A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists
News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage)
archives of old posts
The last 100 posts, according
The First Few Lines of The Last 10 posts in:
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours |
of past 30 days |
of 2002 |
of 2003 |
of 2004 |
of 2005 |
of 2006 |
of 2007 |
of 2008 |
of 2009 |
of 2010 |
of 2011 |
of 2012 |
of 2013 |
of 2014 |
of 2015 |
of 2016 |
of 2017 |
Syndication Of A-Infos - including
RDF - How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #286 - Anarchists and Jews in the Russian Revolution (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]
Wed, 3 Oct 2018 09:06:38 +0300
According to the anti-Semitic adage of the 1930s, " Jews rule the world, " whether they
are capitalist or communist. If many Jews and Jews were involved in the revolutionary
dynamic in Russia, it is first of all to get out of the situation of extreme poverty,
discriminatory measures, and pogroms orchestrated by the tsarist state apparatus. Many of
these Jewish and revolutionary Jews had chosen the libertarian camp and suffered Bolshevik
repression. ---- Russia begins to industrialize the turn of the XX th century, especially
in medium-sized cities Yiddishland. Bialystock is the first home of libertarian Jewish
militancy, following a split in the Bund. Advocating immediate social revolution, these
very young people are eager to do battle with the tsarist autocracy, religion and capital,
finding the Bund or the Socialist-Revolutionary Party too timid in their actions. At the
height of the revolutionary movement of 1905, there are several hundred Jewish libertarian
activists in this city alone. Libertarian groups then try to reach the borders of Yiddishland.
Even if this phenomenon remains a minority with regard to the vast majority of peasants,
the working class of these medium-sized cities, where social conditions are extremely
harsh, will be a driving force of a decentralized revolution. In the climate of latent
social war that follows the failure of the revolution of 1905, the Jewish libertarian
activists very largely choose the strategy " direct action, sabotage, propaganda by the
fact, expropriation ". In a logic of vendetta against the tsarist repression. They and
they practice the armed struggle against the ranks of the army and the police, and commit
attacks against the bourgeoisie. The passage to the act went as far as to throw a bomb in
the synagogue of Krynki which sheltered a meeting of Jewish patrons. These anarchists like
Samuel Schwartzbard initiate self-defense groups against the pogromists.
Riposter to tsarist violence
The reaction of the tsarist power is ruthless. Between 1906 and 1908, the libertarian
movement was eradicated in Russia, especially in Yiddishland. Several thousand activists
perish, others are imprisoned or sent to Siberia. The lucky ones flee to the West and the
United States, where they go to the revolutionary libertarian and syndicalist movement
until 1917, forming new practices of collective struggle and propaganda. It was at this
time that Daniil Novomirsky, very much influenced by Fernand Pelloutier, the promoter of
labor exchanges, in France, invents and uses, in 1907, the term " anarcho-syndicalist ".
The revolution of 1917
Back from exile, in 1917, in " Mother Russia " by the thousands, these Jewish libertarian
activists are numerically ultra-minority in the light of a revolution that engages six
million workers, and a hundred million muzhiks. However, these seasoned activists will
become part of the Russian anarchist movement.
Stripped of the geographical straitjacket of Yiddisland, they joined in numbers Petrograd
and Moscow, animate soviets, including that of Kronstadt, unions, publish libertarian
newspapers, structure libertarian organizations. Physically engaged on all military
fronts, many are those who perish weapons in hand. They are found in particular in
Ukraine, alongside Nestor Makhno.
Then again repression fell on the libertarian movement in April 1918 in Moscow, but this
time it is the Bolsheviks who do the dirty work mainly through their police apparatus, the
Cheka, and the Red Army. Anarchists are sent into exile in the gulags where abuse, cold,
disease and famine cause them to die slowly until the 1930s. In 1920, Olga Taratouta,
whose real name is Elka Ruvinskaia, writes " that a year and a half of Soviet prison " had
cost him " more life than the ten years of forced labor of tsarist times " . She was shot
February 8, 1938 " for anti-Soviet activity and anarchist " at 62 years.
The " red terror "
Jewish libertarians are particularly targeted by the apparatus of Bolshevik repression
because they are quickly spotted as animators and animators of the movement. Their names
will list from 1922 the long lists of libertarian victims of Bolshevik power.
A certain porosity with the Judaic culture gives quite surprising results: the term "
anti-anarchist pogroms " is used to speak of libertarian victims of Bolshevik power.
At the same time, the presence of many Bolshevik Jews and Jews in the Soviet state
apparatus in the first months after the revolution, with the end of discrimination against
ethnic minorities, soon provoked an anti-Semitic reaction. When the extension of the
bureaucracy favors the massive entry of a new generation from the peasant popular strata,
it enters into competition within the Stalinist apparatus, with the " Jews of the first
hour ". These tensions perpetuate popular anti-Semitism that continues to this day in Russia.
Back in exile
Most of the libertarian historians of the Russian Revolution are of Jewish origin. These
intellectuals engaged in the action, Ida Met, Anatole Gorelik, Ephim Yartchuk, Voline,
Alexander Shapiro, or eyewitnesses such as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, have never
ceased in their exile to give their vision -authoritary of the Russian Revolution to
denounce the Bolshevik exactions. Emma Goldman leaves a moving testimony in her memoirs of
her visit to a Ukrainian village in which Jewish and Jewish residents have just suffered a
pogrom. Their pertinent analyzes of the failure of the Revolution still shed light today
on how to lead our struggles and structure our movement. They are theorizing the Soviet
system as " state capitalism ".
From 1922, the situation in the Gulag and the Bolshevik repression (called " red fascism
" by Voline) is denounced by these activists. Many do not listen to them at this time
because they are anarchists. The right and its extreme can not arrogate to themselves the
monopoly of the denunciation of the Soviet crimes: the anarchists who claim themselves of
communism have all the legitimacy to proclaim loud and clear the horror of the gulags.
Moreover let Gorelik, Voline and Konov speak: " One day the historian of the revolution
will stop astonished and frightened at the pages recounting the persecutions that the
communist government subjected to the libertarian idea, to his followers, propagators and
activists ; he will turn away from these pages with a thrill. At first sight, he will not
believe them. And when he believes them, when he persuades himself of their overwhelming
veracity, he will describe them as the blackest pages in the history of statist communism.
And he will boldly seek the historical and psychological explanation of this bloodthirsty
epic. " 
A Jewish anarchist signs the last act of the Russian revolution, in 1927 in Paris: Samuel
Schwarzbard assassinates the Ukrainian pogromist Petlioura with a pistol shot in the
street in front of the restaurant from which he left. His act is considered by the French
justice as self-defense, which allows him to escape conviction. For the record,
Schwarzbard had obtained his weapon from a group of exiled activists of the Spanish CNT. 
Jean-Marc Izrine 
 Region in which the tsars had stationed the Jews of Russia (Lithuania, Belarus,
Ukraine, Galicia, Poland, Moldova)
A specifically Jewish social democratic party and just as numerically important as the
Russian Social Democratic Workers Party.
 Peasants in Russian.
 See the case of Alternative Libertaire from July to August 2017 , where several Jewish
movement activists are cited.
 Brochure The repression of anarchism in Soviet Russia , June 1922.
 Juan Garcia Oliver, The Echo of Steps , The Poppy, p.98-99.
 Jean-Marc Izrine is the author of Les Libertaires du Yiddishland , editions of
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
Send news reports to A-infos-en mailing list
A-Infos Information Center