I am purely evil;
Hear the thrum
of my evil engine;
Evilly I come.
The stars are thick as flowers
In the meadows of July;
A fine night for murder
Winging through the sky.

— Ethel Mannin, 'Song of the Bomber'
in response to the fascist bombing raids
during the Spanish Revolution of 1936
 
 


 

Ethel Mannin (1900-1985)

Irish anarchist, novelist & author Ethel Mannin (1900-1985) was born in London. Though her parents were British, she became known as an Irish writer. She was a prolific novelist who also wrote biographies, travel books, books for children, & autobiographies. Married to Reginald Reynolds.

Ethel Mannin successfully assumed Emma Goldman 's role as S.I.A. (International Antifascist Solidarity) representative in London in 1938; raises significantly more financial support for the S.I.A. than Goldman had.
 

"Dig into the novels of Ethel Mannin & you will find anarchism, the Spanish Revolution, Emma Goldman, women’s lib., the colonial struggle, the Arab guerrillas, all dealt with: her factual works include Women & the Revolution & many others."
~~~

"Ethel Mannin the novelist in fact did a great deal of work for the anarchist movement, in particular during the Spanish struggle, and continued to give us support during the war.

I would like to recall in connection with Ethel Mannin, once on a train journey discussing anarchism with a Communist shop steward and his young wife.

He knew nothing of it beyond party line defamations (wasnt it Trotskyism?) - she, on the contrary, knew quite something of the subject, and was quite proud to think that she, for once, could carry on a political conversation while her husband was at a total loss. (She was not unaware how maddened he was).

He asked her, amazed, What do you know of Alexander Berkman? when she asked if I had met him – she smiled and explained that she was not as dumb as he evidently thought she was.

I realised - as much from the occasional mistakes she made as the from the general knowledge of anarchism she showed - that she was a reader of Ethel Mannin, who had come to her political books via her novels, and indeed, probably learned a lot from some of her better novels too. I naturally did not give this away to the husband, who was probably the better for the chastening experience.

Before this I might have criticised Ethel Mannin's emotional approach to anarchism, but not since."

— Albert Meltzer
http://libcom.org/library/on-ethel-mannin-albert-meltzer


*[Editor's note: This article is for informational, non-commercial purposes only; Thanks to Brian Kane at Terminal Words for providing html markup.]

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