The Uncivil Servant: Revolutionary Bandits

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Epoque Paris, by John Merriman. Nation Books, 2017, 327 pages. FRENCH ANARCHISM, so important in the history of leftwing politics, giving the world Louise Michel and Sébastien Faure and providing a home to so many exiles, was […]

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Emma Goldman’s Ice Cream Shop

by Zachary Solomon   IT WAS JOHANN MOST, the anarchist who popularized the phrase “propaganda of the deed” to describe leftwing terrorism, who helped inspire Emma Goldman and Alexander (“Sasha”) Berkman in their attempt to assassinate steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in 1892. Yet by the time the attack would become news (and Berkman would spend fourteen years in prison for it), Most was its outspoken critic, […]

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The Jewish Chicken Farmers of Petaluma: Why Remember?

Part One by Kenneth Kann   FIRST, ASTONISHMENT. Then outrage. Mine. I was viewing “California Dreaming,” a 2013 exhibit on Bay Area Jewish history at San Francisco’s eminent Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibit included the story of an extraordinary Jewish chicken ranching community in Petaluma, thirty-five miles north of San Francisco. This museum exhibit was false: […]

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Fascism: What It Isn’t and How Not To Fight It

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook by Mark Bray. Melville House, 2017, 259 pages.    MARK BRAY’S Antifa can perhaps be considered the definitive statement of the movement that leapt to the front page after the events in Charlottesville. Widely though not deeply researched, Bray’s book clearly lays out the historical […]

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“American Anarchist” Breaks the Wrong Rules

by Alessio Franko   EVERYTHING I KNOW about documentary film, I learned from Judy Hoffman at the University of Chicago. Her course was possibly the most information-rich I’ve ever taken, as she regaled us with insights from her prolific career in documentary, cinéma vérité, experimental video, and more. In a class session on shot composition for […]

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Why Berkman Shot Frick

Nine steelworkers and at least one Pinkerton guard were killed in battles that raged on this date in 1892 at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Works in Pittsburgh. The Pinkertons had been brought in to protect scabs imported to replace striking workers; the conflict involved guns and a homemade cannon forged by the strikers. The strike would last for months until the courts crushed the […]

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