REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).
REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).

39.

REBEL WORKER #1-7 (all published).

Chicago, IL: Chicago Branch of the General Recruiting Union of the Industrial Workers of the World, Spring 1964-December 1966. Wrps., side-stapled. Mimeographed, pagination varies (26pp.-56pp.; 248pp. in total). Illustrated. Edited by Franklin Rosemont.


The first issue of The Rebel Worker (named after a Wobbly paper dating from around 1919) was published on May Day 1964, and its young contributors (most were under 21) consisted of Tor Faegre, Robert Green and Franklin Rosemont, later joined by Bernard Marszalek and Penelope Bartik, all of whom had already been active in the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) or other left-wing/anarchist groups. Later they were supplemented by a variety of contributing editors from Berkeley, Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and elsewhere, including London from where Charles Radcliffe gave enthusiastic support.


By 1965 the group had expanded to include as many women as men, unusual in left-wing milieux of the day. The Rebel Worker group also distinguished itself from other trad-left anti-capitalist groups in its desire to make a 'total revolution', not just in the workplace but in everyday life, incorporating poetry, humour and a breadth of vision which also took popular culture seriously. Most of its workers were fans of blues and jazz (T-Bone Slim, a Wobbly writer himself, and Archie Shepp both featured in the magazine), and The Rebel Worker published some of the earliest criticism of rock'n'roll, including Rosemont's 4pp. article in the third issue, 'Mods, Rockers & The Revolution', and Charles Radcliffe's 'Crime Against the Bourgeoisie' (its title referring to Pete Townshend's description of The Who) in the sixth issue.


The Rebel Worker combined revolutionary Marxism, Anarchism and Black Liberation (the entire group was active in the local civil rights movement), and differentiated itself from more conventional leftist magazines by associating itself with the insurrectionary tradition of Surrealism and connected strains of thought, including radical anthropology and psychoanalysis. René Daumal, Benjamin Péret, Yves Tanguy, René Crevel, Pierre Mabille and Leonora Carrington all appeared in its pages, as well as André Breton, who was admired equally by Franklin Rosemont and Guy Debord, another influence on the group (Rosemont met both Breton and Debord in Paris in late 1965/early 1966).


The magazine's revolutionary internationalism also expanded as it made contact with London Solidarity (part of a larger current in European socialism whose principal journal was Socialisme ou Barberie, a significant influence on the Rebel Worker group), the Provos in Amsterdam, Scots Against War and Zengakuren in Japan. Its fourth issue, designated an 'International Issue', printed fourteen texts from six countries, and its sixth issue (May Day 1966) was produced, printed and co-edited with Charles Radcliffe in London (the copy included here is the Chicago edition, published a month later; its editorial announces the forthcoming appearance of Heatwave, Radcliffe's sister magazine to The Rebel Worker, and its variant front cover features an engraving by Pieter Breughal the Elder, Radcliffe's distant relative).


By the end of 1966 the Rebel Worker group had disaffiliated from the IWW. Its final issue, published in December, announced Ztangi!, a new and wide-ranging journal intended to supersede The Rebel Worker, but this failed to materialise. Mounting disagreement and eventually factional splits ultimately led to the group's demise in late 1967.


The final issue lacks the last 3 pages (part of the index); biro squiggle to front cover of #4; general age-related wear and tear, o/w a Very Good set of this radical, boundary-pushing and free-spirited magazine (the only complete set this cataloguer has encountered). Provenance: Charles Radcliffe.

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