Sholem Schwarzbard was an anarchist Yiddish-language poet from Ukraine. In 1926, he assassinated Ukrainian military commander Symon Petliura in revenge for deadly pogroms carried out by Petliura’s armies in the Russian Civil War — and was found not guilty by a jury of his peers.
Ben Schacht is audience engagement editor at Boston Review. He has written about literature and politics for a variety of publications, including Jacobin, Boston Review, Majority Post, and Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal.
A group of Communist Party–aligned Yiddish poets in the 1930s sought to bridge national and cultural divides through language. Their poetry remains a milestone of internationalism in the arts.
The term “Orwellian” has long been a vacuous cliché, and now even allies of Trump are making use of it to deride their opponents. But George Orwell, a self-described democratic socialist, always belonged on the Left.
The critique of capitalism was central to William Morris’s vision of an arts and crafts movement in the Victorian era. Against the alienation and exploitation of a rapacious industrialism, he advocated for a conception of art capable of restoring creativity to everyday life.