The Anarchist Black Cross began as the Anarchist Red Cross, a breakaway organization from the Political Red Cross organized to aid political prisoners in Czarist Russia. For years, the origin of the organization was under dispute, but recent documents have resurfaced that have narrowed down the time frame. According to Rudolph Rocker, once the treasurer for the Anarchist Red Cross in London, the organization was founded in Russia during the “hectic period between 1900 and 1905.” Most material discussing ABC history points to this era as the birth of this group. The group came into prominence after the 1905 Revolution with the increase of imprisoned anarchists in Russia. Due to the refusal of the Political Red Cross and other prisoner aid groups to support anarchist political prisoners, Russian anarchists in Russia and those in exile abroad created the Anarchist Red Cross to support their comrades held in Russian prisons. Each branch of the organization was known by the region in which they operated (Latvia, Riga, Odessa, etc.). Within a few years, the organization spread beyond the Russian borders to the United States and England, where exiled revolutionaries had settled.
By 1905, the group changed its name, dropping “Red Cross” from the title. In this era, the group used various names including: Chicago Aid Fund, Society to Aid Anarchist Prisoners in Russia, Joint Committee to Aid Revolutionaries Imprisoned in Russia, and finally, the title that would remain, the Anarchist Black Cross.
However, according to Harry Weinstein, one of the two men who began the organization, the activities of the group began after his arrest in July or August 1906. Once released, Weinstein and others provided clothing to anarchists sentenced to exile in Siberia. Weinstein alleged that the group broke off from the original Political Red Cross in late 1906 when Weinstein and other anarchists received no support despite ample donations from the anarchist community. Weinstein continued his efforts in Russia until his arrival in New York in May 1907. Once there, he helped to create the New York Anarchist Red Cross, which included such members as Mother Earth editor Luis Borger. In 1911, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania chapter of the Anarchist Red Cross was founded by Morris Boresin and Boris Yalensky.
The terms A-side and B-side refer to the two sides of 78, 45, and 33 1/3 rpm phonograph records, whether singles, extended plays (EPs), or long-playing (LP) records. The B-side (or “flip-side”) is a secondary recording that has a history of its own: some artists released B-sides that were considered as strong as the A-side and became hits in their own right.
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