“Kingdom on Wheels” oil on canvas, September 25, 2019

25 Sep

“Kingdom on Wheels” oil on canvas, Sept 25, 2019

Jake Carman

1919-2019

 

Kingdom on Wheels-Jake Carman.jpg

Throughout the summer of 1919, the revolutionary peasants of south-eastern Ukraine streamed westward across the country. Ukrainian peasant-anarchist Nestor Makhno had recently stepped down from his position as commander of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of the Ukraine, which was at that time a division of the Russian Red Army. The Bolsheviks, however, were currently ridding themselves of anarchist leadership in their army. They pursued Makhno and arrested and executed many other anarchist commanders. The Red Army in Ukraine did not regard the impending invasion from the monarchists and traditionalist military officers mobilizing in the Rostov and Don regions.

The Russian White Army, pushing north through Ukraine on their way to restore their flavor of Russian government, destroyed villages, and tortured, raped, and murdered Ukrainian peasants. The White offensive surprised the Bolsheviks, who abandoned Ukraine. The Ukrainian peasants in the Red Army mutinied, bringing whole divisions, ammunition, weapons and other supplies, to reform the independent Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine. These anarchist fighters joined the peasants in seeking out Makhno. Together, they all marched west.

The viscousness of the White Army’s repression of the peasants sent whole villages onto the road. Arhnov writes that “Makhno’s retreating army was followed by thousands of peasant families who abandoned their villages, bringing with them their livestock and their belongings. A veritable migration stretched over hundreds of miles. A vast ‘empire on wheels’ followed the army on its march west ward…this enormous mass of refugees spread throughout the whole of Ukraine. Most of them lost their homes and belongings forever; many lost their lives.” For four months, throughout the entire summer of 1919, this migration retreated 600 kilometers beneath the dust clouds. Each day, the insurgents held off assaults from the White Army forces in pursuit.

Finally, on the evening of September 25, 1919, Makhno turned his horse around. There was no where left to retreat. It was time to attack. Makhnovist cavalry charged the White Army at Kruten’koe. The shocked invaders turned and fled. The following day, peasant revolutionaries holding the village of Peregonovka, defeated the entire White Army group. The counterrevolutionaries routed in panic. Hundreds were cut down attempting to cross a river, hundreds more, later discovered hiding in the woods, faced the vengeance of the peasants who discovered them. This was a disaster for the White Army’s push on Moscow: The entire White leadership was captured, and all of Ukraine, including the supply lines from the south into Russia, was lost. In just 10 days the Insurrectionary Army had raced back across the 600 kilometers and liberated Gulyai-Polye. By the following month, anarchist society in Ukraine had reached its peak: the Free Territory now a region of Ukraine home to 3 million people.

This painting depicts the “Great Retreat”, or the “Empire of Wheels” of the summer of 1919, and in particular the moment when the anarchists turned around to fight the White Army on September 25, 1919. Today in 2019, one hundred years later, it feels as if we revolutionaries, and humanity in general, have been on a long retreat of our own. It is time now to turn and face the enemy.

(A subsequent painting will feature the battle of Peregonovka. I may share some sketches soon.)

Update on diorama work regarding the Spanish Revolution and Civil War – July 19, 2019

19 Jul

 

83 years ago today, Spanish soldiers, directed by nationalist generals in revolt against the socialist Spanish Republic, left their barracks on a march to install a right wing government, launching the Spanish Civil War. Waiting for them in alleyways, stair wells, balconies, and behind newly-constructed barricades in many cities and towns, were anarchist and other revolutionary workers and peasants. That the laborers took the initiative to oppose the march of the army, when even the legitimate government did nothing, is the only reason why there was a Civil War in the first place. In the vacuum of power created by the action of working class people, those working people took to recreate the world around them, even as they fought a multi-front war against the fascist army and its Italian and German allies at the front, and the power hungry socialist and communist politicians–and their comintern handlers–at the rear.

Below are some early efforts of mine to build a couple of dioramas, one of the July 19th storming of the Barcelona Telephone Exchange by CNT workers, another of the Durruti Column which formed in the following days, to liberate the “Second City of Anarchism,” Saragossa, and spread anarchist-communism across Catalunya and Aragon in its wake.

These are works in progress, I hope to have something completed a year from now. I also hope that one day these pieces will join other dioramas, art, and information at a future Museum of Freedom covering many revolutions and movements for liberty and equality the world over. If you have a building your looking to give away…get in touch!

More to come!

6th of December – New Music Video

7 Dec

To celebrate the 9th anniversary of the Greek Insurrection of December 2008, we release unto you our 4th music video, the 6th of December. For news, music and art from Greece today, checkout http://voidnetwork.gr/

 

Image

Art Gallery

7 Feb

Kingdom on Wheels-Jake Carman

 

New Music Video

6 Sep

Hey friends, check out this new music video my band released yesterday:

Playing music at the Bread and Roses Festival!

1 Sep

Hey friends, I’m excited to say that our band, Jake and the Infernal Machine, is honored to play at this year’s Bread and Roses Festival up in Lawrence.

Check us out, it’s this Monday! We’re playing 3:30pm at the Robert Frost Stage
http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/

La Última Barricada: : New painting for Oaxaca rebels

14 Jun

la barricada final

La Última Barricada: Lxs compañerxs en la barricada de Cinco Señores

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Oaxaca Rebellion of June 14, 2006, I’d like to share a new painting, “La Última Barricada: Lxs compañerxs en la barricada de Cinco Señores.” The painting – made with oil and sand on canvas – depicts the opening moments of the November 2, 2006 battle for the Cinco Señores intersection in Oaxaca city. After five months of rebellion, the Federal Preventative Police (PFP) had invaded Oaxaca City to put down the uprising block by block. The morning of November 2nd, the PFP approached the barricade guarding the important rebel-held Radio Universidad. But the defenders at the barricades stood strong, and thousands more came to fight and defeat the police in an hours-long running battle. You can read more about the historic context below, in passages from my book, “Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement and other Essays.”

Today, Oaxaca’s teachers and rebels have risen once more. Teachers launched a major strike again this year in Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico. In May, Oaxaca City teachers established an encampment. Reminiscent of 2006, police struck the encampment on June 12, and teachers set up barricades (https://vimeo.com/170358399) in the streets. As I write this, Oaxaca teachers and students are marching with thousands of other compañerxs on a “mega marcha.” More on today’s struggle:

(https://itsgoingdown.org/police-attack-barricades-reappear-oaxaca/)

This painting is dedicated to the fearless and tireless Oaxacan teachers, who have fought for decades for freedom and dignity: for themselves and for all of us. Forward to revolution!

Love and solidarity from Boston, MA.

-Jake Carman    www.JakeCarman.com

Funding by the Freeman Society for the Revolutionary Arts.

 

 

The Oaxaca Rebellion, 2006

By Jake Carman

Oaxaca, a state in Mexico’s south, has a long tradition of resistance going back to the arrival of the Spanish. Strong anti-authoritarian currents exist, and it was Oaxaca that produced the first prominent anarchist protagonist of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, Ricardo Flores Magón. On June 14, 2006, three thousand police attacked the teachers’ yearly strike and encampment in the main city plaza (Zócalo) of Oaxaca City, the state capital. This encampment was different from those of the past twenty five years, because it called for a raise in the minimum wage for everyone in Oaxaca, Mexico’s poorest state. When the police attacked, the people of Oaxaca came to the teachers’ defense. Poor workers and Indigenous people flooded the streets of Oaxaca City, driving the police out and building barricades to keep them out. Then they went further. They ran out the politicians, occupied government buildings, radio and television stations, and created the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), demanding the ouster of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO) of the conservative Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

APPO assemblies sprang up all across the state. URO responded by raising paramilitaries from those he could convince to take up arms against the rebellion. Cops, city councilmen, workers, and even judges formed URO’s right-wing paramilitaries and attacked the barricades by night with machine guns from pickup trucks. They sabotaged radio stations and abducted revolutionaries. Yet in the face of this violent repression, the people came out in mega-marches of up to 800,000. When paramilitaries evicted a women’s group from the state television station, people responded that night by taking over every commercial radio station. When vigilantes killed a rebel in an attack on occupied “Radio La Ley,” the people expanded their barricades into the hundreds. They held the city for five months, fending off helicopters with the sun’s glare off of mirrors and fireworks shot from PVC pipes.

For the most part, the confrontational actions of the Oaxacan rank-and-file revolutionaries stood in contrast to the developing central leadership of APPO, which included more than just anarchist and Indigenous Magónista groups. Leftists of all brands, the PRD (the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Mexico’s mainstream liberal party), and even Stalinists used the revolt to push their agendas and to build political careers. APPO leadership insisted on only non-violent resistance and on October 29, two days after paramilitaries killed four Oaxacans and an anarchist journalist from New York, Oaxacans painted their hands white and filled the streets to attempt to peacefully halt the procession of thousands of Federal Preventative Police (PFP). Police carried automatic weapons, wore riot gear, and came with tanks that tore through barricades. By the end of the night, the PFP had dislodged the APPO encampment from the Zócalo. There was little violent resistance, or at least not enough to keep the PFP out of Oaxaca City….

However, there were instances when the people matched the violence of the state, and came away with victories. At one point, rebels popped all four tires and smashed the windows of a bus carrying the PFP, forcing a retreat, but APPO leadership denounced this and other confrontational actions. On November 2, thousands of rebels successfully defended APPO’s main radio station, Radio Universidad. They won an hours-long running battle at the barricades, and again forced the PFP to retreat. But one by one, barricades and radio stations fell….