- Albert Meltzer
Albert Meltzer (
January 7, 1920– May 7, 1996) was an anarcho-communistactivist and writer.
Meltzer was born in
London, and attracted to anarchismat the age of fifteen as a direct result of taking boxinglessons. The Labour MP for Edmonton, Edith Summerskillwas virulently anti-boxing and his school governors at The Latymer Schoolconsidered it "common". At his first anarchist meeting in 1935, he contradicted Emma Goldman's comments on boxing. As the Spanish Revolutionturned into the Spanish Civil WarMeltzer became active organising solidarity appeals. He involved himself with smuggling arms from Hamburgto the CNT in Spainand acted as a contact for the Spanish anarchist intelligence services in Britain. At this time he had a part as an extra in Leslie Howard's film" Pimpernel Smith", as Howard wanted more authentic actors playing the anarchists.
Beliefs on anarchism
Meltzer believed that the only true type of anarchism was communistic. He opposed the
individualist anarchismof people such as Benjamin Tucker, believing that the private police that individualists support would constitute a "government." [Metlzer, Albert. "Anarchism: For and Against", AK Press. [http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/meltzer/sp001500.html#INTRO] ]
Meltzer was a co-founder of the anarchist newspaper "Black Flag" and was a prolific writer on anarchist topics. Amongst his books were "Anarchism, Arguments For and Against" (originally published by
Cienfuegos Press) [http://www.spunk.org/library/writers/meltzer/sp001500.html] , "The Floodgates of Anarchy" (co-written with Stuart Christie) and his autobiography, "I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels", published by AK Press[http://www.spunk.org/library/writers/meltzer/sp001591/angeltoc.html] shortly before his death.
Meltzer also was involved in the founding of the
Anarchist Black Cross. The imprisonment of Stuart Christie, jailed in 1964 for his part in a plot to assassinate Francisco Franco, led to the spotlight being placed on anarchist resistance and the fate of other anarchist prisoners. Meltzer campaigned for Christie's release and when he was freed in 1967 Christie joined with Albert to launch the Anarchist Black Cross, to call for solidarity with those anarchists left behind in prison. This solidarity gave practical help, such as food and medicine, to the prisoners, and helped force the Spanish state to apply its own parolerules. One of the first prisoners the Anarchist Black Cross helped free was Miguel Garcia, a veteran of the Spanish anarchist resistance, as well as wartime resistance in France. After serving 20 years in Spanish jails he moved to London to work with the Anarchist Black Cross. At the time, Albert was a printworker and managed to get Garcia work in the trade.
Meltzer also helped to found the
Kate Sharpley Library.
He joined the
anarcho-syndicalist Direct Action Movementin the early 80s and was a member of it, and its successor organisation the Solidarity Federationuntil his death. He was originally a member of the Central London Direct Action Movement branch, but when that wound up he joined the Deptfordbranch, as he lived in Lewisham. He died after a stroke at the 1996 Solidarity Federation Conference in Weston-super-Mare.
Notes and references
* [http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/meltzer/meltzer.html Anarchist Archives entry on Meltzer]
* [http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws/albert49.html An obituary for Meltzer]
* [http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/meltzer.htm Tribute to Albert Meltzer]
* [http://libcom.org/tags/albert-meltzer Articles by or about Meltzer collected on libcom.org]
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19960510/ai_n14053361 Obituary, "The Independent"]
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