The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays : Chapter 14 : Our Organization

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(1888 - 1934) ~ Anarchist Leader of the Anti-Bolshevik, Anti-Capitalist Partisans of the Ukraine : Nestor Makhno was the leader of a libertarian peasant and worker army and insurrection in the Ukraine which successfully fought Ukrainian nationalists, the Whites, the Bolsheviks and the bourgeoisie and put anarchism into practice in the years following the Russian Revolution. (From : Intro to Struggle Against the State.)
• "The more a man becomes aware, through reflection, of his servile condition, the more indignant he becomes, the more the anarchist spirit of freedom, determination and action waxes inside him. That is true of every individual, man or woman, even though they may never have heard the word 'anarchism' before." (From : "The ABC of the Revolutionary Anarchist," by Nesto....)
• "The first of May is the symbol of a new era in the life and struggle of the toilers, an era that each year offers the toilers fresh, increasingly tough and decisive battles against the bourgeoisie, for the freedom and independence wrested from them, for their social ideal." (From : "The First of May," by Nestor Makhno, First Publis....)
• "As an individual, man gets back to his authentic personality when he rejects false thinking about life and reduces it to ashes, thereby recovering his real rights. It is through this dual operation of rejection and affirmation that the individual becomes a revolutionary anarchist and a conscious communist." (From : "The ABC of the Revolutionary Anarchist," by Nesto....)


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Chapter 14


The times through which the working class world-wide is presently passing requires that revolutionary anarchists strain their imaginations and their energies to the fullest if they are to clarify the most important issues.

Those of our comrades who played an active part in the Russian revolution and who have kept faith with their convictions will be sensible of the harmfulness that absence of solid organization has brought to our movement. Those comrades are well-placed to render particular service to the quest for union currently being conducted. It has not gone unnoticed by those comrades, I imagine, that anarchism was a factor for insurrection among the toiling revolutionary masses in Russia and in the Ukraine: it incited them to join in the struggle everywhere. However, the absence of a great specifically anarchist organization, capable of marshaling its resources against the revolution's enemies, left it powerless to assume any organizational role. The libertarian thrust in the revolution has suffered the dire consequences of that.

If they have grasped that shortcoming, the Russian and Ukrainian anarchists should not permit a repetition of this phenomenon. The lesson of the past is too painful and, bearing that in mind, they ought to be the first to teach by example through the cohesiveness of their forces. How? By setting up an organization that can accomplish anarchism's missions, not just when the social revolution is being hatched, but also in its wake. Such an organization should unite all of anarchism's revolutionary forces and unhesitatingly set about preparing the masses for the social revolution and the struggle to achieve the anarchist society.

Although the majority of us are alive to the necessity of such an organization, it is regrettable that we have to record that there is only a tiny number prepared to tackle it with the commitment and consistency that are indispensable.

At the moment, events are gathering pace throughout Europe as a whole and that includes Russia, enmeshed though she may be in the nets of the Pan-Bolsheviks. The day is not far off when we will again be called upon to take an active part in these events. If we answer the call again without first having equipped ourselves with an adequate organization, we will still be powerless to preclude events from being sucked into the vortex of statist systems.

Wheresoever human life is to be found, anarchism assumes a concrete existence. On the other hand, it becomes accessible to the individual only where it boasts propagandists and militants, who have honestly and entirely severed their connections with the slave mentality of our age, something, by the way, that brings savage persecution down upon their heads. Such militants aspire to serve their beliefs with disinterest, without fearing to uncover unsuspected aspects in the course of their development, the better to digest them as they proceed, if need be, and in this way they labor for the success of the anarchist spirit over the spirit of submission. Two theses arise out of the above:

  • the first is that anarchism assumes multifarious expressions and forms, whilst retaining a perfect integrity in its essentials.
  • the second is that it is inherently revolutionary and can adopt only revolutionary modes of struggle against its enemies.

In the course of its revolutionary struggle, anarchism not merely overthrows governments and discards their laws, but also sets about the society that spawned their values, their "mores" and their "morality," which is what makes it increasingly comprehensible and digestible to the oppressed portion of mankind.

All of which inclines us to the firm belief that anarchism can no longer remain walled up inside the narrow parameters of a marginal thinking to which only a few tiny groups operating in isolation subscribe. Its natural influence upon the mentality of struggling human groups is all too apparent. If that influence is to be assimilated in a conscious fashion, it must henceforth equip itself with new approaches and start here and now to borrow the approach of social practices.

Dyelo Truda No. 4, September 1925, pp. 7-8.

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February 07, 2017 17:18:44 :
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September 24, 2017 08:05:27 :
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