“These are feral, low-life people that want society to be in a state of near anarchy for their own perverse pleasure. Let’s not mince words here. People who say they are anti-war but resort to violence and destruction to put their case are clearly a bunch of people who are dangerous to society. These are just anarchists that enjoy disrupting civil society. They do not have one fig of credibility.” ~ SA Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Industry and Trade, Minister for Federal/State Relations Kevin Foley, September 6, 2008
Emerging barefooted from the rainforests, and stumbling through the haze of bong smoke that permanently fills their filthy student hovels, the feral low lifes of the ultra-militant and ultra-radical group Mutiny — after single-handedly closing down the arms fair planned for Adelaide in November — have achieved another milestone: the publication of the 30th issue of their zine.
Penetrating the numerous layers of trust and complex systems of information management s/he has installed is no easy task, but for reasons best known to him/herself, the leader of Mutiny has made a major security faux pas, and the latest # has escaped prison and been made available for public viewing on teh Interwebs (possibly by a rival faction keen to undermine the leader’s authority). In a pathetic attempt to acquire some precious figs of credibility, the September 2008 edition contains:
- * A day-by-day account of the actions at the Climate and Anti-Racism Camps in Hamburg.
* ‘Feral anarchists’ respond to claims that they are responsible for the cancellation of the Adelaide War Fair.
* FYI, a report on the release of the police files about the APEC excluded persons list through an F.O.I. request.
* The Student Housing Action Cooperative in Melbourne squat a building as part of a campaign towards accessible housing for all.
* News from Melbourne, Aotearoa, Peru, USA and Greece.
* Review of ‘Boundary Songs’, an audio walk around Redfern, by Duncan Speakman.
The publication of this new tract considerably ups the ante for local, Melbourne anarchists. Their best efforts to date were documented by the Walkley Award-winning Investigative Unit at the Sunday Herald Sun, spearheaded by veteran gumshoe Chris Tinkler (‘Out of control’, March 18, 2007):
DRUG use and under-age drinking have been exposed at a wild “all-ages” benefit gig for rioters charged over Melbourne’s G20 protests. Children as young as 10 slugged beer in front of their dazed parents, a mother smoked cannabis beside a pram containing her baby and youths openly snorted powder off a table at Friday night’s event… anti-capitalist chanting and police-baiting that characterised the G20 riot were absent — replaced by drunken and drug-fuelled debauchery…
Concerned citizens are being urged by authorities to continue posting critical comments on Andrew Bolt’s and Tim Blair’s blogs. To augment their efforts, Hill & Knowlton have released this documentary-style video, featuring a re-enactment of a recent meeting organised by the editorial staff at Mutiny at their Top Secret HQ somewhere in Sydney:
Finally, some cautionary words from veteran Marxist revolutionary Mick Armstrong: “The anarchist crazies involved in the production of this ultra-violent publication are in no serious sense part of any social movement. Just like their black bloc mates in Europe, they simply exploit teh Interwebs for their own purposes. The left should offer no comfort to these crazies. We should do whatever we can to isolate them. They are wreckers. If they grow in Australia it will simply make it harder to build future protests, movements and paper sales.”
oh, the ‘highly organised’ mutiny group forgot to mention one of the articles on the back cover blurb: there’s also an excellent article about international students, work, & the local student movement.
heh SA being in support of Trotsky’s suppression of the Kronstadt uprising, fucking wankers, they’ll attempt anything to tarnish anarchism, even re-write history:
Yeah… been there, done that.
Hue & Cry and Lopez, Oakley & Kramer on Kronstadt
As for Kronstadt and the earth-shaking revelations breathlessly reported by Daniel and Corey, their reportage is a trifle odd, not least because when they reported their discovery of them, these ‘explosive new facts’ were in reality several years old. Further, in terms of ‘new facts’, their article (dated March 2006), merely refers to another article, ‘Kronstadt: Trotsky was right!’ by ‘A Kramer’, published on the International Viewpoint site in December 2003.
As near as I can figure, Kramer is an Israeli Marxist and one-time editor of Iskra, the possibly defunct publication of the International Marxist Tendency in that country. As an aside, Kramer also wrote an article for the IMT on the subject of the Black Panthers in Israel: “The Black Panthers usually used the so-called tactic of “direct action”. For example in March 1972 they stole all the milk destined for the wealthy Jerusalem Rechavia district and transferred it to the poor suburb of Kirjat-Uvel. In every bottle was a short letter, explaining that milk was more important for poor children than for rich people’s cats.” In Sydney, Australia, the same stunt was conducted by anarchists at around the same time. The leaflet they left at bourgeois homes read: “Dear Householder, This is to inform you that it was not your milkman who failed you this morning. Your milk was delivered but has been redirected. While you were snoring in your cosy beds, Sydney members of the Dairy Liberation Front have struck! This activity is in conjunction with simultaneous action interstate. The material comfort we have seen here is in sharp contrast to the lives of the people to whom we are redelivering this milk. We pay the cost of your wealth in poverty and alienated labour. Today your milk, tomorrow your “bread”! Dairy Liberation Front.”
Kramer’s article re-capitulates the standard line on Kronstadt, the one first articulated by Trotsky. However, it also refers to two books, The Unknown Trotsky and Kronstadt 1921, published in Moscow — presumably in Russian — in 2000 and 2001. I’ve looked, but unfortunately can find no online reference to them anywhere but in Kramer’s essay. Moreover, in terms of astonishing revelations, there appear to be — to be precise, there are claimed to be — two: one is a quote from a document apparently produced by some sailors, viz, “The men of the White guards that are leading the rebels can do a lot of damage to the Republic, and they may not even hesitate to bomb Petrograd“. That is, an indeterminate number of sailors, loyal to the Bolsheviks, wrote a letter to the Kremlin supporting its view.
The second, according to Kramer, concerns “what happened in the town around Kronstadt. During the attack on Kronstadt, the workers of the town moved against the putschists and liberated the town even before the main forces of the Red Army arrived. So in reality what we had was not a workers’ and sailors’ rebellion against Bolshevism, but a workers’ and sailors’ Bolshevik uprising against the “rebels”!”.
This is a kinda kooky take on Kronstadt, in my opinion, especially given the existence of considerable evidence to the contrary, and, moreover, the fact that the documents — as, presumably, they are to be found in the Russian publications of 2000 and 2001 referred to by Kramer — are drawn from the Communist archives; while Kramer’s article provides no other details, it appears reasonable to assume that these are likely to have reflected State opinion. As such, this is a very weak basis upon which to conclude, as Daniel and Corey do, that while anarchists view the Kronstadt uprising and its suppression by the Bolshevik regime as evidence of its counter-revolutionary nature, “new evidence revealed from the USSR’s archives proves beyond doubt the falsity of these claims.” They further conclude that the Kronstadt rebels were:
Those silly anarchists! Will they ever learn?
To which the answer is, of course, ‘yes’. One of the lessons to be learned is to treat such pronouncements with extreme caution. With regards the accusation that the Kronstadt rebels were “a sorry collection of anti-Semitic peasants”, for example, one might ask the question: What evidence is there of anti-Semitism among the sailors, soldiers and workers of Kronstadt? Daniel and Corey cite the following: “a sailor[,] Dmitry Urin, wrote [March 5, 1921] to his father in the Ukraine: “We in Kronstadt made a resolution to send all the Jews to Palestine, in order not to have in Russia such filth, all sailors shouted: ‘Jews Out’.”
Given the title of their piece, it might be assumed that this letter is a startling new discovery unearthed in the Soviet archives. In fact, it is not, and is merely a reiteration of a claim made many years earlier by fellow Trotskyist Abbie Bakan (“A Tragic Necessity”, Socialist Worker Review, No.136, November 1990). To which the authors of the anarchistfaq have already responded:
Given that something like 16,000 sailors, workers and soldiers attended the mass meeting on March 1, 1921 that adopted the 15-point program of the Kronstadt rebellion, it would appear a little bit silly to claim that, because one sailor expressed his hatred of Jews in a private letter to his father, that the Kronstadt rebels were therefore “A sorry collection of anti-Semitic peasants”. Nevertheless, this is the claim being made. And this rather odd conjecture is reinforced by Kramer in another article (The Makhno anarchists, Kronstadt and the position of the Russian peasants in post-revolutionary Russia, In Defence of Marxism, November 17, 2004).
The rather pathetic nature of the Trotskyist claim that anti-Semitism was rife among the rebels, and can partly explain their rebellion, applies equally to the rhetoric regarding the political and social composition of the rebels (they were backward peasants), as well as the lie that the rebellion was led by “White Generals” (first mooted by the Bolshevik state apparatus in March 1921).
Note that the day after the surrender of Kronstadt, March 19, the Bolsheviks celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Paris Commune. And while on the one hand the lies and distortions continue unabated, on the other hand the political monstrosity that the Bolsheviks created — and in the defence of which the rebellion was crushed — now lies in the dustbin of history.
Anyone seriously interested in examining the real nature of the Kronstadt upising could do a lot worse than the Anarchist FAQ (Appendix 4.2: What was the Kronstadt Rebellion?) or the libcom archive.
@ndy you are a better historian of this period of me, so I have a question. Amongst all the polemics I lose sight of what actually the political composition of the Kronstadt revolt was. So what was it? I assume it was a mixture of dissident commies, SRs and Narodniks…is that correct?
Afaik, yes: those who engaged in the uprising were drawn from a range of political parties and ideological positions. SRs, Mensheviks, anarchists, Bolsheviks. (Dunno about Narodniks.) Voline (The Unknown Revolution) reckons that the strongest political forces in Kronstadt (post-1917) were the Bolsheviks, Left SRs, Maximalists, Syndicalists and Anarchists. In other words, the forces of (what he terms) ‘the extreme Left’. He also locates the origins of the uprising in neigbouring Petrograd, in February 1921, which witnessed a series of factory revolts. Beginning in mid-February, these initially came to a head on February 26/7. As a result of the repression (mass arrests, suppression of workers’ organisations) on February 28 the crew of the battleship Petropavlovsk adopted a resolution, which soon gained the support of the crew of the Sebastopol. On March 1, a mass meeting of sailors, soldiers and workers took place — about 15/16,000 attended. The resolution initially adopted by the crew of the Petropavlovsk was then adopted by the mass meeting. This constitutes the (in)famous 15-point program of the Kronstadt uprising. According to Voline, at this time the Communist presence consisted of approximately 2,000 members, but most of these were members for reasons of advancement, not conviction. Most joined the resistance; others fled. The leaders visited surrounding forts to try and enlist support, but failed to do so.
The Petropavlovsk Resolution:
Having heard the report of the representatives sent by the general meeting of ships’ crews to Petrograd to investigate the situation there, we resolve:
1. In view of the fact that the present soviets do not express the will of the workers and peasants, immediately to hold new elections by secret ballot, with freedom to carry on agitation beforehand for all workers and peasants;
2. To give freedom of speech and press to workers and peasants, to anarchists, and left socialist parties;
3. To secure freedom of assembly for trade unions and peasant organizations;
4. To call a nonparty conference of the workers, Red Army soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt and the Petrograd Province, no later than March 10, 1921;
5. To liberate all political prisoners of socialist partieis, as well as all workers, peasants, soldiers and sailors imprisoned in connection with the labor and peasant movements;
6. To elect a commission to review the cases of those being held in prisons and concentration camps;
7. To abolish all political departments because no party should be given special privileges in the propagation of its ideas or receive the financial support of the state for such purposes. Instead, there should be established cultural and educational commissions, locally elected and financed by the state;
8. To remove immediately all roadblock detachments;*
9. To equalize the rations of all working people, with the exception of those employed in trades detrimental to health;
10. To abolish the Communist fighting detachments in all branches of the army, as well as the Communist guards kept on duty in factories and mills. Should such guards or detachments be found necessary, they are to be appointed in the army from the ranks and in the factories and mills at the discretion of the workers;
11. To give the peasants full freedom of action in regard to the land, and also the right to keep cattle, on condition that the peasants manage within their own means, that is, without employing hired labor;
12. To request all branches of the army, as well as our comrades in the military cadets, (kursanty) to endorse our resolution;
13. To demand that the press give all our resolutions wide publicity;
14. To appoint an itinerant bureau of control;
15. To permit free handicrafts production by one’s own labor.
*Armed squads which confiscated food illegally purchased by city dwellers from the peasantry.
Ta for that. Thinking back to when I use to be obsessed with this stuff, perhaps the Narodniks were no more by this stage. You should check out the new blog for ‘Regenerating Rebellion’
Hey Dave/@ndy/other people who aren’t Dave/@ndy,
The dominant politics in Kronstadt were sailors who self-identified as Bolsheviks, which to me is one of the most interesting parts, and puts shame to the standard Leninist/Trotskyist position on the events there.
The Unknown Revolution is def worth reading on this (and in general), but another really good resource is (the fairly well referenced) Appendix 4.2 of the Anarchist FAQ, which is on Kronstadt, and available at http://www.infoshop.org/faq/append42.html
I think it is also an example of how we can not explain the political importance of an event simply through ideological adherence of the people involved : but also the actions they take and the politics they create in praxis.
I will also add your blog to the regenerating rebellion one (this is a new thing for me and still exciting).
Mutiny zine is tops, I reckon. Layers of awesomeness and toner.
“I think it is also an example of how we can not explain the political importance of an event simply through ideological adherence of the people involved : but also the actions they take and the politics they create in praxis.”
For sure, I couldn’t agree more.
Cheers for the link, will add one back on Anarchia next time I’m near a computer.
hey grumpy cat, also, on the Double-R site (was that deliberate, by the way?), if Barricade is listed, you could also add the new(ish) website for Black Rose: http://blackrosebooks.org/
(& i guess also Jura in their own right, as well as being such lovely web-zine hosts)
as part of Anti-capitalism (as it is) in Australia?
for Black Rose : please add Barricade to your links page…
Have added links.
Unfortunately I don’t get the Double-R reference, so no, it is not intentional.
No, I’m sorry, that was a drunkenly lateral Iron Council reference (Doubler/Double-R/Runagate Rampant…)
It would have been cool if you all had named your gathering in oblique reference to a fictional radical newspaper invented by a socialist. I think I’ll just pretend that you did.
Oh my god! I wish I did! That is so rad!