Tag Archives: Revolution

Oct 26th 2022: Living My Life by Emma Goldman

On Friday 21st October 2022, from 7.30-9.30pm at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud (GL5 1DF), Stroud Radical Reading Group will discuss Emma Goldman’s autobiography Living My Life (discounted copies are available from a local bookshop – click the previous link/see more details below).

If you do not have time to read the fill book (which approaches 600 pages), please focus on the Introduction, Chapter 42/XLII, pages 311-322 of the Penguin Classics edition (in which she discusses the Mother Earth radical newspaper she published, censorship, Feminism and homosexuality), and/or Chapter 52/LII, pages 403-527 of the Penguin Classics edition (which covers Goldman’s experiences in the early Soviet Union).

Buy a copy of the book with a 12% discount from the Yellow Lighted Bookshop. To claim the 12% discount (which reduces the price by £1.92 from £15.99 to £14.07), add the book to your basket, then click to ‘view your basket’, type “StroudRadical”in the ‘Coupon Code’ box, click ‘apply coupon’ and then proceed.

Our events are free to attend, though we will collect donations to cover the costs of venue hire on a donate-what-you-can-afford basis. We try to ensure the discussions are welcoming to new people, including people who have never been to a reading group before – and you don’t have to have been to university. You don’t even have to have read any of the book – you can just come along and listen to the discussion. Some free resources including a sample chapter we’ll focus our discussion on are included below though, and we’d encourage people to read/listen to as much as they can ahead of the session.

““The most dangerous woman in America,” as J. Edgar Hoover described her, took pen in hand in June 1928 to write the events of her tumultuous life. “Red Emma” Goldman, who the popular press claimed owned no God, had no religion, would kill all rulers, and overthrow all laws, chose to begin her autobiography on her fifty-ninth birthday, a task she would later say was the “hardest and most painful” she had ever undertaken. As she wrote about her life, she confronted not only her own loneliness but also the disappointment of her political hopes, the dream that anarchism, which she called her “beautiful ideal,” would take root in her lifetime among the people whose benefit she believed she served…

Eight years earlier, in 1920, America, her adopted country, had deported her as a subversive, leaving her feeling “an alien everywhere,” as she wrote to her friend in exile Alexander Berkman (Nowhere at Home, 170). A permanent, often unwelcome guest in someone else’s country, she would infuse her writing with a sense of loneliness and despair. To Berkman she wrote “hardly anything has come of our years of effort” (ibid., 49). On the eve of fascist victories in Europe, she felt as well the nearness of catastrophe, the likelihood that once again, as it had in 1914, Europe would be convulsed by war.

Underlying this sense of impending disaster, she was aware that political radicals on the left were embracing the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, a revolution she believed had betrayed the expectations of the Russian peasants and workers in whose name Lenin’s government served.” – Miriam Brody in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of the book

The Exchange has step-free access. We will keep windows open for ventilation, hand sanitiser is provided, and we ask people who are ill to stay away (whether they are ill with covid or something else). Attendees do not generally wear masks but we will be respectful to anyone who chooses to and other members may wear masks at request of other attendees – let us know your preferences in advance. Please contact us if you have any accessibility requirements – or other questions about how the events work.

Freely available resources related to the book are available below. We like to ensure everyone can attendee our sessions and get something out of them even if they can’t afford to buy a copy of the book or the time to read it.

October 28th – “The Black Jacobins”

On October 28th we will discuss “The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo revolution” by C.L.R. James. The discussion will take place on a Zoom video call – please register (free) to access the details and be sent a reminder on the day.

In Black Jacobins, CLR James provides the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803 and the story of the French colony of San Domingo. It is also the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces – helping to form the first independent nation in the Caribbean, and inspiring anti-colonial movements around the world.

The book obviously contains considerable references to the brutality of enslavement, and to racist ideas and commentary.

The full text of The Black Jacobins is available online for free in different formats. We encourage people to read the whole book, and as much as possible if not.

For those who know they will only have time for a section, our introducer Jeremy Green recommends Chapter 2 – The Owners. Click below to download Chaper 2 and introductory pages.

Black Jacobins as full text .pdf or .mobi files via link

This is the third session in our Geographies and Histories of Racial Capitalism series – but readers are welcome to join if they have not attended previous events.

2020 series 1 – Praxis: activism, social movement, and revolution

Our monthly events in early 2020 will form a series on “Praxis: activism, social movements, and revolution”. Each of these three events will be held on Wednesdays, 7.30-9.30pm at The Exchange Stroud (GL5 1DF). Dates and links to full information below

Poster for Stroud Radical Reading Group first series of 2020

Download the poster above (pdf, 1.25Mb) or a portrait format poster (pdf, 1.25Mb).

January 22nd: Why Social Movements Matter (click for full details)

We will focus our discussion on Chapter 4: “Practice-Oriented Thinking: ‘The Philosophers Have Only Interpreted the World’ (you will need to email us for the text, but are encouraged to read the full book, which can be ordered for next day delivery from Stroud Bookshop, £19.95). Why Social Movements Matter explains social movements for a general educated readership, shows how much social movements are part of our everyday lives, and how in many ways they have shaped the world we live in over centuries.

February 19th: Revolution in Rojava (full details)

We will focus our discussion on Chapter 5 “A Women’s Revolution” (pages 82-102) of Revolution in Rojava – Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan (pdf, 4.7Mb)  by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach, and Ercan Ayboga (translated by Janet Biehl). Since a 2012 revolution, and following the wider civil uprising in Syria beginning in 2011, Rojava is an autonomous region in northeastern Syria with direct democratic ambitions based on an anarchistic and libertarian socialist ideology – promoting decentralization, gender equality, environmental sustainability and pluralistic tolerance for religious, cultural and political diversity. We recommend you also read the Foreword (by David Graeber) and Introduction if you are unfamiliar with Rojava (pages 12-25). Copies of the book are available from Pluto press priced at £17.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook.

March 18th: Fat Activism (full details)

We will discuss “What’s Fat Activism?” (pdf) by Charlotte Cooper, exploring what we can learn from the history of fat activism, as well as touching on how we can unpick the ways we’ve been shaped by harmful, moralising discourses around food and weight that surround us. The article covers similar ground to Cooper’s book Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement (HammerOn press, paperback £16, ebook £10), a rare insider’s view of fat people speaking about their lives and politics on their own terms. As ever, we have selected a shorter text to focus our discussion but recommend readers read the full book if they are able.

19th February: Revolution in Rojava

On Wednesday 19th February, 7.30-9.30pm at The Exchange Stroud: Revolution in Rojava – Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan (pdf)  by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach, and Ercan Ayboga (translated by Janet Biehl). This event forms part of our 2020 series on “Praxis: activism, social movements and revolution“.

We will focus our discussion on Chapter 5 “A Women’s Revolution” (pages 82-102), and recommend you also read the Foreword (by David Graeber) and Introduction if you are unfamiliar with Rojava (pages 12-25). Download a pdf of these three focus sections.

Please read more if you like – the whole book is available free as a pdf via the link above, and includes chapters on the theoretical influences, the revolution itself, the current political structures, and the geopolitical context, background, and prospects. Copies of the book are available from Pluto press priced at £17.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook.

Please share on Facebook: Revolution in Rojava – SRRG event.

If you prefer audiovisual sources, you could listen to a 50minute podcast from Pluto Press on Rojava and the Kurdish Women’s Movement, or watch the short video from Internationalist Commune, below:


https://player.vimeo.com/api/player.js Global call to defend the Rojava Revolution! from Internationalist Commune on Vimeo.