Kronstadt texts

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mons
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May 9 2010 15:15
Kronstadt texts

Have people come across trotsykist Brian Pearce's article on Kronstadt?: http://www.marx.org/history/etol/writers//pearce/1960/10/1921.html
I'm trying to learn up on the subject, what would be the single best text on it in your opinions? And a rebuttal to the Pearce text, or at least something that deals with the issues it raises would be especially good.
Thanks

- And sorry in advance, i'm sure this subject's been done to death.

Anarcho
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May 10 2010 09:15

The usual Trotskyist rubbish, as repeated to this day and just as wrong....

"Like Trotsky and all other honest observers, he stresses the point that ‘the Kronstadt of 1921 was no longer the Kronstadt of 1917’."

An Anarchist FAQ has a whole appendix on the Kronstadt rebellion. It addresses this issue (and others like it);

Quote:
Academic Israel Getzler investigated this issue and demonstrated that of those serving in the Baltic fleet on 1st January 1921 at least 75.5% were drafted before 1918. Over 80% were from Great Russian areas, 10% from the Ukraine and 9% from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Poland. He argues that the "veteran politicised Red sailor still predominated in Kronstadt at the end of 1920" and presents more "hard statistical data" like that just quoted. He investigated the crews of the two major battleships, the Petropavlovsk and the Sevastopol . . . His findings are conclusive, showing that of the 2,028 sailors where years of enlistment are known, 93.9% were recruited into the navy before and during the 1917 revolution (the largest group, 1,195, joined in the years 1914-16). Only 6.8% of the sailors were recruited in the years 1918-21 (including three who were conscripted in 1921) and they were the only ones who had not been there during the 1917 revolution. [Getzler, Kronstadt 1917-1921, pp. 207-8]

In short, the Leninist claims on Kronstadt have not stood the test of time -- perhaps unsurprisingly as they were lies or just attempts to justify the repression.

Black Badger
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May 10 2010 13:03

The single best text is Avrich.

ernie
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May 10 2010 17:57

Avrich is good. However, I would like to suggest the following articles which give a Left Communist perspective;
The Lessons of Kronstadt

slothjabber
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May 10 2010 20:10

Link not working for some reason there ernie.

I have Ida Mett's text, and it's not exactly the only one you'll ever need but I don't know that there's anything really wrong with it.

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playinghob
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May 10 2010 21:11

http://libcom.org/library/1921-kronstadt-proletarian-spin-russian-revolution-cajo-brendel

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Steven.
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May 10 2010 21:21

there are loads of texts here:
http://libcom.org/tags/kronstadt

Wellclose Square
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May 11 2010 09:17

I've got Ida Mett's - pretty sound, as I remember.

Mike Harman
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May 11 2010 10:29

edit: no that's a different thing which is already in the library, I think I was thinking of a book, never mind.

kuro
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May 11 2010 12:40

I found the chapter on Kronstadt in Voline's 'Unknown Revolution' inspiring

Dylans
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May 19 2010 12:50

I thought the back and forth debates between Victor Serge and Trotsky were illuminating.. Also Emma Goldman "Trotsky protests too much". The world is a better place for having Emma Goldman pass through.

Dylans
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May 19 2010 12:58

For a particularly despicable example of the Trotskyist left acting like Stalin in smears and lies check out Abbie Bakan "A tragic necessity." if you can stomach her.

I mean really bad stuff. They were anti semites. They were all dumb peasants. The worst is the playing down of the executions.

Quote:
Tragic beyond a doubt-about 600 of the Kronstadt sailors who rebelled against Bolshevik rule were killed in the events, and some 2,500 were taken prisoner. Among the dead were undoubtedly some who were unilaterally killed in the very final stages of the military conflict.
But this number pales against the list of casualties among the loyal Bolshevik defenders of the young workers' state who were killed at the hands of the Kronstadt rebel forces. The number of dead, wounded and missing is conservatively estimated at 10,000, including among the dead some 15 delegates to the Bolsheviks' Tenth Party Congress.

2500 executed becomes "some"

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Entdinglichung
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May 19 2010 13:39

self-criticism from a non-dogmatic trotskyist, who rejects Trotsky's formula of a "tragic necessity" and speaks of unjustifiable atrocities: http://www.lcr-lagauche.be/cm/index.php?view=article&id=573:en-mars-1921-kronstadt&option=com_content&Itemid=53 (from 2003, it seems to me that this position is shared by most adherents of the "Mandelite Fourth International")

Dylans
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May 19 2010 13:51

Thanks for that.I think Serge gives an honest and critical account of those events by a bolshevik.

Wellclose Square
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May 19 2010 16:55

I know this isn't a text, but I'll throw this into the mix anyway -

http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/deshevovs-opera-ice-steel-28042009

It's about an opera composed in the Stalin era about the Kronstadt uprising. It had a short performance history because the composer was considered to have an ambivalent attitude towards the subject.

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playinghob
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May 19 2010 20:33

Maggots and Men - The Movie

Showing at the Pogo Cafe, 76 Clarence Rd, Hackney, E5 8HB

Monday May 31st 730

In the style of a Soviet Propaganda film Maggots and Men recounts the tragic events of the Kronstadt Uprising (Russia, 1921). This history is combined with fictionalized inter-personal relationships between the sailors. There is a strong emphasis on the filmmaking process to be a positive, affirming experience and an opportunity for people in the trans community to meet each other and work together. For the group scenes we recruited large numbers of people, documenting as many trans folks on film as possible. Maggots and Men is set in all male environment of a Russian Naval Base then cast with actors from a range of masculine gender expressions, thus redefining male, challenging the binary gender construct,and intentionally creating confusion. This film comes out of an ongoing dialogue surrounding the hierarchy of "maleness" that exists and the longing for our genders to be inconsequential to our acceptance. We will bring these dialogues into the filmmaking process and together produce a film that makes a strong anti-war statement with the actors representing themselves as sexy, politicized, and beautiful heroes defending themselves against a corrupt government.

http://homepage.mac.com/gowithflo/krondweb/kstills.html

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Joe Hell
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May 20 2010 21:09

http://libcom.org/library/the-kronstadt-uprising-ida-mett

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Demogorgon303
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May 21 2010 09:51

The correct (I hope) link to the article Ernie tried to link to earlier:

http://en.internationalism.org/specialtexts/IR003_kron.htm

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devoration1
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Jul 21 2010 02:44

Understanding Kronstadt:

http://en.internationalism.org/ir/104_kronstadt.html

The above article has a very good critique of Voline's analysis.

Battlescarred
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Jul 22 2010 11:52

So the mask slips. The anarchists serve the interests of the world bourgeoisie. Just like old times, eh? Alrigt this was written in 2001, but do you still subscribe to these views?
The counterrevolution led by the Bolsheviks didn't ttake a protracted amount of time, it started almost immediately after October, with the dispersal of the revolutionary regiments, the killing of Grachov in November, the assault on the anarchists in Moscow and other centres in June 1918 , the killing of Petrenko, Panteleev etc. In fact much of this was as Machiavellian as Volin says.He himself was imprisoned by the Cheka and barely escaped with his life. Do you still subscribe to the idea that there were many reactionary elements at work at Kronstadt, when my understanding would be that they were minimal? ( and only exacerbated in certain quarters after the defeat of the revolt)
Enlightenment, please
Oh and yes, the AF truthfully said that they were influenced by the ideas of the .KAPD. That doesn't mean we accept everything they said and did uncritically. They were wrong about Kronstadt, just as many foreign anarchists were initially unaware of the nature of Bolshevism.

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Alf
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Jul 22 2010 17:55

We might formulate some things differently now, but where does the 2001 article say that the anarchists serve the world bourgeoisie? In any case, we have never denied that the anarchists were able to be right on some key questions, against the dominant views in the Bolshevik party at certain moments. What the article argues is that anarchism does not provide a method for understanding how Kronstadt could have come about; it also says that this lack of method was a weakness which was to have fatal consequences with regard to the capacity of anarchism to resist the pressure of the ruling class, as in Spain - but also with regard to the bourgeoisie's campaigns against the Russian revolution: we would still argue that visceral anti-Bolshevism makes it very difficult for the anarchists to take a clear stand both against the classical bourgeois slanders against the revolution and the apologies for the degeneration of Bolshevism and for Stalinism.
"Reactionary elements at work in Kronstadt". Again this phrase is misleading. Yes there were some reactionary elements at work inside the Kronstadt revolt, but they were indeed "minimal" in that they didn't alter the proletarian character of the revolt. At the same time there is no doubt that the White forces on the outside were doing all they could to 'claim' Kronstadt; this certainly added to the huge fog of confusion surrounding the events and was what seems to have been behind the KAPD's initially mistaken view of the revolt.

Battlescarred
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Jul 23 2010 09:41

“Unfortunately, for the anarchists, the first of the lessons coincides very closely with the prevailing ideol¬ogy of the world bourgeoisie, that a communist revolution can only lead to a new form of tyranny.
This coincidence of views between the anarchists and the bourgeoisie isn't accidental. Both measure history ac¬cording to the abstractions of equality, solidarity and fra¬ternity against hierarchy, tyranny and dictatorship. The bourgeoisie used these moral principles cynically and hypocritically against the October Revolution to justify the brutality of the counter-revolutionary forces between 1918 and 1920 when it led armed interventions against Russia and blockaded it eco¬nomically. The anarchists' practical alternative to Bolshevism on the other hand is a naive utopia where the historical difficulties that the proletarian revolution had to confront have mysteriously melted away”
Although in another ICC text we have anarchists as ideologists of the petit bourgeoisie rather than coincidental with those of the world bourgeoisie.
“Despite the fact that those ideologists of the petit bourgeoisie, the anarchists, claim Kronstadt as their revolt,…”
And I really don't follow how a " misunderstanding" about how Kronstadt could have come about leads on logically to the debacle on Spain,

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Alf
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Jul 23 2010 10:23

The "coincidence of views" is not saying that the anarchists have all become active agents of the bourgeoisie. Neither is it incompatible with the view of anarchists as being influenced by petty bourgeois ideology. However, as I have said elsewhere the problem in some previous texts we have written is that they tend to reduce historical anarchism to an expression of the petty bourgeoisie rather than defining it as essentially a current of the workers' movement.

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JoeMaguire
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Jul 23 2010 10:34
Alf wrote:
The "coincidence of views" is not saying that the anarchists have all become active agents of the bourgeoisie. Neither is it incompatible with the view of anarchists as being influenced by petty bourgeois ideology. However, as I have said elsewhere the problem in some previous texts we have written is that they tend to reduce historical anarchism to an expression of the petty bourgeoisie rather than defining it as essentially a current of the workers' movement.

That is a pretty big reduction and I wasn't aware that the ICC overhauling their political tradition.

Battlescarred
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Jul 23 2010 10:45

I'm sorry, it's a big leap from being ideologists of the petit bourgeoisie to being a current within the workers movement with whom the ICC can cooperate with.

Battlescarred
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Jul 23 2010 10:48

You must understand that I am asking these questions not for the sake of petty point scoring but for clarification

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Alf
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Jul 23 2010 12:22

Understood. But the leap isn't quite as big as you imply. We have always argued that anarcho-syndicalism, for example, began as a 'current in the workers' movement' as can be seen from the series of articles we published on it (and 'revolutionary syndicalism', industrial unionism, etc) in the International Review. We have had a tendency to write it off after the Spanish experience or the second world war, but recent debates have shown that this was also reductionist, since while some groups did 'betray', there are today a number of clearly internationalist groups who have descended from this tradition. We are looking at other anarchist currents in a similar way.