1934 positions adopted at conference by exiled Russian anarchist-communists in the US and Canada on the matters of war, fascism, bolshevism, the United Front and political prisoners.
Scanned for libcom.org by New York/New Jersey Workers Solidarity Alliance archives.
Resolutions adopted at the Chicago Convention (2-3 Sept, 1934) by the Federation of the Russian Anarchist Communist Groups of USA and Canada.
OUR POSITION TOWARDS WAR of the IMPERIALIST POWERS AGAINST THE U.S.S.R. AND TOWARD WAR IN GENERAL
The USSR due to her entrance into the circle of capitalist states plays the same role as all other states. Since the foundation of the USSR is laid upon the system of hired labour and commodity production, the Union, as the rest of the capitalist states, has need of foreign markets and spheres of political and economical influences. Each of these in turn, inevitably pushes the Union down the path of imperialist policy sand militarism (Witness Georgia and Mongolia).
The regime of the USSR has developed despotism to the highest degree and has destroyed all political freedom of the toiling masses, established state slavery and converted the whole country of Russia into a hard labour prison. The long years of the “building of socialism” justifies in full Bakunin’s statement that “socialism without liberty is slavery and bestiality.”
Therefore, we, the Russian Anarchist-Communists of the USA and Canada, do not concede it possible from any point of view to differentiate the USSR from the general run of state capitalist countries and consequently to apply to it a special gauge, as do the Communists and Socialists. These latter consider the USSR (in spite of all said above) as a country which builds Socialism, and as the “Fatherland” of the workers and peasants. Realising these facts, in case of war involving the Soviet Union, we stand for the conversion of this war into a Social Revolution with the aim to establish Anarchist-Communism.
Our international policy regarding war must not follow the policy of defence of the “right side,” as does the Labour Socialist International, because this policy will lead inevitably to the sad memory of the “patriotism” of past Imperialist war. On the contrary, we must fight against war in general, against combatant sides, against the “defensive” as well as the “offensive.” In case of war, the belligerent powers (i.e. Japan and USSR) must be isolated.
The international proletariat by the various means of direct action must not only restrain their respective governments, their capitalists from supplying belligerent sides with money, provisions and ammunition, but must compel them, by means of an open protest and by means of a general strike to stop immediately bloodshed.
However, in the light of the analysis of the contemporary international situation we come to the conclusion that a war between any two great powers, as for example, between Japan and the USSR due to economic and political interests of other states, cannot be a war of only these two powers. It inevitably will be the beginning of a new international war which will divide the world into two hostile camps. In this case the aim of the international proletariat is to turn the bayonets against their own bourgeoisie and to convert the world war into the world Social Revolution. In such a situation every worker, every honest man must know that the real enemy is in his own country and regulate his revolutionary tactics accordingly.
In concrete, these tactics must consist of an individual and a mass refusal of military service, of strenuous revolutionary and anti-militarist propaganda on the front as well as behind the lines, of individual as well as mass refusal from work in munitions factories, of collective refusal to load, unload and transport military provisions and equipment, of preaching fraternity among the belligerent soldiers, of partial strikes as well as a general strike which is the beginning of a forcible abolition of the existing state and capitalist regime.
The revolutionary proletariat must recognise only one war- the war of labour against capital, the war of freedom against oppression. The participants in this war must include every toiler because only after the victory of international labour over international capital is accomplished will the era of peace and freedom arrive.
OUR POSITION TOWARD A UNITED FRONT FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST WAR AND FASCISM
The regime of the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat” in the USSR has absolutely deprived the country of all political freedom and has established state slavery. The socialists of the Second International also tend toward dictatorship, and practice as do the bourgeoisie, the policy of active opposition to the libertarian, anti-dictatorship, revolutionary workers movement (i.e. in Spain where the Socialists of the Second International were in power, the revolutionary worker’s movement was persecuted by Fascist means.)
Therefore, in the light of these facts, we, the Russian Anarchist-Communists of the United States of America and Canada, consider a United Front with the parties of dictatorial socialism, which is in itself the spiritual father of Fascism, absolutely impossible.
It is possible to talk about a United Front only after a rejection by the Socialist and Communist parties of dictatorship, and after re-establishment of rights in the USSR, the release of all political prisoners and exiles by the Russian Bolsheviks, and the establishment of a United Front in the USSR itself.
Without the fulfillment of these preliminary conditions, a United Front against International Fascism which the Communists and Socialists offer is a lie, covering up the Communist Fascism in the USSR.
Without the fulfillment of these conditions a United Front against exploitation and capitalism throughout the world is a lie, covering up the same dreadful exploitation of the Russian proletariat and defending the most obnoxious kind of capitalism, State Capitalism.
Without the fulfillment of these conditions a United Front for the Liberation of Class Prisoners from capitalist prisons is a lie, for the Communists of all countries justify the despotism in the USSR and with this false justification in mind, they take upon themselves the responsibility for all shootings, imprisonment and exile of all non-partisan Russian revolutionary workers, peasants, Anarchists and Socialists.
A United Front without the fulfilment of these conditions is a lie for the Socialists of the Second International approved and approve, and therefore take upon themselves the responsibility for the Fascist methods of the Spanish Socialists who declared the revolutionary worker’s movement outlawed, who had stifled the workers’ press and by the thousands railroaded revolutionary workers and peasants to the prisons.
A United Front is absolutely necessary, but it can be and will be created only by the militant working class itself through direct action against the state capitalist system. It must be created not only without the political parties of State Socialism and Communism, but directed against them as well, because their full triumph in Russia has led to the establishment of “Red Fascism.”
We are for a war against Fascism. Such a war means first of all, a war against any dictatorship which is the foundation of all Fascism. Therefore, we are for the Social Revolution which will liberate the proletariat and all humanity from the yoke of capitalism and the chains of the state. This social revolution is not only a war against Fascism, but a war for the establishment of anarchist communism.
We are for a United Front of revolutionary workers of the whole world. For us, this United Front means the union of class, revolutionary, and economic organisations of the proletariat, which practice the direct method of struggle and which combat any attempt of political parties to dominate them. We consider, therefore, that it is our sacred duty to create such a United Front and to be in the front ranks of the proletarian army to call upon the workers to join us in the fight first, against the state, capitalism, dictatorship and terror in all countries,- second, for the establishment of libertarian communism.
Strikes, boycotts and other drastic means are our answer to fascist provocation for any dictatorship. Down with any kind of dictatorship, the survivor of barbarism! “Liberty without Socialism,” says Bakunin, ”is privilege and injustice; Socialism without liberty- slavery and bestiality,” therefore, long live the revolutionary struggle of workers and peasants for libertarian communism!
FOR THE FIGHT FOR THE RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS IN USSR
If in the very beginning of the Bolshevik domination and at the time in the civil war in Russia, there as any basis of justification for the policy of terror, every semblance of justification has now vanished. The terror in the USSR during these many years bears already a definitely reactionary character and has long since turned from “red” to “white.”
At present the terror, which from our point of view is always the means of reaction even when it is practiced by the most red revolutionary government, is no longer a means of defence of the revolution as it was first armed. It is a means on monopolistic domination of the Bolshevik party; - a means to preserve political and economic privileges of a new class- Bureaucracy. It is a means of immortalising of political despotism and economic slavery of the workers of the USSR. Therefore, we, Russian Anarchist-Communists, come out with a resolute demand for the re-establishment of all rights in the USSR and for the release of all political prisoners.
We consider it our duty to continue with unremitting energy to expose the Bolshevik despotism before the labouring masses, to call them to protest against the government terror of the USSR and to demand the release of all political prisoners.
The Communists of all countries with the Third International at the head defend and justify terror in the USSR. Consequently they bear the responsibility for it as much as the Russian Bolsheviks. Therefore, we recommend a protest not only against the Bolshevik government but also against all Communist parties and against the Third (Communist) International.
The struggle against the Russian government and the Third International must go under the slogans:
Communists of all countries, you are accomplices in the murders and oppression of thousands of Russian revolutionary workers and peasants!
Communists, open the prison doors for Anarchists, Socialists, and all revolutionists of Russia!
Communists return the usurped freedom before the terrible hour of retaliation arrives,
Workers, demand the release of all political prisoners from the prisons of the USSR. Fight the Bolshevik reaction- the most dangerous and the most depraving!
Labourers of all countries, demand from the Communist parties, Communist workers’ unions of your countries the release of political prisoners and the cessation of terror in the USSR!
AN APPEAL TO ALL
Friends and Fellow workers:
Winter is again knocking at our doors: the cruel, terrible Russian winter, hard enough even for those who have a roof over their heads, who can keep warm, who have food... but a deadly winter for the disinherited, for the exploited, for the persecuted.
Our imprisoned and exiled comrades, whose life is but one endless nightmare of misery and physical and moral torture even in summer, write to us from Soviet Russia letters full of an anguish they can barely hide.
No day passes without the Soviet Government cutting further down the means of subsistence. Deported to farthest and most forsaken unhealthy corners of the country, our exiled friends have to undergo unheard of privations. In the enormous majority of cases, it is impossible for them to find any work, and if they do happen to find employment, they are not paid for it. Frequently, insurmountable difficulties are met within the finding of a room. It is verily a life of hounded beasts in the fullest sense of the word. More than that: many of our comrades, “politically” freed, after long years of imprisonment and exile, continue to be ruthlessly persecuted “economically”: they obtain no right to work, no right to rent a lodging, to obtain assistance of any kind.
... They feed when and how they can and are frequently compelled to sleep in the fields... “I am thinking with horror of the winter that comes”... “My husband is in exile, I do not know what will happen to us, to myself and my children”...”I cannot bear it any longer...I cannot see my children’s sufferings”...
This is what we read in the letters from our exiled friends, from their wives and parents... All of them know that hunger, disease, agony and slow death awaits them, their nearest and dearest ones...
They beg of us not to forget them, not to abandon them, to help them. Our moral and material support remains their sole hope, their only “joys” among the misfortunes and sufferings that have befallen them.
They are numerous, our unhappy friends, banished by a “socialist fatherland” outlawed, condemned to a slow but sure death in the prisons and man forsaken corners of the wide country of theirs.
If we are to help them, however, slightly, we must have money, and still more money. And what is most important- we must have regularly flowing in money, without gaps, without too long intervals. We must be able to send every month, regularly the few dollars to our comrades, that they may keep body and soul together and hope for better days.
We appeal to this effect to all our labour organisations and to all workers and comrades individually.
Do all that is in your powers to help our friends.
Spread broadcast our appeals.
Circulate subscription lists.
Organise concerts, evening parties in favour of Anarchists and Anarchosyndicalists fallen victims of the Bolshevist regime.
Build groups of aid and assistance.
Wherever possible, introduce the system of regular contributions.
Have special anniversaries and collecting days or weeks.
Help-immediate help- is urgently needed. Do it at once, because the more the Stalin reaction grows, the more tragic becomes the state of our comrades.
Left to their own fate, lost in the wilderness of the immense country, friendless and forlorn, without help or support, they are all doomed to perish soon. Many of them are already at the end of their tether.
It is upon you alone, comrades all, that depends their fate and their salvation.
RELIEF FUND OF THE IWMA FOR ANARCHISTS AND ANARCHOSYNDICALISTS IMPRISONED AND EXILED IN RUSSIA.
Send funds to:
“Freie Arbeiter Stimme,” “Russian Fund.”
45 W. 17th St., New York