Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chaim Leib Weinberg: A Jewish Anarchist in Philadelphia

--A Review of "Forty Years in the Struggle; The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist," by Chaim Leib Weinberg; English Translation by Naomi Cohen; Edited by Robert Helms; Litwin Books, 2008.

The “Old City” neighborhood of Philadelphia is renowned for its many historic sites related to the “founding fathers” and the US colonial era. Yet, very few know about this same neighborhood’s significant anarchist history. Since 1997, local historian Robert Helms has led an “Anarchist Historical Walking Tour” that presents this history of resistance from the poor and working classes, who viewed the rhetoric about “American Democracy” as a fraud, and organized themselves to challenge the power of the ruling class. Helms is the editor of the just-released English translation of Chaim Leib Weinberg’s (1869-1939) autobiography: Forty Years in the Struggle; The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist.

This article was published in the July/August issue of Z Magazine. You can read the full article here.

(PHOTO: Chaim Leib Weinberg)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Neoliberalism Needs Death Squads in Colombia

My review of the new book Blood & Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia was published today by Upside Down World. Check out the full review here. Below is a short excerpt:

As the largest recipient of US military aid in the hemisphere, Colombia has long been the US’ most important ally in Latin America. Simultaneously, Colombia has also become the hemisphere’s worst human rights violator, with Colombia’s numerous paramilitary organizations recently taking center stage, as they’ve gradually become directly responsible for more human rights atrocities than the formal military and police. In the name of fighting “narco-terrorism,” poor people and dissidents are massacred, assassinated, tortured, and disappeared, among other atrocities—done to eliminate particular individuals and to “set an example” by intimidating others in the community. 97 percent of human rights abuses remain unpunished.


Throughout Blood & Capital, author Jasmin Hristov seeks to expose the rational motivations behind state violence for capitalism’s economic elites in the US and Colombia. In meticulous detail, Hristov shows how the super-rich benefit from state repression and how the violators of human rights have essentially become immune from any consequences for their actions. If death squads are truly to be abolished in Colombia, we must look honestly at how and why they exist today. Hristov’s new book is a powerful tool for exposing who truly calls the shots.