHIGAN: Detroit Group $30. NEW JERSEY: Newark—B.J.F. $1. NEW YORK CITY: S.W. $5; V.I. $5; R.W. $5; G.B. $5; M. & I.S. $5; J.S. $2; H.S. $5; A.M. $2; J.R. $2; E.E. $3; B.M. $2; J.J. $1; C.H. $1; W.R. $10; F.K.Z. $10; S.K. $5; Russian Group $30; N.Y. Group Socials $28.04; N.Y. May Day Collection $41.43; N.Y. Forums $112.29; N.Y. Group $72.70; Misc. $3.47. OHIO: Canton—P.M. $5; Cleveland—H.P. $5; A.P. $5; H. Family $27; L.S. $5; T.T. $2; Mentor—W.B. $5; Youngstown—A.R. $20; F.M.M. $5; Sergei $5; P.S. $5; Sm. $10; Amigo $1; A.B. $1; P.P. $5. PENNSYLVANIA: Southhampton—J.R.E. $1; Trevose—A.G. $5. TEXAS: Dangerfield—D.P. $1; Houston—Anon. $100. VERMONT: Bondville—E.L. $1. VIRGINIA: Alexandria—R.E. $5. WASHINGTON: Seattle—J.F.C. $1; G.A. $1. WISCONSIN: Milwaukee—C.C. $11. BRITISH COLUMBIA: Port Washington—H.A. $7; Prince Rupert—Paper Workers; Union $2. ONTARIO: Hamilton—D.N. $3.65; Anon. $5; Sudbury—A.O. $5; West Lorne—T.S. $1.50.

Balance carried forward January 1, 1960 $ 15.00

Income Jan. through June 1960 857.58

Total $872.58


Rent—N.Y.C. $270.00

Misc. hall expenses—N.Y.C. 18.74

Misc. V.'s & C.'s expenses (Plates, typesetting, etc.) 46.19

P.O. Box Rent 9.00

P.O. Permit for bulk mail 20.00

Envelopes 20.48

Postage 140.00

Payments for paper 251.00

Total $775.41

Cumulative deficit for paper brought forward: $628.17

Cash on hand: $97.17

What We Stand For

The "free" world is not free; the "communist" world is not communist. Fundamentally they are identical: one becoming totalitarian, the other already so.

Their current power struggle leads inexorably to atomic war and the probable destruction of the human race.

We charge that both systems engender servitude pseudo-freedom based on economic slavery no better than pseudo-freedom based on political slavery.

The monopoly of power which is the State must be eliminated. Government itself, as well as its underlying institutions, perpetuates war, oppression, corruption, exploitation and misery,

We advocate a world-wide society of communities and councils based on cooperation and free agreement from the bottom (federalism) instead of coercion and domination from the top (centralism). Regimentation of people must be replaced by regulation of things.

Freedom without socialism is chaotic, but socialism without freedom is despotic. Libertarianism is free socialism.

Libertarian League Catalog

Libertarian League, P.O. Box 261, Cooper Station, New York 3, N.Y.

Catalogue, August 1960


AFTER THE REVOLUTION—Santillan * $2.50

ANARCHISM—Eltzbacher $6.00

BATTLE HYMNS OF TOIL—Hall (paperback) $1.00


FALSE WITNESS—Matusow (paperback) $1.00


GUILLOTINE AT WORK—Maximoff * $5.00


HOMAGE TO CATALONIA—Orwell (paperback) $1.25

IWW, ITS FIRST FIFTY YEARS—Thompson (paperback) $2.00


JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN—Trumbo (price reduced) $2.50

LABOR: FREE AND SLAVE—Mandel (paperback) $1.00


LONDON YEARS—Rocker % $5.00


MEN AGAINST THE STATE—Martin (paperback) $2.25


MICHAEL BAKUNIN AND KARL MARX—Kenefick (paperback) $3.00

MUTUAL AID—Kropotkin $3.00

MUTUAL AID—Kropotkin (paperback) $2.00



NINETEEN-SEVENTEEN—Voline (Vol. I) $3.50





VORKUTA—Scholmer (two copies left) * $2.50


WORLD CULTURE—Hopkins (two copies left) * $2.50




ANARCHY—Malatesta % 25 cents

ANARCHY OR CHAOS—Woodcock 45 cents

APPEAL TO THE YOUNG—Kropotkin % single copy free.

BOSSES SONGBOOK—Ellington % 50 cents



BULGARIA, A NEW SPAIN—Bulgarian Anti-Fascist Committee % 10 cents




ERRICO MALATESTA—Nettlau (two copies left) * $1.00


EVERY TEST KILLS—Pauling 10 cents






HOMES OR HOVELS—Woodcock 15 cents

HOW-LABOUR GOVERNED, 1949/1951—SWF 15 cents






LAW-AND AUTHORITY—Kropotkin * 30 cents



NEW LIFE TO THE LAND—Woodcock 15 cents






RADICAL SONGS—Donaho and Ellington % 10 cents

RAILWAYS AND SOCIETY—Woodcock' 15 cents


REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN SPAIN—Dashar (poor condition) 25 cents


RUSSIAN TRAGEDY—Berkman (one copy, poor condition) * $2.50

SIT INS—CORE . 25 cents



SPAIN—Souchy * 15 cents


TALK BETWEEN TWO WORKERS—Malatesta * 25 cents.


THOREAU, THE COSMIC YANKEE—Centennial Appreciations 25 cents

TRAGEDY OF SPAIN—Rocker % 25 cents

TRAGIC WEEK IN MAY—Souchy 15 cents

TRUTH ABOUT SPAIN—Rocker * 15 cents




VOTE, WHAT FOR—Malatesta % 5 cents

WAGE SYSTEM—Kropotkin 15 cents

WAR—Kropotkin 15 cents

WHAT IS ANARCHISM—Woodcock % 5 cents


WHO WILL DO THE DIRTY WORK—Gibson * 15 cents

WORKERS CONTROL—Brown 15 cents



YOUTH FOR FREEDOM—Gibson * 35 cents



(30 spiral-bound paintings, each one 10 x 13 inches, suitable for framing)


(one 45 rpm Extended Play phonograph record—the Memorial Album recorded by the CNT in Exile, May Day, 1959)

* In very short supply, no more available.

% Available at quantity prices.

We suggest that this price list be used as an order blank.

Merely circle the desired items. We will enclose another catalogue with each order. We bear all mailing costs, and try to keep prices as low as feasible. In order to maintain our activities, however, we earnestly solicit any voluntary overpayments.