Treason: Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors

stpatrickDuring the Mexican-American war, following US military court-martial, Irish defectors were executed for treason and hanged en masse in 1847. 

Edited by Steve Cushion and Christian Høgsbjerg

A Socialist History Society occasional publication


The publication will tell the story of some courageous individuals and groups who put their commitment to a progressive cause before any consideration of loyalty to a nation state, in particular people who have acted from principle when they consider that the country of their birth is acting in a repressive or unjust manner. We are particularly interested in those who have taken up arms against their “own side”, soldiers who side with the oppressed, rather than following orders to kill and subjugate, as well as civilians who actively resisted their own authoritarian governments during times of war.

Table of contents:

Introduction – Rebel Warriors (Steve Cushion and Christian Høgsbjerg)
Soldiers of Misfortune: Napoleon’s Polish Deserters in the West Indies (Jonathan North)
The Saint Patrick’s Battalion (David Rovics)
Deserters, Defectors and “Diehards” – The British men who fought and died for Irish Freedom (Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc)
Resistance to the Nazis from 1933 from within the German workers’ movement (Merilyn Moos)
Walter Pätzold – German Soldier and Italian Partisan (Irene Recksiek)
Major Karl Plagge and Sergent Anton Schmid (Steve Cushion)
German and Italian Volunteers in the French Resistance (Steve Cushion)
Ilio Barontini (Tobias Abse)
Supporting the Enemy in the Death Agony of French Colonialism (Ian Birchall)

Available for £5 + p&p [£1.50 in UK, £5 to Rest of World] – from
Bookmarks or from Steve Cushion on s.cushion23[a] – you will be able to pay by bank transfer, paypal or cheque.
Free to members of the SHS

Book Launch – 6.30pm, Thursday 14th November 2019
Bookmarks Bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QE



The latest Occasional Publication from the Socialist History Society provides a fascinating insight into some curious and largely forgotten historical byways.  The booklet includes nine essays on radicals and socialists who fought against their home countries or who supported revolutions in countries other than their own.  The range is wide from Jonathan North’s study of Polish deserters from Napoleon’s army in the 1800s, who on being sent to the West Indies supported the native revolutionaries against the French; to Ian Birchall on French supporters of the Algerian and Vietnamese independence struggles in the 1950s.  

Other essays cover British supporters of Irish freedom in 1916, communist resistance to Nazism, a study of the German Walter Patzold who fought with the Italian partisans in 1943, Germans who supported the Jewish resistance, German and Italian volunteers in the French resistance, and a study by Toby Abse of Ilio Barontini, an Italian who joined the Ethiopian army fighting Mussolini’s occupation before becoming a communist senator in post-war Italy.  There is also a poem by David Rovics commemorating the Irish battalion who fought in the Mexican war against the United States of 1846-8.

An introductory essay by the editors provides an excellent and fully referenced overview from the English Civil War to the African National Congress discussing the nature of the nation state and internationalism.  This is an important historical project, rescuing some important partisans from the archives.  The 95 page booklet is well illustrated and excellent value for money.  It is also an inspiration for further reading and research on a largely ignored historical theme.

Duncan Bowie, ‘Rebel Warriors and Internationalist Traitors’, Chartist, (January-February 2020).

The book’s nine examples of people or groups acting “disloyally” on their convictions make inspiring reading, and it is always worth a reminder that solidarity overcomes divisions such as those of class and nation to further the interests of exploited and subject peoples.
Brian Durrans, Socialist Correspondent.