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(en) US, NYC, free anarchist film in Brooklyn-Monday

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 14 Feb 2005 10:38:21 +0100 (CET)

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tomorrow (Monday) at the Park Slope bar Barbes, they
will have a free showing of the film 'The Free Voice
of Labor : The Jewish Anarchists' at 7pm. A good film,
and my local bar. I can't be there, but that doesn't
mean you shouldn't! Barbes is on the SE corner of 6th
Ave & 9th St, closest train is the F at 7th Ave & 9th
St, just walk downhill one block. Below is a review of
the film, probably the best anarchist documentary I
have seen (unfortunately, not a very contested

The Free Voice of Labor : The Jewish Anarchists
A film by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher

USA, 1980.
B&W and color, 60 mins.

Pacific Street Film Collective.
Cinematography by Judy Irola.
Editing by Kristina Boden
Music by Zalmen Mlotek.
Research by Erika Gottfried.
Sound by Steven Fischler.
Consultants : Paul Avrich and Ahrne Thorne.

This wonderful documentary has a particular meaning
for Portland because its world premiere happened here,
at The Movie House, during the First International
Symposium on Anarchism, held at Lewis and Clark
College in February 1980. At this important event,
both directors were present, as well as their
assistants Maria Gil and Erika Gottfried and the two
consultants, Paul Avrich and Ahrne Thorne. The first
part of the film’s title, The Free Voice of Labor, is
the translation of the Yiddish-language title : Freie
Arbeiter Stimme, founded on July 4, 1890, and
published until 1977. The newspaper was directed by a
series of editors, including Sol Yanowsky, Joseph
Cohen and Ahrne Thorne. One of the interviewees in the
film explains to us that the adjective "Jewish" here
has no religious connotation - most of the "Jewish
anarchists" were atheists or secular Jews. But it was
because American authorities treated Jews as a
"nationality" that they were labeled as such. In fact,
there is no racial connotation either, for the German
anarchist Rudolf Rocke was not a Jew but had learned
Yiddish and lived among the Jews all his life,
influencing many of them, including, by his own
admission, the eminent thinker Noam Chomsky.

In The Free Voice of Labor , Avrich leads us through
the history of the newspaper and the union organizing
aspects of the multifaceted activities of the
militants involved. We see the Jewish anarchists of
America present in all struggles and in solidarity
with their Russian comrades, before the Revolution,
organizing benefit balls for the prisoners of the
Czar ; during the Revolution, when many returned to
Russia hoping to build a new country (250 of them had
been deported for having opposed the war and military
compulsory service) ; and also after the liquidation
of the anarchists by the Bolsheviks, when they founded
the Anarchist Black Cross.

The following anarchists are interviewed in the film :
Franz Feigler, an IWW member who had smuggled Eastern
European Jews to Palestine ; Fanny Breslow, a union
activist ; Sonia Farber ; Sara Rothman ; Charles
Zimmerman ; Irving Abrahms ; Abe Bluestein ; Clara
Larsen ; James Dick Emma Cohen ; Sam Dolgoff ; and Joe
Conason. Each one of them contributes to the
reconstitution of almost a century of incessant
political, cultural and syndicalist action. With
beautiful music, excellent cinematography, accurate
research, and well-chosen archive footage, the film is
a great contribution to the history of Yiddish culture
- poems by David Edelstadt and Mani Leib are recited
and we are told that all the famous Yiddish writers
started out by publishing in the columns of the Freie
Arbeiter Stimme - and to the development of political


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