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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #269 - Book: The Russian Anarchists, the Soviets and the Revolution of 1917 (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:05:57 +0200

"All power to the Soviets!" This rallying cry, appropriately confiscated and overwhelmed by the Bolsheviks from 1917 onwards, Alexander Skirda brilliantly demonstrates that he is inscribed in the heart of the habits of the Russian people, too often presented as servile and resigned. ---- In a richly researched and recently reprinted book by the indispensable Spartacus editions, the so erudite and discreet author of the Russian Anarchists, the Soviets and the Russian Revolution of 1917 carefully traces the roots of the libertarian customs historically present among the Slavic peoples. Whether through the mirs or the vetches (types of communes and agricultural groupings), these are the heirs of a long tradition of collective and democratic organization.

It is therefore no coincidence that the Russian Revolution of 1917 began under the best auspices with the constitution of hundreds and thousands of factory committees, soldiers and peasants, taking charge of the organization of economic life And social. And it was only at the cost of a terrible coup de force that the Bolshevik militants took over the great Soviet revolution and perverted it by centralization and authoritarian madness.

Long before Kronstadt, in the spring of 1918, the anarchists were the first victims of the repression of the new power. Imprisoned, deported, eliminated, they will pay dearly for their struggle for the autonomy of the soviets and their opposition to the dictatorship of the "proletariat" or rather its pseudo-representatives.

Through a remarkable work of historian, compiling unpublished sources and translations, the Russian Alexander Skirda irrefutably demonstrates the direct affiliation between Leninism and Stalinism.

The crimes of the latter having been made possible only by the relentlessness of the former to stifle the instincts of freedom of the Russian people by the establishment of a pitiless state apparatus. The genes of totalitarian degeneration were inscribed at the very core of the authoritarian conception of Bolshevik power.

In a second more agreed-upon part, the historian gathers together a series of fourteen texts from 1918 to 1927, in which they give the floor to libertarians who have lived by or near the Russian Revolution. There are obviously Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldmann and Piotr Archinov, but also lesser known characters such as Anatole Gorélik or Valesky. Special mention for the analyzes of Rudolf Rocker and Efim Yartchouk on the origins of the soviet system and their role in the Russian revolution.

Alexander Skirda closes this scholarly book with a savory reading of anarchism in Soviet historiography. There is no lack of smiles - or leaping - in front of the anathemas, untruths and qualifications given by Bolshevik propaganda.

This work, brilliant though sometimes a little indigestible, has the great merit of reminding us of the merits of the anarchists during the revolution of 1917, but also and above all the reasons for their failure. It is in the light of this unique historical experience that the libertarian communist militants of today must forge their practices and their capacity for organization in order to open again the radiant horizon of the social revolution.

Julien (AL Montpellier)

Alexander Skirda, The Russian Anarchists, the Soviets and the Revolution of 1917, Spartacus, 2016, 348 pages, 19 euros.

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