Socialist Worker

Fighting Fit: Chanie Rosenberg's memoir shows a life in struggle - from the kibbutz to the classroom

Fighting Fit tells an engaging tale of the lives socialists lead as they're busy making history, says Saoirse Mcdermott-Cox

Issue No. 2361

photo of chanie rosenberg

Chanie Rosenberg - fighting fit


One founding member of what became the Socialist Worker’s Party has written a brief and lively memoir of her life in politics. 

Chanie Rosenberg is now in her nineties and still an active revolutionary socialist. She wants her book to show that “revolutionaries are people like anyone else” with families, social lives, and interests.

It is effective and very funny.

Raised in South Africa, Chanie experienced antisemitism and of course saw the racism of apartheid. She learnt how racism and nationalism functioned. She also got too much attention from the police and had to leave for Palestine. 

Chanie lived in a kibbutz collective farm. Her experience there both showed her a model for a socialist society and exposed the worst of Zionism. 

Later she moved to Britain and worked as a teacher in Hackney. She organised at work and in the

anti-fascist movement. Chanie tells some amazing anecdotes and her life was hard in very many ways.

Intervening

But it was also shaped by intervening in history. This really does show why people become revolutionaries in the first place.

Also included in the book is her  pamphlet on Russian revolutionary artist Kazimir Malevich. It is a good example of how an apparently separate aspect of her life—making art—is inextricably tied to her politics. 

As socialists there is no aspect of our lives that truly goes untouched by our politics. This can be difficult, but as this memoir proves, it can also be enriching. 

Just as a revolution would change everything—about how we work, relate to our families and friends,  raise our children and set our priorities—so does the experience of fighting for it.

Fighting Fit: A Memoir by Chanie Rosenberg is available from Bookmarks

 


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Reviews
Tue 9 Jul 2013, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2361
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