News from the Kate Sharpley Library

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by Kate Sharpley, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Was just coming here to post this - to give some people how serious the fire was two people lost their lives and the entire complex is now 'red-taped' - that's residential bits, studios, warehouses etc.
  2. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    yes, they're shut out (for safety reasons) which will slow the cleanup/ recovery... The fundraising page seems to be the best place for updates on how they're doing
    Greebo likes this.
  3. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    update from AK:
    "It's been almost two weeks since the fire at our warehouse and we know some of you have been waiting for an update and wondering how you can plug into the relief efforts. Very briefly, here is where things stand: our building is still red-tagged by the City of Oakland. We are hopeful that, after more inspections and some repairs are completed, we'll be able to stay. In the meantime we have been able to get some access to our stock and so we have been able to send out orders for titles that weren't damaged. We are still waiting for insurance inspectors to come and review the damage in our unit, and until that happens, we can't make any more progress with clearing out destroyed stock. So at this point there is just a lot of waiting, which we can't do much about, and it means it's going to be a while still before our work can return to any semblance of "normal.""
    new pic: [​IMG]

    And Josh MacPhee (from Justseeds) has listed his favourite AK covers:
    "So to support AK Press, and celebrate their birthday, I've picked out fifteen of my favorite covers from their output over the past twenty-five years. I hate ranking things like some sort of contest, so I've listed these by publication date, earliest to most recent, 1990–2015. And hopefully many more years and covers to come! Also, for transparency's sake, I should say I've designed covers for 15+ books in AK's catalog, but I didn't choose any of those here. I'm proud of some of them, but feel awkward posting them here. But what I will do is share (at the end of the post) a cover a recently designed for an upcoming title that I think is one of my best cover's yet!"
  4. Nancy_Winks

    Nancy_Winks Well-Known Member

    Omg that book, The Free. I remember that book from it being lying around in a squat in st marks road when I stopped there briefly more than 20 years ago. I read it I think, I can remember bits. God that is such a strong memory, seeing that cover, that was such a decent squat (one guy I knew from there died actually OD) but they were so good to me there, I was really young (15?). Should've stayed there instead of going back to London :facepalm: I want to read it again now.
    CNT36 and seventh bullet like this.
  5. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Nancy_Winks likes this.
  6. Nancy_Winks

    Nancy_Winks Well-Known Member

    Shame they've messed with the cover
  7. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    crossthebreeze, peterkro and cesare like this.
  8. cesare

    cesare don't mourn, organise!

    Thank you, was glad to read that :)
  9. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Evelyn Mesquida's book about La Nueve is due out from Christiebooks in June. Reviewed at:

    If you'll pardon the cut and paste:
    La Nueve – 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida [Book review]
    La Nueve was the ninth company – made up of exiled Spaniards, ‘most of them anarchists’[1] – of the Free French 2nd Armoured Division. They exemplify the contribution of Spanish anarchists and other republicans to the fight against Hitler. It’s a remarkable story. These men fought on all fronts in the Spanish Civil War. Some had survived the retirada – the retreat over the Pyrenees in January and February 1939. Others had sailed on the Stanbrook, the last large vessel out of Alicante in March 1939.[2]

    There were few options for these despised refugees. Going back to Spain meant a Francoist firing squad. Many of the men who would join La Nueve survived disease and hunger in the French concentration camps like Argelès-sur-Mer or Le Vernet[3]. The main way out was ‘volunteering’ for labour battalions or the French Foreign Legion. Those who made it or were sent to North Africa suffered too. One survivor of the Vichy regime’s Hajerat M’Guil ‘labour camp’ described it as ‘a French Buchenwald’ (p44).

    But these exiles had two things going for them: they knew which side they were on and they knew how to fight. ‘The vast majority had no military mindset and were even antimilitarists, but they were magnificent soldiers, valiant and experienced warriors.’ (Raymond Dronne, Captain of La Nueve, p92). They also knew the art of ‘spontaneous transfer’: many deserted to join Leclerc. War makes for strange bedfellows. Leclerc, general of the 2nd Armoured Division, was a career officer from an aristocratic family. He’d welcomed Franco’s coup and would later fight in Indochina (now Vietnam). Few of La Nueve‘s fighters followed him: ‘there was nothing of mine lost over there’ (Germán Arrúe, p149), ‘I told them that the Chinese hadn’t done me any harm’ (Fermín Pujol, p177).

    Mesquida’s book has a good photo section but needs a better map. It’s easy to read ‘It took us nearly a month to cover on foot the 4,000 kilometres between us [in Senegal] and the Gaullist units in Brazzaville’ (Fermín Pujol, p173); it’s less easy to imagine. And that’s before the long trek to Libya! This is the full story of La Nueve, not just their role in liberating Paris. Nor was that their final battle. The end of the war found them at Hitler’s ‘Eagle’s nest’ (and taking his chess set! – p139).

    Their plan had always been to deal with Franco after Hitler. Mesquida doesn’t detail the ‘reasons of state’ that prevented that: ‘The Allied powers had not gone to war to “preserve democracy”: they had gone to war to preserve themselves’.[4] However, the recycling activities of La Nueve kept the Spanish resistance armed for years.[5]

    The second half of the book is made up of personal testimonies, gathered by Mesquida in interviews with La Nueve‘s survivors. Here they can speak for themselves: ‘We all had experience of our own war behind us and we were well aware of what needed doing without anyone’s having to tell us anything.’ (Germán Arrúe, p145). The anecdotal touches show their humanity, even after years of fighting: having captured a German unit ‘We had a worse time later with the priest because he wanted to see them all dead for having torched the church. We had to disarm him of the machinegun he had grabbed and one of the officers told him: “Monsieur le curé, this isn’t your job. These men are prisoners and they’re coming with us.”’ (Manuel Fernández, p205-6).

    The anarchists and other republican exiles of La Nueve made history in conditions not of their own choosing. This excellent book means they’ll no longer be merely a footnote in a story told by others.


    1 testimony of Luis Royo, republican veteran of La Nueve (p183).

    2 Captain Dickson’s contemporary account of the rescue is at: An alphabetical list of the 2,638 people rescued by the Stanbrook is at:

    3 ‘While not to be equated with the death or slave labour camps that were later to surface in Nazi or Soviet territories, in many of these French camps there was a foretaste of the perverse, unrelenting brutality that characterised most of the concentration camps and their guards.’ (p24).

    4 I couldn’t paint golden angels, Albert Meltzer (p124).

    5 More details are given in ‘Leclerc’s Spaniards’ by Eduardo Pons Prades (translated by Paul Sharkey)

    La Nueve – 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida. Preface by Jorge Semprún, four articles by Albert Camus and postscript by General Michel Roquejeoffre. Translated by Paul Sharkey. Published by Christiebooks ISBN 9781873976708, 264pp, 16pp photos., paperback. £15 / $23 Publication date 8 June 2015.
  10. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

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  11. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

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  12. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Just up:
    An Appeal to the Young: Some thoughts on a best seller by Barry Pateman

    "Anarchist pamphlets can pose all sorts of problems to the researcher. There’s always that constantly nagging question of who actually read them. I rather sense that some of the best pamphlets, that can, a hundred or fifty years on, take our breath away by their prescience were probably only read by a mere handful of people and we have come to bestow an importance upon them that was not reflected both in their original readership or in their effect on the movement. But we can’t say that when we talk about Kropotkin’s An Appeal to the Young. It proved to be a most remarkably popular pamphlet that crossed political tendencies and continents with apparent ease and was, unarguably, a best seller."
  13. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 82-83, July 2015 [Double issue] has just been posted on our site.
    The PDF is up at:
    Contents list is at:

    An Appeal to the Young: Some thoughts on a best seller by Barry Pateman
    Two American anarchist newspapers online
    La Nueve – 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida [Book review]
    Death of Eduardo Escot Bocanegra, Andalusian libertarian shipped to the Nazi Camp in Mauthausen by Ángel del Rio
    London Anarchist Bookfair 2015
    Marcelino de la Parra, Anarcho-syndicalist Guerrilla from León by Antonio Téllez Solà
    Help AK Press & Friends Recover from Fire
    Thoughts on local anarchist newspapers in 1980s Britain
    Colin Parker 1948-2015 by Nick Heath
    International Anarchist Manifesto on the War [1915]
  14. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    23rd of August is the anniversary of the killing of Sacco and Vanzetti. We posted an article on Vanzetti's "Story of a proletarian life" back in February:

    “Nameless in the crowd of nameless ones…” : Some thoughts on The Story of A Proletarian Life, by Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 1923 by Barry Pateman

    I can’t remember when I first read “The Story of A Proletarian Life.” I just know that one edition or another has been in and around my life for a long time. I read it most years, and usually I find myself reading it in a different way from the time before. Sometimes I read it as the voice of the immigrant experience and am moved by the image of Vanzetti, alone in the Battery, trying to make sense of where he was and realizing his essential loneliness and alienation from all that he saw around him. His portrayal of the exhausting search for work and the seeking out of fellow country people for help and support is both grim and poignant reading and one can understand how the acts of kindness he receives begin to drive and shape his philosophy of life. His experience (and the experience of many others, I would guess) reflected the experiences of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman who, although rebels of a kind in their home country, were made anarchists by the conditions and situations they encountered after in America. In early twentieth century America, anarchism wasn’t necessarily a foreign import, even if the press did live in fear of being swamped by immigrant devils arriving with hidden anarchist newspapers and pamphlets written in alien and crude languages. In truth it was American capitalism, with its casual, everyday cruelties that helped turn some immigrants into anarchists, Vanzetti and his comrades among them.

    The rest is at:
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  15. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

  16. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    If any of you don't know about Philip Ruff's researches into Peter the Painter, here's a recent interview from Resonance:
    The News Agents - 12th September 2015
    "with anarchist and historian Philip Ruff, talking about the identity of the real Peter the Painter and his research into Latvian and revolutionary history."
    DaveCinzano likes this.
  17. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Our friends at AK Press have put the lead article from our latest issue on their blog: http://www.revolutionbythebook.akpr...essions-of-an-awkward-pupil-by-barry-pateman/

    'When the KSL issued our first publication, George Cores’ “Personal Recollections of the Anarchist Past” in 1992 there really was a shortage of good, accurate and informative books, articles or pamphlets about the history of anarchism. The works of Paul Avrich were the gold standard – exhaustively researched and reliable – and other occasional gems shone out of the pile. Some of the available material, though, was disturbingly erroneous and we have to put that down partly to a lack of primary material that led authors to make strange assumptions about people and their ideas. Within twenty-odd years, matters had changed beyond recognition. In 1992 I had read more or less every book and pamphlet on the history of anarchism. Now there has been a relative explosion in the material available. Books, pamphlets, articles and blog posts are appearing constantly and, in a rather comforting way, it is impossible to read them all – especially the latter, and this is not even taking into account the once rare and inaccessible newspapers and pamphlets that are now available to read online as well as the digitization of letters and pamphlets that, once, one would have had to travel the world to see.'​
  18. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 84, October 2015 has just been posted on our site. The PDF is up at:
    Contents list is at KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 84, October 2015

    Anarchist History: confessions of an awkward pupil by Barry Pateman Anarchist History: confessions of an awkward pupil
    Tenth Anniversary of the death of Eliezer Hirshauge (1911-1954) [A work in progress] by Dinah Hirshauge Tenth Anniversary of the death of Eliezer Hirshauge (1911-1954) [A work in progress]
    Library News (October 2015) (inc. New publication: What Does Syndicalism Want?) Library News (October 2015)
    Anarchism by George Woodcock [Review] by Frank Mintz Anarchism by George Woodcock [Review]
  19. imposs1904

    imposs1904 Thread Killa'

    From the above:
    "Why is that? Why the recent flood? Well I do remember Albert Meltzer speaking of academic research muttering grimly “When the buggers have finished with Marxism they’ll start on us” (my bold.)

    That is a cracking line from Meltzer. :D
    cesare likes this.
  20. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    cesare likes this.
  21. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    The Anarchist Expropriators by Osvaldo Bayer is out!
    “It’s a chastening thought that Osvaldo Bayer wrote this book nearly forty years ago and his work still challenges us, as anarchists, with ideas, arguments, and problems that are still as relevant today as they were in 1975 or, indeed, as when the actions of this narrative were originally carried out… Those constant and exhausting questions of what anarchism is and the best way to practice it and bring about anarchy. Bayer is careful to try to delineate the complexities of these differences and provides us with a useful guide to understanding them.” Kate Sharpley Library (from the Introduction)
    Available from AK Press The Anarchist Expropriators | AK Press
    Review from the next issue of the bulletin The Anarchist Expropriators by Osvaldo Bayer [Review]
    toggle and Pickman's model like this.
  22. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    and another thing...
    Solidarity and Silence: the story of Ona Šimaitė, librarian lifesaver [review]

    We owe Julija Šukys a debt of gratitude for retrieving Šimaitė’s story. Šimaitė knew how to keep silent, and of course part of that silence comes from trauma. I also think she knew, as a working class female radical, the value of being overlooked, of hiding in plain sight. She recounts one ‘errand’, when she ransoms Gershon Malakiewicz: ‘how dare I pay the ransom of a Jew? […] They hurl insults. […] I play stupid, pretending to be a woman who knows nothing.’ Hopefully this account of Šimaitė’s life will encourage people to think of all the unknowns who did the right thing and never spoke, or never could speak, of it.

    Solidarity and Silence: the story of Ona Šimaitė, librarian lifesaver
  23. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    "Just a few years ago it would have been utterly inconceivable that an anarchist would be honoured by having his name given to a street in the capital. But two weeks ago Madrid City Council agreed unanimously to name a street after a man known as the Red Angel, Melchor Rodriguez Garcia."
    BBC article Erasing Franco's memory one street at a time - BBC News

    Article Tragic balance sheet : From April to April [1931-32] (from 1932)
    Shout if you want a bio of Red Angel up on the KSL site and we'll hunt for it.
    danny la rouge and yield like this.
  24. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    oh, and Stuart Christie gets quoted#
    "I'm very pleased to hear that Melchor's humanitarian work during the Civil War has at last been officially recognised," Christie told the BBC.

    "He was a beacon of humanity, a credit to the name and principles of anarchism in a time of barbarity."
    danny la rouge likes this.
  25. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Two fantastic links - thank you.

    I officially ask for such a bio.
    Kate Sharpley likes this.
  26. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    danny la rouge and butchersapron like this.
  27. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Kate Sharpley likes this.
  28. inva

    inva Well-Known Member

    thanks for this post, I might try and give that book a read.
  29. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

  30. pengaleng

    pengaleng Lil' J Pengele PhD. The Angel of Sesh

    who the fuck is kate shapely?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
    Nigel likes this.

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