Anarchist Ukraine

Discussion in 'Politics' started by craigd89, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Long Live Makhno

    By early 1919, the Bolshevik government had withdrawn most Red Army forces from Ukraine after White successes in the south. The remaining Red Army troops who had remained in various parts of Ukraine were suspicious of their commanders, and angry at the withdrawals from Ukraine, which they considered a defection from the revolutionary cause. At the end of July, 1919, Red Army detachments numbering some 40,000 troops in the Crimea mutinied and deposed their commanders; many set out to join Makhno's anarchist Black Army. The mutiny was organized by some of Makhno's anarchist comrades who had remained commanders in the ranks of the Red Army, including Kalashnikov, Dermendzhi, and Budanov; these men also planned the transfer of forces. Large numbers of Red Army soldiers advanced from Novi Bug to Pomoshchnaya in search of Makhno's Black Army, bringing with them, as captives, their former commanders: Kochergin, Dybets and others. The mutineers joined Black Army forces at Dobrovelichkovka in the municipality of Kherson at the beginning of August 1919. For the Bolshevik government in Moscow, this defection was a major blow; since almost nothing remained of the Red Army in southern Ukraine and the Crimea, Bolshevik influence in the area vanished.[5]

    The military role Makhno had adopted in his early years shifted to an organizing one. The first congress of the Confederation of Anarchists Groups, under the name of Nabat ("The Alarm Drum"), issued five main points: suspension of all political parties, rejection of all dictatorships (mainly those organizing over people), negation of any State concept, rejection of any "transitory period" or "proletarian dictatorship", and advocated the self-management of all workers through free workers' councils (soviets). These were in clear contrast to Bolshevik views.
    The color that this anarchist group used to distinguish itself was black (the traditional color of anarchism), as that was what its military was considered - as opposed to Tsarist "Whites" and Bolshevik "Reds."
    [edit] Development and characteristics

    From November 1918 to June 1919, the Makhnovists established an anarchist society run by the peasants and workers in Ukraine. The territory that was under their control was approximately between Berdyansk, Donetsk, Alexandrovsk (now known as Zaporizhia), and Yekaterinoslav (Sicheslav, now Dnipropetrovsk). According to Makhno, "The agricultural majority of these villages was composed of peasants, one would understand at the same both time peasants and workers. They were founded first of all on equality and solidarity of its members. Everyone, men and women, worked together with a perfect conscience that they should work on fields or that they should be used in housework... The work program was established in meetings in which everyone participated. Then they knew exactly what they had to do." (Makhno, Russian Revolution in Ukraine).
    According to the leaders of the RIAU, society was reorganized according to anarchist values, which lead Makhnovists to formalize the policy of free communities as the highest form of social justice. Education was organised on Francesc Ferrer's principles, and the economy was based on free exchange between rural and urban communities, from crop and cattle to manufactured products, according to the theories of Peter Kropotkin.
    The Makhnovists said they supported "free worker-peasant soviets"[4] and opposed the central government. Makhno called the Bolsheviks dictators and opposed the "Cheka [secret police]... and similar compulsory authoritative and disciplinary institutions" and called for "[f]reedom of speech, press, assembly, unions and the like".[4]
    A declaration stated that Makhnovist revolutionaries were forbidden to participate in the Cheka, and all formal militias and police forces including Cheka-like secret police organizations were to be outlawed in Makhnovist territory.[5][6] Historian Heather-Noël Schwartz comments that "Makhno would not countenance organizations that sought to impose political authority, and he accordingly dissolved the Bolshevik revolutionary committees".[7][8] However, the Bolsheviks accused him of having two secret police forces operating under him.[9]

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