FLAME THROWER

We have a treat for you all today. As far as we are aware the following has not been scanned before. ‘Flame Thrower’, produced 1986 in London, was, we believe, a one off issue of this 24 page free newspaper. Some interesting articles and graphics inside that reflect the period, including an early ‘constructive criticism’ of Class War which came at a time prior to them developing into a stronger national federation. Also included is a much copied (at the time) interview with the Animal Liberation Front, etc, etc.

We give a massive thanks to Newcastle’s ‘Canny Little Library’ who have enabled us, with their generosity, to now have the ability to scan A3 newspapers, broadsheets, etc such as the below.

As ever, the PDF of the paper is below picture.  Enjoy and share…

Flamethrower - 0001

PDF file here….  Flamethrower pdf

Anarchist Convicts

The Anarchist Convicts of Guyana,

“The Voice of the Penal Colony” (1893)

Not everything we share originates from the North of England. We occasionally like to share writings or literature for no other reason than that we like them or for the fact that they move us so much as to want to post them on here. The following is such, originally from “The Libertarian Labyrinth” website.

THE VOICE OF THE PENAL COLONY

While the populations panic and cheer the hangman tsar, while the bourgeois and the governmentals congratulate themselves on the success of their stratagems and observe that human stupidity is always so great, a protest must come, proud and energetic, to remind the bourgeois that there are still free men, even, and especially, in their prisons and their penal colonies.

We must remind our leaders, who, in the joy of their triumph, lick the boots of the hangman of nihilists and whipper of women, that in the French penal colonies are also found those whose only crime has been to dream of a society of justice and equality.

The anarchist convicts in the penal colonies of Guyana address to us a manifesto in which, still and always glorifying the humanitarian principles that they have defended by deed and by word, before the so-called bourgeois justice, they make known to us the foul tortures, the vulgar and stupid means employed to conduct them more rapidly to death.

Even in irons they are still those who have made the bourgeois capitalists tremble, and that is why every means is used against them, in order to make them disappear.

Their outraged protest will be known, their words will be heard, while we await the hour, so much desired, when we can finally avenge them.

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Locally produced sticker of Duval

Dear Comrades,

We take advantage of an occasion that presents itself to bring you some news of the situation we face in the penal colonies where the bourgeois detain us.

When the bourgeois, who bear the name of magistrates, have struck at us, they have not dared to strike us with special laws enacting punishments created for us; they sense that they have already done something offensive in the joining together of the words convicts and anarchist, and they feign to apply to us their famous equality before the law.

Lies and hypocrisy, like everything done by a ruler. It is not the common penal servitude that they apply to us, but a penal servitude where all the cowardice of the tyrants and the hatred of the bourgeois weigh upon us.—You know by our previous letters that comrade Duval, the first who has been sent to Guyana, had to submit to all sorts of nuisances, each one as cowardly as the others, that his correspondence had been intercepted, and that finally, without any reason, he had been confined to the Île Royale (one of the Îles du Salut). That island, which is nothing but a rock in the middle of the ocean, has been chosen by the prison administration for the detainment of the convicts considered incorrigible, as well as those on the continent, either at Cayenne or at Maroni, who have been guilty of escape attempts, thefts crimes against persons and have been condemned again by the special maritime tribunal charged with judging the convicts. On that island there is a discipline more savage than anywhere, and the commandant there is a machine for handing out solitary confinement and irons.—Like comrade Duval, the comrades Pini and Girier, as well as the comrade Simon [Biscuit, accomplice of Ravachol], arrived in the last convoy, are all confined on that rock.

Our conduct with regard to the regulations, however, has never provided reasons for the internment imposed on us, but is instead to avoid the possibility of any escape on our part; and our jailers have judged it proper to isolate us in the midst of the ocean and to subject us to an iron discipline. Even that rigor does not seem to have satisfied them; for some time, instead of sleeping in the common hut, on a hammock, we are forced to sleep in the prison, in the narrow, filthy room where they cram the convicts condemned by the special tribunal to seclusion. There, we have a plank for a hammock, as if the ironclad doors, the bars and the ocean were not enough to hold us.

They chain us by the feet to an iron bar, which in the language of the penal colony is called the “spit.” — It is a spit, in fact, to which we are secured like game ready for roasting, while our persecutors, in the shelter of a mosquito net, rest on soft bunks that this good Administration furnishes them with the taxpayers’ money.

In the face of this last measure of cruelty, we have demanded the reasons of the commandant, who has responded to us in the language of the torturer who believes himself sheltered from the vengeance of his victims. I have, he responded to us, demanded this measure of the higher Administration in order to safeguard my personal security. We have the right to take such measures with regard to dangerous men, and you are dangerous since you are anarchists.

Dangerous!!! Read it, comrades! The anarchists are dangerous, but not those who have snatched women and children; not those who have chopped women in bits; not the cousin of the politician Reinach, the famous Altmayer. The administrators surround themselves with those men, and they have made them faithful servants whose mission is to double the guard by spying on the words and deeds that can be accomplished by the anarchist convicts, who have been able to preserve a certain respect with those charged with torturing them.—They are right to do so, by the way, as it is those who know how to hold up their heads and make themselves respected who are dangerous, not those who crawl like vipers or who come like dogs to lick the hands of those who strike them. So, despite the danger that there is in remaining men, we will not weaken in the face of adversity and we will show our tyrants that the smock of a convict is still not thick enough to hide the heart of an anarchist.

We cannot depict for you here all the vexations of which we are the object. That would require entering into the detail of life in the penal colony and that would lead us too far afield, but what it is important to make known to you, because we want it to be known, is the barbarity with which the Administration has deprived us of our correspondence. Comrade Girier, in Guyana, has had no news of his family in 18 months. A single letter was given him on his arrival, and nothing since.

To inform you of all the crimes committed in the name of the law in this country of death would take volumes.—So you will see défiler before your eyes some wretches chained and pummeled with blows by the guard, and the cowardly convicts charged with aiding them in accomplishing their ferocities!

You will also see—an unbelievable thing!—you will see tied to a tree, at the foot of which is found an anthill, arms and legs plastered with brown sugar destined to attract the manioc ants, big as your little fingers and armed with sharp, powerful antennae.

We could continue on this subject, but what would be the use? When you know that there are so-called “civilized” savages, capable of committing the atrocities that we have cited, you will easily imagine what can arise from these barbaric brains

We will stop there, authorizing you to give our letter all that publicity that you can, for it is time that the people know what crimes are committed in their name; it places a grave responsibility on them, since they are the ones who give the power to other men who use it for the triumph of disgrace.

All men with a heart have the duty to think that those condemned by the magistrates in the name of the people have, if they were guilty, only had a glimmer of crime in their thoughts, and have only been criminals for a moment; and the still more criminal society avenges itself in a cowardly manner on these wretches by committing crimes against their persons for the full duration of their existence.

Publish this letter so that all the comrades also know how we are treated, and so that those who still believe there is something good in the bourgeois tear off the last blindfold that blinds them.

Let them all also be convinced that we have preserved all our courage and our love for anarchy, and let them no believe that the men fallen in the struggle are men doomed for the future. That is false. Our courage is greater than ever, and today we also have the hatred that our persecutors have poured into our hearts.

Forward, comrades, have no fear of coming to join us, but fight. We are wretched here, our food is disgusting, our lodgings unhealthy, the climate murderous, the men are like a plague for us, but all of that cannot make an anarchist suffer, for in the midst of these miseries, we have within us a deep joy from having struggled for the truth.

And we have the good fortune to know that others still fight, and the firm hope of fighting once again.

Courage then, comrades, strike hard against the monster of authority, break the machine of exploitation, squeeze the canker of religion, and fly without fear the flag of Anarchy.

The hearts of the anarchist convicts accompany you in the battle.

Long live Anarchy!

The Anarchist Convicts of Guyana

TAG News Sheet July 1995

Continuing our series of Tyneside Anarchist Group literature, here is the July 1995 News Sheet (PDF link below picture). Issue’s 3 and 4 will follow at a later date, and that is the only copies we have if anyone we know has any missing issues they could donate, lend, or even sell us then that would be great….get in touch.

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PDF file here…. tag july 95

Tyneside Anarchist Group

We have been running a series of Newcastle Anarchist Group (1983ish) and Tyneside Anarchist Group (1992 – late 90,s) leaflets on our Facebook page, viewable here….

https://www.facebook.com/Tyneside-Anarchist-Archive-100725731534729/

With the next leaflet in the series being an A4 four page affair we have created a PDF

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PDF file thing here…. taga4

Page 2 has a very short history of anarchism on Tyneside and seems to be culled from two sources we know about, the second of which comes from a ‘well known ex miner’ and his books, and of which we must add are often giving wrong facts about local anarchist history and we take with a ‘pinch of salt’.

Once again, ignore all postal addresses….they are 25 years or so old.

 

RIP Ewan Brown 1 year gone

by ewan

Painting proudly completed by Ewan Brown May 2018. A beautiful picture of Hope. Your relentless activism and compassion against injustice in this world continues to inspire Hope for those of us who continue the fight in your name. Rest in peace my friend. xxxx

Tyneside Anarchist Archive.

Interview No 2

It can be quite a thankless task creating & running an archive, to some…why bother with the past when there is too much happening now and to come. At times it is disheartening when you put so much effort into discovering/preserving/showcasing, and sharing OUR history, especially a local archive such as ours – where you get more support and acknowledgement from such far flung countries as Romania, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, & Spain etc than from our very own doorstep. But, as ever we persevere, after all its why we exist, so you can imagine our humble delight when we received another interview and interest in what we do, this time from Arizona, USA………

What was the impetus for creating this archive? (Also, curious to know if anyone involved had experience with archival work, professionally or not when deciding to take on this project)

No experience whatsoever, other than a desire to preserve and showcase elements of locally printed anarchist propaganda, and of which, when added to the amount of ‘national’ printed propaganda that we have, then becomes a ‘collection’ or can be then labelled an ‘archive’.

The archive is just a continuation of my 35++ years of spreading the message, propagating our ideal in whatever form I can. That is my impetus. That is my life.

What is the process of selection of materials for the archive?  (I realize some of this information is on your website)

Anything from the anarchist / libertarian spectrum that I come across, buy, or gets donated is kept, especially anything of a local nature. Material is then gradually scanned to make it more accessible to those that can benefit in any way from it.

How have you actively sought out materials to add to your collection?

Yes, from scouring anarchist book fairs for old magazines, to buying old doubled copies of 1970’s editions of Black Flag from the Kate Sharpley Library, to harassing ‘elder’ local anarchists to give over old meeting minutes etc… it can and does at times become quite possessive. Since the recent completion of our history in book form, this has calmed down somewhat.

COVER
300+ page history out this summer

What value do these materials have? How did you determine that value?

Priceless. As we’ve previously stated, the 1981 leaflet which written by young local punks from run down Gateshead housing estates, embracing and endeavoring to articulate their flowering rebellion and emerging anarchism is “worth a ton of that passed off by the political research industry”. Capturing that moment in written form from that period is priceless and personally is ‘worth’ more than any intellectual tome of a book ever could.

How has the political theory of anarchism shaped your archival practices?

Intellectual political theory’s of learned anarchist philosophers bare little influence when inspiration can be found in everyday life and practices. I could talk about our natural and inherent aspects of mutual aid and inbuilt instincts of co-operation forever, or advise reading Kropotkin, but why bother when you can just look beyond stereotypical conditioning and media manipulation to look at what’s happening within your own community, your own neighborhood, especially in times of ‘crisis’ when the state continually shows its true colors of self preservation.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Your syllabus states “By performing appraisal and selection, archivists are thereby actively shaping the future’s history of our times.” That is why we exist as a ‘local’ anarchist archive, perhaps to counteract the practice of the future historian who only delves into ‘academic’ archives which are ultimately inaccessible for the majority (i.e. the state run International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam).

For instance, during the 1980’s there was an explosion of anarchist activity and groups in North East England yet none of this is accounted for, or barely mentioned, in the national anarchist press of the period, and especially in the contacts section of papers like Freedom. The future ‘historian’ could quite easily bypass important developments of anarchism if reliance of the national anarchist press is relied upon. This has happened in the past, and will no doubt happen again, therefore this is our raison d’être, and why the soon publication of our book ‘Anarchism in North East England 1882 – 1992. A history’ is perhaps important.

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Durruti Column/CNT Militant obituary Teesside

We have previously highlighted the life of a CNT militant who settled in Middlesbrough, Teesside, North East England in an interview with Miguel Rico. Interview here…

https://tynesideanarchistarchive.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/cnt-anarchist-militant-interview/

Today we share the life of Vicente Blasco Carrillo who settled in Stockton on Tees, North East England after the war. The following obituary, written by Teesside Anarchists in 1994 is from ANARCHY ! Libertarian broadsheet for the North East. Issue 2. 1994.

Obituary

Vicente Blasco Carrillo (1917-94)

Vicente Blasco Carrillo who died in North Tees Hospital on July 18, aged 77, was one of the last few of the once-numerous Spanish Anarchist emigration in Britain. Born in Barcelona, he was active in the anarchist movement in his youth, being a militant in the ‘Faro’ group of the FIJL (Iberian Libertarian Youth Federation). After the fascist military coup was defeated in Barcelona on July 19th 1936 by the armed working class, Blasco joined the militia of the anarcho-syndicalist union, the CNT, and fought at the Aragon front in the Durruti column.

Durruti-column

When the militias were militarised – partly due to counter-revolutionary movements in the Republican camp, partly to give a better impression to the outside world – Blasco was sent by the CNT to the military academy in Barcelona, where he was made a lieutenant. (The CNT wanted to counter the influence of the Stalinists and fellow-travellers busy taking control of the Republic’s army.)

When the Republic was defeated in 1939 he joined the tide of refugees who escaped across the border to France. Like some of the others in refugee camps like Argeles-sur-Mer he joined the French Army (Foreign Legion) to escape the deplorable conditions. (The French socialist Popular Front government didn’t have much to learn from the nazis in this department.) – the French Army needed recruits because the Second World War was about to start.

When France fell to the Nazis, Blasco escaped from Lebanon, where he’d been posted, to Palestine. There he was among a group of seventy Civil War veterans (republicans, communists and anarchists) who having been recruited into the French army and having fled with their arms to British occupied Palestine on France’s fall, were now recruited into the British Army Commandos!. Captured during the British withdrawal from Crete, he was a prisoner-of-war in Germany for three and a half years.

After the war he settled in Stockton, working and bringing up a family. He never returned to Spain. With our comrade Juan, also a participant in the Spanish libertarian movement and the Revolution, and who later came to know Blasco in the Commandos, as a prisoner of war in Germany and after settling on Teesside, we salute an anti-fascist fighter. Now, as then, MUERTE AL FASCISMO!

Teesside Anarchists

News

From the back streets of Tyneside to anarchists worldwide….busy times at the archive with another interview received, this time from  Arizona !!

More scanning also going on and next we will bring you the series of leaflets from Tyneside Anarchist Group (mid to late 1990,s)….

The series of Newcastle Anarchist Group leaflets (1982-1983), and the forthcoming series of TAG leaflets predominantly appear on our Facebook page, so check them there….

https://www.facebook.com/Tyneside-Anarchist-Archive-100725731534729/

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NEWCASTLE ANARCHIST CONFERENCE 1914

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Every year certain ‘on this day’ pages highlight that on this weekend in 1914 the annual anarchist conference was this year held in Newcastle, and like the Daily Mirror front page spread above, concentrate only on the fashion of the time and talk of ‘flappers’.

This is only a minute picture of the full story. Our forthcoming book (this summer) ‘Anarchism in North East England, 1882-1992 – a history’ covers the entire weekend of the conference and delves into what the delegates at the conference were actually saying, what their leaflets said, what the local press thought of events, coverage of the large public meeting during the weekend, and the large outdoor public meeting concluding events at the Big Market area in the city.

conf

One memorable quote from a delegate, remarking on the huge interest at the public meeting states “We do not know that the local people have any names added to the roll. But we take a leaf out of the book of the old Methodist. Many entered their Bethels out of curiosity and stayed to pray. Many might attend our meetings out of curiosity and stop to think.”

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PS, we think it looks like George Barrett (George Ballard) on the left of top picture, whom we know spoke at the conference..what do you think ?

INTERVIEW

Interview – ‘in which we invariably blow our own trumpet’ so to speak…

Not often we do, but a young American comrade interviewed us recently for something or other that she is writing, so we thought we would share….

  1. How and when was your archive established?

The creation of group anarchist libraries for self, as opposed to state education, was happening with local anarchists in 1907,with the Tyneside Anarchist Federation of the late 1960’s early 1970’s, with the Newcastle Anarchist Group in the early 1980’s, and Tyneside Class War in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The Tyneside Class War library of 1990 eventually evolved into Tyneside Anarchist Archive that we are today. Continuing the tradition, we also have Newcastle’s Canny Little Library based at a local cinema / social centre space.

  1. Why did you want to preserve local anarchist history?

Apart from it being a particularly personal passion, OUR history is regularly   misinterpreted and / or ignored by academic historians only interested in self promotion or biased viewpoints. The majority of ‘down to earth’ accounts of group activities, the histories of the lives of ‘lesser personalities’ within the movement, the lifetimes of activism despite, at times, prevailing odds, rarely, or do not appear in any of the ‘official’ histories of anarchism, especially regional areas such as the North East. A need and desire to remedy this situation is forever my aim.

  1. Do you all identify as anarchists?

Yes

  1. How many people work, either as volunteers or paid employees at your archive?

No one is paid! It is mainly the work of a couple of individuals, with occasional help from the wider anarchist ‘scene’.

  1. Who do you see as your main user community or communities?

Our help is always available to any who wish to utilise what we can offer, from the odd university dissertation to the sharing of knowledge to those seeking it to help with current literature they produce / write etc.

  1. Can you briefly describe the size and scope of your holdings?

Roughly about 3500 items of literature (papers, magazines, leaflets, news sheets, zines, pamphlets, etc) and that doesn’t include the hundreds of books, from my own personal library.

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  1. Can you describe the outreach activities you engage in?

We do the occasional anarchist book fair, where we sell copies of papers etc that we have more than one copy of in the archive and what we know other archives already have. Newcastle has also been host to a North East Radical History Festival of which we were involved with, a stall showcasing our literature and history. We also self promote through the usual ‘social media’ and our website.

More importantly, this summer should see the release of our seminal work ‘Anarchism in North East England 1882 – 1992. A history.’ Which should be 300+ pages.

  1. How do you see your archive in relation to other anarchist libraries and archives?

Our influence and inspiration has always been the Kate Sharpley Library, we are like their little nephew! I occasionally visit a member of their library to exchange items of interest.  We are just a small sapling amongst a sturdy oak forest when you compare us to the likes of Nottingham’s  Sparrows Nest Archive, or Glasgow’s  Spirit Of Revolt Archive, and especially the aforementioned Kate Sharpley Library. What we all have in common is that we are not academic institutions open only to the select few, we are all anarchists based in and around grass roots activity. 

  1. How does your archival work connect to movement work or your organizing history? What is the relationship between preserving the anarchist past and contemporary and future movements?

A passage from the introduction of our forthcoming book may answer this question…

“We learn from our mistakes and we also learn from our history. The parallels are apparent throughout this history. Today (2019) a new local group, the North-East Anarchist Group, with their regular anarchist history discussion meetings bare resemblance to the Newcastle anarchists of 1907 who hosted similar events. The lessons learned of the anarchists at the Clousden Hill Colony during the late 1890’s are implemented by today’s co-operatives, social centres, and communes / squats etc. The creation of group anarchist libraries for self, as opposed to state education, was happening with anarchists in 1907,with the Tyneside Anarchist Federation of the late 1960’s early 1970’s, with the Newcastle Anarchist Group in the early 1980’s, and Tyneside Class War in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, this is carried on today with Newcastle’s Canny Little Library. The account of the Chopwell anarchists and their laying of anarchist literature for sale on the grass at the annual Durham Miners Gala in 1913 brings back vivid personal memories from the late 1980’s. This is our history, and this is the purpose of our history, this is our culture, a culture of resistance to the state and its enforced fallacies of indoctrination, control and coercion. And hopefully, this is our future, for the sake of our children or our children’s children, who we may hope can live a life without the destructive nature of capitalism, and a planet recovered from its devastating ravages.”

https://tynesideanarchistarchive.wordpress.com/  (Web)

tynesideanarchistarchive@riseup.net  (Email)

https://www.facebook.com/Tyneside-Anarchist-Archive-100725731534729/  (facebook)

 

Amazing news

ac5455

Two bits of great news. Firstly we have been given a double CD of the interview, and the radio slots that local labour historian Ray Challinor did with Tom Brown during the early 1970’s. I must admit, after searching for info etc on Tom Brown for next to 30 years, that it was quite a moment to actually hear him speaking. The booming voice of the Tyneside shipyards, now 70 odd years old with a frail old voice, but not without his passion for the ‘struggle’. After contemplation, we have decided to give these to the Kate Sharpley Library for possible audio on-line release, so keep an eye out for that.

Secondly, friends of the archive, based within another local community grouping have give us the ability to ‘purchase’ our very own A3 scanner, which has opened immense possibilities now for this archive. We can bring you the entire series (16 issues) of the Tyneside Syndicalist newspaper, amongst many other local A3 broadsheets of interest, not to mention many other A3 newspapers…exciting!!!!

Tyneside Anarchist Archive

‘promoting and preserving OUR history’

Go on..give us a like / share / hello /

TYNE & WEAR FREE NEWS

 

cw tynef ree 2

cw tyne +w cw newsa

Tyne & Wear Free News began May 1985 and at times was published monthly before changing name in 1988 to the news sheet of Tyneside Class War, then becoming just named Tyneside Class War. The paper was an A3 broad news sheet and was available at bookshops such as Days Of Hope. It was also fly posted regularly and also given out during street sales of Class War.

We have numbers.. 1 , 2 , 3, 5, 8 , 9, 11, and the un-numbered ‘Seafarers fight’ issue pictured above. We would love any missing numbers for the archive. If you can help please get in touch. Thank you.

 

NORTHERN ANARCHIST NETWORK

nan - 13

Mid to late 1980’s, anarchists in the North East were affiliated to the Northern Anarchist Network, and previous to that the North Eastern Anarchist Federation during the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. Both groups encompassed those from throughout Northern England, Yorkshire, etc to the Borders and southern Scotland. Pictured is one of the NAN bulletins we have. Others include numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13. Obviously we always on the look out for any missing numbers..if you can help please get in touch.

WAR FOR OIL

“Wars do not happen because politicians omit to ask one another to dinner, or because Churchill forgot to slap Stalin on the back. Wars are fought for sound economic reasons and the greatest of all these is oil.”

Tom Brown. 1958.  foreseeing future events.

from Nationalism and the new boss class. Whilst we only have this pamphlet in PDF, we have a few other rather delicate ones in our collection, including…

len tb

ALBERT MELTZER 1920 – 1996

In remembrance of an old friend of the archive since its inception over 20 years ago. Just before his death i let Albert know of my collecting / researching of the history of anarchism on Tyneside, to which his response was the information we have and known was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Sadly a lot of this information passed with Albert’s passing.

7th May 1996 we attended the funeral of Albert – funeral programme below..

meltzer funeral

meltzer funeral inner

Below a photo we have of Durruti’s grave, taken on the day of the scattering of Albert Meltzer’s ashes 31/11/1996. (although we have 1997 written on rear of photo ?)

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EWAN BROWN OBITUARY

It is with immense sadness that we share the news of our friends early death at 27 years old.  Such a sad sad loss that we struggle for adequate words…

Ewan was extremely enthusiastic about this archive, and what it try’s to achieve. In fact this website wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the patient help from him setting it up for me and showing a not very computer literate person i am how to go on. He would regularly come to see us for a cup of tea and lend another book and a long long chat. It was on one such occasion that Ewan eagerly agreed to ‘look after and run’ this archive in the event of my death.

I used to affectionately call Ewan “one man army”, as his level of activism, commitment to the struggle, and his genuine compassion was more than enough to out-do many activists twice his age.

We…. in fact we have no more words to convey other than…. you may have left us too early Ewan, but you can rest assured we will never let your name or memory be forgotten…..

ewan

@ Book fair. Bradford. 2018.

In answer to a minor criticism from a friend..“why would people wanna donate..when you just sell the stuff ?”

We did a one – off stall at an Anarchist book fair held in the 1 in 12 in Bradford 2018. We took a lot less than £30, so it actually cost us more to go and do it. We only ‘sold’ or ‘gave away’ literature that we had more than one copy of in the archive, and literature that we know other archives already have. We do it for the love of doing it, the communication, the sharing of our ideas, …NOT MONEY !

who knows..we may pop up again at an event near you… anyway someone took some photos…

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THE HEAVY STUFF – CLASS WAR

Class War,s theoretical magazine. December 1987.  We bring you two images, the first is the original, and the second is the cheaper pirated version sold on Tyneside ( cheaper as it was sold for ‘ten bob’ – slang for 50p ). As well as the PDF here . . Heavy-Stuff-1

We will gradually bring you all 6 (yes 6 as number 6 was a special edition produced on Tyneside, entitled ‘Coal communities in conflict’ by Dave Douglas) of The Heavy Stuff in future posts, especially as we say, issues 4, 5, + 6 were produced locally.

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cw hs 01 geor

 

ps, we dont get that many visitors so please give us a share, like, subscription, sign up for email notifications, etc, etc….or if you local please email us your memories of anarchism in the North East

THE HOCKLER.

The Hockler. No 1.  Tyneside. Autumn 1991. Only 1 issue produced.

A3 double sided ‘paper’ produced by members of Tyneside Class War, and ( i am told ) was fly posted throughout the streets of Newcastle and North Shields etc, as well as given out during Class War street sales. I never did like the name then and still divint !           but there you go ….

original copy in our collection, and the PDF file ( to read both sides)  hockler

cw hock

VIRUS No 11. 1987.

VIRUS No 11. mid 1987. magazine of the Anarchist Communist Federation.

In the spirit of national editorial rotation, issues 11, 12, & 13 were produced in Newcastle.  Issue 14 saw a name change of the magazine to ORGANISE.

We bring you our favorite cover and the stolen PDF file…. virus 11

vir11

HOPE

Continuing our series of local ‘anarcho-punk’ zines, we bring you Hope which ran from 1986 – 1989 and hailed from Gateshead / Newcastle. We have specifically been asked not to PDF them due to embarrassment, although we do have a PDF of number 2 which is available upon personal request …..

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005

006

Hope number 4 was unreleased and was to be an all anarchist article zine, which clearly showed the authors move away from ‘anarcho-punk’ to more of a class struggle anarchist outlook. We have the few completed pages and cover in our collection.

007

ANARCHIST FEMINIST MAGAZINE 1985

International women’s day 8th March ????  we say respect everyday not just one day. With this in mind we bring you a classic from London, 1985. We lost / loaned out our copy during the 1990,s if anybody local has a replacement they would like to donate…

we share this as we have the PDF file thing for you….  afem85

 

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ANGER BURNING No 2

Anger Burning issue 2. November 2015. Tyneside.

This issue is of particular interest to us as it interviews activists from North East Class War ( page 19 ). This group have since disbanded so please ignore any contact details given..although they still active and can be contacted through ourselves. Pdf file below picture……

AB-issue2-preview2

PDF file………  AngerBurning-Issue02

 

 

GUERNICA

The 1980,s saw an explosion of ‘Anarcho – punk’ zines, and Tyneside was no exception, with many a fine publication being produced DIY style during this period. With over 300 in our collection we will post some of the better local ones during the following months..

We start with GUERNICA, produced by an old friend of ours. Four issues released between 1987 & 1989.

gu1

gu2.jpggu3gu4

 

CLASS WAR – FUCK THE POLL TAX

008

Seven surviving stickers in the archive, must be the only ones left anywhere out of the thousands upon thousands printed.

“” Early March 1990, two of us hitch-hiked down to the Class War Federations regional delegates meeting at a house in Moss side, Manchester. After much discussion on various things, it was decided to do a sticker for the forthcoming anti poll tax march ( which turned into the ‘poll tax riot’). Getting bored of the meeting by this stage and wanting to get to the local pub ( the Whalley i think) the discussion on what to put on sticker was going around and around the room, at which point, and having not said much else at the meeting,  i piped up in a loud broad geordie accent… ‘hear man..FUCK THE POLL TAX’… ha ha it was like them cartoons when you see the lightbulb above the heads light up in a communal YES !””

ex Tyneside Class War activist

POLL TAX – SCOTLAND

ptax

PAY NO POLL TAX – THEY CANT IMPRISON US ALL

Tyneside anarchists / Tyneside Class War with their banner at anti poll tax demonstration, Edinburgh.

The poll tax was to be introduced a year before in Scotland (testing ground) 1st April 1989. Always having close ties with our ‘friends up north’ our number were always present at demonstrations etc, in the above case..late 1988 i believe. Our banner was also quite prevailant on that evenings BBC news.

 

ps .  “we were glad to get rid of them horrible orange curtains”

EARTHWORKS No 2.

EARTHWORKS – issue 2.  Newcastle Upon Tyne. 1984.

earthworks

The only issue we have of this fine magazine (if anybody has any other copies please let us know).

Articles on – miners strike + north east. 1910-1912 workers strike back – miners. Social control in schools. Labour scabs. Joseph Cowan a Tyneside radical. Soldier mutinees. 

ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK

THE VOICE OF RESPECTABLE MODERATION

ATTACK INTERNATIONAL – Free Newspaper London 1987.

Our copy is slightly tattered, and having only an a4 scanner at the moment it was great to see a comrade recently upload the pdf. One of the favorite and highly influential papers in our collection….

attackcov

and the PDF file for you………..    AttackAttackAttack

 

 

DEATH OF THE LABOUR PARTY

“the Labour Party is incapable of acting in the interests of the working class. It is an obstacle in our struggle for liberation and must be smashed along with the system it wants to manage”

Newcastle 8th May 1989. Newcastle Anarchist Communist Federation public meeting and talk. We have the full typed talk given at meeting but haven’t re-produced it here as its about 7 a4 pages of faint type, so instead we have another little gem from the archive by Thames Valley Anarchists, written 1986 in a similar vain (see below)….

ncle acf 1989

labour p

And the stolen PDF for you…..  vote-labour-TVA

TREASON

Treason No 1. Sunderland, November 1981.

Not all papers withstand the test of time, so we were pleased to re-discover this little gem on the Spirit Of Revolt archive. PDF file of the paper below…..

Treason one-1

PDF……..   Treason one              enjoy …..

CNT ANARCHIST MILITANT INTERVIEW

July 1986, the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. To commemorate the occasion members of the Tyneside Revolutionary Syndicalists met with Miguel Rico to carry out a small interview, which was then published in the July 1986 special supplement of The Syndicalist number 7 (picture below).

Reflecting on the period and Miguel Rico, a good friend of the archive tells us……

“The 19th July, as you will all obviously know, is the Anniversary of The Spanish Revolution, a revolution I believe was  far more reaching both socially and politically than the other great revolution of our times, the Russian Revolution.

What the below article fails to point out is that Miguel Rico, along with his wife set up residence in Middlesbrough immediately after the end of WW2, where he remained until his death several years ago.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Miguel on a several occasions when I visited Middlesbrough, to meet with comrades and attend demonstrations. The last occasion I met with Miguel was in Barcelona in 1997, where we were commemorating the life of Albert Meltzer. We scattered his ashes on the grave of Durruti. Of the eight comrades who attended the commemoration from the UK four were from Middlesbrough.

Miguel was also making his annual pilgrimage to the land of his birth in order to pay his annual CNT dues and using the occasion to meet with comrades from his youth.

Middlesbrough comrades may wish to refer to Albert Meltzer’s autobiography for further references to Middlesbrough, as it became his adopted second home outside of London.”

THE INTERVIEW

It was during the Spanish revolution that the ideas of Anarcho-Syndicalism were not just political theory but a practical reality. In many areas of Spain the CNT was faced with the problems of fighting the civil war but also with restructuring the whole of society based on the ideas of libertarian communism.

During the post civil war years under the dictatorship of Franco the CNT and libertarian communist influence was almost smashed. Since the death of Franco the Anarcho-Syndicalist movement has come out of hiding and is again beginning to grow, though at this point in time it is obviously a shadow of its former self.

For the first time documents, reports and eye witness accounts of problems the CNT faced and the solutions arrived at are becoming available. Unfortunately no real attempt has been made to translate these documents and make them accessible to the English reader – that is until now.

Currently in the North East a small group of people are working at this task with the view of publishing some of this material.

We interviewed Miguel Rico who witnessed these events first hand about some of his experiences.

 

Syndicalist– When and where were you born and how did you become involved with the anarchist movement?

Miguel– I was born in the Hospitalet area of Barcelona on the 1st October 1919 but when I was very young my father found work at a cement quarry in a place called Villanueva y Getru. It was there that I was raised and educated. When I was 16 I joined the FIJL (Federation of Libertarian Youth).

Syndicalist– Was that the average age of the members of the federation?

Miguel– Some were younger but most were 17, 18 and 19 years of age.

Syndicalist– How did you become involved?

Miguel– You did not just join, things were not done like that. At that time the police were trying to infiltrate the movement at all levels and there were many informers everywhere. In our town you became a member of the Libertarian Youth on the recommendation of an already respected member. This is what happened to me. I was recommended by an older person who knew my views and beliefs and knew I was to be trusted. I then joined. My brother who was two years younger than me joined by the same method.

Syndicalist– How many were in the Libertarian Youth, and what activities did you engage in?

Miguel– At one time there was as many as 200 in the Libertarian Youth in our small town. Our activities were mainly propaganda, getting our ideas across to the workers but also raising funds for the movement. We would also hold a meeting, as I said we had to be very careful so although the secretary and committee could meet in safe cafes and bars our full meetings were always held outside of town. You see at that time it was very common for people to go on picnics in large groups at weekends, this was what we would do.

Syndicalist– In 1936 the revolution broke out. How did this affect the Libertarian Youth in Villanueva y Getru?

Miguel– The first affect that it had was that the older members joined the militia and went to the battle front. We who were left knew that the work of the Federation had to go on, the fight against the fascists was not just at the front but also at home, a rearguard was needed. A new committee was elected and the work went on. At one time I held the position of local secretary. Once I was delegated to attend a conference in Barcelona it was at the time that the anarchists controlled the city. It was then that I saw what was really possible, how things could be organised with true equality and freedom. We as delegates were booked into one of the biggest hotels in Barcelona. The dining room provided free meals to the delegates. It was here that I met a fellow anarchist nicknamed ‘Zupa’. He was once one of the best pickpockets in Barcelona. I’ll always remember the time that a group of us went to a restaurant that before the revolution was considered very posh, a place that only the rich could afford to eat in, but now it was run by the workers it provided cheap meals to the people of Barcelona as well as the militias who were passing through. The restaurant still used the silver cutlery that it had used before the revolution. While we were eating our meal we noticed that the knives, forks and spoons began to go missing one by one. We all knew it was ‘Zupa’ but we could not catch him in the act. When we got outside ‘Zupa’ put his hand in his pocket and took out all the missing cutlery “‘Zupa,’ we all said “‘you don’t need to steal anymore.” “I know” ‘Zupa’ said after he had taken them back “I was just practising.”

Syndicalist– How long were you secretary of the local Libertarian Youth?

Miguel– About four months and then I joined the militia. I did not tell my mother that I was going to join because I knew that this would upset her.

Syndicalist– What was the name of the militia you joined?

Miguel– I joined the Hortiz Column which was sent to Caspe in Aragon. After that we were sent to help in the battle for Belchite but in order to do this we had first to take a small town called Fuen de Todos. As we entered the town a machine gun started to cut down our comrades. The firing came from a priest who had mounted a machine gun on top of the bell tower of his church. We had to send for a Republican plane to bomb the church, it was the only way that we could take the town. It was during the battle for Belchite that I was wounded, we lost many comrades there.

Syndicalist– You were wounded more than once. Is that right?

Miguel– Yes, after I recovered from the wound I received in the Battle for Belchite I rejoined my Column but was wounded again. I was taken to the hospital and the doctor told me that I was being sent to a recuperation centre and then on to the army barracks at Olot. This was at the time that the Communists were trying to militarize the militias. I told the doctor that I would go home until I was fully recovered and then report to the barracks at Olot. After about three weeks I went to report and was arrested for collaboration with the fascists. I was taken before a court martial and found guilty. I just could not understand it, but later I found out that the communists were doing this to anarchists everywhere. I was put in a cell to await sentence. Eventually I heard the keys in the door and was convinced that I would be taken out and shot. This was the first time that I was really scared. Everyone is scared when going into battle but you tell yourself that somehow you’ll survive but this time I was convinced that I was about to die. The door of the cell opened and there stood a Colonel who said ‘release this man’. I then recognised him as a Colonel who we had fought beside in Aragon. He was only there to inspect the new recruits but had heard that a prisoner was being held and had insisted on seeing me. On his word I was released. There was no doubt about it this man saved my life. Under the communist advisers from Russia the militarization went on and I ended up in a communist led brigade.

Syndicalist– Do you remember the name of the brigade?

Miguel– If I remember rightly I was sent to the 134 Brigade 10th Division First Company.

Syndicalist– What were your experiences there as an anarchist in a communist dominated brigade?

Miguel– Well I kept myself to myself after my experiences at the barracks in Olot. I thought the best thing to do was keep very quiet. By my actions it was clear to everyone that I was not a communist member. One day I was approached by a captain (who I found out later had been a centurion delegate in an anarchist column), he explained that it was not safe for anarchists and that I should be careful what I said and did. I stayed with this captain as his assistant. The collapse of the Republic was soon to follow and I managed to cross the border into France.

Syndicalist– How were the refugees treated by the French Government?

Miguel– The refugee camp that I was in was just like a concentration camp. People there starved. There was food in the camp but the guards made people barter for it with any possessions they might have left. There was no medical treatment so disease spread through the camp. Many of the very old and very young died.

Miguel went on to fight against the Nazis in the French army and eventually with the British troops in North Africa. We finally asked Miguel if he would one day write a book about his life, he replied, “maybe one day I will but at the moment there are more important things to do like translating as much material a possible.”

ts07

THE DURHAM COALFIELD

THE GREAT LABOUR UNREST. Rank-and-file movements and political change in the Durham coalfield. A canny good book from a canny good friend of the archive, although we would recommend you get your local library ( if there is any left ) to order it as it costs anything up to £75. We also include a review by David Douglas.

lewis mates

The period of the “great labour unrest” in the title of this book was between 1910 and 1914 – a period when conflicting ideologies and organisational forms of struggle compete and overlap. This particular work focuses on what was perhaps syndicalism’s finest hour – certainly its most influential period in its challenge to parliamentary reformism and constitutional socialism.

At this time there was an ideological scrum when liberalism – within which the working class in general and the northern miners in particular had roots – and the newly emergent forms of independent labourism and the Labour Party itself were locked in combat with dynamic industrial unionism and revolutionary syndicalism.

Lewis Mates is a tutor in politics at Durham University with a deep interest and involvement with the Durham miners both as an historical subject and an ongoing working class social phenomenon. I regard him as a fellow Tyneside anarcho-syndicalist – our fields of research and political presentations often overlap and complement each other.

As a politics lecturer the author must first establish the veracity of class-struggle perspectives to gain any headway in the prevailing winds of academic iconoclasms, which everywhere now challenge class analysis. For people like myself, born into a world in which one’s entire perspective and everything in society is premised and structured on class struggle, class identity, class history, the very notion that the existence of class can be challenged or debunked is mind-blowing. Yet we cannot simply argue it is, because it is – as though this was some form of deistic belief.

So the first chapters of the book are forced to review the various other theories of conflict in this period in a search for something other than class that motivates action and outlook, which the Marxists have overlooked. In addition to ceaseless academic searches for alternatives to class analysis there are the conflicts within socialist class analysis of what the movements meant, how they were motivated and directed. Anarcho-syndicalist, Leninist or social democratic – all are capable of accentuating their own particular positives, while minimising the opposing negatives.

Of necessity the book makes central reference to the Durham Miners Association (DMA) – that giant, powerful bloc of the mining proletariat – and the struggle to control it: struggles based around democratic control, branch autonomy, centralising bureaucracies and the dominant political hegemony within it.

The book demonstrates the divisions of underground labour and their strategic and sometimes conflicting aims and strengths. In the process it exposes the unique and long-standing areas of job control, jealously guarded from management and owners. It also reveals the conflicting social and cultural traditions, which sometimes weighed against more revolutionary conclusions – such as Methodism and the deeply entrenched allegiance to radical liberalism, which was to fight the emergent independent labour organisations for every foot of ground.

Eight-hour day

The question of northern miners and the eight-hour day is one which has baffled labour historians, and particularly left ones, for some time. Indeed, myself and Lewis have argued over this question since he took up this field of research. It is an issue which prevented the Durham and Northumberland miners affiliating to the Miners Federation of Great Britain – the northern miners by and large already worked less than an eight-hour day, in addition to those who would soon be working fewer hours as they graduated to full-time face work.

But is was not simply the danger of longer hours which mitigated against affiliation to the MFGB. Linked to such questions were the dangerous inroads into those ancient areas of job control spoken of earlier. The northern miners’ short hewing shift usually occurred once – at some pits twice – a day, which kept a tight grip on the amount of coal being produced, and stopped the market being flooded, thus lowering the value of their wages. The eight-hour day demanded a three- and sometimes four-shift cycle. The coal may have belonged to the owners, but control of the hewing space, and who occupied it, belonged to the miners. The cavil system stopped management choosing who worked where – the union decided allocating work by lottery. In fact the legislation for an eight-hour day threw all of this custom and practice, this self-selection and control, into the air. It opened the floodgates to unlimited coaling shifts. Importantly too, surface workers, who worked the longest hours, would gain nothing from the act of parliament.

Lewis seems to learn in the process of exposition and changes his position, as different factors are revealed. At first he seems to suggest that the eight-hour day is the progressive flavour of the month, which the left and the Independent Labour Party take up as their cause célèbre – along with affiliation to the MFGB, which effectively made the eight-hour day a condition. But it is clear it is bitterly opposed by the rank and file and by men who were to the left of the ILP – particularly the syndicalist and industrial unionist supporters. Subsequently, however, Lewis does make clear the reason for the groundswell of opposition, and the left and progressive credentials of some of those doing the opposing.

Of course, the MFGB as a national organisation could and should have approached the issue by ring-fencing those regions with terms and conditions in advance of the eight-hour demand, but its rationale was that of the lowest common denominator – rounding both up and down in terms of hours.

The advanced job controls held in the northern coalfields were not enjoyed elsewhere, and it was these which ought to have been the standard. Amongst the ILP activists in the coalfield arguing for the MFGB and its eight-hour policy, there seems to have been some naivety as to what it would mean in practice – they appear to have believed that safeguards for existing northern conditions would be negotiated. On p87 Lewis expresses his surprise that leading socialists in the coalfields campaigned against the eight-hour legislation and urged all Labour representatives in parliament to oppose it, but by p121 he concludes:

The eight-hour imbroglio had profound outcomes for the DMA’s leadership. Their standing was undoubtedly damaged by the agreement, particularly their failure to take the issue to DMA council before signing, and their subsequent inability, first to appreciate, then to mitigate any of its damaging consequences.

The book indicates in great detail how the issue of the eight-hour agreement caused widespread industrial strife, which raged through the coalfield for years and was never really resolved.

Lewis comments:

Significant though the 1910 Durham and South Wales disputes were, they came too early for syndicalism in Durham to capitalise on greatly. The eight hours agreement strikes ended some months before the Cambrian combine strike began and before Mann’s Industrial Syndicalist had been launched … More generally there seems to have been no relationship between the lodge revolt against the owners and their own agents and explicit syndicalist ideas (p136).

Real syndicalism

I would need to take issue with this line of reasoning. Syndicalism was not invented with the term itself, any more than anarchism was invented when someone chose to adopt that title for their political outlook. Similarly, ‘communist’ was invented neither by Karl Marx by giving analysis and context nor by people consciously identifying with that particular term. A rose by any other name must surely smell as sweet, and it is the substance of what perspectives and actions workers engaged in which mark their political and tactical direction and strategy, not the title someone later invents.

The revolt of the miners in the 1830s of course predates the title ‘syndicalist’, but the press and owners of the period reported the miners were talking of seizing the pits from the owners, working them in common for themselves – and, what is more, as popular, industrial democratic lodges. That surely is syndicalism. The rejection of the pomp and circumstance, the grand rules and bureaucracy of the Durham Miners Association, in favour of rank-and-file direct action organised through democratic miners’ lodges (or sometimes even without formal lodge sanction), the rejection of the courts and labour laws – these were surely features of the age-old miners’ direct democracy and rejection in action of more constitutional or parliamentary routes: syndicalist in everything but formal title. The radical unions and rank-and-file workers’ organisations which sided with Bakunin in the first international were de facto syndicalist formations. The Levellers practised a form of agricultural ‘syndicalism’. These perceptions predate the invention of formal organisational and programmatic labelling.

I appreciate, of course, that Lewis is talking here of formal, self-identified ‘syndicalism’ as a conscious political current and alternative to other strands of the workers’ movement, rather than the de facto form I am referring to. But the tendency to look for form (or self-declared ‘leaders’) rather than essence manifests itself again with the Durham miners’ mass rejection of the settlement and vote to continue strike action. Lewis asks how influential was ‘syndicalism’ in terms of this mood of militancy and looks to the militant lodges which returned the highest votes. Many of these were the home base of the significant syndicalist activists of the region. Chopwell, Will Lawther’s militant lodge, returned, for example, a 95% vote for ongoing action. Lewis discounts this though, as Lawther was studying in London by then. The lodge led by George Harvey (who was an industrial unionist in contradistinction to “a syndicalist”), Handon Hold, returned a 78.3% majority, while South Pelaw, where a Socialist Labour Party caucus operated, registered 94.8%.

Lewis concludes that there is no easily discernible relationship between syndicalism as such and the militant support for continuing the strike, but I tend to see the question the other way round. It was not Lawther who had swung Chopwell behind syndicalist ideas, or Harvey who did something similar at Handon Hold, but the militant, class-combative culture of those lodges which influenced the leaders toward syndicalism and industrial unionism. The ideas of formal syndicalism would not have come as a novel suggestion to the rank-and-file miners of these lodges, who had advocated for generations just such perceptions, conclusions and methods of struggle.

Lewis actually unconsciously makes this point himself later in the book, when discussing the election at Follonsby lodge of George Harvey to the prestigious post of checkweighman, a position he had applied for on an explicitly revolutionary platform. Concluding in his letter that he was “strongly opposed to the kind of men we have so long kept at Durham and whom we in our ignorance believe are tin gods”, he declared: “If you want a gentle Jesus or temperance preacher, for God’s sake don’t consider me as likely to suit” (pp230-31). Lewis notes that his election was quite an achievement. Harvey had no experience as a lodge official, and was standing in opposition to the political and union outlooks of the current DMA leadership against conciliation. Lewis concludes that the vote was an obvious endorsement of his politics and stance. But this demonstrates that Follonsby’s political culture (and that of the older Wardley, to which it was connected) was de facto syndicalist and industrial unionist, predating the formal foundation of those political currents.

Excels

Where this book excels is in the detailed description of the struggle for the minimum wage, and the campaign in Durham to secure support for the demand, and for a national strike. It is truly ground-breaking in describing the complex arguments about who should be able to claim it, and at what level it should start. It follows the controversy over the exclusion of the lowest paid men from the agreement, thus crippling the demand from the start.

Lewis’s coverage of the vote which brought about the largest ever strike for a single industry in the world – with over one million miners downing tools and stopping not only the coalfields, but much else through knock-on effects – is also excellent. He is able to trace the attitudes of the Durham lodges, along with the changing national and county responses, as the government steps in to pre-empt collective bargaining by bringing in the Eight Hours Act. The act specified no details concerning grades or sums of money, which meant that everything was referred back to district bargaining, thus negating the main purpose of the strike: to win a national common pay structure.

The MFGB then conducted a second national ballot on whether to defy parliament and the law in order to force through the original demands and Lewis masterfully traces the various reactions to the new ballot. As far as I know, no other work has remotely looked at this period in such minute and fascinating detail. As it turned out, the Durham miners voted by a two-thirds majority to reject the parliamentary ‘solution’ and continue the strike. Nationally, however, the MFGB achieved 54.8% in favour, short of the two thirds it required.

Lewis sees the “high tide” of syndicalism in Durham as starting in the autumn of 1912, with the founding of the Durham Unofficial Reform Movement and the Miners Next Step Committee. Contrasting the relative failure of both wings of syndicalism to make any lasting gains, or win influence within the union structure, along with that of the young militants of the ILP, he cites the emergence of their Durham Forward Movement in April 1912. This organised parallel Durham miners ‘council meetings’ with more than half of the whole county’s lodges represented, discussing issues, tactics and constitutional changes. This was to impact heavily over the coming years within the political and cultural nature of the DMA.

Lewis believes that the ILP militants in fact stole the syndicalists’ clothes, adopting their rhetoric, slogans and postures, but they also had an extra string to their bow in the form of party and electoral strategies. The whole minimum wage issue, for example, was ultimately being fought out in parliament. The ILP also had a plan to take over structures and positions within the DMA itself, a course of action which anarcho-syndicalist principles precluded (although the industrial unionists softened their opposition to such a course and George Harvey, for example, did run).

This is a masterly work of scholarship, passionately researched and referenced, which addresses a key moment in the history of the miners in general, and in particular the mighty institution of the Durham Miners Association. Not for the last time would the mood of the generally conservative DMA set the pace and swing the tide for national action l

David Douglass

 

“I aint thick its just a trick”

TYNESIDE CLASS WAR   library list  1988/1989 original cover in our collection

cw tyneside cw r

“Self education was always important to the group, as state education didn’t cut it for most of us. School was one of the worst times in my life..strapped, caned, slapped, bullied, belittled, put down, punched down… of course how else does the state keep us scummy little council estate rebels in line.

following the tradition of our predecessors (Newcastle Anarchist Group and Tyneside Anarchist Federation library’s ) we created our own. We had regular discussion meetings on everything from pornography to the ‘then’ situation in Ireland. These were often done in conjunction with Newcastle Anarchist Communist Federation, and some discussions evolved into articles for the national paper and The Heavy Stuff ( Class Wars theoretical magazine, of which we produced a few up here). ”      Ex Tyneside Class War activist.

 

TOM BROWNS SYNDICALISM

Whilst a bit of interest in Tom Brown seems to be revived of late, we’ll take the opportunity to share one of the largest pieces of Toms writing.. The principles of Syndicalism, which makes up the majority of the following book we have in our collection. Phoenix Press July 1990. Then below that we have found the PDF document for you….enjoy…

tom brown a

tom brown b

And the file for you…………

Principles of syndicalism

 

TOM BROWN IN BIRTLEY..

As mentioned in an earlier article, little is known about the actual life of Tom Brown after the loss of his memoirs. Therefore we were quite pleased to discover that during the late 1920’s, after losing his job in Coventry, Tom returned to the North East and resided in Birtley, Co Durham for a couple of years – an area we know intimately.

The below PDF of Direct Action, July 1963, page 6, explains all in an article entitled ‘Into battle with the bazooka bands’.

da july 1963 (tb)

da july 1963 (tb)-1

KATE SHARPLEY LIBRARY

BULLETIN OF THE KATE SHARPLEY LIBRARY,  NUMBER 95.  JULY 2018.

Check the pdf file link below to read the July issue of the KSL bulletin which, as well as an  interesting interview with ex Bristol Class War member, also gives Tyneside Anarchist Archive a nice little write up.

We cant stress enough how much important work our good friends at KSL achieve, so please give them you support / subscription / solidarity….

contact details etc within the bulletin and on our links page

ksl bulletin

Below..a copy of the first bulletin we have in our collection.   1991.

034

1936 THE SPANISH REVOLUTION

tyneside 1936

produced by TYNESIDE ANARCHIST GROUP in 1996 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution.

articles – 60th anniversary. What is anarchism. 1931 Barcelona rent strike. Anarchist revolution in Spain. North East people + the civil war. Free women.

 

BUENAVENTURA DURRUTI

Born on this day 14th July 1896

durr 114

Above, a book from our collection.  Below a photo we have of Durruti’s grave, taken on the day of the scattering of Albert Meltzer’s ashes 31/11/1997.

dur

 

TOM BROWN

We have searched in vain for decades for any hint of the whereabouts of Tom Browns unpublished memoirs, to no avail. They were loaned to a local student to use parts for her thesis, and apparently, after Toms death, his partner Lillian Brown wasnt interested in their return.

“Tom Brown, whose writings did much to revive interest in Syndicalism
and Workers’ Control, was that rare phenomenon in the British libertarian
movement, a theoretician whose ideas had been tested and developed by
his own experience in the hard school or working-class struggle.
An able and persuasive public speaker, whether at Speakers’ Corner in
Hyde Park, at indoor meetings, or in the more intimate role of lecturer, he
had the happy knack of relating what he said to the everyday experience of
his audience. The same quality illuminated his writings, which mirrored the
life and times or this lifelong revolutionary and loyal comrade.
Born and bred within sight and sound of the Tyneside shipyards, Tom
served his engineering apprenticeship there and was quickly drawn into militant
industrial activity. Much of his working life was spent as an active shop
steward and factory floor activist.
Like many others he was fired with enthusiasm by the Russian
Revolution, was an early member of the Communist Party and, for a time,
became its industrial organiser for the North East. But the double dealing of
the CP and the growing repression in Bolshevik Russia quickly brought disillusion
and he left the party, though never his natural role as a shop floor
militant.
Moving south during the Depression, he worked in the motor industry of
the West Midlands and, probably around this time, was attracted by
Anarchist and Syndicalist ideas. In the mid-thirties he and his wife, Lily,
found their way further south to London with their daughters, Ruth and
Grace.
The Spanish Revolution of 1936, with its takeover of industry and agriculture
by the Syndicalist unions of the CNT in anti-fascist territory, especially
Catalonia, reinforced and developed Tom’s own ideas and he became
a member of the grouping around the paper, ‘Spain and the World’, which
was dedicated to supporting the Spanish workers. He spoke at meetings
supporting their struggle, several times sharing the platform with Emma
Goldman. His Syndicalist writings appeared for the first time in ‘Revolt’, which followed ‘Spain and the World’ after Franco’s fascist victory in 1939.
During the war, as a member of the Anarchist Federation of Britain
(AFB), he wrote regularly for ‘War Commentary for Anarchism’ and produced
his first two pamphlets, ‘Trade Unionism or Syndicalism’ and ‘The
British General Strike’, both of which had wide sales. He remained a member
of the editorial board until near the end of the war, when the AH, of which
he stayed an active member, parted company with Freedom Press in
unhappy circumstances, but on points of principle.
With others, he helped launch ‘Direct Action’ in 1945, as the AFB’s new
voice and continued his close association with it for well over 20 years.
Saddened by the failure of an attempt to form an International of Anarchist
Federations in the late 1940s, he later supported the AFB’s decision to
change its name to Syndicalist Workers’ Federation (SWF) and affiliate to
the International Working Men’s Association, of which the CNT was the
strongest member, although then underground in Spain. The SWF maintained
friendly contacts with the IWW in the States and Tom visited them
when he and Lily crossed the Atlantic to see their daughters, who had both
married GIs in London and later emigrated. He also went to see the veteran
anarcho-syndicalist, Rudolf Rocker, in a libertarian colony near New
York. Tom and Lily returned to London after a year and he resumed his
SWF activity. He and Lily, who was then in poor health, returned to Tyneside
in the late 1960s and his continued activity there included several lively contributions,
on libertarian subjects, on local radio.
Tom Brown’s activity and writings influenced and inspired many people.
A latter-day Tom Mann, he sowed the seeds of a rebirth for Syndicalism in
Britain.”

We have plenty of literature which we shall show in future posts, but for now, check out the following copy of Direct Action, and its ‘school for syndicalism’ article by Tom Brown, which sheds a bit light on his early years….    page 5 …..  

da 1954

da 1954-1

The mystery of Garibaldi,s heed

‘It is not the task of the historian to respect myth: but it is the task of the historian to confront defamation, misrepresentation and insult when they pass themselves off as historical narrative.’ Agustin Guillamon. ‘The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-1939’ p112.

Whilst doing our usual research on the history of Anarchism on Tyneside, we came across this little snippet of mis (?) information posted by Newcastle Libraries, who claim, whilst describing the below statue that….

“”Sculpted in 1868 by George Burn of Newcastle upon Tyne. Set in the front of the Cowen family’s summerhouse until destroyed by a group of anarchists in approx 1900. The head was given to Blaydon library.””

044723:No Title available

We have also found another opposing view from a local historian..

“Cowen died in 1900, and very soon afterwards the statue disappeared. Fingers were pointed at Cowen employees, who had had to pay a penny towards its construction; but a more likely story is that it was sent into the undergrowth at the base of the hill by playful youths. Shattered into several pieces, all but the head were then lost forever – with Garibaldi’s bearded bonce finding its way into a builder’s garden by the 1940s, then eventually, in 1977, into a glass case in Blaydon Library. It’s still there today.”

Can anybody shed any further light on the claim that the statue was destroyed by anarchists in 1900 ? or is this another usual case of anarchism being continually mis-represented by academic historians for there own personal  and , or political gains ?

MINERS STRIKE 1984-1985

BORES UNDER THE FLOOR – A brief guide to the wave of ‘left’ groups and newspapers currently invading the pit villages.

By our very own fellow geordie David Douglas.   In our collection.

***********************************************************************************

Now where was it again that i heard / read about… whilst pickets were literally running for there very lives from baton wielding mounted police during Orgreave that they passed a group of parasitic paper sellers from the Socialist Workers Party, who rather that help or shield the about to be battered miners, they tried to sell them a copy of the Socialist Worker paper !!!!!!!!!!

036

BLACK JAKE

Newcastle 1977 . We knew about this publication but never had it, so thanks to The Sparrows Nest for a computer copy.

b jake-1 1977

pdf of the whole paper…..

b jake

 

NEWCASTLE,S OWN ‘SPEAKERS CORNER’

Its common local knowledge that the Big Market area of Newcastle was a hive of political agitation with fiery speakers from the local anarchists, syndicalists,  & socialists, etc. We have no idea of who is speaking in this picture but it gives a good snap shot of the period, in this case 1912.

....newcastle big market open air speaker 1912

Newcastle Quayside 1914, the picture is believed to be a suffragette speaker, yet if you look closer there is many other speakers, obviously not all suffragettes…

........................ncle 1914 suffragettes

POLL TAX

“1989 / 1990  ? the Class War Federation and the Anarchist Communist federation had been having a series of talks, nationally,  about an organisation merger. A lot of people in both camps were both for and against, whilst us here on Tyneside didn’t particularly care  because we had been working together closely for years anyway”

ex Tyneside Class War activist ( not member ).

 

“At the time I was enthusiastic about possible joint organisation of all the class struggle anarchist groups –  according to the principle that it would make us stronger. Others, especially in the DAM but also many in the ACF, perhaps weren’t so keen – mostly due to worries about ideological “purity” and all that precious nonsense as well as suspecting some in Class War just wanted publicity for its own sake. In effect, though, I think a lot of Class War people tended to think people in the other groups would interfere with their “image”, and would be too boring for them, etc, as much as any political reasons. In hindsight, I suppose, it was a non-starter – nobody was into thinking that ambitiously. But I still think that was a shame (or even a tragic missed opportunity …). Having said that, maybe it would have been a disaster. Who knows?”

ex Newcastle Anarchist Communist Federation member.

022 (2)

“For years we had joint paper sales on the streets of Newcastle etc..if someone came up to us to buy a copy of Class War, we would then also offer them a copy of Organise, and vice versa. I didn’t particularly care what was sold as long as the message was getting spread”

KROPOTKIN ON TYNESIDE

In light of current events…..

Peter Kropotkin. 1882.

A week after speaking at the Durham Miners Big Meeting ( miners gala). July 1882.

Addressing a packed crowd at Nelson St lecture rooms, Westgate rd, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

“It is in Newcastle that a Russian revolutionary writer has, for the first time, found the means of disclosing in an English daily paper, the true state of Russia; and it is, again, in Newcastle that i have found for the first time the honour of addressing a large English audience, to relate, in plain words, the true state of Russia.”

source…   Newcastle Weekly Chronicle 8.7.1882.

NEWCASTLE ANARCHIST

Late 1992 early 1993. One of our favourite visual covers from this one-off paper, which expresses our love of our shit football team as much as that of our anarchism, as one comrade puts it.

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contents – humorous articles in a class war style on.. local fascists exposed. the Evening Chronicle newspaper. Marx. etc.

newcastle @ toon

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