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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Dossier 1917: October red (and black): The assault in the unknown (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 24 Sep 2017 07:52:30 +0300

Bolsheviks, anarchists and SR left their arms. The coup is programmed during the II th All-Russian Congress of Soviets, in order that it validates the operation and gives it legitimacy. But then ? Will the Bolshevik Party, the spearhead of the insurrection, retain power, or will it really put it in the hands of the Congress? ---- Red Guards protect the Smolny Institute, both the seat of the Petrograd Soviet and the headquarters of the revolutionary forces in October 1917. ---- Photo of Piotr Otsoup. ---- The Bolshevik Central Committee decided after a few weeks of delay in the timing of the insurrection, that the Provisional Government would be overthrown before the Soviet Congress was opened to put it on the record. This timing is so necessary that the party, lagging behind in the preparations for the putsch, maneuvered to delay the opening of the congress for a few days.

On the night of October 24 to 25, 1917, the operation of dismissal of the provisional government, entrenched in the Winter Palace, was launched. The fortress Pierre-et-Paul is occupied ; the cruiser Aurore, who had come from Kronstadt with a whole flotilla of insurgents, pointed his guns at the palace ; the red troops encircle the building.

We are very far from the insurrection of July, popular and muddled ; this time the preparation was meticulous - even if the confusion, at the hour H, will be numerous - and the working-class districts were not solicited. According to Trotsky, only about 25,000 soldiers, sailors and red guards participate in the operations, led by a Military Revolutionary Committee (RMC) mounted for the occasion.

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.
This theoretical group, originally created in the Petrograd Soviet, theoretically created to dissuade a reactionary coup from the provisional government, this RMC groups some 60 mostly Bolshevik militants, but also left SRs and four anarchists: Bleikhman (FAC), Bill Chatov , Yartchouk (Kronstadt Soviet) and Bogatsky (Union of Independent Anarchists) [1]. Bleikhman later estimated that some 500 anarchists had participated in the operations. Justin Jouk is head of a detachment of 200 Red Guards ; Anatoli Jelezniakov from that of a unit of sailors [2]; Bleikhman and Yartchouk participate in the command of the flotilla part of Kronstadt [3].

Soviet Congress approves putsch

The Winter Palace was surrounded by insurgents opens when the II th All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the afternoon of 25 October. A sign of the radicalization of the revolution, there is now a majority of Bolsheviks, left SRs and anarchists among the 670 delegates from all over Russia. The moderates, already minority, are weakened even more when part of them leave the room to protest against the putsch in progress.

At 2 o'clock in the morning, the Winter Palace was announced and the Provisional Government was arrested. At 5 o'clock, a large majority of the delegates approved of this dismissal and the transfer of power to the soviets.

The following meeting was not opened until the following day, 26 October, at 8.40 pm, after a day spent in meetings. The audience was enriched by a certain number of delegates absent the day before, for the simple reason that they were taking part in the capture of the Winter Palace. Among them were three anarchist delegates: Jouk, Jelezniakov and Yartchouk.

Efim Yartchouk (1886-1937)
This revolutionary of 1905, deported to Siberia, took refuge in the United States where he became a revolutionary syndicalist. After his return from exile, he animated the anarchist group of Kronstadt. Actor of October, it will then defend the communist dictatorship in Volnyi Golos Trouda, between two incarcerations.
The debates concentrate on three solemn decrees satisfying the most fundamental popular aspirations: the first announces the opening of peace negotiations ; the second confirms the division of land by the peasants ; the third announcement ... the constitution of a new government !

On the benches of anarchists and SRs of the left, it is the stupefaction. During the day, the Bolshevik Party concocted a cabinet, which it now submits to the Congress for approval. By a fine semantic trick, the words " government " and " minister " are absent: it will be a " Soviet of the People's Commissars " (Sovnarkom), presided over by Lenin, and exclusively composed of Bolsheviks . This is exactly what the anarcho-syndicalists were afraid of. " What Soviet of Commissioners ?" What is this invention ? exclaims the Archangel, causing some uproar. All power to the Soviets ! " [4]. But the majority of the Congress approved without barguigner.

The next day, cars criss-cross the capital, launching leaflets announcing the composition of the new government. Voline, who passes by, takes notice of it. In his Memoirs he recounts that he was seized with a " complicated feeling of sadness, anger, disgust, but also a kind of ironic satisfaction ."

" Demagogues impostors ," he thinks, they must " imagine that they will do so the social revolution ! Well, they will see ... and the masses will take a good lesson ! " [5]

Three weeks of fighting in Moscow

In Moscow, things do not happen as easily as in Petrograd, and the insurrection takes a more popular turn. Here, too, the anarchists are fighting side by side with the Bolsheviks, and one of the FAC leaders, Nikitin, will leave their lives behind. His comrade Gratchov, commander of the very anarchist regiment of Dvinsk, will distribute arms and ammunition to the workers of the city. But in the end it will take three weeks for the insurgents, with heavy casualties, to defeat the troops loyal to Kerensky, entrenched in the Kremlin and the Hotel Metropole.

At the end of the battle, the anarchists are part of the " camp of the victors" of October. As a result of this, they are again on the street. The FAC seizes a new headquarters - the Ginzburg mansion in central Petrograd - and a printing house, the conservative newspaper Jivoe Slovo, which is now banned. This allows the organization to launch its own newspaper: Burevestnik ( " L'Oiseau-storm "). The anarcho-syndicalist Golos Trouda will also take advantage of these requisitions [6].

A new phase of the revolution begins. For the anarchists, it will consist in deepening the social revolution, while contesting the growing governmental control over the soviets and factory committees.

The " third revolution " quickly became the watchword of the movement.

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] Nothing is known about this grouping. Has he only existed ?

[2] P. Gooderham, " The anarchist movement in Russia, 1905-1917 ", Bristol University, 1981, page 279.

[3] Ivan Flerovski, " Kronstadt in the October Revolution ", in Petrograd, October 1917. Reminiscences, Moscow, 1957.

[4] Ivan Flerovski, " Kronstadt in the October Revolution ", in Petrograd, October 1917. Reminiscences, Moscow, 1957.

[5] Voline, The Unknown Revolution t. 2, Entremonde, 2010, page 57.

[6] Senya Fleshin Archives, IISG (on Katesharpleylibrary.net).

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