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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Dossier 1917: Anarcho-syndicalists in factory committees (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 16 Sep 2017 07:18:27 +0300

From the spring of 1917, a second libertarian pole competes with the Communist Anarchist Federation. Marked by the Western revolutionary syndicalist culture, it seeks to emancipate workers' organizations from social democratic tutelage. ---- For three months, the Communist Anarchist Federation (FAC) was the only serious libertarian grouping in Petrograd. But as of May, with the return of the exiles, a competing pole is formed: Union of propaganda anarcho-syndicalist (UPAS). ---- Daniil Novomirski ---- A leader of revolutionary trade unions in Ukraine in 1906-1908, he was the founding father of Russian anarcho-syndicalism and even the inventor of the term. In 1917, after returning from exile, he joined the editorial committee of Golos Trouda. ---- Its iniators - Efim Yartchouk (31), Bill Chatov (30), Voline (35) and Alexandre Schapiro (35) - are the heirs of the anarcho-syndicalist pioneers of the years 1907-1908 (see opposite) but their true common denominator is to have militated in the revolutionary syndicalist movement in the West.

Several of them were living Golos Truda ( " The Voice of Labor "), a body of the Union of Russian workers in the United States, which has about 10,000 members. Very inspired by the French CGT and by the American IWW, these militants have very little taste for spontaneism and insurrectionalism at all-vault of the FAC.

For them, the prospects are not encouraging. Voline is annoyed by the numerical and organizational inferiority of the anarchists in relation to the Bolsheviks. " Our delay is irreparable," he confided to some comrades. It is as if we had to catch up on foot an express train which, in possession of the Bolsheviks, is 100 kilometers in front of us and 100 kilometers an hour. " It would take a miracle. " Our duty is to believe in this miracle," concluded Voline, " and to work towards its realization. " [1]

Bill Chatov (1887-1938)
As an activist of the IWW during his exile in the United States, this anarcho-syndicalist co-founded Golos Trouda in 1917. In 1918, he became one of the anarchist figures rallying to communist power.
So soon joined by veteran Daniil Novomirski, the anarcho-syndicalists embarked on the Russian edition of Emile Pouget's revolutionary syndicalist brochures, Fernand Yvetot and Christiaan Cornelissen, and went to meet factory committees. They recruit a young supporter who took part in the February Days and will soon play a pivotal role among them: Grigori Maximov (24 years). In August, they will launch a new series of Golos Trouda, which will have a significant impact on conscientious workers.

UPAS closely monitors the work of factory committees, in which it has identified a dynamic similar to that of revolutionary syndicalism: rootedness at the place of production, direct action, and a tendency towards self-management. This is where the most fruitful workers' activity is seen, in front of the Soviets and, above all, in front of the trade unions which the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks are rapidly building on the Social-Democratic model:

Self-management does not resolve marasmus

On 20 May, the Conference of Kharkov factory committees, where anarchists are influential calls to " take control of the production, backup, bring it to its maximum " [2]. It is followed, from 30 May to 5 June, by the conference of factory committees in Petrograd, which, with 236 companies represented [3], takes stock of the economic situation.

This is alarming: the shortage of coal is general, rail transport is erratic, productivity falls, the employers licensed and firm. In this critical context, most of the plants taken over by self-management vegetation. Worse, they compete for the little fuel available.

Only the anarchist delegates - Justin Jouk gives Schlüsselbourg as an example - exhorted to multiply the expropriations. The conference did not follow them and confined itself to advocating workers' control, without calling into question capitalist property. But the Mensheviks, who advocate " state control ", are also put in a minority. In conclusion, in order to encourage mutual assistance between enterprises under workers' control, the conference designates a Petrograd Council of factory committees. Maximov was elected there, surrounded by Bolsheviks [4].

Guillaume Davranche (AL Montreuil)

In the folder:

February-March 1917: After the Tsarists, drive the capitalists
Minority but galvanized, anarchists advocate expropriation all the way
A tract of the Communist Anarchist Federation of Petrograd (March 1917)
The first libertarian wave (1905-1908)
April-May: The irrepressible rise to the social explosion
Anarcho-syndicalists in factory committees
June-July: Creating insurrection is not enough
The fiasco of the Journées de juillet
August-September: The counter-revolution digs its own tomb
The Other Components of Russian Socialism in 1917
October red (and black): The assault in the unknown
A Ukrainian revolutionary: Maroussia emerges from oblivion
November 1917-April 1918: From pluralism to the confiscated revolution . Four cleavage points:
People's Power vs. State Power
Socialization against nationalization
Popular militia against hierarchical army
On requisitions and expropriations
Epilogue 1918-1921: Resistance and eradication
[1] Voline, The Unknown Revolution t. 2, Entremonde, 2010, page 18.

[2] Maurice Brinton, " The Bolsheviks and Worker Control ", Self-management and Socialism No. 24-25, September-December 1973.

[3] Marc Ferro, The Revolution of 1917, Albin Michel, 1997, page 956.

[4] Maurice Brinton, " The Bolsheviks and Workers ' Control ", Self-management and Socialism No. 24-25, September-December 1973.

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