Eleanor Marx has been called the ‘mother of socialist feminism’. She was a political agitator, literary translator, actress and campaigner for workers’ rights – deserving of…
Eugene V. Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1855 to prosperous immigrant parents from Alsace, France. He attended public schools, dropping out at 14 to take a job on the Vandalia Railroad c…
Most folks know of fascist Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia in the 1930’s. The conquering of Abyssinia was greeted in Rome with wild celebration culminating in Il Duce’s famous balcony speech from the Palazzo Venezia – “I have given you empire!”.
It was wildly celebrated because the war against Ethiopia was the second conflict between Italy and Abyssinia.
The First Italo-Abyssinia war occurred in 1895 – 1896 when Italy as we know it today was only 35 years old. Italy, the least of the “great powers” was seeking her “place in the sun”.
The Italy of the late nineteenth century was barely a “nation”. The northern cities of Turin and Milan cultivated the intellectual elite while south of Rome, Italy was a country of peasants and land owners. The intellectuals didn’t even speak the same language as the peasants. Millions of the destitute were illiterate. Malaria and cholera regularly…
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“Comrade Balabanoff! There is someone here I would like you to meet!”
Angelica turned around to face the voice. It was Franco, one of her colleagues on the Central Committee of the Italian Socialist Party.
“Good evening! How are you!” He gently kissed her on the cheek. With him was a young man rather shabbily dressed, looking somewhat down and out.
Angelica had seen thousands like him. No work and few prospects.
Her life had been so different. Born in Ukraine in 1878, she was the youngest of 14 children, 7 of whom had died before she was born. Her family was very well to do and she wanted for nothing except a mother’s love.
Her mother was a tyrant insisting that the poor peasant household servants bow and scrape, even before the children. Angelica still cringed with embarrassment thinking of grown men humiliating themselves before her because they needed…
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Fascinating post by toritto about the 1908 earthquake that destroyed Messina, Sicily. You might also like to read about the experiences of my great-grandparents who were travelling from Algiers to Florence by sea at the time: Sicilian Earthquake 28 December 1908.
On December 28, 1908 at about 5:30 in the morning the greatest earthquake to ever strike the European continent in modern times struck Messina in Sicily.
Messina was home to about 180,000 at the time. It was Italy’s 3rd largest port of trade and the commercial center of Sicily.
Sicily was far away from the “new” Italy. In the Piedmont, birthplace of the Italian royal family people spoke of “going to Italy” when they had to leave their provincial home. Turin would become the industrial capital with Agnelli building cars and Gramsci leading the Italian Communist Party. Socialism was on the rise.
The intellectuals of Milan viewed Rome as a “city of waiters and prostitutes”, catering to German and English tourists who disdained them. Venice was considered a “tomb” which “should be shelled into the sea”; it represented only the past and not the future of a greater Italy. The…
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