Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle…If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send a very fast working one to Moscow, and I certainly won’t have to send a second.
Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito, in a letter to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, 1948
this day in 1933, the Reichstag building in Berlin, which
housed the German Parliament, was set on fire. The Nazi government of
Adolf Hitler then ordered a thorough hunt to track down the arsonist.
identified the perpetrator as Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist;
he and four other Communist leaders were arrested for their supposed
role in the blaze. The Nazis used the
event as evidence of a Communist plot in Germany, and Hitler urged
Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the Communist threat.
This Reichstag Fire Decree gave Hitler considerable powers, and is
considered a pivotal moment in Hitler’s consolidation of power into a
one-party dictatorship. Van der Lubbe was found guilty
and executed by guillotine on January 10th 1934. However, his role has
been questioned by historians with some even suggesting he was not
responsible and that the fire was ordered by the Nazis themselves.
1873: Anarcho-syndicalist Marie Capderoque, aka Marion Bachmann, born in Lyon, France. She was a member of the anarcho-syndicalist group Dames Réunies.
1882: Georgi Dimitrov was born in Kovachevtsi, Bulgaria. He was the first communist leader of Bulgaria, from 1946 to 1949. Dimitrov led the Communist International from 1934 to 1943.
1891: Emma Goldman addresses a mass meeting to protest the second imprisonment of Johann Most at Blackwell’s Island after the Supreme Court rejects the appeal of his 1887 conviction for illegal assembly and incitement to riot following the Haymarket executions.
1921: Anarchist José Martínez Guerricabeitia, aka Felipe de Orero, born in Villar del Arzobispo, Spain. He was a member of the Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias (FIJL) during the Spanish Civil War.
1923: A nationwide General Strike, protesting the assassination of the anarchist Kurt Wilckens in his prison cell, paralyzes Argentina.
1935: Battle of Ballantyne Pier: Over a thousand striking Vancouver waterfront workers are attacked by armed police.
1941: Union & civil rights leader A Philip Randolph meets with President Roosevelt about the July 1 march over discrimination in war industries.
1946: Socialist Ram Manohar Lohia calls for Direct Action Day against the Portuguese in Goa.
1950: In Chile the central anarchist syndicalist National Unitarian Movement of Workers (MUNT) is created.
1965: Last issue, #110 of Free Association is published. It was the publication of the Japanese Anarchist Federation (JAF).
1971: The Washington Post publishes excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, halted by court order the following day.
1984: Battle of Orgreave: During the UK Miner’s Strike, police attack 5,000 strikers on the pickets at a British Steel Corporation (BSC) coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. It was one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history.
1999: Carnival against Capitalism worldwide, including London, England / Eugene, US / Cologne, Germany, J18 or Global Action Day protests.
Lying about Vietnam: it was now a Washington way of life. The lies started with the war’s ontological premise. We were supposed to be defending a ‘country’ called “South Vietnam.’ But South Vietnam was not quite a country at all. Vietnamese independence fighters had begun battling the French since practically the day they stopped fighting side by side in World War II. In 1954 they fought their colonial overlords to a final defeat at the stronghold of Dien Bien Phu. It was the first military loss for a European colonial power in three hundred years. Though these stalwarts, the Vietminh, now controlled four-fifths of the country’s territory, at the peace conference in Geneva they made a concession: they agreed to administer an armistice area half that size, demarcated at the seventeenth parallel (but for some last-minute haggling, it would have been the eighteenth). A government loyal to the French would administer the lands to the south. The ad hoc demarcation was to last twenty-four months, at which time the winner of an internationally supervised election in 1956 would run the entire country.
Instead, the division lasted for nineteen years. The reason was the United Sates, which saw to it the reunification election never took place. American intelligence knew that Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of the independence fighters, would have won 80 percent of the vote. The seventeenth parallel was read backward as an ordinary international boundary. If 'North Vietnam’ crossed it, they’d be guilty of 'aggression.’ Meanwhile, the CIA launched a propaganda campaign to depopulate North Vietnam, whose sizable Catholic population was shipped to 'South Vietnam’ via the U.S. Seventh Fleet. There, they found themselves part of a citizenry that had no reason for being in history, culture, or geography; even as the U.S. pretended- then came to believe- they were a brave, independence-loving nation of long standing. Actually the great city in the South, Saigon, had been France’s imperial headquarters. There, France had crowned a figurehead emperor at the tender age of twelve. During World War II, Emperor Bao Dai had collaborated with Vichy France and the Japanese. This was the man the South Vietnamese were supposed to venerate as the leader of their independent nation.
He was replaced by someone worse: a wily hustler named Ngo Dinh Diem. In 1952, Diem engineered a presidential election between himself and the emperor, with the help of U.S. government advisers, and 'won’ 98.2 percent of the vote. He then revived the guillotine as punishment for anyone 'infringing upon the security of the state.’ His favorite rebuff to an insult from a political opponent was 'Shoot him dead!’ His sister-in-law Madame Nhu, who served as his emissary abroad, told Americans the last thing her family was interested in was 'your crazy freedoms.’ This was the government to which the United States would now ask its citizens to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Diem was not a Communist. And that, said America, made him a democrat.
Ho Chi Minh had no special beef with the United States. He liked to quote the Declaration of Independence; on the march to Hanoi during World War II, his forces called themselves the Viet-American Army; after the war, Ho sent telegrams to President Truman offering an independent Vietnam as 'a fertile field for American capital and enterprise.’ (Truman never answered.) The French reconquered Vietnam with what was practically an American mercenary force: 78 percent of the French army’s funding came from the United States. More hawkish Americans lobbied for direct intervention; Richard Nixon, after his visit in 1953, advised Eisenhower that two or three atomic bombs would do the trick. Ho Chi Minh’s supporters in South Vietnam began their guerrilla war in 1960. It led to a kind of Cold War nervous breakdown. Falter in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson claimed in 1964, and 'they may just chase you into your own kitchen.
When Armenia entered the Soviet Union in 1920, the ancient Armenian craft and tradition of rug making took a new turn, becoming a more commercialized trade instead of one passed down through families. Carpet making in Soviet Armenia reflected political and social changes in the county too - religious themes were discouraged, while rugs depicting Communist leaders and messages were put in production.
June 14, 1894 - Birthday of Comrade José Carlos Mariátegui, Peruvian communist leader, journalist and Marxist theoretician.
In 1928, Mariátegui founded the Socialist Party of Peru, which later became the Communist Party. That year he published his best-known work, Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality, in which he examined Peru’s social and economic situation from a Marxist perspective. It was considered one of the first materialist analyses of a Latin American society.
ROMANIA. Bucharest. 1989. In an example of acute historical irony, this anticommunist civilian uses an AK-47 to hunt down secret police during the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania’s oppressive communist dictator.
The Romanian Revolution was a period of violent civil unrest in December 1989 and part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several countries. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of Timișoara and soon spread throughout the country, ultimately culminating in the show trial and execution of longtime Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the end of 42 years of Communist rule in Romania. It was also the last removal of a Communist regime in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989, and the only one that violently overthrew a country’s government and executed its leader.