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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Dossier 1917: June-July: Creating an insurrection is not enough (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:52:42 +0300

During the month of June, when an offensive is being prepared on the front to " re-solve the nation, " exasperation rises in the garrison and in the factories in crisis. On several occasions, the anarchists try to foment an insurrection against the provisional government, even if it means defying the congress of the soviets. The Bolshevik Party disapproves and retains its troops. ---- Demonstration of 18 June 1917 in Petrograd. ---- While the Soviet Congress called for a great popular march to reaffirm confidence in the Provisional Government, a large majority of demonstrators passed under the Bolshevik banners: " Power to the people, peace in the world, land to the people " to g.) and " Down with the Capitalist Ministers " (on right). cc The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Library ---- The First All-Russian Congress of the Soviets, which met in Petrograd from 3 to 24 June, opened in a fairly tense atmosphere. On the one hand, the government, trampling hopes of peace, is preparing a summer offensive on the Austro-German front, which exasperates the soldiers barracks in Petrograd, who have no desire to return. On the other hand, since the end of April, the conservative forces on one side, the extreme left on the other, are increasingly vindictive.

There are 1,090 delegates representing 519 Soviets of workers, soldiers and peasants. The left (Bolsheviks, Mensheviks internationalists and a handful of SR), weighs less than 15 % of mandates against the moderate SR-Menshevik majority. A national body, the All-Russian Executive Committee of the Soviets (VTsIK) is elected, which preaches appeasement in the name of the country and the revolution.

The FAC, on the contrary, believes that reactionary provocations must be countered. It hopes to oblige the congressmen to approve its radicality, by making a coup d'éclat.

Two days after the opening of the assizes, on June 5, 80 armed anarchists, led by Asnine, invested the printing of the reactionary daily Rousskaya Volia. The idea is to publicly raise the question of the requisition of the means of expression of the bourgeoisie for the benefit of workers' organizations. But the majority of the Soviet congress condemns this initiative and demands evacuation. In the busy printing press, Asnine then changed his gun and invited the typographers to seize the machines to form a cooperative. Missed. At most they agree to draw a leaflet for the FAC. The same evening, the anarchists evacuated the building of the Rousskaya Volia and retired on the Datcha Dournovo.

The incident could have been limited to this failure. But the government, anxious to prove its authority to the bourgeoisie, made a mistake. He issued an ultimatum to the FAC, urging him to evacuate the Dourna Dournovo within twenty-four hours. The popular reaction was immediate: strikes broke out in 28 factories in Vyborg, whose streets were suddenly populated by red guards. About fifty sailors from Kronstadt rush to defend the dacha.

Again, the Soviet Congress is called upon to react. Again, the majority seeks appeasement, sends emissaries to the FAC and to the government, invites the workers to stop the strikes and the red guards to store their rifles.

The FAC is trying to push its advantage. On the evening of June 8, she demanded from the Soviet Congress not only her retention in the dacha, but the socialization of three right-wing newspapers ( Novoïe Vrémia, Rousskaïa Volia and Retch ). The Left of the Congress, including the Bolsheviks, supported these demands.

123 delegates vote the demonstration in arms

The case of the Datcha Dournovo created an electric atmosphere in Vyborg and Kronstadt, while several regiments - including the 1st Mitrailleurs - are standing upright against their sending to the front. In Moscow, it is the whole regiment of Dvinsk, commanded by the anarchist Gratchov, who mutinies and refuses to go up to the front. The situation is ideal to shatter the contradictions before the congress of the soviets, jointly estimate the FAC and the federation of Petrograd of the Bolshevik Party.

On 9 June in the afternoon, at the Dourna Dournovo, an assembly gathered 123 factory and regiments delegates and voted for the following day an armed demonstration on the slogans " against the war " and " all power to the soviets, "calling to drive the bourgeoisie out of power. A " Provisional Revolutionary Committee " is formed, including anarchists, Bolsheviks and SR maximalists, whose secretary is the anarchist Gavrilov [1].

Informed of these preparations, the congress of the soviets is alarmed and, in catastrophe, makes a call not to manifest, explaining that it would be a provocation to unleash the reaction. Great pressure was then exerted on the Bolshevik leaders to call their troops to order. In extremis, the central committee of the party, anxious not to defy the congress of the soviets, decided to cancel everything.

At 3 o'clock in the morning, he informed his militants that the party was withdrawing from the Provisional Revolutionary Committee. Intimidated, the maximalist SRs announce that they are also withdrawing. The UPAS anarcho-syndicalists also believe that it is a miscalculation to defy the Soviet Congress - there will be a public hang-up in Kronstadt between the Arkhuk and Bleikhman [2].

The FAC, isolated, then prefers to renounce the manifestation. Nevertheless, it sends emissaries to all factories and regiments to prevent the demonstration being postponed.

On 12 June, delegates from 150 factories and regiments [3]- a number of Bolsheviks, despite the boycott of the party - found themselves again at Durna Durnovo and voted for an armed demonstration on 14 June.

That same evening, the Soviet congress announced the holding of an unarmed public demonstration to symbolize popular unity around the slogan " By the Constituent Assembly, towards a democratic republic "and in support of the offensive on the front.

Is it necessary to maintain an armed demonstration which would immediately be accused of sabotaging the offensive for the benefit of the Germans ? The Bolshevik Central Committee believes that it is better to demonstrate legally on 18 June, but on its own pacifist and revolutionary slogans.

Feeling the failure of his initiative, the FAC throws in the towel.

The turn of 18 June: the Bolshevik ascent

Anatoli Jelezniakov (1896-1919)
This sailor is a figure of anarchism at Kronstadt. He will enter history by evacuating the Constituent Assembly in January 1918 on the grounds that the guard was " tired ." Defeated in battle against the white army of Denikin, he was promoted to a " Soviet hero " (passing his anarchism in silence). He will have several streets in his name, statues, and a film will be dedicated to him in 1985.
Mencheviks, Bolsheviks, SRs, anarchists ... everyone is preparing for this day of June 18, which will give the temperature of the situation.

The day said, scrutinizing this demonstration, all observers understand that something is tipping into the revolution.

In a tense atmosphere - the so-called military offensive begins the same day - tens of thousands of people march in Petrograd. But there are very few processions behind the Menshevik banners and SR supporting the action of the government. The bulk of the protesters is found under the Bolshevik slogans: " Down with the capitalist ministers six ", " All power to the soviets ", " Down with the offensive ," " Long live the workers' control of production " ... The leaders of the Petrograd Soviet and the majority of the congressmen are shocked: the disavowal of their policy is scathing.

Is it the microclimate of Petrograd, or the index of a more general trend ?

The assault on the Durna Datcha

If the anarcho-syndicalists marched on 18 June, the FAC judged that it had better things to do. Taking advantage of the diversion, she led a troop of 2,000 armed people to the Vyborg prison, from where several political detainees were released. This time, it's the last straw. In the night, the government had the Datchovo datcha surrounded by loyal regiments, and assaulted. Asnine and killed, and some 60 workers, soldiers and sailors - including Anatoli Jelezniakov - are arrested.

Again, Vyborg protested. While six factories go on strike in the vicinity of the dacha, a parade of inhabitants and inhabitants comes to pay a final homage to Asnine, whose body is exposed. Anarchists from the Rosenkrantz factory send a delegation to the 1st regiment of machine-gunners to propose a demonstration.

An agitation similar to Kronstadt, where a GA decides to release the detainees by force if necessary. Delegates from the Vyborg factories will protest at the Petrograd Soviet, where they receive the support of the Bolshevik deputies.

Faithful to himself, the office of the Soviet temporized, called for the cessation of strikes, made release the persons arrested without accusation and diligent an investigation. Only Jelezniakov remains under lock and key. Sentenced to fourteen years in prison, he escaped after a few weeks.

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] Alexander Rabinovitch, Prelude to Revolution, Indiana University Press, 1968, p. 71.

[2] P. Gooderham, " The Anarchist Movement in Russia, 1905-1917 ", Bristol University, 1981, p. 243.

[3] Marc Ferro, The Revolution of 1917, Albin Michel, 1997, page 495.

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