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The reading list: a selection of material on and related topics that broadly reflects an perspective. Work in progress, feedback appreciated.
redblacknotes.com/reading-list

Pictured is a demonstration of the Russian Union of Workers in America, an anarchist project based in New York.

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They published a paper, Golos Truda, based in Moscow. The paper was banned by the Bolsheviks in August 1918, though replaced by a semi-clandestine “Volny Golos Truda” (The Free Voice of Labour). This would last until March 1921, when Lenin declared war on all “petit-bourgeois” elements, and suppressed this newspaper of factory workers. The anarcho-syndicalist movement would be finally snuffed out under Stalin in 1929.

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The Anarcho-Syndicalists were often behind the establishment of “Red Guard” detachments, groups of armed workers who defended factories and workplaces taken over by the working class.

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The paper was banned by the Bolsheviks in August 1918, though replaced by a semi-clandestine “Volny Golos Truda” (The Free Voice of Labour). This would last until March 1921, when Lenin declared war on all “petit-bourgeois” elements, and suppressed this newspaper of factory workers. The anarcho-syndicalist movement would be finally snuffed out

Given the underdeveloped nature of the Russian peasant, their task would be to continue to encourage voluntary collectivisation, avoiding the rebellion of the peasantry against the cities. These points were largely adopted by the Ukrainian Free Soviet Congresses in the liberated territory. By the time of the Spanish revolution, the syndicalists in Spain had learnt the lesson from Russia that an alliance must be actively built between the peasantry and the urban working class.

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On the land question, the anarcho-syndicalists argued that all large estates be broken up, land redistributed to the poor peasants as individual plots (thus also abolishing the kulak class), and avoiding state ownership (which they saw as another form of monopoly state-capitalism).

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The anarcho-syndicalist movement in Russia initially closed ranks to defend the soviets against the counter-revolution, but as they slowly became rubber stamps for the Bolshevik bureaucracy the syndicalists turned to the Factory Committees as the new potential for workers' democracy. They hoped that by emphasising direct control of workers in the workplace, an alternative to the Soviets could be built up.

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Many anarcho-syndicalists acted in concert with the Bolsheviks during the October insurrection, several prominent anarchists being members of the Military Revolutionary Committee in Petrograd during the storming of the WInter Palace. The syndicalists had supported the idea of Soviets as workers bodies that would move from ‘the government of people to the administration of things’, but were soon to be devastated to find they would become more akin to parliaments only for socialist parties.

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Many anarcho-syndicalists acted in concert with the Bolsheviks during the October insurrection, several prominent anarchists being members of the Military Revolutionary Committee in Petrograd during the storming of the WInter Palace. The syndicalists had supported the idea of Soviets as workers bodies that would move from ‘the government of people to the administration of things’, but were soon to be devastated to find they would become more akin to parliaments only for socialist parties.

Many anarcho-syndicalists acted in concert with the Bolsheviks during the October insurrection, several prominent anarchists being members of the Military Revolutionary Committee in Petrograd during the storming of the WInter Palace. The syndicalists had supported the idea of Soviets as workers bodies that would move from ‘the government of people to the administration of things’, but were soon to be devastated to find they would become more akin to parliaments only for socialist parties.

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Though they had been influential in the 1905 uprising, at the outbreak of the Russian revolution in 1917 the anarcho-syndicalists found themselves largely unprepared. They had failed to build an organisation of the political maximum that could guide them in their influence upon the working class, preferring to rely upon propaganda alone.

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The Russian anarcho-syndicalists believed in focusing energies upon the industrial proletariat, direct action as a methodology, and the independence of labour movements from political parties.

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25 August, 1918 the First Pan-Russian Conference of Anarcho-Syndicalists was held in Moscow, Russia.

Though belated in forming a national organisation, the anarcho-syndicalist movement would attempt to form a coherent federation.

Within Russia itself the syndicalists would exert more influence than other anarchist tendencies, if we exclude the Nabat in the Ukraine.

From Saccos last letter to his son, Dante: "So son, instead of crying, be strong, so as to be able to comfort your mother...take her for a long walk in the quiet country, gathering wild flowers here and there, resting under the shade of trees...But remember always, Dante, in this play of happiness, don't you use all for yourself only...help the persecuted and the victim because they are your better friends.... In this struggle of life you will find more love and you will be loved."

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On August 23, 1977, the 50th anniversary of the executions, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation that Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names".

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