Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)

Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Documents on Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Bolsheviks shooting anarchists by Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman (a protest against the shooting of Fanya Baron and Lev Chernyi).

In the Prisons of Russia by Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and A. Schapiro. “Having but recently left Russia, we feel that our
first and most urgent words must be spoken in behalf of our political
prisoners in Russia….”

In Russia’s Prisons “For a long time past hundreds and thousands of
revolutionists have been suffering in the prisons and penitentiaries of
Russia. Since the beginning of this year the Bolshevik Government has
strengthened once again the system by which it brutally persecutes
those who think differently from itself – whether they be members of
Socialist parties or working-men and revolutionary peasants belonging
to no party.”

Lifting the veil “We think that very few students of the Russian
Revolution are now under any illusions as to the situation in Russia.
The Bolsheviks and their supporters at home and abroad raised a smoke
screen so dense that for some time it was almost impossible to get any
really reliable news of happenings in that country; but the drastic
change in the economic policy of the Bolsheviks, and the necessity of
explaining the reason for the change, have thrown a flood of light on
the situation. We can now see that the phrases “Dictatorship of the
Proletariat,” “Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic,” and “Soviet Republic”
had no real meaning in fact. It was a Dictatorship of the Communist
Party, pure and simple. The workers and peasants had no more influence
on the Bolshevik Government than they have on the Government in any
other country. They may have voted for the Communists, but that is
explained by the fact that the Communist Party controlled the few
papers in existence and thereby controlled the political education of
the people; the principal reason, however, was that owing to the
persecution of political opponents, very few dared to stand against
members of the Communist Party. The compulsory labour in industry, the
compulsory service in the army, and the compulsory food levies from the
peasants are sufficient proof that the support of the workers and
peasants was obtained by force.” (from Freedom)

Two articles on Alfonso Petrini (Italian anarchist handed over to Mussolini)
A letter from Petrini
Italian comrade deported from Russia to Italy! [1936]

Other articles are now gathered on the Kate Sharpley Library website at: Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

William C. Owen’s International Notes from 1922 also have some reflections on the effects of the Russian experience.

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Written by gulaganarchists

14, April 2010 at 10:06 am

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