Archive for February, 2016

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Απουσία

Το ξύλινο άλογο, η ξύλινη βασίλισσα, ο ξύλινος πύργος, τα δέντρα
επάνω σε άσπρα και μαύρα πλακάκια, χαραγμένα με ακρίβεια,
η πειθαρχία των ξύλινων στρατιωτών. Πρωτοβουλίες ελαττωμένες.
Η σκακιέρα αφημένη στην ταράτσα. Υγρασία. Ένα φεγγάρι
μιας επίπλαστης άνοιξης κ’ η αρχαία κουκουβάγια. Τα χέρια,
τα αντίπαλα και ισόπαλα, μετέωρα στον αέρα, αόρατα, ενωμένα
σε χειραψία καταναγκαστική μιας μοιρασμένης, ανύπαρκτης νίκης
επάνω απ’ το κενό, το μετρημένο δήθεν. Οι δυο παίκτες
ίσως περάσαν στο λουτήρα. Ακούγεται θόρυβος νερού. Ο υπη-
ρέτης
βγαίνει με το μεγάλο κηροπήγιο, τ’ ακουμπάει στο τραπέζι,
κάθεται στη βαθειά πολυθρόνα, βγάζει τόνα του παπούτσι,
κλείνει τα μάτια, αφουγκράζεται τις νυχτοπεταλούδες πλάι στη
φλόγα,
τα γλιστερά σκουλήκια κάτω απ’ το χώμα, ανάμεσα στις ρίζες,
ανοίγει τα μάτια, κοιτάει το κερί, βγάζει και τ’ άλλο του παπούτσι.
Absence

The wooden horse, the wooden queen, the wooden tower, the trees
on the white and black tiles, accurately incised,
the discipline of wooden soldiers. Reduced initiatives.
The chess set left on the terrace. Moisture. There’s a moon
of affected spring and the ancient owl. The hands
opposing and of equal strength, hovering, invisible, united
in a coerced handshake of a shared, inexistent victory
over the void, the measured void, supposedly. The two players
perhaps went to the bathroom. Sound of water is heard. The
servant
comes out with a big candleholder, places it on the table,
he sits in the posh armchair, takes off one of his shoes,
closes his eyes, listens carefully to the moths around
the flame,
the slimy worms under the soil, amid roots,
opens his eyes, looks at the candle and takes off his other shoe.
~Γιάννη Ρίτσου-Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Yannis Ritsos-Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

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cover

ΠΟΛΛΑ χρόνια πέρασαν. Μάχες χαμένες κι άλλες που τις κερδί-
σαμε
χωρίς ποτέ να το μάθουμε, και πάντα η λησμονιά και τα φύλλα
που έπεφταν.
Αλλά θα `ρθει μια μέρα που θα κλείσουμε ειρήνη με το όνειρο,
αιώνια κυνηγημένοι — ώσπου τη νύχτα ήταν αδύνατο να μην τους
συγχωρήσεις.
Κι αχ, μόνο μ’ αυτό ζήσαμε, μ’ αυτό που δε θα βρει κανείς ποτέ
μέσα στις ιστορίες μας.
MANY years went by. Battles we lost and others that we
won
without ever being informed of it and always forgetfulness
and the falling leaves.
However a day will come when we’ll make peace with
the dream
we the forever persecuted — until at night it was impossible not
to forgive them.
And, ah, only with this we’ve lived, what one will never find
in our stories.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com

Mahabharata

Posted: 29/02/2016 by vequinox in Literature

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Mahabharata IV

The older generations

 

Shantanu woos Satyavati, the fisherwoman. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.
King Janamejaya’s ancestor Shantanu, the king of Hastinapura, has a short-lived marriage with the goddess Ganga and has a son, Devavrata (later to be called Bhishma, a great warrior), who becomes the heir apparent. Many years later, when King Shantanu goes hunting, he sees Satyavati, the daughter of the chief of fisherman, and asks her father for her hand. Her father refuses to consent to the marriage unless Shantanu promises to make any future son of Satyavati the king upon his death. To resolve his father’s dilemma, Devavrata agrees to relinquish his right to the throne. As the fisherman is not sure about the prince’s children honouring the promise, Devavrata also takes a vow of lifelong celibacy to guarantee his father’s promise.
Shantanu has two sons by Satyavati, Chitrāngada and Vichitravirya. Upon Shantanu’s death, Chitrangada becomes king. He lives a very short uneventful life and dies. Vichitravirya, the younger son, rules Hastinapura. Meanwhile, the King of Kāśī arranges a swayamvara for his three daughters, neglecting to invite the royal family of Hastinapur. In order to arrange the marriage of young Vichitravirya, Bhishma attends the swayamvara of the three princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, uninvited, and proceeds to abduct them. Ambika and Ambalika consent to be married to Vichitravirya.
The oldest princess Amba, however, informs Bhishma that she wishes to marry king of Shalva whom Bhishma defeated at their swayamvara. Bhishma lets her leave to marry king of Shalva, but Shalva refuses to marry her, still smarting at his humiliation at the hands of Bhishma. Amba then returns to marry Bhishma but he refuses due to his vow of celibacy. Amba becomes enraged and becomes Bhishma’s bitter enemy, holding him responsible for her plight. Later she is reborn to King Drupada as Shikhandi (or Shikhandini) and causes Bhishma’s fall, with the help of Arjuna, in the battle of Kurukshetra.

The Pandava and Kaurava princes

Draupadi with her five husbands – the Pandavas. The central figure is Yudhishthira; the two on the bottom are Bhima and Arjuna. Nakula and Sahadeva, the twins, are standing. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, c. 1900.
When Vichitravirya dies young without any heirs, Satyavati asks her first son Vyasa to father children with the widows. The eldest, Ambika, shuts her eyes when she sees him, and so her son Dhritarashtra is born blind. Ambalika turns pale and bloodless upon seeing him, and thus her son Pandu is born pale and unhealthy (the term Pandu may also mean ‘jaundiced. Due to the physical challenges of the first two children, Satyavati asks Vyasa to try once again. However, Ambika and Ambalika send their maid instead, to Vyasa’s room. Vyasa fathers a third son, Vidura, by the maid. He is born healthy and grows up to be one of the wisest characters in the Mahabharata. He serves as Prime Minister (Mahamantri or Mahatma) to King Pandu and King Dhritarashtra.
When the princes grow up, Dhritarashtra is about to be crowned king by Bhishma when Vidura intervenes and uses his knowledge of politics to assert that a blind person cannot be king. This is because a blind man cannot control and protect his subjects. The throne is then given to Pandu because of Dhritarashtra’s blindness. Pandu marries twice, to Kunti and Madri. Dhritarashtra marries Gandhari, a princess from Gandhara, who blindfolds herself so that she may feel the pain that her husband feels. Her brother Shakuni is enraged by this and vows to take revenge on the Kuru family. One day, when Pandu is relaxing in the forest, he hears the sound of a wild animal. He shoots an arrow in the direction of the sound. However the arrow hits the sage Kindama, who curses him that if he engages in a sexual act, he will die. Pandu then retires to the forest along with his two wives, and his brother Dhritarashtra rules thereafter, despite his blindness.
Pandu’s older queen Kunti, however, had been given a boon by Sage Durvasa that she could invoke any god using a special mantra. Kunti uses this boon to ask Dharma the god of justice, Vayu the god of the wind, and Indra the lord of the heavens for sons. She gives birth to three sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna, through these gods. Kunti shares her mantra with the younger queen Madri, who bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva through the Ashwini twins. However, Pandu and Madri indulge in sex, and Pandu dies. Madri dies on his funeral pyre out of remorse. Kunti raises the five brothers, who are from then on usually referred to as the Pandava brothers.
Dhritarashtra has a hundred sons through Gandhari, all born after the birth of Yudhishthira. These are the Kaurava brothers, the eldest being Duryodhana, and the second Dushasana. Other Kaurava brothers were Vikarna and Sukarna. The rivalry and enmity between them and the Pandava brothers, from their youth and into manhood, leads to the Kurukshetra war.
Lakshagraha (the house of lac)
After the deaths of their mother (Madri) and father (Pandu), the Pandavas and their mother Kunti return to the palace of Hastinapur. Yudhishthira is made Crown Prince by Dhritarashtra, under considerable pressure from his kingdom. Dhritarashtra wanted his own son Duryodhana to become king and lets his ambition get in the way of preserving justice.
Shakuni, Duryodhana and Dusasana plot to get rid of the Pandavas. Shakuni calls the architect Purochana to build a palace out of flammable materials like lac and ghee. He then arranges for the Pandavas and the Queen Mother Kunti to stay there, with the intention of setting it alight. However, the Pandavas are warned by their wise uncle, Vidura, who sends them a miner to dig a tunnel. They are able to escape to safety and go into hiding. Back at Hastinapur, the Pandavas and Kunti are presumed dead.

http://www.wikipedeia.org

Return//Γυρισμός

Posted: 28/02/2016 by vequinox in Literature

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ΓΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Του πατρικού την πόρτα
έσπρωξα δειλά κι έσκουξε ο θάνατος
κραυγή φριχτή που οι βάσεις

του σπιτιού ετρίξαν και τα παράθυρα
ζητήσαν να ξαναγεννηθούν
διάπλατα άνοιξα το φως

να μπεί κι ο αγέρας
και σαν να περίμενα το εκκρεμές
ν’ αγγίξει το ασύλληπτο κενό

κουρτίνες τράβηξα ζωή να δώσω
στους τέσσερις ήχους
που απ’ τις γωνιές εβγαίναν βογκητά

κι ο στεναγμός σαν να λυπήθηκε
το κάλος άλλης εποχής αφέθηκε
λεπτή στη μνήμη μου ευχή

RETURN

The door of my family home
I timidly opened and death
yelled its horrid presence

to make the foundations
creak and the windows to beg
of their re-birth and I opened them

wide to let the light come through
as if waiting for a pendulum
to touch the inexplicable loss

the curtains I pulled aside
the four walls to grace with life
when loud from the corners

the moan of my ancient dead rose
as though their sighs felt sorry

for the beauty of a long gone era
a soft wish in my mind to become

AGIS STINAS

Posted: 28/02/2016 by vequinox in Literature

Agis Stinas: A Greek revolutionary

*This article was written by using different sources including trotskyist ones.

Agis Stinas was born in the island of Corfu (nort-western Greece) in 1900. His real name was Spyros Priftis. He started involved in revolutionary politics and action following the October Revolution of 1917, after he was encouraged by the local doctor, who had known Lenin in Switzerland and felt that for the young Stinas the best introduction to Socialism would be the reading of Hegel’s Logic and Goethe’s Faust.
Stinas became a founding member of the Greek Socialist Workers’ Party (SEKE) which changed its name to Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in 1924, and played a leading and important role in organising workers and also in printing and circulating clandestine magazines, bulletins and leaflets.
Initially hostile to the ideas of trotskyism and the Left Opposition, Stinas was eventually convinced by the ludicrous consequences of the Stalinist 3rd Period when it was put into action in Greece at the beginning of the 1930s. Together with Pouliopoulos (who in 20s before been expelled was the general secretary of KKE) became one of the leaders of the Greek trotskyist movement, and was specially mentioned in the resolution «A salute to our living martyrs and our heroic dead», adopted at the 1938 Founding Conference of the Fourth International.
During the war, isolated from all contact with any trotskyist group outside Greece, Stinas and his group argued against the defence of the USSR (although still believing that the USSR was a degenerate workers’ state), and argued that there was nothing progressive in any national struggle whatsoever.
His group, the Communist Internationalist Union (KDE), remained outside the stalinist-dominated massive EAM/ELAS liberation movement believing that the biggest revolutionary task was to make the war a social revolution against the national dominant classes. KDE participated in the July 1946 reunification of the Greek trotskyist movement, but in Spring 1947 Stinas broke out any ties and links with trotskyism and leninism. He shortly later became the principal representative in Greece of the «Socialism or Barbarism» current (Castoriadis etc.), and towards the last almost 20 years of his life was moving closer and closer to Anarchism.
Stinas’ political evolution is interesting as he was an extremely capable organiser with boundless energy.
For those who do not know about Greek 20th century political and especially left and revolutionary history, in his autobiography Stinas provides ample material to explain the series of coups and counter-coups which punctutated the first 40 years of the 20th century.
Also, in his autobiography Stinas concentrates much of his discussion of the 1920s on the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) intervention into the working class. The workers Stinas refers to are electricians, tramway workers, weavers and tobacco workers. The genuinely industrial working class is never mentioned, actually because it barely existed. In the early decades of the 20th century the Greek society was crushed by the exploitative weight of British, French, Italian and Turkish imperialism.
Another aspect of the 1920s is the relatively shallow base of the Communist Party of Greece. It is apparent from Stinas’ description of the opportunism of its leadership that, despite its formal adherence to the «‘21 Conditions»’ of the Second Congress of the Comintern, the leadership of KKE never really felt bound by this, and the membership never understood what they meant. This made the party easy meat, first for the Zinoviev-inspired «bolshevisation» of 1925, then for a brisk stalinisation in 1928-30.
Stinas spent a large amount of time between the 1920s and ‘40s in prison. Tracked by the secret police, he was either in hiding or in jail. The stalinised Communist Party of Greece controlled the political wings of the prisons. Under their instructions, the trotskyists, the very few anarchists (sush as Skaleos) and some left communists were always placed closest to the communal toilet, and were regularly beaten by the prison staff. During the war, when conditions were particularly difficult and prisoners were dying of starvation in Stinas’ prison, 90 to a cell built for 15, the stalinist prisoners were living it up on full rations in far more comfortable conditions.
Also during 40s OPLA (the stalinist police type quards) amongst many trotskyists and left communists killed a few anarchists sush as K. Speras.
From the end of the 1930s, Stinas was in the same prison (Acronauplia) as Pouliopoulos. They shared a cell, and eventually, in June 1940, organised a series of debates between their two organisations (the Communist Internationalist Union and the Unified International Communist Organisation) in the prison. These discussions were primarily verbal, but they also wrote a series of documents which were circulated, hand-written, inside the jail. Stinas claims that Pouliopoulos’ group kept the material and refused to publish his documents, of which he only obtained copies in the 1970s.
After leaving trotskyism and leninism by 1947 andin during 50’s and 60s until the miltary dictatorship in 1967 Stinas was the most prominent figure in a group called «Ergatiko Metopo» («Workers’ Front») sharing council communist and anarchist ideas and publishing a magazine eith the same name. In 1974-1977 Stinas was in the editorial group of anarchist magazine-grouping called «Sosialismos I Varvarotita» («Socialism or Barbarism»).
In the english speaking countries and Europe, the history of the Greek revolutionary movement, the murderous activity of the Greek Communist Party, and also the sacrifices of hundreds killed by the Stalinists, or others like Stinas, who were forced to live in the most extreme conditions for many years, are still largely unknown.
Stinas died in 1987.
http://www.vrahokipos.net