The Unknown Revolution, Book Two : Part 04, Chapte 08

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(1882 - 1945) ~ Bolshevik-Aligned Leader of the Russian Nabat Anarchists : March of 1920 saw him taken to Moscow, where he would remain prisoner until October, when he and many other anarchists were released by virtue of a treaty between the Soviet Union and Makhno's army. Voline then returned to Kharkov, resuming his old activities... (From : Rudolph Rocker Bio.)
• "Socialism, so mighty in Germany, Austria and Italy, has proved powerless. 'Communism', itself very strong, especially in Germany, has proved powerless. The trade unions have proved powerless. How are we to account for this?" (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)
• "Yet there is consolation to be had. The masses learn through all too palpable first hand experience. And the experience is there." (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)
• "As we know, there it was an authoritarian state communism (Bolshevism) that scored a stunning and rather easy victory in the events of 1917. Now, these days, nearly seventeen years on from that victory, not only is communism proving powerless to resist fascism abroad, but, where the regime within the USSR itself is concerned, the latter is more and more often being described more and more deliberately as 'red fascism'." (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)


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Part 04, Chapte 08

Chapter 8. The Extinguisher

How is it that this frightful “history” is not known abroad? The reader will learn.

From the beginning, and through the years, the Bolshevik “government did its utmost to conceal its hideous deeds from the workers and revolutionaries of other countries, by systematically and brazenly deceiving them, employing the classical methods of silence, lying, and slander.

Its fundamental procedure has been that of all impostors in ail times: after extinguishing an idea and a movement, to extinguish their history as well. The “Soviet” press never has spoken of the struggles that Bolshevism had to wage against the liberty of the Russian people nor the means to which it had to have recourse to win. Nowhere in “Soviet” literature will the reader find the story of these facts. And when the authors of such literature cannot avoid speaking of them, they confine themselves to mentioning, in a few lines, that it was a matter of suppressing counter-revolutionary movements or the exploits of bandits. Therefore, who is going to verify the facts?

Another element that has been of great aid to the “Communist” regime in Moscow in the distortion of history is the effective closing of the frontiers. The events of the Russian Revolution unfolded, and are still unfolding, in an enclosed vessel. It has been difficult all along, if not impossible [for anyone not on the actual scene] to know what was happening. The press of the country, wholly governmental, was quiet about everything that had to do with the repression.

When, in the advanced circles of Europe, the question of the persecution of the Anarchists in Russia was raised, a few details of the truth having leaked out despite all restrictive measures, the Bolshevik government declared each time, through the mouths of its representatives and with exceptional aplomb, “What do you mean? The real Anarchists have full freedom in the U.S.S.R. to affirm and propagate their ideas. They even have their clubs and their press.” And since no one was very much interested in the Anarchists and their conceptions, that reply sufficed. It would have required inquiry after inquiry to prove the contrary. And who thought of doing that?

Some renegades from Anarchism, patronized by the Bolshevik government, lent it valuable assistance. By way of proof, the regime cited the false statements of these ex-libertarians. Having repudiated their past and seeking to regain their virginity, they confirmed and testified to everything that was wanted of them.

The Bolsheviki liked also to quote the “tame” [renegades] called “Soviet Anarchists”. These believed it wise and useful to adapt themselves to the situation and to Bolshevism — “in order to be able to do something” prudently, secretly, behind the facade of “loyalty”. This “tactic of protective colorations”, however, could not succeed with the Bolsheviks, themselves familiar with all the techniques of anti-governmental struggle. Closely supervising these “camouflaged” Anarchists, shadowing them constantly, threatening them, and “taming” them adroitly, the authorities ended by using them to justify and even to approve — “momentarily” — all the proceedings of Bolshevism. The recalcitrants were imprisoned or deported. And as for those who truly submitted, they were put on show as “real” Anarchists, who “understand Bolshevism”, in contrast to all the others, who were pictured as “false” Anarchists.

Or the Bolsheviks spoke [with seeming friendliness] of certain Anarchists who remained nearly inactive and who never touched on “sensitive” points. To create an illusion, they were permitted to retain some insignificant organizations, closely supervised. Some of them were authorized to reprint old inoffensive Anarchist works, historical or theoretical. And these “Anarchist publishing houses” were cited to demonstrate that the “real Anarchists” were not touched. Later all such “organizations” likewise were “liquidated”.

Finally, a few extravagant “Anarchist” clowns who distorted Anarchism to the point of caricature were tolerated. The Bolshevik writers did not fail to cite them in order to ridicule the libertarian idea.

Thus the Lenin regime created a facade enabling it to conceal the truth from the Russian masses and from poorly informed people abroad. Subsequently, having made sure of the indifference, the naivete, and the slackness of “advanced” circles in other countries, the Bolsheviki didn’t even bother to hide the truth. For the “advanced people” and the Russian masses would swallow anything!

This deceptive facade also permitted the Bolsheviks to make use of a weapon which, alas, is always effective: slander. On the one hand, they deliberately confused the Anarchists with “counterrevolutionaries”, “criminals”, and “bandits”. On the other hand, they maintained that in the midst of the Revolution the Anarchists could only babble, criticize, “fart around”, put spokes in the wheels of the Revolution, destroy, provoke disorder, and pursue their own selfish interests. [These detractors] pretended that even when the Anarchists wanted to serve the Revolution, they were incapable of achieving anything correctly; that they had “no positive program”; that they never proposed anything concrete; that they were irresponsible dreamers, who didn’t know themselves what they wanted; and that, for all these reasons, the “Soviet” regime was obliged to suppress them; such elements, it held, presented a grave danger in the course of a difficult revolution.

Because no one except those involved knew the truth, and no one else was in a position to examine the facts, this tactic succeeded. It served the Bolshevik government marvelously through the years, and was part of a whole system of deception in which the Bolsheviki were past masters.

All the revelations about their ruthlessness, more and more numerous and precise, in the libertarian press or elsewhere abroad, were methodically and cynically refuted with the same stereotyped arguments. The mass of the workers, the advance-guard intellectuals of all countries, dazzled by the false renown of “the first Socialist republic”, accepted all the nonsense of its “genial leaders”, and, letting themselves thus be royally “rolled”, cared very little about the revelations of the Anarchists. Vanity, fashion, snobbery, and other secondary factors played their parts in this general indifference.

Finally, the most prosaic personal interests also contributed [to the sweeping imposture]. Among others, how many famous writers, in all countries, deliberately closed their eyes to the truth that they know perfectly well. The “Soviet” government had need of their names for publicity purposes. In return, it assured an advantageous market for their works, perhaps the only one. And those poor men carried out this tacit bargain, salving their consciences with the excuses and justifications inspired by their new patrons.

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November 30, 1920 :
Part 04, Chapte 08 -- Publication.

February 22, 2017 19:31:10 :
Part 04, Chapte 08 -- Added to

May 28, 2017 15:36:13 :
Part 04, Chapte 08 -- Last Updated on


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