Midnight Notes Collective, ” ‘Exterminism’ or Class Struggle?” In Radical Science Journal 14 (1984)

A particularly timely piece, published in 1984. As noted at the end of the essay, much of this article appeared in issue #6 of Midnight Notes, which was entitled Posthumous Notes (available here). The essay picks up on themes found in Midnight Notes’ 1979 essay “Strange Victories,” particularly the critical eye toward radicals who claim to be acting on behalf of humanity and the classed meanings of such claims.

The section “Elegy for E.P. Thompson” provides a strong critique of his assessment of nuclear war, which is notable in part given that Midnight Notes Collective member Peter Linebaugh was his former student and mentee. (The brilliant and extensive essay he wrote for Left History following Thompson’s death in 1993 is very much worth reading).

The second section, “Marxist Theory of War,” was written specifically for this issue of Radical Science Journal. George Caffentzis later returned to this in “Freezing the Movement and the Marxist Theory of War,” in his 2013 collection In Letters of Blood and Fire (available here).

Radical Science Journal began in the 1970s and was part of the larger movement to dissect science from a left perspective. Helena Sheehan’s recent essay on that in Monthly Review is worth a read.

This issue of Radical Science Journal is readily available in the trade but, to our knowledge, not yet available to the public on the web.

We’ve scanned this article to Libcom, here, for those interested.

Silvia Federici, The IMF & the Debt, Africa and the New Enclosures, with an introductory essay by Mitchell Cohen. Red Balloon, n.d.

Cover of the pamphlet

This pamphlet is composed of an essay by Mitchell Cohen and an essay by Silvia Federici. The date of publication is unclear but it was printed after the Zapatista uprising at the end of 1994 and before Spring 1996 (see below).

The Federici essay is a slightly edited version of her important piece “The Debt Crisis, Africa and the New Enclosures,” printed in an issue of Midnight Notes in 1990. There are some shifts in paragraph structure, but the main difference is that this version of the essay does not contain the conclusory section of the 1990 version (“Jubilees, Moratoriums, and the End of the Debt Crisis”) and there are no citations. There is a note in the pamphlet that this is a later version of the piece in Midnight Notes.

Excerpts from this version of the essay were later printed in the Spring 1996 issue of Turning the Tide (the Anti-Racist Action journal). A longer version of the piece, with fuller endnotes, was included in Federici’s collection Re-Enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (PM Press, 2019).

We locate two copies in OCLC of what appears to have been an earlier version of the pamphlet printed in 1992. We locate no institutional holdings of this printing. We’ve scanned and uploaded it to Libcom, here.

James Carr, Bad: The Autobiography of James Carr (ed. Dan Hammer & Isaac Cronin) – All editions

Picture of Carr from the 1975 review of Bad in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Available online here.

James Carr’s Bad is an understudied classic that will leave a reader haunted. A PDF of the book is available for free at Libcom, here.

The bulk of the book is about surviving and navigating the decimating prisons and jails of the 1960s and early 1970s (these systems are still engines of demolition on communities and individuals). As has been said by others who have commented on the volume, it is a brutal portrait of the racist carceral system, first and foremost. It is also a portrait of a very complicated individual who found fucking with authority to be a worthwhile task.

From chapter 12

Bad is atypical of much post-prison writing in that, rather than tend toward a redemption arc, Carr’s narrative is unapologetic about the stories within. These stories are sometimes funny, heartbreaking, and often intensely violent (including repeated stories of rape), and are often told in a sort of matter-of-fact way that helps illustrate the violence of the prison system. The book also documents how support and movement communities developed during Carr’s time inside, and the myriad types of comradeship that got him and others through. Bad does not discuss Carr’s involvement with the Black Panther Party. Rather, it emphasizes, instead, autonomous activity within the prisons, and his efforts to find joy and build a family after being released.

Bad! was not written by Carr. Rather, Carr told his life in great detail to Dan Hammer (his brother-in-law) and Isaac Cronin, both of whom were immersed in the situationist/pro-situ projects of the 1970s. Hammer and Cronin then wrote the book using Carr’s narrative. Hammer, in his forward to the book, recalls the process:

In a detailed and very informative interview with The Brilliant podcast, Isaac Cronin gave a great deal of detail into the context of the writing of the book, the process of it, and some of the movement and personal dynamics that are relevant to understanding how it came to be. For those who are interested that podcast can be found here. It is of note that Cronin claims there were “ten printings in five editions” in France, but we have only been able to locate two editions (three if one counts the initial paperback and hardcover printings; the third, from 1994, is not in our holdings). Cronin also states there was a Spanish translation of the book, but we haven’t been able to locate it (if anyone who has information about it please reach out!)

This short blog entry will not discuss the specifics of Carr’s life that have been written, or the theories of who murdered him. For those interested in those discussions we recommend David Hilliard’s This Side of Glory (Little, Brown 1993, p. 302 & 381) and Jo Durden-Smith’s Who Killed George Jackson (Knopf 1976, some of which is here). We also recommend this entry on the newafrikan77 blog and reading the penetrating essay by his daughter, Gea Carr, entitled “Remembering my Father” which is available online, here.

This short entry will focus specifically on a discussion of the different editions of Bad and some of their context. For those interested in a critical reading of the text and the writing of it, we recommend Simon Rolston’s article entitled “Prison Life Writing, African American Narrative Strategies, and Bad: The Autobiography of James Carr,” published in 2013 and freely available, here.

Inside title page of the first edition

First English Edition (U.S.) – 1975, Herman Graf Associates

The first edition of Bad was published by Herman Graf Associates – named after publisher Herman Graf, here’s a sort of introduction – and, interestingly, published in mass market form, without a barcode. The book contains Hammer’s forward (which can be found online here) and Betsy Cronin’s afterward (which can be found online here at p. 199). Little has been written about how the book ended up on Herman Graf and how the publisher marketed/distributed it. However, Simon Rolston has provided a very useful note about the publication of the book:

In his interview with The Brilliant podcast, Cronin provides additional detail on the first edition:

Edited portion of The Brilliant interview with Cronin

The View from the End of the World: Live Interviews from Life in Prison with James Carr by Isaac Cronin and Dan Hammer – LP issued by Folkways Recordings – 1975

Cover and back cover of LP

The same year that Bad was published by Herman Graf Associates, Folkways Records issued a recording of three portions of the taped interviews:

  1. “Jimmy describes two incidents involving Muslim leaders which he witnessed when he was a 16-year-old juvenile illegally incarcerated at San Quentin”
  2. “The Wolf Pack, a black gang started by George Jackson, Jimmy Carr and a few close friends at Tracy when they were all teenagers, formed the basis for all militant black groups in the California prisons after the Muslims. The following story is from the Pack’s younger days – at Soledad in 1960 – and shows how dangerous prison officials considered a few brash black kids having fun.”
  3. “After a round of ‘bus therapy,’ being shuttled around the state while the authorities tried to figure out what to do with him, Jimmy was sent back to San Quentin. What follows is his overview of how a rebel convict feels in that giant man-trap at the end of the world.”

The LP contains a booklet with excerpts from the book and a short biography of Carr – a scan of the front and back of the LP as well as the accompanying booklet can be downloaded as PDF, here. Folkways Records is now owned by the Smithsonian Institution who have digitized the recordings and made them available online here.

German Edition -1977 (Editions Nautilus)

To the best of our knowledge, the first non-English language edition of Bad was published by the german anarchist press Editions Nautilus in 1977 under the title Die Feuer der Freiheit: Eine Autobiographie (“The Fires of Freedom: An Autobiography”). The edition includes the introduction by Dan Hammer and the afterword by Betsy Carr. The German translation was done by a person named Pamela Creegan who we have not been able to find any other information about.

German edition, Editions Nautilus 1977

First French editions – 1978 (paperback [Stock 2] and hardcover [Hachette])

In 1978 Creve! was published in French, first in paperback (by Stock 2) and then in hardcover (by Hachette). The two 1978 printings of Creve! do not provide additional details as to the context of their publishing, except that the text translated by Daniel Mauroc. Given the situationist involvements of Cronin, it’s our best guess that he would have coordinated this with contacts there. The 1978 hardcover edition is the only time the book has been published in hardbound format.

First French paperback edition
First French hardcover edition

Second English-language Editions (U.S.) – 1994, Carrol & Graf

The second English-language U.S. edition was published in 1994 by Carrol & Graf. This edition contains a new three page forward by Isaac Cronin, which we have scanned and posted to Libcom, here.

Front and rear cover of the 1994 edition

Second French Edition – Editions Ivrea (formerly Champ Libre), 1994

Cover the 1994 Editions Ivrea printing

In 1994 Editions Ivrea published a second French edition of the book. We do not hold this edition so do not have much information on it. Some information is available from the publisher, here.

Third English-language Edition (U.K.) – 1995, Pelagian Press

1995 Pelagian Press edition

The 1995 edition was published in the U.K. by Pelagian Press, which was run by some of the folks involved with Here & Now, the UK post-situationist/autonomist magazine (archived here). According to a note inside the book there were plans by AK Press to publish a new edition in 1992 but tensions arose and they did not publish it, so Pelagian did a few years later. Here is the note:

Note inside the 1995 edition explaining the context of its publication

This edition also contains an important afterward written by David and Stuart Wise (BM Blob) and the person who ran the small but important UK anarchist journal/publisher News from Everywhere, which was written in 1993. It is available online, here.

Fourth English-language Edition (US/UK) – AK Press, 2002

Cover of the 2002 AK Press edition

In 2002 AK Press finally did publish an edition of Bad on their Nabat imprint. This edition contains Cronin’s 1994 forward but not the BM Blob afterward that was found in the ’95 Pelagian edition.

Fifth English-language Edition (US/UK) – Three Rooms Press, 2016

Cover of the 2016 Three Rooms Press edition

The 2016 edition by Three Rooms Press is, by far, the most professional and mainstream of the editions. The first two pages consist of blurbs about the book. This edition has a powerful forward by Carr’s daughter, Gea Carr, entitled “Remembering My Father: A Personal Essay,” which can be found online, here, as well as a couple of beautiful family photos. The website published by Three Rooms Press for the release of the book also contains some useful information, and is here.

The Three Rooms Press edition does not contain Cronin’s 1994 forward or Dan Hammer’s 1975 introduction.

Artie Cuts Out – by Arthur Bauman as told to Paul Wallis. Jaguar Press (1953).

Cover of the pamphlet

It struck us as odd that this important pamphlet has somehow never made its way online. A dear friend of ours who is doing research on the history of some of the Correspondence pamphlets recently acquired a scan and we have uploaded it to Libcom, here.

Artie Cuts Out was an early piece of inquiry and essay – what Raya Dunayevskaya called the “full fountain pen” method – by members of Correspondence. Nothing has been published about the authors. Kent Worcester, in his biography of James, when noting authorship, placed “Arthur Bauman” in quotes (p. 125). Harry Cleaver stated that Marty Glaberman was an author in the syllabus to his course on autonomist Marxism (here).

In his introduction to Marxism for Our Times (p. xix), Glaberman contextualizes the pamphlet:

Jaguar Press appears to have been a one-off publisher ; we have no records of other publications from them and no other publications appear in OCLC.

Back cover of the pamphlet

Copies of the pamphlet rarely show up in the trade. Our copy is tight with tears to the edges of the back cover. We locate 9 copies held by libraries in OCLC, all in the United States.

Donald Katz, “Tribes: Italy’s Metropolitan Indians Signal the Violent Passage of a New Culture and the First Rebellion of ‘Irregulars’ in Modern Times,” Rolling Stone #252 (1977)

Image from the article

Italy’s ‘Metropolitan Indians’ (Indiani Metropolitani) have only more recently become the subject of English-language scholarship, notably barely getting a mention in Robert Lumley’s important volume States of Emergency: Cultures of Revolt in Italy from 1968 to 1978. Patrick Cuninghame has written a very helpful piece contextualizing and discussing the group(s) (here), and there are other research projects in development. For example, Martina Caruso’s project (here), in which she notes: “In Rome, an extreme left-wing political faction, the Indiani Metropolitani (Metropolitan Indians) sought to imitate Native People’s dress and ways of life as a form of protest. With twenty-first century decolonial hindsight, the imitation of Native Cultures can be considered an unrefined form of cultural appropriation.”

Lumley does a does a good job contextualizing the faction, which we quote at length:

“The novelty the new [youth] movement sprang from its assertion of a ‘youth identity’, which had been repressed or displaced the student and worker politics of the late sixties and early seventies. But that identity was not perceived exclusively in terms of a youth experience or situation; rather it was taken to be emblematic of a situation typical of the modern metropolis. Youth was made to signify exclusion, marginality, and deviance. To be young and working class in a city like Milan meant living in the housing estates of the outskirts and making a living on the margins of the labour market. In official discourse, this situation was described as a ‘social problem’ and a ‘sickness’ that needed to be cured (once, that is, young people began to protest). But, in the language of the movement itself, the identity associated with deviance and marginality was claimed and appropriated by its participants. The ‘Metropolitan Indian’, who wore warpaint and uttered transgressive chants, did not ask to be ‘integrated’; s/he mocked Western ‘civilization’ and its values. The unemployed asked not for the right to work, but for the right to develop their individual capacities to enjoy themselves” (p. 296).

The instant article was published in 1977 in Rolling Stone. We couldn’t locate it online, so we scanned it. Much of the article provides a rather intense depiction of the years of lead, the strategy of tension in real-time, and a contemporaneous account geared toward an English-speaking audience. Emotionally, it is a difficult article to read. As an introduction to the Movement of ’77 and its context, and the Metropolitan Indians, it is recommended. We have uploaded it as a PDF to Libcom, here. The remaining pages are also posted below.

Barbarians for Socialism (Bruce Elwell) – “Caged Heat” (1979)

Cover of Just Another Asshole #3

Following the dissolution of the U.S. section of the Situationist International, Bruce Elwell, one of its founding members, published many writings under the pseudonym “Barbarians for Socialism” (obviously a play on ‘socialism or barbarism’). To the best of our knowledge, many (probably most) of these writings were not actually published (Bill Brown of NOT BORED! has a listing of some of them on his bibliography of American SI writings, here). OCLC locates two holdings: a folder held by MoMA (here and also mentioned in the book Dark Matter, p. 53, here) and this 1979 piece, which is held by just a handful of institutions internationally.

Little has been written about Elwell’s publications following the dissolution of the American branch of the SI. The Wise brothers (BM Blob) in their classic pamphlet A Summer with a Thousand July’s mentioned that Elwell had written “one of the best leaflets” on the Brixton riots of ’81 (here). But we’ve been able to find little else.

The piece by Elwell is entitled “Caged Heat” ands refers to the former site of the Brooklyn House of Women’s Detention. The prison was built on the location of a former prison and courthouse. It was demolished in 1974. Here is a piece from the January 9th edition of the Daily News that illustrates its transformation:

From the New York Daily News 01/09/1974
Listing of participants/pieces in JAH #3

Just Another Asshole was a No Wave zine that was an important piece of the Lower East Side artist and underground scene of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Issue #3 was unique to the publication in that it was a graphic arts issue, and there were over a hundred contributors. It’s really a beautiful publication that we got lost in for a couple of hours.

The Barbarians for Socialism piece, written in “cooperation” with the “Anti-Stupefactionist League” is on a page split with artist Dan Graham. It is on the right side of the page.

We reproduce “Caged Heat” below, as it is not otherwise found online:

“Caged Heat” by Barbarians for Socialism

Doo Da! Forever / Monty Cantsin exhibits in NYC

Piece by Higgins at the exhibit.

The Van Der Plas Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is nearing the end of its Doo Da! Forever! exhibit of E.F. Higgins III work, and its 10 Ton Show group exhibit. We were finally able to get to the gallery this weekend to see it and were quite excited to do so.

The relation between autonomist Marxism and these showings may not be readily apparent, and for the most part the connection is peripheral, but there are some connecting threads.

Higgins, who died last year, was a legend in the world of mail art, in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of individuals created an important international network (what would be called “the eternal network”) of autonomous artistic communication, with its heyday between the late 1970s and into the early 1990s (of course, mail art networks still exist). Mail art wasn’t a banner-waving form of politics, but the very act of subverting the entire gallery system to the extent these artists did, while crafting alternative networks of collective creativity, was an important example of circulating self-organizing and, perhaps, “self-valorization” or even “substruction” (to use a loose reading of p.m.’s concept in bolo’ bolo). It would be fundamentally wrong to make the argument that mail art, in its heyday, was a political project aimed at overcoming capitalism – it was not. However, the substance of mail art networks had important subverting and creating effects, and within the world of mail art there were some artists that incorporated autonomist and situationist concepts, including self-activity, class struggle, and detournement. (On the question of the possibilities for DIY to subvert capitalist relations, readers may be interested in this article we co-authored many years back, see p. 44-61).

In New York City some of the mail artists were also involved in what would be called the Rivington School. Higgins was one significant participant; so was Istvan Kantor – who began using the name Monty Cantsin in the late 1970. Cynthia Carr, in her stinging essay “The Triumph of Neoism. The Millionth Apartment Festival” (1988) explains:

“Monty Cantsin” – an “open pop star” – was a name, an identity, an idea invented in the late seventies by David Zack, a mail artists. Anyone could be Monty Cantsin. The name would then become famous, to the benefit of every Monty Cantsin. But the person most identified with the name is Istvan Kantor – construction worker, nurse, Canadian citizen, and native of Budapest. For this, Kantor/Cantsin has taken some neoflack in the neozine Smile (“Free to Shoplifters”). In a philosophy where nothing matters, it’s funny what does matter (p. 106).

Cantsin/Kantor is also the person often associated with “Neoism,” which as a provocative tradition (if it could be called that), which picks up inspiration from nihilism, situationist practice, punk, among other schools of activity and thought (notably, its participants would likely deny any of that). As a child, Kantor was a participant in the Hungarian Revolution and in a wide-ranging and important interview with Rafael Gonzalez he explained:

“Traumatic experiences are often the driving forces, the sources of motivation for making art. My most important traumatic experience was the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. I ran out from the air raid shelter where my whole family and other people stayed during the uprising, and in the street I pointed my toy gun to a convoy of Russian tanks. They stopped and a soldier jumped out from the leading vehicle and approached me. I ran back to the building and hid in a dark corner. The Russians surrounded the buildings and looked for me. In those times lots of kids threw MOLOTOV cocktails to Russian tanks and got killed. I only used a gesture but it was powerful enough to scare them. I was lucky enough that the janitor of the building could speak some Russian and calmed them down. And perhaps they were on some other mission anyway and so they left. People in the air raid shelter ritualistically broke my toy gun, that my grandfather made me, to small pieces. That was the first time that I confronted authorities at gunpoint using a gesture and it determined the rest of my life. I was 7 years old.”

The name “Monty Cantsin”, along with Karen Eliot and other ‘multiple identities’ would become commonly used among explicit participants in neoism in the mail art networks internationally (Stewart Home was another notable participant. Some of the works of these folks also show up in Cleaver’s listing of autonomist Marxist-related materials, here).

Another of Higgins’ works at the exhibit.

The exhibit at the Van Der Plas gallery occur on two floors – one at street level and one in the downstairs show room. The Higgins work is in the main gallery space, at street level, while the 10 Tons show is in the basement. Our main interest in the 10 Tons Show was Cantsin’s pieces. We include pictures of those here:

Istvan Kantor / Monty Cantsin piece at the exhibit
Istvan Kantor / Monty Cantsin piece at the exhibit
Istvan Kantor / Monty Cantsin piece at the exhibit

The gallery is on Orchard Street, right near Rivington Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The neighborhood is largely unrecognizable from what it looked like in the 1980s. The last remaining quasi-anarchist bookstore lost its space in the neighborhood due to rising rents, and there’s a CBD shop now in its place. The towers on Ludlow are overwhelming. One can’t help but wonder how an artist like Kantor experiences the area now. That curiosity aside, it was nice to see an exhibit of Higgins’ work, in particular. The gallery produced a small catalogue for the show and below is a picture of the opening pages, a picture of Kantor and Higgins and a short essay penned by Kantor about Higgins:

From the exhibit catalogue produced by the gallery

Broadside: “1 Mai 1977. Une Idee Paralyse Pendant 25 Minutes 500 Bureaucrates et 100.000 Connards” – Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, 1977 [?]

Image of the broadside

A rare broadside produced by the French group Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, early into their collective interventions, likely printed in 1977. In May of 1977 the group hung a banner reading “FETE DE L’Alienation !!” [Festival of Alienation! or Alienation Day!] over the May Day march in Paris, apparently stunning those who saw it. The piece is full of contempt for the CGT and the ritualized march.

A scan of the broadside

Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde, and the participants’ later project Os Cangaceiros, became known in France, and later in anarchist and post-situationist circles internationally, for their analyses and direct actions. (We have mentioned them briefly elsewhere on this blog).

There is little available about this broadside. The picture from the action was later reproduced as a postcard (see here), and a collection of Les Fossoyeurs du vieux monde’s writings can be found here. We locate no institutional holdings.

For english-language speakers we produce a rough translation below (with significant help from Deepl).

MAY 1, 1977. FOR 25 MINUTES AN IDEA PARALYZES 500 BUREAUCRATS AND 100,000 ASSHOLES.

The police union is once more defeated by the truth. While the sinister convoy was heading, as every year for 40 years, to its dreary destiny and the cappa maffiosi were at the level of the Hotel Sully, on Saint-Antoine Street, a banner 15 meters long, thanks to an ingenious mechanism, was instantly and majestically deployed at 12 meters above the heads of the union racketeers and their clients. It proudly snaps in the wind and strikes with astonishment the greedy tramps of the big men of the security service. It simply asserts, in letters 1 meter high, perfectly visible and perfectly readable by the 10 000 people massed from the Place Saint-Paul to the Place de la Bastille, the truth of this subhuman gathering: ALIENATION FESTIVAL!

Where the enemy thought he was invincible, we found the weakest point: the cegetistas [members of the CGT] big guns proved to be totally impassive in front of the idea’s omnipotence. An idea triumphs undisturbed with sobriety and elegance (for 800 francs including alcohol). For 25 minutes [1] it immobilizes the ridiculous march and generates a fantastic banner giving to the enemy a preview of its next rout. Following the derisory braying of the common programmers yelping their usual slogans, a stupefying silence of 1,000 meters long falls on the grotesque cohort. The cheerleaders stand still with one thigh in the air, disembodied [desemparees]. But above all, thanks to the clever set-up mechanism [2], which required the intervention of only one person, we were able to savor, together with the public and the scavengers themselves, the stupefied and furious discomfiture of our victims. Some of us had even pushed the concern of anonymity to the point of wearing infamous C.G.T. badges.

We witnessed a clear movement of sympathy, approval and cheerful chatter among the public on the sidewalk, which was not smothered by the union salute. A good number of amateur photographers equipped with splendid Japanese cameras shot all this time the infamy which hung over all this disorder.

We had a good laugh. That’s an understatement. Only we knew why we were there. We didn’t suffer any losses, not a single scratch, and all the pictures are good. Thank you for your help. Bureaucrats you got it in the ass and you will get it again. SOWETO. LISBON. DAKAR. ROME. See you next time!

[1] We have thus immobilized the union shit 25 times longer than the first emergency valve of the Ecofisk platform immobilized the black shit [likely referring to the massive oil blowout at the Ekofisk Bravo platform in April 1977].

[2] However, this was not yet expertise: if, in addition to the strong chain which ended the cable and which gave the union acrobat a lot of trouble, we had put black soap on the lamp post, the banner would have lasted 30 minutes longer and, in addition to the regular troops of the bureaucracy, all the leftist scum and small unions of everyday life would have come under our yoke.

Black Out: Giornale Metropolitano Delle Lotte Autonome (1978)

Black Out: Giornale Metropolitano Delle Lotte Autonome (“‘Metropolitan Journal of Autonomous Struggles”) is a bit of a mystery. An internal note states it was sent to the printers on 1 February 1977 as a supplement to issue 24-25 of Rosso. However, it references the New York City Black Out of 1977, which occurred in July of that year, and there was no issue 24-25 of Rosso (there was a #23-24 and a #25-26). Mangano (1998, p. 93) states that it was published in February of 1978.

Black Out was produced during the years of lead and its content relates to struggles in Milan in that context. It positions itself as a place for analysis and development for collective struggle in the wake of the heavy year and movement of 1977, within the theoretical framework of class composition: “The enormous pulverization of the struggle movement in Milan has pushed us to create this newspaper as a possibility to have an instrument of connection of aggregation…giving voice to that enormous proletarian layer that has found in the movement of 77 its political reference and that today and scattered in the enormous metropolis of Milan” (a very rough translation from the introductory article).

“In a Society That Forces Us To Live Without Adventures, The Only Adventure Is To Violently Destroy This Society!”

The publication lists Emilio Vesce, an important militant in the Italian extra-parliamentary left, as the director responsible for the publication (Vesce was also the director of Rosso in 1978). Mangano (1998, p. 93) notes that there are other issues, though it’s unclear to us how many were published. Some of them, through the late 1980s (issue 9) are made available through the Archivio Autonomia site, here, with different subtitles.

This issue of the journal is scarce with none available in the trade at the time of writing and a single institutionally-held copy in the world (at Yale’s Beinecke Library). We have scanned the issue we hold and uploaded it to Libcom, here, for those interested.

Matin d’un Blues – Poster (n.d.)

There is frustratingly little about the struggles among the French autonomous left during the 1970s and 1980s that is written or translated into English. A useful, if brief, reflection can be found in an interview published in Jacques Lesage de La Haye’s small book, The Abolition of Prison (AK Press, 2021, pp. 103-116), as well as Leopold Roc’s discussion of Os Cangaceiros, published in the eighth issue of the anarchist journal Rolling Thunder (2009, here and here). Matin d’un Blues was one of the many interesting publishing efforts that autonomous organizers put together during those years, and ran for three issues, from 1978-1979. Most of the contents of the journals can be found online, via the Fragments d’Histoire de gauche radicale archive, here.

Our copy of issue #2

Sebastien Schifres has written a chapter on the group and posted it to his website, here. According to Schifres, the group was founded by former members of Camarades, most notably Bob Nadoulek, as well as participants in Marge, and was inspired by Italy’s Metropolitan Indians. The emphasis in Matin d’un Blues on ‘desiring autonomy’ (“autonomie désirante”) and cultural interventions, rather than the more strictly class struggle focus of Camarades. There is a strong situationist influence in both aesthetics and various written pieces in issues of the journal. Commentary found in the 1979 piece by Bob Nadoulek in Le Monde, entitled “La politique et le quotidien” (roughly, ‘politics and everyday life’) is also worth reading for a brief introduction to the group’s perspectives (here).

Issues of Matin d’un Blues are scarce and we locate only four archives holding copies internationally (here and here), all in Europe. We have only issue #2 in our holdings.

This striking poster uses the image on the cover of issue #2, though we have been unable to figure out if the poster was used to advertise for the specific issue or for the publication more generally. (We purchased our copy from someone who ran a bookshop in Paris in the 1970s, but did not recall any background of the poster). The smaller text along the top reads “autonomie offensive et creativitie” (roughly ‘offensive autonomy and creativity’) followed by “mais quand il ne reste que le choix des armes le desespoir n’a pas besoin de caution politique” along the bottom (roughly, ‘but when only the choice of weapons remains, despair does not need a political guarantee’).