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2. In Search of a New Society 2 In Search of a New Society ANARCHISM IS NOT UTOPIAN Because anarchism is constructive, anarchist theory emphatically rejects the charge of utopianism. It uses the historical method in an attempt to prove that the society of the future is not an anarchist invention, but the actual product of the hidden effects of past events. Proudhon affirmed that for 6,000 years humanity had been crushed by an inexorable system of authority but had been sustained by a "secret virtue": "Beneath the apparatus of government, under the shadow of its political institutions, society was slowly and silently producing its own organization, making for itself a new order which expressed its vitality and autonomy." However harmful government may have been, it contained its own negation. It was always "a phenomenon of collective life, the public exercise of the powers of our law, an expression of social spontaneity, all serving to prepa...


From Daniel Guerin's _Anarchism_ (Monthly Review Press) (reprinted with permission): During the revolutionary days that brought Kerensky's bourgeois republic to an end, the anarchists were in the forefront of the military struggle, especially in the Dvinsk regiment commanded by old libertarians like Grachoff and Fedotoff. This force dislodged the counter-revolutionary "cadets." Aided by his detachment, the anarchist Gelezniakov disbanded the Constituent Assembly: the Bolsheviks only ratified the accomplished fact. Many partizan detachments were formed or led by anarchists... and fouch unremittingly against the white armies between 1918 and 1920. Scarcely a major city was without an anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist group, spreading a relativ... (From : Spunk.org.)


From the upcoming "No Gods, No Masters" edited by Daniel Guerin, to be published by AK Press the summer of 1997 Anarchists Behind Bars (Summer 1921) by Gaston Leval Once I discovered that there were so many of our comrades in prison, I arranged, together with the French syndicalist delegates to make overtures to Dzerzhinsky, the People's Commissar for the Interior, implicitly obedient to Lenin. Being wary of me, my fellow delegates chose Joaquin Maurin to speak on behalf of the CNT delegation. Maurin reported back on their first audience. At the sight of the list of the prisoners whose release was being sought, Dzerzhinsky blanched, then went red with fury, arguing that these men were counterrevolutionaries in cahoots with the White general... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

1. GREAT OCTOBER IN THE UKRAINE The month of October 1917 is a great historical watershed in the Russian revolution. That watershed consists of the awakening of the toilers of town and country to their right to seize control of their own lives and their social and economic inheritance; the cultivation of the soil, the housing, the factories, the mines, transportation, and lastly the education which had hitherto been used to strip our ancestors of all these assets. However, as we see it, it would be wide of the mark if we were to see all of the content of the Russian revolution encapsulated in October: in fact, the Russian revolution was hatched over the preceding months, a period during which the peasants in the countryside and the workers in the towns grasped the essential point. Indeed, the revolution of February 1917 came to be a symbol for the toilers of their economic and political liberation. However, they quickly noticed that the February revolution as it...


Voline, libertarian chronicler of the Russian revolution, after having been an actor in and an eye-witness to it, writes: “We have been bequeathed a fundamental problem by preceding revolutions: I am thinking of the one in 1789 and the one in 1917 especially: largely mounted against oppression, animated by a mighty breath of freedom and proclaiming freedom as their essential objective, how come these revolutions slid into a new dictatorship wielded by other ruling, privileged strata, into fresh slavery for the popular masses? What might the conditions be that would enable a revolution to avoid that dismal fate? Might that fate be due to ephemeral factors and even quite simply to mistakes and shortcomings which might from now on be ave... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

Chapter 2. Repression, Violence and Failure; Development Continues (1825–1855) The reign of Nicholas I lasted from 1825 to 1855. From a revolutionary point of view nothing striking characterizes these years. This thirty year period is nevertheless notable in several important respects. Having ascended to the throne in the shadow of the Decembrist revolt, Nicholas I undertook to hold the country in an iron vise so as to squelch in the bud any expression of liberalism. He strengthened absolute rule to the limit and succeeded in transforming Russia jnto a bureaucratic and repressive state. ! The French revolution and the revolutionary movements which subsequently shook Europe were nightmares for him. He undertook extraordinary precautionary measures. The entire population was closely watched. The arbitrariness of the bureaucracy, the police and the courts no longer had any limits. Any expression of ind...


Alexander Berkman died 61 years ago on June 28th, 1936. We enclose here his editorial for the first issue of The Blast published in San Francisco on 15th January 1916. Why The Blast? Do you mean to destroy? Do you mean to build? These are questions we have been asked from any quarters, by inquirers sympathetic and otherwise. Our reply is frank and bold: We mean both: to destroy and to build. For, socially speaking, Destruction is the beginning of Construction. Superficial minds speak sneeringly of destruction. O, it is easy to destroy -they say- but to build, to build, that’s the important work. Its nonsense. No structure, social or otherwise, can endure if built on a foundation of lies. Before the garden can bloom, the weeds must be u... (From : Kate Sharpley Library.)

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