Circled (A) History Series #5: Anarchists and the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution of 1917 remains one of the major events in modern history. It completely altered the geo-political course of the 20th century, and had a profound and lasting effect on revolutionary struggle and theory. For anarchists, it brings up interesting questions, often ignored by both mainstream and marxist accounts, such as:

What roles did anarchists play in the popular revolution of early 1917, and the struggles leading up to it? How did anarchists react to the Bolsheviks seizing power in October of that year? What influences did the first major experiment in State Communism have on the international Left in general, and anarchism in particular? And, perhaps most importantly, what lessons can we apply to the current state of our movement?

We’ll look at exciting histories of organizing neighborhood and workers’ councils (soviets), anarchist peasant armies in the Ukraine, the Kronstadt uprising, militant resistance to the emerging dictatorship, anarchist support of political prisoners, and much more, focusing on movements and events rather than just the ‘big names’ involved.

Let’s explore this fascinating history that’s still playing out, and have some lively (comradely) discussion in the process!

“The anarchists are not promising anything to anyone. The anarchists only want people to be conscious of their own situation and seize freedom for themselves.”
-Maria Nikiforova (1885–1919) Ukrainian anarchist guerilla

Wednesday, May 30th