(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.)
• "'Soviet' power is a power no better and no worse than any other. Currently, it is every bit as wobbly and absurd as any State power in general." (From : "'Soviet' Power -- Its Present and Its Future," Bo....)
• "The free man, on the other hand, has thrown away the trammels of the past together with its lies and brutality. He has buried the rotten corpse of slavery and the notion that the past is better. Man has already partially liberated himself from the fog of lies and brutality, which enslaved him from the day of his birth, from the worship of the bayonet, money, legality, and hypocritical science." (From : "The Anarchist Revolution," by Nestor Makhno.)
• "Burn their laws and destroy their prisons, kill the hangmen, the bane of mankind. Smash authority!" (From : "The Anarchist Revolution," by Nestor Makhno.)
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.
Each comrade must be conscious of this requirement, think about it and come to the conclusion that only through a united organizational force can anarchists promptly identify and analyze the issues that concern the masses, and illustrate their responses successfully to them.
Those of our comrades who played an active part in the Russian revolution and who have kept faith with their anarchist positions will be sensitive to the harmfulness that the absence of solid organization has brought to our anarchist movement. Those comrades are well-placed to play a particularly useful role in our current quest for union. It has not gone unnoticed by those comrades, I imagine, that anarchism was a factor for insurrection among the revolutionary working masses in Russia and Ukraine. It incited them to join in the struggle everywhere; but the absence of an organization, capable of marshaling its resources against the revolution's enemies, left it powerless to assume any organizational role.
The cause of anarchism in the Revolution suffered the dire consequences of that.
If they now realize this, the Russian and Ukrainian anarchists must not allow this to happen again in the future. The lesson of the past is too painful and, bearing that in mind, they must be the first to teach by example through the cohesiveness of their forces, by setting up an anarchist organization that can carry out anarchism's tasks, not just during the preparations for the Social Revolution, but also in its early days. Such an organization must 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.
Unfortunately, by no means are all of us striving for a real organization of our forces, without which fruitful work among the masses is unthinkable: although the majority of us are alive to the need for 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.
Meanwhile, events are gathering pace throughout Europe as a whole and that includes Russia, enmeshed though she be in the nets of pan-bolshevism.
The time is not far off when we will again be called upon to take an active part in these events. If we answer that 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.
It is obvious to each and every one of us that cohesion between all active anarchists, in the form of a serious collective activity, is what is needed. It would therefore be very surprising for opponents of that Union in our ranks to declare themselves.
The issue to be resolved relates only to the organizational format that would be most acceptable for the anarchist association.
Personally, I am inclined to accept as the most appropriate and most necessary organizational format the one that would offer itself as a Union of anarchists on the basis of the principles of collective discipline and concerted direction of all anarchist forces.
Thus, all organizations affiliating to this general union would be inter-connected not just by a community of socio-revolutionary goals, but also by a common subscription to the means that would lead to the achievement of the objective.
The activities of local organizations can be adapted, as far as possible, to suit local conditions: however, such activities must, unfailingly, be consonant with the pattern of the overall organizational practice of the Union of anarchists throughout the country.
Whether this Union of anarchists describes itself as an anarchist party or as something else is unimportant. The essential point is that it should focus all anarchist forces upon uniform and common practices against the enemy, pressing ahead with the struggle for workers' rights, for the social Revolution and for the anarchist society.
(Source: Delo Truda, N°6, November 1925, pp. 6-7, Translated from Russian to French by Alexandre Skirda and from French to English by Paul Sharkey. English translation revised with reference to the Russian by the Nestor Makhno Archive.)
From : NestorMakhno.info
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