history

American Heiress: The Kidnapping, Crimes & Trial of Patty Hearst
Jeffrey Toobin
Profile Books, 2017, 371 pages

“Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.” With this hyperbolic declaration by “General Field Marshall” Cinque M’tume (the nom-de-plume of a Black prison escapee), the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) introduced itself to the American people in the early 1970s.

Operation Chaos: The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers & Each Other
Matthew Sweet
Picador, 2018, 351 pages

Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet
By Yasha Levine
Icon Books, £14.99

As accusations continue to swirl through social media around foreign meddling in Britain’s Brexit referendum and the last US election, Yasha Levine’s Surveillance Valley is a timely intervention in revealing how undermining democracy has always been the modus operandi of the internet since its inception.

Thousands marched through Berlin on January 13 to pay their respects 100 years after the brutal murders of revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, Morning Star Online said.

Marchers came from across Germany and many countries. They laid red flowers at the tombs of Luxemburg, Liebknecht and other revolutionaries in the Friedrichsfelde Socialist Cemetery in east Berlin.

The death of George H.W. Bush has dominated the U.S. news for days, but little attention has been paid to the defining event of Bush’s first year in office: the invasion of Panama. On December 19, 1989, Bush Sr. sent tens of thousands of troops into Panama, ostensibly to execute an arrest warrant against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. General Noriega was once a close ally to Washington and on the CIA payroll.

On the northern outskirts of Barcelona, on La Rambla de Carmel, stands one of the most visually striking and symbolic monuments to the volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade of the International Brigades.

“David and Goliath”, designed by US sculptor Roy Shifrin and first unveiled in 1988, was the most prominent gathering point for the 80th anniversary of the departure of the International Brigades — anti-fascists who had come from around the world to fight against Francisco Franco’s forces — from Barcelona on October 28.

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but not before tens of millions died in the four-year-long unprecedented industrial carnage. Amid all the media coverage, almost entirely missing is the actual story of how such bloodshed and misery was ended: by a mass popular rebellion in Germany that brought down the monarchy and established a republic.

The rise of the far right around the world, with fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil close to joining the growing ranks of authoritarian far right leaders, many on the left are wondering how to respond.

The parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century are clear.

In July, Canadian Marxist academic and activist John Riddell gave a speech, abridged below, at a York University seminar entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right”.

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Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia
Three part series presented by Lucy Worsley
Available on SBS On Demand until October 10

This three-part series examines the history of Russia’s most famous royal family, the Romanovs. This is a useful introduction to a topic for those wanting to know more about the conditions that led to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The Romanovs rose to power in 1613 after the collapse of the previous Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia for 700 years. The tsars were absolute monarchs with enormous power.

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