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(en) Britain, *Organise! #63* - letters

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 20 Apr 2005 09:06:39 +0200 (CEST)


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Have you got a letter for Organise!? ---- Send your letters to:
Organise! Letters, AF, c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1
>>>Access denied ------- Dear Organise!
There I was at my local library (Newport). I decided to have a
look on our website to see what was happening. So I tapped in
afed.org.uk only to be greeted with a page saying Access Denied
to crime and intolerance! The anger began to fill me as I kept
trying to get to our site only to be greeted with the same Access
Denied; to me and to humanity it should have read `Freedom Denied'
I gathered my thoughts and noticed in the top left hand corner was
the company Gear with a registered trademark. So off I went
on the hunt for this company. It did not take me long and surprise
surprise it was a multinational company with companies in
15 odd countries. I found the British
company and here are its details:
John W Thompson (Chairman) Symantec UK Ltd Hines Meadow
St Cloud Way Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 8XB . Tel: 01688 592 222
How many other libraries have this
censorship? By the way the BNP has a
loverly colourful accessible website. Who
decides what goes in and what is censored -
Big Brother? Try our libraries and we can
see how far this cancer has spread
David, Gwent Anarchists

Shabby response
Dear Organise!
I have to register my discontent with the
shabby way you responded to Frankie Dee's
criticisms in a recent issue.
Being something of a history buff, I have
read Serge's Memoirs of a Revolutionist
and Year One of the Russian Revolution and
Arshinov's History of the Makhnovist
Movement. Both writers vividly convey
eyewitness accounts of the turbulence of the
Russian Revolution from critical
perspectives; Arshinov is explicitly critical
of the Bolsheviks and their treatment of
anarchists, whilst Serge sings their praises
and condemns the anarchists who didn't
support Lenin and Co. As such, their works
are useful- especially Serge's painful
decline from something of an anarchist into
a cringing supporter of Bolshevik statecraft.
Be that as it may, I have to agree with
Frankie in questioning the relevance of their
works to the practice of contemporary
anarchism, which is not the same as
suggesting that they be "airbrushed out of
anarchist history". And it's dishonest of you
to bring up Makhno, since Frankie said
nothing about him in his letter.
Your assertion (hinted at in brackets- nicely
subtle) that Arshinov, since he was
"executed by Stalin" was not "some
anarchist-turned Bolshevik" is patently
absurd. First the phrase "executed by Stalin
in 1937" is clearly a reference to the era of
the famous Moscow Show Trials and
Purges. Who were the so-called Enemies of
he People who were executed by the Soviet
Union? Bolsheviks, of course! Second,
nobody knows what actually happened to
Arshinov upon his return to the Soviet
Union. There is a very high probability that
he was indeed executed, but there is no
evidence I'm aware of to prove that he was
"executed by Stalin" personally or through
an order. Maybe the editors of Organise!
know something the rest of us don't?
As to the problems with the Anarchist
Black Cross Federation, they are not based
on- despite your silly dismissal- "fairly
arcane matters". The trouble with the
ABCF from its inception- and glaringly
obvious to anyone who actually bothered to
take a look- was their tendency to privilege
Marxist-Leninist and Third World
nationalist prisoners while virtually
ignoring (when not denouncing) anarchist
prisoners. For some anarchist prisoners and
those who have supported them since
before the appearance of the ABCF, the
"Anarchist" in the name of their franchise
seems a cruel joke. That such absurdities
take place through (ab)using the name of an
suggesting that they be "airbrushed out of
anarchist history". And it's dishonest of you
to bring up Makhno, since Frankie said
nothing about him in his letter.
Your assertion (hinted at in brackets- nicely
subtle) that Arshinov, since he was
"executed by Stalin" was not "some
anarchist-turned Bolshevik" is patently
absurd. First the phrase "executed by Stalin
in 1937" is clearly a reference to the era of
the famous Moscow Show Trials and
Purges. Who were the so-called Enemies of
he People who were executed by the Soviet
Union? Bolsheviks, of course! Second,
nobody knows what actually happened to
Arshinov upon his return to the Soviet
Union. There is a very high probability that
he was indeed executed, but there is no
evidence I'm aware of to prove that he was
"executed by Stalin" personally or through
an order. Maybe the editors of Organise!
know something the rest of us don't?
As to the problems with the Anarchist
Black Cross Federation, they are not based
on- despite your silly dismissal- "fairly
arcane matters". The trouble with the
ABCF from its inception- and glaringly
obvious to anyone who actually bothered to
take a look- was their tendency to privilege
Marxist-Leninist and Third World
nationalist prisoners while virtually
ignoring (when not denouncing) anarchist
prisoners. For some anarchist prisoners and
those who have supported them since
before the appearance of the ABCF, the
"Anarchist" in the name of their franchise
seems a cruel joke. That such absurdities
take place through (ab)using the name of an
organisation with a much better history adds
insult to injury.
LJ (Berkeley, California)

An Organise editor replies:

For someone who calls themselves
something of a history buff, you seem to
have a dislike of history. The Serge review
debunked Serge's reputation as a
"libertarian Bolshevik", one of the myths
that are being currently peddled. Should we
refuse to review books of interest?
Especially when we also used that review to
sharply criticise the individualist anarchism
that Serge had once supported, and that in
different forms still may do damage to
modern anarchism? Arshinov's critiques of
Bolshevism are still relevant, because
unfortunately Bolshevism hasn't gone away.
Many old Bolsheviks were eradicated by
Stalin (I doubt if he ever shot anyone
personally) but there was a wholesale
butchering of other opponents of Stalin,
including those who had already spent years
in prison. Amongst these was the
anarchosyndicalist veteran Yarchuk., who
had also recently returned to the Soviet
Union. As far as we are aware, according to
historians like Avrich, Arshinov was
executed for "attempting to reintroduce
anarchism to the Soviet Union".
As regards the ABCF, yes, this editor is
fully prepared to admit you are right on that
question. The AF has been critical of the
ABCF on prior occasions. See, for example,
Organise! 50, where we wrote about them
embracing Maoist ideology -
http://flag.blackened.net/af/org/issue50/quiet.html
=============================
* Organise! #63 - Winter 2004 FOR REVOLUTIONARY ANARCHISM -
the magazin of the anarchist federation


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