LIBERTARIANS, THE LEFT AND THE MIDDLE EAST


Notes towards an alternative history

Egypt / Armenia/ Turkey/ Iran / Lebanon / Algeria / Tunisia/ Palestine


EGYPT

  • In 1877, an anarchist journal Il Lavoratore appears in Alexandria, in the Italian language.
  • Amilcare Cipriani, the italian anarchist, is arrested and imprisoned in Italy in 1881 for the killing of an italian in Alexandria in 1867. This incident was previously ruled self-defence but was invoked by the italian authorities to put Cipriani out of commission when during his revolutionary campaigning in 1881. Cipriani's imprisonment becomes a celebrated case across the left.
  • On 1 April 1882, Egyptian coalheavers strike against the Suez Canal Company in Port Said.
  • In 1882, the President of the Italian Workers Association in Alexandria sent a letter to the new government under Prime Minister Sami Pasha al-Barudi supporting the insurrection of Ahmad Orabi and denouncing foreign intervention.
  • In 1884, an Italian language anarchist revue La Questione Sociale appears in Egypt.
  • In 1890, the Patenta law is passed effectively ending the guild system in Egypt. The effect of this is a boost to labor activity in the country.
  • On 18 March 1894, the Egyptian Newspaper, Al-Hilal, reports the arrest of a greek worker in Alexandria for distributing what the police call "anarchist leaflets". The leaflets call for workers to celebrate the anniversary of the Paris Commune and ends "Long Live Communism." On October 1 1894 Greek workers employed by the Suez Canal Company go on strike. Sakilarides Yanakakis establishes a shoemakers union. Dr. Skouphopoulos is another well known agitator in this region.
  • In 1899, Italian workers strike while working on Aswan Dam. Tobacco and cigarette workers call a general strike that same year.
  • In 1900, the libertarian Tucker Publications in New York, publishes a pamphlet on ancient Egypt by Paul Pfitzner called Five Thousand Years Ago
  • Luigi Galleani, escapes imprisonment on the island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Sicily, in 1900, and flees to Egypt. He stays among Italian comrades for a year until threatened with extradition, whereupon he flees to London, at the age of 40.
  • Galleani's journal Cronaca Sovversiva (founded June 6, 1903 in Vermont), is widely read by Italian anarchists in many countries including those in North Africa.
  • In 1903, the Union of Employees of International Trade Firms is formed.
  • In 1907, foreign workers in Alexandria and Cairo, demonstrate against the extradition of Russian refugees living in Egypt. Russians fleeing the repression following the 1905 Revolution in Russia, had settled in Alexandria.
  • In 1908, The Cairo Tramworkers Union is formed.
  • In September 1919, following a summer of strikes, the Italian workers, Max di Collalto (publisher of Roma and member of the Socite Internationale des Employes du Caire) and Guiseppe Pizzuto, a revolutionary socialist of the printers union, are both deported.
  • Around 1920, Salama Musa, Muhammad 'Abdullah al-'Inani and Husni al-Urabi form the Socialist Party, in opposition to the Wafd nationalist Party. In 1924, Husni al-Urabi, Antun Marun and Joseph Rosenthal (a Jewish Italian who settled Egypt in 1899) form the Egyptian Communist Party in 1924.
  • In 1924, The Wafd Party forms the General Federation of Workers Unions in the Nile Valley to prevent the Communists from doing so.


ARMENIA


  • Alphonse Jhn, a promient Armenian anarchist is imprisoned by the Ottoman emperor for seducing members of the royal harem and hanged by czarist agents after the defeat of the Turks in Bulgaria in 1878. [A monument to Alphonse Jhn, financed by a consortium of nationalist-anarchist societies, stands today in the central square of Yerevan.]

  • Armenia's best known anarchist is Alexandre Atabekian, born in Caucasus. He is in Geneva in 1891, often in the company of Kropotkin. Atabekian becomes involved with a group of Russian students in Geneva publishing the "Anarchist Library" a series of works in Russian. Atabekian is also acquainted with Elisee Reclus, Jean Grave and Paraskev-Stoyanoff. He makes contact with anarchists of Russia, France, Italy and Bulgaria. He was with Kropotkin as he died in 1921 and Atabekian was among the organizers of the anarchist funeral procession in Moscow. In 1929, he disappeared in an action by the Bolshevik government against the anarchists.

  • In 1891, a number of anarchist pamphlets were published in Paris in the armenian language, including:

    • L'Idee est une Force
    • A l'Occasion de l'election du Catholicos
    • Aux Paysans Armeniens
    • Lettre aux Revolutionnnaires Armeniens

  • Between 1880 and 1894, an anarchist Journal, Hamaink(Commonwealth) was published by Atabekian, first in Resht, Persia and later in Paris and London. Five issues appeared, in which he gave an anarchist analysis of Armenian and Ottoman subjects as well as the international revolutionary movement. Hamayank describes the exploitation of the Armenian proletariat, calling for the communalisation of land and self-determination. The magazine opposed European intervention, centralisation of the Armenian revolutionary movement and stated that all government was tyranny.

  • In 1896, a pamphlet appeared with title Aux Socialistes Revolutionaires et Libertaires by the "Quelques Libertaires Armeniens".
    This was translated into German and appeared in the 26 September 1896 issue of
    Gustav Landauer's Der Sozialist in Germany.

  • In the Summer of 1890, in Tbilisi, a coalition of nationalists and socialists came together called the Revolutionary Armenian Federation or simply "Dashnaktsouthian" (the Federation). Its members included Konstantin Hatisian, Christopher Mikealian, Stepan Zartan, Simon Zavarian, Ruben Hanazad, Abraham Dastakian, H. Loris Malkian and Levon Sarkisian. There were a number of competing factions, but one of these produced a manifesto in 1892 which approximated the position of the Russian Nihilists, calling for arms and the propagation of the people. This faction took part in a wave of attentats at the time when such actions occurred also in the anarchist movements of France, Italy and Spain and the United States.

    The Revolutionary Armenian Federation published a series of translated pamphlets of the best anarchist writers of the day:

    • Peter Kropotkin--
      • Les Minorites Revolutionnaires 1894
      • L'Anarchie 1893
      • L'Esprit de Revolte 1892-3
      • La Desorganisation des Etats 1892
      • Droits Politiques 1892
      • Aux Jeunes Gens (as Eritasardnerin) 1898
    • Elisee Reclus-- A Mon Frere le Paysans
    • Errico Malatesta-- Fra Contadini
    • Jean Grave-- Pouquoi nous sommes Revolutionnaires 1894
    These may well have been translated by Alexandre Atabekian.

    The Federation Also Published at least one pamphlet by Friedrich Engels.

  • Christapor Mikaelian, one of the founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, was (at least at some point) greatly influenced by Bakunin and remained committed to direct action and decentralisation all his life.
  • In 1907, Paul Singer publishes, in Stuttgart, a report presented to the International Socialist Congress by the Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Armenian Federation. This french pamphlet testifies to the existence a number of active Armenian libertarians in 1896. Announces the "dawn of the Social Revolution" in the East.

  • The November 1907 issue of Emma Goldman's Mother Earth reports that "Anarchist agitation in the United States is being carried on in almost all the various languages spoken in this country, including Japanese, Armenian, etc."

  • In 1910, Hosankner by Mik'ayel Varandean (1874-1934) was published in Zhenev by Hratarkaktut'iwn HHD. The book was on the topic of socialism, labor and anarchism.


TURKEY


  • Here are two webpages in Englishand Turkish on anarchism in Turkey. Another is here.
  • The Istanbul Social Ecology Group have produced a web page on their views.
  • Karasin is a web page on anarchism in Turkish. (German and English sections are under construction...)
  • Do the Kurdish People Need a State? by a group of Kurdish Anarchists.
  • Here is the webpage of the Canadian group, Arm the Spirit, which includes many links and publications on the current situation in Turkey and Kurdistan.
  • The earliest formations of socialist activity in Turkey come from the ethnic minorities of Bulgarians, Macedonians, Greeks and Jews. The focus of their activity is in Thessoloniki. In these early formations there is a split between the orthodox Marxists and a faction of Bulgarian and Jewish "anarcho-liberals". The two factions try to form a mutual organization with the Marxist Nicola Rusev as secretary. But a split soon occurs with the Marxists decrying the activities of Pavel Delidarev. His associates include Angel Tomov and Nikola Harlakov as well as people from Abraham Benaroya's Sephardic Circle of Socialist Studies.
  • The Bulgarian Macedonian Edirne Revolutionary Committees form in Thessaloniki 1893. This group is to evolve into the major Macedonian indepence group against the Ottoman Empire, IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization). The spokesperson of IMRO's left wing is Goce Delcev. He favors sabotage and attentats rather than the nationalist's call for a general uprising, which, it is believed would be quickly crushed by the Ottoman authorities.
  • Bulgarian and Macedonian students in Switzerland frequent Russian immigrant circles and discover Bakuninism. In 1898, these students form the Macedonian Secret Revolutionary Committee and publish Otmustenie (Revenge). Otmustenie declares war on the nationalisms of the individual ethnic minorities of Ottoman Turkey, but rather makes a call to unite with the Muslim people against the Sultan's government.
  • The Armenian, Alexandre Atabekian attempts on several occasions to distribute anarchist pamphlets in Istanbul and Izmir.
  • The italian anarchist, Amilcare Cipriani, much to the chagrin of Malatesta, volunteers to fight in Crete's 1897 revolt against Turkey. He records his impressions in the Almanach de la Questione Sociale.
  • In 1903, the anarchist 'Gemidzii group makes contact with Goce Delcev. In April of 1903,the 'Gemidzii group carry out bombings on their own initiative in Thessaloniki against a French Passenger liner and Banque Ottomane Imperiale.
  • In May 1912, in London, Errico Malatesta is charged with being a Turkish spy. The accusation comes from the italian patriot (and supposedly one-time anarchist) Bellelli who is offended by Malatesta's outspoken opposition to Italy's adventures in Libya.
  • Albert Meltzer's pamphlet International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement includes documents by the First of May Group. This Spanish anarchist group makes numerous references to the activities of Turkish anarchists in the late 60s.
  • In the late 1980s, two anarchist journals appear in Istanbul, Kara and Efendisiz.
  • An appeal from Ates Hirsizi in Istanbul.
  • Ates Hirsizi throw down the glove in the debate over the Unibomer Manifesto.
  • Article from Peace News on conscientious objectors in Turkey.

  • In 1994, there existed an all female punk group in Ankara called the Spinners. One of the members,Sencer Uneri, also produced the magazine Punx Pest. Zuhal and Sencer Uneri were also associated with Sceptic Age. Another politically inclined punk group in Turkey is Emre Sahin's Radical Noise in Istanbul, who are still active.

  • In the 1995 film, Conversations Across the Bosphorous, Jeanne C. Finley interviews the Istanbul woman, Goken, who describes her experiences with Muslim Orthodoxy and after years of struggle, removes her veil and establishes her own independence.

  • On 1 May 1998, Istanbul anarchists walked under the name of ANARCHIST YOUTH FEDERATION (ANARSIST GENCLIK FEDERASYONU). This is quite important because this is the first time Turkish anarchists defined themselves as a FEDERATION. For now, it involves groups and individuals from Istanbul and Ankara, but soon different groups and individuals are expected to organize as AYF (AGF).
  • Karasin's PEASANT RESISTANCE OF BERGAMA AND ANARCHISM gives their analysis of a local struggle against the Eurogold multinational.


IRAN


  • In 1970, Ali Ghafuri's Yaddasht?ha?i dar barah-i Nihilism = Nihilisme : nah?girayi, puch?girayi is published in Tehran by Daftar-i Nashr va Farhang-i Islami, on the subject of Nihilism.

  • click here for the Iranian Left Oral History Project.

  • In 1983, the Iranian Anarchists Group is in existance in London.
  • Also during the later 1980s, there was another group of Iranian anarchists active in Essen, Germany. They published a journal in Farsi called Anzane Ezad (or Esane Azad).
  • The Opening in Iranby Bureau of Public Secrets (Berkeley, 1979).
  • A Million Dead, an article on the Iran-Iraq war from London's anarchist magazine,Freedom(September 1988).
  • Avaye Zan,(A Woman's Voice) is an Iranian feminist journal from Sweden. It includes a few articles in English, including a feminist critique of the Mujahedin Khalgh party and another entitled Women in Iran Oppose Ideological Straight-Jackets. Another site on Iranian women's issues is at ZAN.
  • In Jan 1998, Kanun-i Zan va Susiyalism (Centre for Women and Socialism) in Kln, Germany released the quarterly journal, Medusa.
  • Here is A Declaration of Women's Rights in Islamic Societies.

  • RAWA is the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, who have produced a web page with information in English and Farsi on the struggles of Afghan women.


LEBANON


  • Al Badil al Taharouri is a lebanese group that attended the 1995 anarchist conference at Ruesta, Spain .

  • The March 1996 conference at Grenoble, France "La Culture Libertaire" reports that an Arabic translation of Jean Maitron's history of the French anarchist movement has been published in Lebanon.

  • Here is a July 1998 article from the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star on alternative youth culture in Lebanon.

  • Here is the 1998 report by Amnesty International.


ALGERIA


  • Poemsby the Algerian feminist, Djur Djura.
  • The following anarchist journals were published in Algiers at the end of the nineteenth century.
    • L'Action Revolutionnaire, 1887.
    • Le Tocsin, 1890
    • Le Libertaire, 1892
    • La Marmite Sociale, 1893.
  • When Generalisimo Francisco Franco came to power in 1939, a considerable number of Republicans and Anarchists fled to Algeria. Some anarchists are known to have been living in the city of Oran during the years that followed.
  • Here is a french language site from Toulouse dedicated to the Algerian born Albert Camus .
  • Here are two articles in French about Algeria from the page of the Belgium based group, Alternative Libertaire .

  • 1953-4, The Algerian, Mohamed Dahou, contributes to several issues of Potlatch the journal of the pre-situationist group, the Lettriste International.
  • Abdelhafid Khatib represents the Algerian section of the Situationist International at the Action Against the International Assembly of Art Critics in Brussels on 12 April 1958. "Vanish, art critics, partial, incoherent and divided imbeciles!Disperse, fragments of art critics, critics of fragments of art You have nothing more to say. The Situationist International will leave no place for you. We will starve you out."
  • Address to Revolutionaries of Algeriaby the Situationist International (Algiers, 1965).
  • Class Struggle in Algeriaby the Situationist International (Algiers, 1965).
  • A Critiqueof Daniel Guerin's analysis of events in Algeria by the Situationist International (1966)
  • Here is the conclusionof Daniel Guerin's book, Anarchism


TUNISIA


  • In 1887, the italian language anarchist journal,L'Operaio, appears in Tunis.It includes several articles by Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Nicolo Converti.
  • In 1896, the anarchist journal, La Protesta Umana is published. The La Protesta Umana of Macerata, published by Luigi Fabbri and Oreste Morresi, included the following note:
    "Dear comrade Nicolo Converti who was editing the old Protesta Umana in Tunis, has reached an agreement with us to publish it in Italy, specifically in Macerata."
    The Tunisian journal included articles by Converti.
  • In November 1966, Mustapha Khayati, a Tunisian member of the Situationist International, writes the SI manifesto, On the Poverty of Student Life, while a student in France.
  • Rectifying Public Opinionby Mustapha Khayati (1967).


PALESTINE (and ISRAEL)


  • Kropotkin's Memoirs of a Revolutionist is translated into Hebrew by Menham Poznanski.

  • Abba Gordin (1887-1964) was a Jewish Anarchist who was very active in the Russian Revolution and later settled in Israel. In 1940, he wrote a critique of communism entitled Communism Unmasked.

  • Martin Buber, considered by some a religious anarchist wrote Paths in Utopia in 1949. This book advocated the Kibbutz and included chapters on Proudhon, Kropotkin and Gustav Landauer.

  • IN 1975, Buber Press (New York) published a book by J. E. Cohen entitled, Anarchism and Libertarian Socialism in Israel: A study of Anti-Statist Movements.

  • In the 1980s, Josef Luden produced Problemen, an anarchist magazine of a Kropotkinist bent in Yiddish.(or maybe Hebrew)

  • Palestine:Legacy of Conquestby Lynne Clive, appeared in the Spring 1988 issue of the Detroit anarchist quarterly, Fifth Estate.

  • The Future of a Rebellion: Palestine from the French journal Le Brise-Glace was translated by Lorraine Perlman for the Winter 1988-9 issue of Fifth Estate.

  • In 1992, Cambridge University Press published Philosophical Anarchism and Political Disobedience by Chaim Gans of Tel Aviv University's faculty of law.

  • Two Local Warsby the Situationist International (Paris, 1967)

  • Social Revolution in the East Mediteranean is the an anarchist webpage maintained by Ilan Shalif in Tel Aviv, Israel.

  • IsraHELL is the webpage of some punks in Tel Aviv.
    "Punk-rock anarchism and anarchist punk-rock, or fighting the culture of violence with violent culture. A small group of like-minded youngsters (well, sort of), trying to create their own space by organizing DIY gigs (mostly political benefits), spreading their zine, leaflets and flyers, radicalizing left-wing demos and basically just holding on in this big military camp. If... you wanna ask something about Israeli punk, anarchism, etc. -- we are the ones to ask..." IsraHELL also produce the Hebrew language magazine, War of Words.

  • Anonymous Infoshop is an Animal-rights organization. Its small infoshop located in 48a Ben-Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv is almost constantly populated (if not dominated) by Anarchists and punks. There you can find out about upcoming gigs, demos and other activities concerning Animal and Human rights. Their address is POBox 6315, Tel-Aviv 61062, Israel.

  • Incidents Publishing is "an underground publishing collective who's goals are to break the big blood-sucking publishing companies' monopoly, to bring the prices of our literature to the minimum possible and to make way for new artists and creators so they can,too, publish their works. We publish all sorts of things, and we strongly support the anti-copyright ideal and attitude." Their POBox is shared with IsraHELL: POB 6579, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

  • Yonatan Polak produces an anarchist magazine Angriculture, which can be reached at 10 Elazar Street, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

  • Essence magazine is produced by Avi Pitshon. It "covers aspects of art, anarchism and counter-culture, and is published as a supplement to various projects-- be it a concert, an exhibition or a party!" Avi is also part of the music group "Nisrefet". (Her Burning) Essence can be reached at 27 Borohov Street, Ra'anana, Israel.

  • Santiago and Frederico Gomez have produced the "Anarchist/Libertarian" magazine Nekrophilia Lanoar in Hebrew. They have also been part of the music group, Nekhei Naatza, addressing "regional sociopolitical and cultural issues from a sane anti-authoritarian perspective." They are also involved with Tel-Aviv's "Awakening Center" (at 5 Nahalat-Binyamin Street) which "aims to initiate and assist activities and projects for Social and Ecological change, with an emphasis on Arab-Jewish relationships, alternative culture and grassroots community action." Frederico and Santiago may be reached at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, DNGE-12125, Israel.

  • Other political music groups include :
    • Oi Va'avoi in Kiriat Ono. "anarchopunk band... deals with racism, animal rights and with the political situation in Israel, supporters of the anarchist movement of Israel."
    • Purgatory in Kiron. "anti-animal abuse... anti-police, libertarian, half-anarchist. Some are also active in punk and anarchist political scene.
    • Dictatorshit in Tirat-Hacarmel. "Political hardcore. Dealing mostly with the politics of daily life."
    • Mefageret in Yehud. "Angry HC/ reggae dedicated to the liberation of Israel from it's suffocating Zionist Culture and racist Jewish heritage."

  • The Other Israel is the magazine produced by Adam Keller, who refused service in the defense forces. In 1982, 2000 Israeli soldiers joined Yesh Gvul's declaration not to serve in Lebanon and some 200 served prison sentences. Say It with Paint is an article by them on the current situation.

  • In 1994, a group called The Anarchist Movement of Israel existed at POBox 6023, Tel-Aviv 61060, Israel. "We're a group of young Israeli anarchists, network of anarchists in different areas of Israel. Involved in topics such as animal/ human rights, support Palestinian struggle, ecology, etc."


Any questions or comments, write to:
stiobhard - stiobhard@rocketmail.com


MEMBER
of the
PODS


This page has been stumbled across (or updated) times since 15 August 1998.