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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.

 

books

More Americans Supported Hitler Than You May Think

Lily Rothman Time
Here is a review of a new history of the pro-Nazi movement in the United States in the years before World War II. That movement was far more popular than many people know.

theater

Lillian Hellman’s Days to Come

Jane LaTour ZNet
The great mystery to me, is why the play was a failure. Originally it ran for only 3 days, and then closed. Hellman was responding to an all-too-common ethical dilemma that persists down to today. Her own sympathies lay with the striking workers.

A Subversive Bull: Robert Lawson and The Story of Ferdinand

Philip Kennedy Illustration Chronicles
Published by Viking Press in 1936, the release of Ferdinand came during the era of the Great Depression. That year also saw the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In light of these events, Ferdinand started to take on a much greater significance. Ferdinand, the bull presented a Spanish character who stood out from society and refused to fight. Those who supported the violent uprising that was led by Francisco Franco viewed it as pacifist propaganda and they banned its publication.

John Steinbeck, The Dust Bowl, and Farm-Worker Organizing

Harry Targ Portside
John Steinbeck was one of the most prolific and, in my view, significant American novelists of the twentieth century. He was influenced by and synthesized his own politics and personal experience with the political culture and movements of the 1930s.

books

A Novelist Revisits a Deadly Textile Union Strike From 1929

Amy Rowland New York Times
A novel set in the context of the historic Gastonia strike of textile workers in 1929 and featuring labor songwriter and indigenous strike leader Ella May Wiggins, the book, based as it is on an actual struggle uniting black and white workers, speaks to contemporary concerns through a vivid portrayal of struggle against historical injustice.

How Paul Robeson Found His Political Voice in the Welsh Valleys

Jeff Sparrow The Guardian
Paul Robeson - African American singer, movie star, Broadway actor, freedom fighter and socialist -built his singing career in the teeth of racism in the early 1900s. But his radicalism was spurred on in Britain - by a chance meeting with a group of Welsh miners.

United and Popular Front: Lessons from 1935-2017

Paul Krehbiel CCDS-Discussion
Millions of people are protesting Trump's ascension to power, beginning with the powerful Women's Marches the day after Trump assumed office. Street demonstrations, rallies, mass Congressional phone calls and town hall meetings, and much more have continued since. How best to build this resistance movement? While we can learn from many sources, the success of the United Front and Popular Front strategies of the 1930's and beyond provide important lessons for us today.

books

Lost Illusions:The Americans Who Fought in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Caleb Crain The New Yorker
Based on personal stories of Abraham Lincoln Battalion survivors, Hochschild writes of their courage in an unequal contest where the Fascists had the unstinting support of German and Italian governments while the Democracies embargoed all arms to the Spanish government, an alliance of centrist and leftist parties-this while the Soviets worked to tamp down popular land and factory seizures for fear of inciting those capitalist Democracies to outrightly side with the Right
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