Eighty years ago: the death of Nestor Makhno

From On This Deity:

Today we recall the Ukrainian revolutionary leader, Nestor Makhno, who died seventy-seven years ago on this day in poverty, illness and oblivion. Fellow exiles who had watched Makhno drink and cough himself to death in the slums of Paris could scarcely believe the tragic fate that had befallen the legendary “Little Father” of Ukraine who, just fifteen years earlier, had been one of the most heroic, glamorous and indefatigable figures of the Russian civil war and the inciter of one of the few historic examples of a living anarchist society. As the leader of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, this self-educated peasant-born military genius had waged wildly creative guerrilla war against native tyrants, foreign interlopers and counter-revolutionaries. On behalf of what was always an uneasy alliance with the Red Army, Makhno’s forces had twice immobilised the seemingly unstoppable White advance in South Russia; indeed, so decisive were these against-all-odds victories that the Bolsheviks might never have won the civil war and consolidated power but for Makhno and his insurgent peasants. As the instigator, military protector and namesake of Ukraine’s simultaneous anarchist revolution – the Makhnovshchina – few have come closer than Nestor Makhno to establishing an anarchist nation. For nearly a year between 1919 and 1920, some 400 square miles of Ukraine was reorganised into an autonomous region known as the “Free Territory” in which farms and factories were collectively run and goods traded directly with collectives elsewhere. In his heyday, Nestor Makhno was an unmitigated living legend and folk hero – a real-life Robin Hood and proto-Che. But by the time of his death at the age of forty-six, so comprehensively dragged through the filthiest, shittiest mud was the name of this once unassailable revolutionary that it has yet to fully recover. So what happened? (more…)

From the archive of struggle no.68

First, here’s Steve Hanson on the Working Class Movement Library, Salford:

Across from the Museum and Art Gallery in Salford is the Working Class Movement Library, which houses some very important documents about co-operative societies, including records on the Fenwick Weavers, a very early society:

‘Early societies tended to operate separately and did not come together to form a movement until the early 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution. Industrialisation brought the rapid growth of towns and fewer people producing their own food.’

Robert Owen is viewed as a founder of the movement, paying higher wages for shorter hours in the factory, much like the Fielden family over on the Yorks-Lancs border. The movement then blossomed in places such as nearby Rochdale, a place now on it knees, which is attempting some desperate revivification of the area around the train station.

What else?

Mühsam on the cover of the novel "Café Grössenwahn" by Rose Austerlitz

Erich Mühsam (1878-1934) was a leading figure in the German anarchist movement. The Erich in English site will be home to critical English editions of several of his most important works.

Newly published old texts now. In agone the entirity of Retour à l’Ouest by Victor Serge, written June 1936 to May 1940, via Ent./Espace contre CimentFrom the same source: Revolutionäre Kommunisten Deutschlands: Bulletin VI/2 (März-April 1946), G. Munis: La non-révolution (1966), Marc Chirik: La nature non-prolétarienne de l’État russe et sa fonction contre-révolutionnaire (1944)

From Bastard Archive: by Colin Ward Anarchism – A very short introduction (2004), via Ent.

And the next several items are also from Ent.:

Moses Hess: Zunächst der Hinweis auf ein Online-Archiv mit Texten von Moses Hess, der am 25. Januar 200 Jahre alt geworden wäre und eine nicht zu unterschlagende Rolle in der revolutionären Bewegung in Deutschland gespielt hatte, es war Hess, der Marx und Engels für die Idee des Kommunismus gewonnen hatte [an online archive of texts by Moses Hess , who on 25 January would be 200 years old. Hess had played a not inconsiderable role in forging the revolutionary movement in Germany; it was Hess, who won Marx and Engels for the idea of communism:]

Der Mensch muß mit sich anfangen, mit dem Ich, wenn er schaffen, tätig sein will. — Wie die alte Geschichte, die Naturgeschichte, mit dem ersten Menschen anfing, so muß auch die neue, die Geschichte des Geistes, mit dem ursprünglichen Individuum anfangen. Cartesius hat einen unglücklichen Versuch gemacht — er ist, wie wir gesehen haben, beim zweiten Worte gescheitert. Spinoza hat alles getan, aber die Geschichte hat sich nicht sogleich seiner Tat bemeistert; seine Ethik lag mehrere Jahrhunderte unfruchtbar im Boden, bis endlich das zwei­schneidige Schwert der geistigen und sozialen Revolution den Schutt wegräumte, der den Keim der Neuzeit erdrückte. Da zeigten sich plötzlich zwei Blättchen, deren Wurzel unbekannt. Atheismus und Kommunismus wurden von Fichte und Babeuf in den beiden Hauptstädten diesseits und jenseits des Rheins, in Berlin und Paris, zum Schrecken der Philister gelehrt, und Jünger strömten herbei, die sich für die Lehre begeisterten. Atheismus und Kommunismus!” (aus Philosophie der That, 1843)

Gefunden dank La Bataille socialiste: der Grand dictionnaire socialiste von Adéodat Compère-Morel (1924), der leider wie viele andere seines Milieus als Vichy-Kollaborateur endete [thanks to La Bataille Socialiste: the Grand dictionnaire Socialiste of Adeodat Compere-Morel (1924), who unfortunately ended like many others of his milieu as a Vichy collaborator]

Three texts at Collectif Smolny:

* Paul Mattick: Interview à Lotta Continua (1977)
* GLAT: Pour un regroupement révolutionnaire (1969)
* BILAN: Le droit au soulèvement armé (1937)
Acta de la reunión del Comité Central del  Buró Internacional de las Juventudes Revolucionarias (1937 unter den Anwesenden u.a. Willy Brandt)

From the website of  Fundación Andreu Nin, mainly Poumist related texts:

* Benjamin Péret: Cartas de Benjamin Péret a André Breton sobre la revolución española (1936-1938)
Reunión del Subsecretariado Internacional del POUM, 14 de mayo de 1937: Informe del camarada Gorkin sobre las “jornadas de mayo”(1937)
* Juan Andrade:  Prefacio a la edición de Ruedo Ibérico de Los problemas de la revolución española (1931-1937), de Andreu Nin (1986)
* Joaquin Maurin: Hacia la segunda revolución (1935)
* Amigos de Durruti: Hacia una nueva revolución (1937)

In La Presse Anarchiste:  La Voix du Travail n°2 of  IAA from September 1926.

From Marxists Internet Archive:  1941 volume of  The Militant. ["These are intermediate to high resolution scans for almost the entire year, 46 issues, preceeeding the US entry into World War II. These scans were made possible by the combined efforts of the ETOL, Holt Labor Library and Riazanov Library project." This is when Felix Morrow and Albert Goldman were editors.]

Also at MIA: Added to the Spanish Archivo Andreu NinLa situación política y las tareas del proletariado (1937)

From the Anarchist Library:

Letter of América Scarfó to Émile Armand  (Buenos Aires, 3 December 1928. Translation of an important document in the history of Argentinian anarchism and of anarchist thinking on amatory ethics. “I desire for all just what I desire for myself: the freedom to act, to love, to think. That is, I desire anarchy for all humanity.” From Libcom, updated.)

The Luddites’ 200th birthday by Bernard Marszalek (FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 4)// Back to 1911 by Peter Lamborn Wilson (“Reversion to 1911 would constitute a perfect first step for a 21st century neo-Luddite movement. Living in 1911 means using technology and culture only up to that point and no further, or as little as possible.” FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 10) // Against Negation Or, Positively Revolting by Patrick Dunn (FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 24) // Disobedience: The antidote for miserablism by Penelope Rosemont (Tracing a line from Paul Lafargue to Andre Breton and Jacques Vache to Franklin Rosemont to Bernard Marszalek to Fredy Perlman to Occupy. FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 25) //Redrawing The Line: The Anarchist Writings of Paul Goodman by Paul Comeau (A review of Drawing The Line Once Again: Paul Goodman’s Anarchist Writings, PM Press, 2010. FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 28)  //  Declaration by the Ghost of Emma Goldman by Rick London (FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 30) // Three anarchist Rebellions on Film by Dan Georgakas (“Hundreds of films take on anarchist themes in some manner, but only a handful deal with anarchist governance. Three of the most interesting of these are, Alexander the Great (Megalexandros, 1980, Greek), Viva Zapata! (1952, United States), and Rebellion in Patagonia (La Patagonia Rebelde, 1974, Argentina)… Rebellion in Patagonia deals with a revolt in 1821 by Argentine anarcho-syndicalist workers in the rural area of Santa Cruz and their alliance with workers in Buenos Aires who also raised the black flag. The film opens with an anarchist hurling a fatal bomb at a Lieutenant Colonel Zavala, a prominent military officer. .” FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 36) // Spain: model for anarchist organizing by David Porter (A review of The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, Volume I by Jose Peirats, Edited and Introduced by Chris Ealham; Translated by Paul Sharkey PM Press / Christie Books; 432pp, 628; www.pmpress.org, FIFTH ESTATE #386, Spring, 2012, Vol. 47, No. 1, page 45)

The Unknown Revolution, 1917-1921  by Voline (A complete translation of La Revolution Inconnue, 1917-1921, first published in French in 1947, and re-published in Paris in 1969 by Editions Pierre Belfond. An abridged, two-volume English translate of the work was published in 1954 and 1955 by the Libertarian Book Club (New York City) and Freedom Press (London). The present edition contains all the materials included in the earlier edition (translated by Holley Cantine), as well as the sections which were omitted (Book I, Part I and II, and some brief omissions later in the work, translated by Fredy Perlman). Originally at Ditext, copied at Anarchist Library and recently updated there. More from Ditext below.)

Ditext – Digital Text International – is a large and bizarre repository of texts on anarchism, Marxism, philosophy and the Ukraine. Sections include Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution. Here are some texts: Camillo Berneri, Peter Kropotkin: His Federalist Ideas, 1942 // John Paul Himka, Socialism in Galicia, 1983. // Colin Ward, “The Anarchist Sociology of Federalism” Freedom, June-July 1992. // Rudnytsky, Ivan L. Essays in Modern Ukrainian History. Edited by Peter L. Rudnytsky, Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1987 (includes The Political Thought of Soviet Ukrainian Dissidents) // Adams, Arthur E. The Great Ukrainian Jacquerie The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution, edited by Taras Hunczak, 1977. // Arshinov, Peter. History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921), Translated by Lorraine and Fredy Perlman, 1974, originally published in 1923 by the Group of Russian Anarchists in Germany. // Conquest, Robert. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. // Hunczak, Taras, ed. The Ukraine, 1917-1921: A Study in Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1977 // Souchy, Augustin. The workers and peasants of Russia and Ukraine, how do they live? 1922.

Vie Ditext, I followed links to a number of digital text archives and portals.

*The López Martín Collection. “This collection inspired by the Spanish and Portuguese Historical Society (SPHP) and sustained by Lynn H. Nelson (University of Kansas), Jack Owens (Idaho State University), and Ignacio López Martín (European University Institute) is since 1996 the first step of a wider project regarding the use of Internet to study Early Modern Iberian history.” In turn this has links to other sites such as Roberto Ortiz de Zarate’s Political Collection, a collection of political leaders and formation of Spanish Governments from 1931. Ferrol Urban History by José María Cardesín (U. Coruña) (“La ciudad española de Ferrol fue diseñada “ex-novo- por ingenieros militares que trabajaban al servicio de la monarquía de la Ilustración, para alojar una base naval, astilleros y arsenales. La doble necesidad de defender la ciudad frente a ataques del exterior y de asegurar la disciplina de sus trabajadores condujo a la aplicación de un plan espacial cargado de violencia y segregación entre la Marina de Guerra y la clase trabajadora. A largo plazo los cambios que se fueron produciendo en la economía y en la geopolítica internacional, así como aquellas novedades que se introdujeron en el arte de la guerra, tuvieron un impacto directo en la ciudad y vinieron a arrojar dudas sobre su viabilidad. Así mismo, los cambios que también se fueron produciendo en la cultura política y en las alianzas de clase condujeron a una redefinición de las prácticas de poder. A lo largo del siglo XIX, la base naval y la economía de enclave que caracterizaba a Ferrol sufrieron repetidas crisis de obsolescencia. Más adelante, durante la Guerra Civil española, la Marina franquista erigió la represión de la clase trabajadora en objetivo mayor dentro de la cuestión principal de derrotar a la España Republicana. La dictadura franquista conllevó el retorno de un Ferrol segregado y militarizado, un modelo que quedaría finalmente obsoleto a partir la década de 1980, con la consolidación de la democracia y la integración de España en la Unión Europea.”) History of Madrid by Luis Enrique Otero Carvajal and Angel Bahamonde (U. Complutense) “An excellent site on the evolution and development of Madrid from “Borderline to Metropolitan Area””. Loads of Catalan history resources here.

*KnowledgeRush Book Directory Large directory of popular literary works and historical documents available on the Web. Includes biographies of some authors and can be browsed by author, genre, or title.

*The Humanities Text Initiative. This includes such things as this:

The Great Depression conjures up one of the profound American twentieth-century experiences. Unlike earlier depressions and periods of hard times, this economic paralysis was of a magnitude and duration that approached trauma and and although amelioration was evident after federal relief measures were taken, the long-awaited recovery never took place. Almost all of the items exhibited here come from the Labadie Collection of social protest materials, with some augmentation from the main Special Collections Library, the Graduate Library, and the Music Library. This particular collection captures over 100 digital images of the items from this exhibit.

Nestor Makhno at 121

Nestor Makhno was born today in 1888.

Nestor Makhno

In office
January 5, 1919 – August 28, 1921

Born October 26 (November 8), 1888
Flag of Russia.svg Huliaipole, Russian Empire (today Ukraine)
Died July 6, 1934
Flag of France.svg Paris, France
Nationality Black flag.svg Free Territory
Political party Anarchist communism
Spouse(s) Agafya Kuzmenko
Children Yelena
Occupation Anarcho-communist revolutionary, painter, stagehand
Religion Atheist

For further reading, go to the Nestor Makhno Archive, and also the Kate Sharpley Library:

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