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Angelica Balabanoff

International socialist activist Angelica Balabanoff died in Rome on this date in 1965. She was born in 1878 to a wealthy, privileged Jewish family in Chernigov, near Kiev, in Ukraine, but found the privilege unbearable and rejected it to become a social activist in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Russia. Balabanoff was fluent in several languages and held […]

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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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Who You Callin’ a Fascist?

WHY IT MATTERS by George Salamon   “All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.” —George Orwell, “What is Fascism?” Tribune (UK), 1944   ORWELL’S SUGGESTION survives unheeded today, as “fascist” and […]

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Micro-Organisms and the Nobel Prize

Salvador Lurie, a Nobel Prize-winning Italian microbiologist who was shunned by Mussolini and forced to flee to the U.S. by Hitler, was born in Turin on this date in 1912. Lurie and his co-winners of the 1969 Nobel, Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, studied the genetic structures of viruses and bacteria. The 1943 Luria-Delbrück experiment showed that genetic mutations occur […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Family Fiction

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Family Lexicon, by Natalia Ginzburg, translated from the Italian by Jenny McPhee, NYRB Classics, 2017, 221 pages, and And Then, by Donald Breckenridge, David Godine, 2017, 101 pages. SEVERAL YEARS ago, my wife and I were in Venice, and in an effort to avoid the omnipresent crowds, we […]

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December 13: Stalin’s Interlocutor

Emil Ludwig (1881-1948), a German-Swiss Jewish journalist best known for his interviews with Benito Mussolini, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and Joseph Stalin, conducted the latter one in Moscow on this date in 1931. “Never under any circumstances,” Stalin told him, without irony, “would our workers now tolerate power in the hands of one person. With us […]

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April 8: Mussolini’s Jewish Lover

Margherita Sarfatti, an Italian journalist and socialite who served as a propaganda adviser to the National Fascist Party and was Benito Mussolini’s mistress as well as biographer, was born in Venice on this date in 1880. She was raised in great wealth but became a socialist in her teen years and ran away from her […]

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