We first heard of “Loaded Words” via the very useful bibliography of American pro-situationist publications that Not Bored! put together years ago and posted on their website (here). We were confused because they put Cleveland as the place of publication, where there was a newspaper by a collective also called “New Morning” (info here). But the piece was actually published in the Berkeley publication New Morning: A Berkeley Community Newspaper.
There is no online archive of New Morning issues and very little writing that mentions the publication from what we could find. (There must be a memoir that includes discussions of it somewhere, please let us know if you are aware of any!) There’s not much detail in the publication itself. Here’s the masthead from the February, 1973 issue:
Tom Woodhull, part of the pro-situ group Negation (as mentioned in his interview with Chomsky, here), had some involvement with New Morning for at least a couple of issues, as he was also involved in the preceding month’s issue that included an article on council communism. This issue was likely that mentioned by Ken Knabb in his essay “Remarks on Contradiction and its Failure,” when he cites “an underground paper trying to fill up the current ideological void will put out a special issue on situationism which simply lumps together everyone who is able to babble a few slogans about the spectacle, sacrifice, Leninism, etc., and publishes a “Dictionary of Situationese” for the edification of those who aren’t yet even capable of that.”
Yet, even given Knabb’s criticisms, “Loaded Words” is, in fact, a good, quick and dirty introductory guide to core situationist concepts. It seems reasonable to guess that Woodhull may have been one of the two pseudonymous authors. In 1975 the “Beni Memorial Library” in Ann Arbor published a very helpful book (available here) called A Bibliography of North American Situationist Texts, which included an entry on “Loaded Words”:
We see no reason to repeat the contents of that entry (anymore than we already have), since it does the bibliographic job quite well.
We were surprised that “Loaded Words” hadn’t been placed online yet, so we scanned it and put it on Libcom, here.
This issue of New Morning is uncommon, though available, it appears, in some microfilm collections of the underground press and in a handful of libraries.
Following the mass arrests of April 7th, 1979, where militants and intellectuals were arrested on conspiracy, subversion and insurrection charges (tens of thousands would be arrested across the following years). Antonio Negri, famously, was part of the sweeping round-up, having been wrongly accused of being part of the Red Brigades and behind the killing of former prime minister and leader of the Democrazia Cristiana party, Aldo Moro. Many of the prisoners were incarcerated at Rebibbia Prison in Rome.
A May 1979 statement, signed by Mario Dalmaviva, Luciano Ferrari Bravo, Toni Negri, Oreste Scalzone, Emilio Vesce and Lauso Zagato, states:
“We are being tried for a decade of political struggle in Italy, from 1968 to 1979. With this prosecution, State power has spoken out loud and clear — a horrendous alibi for its incapacity to resolve the real underlying problems confronting Italian society in the crisis. This trial is aimed to outlaw the political movement of working class and proletariat autonomy. In order to succeed, State power has to state and prove that “the party of the new social strata of the proletariat” is the same thing as “the armed party” — i.e. the terrorist groups. They have to be made to appear as identical. All of us in the Movement know the motive behind this operation. The State “projects” onto these strata and onto the men and women who have lived the social struggles of the new proletariat, the accusation of being terrorists, “the armed party in Italy”, so that, by criminalizing the Movement, it can resolve its own inability to function. We are militants and intellectuals of the autonomous Left movement. In striking its blow at us, the State is attributing to us a power as “leaders”, a representative role, that we do not possess.”
Oreste Scalzone, a leading militant of Potere Operaio, and a founder of the important journalMetropoli, was one of those arrested (his arrest occurred two months before the publication of the first issue of the journal). This supplement to Metropoli was published before the printing of Metropoli’s first issue in June 1979. The second issue of the journal was published, nearly a year later, in April 1980.
The pamphlet is divided into 3 letters from Scalzone, with one co-written with militant prisoner Lauso Zagato. The first letter is a vivid description of camaraderie on the inside, with Scalzone finding other comrades in the prison before being forcibly transferred to another; the second is an analysis of his interrogation whereby the authorities can only see a conspiracy (and not a diffuse movement); and the third a brief analysis of, and call for struggle on, the terrain of prisons and law.
We are extremely excited about the publication of Resurgence: Jonathan Leake, Radical Surrealism, and the Resurgence Youth Movement, 1964-1967, printed in a limited edition of 500 copies by Eberhardt Press in Portland, Oregon.
The book helps to fill a significant gap in the literature available about the anti-authoritarian left in the US during the 1960s, as well as circulation of surrealist ideas during this period, and connections between the American ultraleft of the 1960s and the punk and squat scenes in New York City in ensuing decades.
The book is divided into 3 major sections. The first consists of essays that contextualize the Resurgence Youth Movement. Perhaps most relevant and useful for readers of this little blog is scholar Abigail Susik’s essay on the anti-authoritarian left of the 1960s. It it is in Susik’s essay that we learn the neat factoid that the first issues of Resurgence were printed on a mimeograph machine provided to Jonathan Leake by Raya Dunayevskaya after a News and Letters convention (p. 17).
The second section of the book consists of selections from journal Resurgence, much of which was impossible to access up until the publication of this book. The third section of the book consists of selections from Jonathan Leake’s unpublished autobiography, Root and Branch.
The design of the book is simply breathtaking and is clearly a labor of love printed by Charles Overbeck, the person behind Eberhardt Press.
Ill Will has published some selections from the book, here. It is available for purchase, until the print run is gone, from Eberhardt’s website, here. We hold donor’s copy #19 in an edition of 150.
Oask?! (an anagram of “kaos”) was the first publication of the Metropolitan Indians. It was published as a supplement to issue 74 of Lotta Continua, and is primarily the work of famed Italian artist Pablo Echaurren. This was the only unique issue of Oask?! published, but Echaurren would use the nameplate in other collaborations (for example the publication of Abat/Jour). At the time, Echaurren worked full-time for Lotta Continua.
Jacopo Galimberti (2022) provides useful discussion of the context and publication of Oask?!,
“Apart from his work for Lotta Continua, Echaurren and some peers published a zine called Oask?! (an anagram of caos, meaning ‘caos’). Released in the aftermath of the March 1977 revolts, its graphic look took the inventions of A/traverso and Zut to the extreme” (p. 339-340).
The publication is one large single piece of newsprint that folds out to a stunning poster, reading “Diffidate della realta?!” (“Do you trust reality?!).
We take the listing of authors from Echaurren’s digital archive at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max Planck Institut) in Rome, which hosts a high resolution scan of the initial version of Oask?! that they credit exclusively to Echaurran (here). We note that De Donna & Martegani (2019) list the authors as Echaurren, M. Gabbianelli, Carlo Infante, G. Malatesta, S. Pela, R. Di Reda, F. Saglio, M. Terracini, and O. Turquet (p. 332).
The publication is rare. Worldcat lists the Beinecke library at Yale as only institutional holding (they bought Echaurren’s archive some years ago), but we know others hold the publication.
We hope to write more posts in the future about our holdings from the work of Danilo Montaldi, who is perhaps the father of workers inquiry in Italy (and whose conceptualization of the ‘working class’ encompassed those who American sociologists would derisively condemn as “the underclass”). Today’s post is about Montaldi’s remarkable project with Giuseppe Guerreschi, Vietnam Suite.
As Jacopo Galimberti documents in his newly published (and groundbreaking, for English-speaking audiences) work Images of Class: Operaismo, Autonomia and the Visual Arts (2022), Montaldi’s interests in art are an under-discussed part of his intellectual and political trajectory. His engagements with the Italian artist Guerreschi (collected in the book Lettere), including Vietnam Suite, were “intentionally or not, implemented an unusual type of co-research involving an artist” (p. 204).
Vietnam Suite, as a collection of etchings by Giuseppe that portray often brutal images related to the Vietnam War, was published twice, but with different texts. The first publication was a catalogue for the 1973 exhibit at the Fanto de Spade gallery in Milan, which did not contain Montaldi’s adjoining text. This second version was published the following year, in 1974, by Fratelli Pozo in Turin. Montaldi’s essay is entitled “Sul Vietnam, Problemi, Date E Immagini” (“About Vietnam, Issues, Dates And Images. To Nikolaus, Diego, Max.”)
Montaldi’s essay begins by explaining that it was in the “summer of 1947 that, for the first time, we heard about Vietnam, about the war in Indochina.”
“We are only ten years away from the Spanish ’37, from those days of May that had revealed how necessary it was, in order to proceed along the path of workers’ power, to carry out a revolution within the revolution itself. And we were only two years into the Second World War. Still fresh were the images of the great revolutionary writings on the walls of the Nazi concentration camps of the liberated Spanish fighters; Spain had been the testing ground for the second imperialist war; with Vietnam there was almost the impression of a new Spanish war.”
He goes on to describe what would become Vietnam War as “the war, in no other terms, the war of horror, of obsession, of hate” (rough Deepl translation). Montaldi is unsparing with his analysis of Ho Chi Minh. Following the Ho-Sainteny agreement of 1946, he sees a counter-revolution.
Behind the movement that led Ho Chi Min to the agreement lay the whole Stalinist conception of revolution in stages, no matter how many defeats it had had to suffer from China to Spain. The Viet Minh, i.e. the Indochinese People’s Union (l’Unione popolare indocinese – ed.), had, in fact, renounced to take measures that could put it in conflict with the feudal bourgeoisie: it had respected the Banque de l’Indochine; it had not proceeded to any agrarian reform, except for giving land to some collaborators of the Japanese; it maintained and legalized the usury system, limiting itself to asking for a lowering of the rate. Nor did he decree the abolition of debts and mortgages. He made a pact with the bourgeoisie by asking its representatives for financial aid, while on the ideological level he tried to establish a sort of unanimity based on racial presuppositions. On the other hand, in February 1946, in order to prepare the ground for the compromise of March 6, the Viet Minh proceeded to the massacre of the leaders, non-nationalist internationalists, of the Trotskyist communist party and of many of its militants, thus practicing counter-revolution in the revolution.
Relying on a particular reading of Lenin and Trostky on the question of so-called ‘historical materialism’, Montaldi argues:
The theory adopted by Ho Chi Min, according to which the backward countries must catch up with the countries of mature capitalism by overcoming, time after time, the stages they have passed through at other times – as if there were an itinerary of history constantly identical with itself, regardless of the mode in which it takes place – is the least dialectical theory that can exist; and it can only lead to the sacrifice of the proletariat, to a series of defeats.
Montaldi soon transitions to discussing the violence of the war into the early 1970s, and Guerrechi’s work directly. Guerrechi’s etchings are haunting:
Vietnam Suite (1974) was published in an edition of 1000 books. The first 200 copies include original etchings, with 1-100 having one image, and 100-200 having another.
The book comes inside a gray slipcase. We hold book #168, with etching #68. The book is fairly common in the trade, but copies with the original etching are uncommon. We locate 6 institutionally-held editions internationally, via OCLC.
This remarkable pamphlet is the first published edition of Peter Linebaugh’s now-classic essay “The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day.”
“Blue Heron” was a pseudonym that Linebaugh used and the piece was written while he was living in the Boston area and teaching at Tufts (hence “Boss Town”). This beautiful essay has seen many editions since this 1985 publication. (It is of note that Linebaugh’s book on PM with the title “The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of May Day” states 1986 as its year of origin, whereas this pamphlet appeared in 1985).
“The little history that you’re holding in your hand has grown from an earlier version published last year called “The Silent Speak.” There’s more information this year, thanks to conversations in Quincy with John Wilshire and Monty Neill and thanks to newspaper research by Jonathan Feldman and John Roosa. Bryn Clark made a portable Maypole last year which we capered around at the Bank of Boston. We were gratified by the interest shown by lunchtime workers but also struck by how widespread May Day amnesia had become. So, this year we have added some ‘how to’ sections, on games (p.5), on the Maypole (p. 11), and on getting to Merry Mount (p. 16), which we hope may make it more practical. Last year’s May Day demonstration against Kruggerand gold encouraged us to add (an incomplete) list (p. 16) of the many May Day events this year. We especially thank Gene Bruskin and Jim Green who have helped to plan the demo against apartheid and the centennial celebration at Faneuil Hall, respectively. Dana Moser helped with the graphics. Hohn Flym, DeAnn Burrows, Mike Ryan, and friends in Teas, Rochester, Nigeria, Big Indian, Somerville, Belize, and Tufnell Park have provided support and encouragement. And thanks to the workers at Copy Cop.
Our copy of the pamphlet came with a neat flier for “Blue Monday: A Day of Resistance to all the Work-Makers.” The anti-work sentiment is transparent. We cannot locate any additional details of the event or source the symbol on the bottom right (if you have any hints please reach out to us).
The “Silent Speak” pamphlet is rare. OCLC locates two institutionally-held copies – one at Harvard and the other at in the Senate House Library at the University of London. We locate no copies of the “Blue Monday” flier.
We have scanned a copy of the pamphlet and uploaded it to Libcom, here.
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.
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’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.
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.
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:
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
The same year that Bad was published by Herman Graf Associates, Folkways Records issued a recording of three portions of the taped interviews:
“Jimmy describes two incidents involving Muslim leaders which he witnessed when he was a 16-year-old juvenile illegally incarcerated at San Quentin”
“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.”
“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.
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.
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.
Second French Edition – Editions Ivrea (formerly Champ Libre), 1994
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.) – 1989, Unpopular Books & News From Everywhere*
The third English-language edition was a joint publication by Unpopular Books and News From Everywhere in the U.K. This edition is photocopied and comb bound. News From Everywhere was an important and influential publisher of anarchist, autonomist and situationist materials in UK during the 1980s. Unpopular Books, based in London, was also an important publisher of situationist, pro-situ and left-communist materials, and produced pamphlets and books through at least 2012. We do not hold this copy, and a search of OCLC finds that there are no institutionally-held copies of it, either. (We suspect an anarchist library in the UK probably has a copy, but those, perhaps regrettably, don’t make it into OCLC).
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:
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.
Fifth English-language Edition (US/UK) – AK Press, 2002
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.
Sixth English-language Edition (US/UK) – Three Rooms Press, 2016
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.
*Post updated 12/20/2022. We are thankful to Nick Thoburn for sending us images of the Unpopular/News From Everywhere edition.
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 an oral history interview with in the early 1990s with Jim Monk, Ron Baxter and Martin Deck (members of the New Tendency in Canada), Glaberman gives some further background to the author*:
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.
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.
*Updated 12/18/22. We are deeply indebted to Dylan Davis for sharing his copy of the Glaberman Oral History interview with us. The interview can be located at Columbia and in the Martin and Jessie Glaberman Papers at Wayne State.