“Nitchevo, nitchevo”

Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in Germany 89 years ago today, on January 30, 1933. On this occasion, we publish a text written by the painter and left-wing activist Diego Rivera. Rivera makes recollections of his visit to Berlin prior to Hitler’s rise to power. They are very valuable in exposing the inadequacy and sort-sightedness of the leaderships of the communist parties at the time…

While the fascists were gaining influence and were posing a deadly threat to the workers’ movement, the leadership of the German and the other Communist Parties, by now under the complete control of the Stalinist bureaucracy, were acting in the most outrageous way. They were denying the creation of a united antifascist front with other forces in the workers’ movement, they were considering the social-democrats to be a bigger threat than Hitler and they were convinced that after the Nazis it was their turn to come to power…

Today, the balance of forces is of course very different than in the ‘30’s. But still, we see the same political mistakes being made by sections of the Left internationally, who either underestimate the danger by the far-right and the fascists, or betray the working class and thus feed into their propaganda.

Either way, we need to take on board the lessons from the past in order not to repeat them in the future. We should strive to create united, broad, antifascist fronts to push back the neo-fascists. And link this fight with the struggle to overthrow capitalism, the system that breeds inequality, racist divisions, crises and suffering. No passaran!

“Diego Rivera’s memoir of Hitler: a stunning insight on the rise of fascism”…This was in 1960. It would be another 2 years before my own “awakening” and Leftward move. And, fortunately, at least in the mainstream of activism in the United States, even in the face of McCarthyism and “loyal” American defenders of racism, memories of Hitler’s fascism was strong enough to overcome what we called “parlor pinkos” who didn’t consider fascism a threat, an evil returned to haunt our nation, our lives. All power to the people!

I return to “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”

From one reviewer:

This film… is amazing. This is the only way that I can POSSIBLY describe the brilliant acting performance of Tom Courtenay, one of my all-time favorite actors. His depiction of Colin, a young man from the lower class society of Nottingham, is remarkable. In fact, depiction is quite the wrong word for what he does with that character. Courtenay does not play Colin, he IS Colin, pure and simple. I will not give a summary simply because it is impossible to explain the story line without seeing the film. I have tried to explain the story line to my friends, and they just can’t understand what I’m raving about. Anyone who is reading this, WATCH THIS MOVIE! It is one of the best films the ’60s has to offer.

I can only add what this film was for me. I paid my annual revisit, tonight. Watched via AMAZON PRIME on the telly.

First saw this in a small neighborhood “art” theatre. A converted barn in New Haven, CT in 1962. When I left the performance and returned to my 4th floor walkup a few blocks away I knew I had a new author to read, a film producer/director to watch for.

The film was made by Tony Richardson. All film buffs have enjoyed one or another of his films. This is my favorite. It led me to the writing of Alan Sillitoe whose short story was the theme of this film…and he wrote the screenplay as well. His works of fiction colored in my studies of philosophy…materialist dialectics of Marx, Engels and Lenin, Herbert Aptheker and his peers in the USA, especially John Somerville.

Aptheker’s commitment as a Communist to the exploding Civil Rights movement led me to organizing and Jimmy Higgins-work in labor unions in the factories where I worked most of my life…in the civil rights movement where I started by helping to organize chapters of C.O.R.E. in cities in the industrial Northeast.

Neither of those commitments has ever left me.