1. The Soviet State: Myths and Realities (1917-21)

Submitted by libcom on July 30, 2005

The Russian Revolution of 1917 struck a heavy blow at radicality. The advent of a 'socialist' regime throughout the length and breadth of the Russian Empire more or less overwhelmed every other form of revolutionary thought or action.

The prestige of the Bolsheviks was so great that it completely overshadowed all notions of radicality. For they succeeded in imposing their new revolutionary creed and in obtaining the allegiance of millions of workers throughout the world.

By way of historical simplification we may say that Bolshevik dogma maintained its absolute ascendancy for about half a century. In terms of ideas, this corresponds to what is known as Marxism-Leninism, i.e. Marxism as re-interpreted and brought up to date by Lenin and his followers. politically speaking or, more exactly, in terms of Realpolitik, this dogma was incarnated in the actions and decisions of the leaders of the Soviet Union. It is of little importance that, in the first phases of the Revolution, they made use of the specialized apparatus of the Communist International (or Comintern) or that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, their enormous prestige enabled them to do without this institution. What is important is that they were perceived as spokesmen for world revolutionary consciousness.

This blind confidence was inevitably troubled by a number of rude shocks: the trials of the old Bolsheviks, Khrushchev's revelations at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) following the so-called de-Stalinization. Yet the edifice remained intact right up to the middle of the 1960s. At that moment a new generation of revolutionaries began to attract attention in Western Europe and North America (and, to a lesser extent, in Latin America): a generation which gave birth to the anti-authoritarian left in Germany, to generalized confrontation in France (with its recurrent outbreaks since May 1968), the various hippy, yippy, freaks and Students for a Democratic Society movements in the United States, not to mention specific groups (women, racial or cultural minorities, homosexuals, etc.). For the last ten years or so, this generation has been stirring up convulsions throughout modern society that have seriously shaken what is conveniently known as Western civilization, its political systems, its social and even its mental structures. It is seeking other frames of reference for its radicality than orthodox communism, which it looks on as being just as bogged down in exploitation and injustice as Western-style capitalism.

The elaboration of a new radical theory inevitably involves the critique of the semi-secular myth the Soviet State has come to represent. While, until now, this critique was confined to the moral sphere (Russian communists were reproached with Stalin, the concentration camps, anti-semitism, stifling dictatorship) or else to economic questions (critics are still waiting for the economic miracle, welfare is greater and more generalized in the United States), from the 1960s on it has turned its attention to the social foundations of the Soviet regime. The results of this global critique were spectacular: in the space of ten years (1965-1974 roughly) communist parties ceased to attract those who aspire to revolution. Conversely, a new bourgeoisie (composed of skilled workers, white-collar workers and middle-rank executives, teachers, journalists and writers, scientific research-workers ...), attracted by communism's technocratic promises, have slipped quite comfortably into the mould.

On the other hand those who are attracted by the revolutionary phenomenon no longer suffer the pangs of false consciousness as did their fathers, typified by the hesitations of a Sartre or the uncertain meanderings of 'fellow travelers'. Today's radicals, even if not always sure around which political sect they should gather, are uninhibited and unambiguous in their judgment of historical communism. In this respect, the generation of the 1960s and 70s has made a clean break with the past; spontaneously, it has rediscovered a radical tradition which, however much it may have been masked by the image of the 'official' revolution, has never ceased to exist. Our concern here is to retrace this tradition of criticism of Bolshevism, of the Russian Revolution and of the Soviet State: its development will enable us to grasp more fully the expression of a radicality that is not always aware of its own antecedents.

In reality, the origins of this radicality are twofold: anarcho-populism and dissident Marxism. Before discussing them in detail it is worth making use of the recent historical research on the subject to take a look at the three myths which enabled the Soviet upper class to identify its rule with radicality: the soviets, the self-management and the consensus of the working masses.

The three myths and their history

The soviets

The soviets, or councils, occupy a central place in the saga of communism. They represent the necessary link between the Bolsheviks and the masses, the legitimization of their power. The history of the Russian Revolution as told in Soviet textbooks takes place in two phases: the rising of the masses against tsarist oppression, then against Kerensky's bourgeois democracy, engendered a process of radicalization of which the Bolsheviks were both inspirers and spokesmen, preparing the ground for the second phase of the revolution, October 1917.

In other words, the communists perceive an historical and theoretical continuity between the autonomous origins of the councils and the Leninist theory of the State, a view which is held even by the anti-Stalinist Marxist-Leninists. (1)

This misrepresentation of the true course of events was essential in order to paper over the divergences between the masses and Bolshevik policy insofar as the Bolsheviks claimed, and still do claim, to incarnate the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was vital to create harmony between Party and masses. But this version of the history of the Russian Revolution contains a double mystification. On the one hand, there was not one type of soviet, but two quite distinct types. The first made its appearance in Russia in 1905, and we find traces of it up to May 1907. These were councils that had arisen spontaneously out of the January-February 1905 strike. We may say that these soviets largely expressed the self-action of the Russian proletariat. Then there were the Russian soviets of 1917, followed by their central European counterparts. In Russia, at least, their emergence was supervised, provoked even, by all those bustling around the revolution in one capacity or another: politicians, trade unionists, journalists, adventurers and demagogues.

The emergence of councils at the beginning of 1905 cannot be isolated from the overall history of the Russian workers' movement. While it is true that their organization was utterly independent of Bolshevik ideology or the Party (and of any other party for that matter) ( 2 ), their roots go back to the institution of workers' delegates elected at the time of the first great strikes at the end of the nineteenth century. Paradoxically, the institutionalization of these delegates very frequently corresponded with the wishes of, and even resulted from, the initiatives of employers and police. A police report of 1901 even envisaged the setting up of permanent delegate committees mandated to negotiate with the employer and factory inspector. By this means, it was thought, it would be possible to channel workers' discontent which, if expressed anarchically, was liable to break out in uprisings and revolts. The paradox is only apparent, for it is always easier to nobble a few delegates than to deal with a mass of angry workers.

On the other hand, workers in a firm were obviously not very enthusiastic about those delegates who enjoyed the approval of the boss and the police chief. As a result they preferred to place their trust in clandestine resistance fund officers (these date from around 1870-80 in Russia), and delegates elected spontaneously on the occasion of a strike.

It should be pointed out here that until 1905 delegates, whether official or clandestine, and both permanent and ad hoc committees limited themselves to material demands. It was after the Days of February 1917 that slogans became political and, at Petrograd, took on an anti-tsarist colouring. To restore calm, the authorities set up the Shidlovski Commission to look into the causes of the discontent. Workers were invited to take part in the Commission's work, and a special electoral college was established on their behalf. Thus, the idea of central representation for the workers took shape as a result of a government initiative. (3) Although the Shidlovski Commission failed, the idea continued to develop and workers' councils soon emerged, bringing together elected delegates in the factories. (4)

According to a variety of matching accounts, the 1905 soviets arose absolutely spontaneously and were independent of any external 'initiatives'. The popularity of these soviets among the masses derived largely from the absence of political agitators and party representatives in their midst. They expressed the workers' political and economic demands in a situation where trade unions were non-existent and where the parties had little real influence over the masses. In rural areas, the peasant delegate soviets frequently turned out to be neither more nor less than the old village assemblies (skhod). (5)

These features of workers' councils persist throughout the period of revolutionary agitation which lasted from 1905 to 1907. The situation was quite different in 1917. Although the February strikes were completely spontaneous (both the Putilov strikes on the 18th and the general strike on the 25th), the councils did not arise directly out of them as they had done twelve years earlier. This time they resulted from the combined efforts of politicians and workers' leaders.

Alongside this, and at the same moment, i.e. between 23 and 27 February 1917, the politicians of the Duma Committee and the members of the Workers' Group sitting on the Central Committee for the War Industries (an employers' and State organization), attempted to organize elections in Petrograd for a Central Soviet. The impetus for this came from the latter group, which installed itself in the Tauride Palace on 27 February and set up a provisional executive committee of the council of workers' delegates, to which committee several socialist leaders and members of parliament attached themselves. It was this committee which called upon workers and soldiers to elect their representatives. This explains why, when the first Provisional Soviet met that very evening, it still contained no factory delegates! (6)

As we have seen, the 1917 soviets were neither an entirely spontaneous nor a completely original institution. It would be a mistake to think, however, that they were imposed from above: the idea of a central workers' council was in the air, and was widely favoured by workers and soldiers. What had changed was the way the parties now assessed this institution. Seeing in them a springboard to power, they wooed the councils from all sides, which explains why the intellectuals acquired decisive influence in the Petrograd Soviet and why this Soviet so rapidly lost contact with the masses. (7) Following the October Revolution, all the different tendencies of socialism were favourable to the councils, and this retroactively. But in reality the rapprochement between the Bolsheviks (limiting ourselves to them alone) and the soviets was a laborious process, involving tactical moves that were fully re-examined and constantly amended.

To begin with, in the spring of 1905, the Leninists rejected the soviets out of hand. Between spring and autumn, this hostility changed to mistrust, a mistrust that characterized Bolshevik dealings with all independent proletarian organizations. The Party was even incapable of devising a doctrine capable of gaining unanimous support; (8) at best they paid lip-service to the councils, at worst they heaped abuse on them. (9) Lenin himself was unable to form a coherent judgment: when the Petrograd Soviet acquired a measure of political leadership, the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party demanded that the Soviet adopt its programme, arguing that the latter was incapable of implementing a politically proletarian line. Even though it emanated from the capital's proletariat, it was being called upon to become a 'technical apparatus' of the Party, and the Party even went so far as to oppose the formation of the Saratov Soviet in November 1905.(10)

Lenin did, however, fully grasp the importance of the soviets from the point of view of revolutionary power. Despite misgivings, he learned the lessons of 1905 and imposed on his Party the task of introducing its authority into the Petrograd Soviet. As early as November 1905 he began laying the foundations for his 1917 strategy; as he himself pointed out, the workers' delegates were essential to a victorious insurrection. But he had no illusions concerning their permanence, for the victorious revolution would necessarily give rise to other bodies, and the councils could even come to be seen as redundant.

The old doubts reappeared in 1917, with Lenin still absent from the scene; Molotov's programme, drawn up on 28 February, did not even mention the soviets. On his arrival in Petrograd, Lenin astonished everyone with his slogan: 'All power to the soviets'. But, from the outset, he had identified the revolution with the seizing of power by his Party. The slogan he was now propagating with such vehemence was of a purely tactical nature. As if additional proof were needed, see the Bolsheviks' sudden volte-face after the events of 3-5 July 1917, organized under their auspices and designed to force the Petrograd Soviet's hand into seizing power. When the latter refused, the Bolsheviks resumed their old hostility to the institution of the soviets, calling them 'puppets, devoid of real power'. (11)

Thereupon, the Bolsheviks changed their line to 'Power to the poor workers and peasants in order to carry out the Party programme'. Nevertheless, it was also proposed to win the councils round from the inside. When the capital's council regained popularity after repulsing Kornilov's attacks, the Bolsheviks returned to their old slogan of 'All power to the soviets', at the end of September. This time, it was for good, especially now that Lenin's partisans had won a majority inside the councils.

Power was seized in the name of the latter: the Party gave power to the soviets and thus established its superiority over them. They now served merely to confer legal form on the Party's power.

As early as December 1917, Maxim Gorky was able to write in the newspaper Novaia Zizn (no. 195, 7 December 1917) that the revolution was not attributable to the soviets, and that the new republic was not one of councils, but of peoples' commissars. What follows is history: the councils were institutionalized by the July 1918 constitution, which voided them of all content. This was a superfluous precaution insofar as the Bolsheviks already had complete control over them. (12)

If the councils were still an independent expression of the Russian proletariat in the course of 1917, they only were so partially and ephemerally. Contrary to what happened in 1905, they became the scene of factional and partisan in-fighting: they were fought over partly for their historical prestige and partly for their real leading revolutionary role. The Bolsheviks played their hand masterfully in this struggle. They were unequalled as tacticians, but it would be presumptuous and a perversion of the simple historical truth to try to set them up as the defenders of the soviets if one sees in the latter the expression of the struggling masses.

Workers' control and self-management

The history of workers' control in Russia is contained within the period from spring 1917 to spring 1918. The component parts of this year's exploits were to become the basis of a universal myth and to serve as an example to future revolutionaries.

From the viewpoint of radicality, the history of workers' control is especially important, for the assumption of responsibility for production by the producers themselves is the hard core of its programme and its aspirations. Yet, in fact, the subject is obscured by a twofold ambiguity, semantic on the one hand, political on the other. Terminologically, the word 'control' in 'workers' control' gives rise to confusion when it is not clearly distinguished from the word 'self-management' (or 'workers' management'). In this way, the English workers' control and the Russian rabochii kontrol' can signify both the assumption of responsibility for management by the workers and the control of this management, even if its reality does not lie in their hands. For greater clarity, we ought to employ the terms self-management or workers' management (rabochii upravlenia in Russian).

If this ambiguity was not cleared up, at least in Russia, this is because it did itself derive from the political ambiguity surrounding the very essence of power in socialist society.

There can be no doubt that the majority of Bolsheviks were doctrinally opposed to workers' management, a typically federalist and anti-Jacobin institution. Marxist orthodoxy in this domain called for State production linked to a decision-making centre situated at the top of the pyramid. The Bolsheviks made no bones about their advocacy of this conception right up to the eve of the February 1917 revolution, after which they became less open about it. The Mensheviks, on the other hand, never abandoned this orthodoxy and systematically defended the unions (as economic bodies subservient to the political leadership of the Party) as against the representative institutions of the independent power of the workers such as they appeared in Russia. (13)

If, as does the author, one starts from the view that the prime objective of the Bolsheviks was the conquest of power at the summit and that, in order to attain this, they were prepared to adopt tactics (or even a strategy) at variance with their ideological principles, then their attitude towards workers' management seems fairly clear.

Just as Lenin very early on (as early as November 1905) saw in the soviets an institution charged with enormous revolutionary potential, so workers' management and the institutions which expressed it were perceived as a worthy means of furthering the end.

One should not forget that doctrinal lapses were not uncommon within the Bolshevik Party: the most flagrant example of this was their agrarian programme, which Lenin lifted, lock, stock and barrel, from the social revolutionaries. The slogan,'The land to the peasants', was in blatant contradiction with the Party's programme and Marxist doctrine, which called for the nationalization of all land. The reason why it was so easy to ignore principles was, of course, that in a country whose population was four-fifths peasant, it would have been impossible to carry out a revolution without their support. And so the Bolsheviks turned to the peasants, thereby legitimizing the 'petit-bourgeois' programme of the despised populists.

The Machiavellianism of this compromise was justified, in the eyes of the Bolsheviks, by the observation that the peasant class was not revolutionary in essence, but bourgeois. One could thus make use of it as a temporary ally, turning against it when it had served its purpose. The working class, on the other hand, was represented as the motive force of history: it would have been rather more difficult to compromise over that. Surely any deceit was liable to look like a betrayal of revolutionary goals?

And yet, in 1917, the Russian working class was undeniably imbued with the idea that justice required that the bosses be driven out of their factories and that the working class take their place. What coherent Marxist, what effective revolutionary would haggle over that kind of demand?

Which is why the Bolsheviks went along with this line, all the more so in that the left social revolutionaries and various brands of anarchist were vigorously propagating it. But, so as not to appear to have betrayed the working class once power had been conquered, the Bolsheviks took refuge in ambiguity. This took several forms: they came out in favour of workers' control without specifying its exact content; they allowed the various currents in the party free (and contradictory) expression on the subject. By following this flexible tactic one may hope to discover a thread of coherence -defined in terms of the social nature of Bolshevik power.

The way one accounts for the attitude of the Bolsheviks toward workers management and factory committees depends upon whether one looks at the period preceding the 25 October insurrection or the subsequent period.

The factory committees (fabzavkomii) (14) emerged in the wake of the January-February 1917 strikes. They mushroomed throughout Russia, taking on the role of workers' representation inside the factory. Their numerical and political importance grew to the point where the Provisional Government was obliged to regulate their existence and their functions. (15) The decree dated 23 April 1917 limited their role to that of the present-day house committee, backed by a trade union chapel: their legal competence covered such questions as the length of working day, wages, disputes and cultural and social problems.

It goes without saying that this limitation was a dead letter: in the revolutionary upheaval of the period, the establishment of the fabzavkomii filled a gap and expressed the aspirations of the workers to self-management. This explains why the committees became controlling elements in cases where the employer remained, but took over the management function in those instances where the old management had disappeared. (16)

The role of the committees expanded throughout 1917 as the soviets increasingly lost contact with the mass of workers and stuck to political programmes proclaimed in advance.

The Bolsheviks were naturally interested in these revolutionary bodies and conquered them from within more easily and earlier than in the case of the councils, inasmuch as the fabzavkomii were still free of any massive partisan intrusion. But they implanted themselves in the regional (subsequently national) coordinating bodies, which themselves had little influence over the local and factory committees. Thus, at the first conference of the Petrograd factory committees (30 May-5 June 1917), the Bolsheviks already possessed a majority, and the radicality of their slogans competed with those of the revolutionary left. They cunningly called for 'workers' control' in opposition to the Mensheviks and the social revolutionaries, without ever stating very clearly what they meant by it.

The first all-Russian conference of factory committees (17-22 October 1917) confirmed Bolshevik ascendancy still further. Despite a change of tone among certain Leninist delegates hoping to push the trade unions to the fore, Lenin, on the eve of the conquest of power, heightened the revolutionary role of the committees, 'these insurrectional bodies'. (17)

While the conference concluded that workers' control was essential, it did so cautiously and with reference to its own power, stigmatizing moreover the 'control of workers over the factories in which they work'. (18)

It will be observed that the Bolsheviks' slogans prior to the October insurrection contained the same ambiguity as did State and Revolution, written by Lenin in August 1917. On the one hand, they have an anarcho-syndicalist colouring, going as far as calling for the destruction of the State in one case and, on the other, entrusting the management of the economy to the masses themselves, organized in factory committees. But in neither case was the commitment total; the sincerity of faith does not exactly burst through. These radical statements were peppered with conditional clauses and safeguards which voided them of all meaning. The tactical need to 'keep one's ear to the groundswell of the masses', in Lenin's own words, did not fully convince militants confident in their own political education, feeling they had nothing further to learn, not even from that most outstanding school -- revolutionary agitation.

The second period, beginning on 25 October 1917, was inaugurated still under the influence of this ambiguity, but this was to dissipate gradually. The exercise of power was to make everything clear enough. The management of production by the workers was one of the goals of the struggle, proclaimed by the Military Revolutionary Committee on 25 October 1917. That same day, the second congress of the soviets (in which the Bolsheviks held the majority) solemnly approved the decision to establish genuine workers control while specifying, however, that this meant controlling the capitalists and not confiscating their factories. (19)

Shortly afterwards, the draft decree on workers' control, drawn up by Lenin, was published. Visibly moved by a desire to conciliate the masses, Lenin introduced workers' control into all enterprises employing more than five workers. While legalizing a defacto situation he provided for the annulment of decisions taken by the fabzavkomy, the 'congresses and the trade unions' and made the workers' delegates answerable to the State for the maintenance of order and discipline within the enterprise. (20)

This plan, which already marked a step backwards by comparison with the existing situation in certain factories, was still further watered down before being published in its final form on 14 November 1917. In its definitive version, the decree laid down that factory committees should be subordinate to a local committee on which would sit representatives of the trade unions; the local committees themselves would depend upon a hierarchy crowned by an All-Russian Workers' Control Council. Moreover, as Pankratova notes, this did not imply workers' management such as the anarchists had called for, but the supervision and control of production and prices.

So, in mid-November, we find ourselves on the one hand with a decree which, while legally introducing workers' control, limits it and clips its wings, and on the other hand with a situation where numerous factories are already effectively being managed by the workers themselves or their representatives. Since the insurrection, workers' management has even taken a real leap forward, which can be accounted for as much by the flight of a good many employers as by the ambiguous attitude of the new authorities.

The battle for workers' management was therefore not yet entirely lost, especially since there was a powerful movement in favour of imposing it, with spokesmen even among the Bolsheviks. Given the existence of this tendency, we are faced with two possible interpretations of the decree of 14 November.21 The first concludes in favour of workers' power at the base; this was expressed by the Petrograd Central Council of Factory Committees. The other distinguishes between the function of control on the one hand, and of management and leadership on the other. The latter function is reserved for the owner or the director of the enterprise. This was the interpretation given by the All-Russian Workers' Control Council in which, as we have seen, the trade unions had already carved out a place for themselves out of all proportion to their real importance.

The last word came, paradoxically, from the first all-Russian trade union congress (7-14 January 1918). It should be pointed out here that, even in the Bolsheviks' view, workers' management was becoming a practice and an ideology rooted in the working masses of the large towns and that, rightly or wrongly, the latter expected a great deal from it. (22) Furthermore, spokesmen for the official doctrine of the party, the one approved by Lenin, asked the factory committees to torpedo themselves and to become an integral part of the union structure, entirely in the hands of the Bolsheviks.

Despite resistance by the anarcho-syndicalists, the congress voted overwhelmingly for the transformation of factory committees into rank-and-file trade union organizations.

Lozovsky, the future boss of the Russian trade unions, gives the ideological justification for this. Both at the congress in January 1918 and in a pamphlet (Raboch ii kon trol') he set out the reasons for his hostility to worker's management. It would introduce 'anarchy into the production process' and would bring about a return to outmoded phases of capitalist production. Along with Lenin, he called for the 'nationalization' of the workers' movement and the regulation of the economy from the top, the centre in fact. To this end he requested the reintroduction of hierarchy into factories, suggesting that the trade unions could serve as guarantors for this.

There was nothing new in this position at the beginning of 1918, except that the Bolsheviks now proclaimed it officially. It was in line with the statist, Jacobin interpretation of Marxist theory of the social democrats; it accorded perfectly with their own aspirations for a strong, centralized power exclusively in their hands. Also, it had never really been completely masked by the hasty slogans -- alien to their system -- that the Bolsheviks had seen fit to adopt periodically for tactical reasons. Thus, Lenin had never made much of a secret of the fact that he saw workers' control as a 'prelude to nationalizations' or that an accountable administration should exist alongside the factory committees.23 Furthermore, certain Bolsheviks had already called for the absorption of the factory committees into the trade unions even before the October insurrection. (24)

The trade unions being brandished against the factory committees were only of recent origin in Russia. By contrast, the fabzavkomy were heirs to an ancient tradition of delegation, of 'elders' (starosty), in short, of legal or clandestine workers' representation, whereas trade union organizations had been stimulated into life by the parties and were, as a result, battlefields in the struggle for influence between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. At the moment of the conquest of power, the latter found themselves masters of the trade unions, still poorly represented in the factories. The conflict between unions and factory committees is therefore between a largely bureaucratic structure, without any real base, and the direct organs of political and economic struggle of the industrial proletariat.

This unequal match ended to the detriment of workers' management. After the trade union congress in January 1918, and after putting up a feeble resistance, the Central Council of Factory Committees was absorbed by the 'economic committees' of the North (March 1918). With this last bastion of workers' management laid low, all there remained to do was to nationalize industry while handling over the management of the nationalized firms to their old owners (decree dated 28 June 1918). Workers' control was thereby definitively subordinated to the soviet (regional or national) of the national economy (sovnarhoz). It was now up to workers' control to decide upon output, production norms and labour discipline. As for management, there was a return to individual decision-making, though with the assistance of a management committee, two-thirds of which consisted of members designated by the supreme regional council of the national economy, while the other third was elected by factory workers who were also enrolled union members. (25)

Subsequently, the avatars of the Russian workers' movement fell into the clutches of internecine strife between rival bureaucracies: following an attempt to militarize labour (Trotsky ardently defended this measure), a bitter struggle arose between the leaders of the trade union apparatus and their Party counterparts. This is what the Workers' Opposition episode, finally defeated at the Tenth Congress of the CPSU (Bolsheviks) by the central political machine, was all about. (26) One should not be misled by titles: the Workers' Opposition was merely the name of a Bolshevik fraction that happened to wield power in the union apparatus and not of some free opposition emanating from the proletariat. If the latter was still in existence it was manifesting itself at the same moment, but in a very different manner -- in revolts in the country side and in the Kronstadt rising, which the Workers' Opposition delegates hastened to crush on the ice-floes of the Gulf of Finland.

Opposition of the masses to Bolshevik power

The third cardinal myth upon which Marxist-Leninists have constructed their revolutionary hagiography is that concerning the supposedly unanimous support which the rural and urban proletariat accorded its new masters.

All coercive, unjust or harsh measures were reputedly taken by the commissars by virtue of some fictitious consensus of opinion uniting the workers of the towns with the poor peasants. Every expulsion, every internecine struggle for power, and every upset at the summit took place in the name of a proletariat which each protagonist claimed to represent. In any case, traitors were always to be found outside the working class, which was supposed to be massively behind its leaders.

This unanimity was merely a facade. And yet Bolshevik historians have rather tended to neglect the question of collective opposition to communist power. All that remain available are scraps of proofs, hints and eye-witness accounts. At all events, it is not our task here to write the history of this opposition: that would amount to rewriting the history of the Revolution, and there can be no doubt whatever that we are now heading towards a complete revision of the historiographical axioms we have been living on for the past half-century. Suffice it to mention two phenomena which occurred in the period 1917-21 and which bear witness to the distrust, sometimes going as far as open hostility, on the part of rural and urban workers towards the Bolshevik authorities. The two cases in point were the 'Makhnovshchina' on the one hand, and the Kronstadt sailors rising on the other. The first lasted throughout this period, while the second marked the close of it. In many ways March 1921 was a turning point, after which only those who were both credulous and disciplined could continue to accept the Bolshevik vision and version of Russian reality.

The Makhnovshchina was the dual history, military and political, of the revolution in the Ukraine. Militarily, under the command of the anarchist, Nestor Makhno, the insurgent army fought for three years against the pro-German Ukrainian bourgeoisie, then against Petliura's nationalist bourgeoisie and, finally, against the White Generals Denikin and Wrangel, all the while skirmishing with the Red Army.

From a strictly military viewpoint, there can be no doubt that the Ukrainian insurgents saved Greater Russia from a possibly fatal White invasion. The Makhnovisty were a shield against all invaders heading for the north and the north-west, at a time when the Red Army was engaged in other battles -- against Poland or, previously, against the White Russians arriving from the north, the east and the west.

But the military aspect of the Makhnovshchina, however important it may have been in saving the Ukraine, is only of secondary significance so far as we are concerned. For the Makhnovshchina was also the symbol, if not the best-organized manifestation, of political resistance to the penetration of Bolshevik authority into the southern Ukraine. It also provides evidence of the positive aspects of mass organization in the Ukraine in 1917-21. The extension of Bolshevik sovereignty into this region could only result from the defeat of the insurgent army on the one hand, and from the destruction of the institutions of direct democracy set up by the peasants on the other.

When the October insurrection broke out in Petrograd it aroused little reaction in Ukraine, where a revolutionary tidal wave had been sweeping through the country since the days of February. Because the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918) ceded the Ukraine to the influence of the Central Powers, this region remained free from Bolshevik penetration up till the end of the war, in November 1918. For another few months the Bolsheviks lacked sufficient forces to stand in the way of the development of the Ukrainian revolution. It was only in the summer of 1919 that Moscow set about subjecting the Ukraine to its system of government.

For two years, and despite the incessant to-ings and fro-ings of various armies, despite pillage, war and requisitioning, the peasants under the Ekaterinoslav government (sporadically imitated by other regions) were to emancipate themselves from the economic yoke of the great landowners and the kulaks (rich peasants), setting up soviet-style representative bodies constituted on a non-partisan basis.

Makhno was both the symbol of this movement for local independence and its soul. From the moment he returned from prison (at the end of March 1917) he tirelessly set about forming peasant soviets and unions which were administered locally, permitting no outside interference from the central authorities (Kerensky's Provisional Government, the Central Ukrainian Rada, communist People's Commissars, not to mention the Austro-Hungarian or German occupiers). The political role of Makhno and his followers consisted of encouraging the very lively libertarian tendencies of the Ukrainian peoples and of permitting them to express themselves through democratic institutions.

The success of this experiment, despite the hostile conditions, and especially around Gyulai-Polye, Makhno's native village, gives an idea of the degree to which the Bolshevik graft was not taking.

On the strength of their slogans -- the factory to the workers, the land to the poor peasants -- the communists nevertheless arrived with a favourable reputation. But as soon as they were in a position to penetrate into liberated Ukraine, i.e. from autumn 1918 and throughout 1919, the Bolsheviks opposed the land distributions which the peasants, assembled in soviets or in local unions, had already carried out in accordance with the Leninist slogan. Henceforth, the communists sought to gather the peasants into State farms by nationalizing livestock and beet production.

This policy, carried out in an authoritarian manner, was not at all to the liking of peasants who had divided up the land among themselves on a friendly basis and had formed rural communes on their own initiative. In the face of this massive, Greater Russian Jacobin offensive people were naturally tempted to think there had been a change of government: the Bolsheviks (in October 1917) had distributed the land, the communists (a year and a half later) wanted to take it back! (28)

By the summer of 1919, this state of affairs was becoming intolerable to a government seeking to extend its organization and its conception of the revolution to the entire territory. The military agreements with the Makhnovist army were broken and, in June 1919, Trotsky banned the holding of the fourth congress of workers', peasants' and insurgents' delegates which was to have met at Gyulai-Polye.

The insurgent army's riposte was to launch a counter-offensive. With black flags at their head and equipped with a cultural and propaganda section led by Peter Arshinov, the insurgents drove Party and Cheka officials from every town and village through which they passed.

A new push by the White counter-revolutionaries (Denikin and Mamontov) in the course of the summer of 1919 forced the Bolsheviks, whose army was collapsing in the face of the enemy, to make amends to Makhno and to grant him officially an autonomy which he had never in fact yielded. The next few months were to see the flowering of a genuine free republic in southern Ukraine, with peasants and workers applying the decisions voted on by their delegates. It was at this time that the insurgent army reached its peak (at the end of 1919), with some 80,000 men and with heavy equipment.

Then, early in1920, the Denikin threat was repulsed and the Red Army turned on its erstwhile allies. The struggle between Trotsky's soldiers and the libertarian peasants was to last eight months before a fresh agreement was signed, this time in order to halt General Wrangel, who was advancing from the Black Sea. Following the joint victory over the White General in November 1920, the Bolsheviks immediately resumed their hostility to the Ukrainian partisans, treacherously executing most of the Makhnovist officers, and pursuing Makhno and the remnants of his army across the Ukrainian plain right through to midsummer 1921. In August, Makhno crossed the border into Rumania with a handful of men. He subsequently reached Paris, where he died in poverty in 1935.

No doubt we can also explain the Ukrainian peasants' resistance to communist implantation by the history of this people who never entirely gave up resisting those they looked on as invaders: the Greater Russians. But in the final analysis it was the authoritarian, Jacobin and bureaucratic methods of the People's Commissars that repelled these peasants hungry for freedom. Makhno's rather rudimentary libertarian message penetrated rural areas all the more forcefully in that it coincided with a secular desire for land and for self-administration. Lenin's professional revolutionaries had sensed this enough to draw up an extremely liberal nationalities programme and to promise land to the poor peasants: on this point, at least, the latter were not going to allow themselves to be caught out. They demonstrated their hostility to what they called the 'commissarocracy', thus giving the lie to the myth of the unanimous masses standing four-square behind the Bolshevik government.

The Makhnovshchina was but one example of massive and obstinate opposition to the penetration of communist power. Certainly it was one of the best-known and most determined. But, with the establishment of 'War Communism', one observes a spate of revolts put down with the utmost ferocity: peasants were whipped (as in the days of serfdom), and armed detachments carried out mass executions and extorted grain by force.

These uprisings were not always inspired by the White Guards, as communist propaganda liked to claim. They were not even invariably provoked by requisitioning. The opposition was also political in nature: thus, the congress of peasants, called in March 1920 by the Bolsheviks themselves, protested against what they called the government of the peasants by the workers. In early 1920, according to a Cheka report, the revolt covered twenty-two provinces. By February 1921, the Cheka was announcing 118 centres of rebellion.

The most savage but also the most typical revolt occurred in the province of Tambov and lasted for a whole year (summer 1920 to summer 1921). (29) The peasants, organized into a 'peasant workers union' (STK), rose against the Bolshevik yoke, the absence of freedom of speech and of the press. The STK programme called for the 'socialization' of land and sought to distinguish itself from both White Guards and Bolsheviks alike. Contrary to government statements, the movement did not arise at the instigation of the social revolutionaries, the latter in fact being opposed to armed revolt at that particular moment. The central committee of the social revolutionaries even forbade its members to take part in it, and those who did participate (such as the popular leader, A. S. Antonov) did so in a personal capacity.

Throughout the Tambov rising, and before the Bolsheviks intervened massively (February 1921), the province was self-administered by locally elected committees. The Bolshevik Party organization, bereft of mass support, fell apart of its own accord. But the Party, its organization and its Cheka was back in February 1921, riding in the regular army's trucks, having been released by the victories in the Crimea (against Wrangel) and in Poland. Bitter resistance was kept up till July 1921.

The situation was little different in the towns, except that it was harder to organize resistance, especially durable resistance. With strikes forbidden, along with anti-Party gatherings and propaganda, all that has come down to us by way of evidence of popular opposition to the new masters are the vaguest hints and rumours. All the more so because the War Communism period, while forcing the Revolution to close its ranks in the face of the counter-revolution and the external enemy, provided the political leadership with an opportunity of stifling all manifestations of workers discontent.

In the event it was not to be War Communism that would be only a parenthesis in the history of Russian communism but the NEP (the New Economic Policy, introduced by the Tenth Party Congress, in March 1921), which marks a temporary break with Bolshevism's bureaucratic, centralizing rationality, politically incarnated in the winter of 1917. Stalin knew what he was up to when he dusted off Trotsky's plan for the collectivization of land: he thus not only perpetuated the latter's 'genius' but also the Leninist tradition which consists of presenting socialism as the acceleration of history in terms of production and productivity. (30)

The professional revolutionaries who had come to power in October 1917 were concerned to develop Russia's capitalist potential to the utmost, to carry the country farther and faster along the road than the feeble bourgeoisie.

All concrete measures taken once the Revolution had got over its brief period of anarcho-syndicalist demagogy (from the withering away of the State in State and Revolution to the slogans of workers control and land to the peasants) made necessary by the conquest of power in the first place and afterwards by its retention, these brutally and obstinately incarnate the original project. The same may be said of the centralization of political and economic power, of the return to individual leadership in the army and in industry, and of the introduction of piece-work and Taylorism (as brought up to date by the State economists).

These measures represent the general line, the average line, of the Bolshevik project. A variety of tendencies inclined or corrected it in the direction of greater liberalism or severity. The man who drove things to their extreme limits, who was not afraid (with an outspokenness for which his colleagues had neither the courage nor the calibre) to say out loud what many were secretly thinking; the man who, with his curious mixture of fanaticism and a taste for work well done, incarnated all that the worker of the day hated most -- that man was Lev Davidovich Trotsky.

This statement will come as a surprise only to those who are unaware of the history of the early years of the Soviet Republic or who have preferred to ignore it. Historical veracity forces us to recognize that, for as long as he held effective power (roughly till 1923), Lev Davidovich rather represents the right wing of the Party, although the scale of reference is somewhat arbitrary. (31)

At any rate, in 1919, on the strength of his experience as the architect and leader of the Red Army, he attempted to instill a number of principles shared by military men of the period into the Russian economy. Only, contrary to any consistent military doctrine, Trotsky founded his assertions on Marxist ideology. He slated his principles with disarming frankness: at the height of his glory and power he had no hesitation about hammering a few Marxist 'truths' into an audience made up of union and party delegates.

The road to socialism, he declared, runs through the highest possible degree of statism. Like a lamp which bums brightest just before dying out, the State before disappearing, takes on 'the most ruthless form of government imaginable', one which embraces the lives of all its citizens.' (32)

For, in Trotsky's view, population growth was measured in terms of the productivity of man; it would have been unthinkable to construct socialism on the basis of a fall in production. Furthermore, socialist society signified for him 'the organization of workers along new lines, their adaptation to these and their re-education with a view to a constant increase in productivity'. (33)

But this type of organization presupposed forced labour; Trotsky tried to sugar the pill by assuring the worker he was labouring for the State and no longer for some individual. He brushed aside the 'Menshevik' argument that this represented a return to the serfdom of the past by stating that 'under certain conditions, slavery represented progress and led to a rise in production'. (34) And he was convinced that coercive labour in a socialist society would be more productive than the so-called free labour in the bourgeois societies.

In this respect, there can be no ambiguity: for Trotsky, socialism meant 'authoritarian leadership ... centralized distribution of the labour force ... the workers' State [considering itself] entitled to send any worker wherever his work may be needed'. (35)

No government coercion, no socialism. But what form was this coercion to take? There, the 'prophet armed', as the late Isaac Deutscher called him, made no bones about going to the heart of the matter: the militarization of labour. For, apart from the army, no other social organization has felt itself entitled to subject citizens quite so utterly, to dominate them so totally as does the proletarian government. (36) Here then was the model, lying ready for use: the army. This implies that whole regiments would be posted to this or that sector of the economy, that production would henceforth be characterized by the introduction of military-style brigades, discipline and obedience.

Once one has accepted the idea of the militarization of labour -not everyone did so at the time -- it becomes possible to look upon the entire population as a pool of manpower to be counted, mobilized and utilized. Not only does this ensure the necessary supply of labour but it also serves to eliminate the legendary 'laziness' so typical of the Russian people. For the task of social organization consists precisely of confining laziness within a definite framework, of disciplining and goading man by means and methods which he himself has contrived. (37)

Militarization, which is an 'inevitable method of organizing and disciplining manpower'' In the period of transition from capitalism to socialism, implies free use of the war department's machinery for mobilizing the work force, especially in rural areas, where the process will be carried out under the supervision of 'advanced workers'. (38)

To complete the picture, Trotsky proposed to promote the public image of the technical foreman; to introduce (or rather to reintroduce) piece-work and any other system designed to boost output. Taylor's system which, in capitalist society, contributed to the increasing exploitation of workers, did not suffer this disadvantage under socialism. The necessary counterpart of any form of rivalry between workers was to be individual management, of which Lev Davidovich was a determined advocate; he was not in the least impressed with the notion of collegiate management favoured by the trade unions. (39)

To this it should be added that non-work was forbidden in the Trotskyist system. Deserters from the work front were to be 'assembled in disciplinary battalions or else relegated to the concentration camps'. (40)

If Trotsky's proposals for the militarization of labour were not adopted by the Ninth Congress of the CPSU (29 March-April 1920) it was because the left opposition was still too strong. But on the other hand, individual management, the return of bourgeois 'experts' (spehy) to their former posts, and the relegation of the unions to a purely educational role (Trotsky had wanted to turn them into direct instruments of the State in order to increase production) were all accepted by the same congress. Trotsky's ideas were nonetheless partially implemented in the Tsektran organization (the body responsible for the running of the railways), of which he was the first director, and which he ran along strictly military lines. One need hardly add that workers' management was dealt its death blow, as was the popularity of the Red Army Chief. (41)

The winter of 1920-21 saw the last act in this unequal struggle between Party authority and workers' autonomy. Trotsky's notions of industrial management, of political democracy and of daily harassment finally bore fruit in the towns as well. He became the symbol of Bolshevik authoritarianism, as it was he who gave the most fanatical expression to these ideas. The conduct of the workers in the large towns bore witness to the fact that the proletariat did not at all see eye to eye with his definition of socialism. Not by chance was the bloodiest uprising in Soviet history suppressed by the self-same Trotsky.

The Kronstadt revolt was no isolated event. It was one of a series of strikes and street demonstrations which broke out during the winter of 1920-21. In February 1921, these strikes began to spread, notably to Petrograd, and the sailors' initiative should be seen as an echo of the workers' strike in the capital, just a few kilometres away from the island of Kronstadt. (42) But while the Petrograd strikers were hunted down by the kursanty (officer-cadets), the sailors dug themselves in on their island or else took refuge on their warships and were thus well-armed to defend themselves.

On 28 February 1921, a resolution was passed on the battleship Petropavlovsk following the return of emissaries who had witnessed the organized repression of the workers in the capital; this resolution called for new elections to the soviets with freedom for electoral propaganda, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The resolution also called for the release of political prisoners, for the right to cultivate a patch of land or to practise a craft. But above all it was the political demands (fresh elections to the soviets with anarchist and left-socialist participation) that turned the central authorities against Kronstadt.

The Bolshevik authorities have constantly tried to present the Kronstadt sailors' uprising as an affair financed and instigated by White Russian emigrés: this version has recently been brought up against available documents emanating from both emigré and Kronstadt sources. It now seems to be well established that the uprising was in no way linked with an insurrection planned by the White Russians but that it represented the most violent phase of a wave of discontent sweeping through the countryside and the large towns at that time. (43)

If one were to illustrate this episode with a single sentence, one might say that the Kronstadt sailors rose in order to defend the slogan 'All power to the soviets', for which they had fought since February 1917 and, in some cases, since February 1905. The erosion of this line had affected them in particular: in March 1918 the Baltic Fleet's Central Committee (Centrobalt), an elective body, had been replaced, by decree, with a council of handpicked commissars. Their own soviet was entirely in the hands of Bolshevik officials. The Kronstadt sailors demanded the restoration of the free and popular character of the soviets.

Despite the anarchist or populist colouring of the demands published'in the Kronstadt Izvestia (which continued to appear throughout the duration of the 'Kronstadt commune'), the ideology expressed therein would seem to be derived directly from the revolutionary traditions of 1905 and 1917. Thus, for example, the sailors came out firmly for workers management in the factories, for local autonomy, for decentralization; in other words, as Avrich notes, they resumed the demands of traditional Russian libertarian populism.(44) It is no accident, then, that Trotsky should have been the prime target of the mutineers' propaganda: he represented precisely, to the point of caricature, all the old authoritarian institutions the sailors had hoped to abolish once and for all -- the strong State, centralism, discipline, dictatorship.

The 'Kronstadt commune' lasted eighteen days (if one takes as its point of departure 28 February, the day the Petropavlovsk resolution was passed). It was drowned in blood. Trotsky took charge of operations, promising the insurgents that he would 'shoot them down like rabbits'.

We know the aspirations and the everyday life of the Kronstadt sailors from the fourteen editions of Izvestia (3-16 March 1921). One's chief impression is of their intense hatred for the Bolshevik Party and for its ramifications in the factories and in offices. No. 5 (7 March) ran a banner headline calling for 'All power to the soviets and not to the parties'. This indeed was the hard core of the political demands being put forward by the masses in the winter of 1921. In a last gesture of despair, Kronstadt repudiated a communism that amounted to no more than 'bureaucracy plus the firing squad'. (45)

With the repression of the Kronstadt rising, a silence fell across Russia that was to be broken only by Stalin's forced collectivization at the end of the 1920s. The principle of authoritarian, statist socialism had prevailed through sheer force. And yet it was to be years before the avatars of the struggle between the masses and the Party would be mentioned in public: Leninist, and subsequently Stalinist mystification triumphed with the aid of the Comintern, all the more easily in that it was aimed at an audience that needed no convincing. Nevertheless, there had been no shortage of warnings well in advance; they had made short shrift of the myth of a socialism firmly rooted in the masses. Above all, this was the work of the anarchists who, before any of the others, had perceived the potential dangers of Bolshevism as implemented in October 1917.

But the anarchist critique, facing its own ideological assumptions, chiefly attacked the statist, authoritarian or even terrorist nature of soviet power. The task of elucidating the nature of this power by means of socio-economic analysis of the new regime was to fall upon the dissident Marxists.

Bolshevism and its 'detractors'

Bolshevism had a good many enemies right from the outset. By 1950 more or less the entire West had, officially , set its face against orthodox communism by adopting its cold-war stance.

The first concern of what is generally termed the left was to distinguish itself from the enemies of the Russian Revolution. But at its extremity even the left developed a critique of the Russian Revolution and Soviet State that owed nothing either to partisans of the cold war or to soft-hearted liberals.

This critique did not derive from some a priori ideology, as in the case of 'gut' anti-communists, but from the more or less lengthy practice of (or cohabitation with) communism. Chronologically speaking, the anarchists were the first to denounce the image Bolshevism sought to present to the world. They were followed, in the 1920s, by the dissident Marxist-Leninists, who set themselves up in what they called constructive opposition (reconstruction of a 'pure' party or of a new International) but who in reality completed the destruction of Marxist-Leninist communism.

The anarchists

Anarchist testimony is particularly valuable to us since it does not set out to denigrate one system in favour of another; admittedly, a handful of anarchists did subsequently turn into devotees of the 'American way of life', but that concerns individuals, not a system of thought.

The anarchists had already been active in the revolutionary struggle before 1917; many had distinguished themselves in the field of anti-tsarist propaganda, while others preferred political terrorism. Twelve years, fertile in events, discussions and lessons, had intervened between the 1905 revolution -- Russian anarchism's baptism of fire -- and that of 1917. Twelve years in the course of which anarchists had worked to define their place on the revolutionary scene, to stake out anarchist thought and its field of action in relation to social democracy and to Bolshevism in particular.

There can be no denying that the mistrust was mutual. Lenin and his friends were too deeply imbued with international social democracy's visceral hatred of anarchism, and had been since the end of the nineteenth century. In 1907, for example, the Second International had voted for the exclusion of all the followers of Bakunin and Kropotkin. However, the dispute was already an ancient one, for it goes right back to the First International. (46)

But things were different in Russia. Both social democracy and anarchism, as movements, had grown out of the populism of the 1870s and 80s. Neither, in their revolutionary propaganda and agitation, could ignore the fact that populism had left a deep mark on all potential rebels.

True, right from the first 'Iskrist' period (1900-1903), Lenin had tried to foist on Russia a brand of Marxism that was totally void of all populism. Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike planned to develop a kind of German-style social democracy of Kautskyist inspiration, with SPD organization and rituals serving as models.

Thus, on the eve of February 1917 we find a Bolshevik Party thoroughly cleansed of all 'impurities' arising from the specifically Russian situation. But between February and October 1917 a social revolution occupied the forefront of the stage, with the parties attempting to manipulate events in the immense drama being enacted. Lenin's role by now was to connect up his party to the current passing through the masses. For this he was obliged not to defend but to disparage social-democratic orthodoxy. For the masses were advancing some very ancient demands whose roots are lost in the history of the enslavement of the free peasants first by the boyars and then by the power-hungry tsars -- the very same demands that nineteenth-century populism had reformulated and resuscitated and for which it had supplied a theoretical framework. These demands were for land and liberty, for autonomous craft and agricultural collectives, for bread and justice for all.

There was not a peasant or a worker, in that springtime of 1917, to be found calling on the Bolsheviks to seize power or for Lenin and his colleagues to come and sit in the seats of the ministers of Tsar Nicholas II. This much Lenin knew or understood (unlike Stalin, Molotov, Zinoviev and Kamenev, who took as their sole guide the most recent programme of the RSDWP), and it was perhaps this single feature that made him the master strategist on the contemporary Russian political scene.

Lenin had grasped that, in order to achieve power, it would be necessary to rely on the masses, to adopt their aspirations and to amplify them. With this in mind he wrote the highly libertarian State and Revolution , and argued for the adoption of workers' management and all power to the soviets. As a result, between March and October 1917 anarchists and Marxists were able to tread the same road, united in struggle for the same objectives: land to the peasants, the factories to the workers and power, at all levels, to the proletariat.

Having fought side by side with them, the anarchists were the privileged and apparently impartial witnesses of Bolshevik deeds and actions. When things began to go wrong for them, around 1917-18, and as they began to be eliminated by the new masters of the police and the army, they made their disillusionment known to the world at large. Unlike the Mensheviks and the left social revolutionaries they had no ties with the Marxist-Leninists; their ideological system turned out to be more extreme in the end, and less prone to compromise.

Hence the utter detachment of the anarchists' critique of Bolshevik reality. They undoubtedly occupied the extreme position on the ideological scale, and this lends particular value to their denunciation of the Soviet State. It might have spared those who cared to listen (and they were extremely rare in the camp of the revolution) many illusions leading to the realm of false consciousness. Their warnings went unheeded at the time, it is true. But they do constitute the link that leads to the new radicality.

Between 1917 and 1923 the anarchists, first the Russians and then foreigners, increasingly spread the news of what was really happening in Soviet Russia by means of meetings and hastily produced pamphlets. They constantly hammered home one simple truth (one which still seems to escape more than one hard-bitten advocate of coup d'etat techniques), namely that it was the masses, and the masses alone, that had set the social revolution in motion, and that they had done so before October 1917.

They had seized the land, the mines, the means of production; meanwhile, the Bolshevik Party, throwing its programme over-board, had adopted radical slogans with the sole aim of gaining control over the masses. (47)

Most anarchists were at first taken in by this tactical Machiavellianism. Even if they were not always allies they did not fail to make known their support of the Bolsheviks, particularly at the beginning, and this is true of both Russian and foreign anarchists alike. The most extreme example of this is the Italian anarchists who, in their great majority, continued enthusiastically to support the new regime practically right up to the December 1921 Congress! More precisely we should speak of solidarity with a revolution under attack from all quarters: the self-same solidarity that was to wreak such havoc in the ranks of Marxists torn between their loyalty to the revolutionary cause and Stalin's crimes. We have to wait until October 1920, the end of the Russian-Polish war, before Humanitri Nuova (a libertarian organ) began to speak of the need to reaffirm the 'libertarian exigencies' of the revolution in Russia." (48)

And yet, even if they were not exactly plentiful outside Russia, early warnings had not been lacking. There was the article by Robert Minor, returned from Russia, who set out his views in 'Bolshevism and the Revolution', published in the New York World, his article being reprinted by the Italian anarchist journal, Volonta, in June 1919. Minor described how the left opposition had been stifled and the soviets' rule denatured. The same Volonta replied that this was a pack of lies spread by the bourgeoisie. Then there was Errico Malatesta's letter, printed in I/olontri in July 1919, reminding his readers that Robespierre's dictatorship had prepared the ground for Napoleon. (49)

The situation was more or less the same in the other major countries: France, England, the United States. In the last country, for example, Emma Goldman valiantly defended the Bolsheviks against all criticism. As early as February 1917 she wrote a pamphlet, The Truth about the Bolsheviki, and in the course of 1918 she claimed that she was deeply shocked by the revelations of Breshkovskaya, the 'little grandmother of the revolution', whom she suspected of being mentally deranged. (50)

From 1921 on, more and more stories began to arrive to corroborate the earlier rumours. At the Second International Anarchist Congress (December 1921), held in Berlin, the Russian anarchists -- released from their Muscovite prisons thanks to the intervention of foreign delegates to the First Congress of the Red International of Trade Unions (Profintern) - arrived to deliver eye-witness accounts. One should add here that 1921 was also the year of Kronstadt and that even the most credulous anarchists ceased all collaboration with the authorities, at last realizing that the celebrated idealism of the Bolsheviks was just a myth. (51)

Henceforth, the libertarians told all, about their own behaviour, about the new regime, about the everyday life of 'liberated' pro-letarians. Most of them had borne with the Bolsheviks because the latter were prepared to subordinate their theory (Marxist) to anarchist-inspired practice: by calling for the distribution of land, the disappearance of the bourgeois State, by describing political power as temporary. Even the social revolutionaries admitted that Bolshevik practice, on the eve of the Revolution, had been anarchist. Lenin's 'radicalization' (his April Theses followed by State and Revolution) dissipated lingering doubts and permitted the formation of a common opposition to the Provisional Government. (52)

According to the historian of Russian anarchism, Paul Avrich, the anarchists began to show signs of restiveness as from September 1917, fearing the Bolsheviks might destroy the soviets. In reality, the situation was rather more complex, for the anarchist family was divided into several branches, from the individualists to the ardent advocates of a strong, structured organization. The fact that several libertarian anarchists took an active part in the October insurrection (four anarchists sat on the Military-Revolutionary Committee) and their subsequent collaboration with the new regime (notably in the defence of the Revolution against the White counter-revolutionaries) is evidence of a more complicated situation: one still finds 'official' anarchists even after the period of repression of the anarchists (1918-21).

The situation changed radically after October 1917 insofar as a new State was being constructed, founded upon an authoritarian system. Anarchists visiting revolutionary Russia noted merely that the tradition of authority from above had not disappeared. (53)

The soviets, in which so much hope had been placed, had turned out to be 'puppets, void of all substance'. And, for any consistent anarchist, a council system and the dictatorship of the proletariat (in the Bolshevik sense of the term) are two utterly contradictory ideas. (54) The German anarcho-syndicalist Augustin Souchy, in his impressively thorough account, states that the soviets, now virtually elected on a partisan basis, had become forms of power and that it was the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918) that had put an end to anarchist hopes. It was then that the Bolshevik Party became the sole party and introduced its system of terror, its confiscations of grain from the peasants, the death penalty and the all-powerful political police.

While it is true that the anarchists had already lost their illusions before this, it was only in the spring and summer of 1918 that they fell victim to systematic repression: imprisonment, closing down of journals, banning of anarchist meetings, shootings. They were consequently in a position to talk from personal experience about the extent of the terror deployed by the new wielders of power.

From allies, the anarchists became official enemies of the regime in spring 1918, and they were forced to adopt a more critical stance towards the authorities. Their opposition consisted mainly in publicizing, inside Russia and abroad, the facts about the new revolutionary regime.

During this period (1917-18) the Russian libertarians were a far from negligible force. Although their organizations numbered only 12,000 or so active members, they reached thousands more sympathizers who were constantly being appealed to and even mobilized by a highly active press whose circulation ran into thousands. Qualitatively speaking -- according to an account that can hardly be suspected of being sympathetic -- they represented 'the ... most active party, the most combative, and probably the most popular of the opposition groups [and] seem to be gaining ground in the towns'." (55) Their popularity and the frankness of their criticisms of the new regime were to prove fatal to them.

The Russian anarcho-syndicalists were particularly vigorous in their denunciation of the state of the factory committees in which, as early as August 1917, they had seen the wellspring of a new social order. But wind of these assessments only spread abroad some time later. A French anarchist, on his return from a perilous journey wrote: 'The role of the factory committees elected by the workers, so important in the early phase of the revolution, is now reduced to the following functions: relations between factory workers and the trade union, restaurant supplies, payee [the legal food ration] supplies, wood for heating, soap and work overalls." Though this statement refers to a locomotive-parts factory it takes on a more general character, as witnessed by the accounts of other libertarians, all of whom speak of the 'taming' of the fabzovkomy, of the dispossession of their power by the State. Whatever the terms employed, all are agreed that the workers did not control industry. (57)

The years 1920 and 1921 saw a succession of accounts. After dealing with those great pillars of the Russian Revolution, the soviets and workers management, the truth began to emerge about every aspect. Detailed descriptions appeared of the bureaucracy, the hierarchy of power leading to extreme centralization, police activities (particularly, and already, those of the Cheka, the political police), the arbitrary tyranny of the most minor official invested with a little bit of power. All this was spread and publicized within a circle of libertarians and syndicalists, and never left that circle. Yet the raw information existed: 'democratic-centralist' procedures were even described in the course of congresses; those very procedures that were subsequently to delight generations of communist militants. Warnings were circulated against the 'Red Internationals' which no longer, in 1920, served any useful purpose other than to shore up Bolshevik power by hailing decisions taken by the Russian leaders. (58)

The eyes of the so-called revolutionary left in Europe and North America were riveted on Soviet power, and were fascinated by it. Passionate attention was paid to the most insignificant communique issued by the Council of People's Commissars; factional struggles and personal rivalries between the principal figures on the Russian political scene were eagerly commented on.

But this power, in the process of strengthening its position and securing status in the international political arena, was slowly but surely sapping the achievements of the social revolution. The nationalization of the trade unions, following the stifling of the factory committees, by now seemed a perfectly normal occurrence. The anarchists were alone, or virtually so, in pointing out its enormous importance in terms of the vital interests of the Revolution. They similarly drew attention to the plight of the peasant, whose real status was gradually deteriorating back towards the shackles of the old regime. (59)

Finally, it soon emerged from these accounts that not only could Bolshevik power not be identified with the Revolution, but that it had become the chief adversary of the Revolution; and the anarchists did not hesitate to draw this conclusion.

The anarchists tended to be a little thin on socio-economic analysis of the new regime in Russia. In this first phase, the chief left-wing victims of the Bolsheviks laid bare and described a reality that was (deliberately or otherwise) completely unknown. True, certain anarchists did go so far as to speak of a State capitalism operating to the benefit of the new managerial and bureaucratic class." (60) But figures, statistics and sociological analyses of society lie beyond the 'genius' of anarchism: Bakunin may have prophesied brilliantly about the future evolution of the 'scholarly classes' (of which Marx was the brilliant ideologist). His analyses nonetheless stop at the level of generalities (most of which have turned out to be accurate). The great sociologist was Marx, and his successors have taken over this function from him inasmuch as anyone with a taste for social analysis cannot help but be attracted to the author of Capital .

The dissident Marxists

It fell to those Marxists who had broken with orthodoxy to subject the Bolshevik regime to merciless quantitative and qualitative analysis in order to back up an argument which, without the anarchists, would never have become lodged in militant consciousness.

The dissident Marxists made their appearance at the same time as the foundation of the Soviet State; more particularly, the dispute concerned the assessment of the world revolutionary movement. With the foundation of the Third International (1919), orthodoxy rapidly came to be defined in terms of membership of this organization (which implied acceptance of its line).

The council communists broke with the Comintern in 1920. Other dissidents were to follow: the Bordigists (followers of the Italian leader, Amadeo Bordiga); oppositionists within the official communist parties; ex-communists who had broken with the movement once and for all, etc. Most numerous, as well as most visible on the outskirts of orthodoxy (despite incessant internal doctrinal battles), and presenting the most thoroughgoing theoretical critique of the Soviet State, were the Trotskyists.

Trotskyism is bound through and through to its own origins and to the birth of the movement. This resulted from the exclusion of Trotsky from effective power, which his partisans are agreed in dating from 1923. Far from interpreting this exclusion as the outcome of a struggle for supreme power between Stalin and his followers on the one hand, and Trotsky and his supporters on the other, Trotskyist tradition sees this episode as a betrayal of the Russian Revolution and of the Leninist line. Trotsky himself showed the way, fulminating, in the course of his many successive exiles, against what he termed a Bonapartist coup. The parallel with the French Revolution was intended to mean that Stalinism was a counter-revolutionary phenomenon and that he, Trotsky, incarnated the revolutionary purity of Marxism-Leninism. Hence the need to construct a new International, the Fourth, which was to symbolize the true orthodoxy.

It was around 1936 that Trotsky delivered his quasi-definitive analysis of the Soviet State and of its nature. While having degenerated from its socialist character, the Russian State had nonetheless not become a capitalist State, for it still preserved the principal conquests of the Revolution: nationalization and planning. Once property was no longer in private hands but in those of the State, the State remained a workers' State. But in view of the Soviet Union's economic backwardness and of its isolation in a hostile, capitalist world, it had become a degenerate workers' State. (61)

This, Trotsky's central thesis, revived an old debate on the subject of the nature of the Soviet State: the conflict was already embittered during the lifetime of the leader of the Fourth International (he was assassinated in 1940). For, by rejecting the 'Old Man's' interpretation one was automatically excluded from the Trotskyist movement, which explains why the debate took place on the fringe of the movement.

What was at stake was the attitude to be taken towards the Soviet Union in the event of war, which from 1936 on, appeared likely enough. For Trotskyist militants, this attitude could only be derived from close analysis of the Soviet State. If it was found that its social base was not (or was no longer) proletarian, then it would be difficult to call for the defence of the 'workers' State'.

So the discussion took on fresh life with the approach of the Second World War, fanned by the latest information arriving from the USSR: the great show trials, the concentration camps, Stakhanovism, bureaucratic corruption. A book which attracted the attention of Leninists hostile to Stalin was written by Yvon, a Frenchman who for many years worked in the USSR, first as a worker and then as a manager. Yvon rejects the view that there is merely a bureaucratic stratum, as Trotsky's followers claim. There is, he reports, a dominant class and an exploited class: State property merely benefits the few. The social function of this new class corresponds to the present degree of development of technology, science and consciousness. (62)

Documents such as Yvon's gave militants much to think about: many of them left Trotskyism proper while continuing to be active around its fringe and developing new theses. This is particularly noticeable in France between 1936 and 1939, and in the United States from 1939 on. Within this microcosm that was the Trotskyist universe (with its more or less avowed satellites) militants began to talk of a new class', of a 'neo-bourgeoisie' drawing the USSR towards an evolved capitalism in line with the modern development demands of a great imperialist nation. This new class arose from the fact that the bureaucracy was in possession of the means of production, wielded the power of decision-making and determined the distribution of surplus value. (63)

The battle raged around the concept of the degenerate workers State up until 1939, although the analysis was developed no further. In 1939, Bruno Rizzi launched a violent attack on the Trotskyist line: the new State, he argued, is not a workers' State because it contains a bureaucratic class (civil servants, technicians, soldiers and experts of one kind and another) amounting to fifteen million people and monopolizing forty per cent of production.

Rizzi considered this to be an utterly new type of socio-economic regime, bureaucratic collectivism, implying a new form of social organization resulting from a considerable development of productive forces. Rizzi's analysis was certainly attractive and, for the period, it went a good deal further in its grasp of Soviet reality than any other undertaking of this type. (64)

But we would have to await the German-Soviet pact, Trotsky's death, the victory of the USSR and its imperialist aims in Central Europe and the start of the cold war before the question of the 'degenerate workers' State' could be dealt with once and for all. It was ex-Trotskyists who in 1949 founded the group Socialisme ou Barbarie and the journal of the same name, and who resumed the analysis of Soviet society in class terms and developed it most fully.

Socialisme ou Barbarie's argument, which purports to be Marxist, relies entirely upon an examination of the relations of production, their content and their form. The form is juridically defined by the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production and the nationalization of land, industry and trade. It was this 'social' form that led defenders of the USSR and its regime to call it 'socialist'. But if we examine the content of the relations of production, the reality is quite another thing. Here we are dealing with a bureaucratic class (economic, political and cultural managers, experts, military officers, all kinds of administrators) representing fifteen per cent of the population and disposing of over fifty per cent of consumable income, not to mention unquantifiable privileges. This class is not a bourgeoisie in the classic sense of the term, since its members are not owners in their own right. And it is only within this meaning that there can be no return to private capitalism as the Trotskyists claim. Yet it possesses all the characteristics of a class: it disposes of the means of production on a collective basis, it determines investment, saving and the distribution of income. Planning, in the case of the USSR, is the channel whereby the interests of this class are unambiguously expressed.

On top of this we find, facing the bureaucratic class, a proletariat, as in any capitalism, possessing the same characteristics. It is exploited, it represents the great majority of the nation (eighty-five per cent) and is reduced to the role of simple operative.

The demarcation line between the two classes passes through the dispossession, the alienation of the (urban and rural) proletariat from the product of its labour -- no longer as under classical capitalism, where it was merely the surplus value that was extorted from the proletariat, but through the absence of any power of decision over its own work. More precisely, the frontier runs between those who decide and those who execute - just as in monopoly capitalist countries, as the theoreticians of Socialisme ou Barbarie would put it. Only, in the latter, evolution has not yet come to a halt, the socio-economic regime being halfway between the private capitalism of the pre-1914 era and the bureaucratic capitalism of the USSR.

Thus, Soviet socialism emerges as a kind of 'condensed capitalism', a capitalism whose production has been speeded up by a bureaucratic class employing totalitarian methods. The regime in the USSR foreshadows the evolution of monopoly capitalism in the West; it is the horizon for which we are heading. Under bureaucratic capitalism in its final stage a large number of problems still hampering the productive capacity (investment, income distribution, the pace of work) of private or semi-private monopolies are solved quite naturally. The technocratic class directly establishes production norms as well as consumption and investment objectives. It is not fettered by any kind of competitive market, however minimal, nor by arbitrary and unpredictable decisions taken at the level of the individual enterprise. Everything is decided by the Ministry of Planning: the only remaining problem is to carry out the plan, but that is more a matter for the police (whether trade union, political or secret) rather than for the natural laws of economics. One final and not inconsiderable advantage lies in the fact that ideological opposition to the regime is quite simply expunged: the press is planned, just like the rest of the economy, intellectuals become 'mental workers' subject to labour discipline, while political opposition is banned. The field is thus left clear for the decisions of the leader (political, trade union, economic or military), with no risk of the decision-making process being disturbed or even modified by such unpredictable phenomena as strikes, changes in parliamentary majorities, exposure of scandals or even critical articles. A good many Western technocrats consciously envisage this eventuality and some even fervently hope for it, though they are not yet prepared to accept it on purely ideological grounds. (65)

By placing the socio-economic regime of the USSR at the end of modern capitalism's road, Socialisme ou Barbarie's theory breaks entirely with the Trotskyist line, making the latter obsolete. Trotsky himself always hesitated to speak of a class and only in fact saw this situation in terms of a bureaucratic layer. He therefore concluded that the USSR stood halfway between capitalism and socialism. In his view a return to capitalism would only be possible in the context of a social counter-revolution (bringing about a revival of private property). Conversely, he held that the passage to socialism from the existing transition regime would be possible as the result of a purely political revolution: it was enough, according to him, to restore political power, which had been appropriated by a clique of bureaucrats, to the proletariat and to its Party, of which he, Trotsky, saw himself as the legitimate heir." (66)

But the Trotskyist transition regime rested (and still does for those who continue to hanker after it) on a fiction: namely that the USSR has left capitalism behind it once and for all. By demonstrating that socialism was merely concentrated capitalism, had, by way of subtle dialectical reasoning, arrived at Socialisme ou Barbarie the same conclusions as a Bakunin or a Machajski. Radicalism came out of this strengthened insofar as a revolutionary ideology was finally demythologized. The critique of the Soviet regime became an integral part of the critique of modern capitalism as a whole.

In order to progress further, however, it is not enough for radicality to rip off the mask of an authoritarian political ideology under cover of a liberating rhetoric. It has yet to confront the philosophy of social liberation, which seeks to formulate the revolutionary equation no longer in terms of the transformation of the world but of changing everyday life.


1 See Pierre Broue, a Trotskyist academic, who vigorously defends this viewpoint: preface to O. Anweiler, Les soviets en Russie (Paris, 1972). See my review of this book in Esprit, 5 (May 1973).

2 As attested by O. Anweiler, Die Riitebewegung in Russland (1905-1921) (Leiden, 1958), p. 24.

3 ibid., p. 45.

4 According to Anweiler, the first ones appeared in May 1905 at Ivanovo-Voznesensk. The anarchist Volin claims it was at the end of January at St Petersburg but gives no proof of this. See Volin (V. H. Eichenbaum). La révolution inconnue (Paris, 1947; repr. 1969), partly translated into English in 2 vols, Nineteen-Seventeen (London, 1954) and The Unknown Revolution (London, 1955; Detroit and Chicago, 1974).

5 In his memoirs the Ukrainian anarchist, Nestor Makhno, provides a lively description of the way the skhod assemblies transformed themselves into soviets by simply changing their names in 1917; the situation must have been rather similar in l905, at least in rural areas. See La révolution russe en Ukraine (Paris, 1970), pt 1.

6 Anweiler, op. cit., p. 128.

7 ibid., pp. 130, 133.

8 Honest Leninists do not even deny this any longer. See the historian M. Liebman's Le Leninisme sous Lenine (Paris, 1973), p. 155, which notes that on 27 February 1917 the Bolsheviks had still not overcome their misgivings of 1905.

9 Anweiler, op. cit., pp. 93-5.

10 ibid., p. 98.

11 ibid., p. 213.

12 Though not over the Pan-Russian Soviet of peasant delegates whose congress, which met in November 1918, rejected Lenin as President of the Council of People's Commissars.

13 Cf. the opinion of the Menshevik, Skobelev, Minister of Labour in the Provisional Government, for whom the management and control of industry was to be a State function, the working class's role being limited to one of assistance and support in relation to the public authorities. Cited by M. Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control (1970), pp. 4-5; this pamphlet, conceived chronologically, is extremely useful in unravelling the skein of decrees and resolutions conceming workers' control.

14. Fabravkomy = Fabrichno-zavodnye komitety.

15 Anweiler, op. cit., pp. 155-8.

16 A Soviet historian shares this view while expressing, with a certain objectivity in her presentation of the facts, the view of her Party: A. Fankratova, Fabzavkomii Rossii v borbie rasocialisticheskuiu fabriku (Moscow, 1923). Long excerpts are available in French in Autogestion, 4 (December 1967).

17 Brinton, op. cit., p. 15.

18 Pankratova in Autogestion, p. 49.

19 P. Avrich, 'The Bolshevik Revolution and Workers' Control in Russian Industry', Slavic Review, xxii, 1 (March 1963).

20 Brinton, op. cit., p. 16.

21 Avrich, op. cit.; for further details see Avrich's thesis, The Russian Revolution and the Factory Committees (Ann Arbor, Mich., University Microfilms, 1973).

22 Pankratova, op. cit., speaks, deprecatingly, of 'autonomous production communes', and Brinton, op. cit., PP· 29, 30, reproduces accounts which corroborate this, given by trade union congress delegates.

23 Ideas he had already expressed in April and June 1917! Cited by Brinton, op: cit., pp. 3, 5.

24 Cf. e.g. the first all-Russian conference of factory committees (17-22 October 1917), where a resolution on these lines was approved as the result of a Bolshevik-Menshevik alliance.

25 My italics. See Fankratova, op. cit.,at end.

26 Cf. A. Kollontai, L'Opposition ouvriére (Paris, repr. 1974). Despite Kollontai's lyrical style, it is worth recalling that in 1920 the trade unionists already constituted a solid bureaucracy within the State. Underneath the libertarian rhetoric of this pamphlet lies a struggle for power insofar as the trade union leader-ship controlled the process of enrolment of communists in the union apparatus. This could eventually give them a majority in the Party. That is why the unions were made subject to Party 'centralism', to which moreover even the Party's extreme left wing was attached. The demise of union autonomy signalled the end of union bureaucracy's independence of the politicians and not that of the masses (which had already been lost three years previously). In the final analysis, all the left oppositionists finished by returning to the Leninist fold. See R. V. Daniels, The Conscience of the Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1960), pp. 121-5.

27 The sources for all documentation are still: Makhno's memoirs, 3 vols (1929, 1936, 1937), of which only vol. 1, has been translated from Russian (La révolution russe en Ukraine, Paris, repr. 1970). These memoirs unfortunately only take us up to 1918. We also have P. Arshinov's detailed account, Istorija makhnovskogo dvizenija (Berlin, 1923), translated into English under the title History of the Makhnovist Movement (1919-1921) (Detroit and Chicago, 1974). From the communist side we have M. Kubanin, Mahnovshina (Leningrad, n.d.). The other works are mainly drawn from the above documents. The following may be consulted: D. Footman, Civil War in Russia (London, 1961), which sets the Ukrainian episode in the context of the civil war (ch. 6, 'Makhno'). Volin, op. cit., uses Arshinov's account while adding his personal reminiscences.

28 Footman, op. cit., p. 269.

29 S. Singleton,'The Tambov Revolt (1920-1921)', Slavic Review, xxv, 3 (September 1966).

30 V. Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia (Moscow; 1st Russian edn dates from 1899).

31 See Daniels' praiseworthy attempt to conceptualize a left-right schema better suited to Bolshevik reality, op citt., intro.; for Trotsky's position in the schema, see pp. 107-10, 121-5.

32 L. Trotsky, Terrorisme et communisme (Paris, 1963; 1st edn in Russia, July 1920), p. 254. Most of the passages cited are taken from speeches made either at the Third Russian Congress of Trade Unions (April 1920) or that of the Soviets of the National Economy, or else at the Tenth Congress of the CPSU (March 1921).

33 ibid., pp. 221, 219, 217.

34 ibid., p. 217.

35 ibid., p. 215.

36 ibid., pp. 213-14.

37 ibid., pp. 203, 205.

38 ibid., p. 229.

39 Cited by Brinton, op. cit.. p. 61.

40 Cited ibid., p. 61.

41 ibid., p. 67.

42 A good many accounts of the Petrograd strike are available. Cf. Alexander Berkman, Die Kronstadt RebeIlion (Berlin, 1923), pp. 5; Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary (London, 1967); and Ida Mett, La Commune de Kronstadt (Paris, 1949), pp. 27-30.

43 See P. Avlich, Kronstadt 1921 (Princeton, 1970), still the most complete work on the subject, given currently available documentation.

44 ibid.. p. 190.

45 No. 7 (8 March 1921). The slogan 'All power to the soviets and not to the parties' recurs frequently in several editions of Irvestia.

46 For the conflict between authoritarians and anti-authoritarians in the First International see F. Brupbacher, Marx und Bakunin (Munich, 1922; repr. Berlin, 1969).

47 The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party (Berlin, 1922). This is a pamphlet written in June 1921 by four well-known Russian anarchists and sent to Rudolf Rocker in Germany, who made a first translation which I have not been able to find. This one is due to A. Berkman, who had just arrived in Berlin at the time.

48 P. C. Masini, 'Gli anarchici italiani ela rivoluzione russa', Rivista storica del socialismo (1962).

49 ibid. Malatesta developed this idea and went on to speak of a 'new governing class' in his preface tot. Fabbri, Dittatura e rivoluzione (Rome, 1921).

50 Cf. E. Goldman, My Disillusionment in Russia (New York, 1923), preface.

51 A. Berkman, The Anti-Climax (Berlin, 1925). Berkman and Emma Goldman spent the years 1920 and1921 in Russia, to which they had been deported by the American authorities. Their pro-Bolshevik fervour dwindled rapidly, but it took two painful years before they dared break with the Bolshevik government that had welcomed them as distinguished guests.

52 ibid. The social-revolutionary account comes from D. Gavronski, Le bilan du bolchtvisme russe (Paris, 1920; written January 1919), p. 42. Cf. also P. Avrich, The Russian Anarchists (Princeton, 1967), ch. 5.

53 A. Souchy, Wie lebt der Arbeiter und der Bauer in Russland und in der Ukraine (Berlin, n.d.), preface. Souchy belonged to the leadership of the German anarcho-syndicalist federation (FAUD) and visited Rus sia between April and October 1920. His account is sober and objective; the preface dates from December 1920.

54 E. Goldman, The Crushing of the Russian Revolution (London, n.d.), p. 11. See also the pamphlet by Rudolf Rocker, the German theoretician of anarcho-syndicalism, Der Bankrott des russischen Staatskommunismus (n.p., 1921), pp. 100-1.

55 J. Sadoul, Notes sur la révolution bolchevique (Paris, 1919), pp. 286-7. The figures cited are those given by Avrich, The Russian Anarchists, p. 173, n.7.

56 Mauricius, Au pays des soviets (Paris, n.d. [1921]), pp. 153-4. The Russian anarcho-syndicalist position is set forth in G. P. Maksimov, Syndicalists in the Russian Revolution (London. n.d.).

57 Goldman, My Disillusionment in Russia; G. Leval, 'Choses de Russie', Le Libertaire (11-18 November 1921); and Souchy, op. cit., preface. Gaston Leval had gone to Russia in order to take part in the congress of the Red International of Trade Unions in 1921, held in Moscow. He played a role in obtaining the release of imprisoned Russian anarchists, the latter then being deported directly abroad.

58 Apart from the anarchists cited above, see the account by the Spanish delegate to the second congress of the Third International July August 1920): A. Pestana, Informee mi estancia en la URSS (Madrid, repr. 1968).

59 Souchy, op. cit., describes with great precision the process whereby the unions became nationalized organs of production (verstaatlicht) and how the administrative delegates in the villages behaved like ancien régime landowners.

60 The terms 'State capitalism' and new class' recur frequently in anarchist writings. Cf. e.g.: The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party, op. cit., p. 24; Volin, Le fascisme rouge (Brussels, n.d.), and Bolsevickaia diktaturn v svece anarxisma (Paris, 1928), pp. 26, 27; Rocker, op. cit., p. 58, speaks of 'commissarocracy'; Souchy, op. cit., pp. 66, 89; Luigi Fabbri and Enico Malatesta speak of a 'new class' (from 1919 on, cf. Masini, op. cit.); and Arthur [Miller] Lehning uses the term 'bureaucratic State' (Anarchismus und Marxismus in der russischen Revolution, Fr. trans. Paris, 1971, a text which first appeared in Die Intenationale). For a summary, see Avrich, The Russian Anarchists, pp. 1914, and his 'On the New Class: a Libertarian Critique', Libertarian Analysis (New York), vol. 1, no. I(winter 1970). The Encyclopédie anarchiste (ed. S. Faure, 1924) defined Bolshevism as a State capitalism founded on the enforced subjugation and exploitation of the masses. Cf. also La revue anarchiste (Paris), which speaks in terms of a 'dominating caste' and mentions the Makhnovshchina (no. 4, April 1922; no. 17, May-June 1923; no. 21, November 1923).

61 These theses were developed by Trotsky in The Revolution Betrayed (New York, 1945), notably in the chapter 'What is the USSR?'. In addition we may cite his last utterance on this subject ('following the Second World War either there will be a world revolution or the USSR will relapse to the stage of capitalism') in Defense of Marxism (New York, 1939).

62 M. Yvon, Ce qu'est devenu la révolution russe (n.p., n.d. [1936]), pp. 86. See in particular the 3rd causerie, 'l'Etat et les classes'.

63 See, e.g., in France, the organ of the Union communiste (a tiny dissidentTrotskyist group): L'lnternationale.no. 21 (23 May 1936),'La nouvelle constitution sovietique'.

64 The tribulations of the American Trotskyists (Schachtman, Burnham) also led them into conflict with Trotsky over the question of the workers' state; but apart from Raya Dunayevskaya's Marxism and Freedom, which was only published in 1958, the level of discussion was less theoretical than in France and, above all, led to a total break with the revolutionary movement. Thus Burnham's managerial class had nothing to do with any class reality but more with a stratum. Far from superseding Trotsky's analysis he actually returns to it, though in a conservative perspective (see The Managerial Revolution, New York, 1941). Rizzi's book was published in Paris at his own expense with a print order of 500 copies: B. Rizzi La bureaucratisation du monde (n.d. [1939]).

65 For further details about Socialisme ou Barbarie, see 'Socialisme ou Barbarie', Socialisme ou Barbarie (Paris), no. 1(March 1949); P. Chaulieu, 'Les rapports de production en Russie', ibid., no. 2 (May-June 1949); P. Chaulieu, 'L'exploitation des paysans sous le capitalisme bureaucratique', ibid., no.4 (October-November 1949). See also by Castoriadis(= Chaulieu),'Sur la degenerescence de la revolution russe', and 'Conception et programme de Socialisme ou Barbarie', in La societé bureaurcratique (Paris, 1973), vol. 2, pp. 373-92 and 392-416. In English see P. Cardan, From Bolshevism to the Bureaucracy(London, n.d.), and Modern Capitalism and Reoolution (n.p., n.d.). See also his Socialism or Barbarism. These three (Solidarity) pamphlets resume and adapt rather than translate Chaulieu's central points. For greater detail about the ideology of Socialisme ou Barbarie, see R. Gombin, The Origins of Modern Leftism (Penguin Books, 1975), ch. 1.

66 On Trotskyism's attitude towards the USSR, see C. Lefort, 'Les contradictions de Trotsky et le probleme revolutionnaire'. Les temps modernes, 39 January 1949).