On This Day: April 17

International Day of Peasant Struggle

  • 1797: The Spithead Mutiny begins, also known as the “Floating Republic”, which spread to 16 ships of England’s Channel Fleet.
  • 1854: Benjamin Tucker was born in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1864: Bread riots in Savannah, Georgia, during US Civil War as it created food shortages.
  • 1905: US Supreme Court rules maximum hours law for New York bakery workers unconstitutional.
  • 1912: The Lena Massacre of striking gold miners in Siberia.
  • 1925: First nationwide anarchist organization in Korea established in Seoul, the Black Flag Alliance (Heuk Ki Yun Maeng). Main figures are Seo O-sun, Seo Sang-kang and LeeChang-shik.
  • 1960: 150 African-American students form Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), inspired by the lunch counter sit-ins.
  • 1965: The first major anti-Vietnam War rally in the US is organized by the SDS in Washington, DC. 25,000 attend.
  • 1969: FBI agents carry Vietnam War draft resister Robert Eaton after he had chained himself to 13 others.
  • 1969: Czechoslovakian Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubček, who attempted reforms as part of Prague Spring, is deposed.
  • 1972: Students at University of Maryland protesting the resumption of bombing in Northern Vietnam, battle with police and National Guard are sent in.
  • 1996: Brazilian police kill 19 landless workers. The massacre is now commemorated as the “International Day of Peasant Struggle.”
  • 2003: British anarchist artist Clifford Harper’s exhibition “Graphic Anarchy” opened at the Guardian newsroom.

Julian Bond was born on January 14, 1940. He played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement by leading nonviolent protests to help integrate public spaces in Atlanta. He was also a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Bond went on to serve the state legislature for 20 years.

He’s pictured here being interview by press in 1966.

The [white anarchist] ignorance of Black freedom movements is so profound that even anarchistic tendencies within them get ignored. Nat Turner led a slave uprising in 1831 that killed over fifty whites and struck terror throughout the South; it should clearly count as one of the most important insurrections in American history. Historians often describe William Lloyd Garrison, a leader of the abolitionist movement, as a “Christian Anarchist” (e.g. Perry 1973), yet he is almost never included in anarchist-produced histories. The Black-led Reconstruction government in South Carolina from 1868-1874, which Du Bois dubbed the “South Carolina Commune,” did far more toward building socialism than the Paris Commune in 1871 ever did. Ella Baker’s anti-authoritarian critique of Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged young civil rights workers to create their own autonomous and directly democratic organization, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), arguably the most important direct action civil rights group. Further, the racial consciousness produced by these struggles has often been broader, radical, and international than the consciousness produced by other U.S. struggles, even if it describes itself as “nationalist” (See Robin Kelley’s great book Freedom Dreams for more on this). Yet these persons and events curiously form no part of the anarchist scene’s historical tradition.

Lucy Parsons and the Black Panthers tend to be the main links between Black struggles and American anarchists’ historical sense. Parsons, a militant anarchist organizer in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and possibly a former slave, is a problematic connection to the Black tradition because although she fought lynching and racial discrimination, she was not part of the Black community and often denied her Black identity. (She was married to a white man, Albert Parsons, so this denial may in part have been to evade anti-miscegenation laws. See Lowndes 1995 and Roediger 1986.)

Many anarchists fetishize the Panthers because they seem to fit both the infoshops and insurrection models (i.e. men and women with guns serving breakfast to Black children), but this position tends to idealize the Panthers rather than critically evaluate and integrate their experience into the anarchist tradition.

Today In History We Honor Julian Bond

‘Julian Bond has been an activist in the civil rights, economic justice, and peace movements since his college years. In 1960, Bond helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and earlier that year, he helped create the Atlanta University student civil rights organization, which directed several years of nonviolent protests and won integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters, and parks. Bond served 20 years in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate, drafting more than 60 bills that became law. He was president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP for 11 years and in 1998, was elected chair of the NAACP national board and served for 11 terms until stepping down in 2010.’

(photo: Julian Bond)

- CARTER Magazine

Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper, changed this nation’s perspective on democracy. She worked for political, social and economic equality for herself and all African Americans. She fought to integrate the national Democratic Party, and became one of the first black delegates to a presidential convention. Fannie Lou Townsend was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, in 1917, the youngest of 20 children. By the age of six she was working in the cotton fields. She became known in the civil rights movement as a captivating preacher and singer, inspiring others with her moral and physical courage. In 1962, the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to Hamer’s town and encouraged blacks to register as voters. Hamer volunteered, even though she had not previously known that it was a Constitutional Right for blacks to vote.  After registering herself and working with SNCC, she lost her job, received death threats, and was severely beaten by the police in an effort to intimidate her.  Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in 1964 because blacks were not allowed in the all-white regular party delegation. Although Lyndon Johnson refused to seat the MFDP, the Democrats agreed that in the future no delegation would be seated from a state where anyone was illegally denied the right to vote. Hamer also worked towards achieving financial independence for blacks. In 1969, she helped to start Freedom Farms Corporation, which lent land to blacks until they had enough money to buy it. She worked with the National Council of Negro Women, organized food co-operatives, and helped convene the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1970. Though Hamer wanted children, a white doctor had sterilized her without permission, so she adopted daughters instead.  In her last years, she received many honors and awards. Engraved on her headstone in her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi, are her famous words: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

As a student at the University of Chicago, Bernie Sanders was active in both the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1962, he was arrested for protesting segregation in public schools in Chicago; the police came to call him an outside agitator, as he went around putting up flyers around the city detailing police brutality against African-americans.

some important bernie sanders things
  • while bernie was mayor of Burlington, he rode snow plows himself to make sure streets were cleared after snowstorms
  • as mayor he also hired the first female police officer in the country in the 1980s
  • in the 60′s, sanders was a coordinator for the student nonviolent coordinating committee (SNCC), a college student civil rights group that often worked w/ Martin Luther King, Jr
  • throughout his career, sanders has passionately defended women’s rights to contraceptives/abortion
  • sanders wrote a letter to obama calling for complete marriage equality back in 2011 and has extensively supported acts to eliminate job discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Equality Index, Sanders has a perfect score of 100%; the HRC is the largest LGBT rights/equality groups in the USA
  • sanders vocally protested going into iraq
  • the first bill Sanders ever introduced to congress regarded financial compensation for income lost by veterans who had been deployed in the Persian Gulf War
  • without congress, bernie wrote a letter to obama asking POTUS to close loopholes that corporations/the wealthy use to evade taxpaying
  • sanders isn’t just a vocal defender of the middle-class, but a member of it; with among the most modest salaries in the senate, he’s the only current candidate who isn’t too wealthy/privileged to be out of touch w/ the needs of the american middle class
  • some quotes by sanders about college education/tuition: “If we were to reduce the President’s proposed increase in military spending by less than half, and instead invest that money in educational opportunities for today’s college students, we could cut tuition by 55%” , “We must end the practice of the government making billions in profits from student loans taken out by low and moderate income families” 

Bernie and his brother were educated at public schools in New York City. Bernie attended James Madison High School.

In Chicago, Bernie was very active in the civil rights movement, the generational issue of the time. He was active in both the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He organized sit-in protests against the segregated housing on campu and in 1962 was arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago public schools.

If you look at his political record, which now spans three decades in political office (and two more when you add in his activist days), you’ll find that he’s been fighting for the same things, regardless of the political climate of the time.

In 1976, Bernie already was campaigning for LGBTQ rights, environmental protection, healthcare-for-all, fairer taxes on corporations, fewer military engagements abroad, a more sensible drug policy, and women’s reproductive rights.

He’s the ONLY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE in the 2016 race who VOTED AGAINST the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which banned LGBTQ Americans from marrying until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional earlier this year.


Ok so I don’t know why I never have talked about March before, but seeing as it is MLK day this is a perfect time.

So I bet a lot of you have seen Selma by now (I saw it last night and it was fantastic and if you haven’t seen it please see it), if you can recall from the movie the two students who marched, the one who had intended to march the entire time even without his organization, that’s John Lewis. So I’m going to talk about John Lewis a little and March and it’s an incredible comic and if you haven’t read it you should read it ok.

John Lewis is one of the most incredible people in the civil rights movement. He was a cofounder of SNCC (student nonviolent coordinating committee), the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington in 1963, and the only one still alive today. Lewis has been arrested over 40 times, and still advocated for nonviolence amongst protesters. Along with coordinating the March from Selma to Montgomery, he went on to become a US Representative from Georgia.

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak about the civil rights movement last year at the Miami Book Fair International. He was an incredible speaker, recalling Selma and the March on Washington.

March is about how Lewis became the advocate for civil rights that he is. Centered around the March of Selma to Montgomery, Lewis’s childhood, and his first encounters with Dr. King. It’s a beautiful story and I’ve only read v. 1. Volume 2 actually comes out tomorrow! (Jan 20th).

The comic is beautifully drawn and written. If you have a chance to read it please do.