June

1st June 1968 the Death of Helen Keller

Helen Keller: A woman of extraordinary vision

Today we pay tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most potent symbols of courage and fortitude, the legendary Helen Keller. Rendered deaf and blind at nineteen months as a result of what was probably scarlet fever, the extraordinary story … Continue reading

Posted in Heroines | 9 Comments

2nd June 1780 the Gordon Riots

The Gordon Riots depicted by John Seymour Lucas

On this day in 1780, London was rocked by the biggest and most dramatic riots in British history. There was more damage to property than Paris suffered during the French Revolution, leaving hundreds dead, hundreds more wounded, and dozens of … Continue reading

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3rd June 1943 the Zoot Suit Riots

Zoot Suit victims: stripped, beaten and humiliated

On the night of 3rd June 1943, as American men of all ethnicities shipped off to service in World War II, the city of Los Angeles witnessed a violent racist outbreak when a group of fifty sailors ran amok viciously … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities | 9 Comments

4th June 1989 the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Tank Man

In the early hours of the morning on June 4th 1989, the Chinese military began a brutal crackdown of the protest movement that had seen up to 100,000 people camped out in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for more than a month. … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, Dissent | 7 Comments

5th June 2002 the Death of Dee Dee Ramone

Dee Dee

Today we pay tribute to the great rock’n’roll hero Dee Dee Ramone, who died twelve years ago aged fifty. What can we do but kneel at the grave of this hoodlum culture hero and give thanks to him for stealing … Continue reading

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6th June 1961 the Death of C.G. Jung

Mighty Carl Jung

Today we pay tribute to Switzerland’s Carl Gustav Jung, the analytical psychologist who – like the artist William Blake and the civil rights leader Malcolm X – has risen to become a modern day World Prophet of the West not … Continue reading

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7th June 1893  Gandhi’s First Act of Civil Disobedience

Young Gandhi in South Africa circa 1893

On this day in 1893, the twentieth century’s most famous non-violent revolutionary, Mohandas Gandhi, committed his first act of civil disobedience when the then 24-year-old Indian lawyer was forcibly ejected from a train at South Africa’s Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. Refusing … Continue reading

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8th June 1809 the Death of Thomas Paine

Erased from official history, the man named "The United States of America"

Today we celebrate and give thanks to Thomas Paine who, in his lifetime, contributed profoundly and fundamentally to the American and French Revolutions. His words crystallised and brought to the forefront the struggles of Britain’s Industrial Revolution working class. His … Continue reading

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9th June 1938  the Yellow River Flood

Chinese soldiers wade through the flooded Yellow River

Seventy-six years ago today, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Nationalist troops under the orders of Chiang Kai-Shek blew up the dikes holding back the Yellow River in an attempt to stop the invading Japanese. The mighty river was known … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities | 5 Comments

10th June 1988  the Singing Revolution

The Estonian Singing Revolution

Twenty-six years ago on this day, a crowd of 15,000 Estonians gathered at the Old Town Festival in Tartu spontaneously began singing their unofficial national anthem – a song which, under the Soviet yoke, they were forbidden to sing. The … Continue reading

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11th June 1963 the Revolutionary Suicide of Thich Quang Duc

The self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức

On 11th June 1963, 67-year-old Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức sat down in the lotus position at a busy crossroads in Saigon, doused himself in petrol, lit a match and burned to death. This spectacular public act of self-immolation in … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 4 Comments

12th June 1963 the Assassination of Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers

On this day in 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in the driveway of his home while his wife and young children watched in horror as he bled to death on the doorstep. Lynchings were still an ugly … Continue reading

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13th June 1381 the Peasants’ Revolt

Wat Tyler leading the Peasant's Revolt

On this day in 1381, 20,000 peasants and townsmen from Kent and Essex stormed into London, led by John Ball an itinerant priest and Wat Tyler a craftsman. They had come to present the young King Richard II with a … Continue reading

Posted in Dissent, Heroes, Revolution | 4 Comments

14th June 1928 the Death of Emmeline Pankhurst

The inimitable Emmeline Pankhurst

Today, we remember one of the most important British women of the 20th century who died 86 years ago today, aged 69. Sisters! If you have ever voted in an election, thank Emmeline Pankhurst. And if you have ever decided not … Continue reading

Posted in Heroines | 6 Comments

15th June 1962 the Port Huron Statement

The defining document of the New Left

Fifty-two years ago today, a small group of American students authored a mission statement that would serve as the defining document of the revolutionary 1960s. “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed in universities, … Continue reading

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16th June 1836 the Birth of Chartism

454px-WilliamLovettYoung-1

Today we celebrate the founding of the London Working Men’s Association – the radical organisation that would be responsible for the key demands that were incorporated into the People’s Charter, thus heralding the birth of Chartism – the first mass working-class … Continue reading

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17th June 1972 the Watergate Arrests

The infamous Watergate complex

On a balmy Saturday evening in Washington DC, Frank Wills was doing his rounds. It was June 17th 1972 and he was working as a security guard in the Watergate complex. During the course of his routine patrol he noticed … Continue reading

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18th June 1858  the Death of the Rani of Jhansi

Lakshmi Bai – the Queen of Jhansi

Today we pay tribute to Lakshmi Bai – the Rani (queen) of Jhansi – killed in battle on this day in 1858 by British Imperialists during India’s First War of Independence. She was twenty-two years old. The story of this freedom-fighting warrior … Continue reading

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18th June 1815 Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo by William Holmes Sullivan

Today in 1815 near a small town in Belgium, an Anglo-Allied army defeated Napoleon’s imperial army in a twelve-hour battle that even the victorious Duke of Wellington described as a ‘damn near run thing’ with victory only coming in the … Continue reading

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19th June 1953  the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Today marks the anniversary of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the electric chair at New York’s Sing Sing prison. Convicted of conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, the Rosenbergs – who maintained their innocence … Continue reading

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20th June 1912 the Death of Voltairine de Cleyre

Voltairine de Cleyre, 1866-1912

Today we pay tribute to an extraordinary frontierswoman and freethinker, Voltairine de Cleyre, who died 102 years ago as she had lived: “a free spirit, an Anarchist, owing no allegiance to rulers, heavenly or earthly.” A leading luminary in the … Continue reading

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21st June 1877  the Molly Maguires’ Day of the Rope

The Molly Maguires march to their death

On 21st June 1877, in the anthracite-mining county of Schuylkill, Pennsylvania, ten Irish immigrant men alleged to have been members of an oath-bound secret sect of vigilantes called the Molly Maguires were hanged in what came to be known as … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, Dissent | 7 Comments

22nd June 1939 the Death of Benjamin Tucker

"I have never claimed that liberty will bring perfection, only that its results are vastly more preferable to those that follow authority." - Benjamin Tucker

Not with any spectacular knock-out blow did today’s subject achieve his legacy in the pantheon of American anarchist luminaries. He wasn’t a “propaganda-by-the-deed” anti-hero like Alexander Berkman; nor was he an inspiring, fiery, superstar orator like Emma Goldman. Despite being … Continue reading

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23rd June 1937 George Orwell flees Spain

The square in Barcelona re-named in honour of George Orwell

On the morning of June 23rd 1937, George Orwell boarded a train at Barcelona station with his wife, Eileen, and two companions, John McNair and Stafford Cottman. The train was bound for the French border and Orwell (or Eric Blair … Continue reading

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24th June 1932 the Siamese Revolution

The revolutionary People's Party addressing the crowd at the Royal Palace, Bangkok

At dawn on June 24, 1932, a small group of Bangkok intellectuals launched a revolution – seizing control of the army and imprisoning royal officials. By noon, they’d persuaded King Prajadhipok to surrender his autocratic power – thus ending almost … Continue reading

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25th June 1876 the Battle of the Little Bighorn

CUSTER_HEADSTONE

Today we meditate long and hard upon the legendary and heroic but ultimately Pyrrhic victory of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull’s Indian Alliance at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Could General George Custer have avoided defeat had this hothead … Continue reading

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26th June 1541 the Death of Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro

On 26th June 1541, Francisco Pizarro – Spanish conquistador and murderous subjugator of the Inca Empire – got his just desserts when he was assassinated by his own people. The old ruffian, near 70, was seated at dinner with several close … Continue reading

Posted in Tyrants | 6 Comments

27th June 1905 the Founding of the Industrial Workers of the World

An injury to one is an injury to all

One hundred and eight years ago today, on June 27th 1905, a couple of hundred anarchists, socialists and vagabond activists gathered in a hall in Chicago for what would later become known as the First Annual Convention of the Industrial … Continue reading

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28th June 1936  the Death of Alexander Berkman

Alexander Berkman

On this day in 1936, Alexander Berkman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Suffering from poor health and broken dreams, it was a sad and discomfiting end to the noble life of this seemingly inexorable revolutionary who, … Continue reading

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29th June 1975 the Mysterious Tragedy of Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley

Today we lament the tragic and untimely passing of rock’n’roll’s most revolutionary vocal stylist  – the beautiful Tim Buckley – wrenched away from this planetary existence thirty-nine years ago aged just twenty-eight. Had he survived his tragic fate, who knows what … Continue reading

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30th June

commute

No great act has as yet occurred on this date. Instead, something to think about: “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the … Continue reading

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