History Against Misery

We take you to the library of the oldest radical publisher in the US, Charles H Kerr. And here we find the latest analysis of today’s movements, alongside the long-lost stories of revolutionary movements going back to the Haymarket tragedy of 1886. Our guests are authors, organizers, artists, and rebels who found something in the back catalog of CHK that the world needs to hear. read less
HistoryHistory

Episodes

Episode One: History Against Misery
Dec 27 2020
Episode One: History Against Misery
Welcome to the first installment of the Charles H Kerr Podcast!   Charles H Kerr is the longest running radical publishing house in the US, founded in Chicago weeks before the Haymarket tragedy of 1886.  In the years since, Kerr has remained a vital outlet for socialist, anarchist, Black radical, labor history, and surrealist materials.    On this show, we take you to the library of the oldest radical publisher in the US, Charles H Kerr. And here we find the latest analysis of today’s movements, alongside the long-lost stories of revolutionary movements going back to the Haymarket tragedy of 1886. Our guests are authors, organizers, artists, and rebels who found something in the back catalog of CHK that the world needs to hear.   For the first installment of the show, we sit in on a conversation between Penelope Rosemont and David Roediger, who both worked on Kerr for decades.  Penelope, along with her late husband Franklin, is a major figure in North American Surrealism since the 1960s.  David is a historian of race and class at University of Kansas, who in this interview, traces his work as a radical organizer to 1970s Chicago.  Together, they draw a line from socialist revolutionaries of the 1910s, Big Bill Haywood and Mary Marcy, through radical agitation at Roosevelt University and CLR James's Chicago years in the 1960s, onwards to their efforts to bring Kerr to its centenary year, marking 1986 with the lush Haymarket Scrapbook.  They both speak to the continued importance of books and publishing to radical organizing.   The music you hear in this episode is Wesley Wallace’s No. 29, featured in Paul Garon and Gene Tomko’s book “What’s the Use of Walking if There’s a Freight Train Going Your Way? Black Hoboes and the Their Songs.”  Garon is a long-term Kerr contributor and board member.   If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of Charles H Kerr Publishing, you can read “We Called Each Other Comrade” by Allen Ruff. Find out more about Kerr at their website: charleshkerr.com