H.6.13 What was the relationship of the Bolsheviks to the movement?

The Makhnovists worked with the Bolsheviks in three periods. The first (and longest) was against Denikin after the Red Army had entered the Ukraine after the withdrawal of the Austro-Germans. The second was an informal agreement for a short period after Denikin had been defeated. The third was a formal political and military agreement between October and November 1920 in the struggle against Wrangel. Each period of co-operation ended with Bolshevik betrayal and conflict between the two forces.

As such, the relationship of the Bolsheviks to the Makhnovists was one of, at best, hostile co-operation against a common enemy. Usually, it was one of conflict. This was due, fundamentally, to two different concepts of social revolution. While the Makhnovists, as anarchists, believed in working-class self-management and autonomy, the Bolsheviks believed that only a centralised state structure (headed by themselves) could ensure the success of the revolution. By equating working-class power with Bolshevik party government (and from 1919 onwards, with the dictatorship of the Bolshevik party), they could not help viewing the Makhnovist movement as a threat to their power (see section H.6.14 for a discussion of the political differences and the evolving nature of the Bolshevik's conception of party rule).

Such a perspective ensured that they could only co-operate during periods when the White threat seemed most dangerous. As soon as the threat was defeated or they felt strong enough, the Bolsheviks turned on their former allies instantly. This section discusses each of the Bolshevik betrayals and the subsequent conflicts. As such, it is naturally broken up into three parts, reflecting each of the betrayals and their aftermath.

Michael Malet sums up the usual Bolshevik-Makhnovist relationship by arguing that it "will be apparent that the aim of the Soviet government from the spring of 1919 onwards was to destroy the Makhnovists as an independent force, preferably killing Makhno himself in the process . . . Given the disastrous nature of Bolshevik land policy . . . this was not only unsurprisingly, it was inevitable." He also adds that the "fact that Makhno had a socio-political philosophy to back up his arguments only made the Bolsheviks more determined to break his hold over the south-east Ukraine, as soon as they realised that Nestor would not surrender that hold voluntarily." [Op. Cit., p. 128 and p. 129]

The first betrayal occurred in June 1919. The Makhnovists had been integrated with the Red Army in late January 1919, retaining their internal organisation (including the election of commanders) and their black flags. With the Red Army they fought against Denikin's Volunteer Army. Before the arrival of Red forces in their region and the subsequent pact, the Makhnovists had organised a successful regional insurgent, peasant and worker congress which had agreed to call a second for February 12th. This second congress set up a Revolutionary Military Soviet to implement the decisions of this and following congresses. This congress (see section H.6.7) passed an anti-Bolshevik resolution, which urged "the peasants and workers to watch vigilantly the actions of the Bolshevik regime that cause a real danger to the worker-peasant revolution." Such actions included the monopolisation of the revolution, centralising power and overriding local soviets, repressing anarchists and Left Socialist Revolutionaries and "stifling any manifestation of revolutionary expression." [quoted by Palij, Op. Cit., p. 154]

This change from the recent welcome was simply the behaviour of the Bolsheviks since their arrival. The (unelected) Ukrainian Bolshevik government had tried to apply the same tactics as its Russian equivalent, particularly as regards the peasants. In addition, the Bolshevik land policy (as indicated in section H.6.8) was a complete disaster, alien to the ideas and needs of the peasants and, combined with grain requisitioning, alienating them.

The third congress was held on the 10th of April. By this time, Communist agricultural policy and terrorism had alienated all the peasantry, who "rich and poor alike" were "united in their opposition" to the Bolsheviks. [Footman, Op. Cit., p. 269] Indeed, the "poorer the areas, the more dissatisfied were the peasants with the Bolshevik decrees." [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 156] As we indicated in section H.6.7, the third congress was informed that it was "counter-revolutionary" and banned by the Bolshevik commander Dybenko, provoking a famous reply which stressed the right of a revolutionary people to apply the gains of that revolution when they see fit. It is worth re-quoting the relevant section:

"Can there exist laws made by a few people who call themselves revolutionaries which permit them to outlaw a whole people who are more revolutionary than they are themselves? . . .

"Is it permissible, is it admissible, that they should come to the country to establish laws of violence, to subjugate a people who have just overthrown all lawmakers and all laws?

"Does there exist a law according to which a revolutionary has the right to apply the most severe penalties to a revolutionary mass, of which he calls himself the defender, simply because this mass has taken the good things which the revolution promised them, freedom and equality, without his permission?

"Should the mass of revolutionary people perhaps be silent when such a revolutionary takes away the freedom which they have just conquered?

"Do the laws of the revolution order the shooting of a delegate because he believes he ought to carry out the mandate given him by the revolutionary mass which elected him?

"Whose interests should the revolutionary defend; those of the Party or those of the people who set the revolution in motion with their blood?" [quoted by Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 103]

After the 3rd congress, the Bolsheviks started to turn against Makhno:

"It was now that favourable mention of Makhno ceased to appear in the Soviet Press; an increasingly critical note became apparent. Supplies failed to get through to Makhnovite units and areas." [Footman, Op. Cit., p. 271]

Lenin himself advised local Bolshevik leaders on Makhno, stating in early May that "temporarily, while Rostov is not yet captured, it is necessary to be diplomatic." [quoted by Arthur E. Adams, Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, pp. 352-3] Thus, as long as the Bolsheviks needed cannon fodder, Makhno was to be tolerated. Things changed when Trotsky arrived. On May 17th he promised a "radical and merciless liquidation of partisanshchina [the partisan movement], independence, hooliganism, and leftism." [quoted by Adams, Op. Cit., p. 360] According to one historian, Trotsky "favoured a thorough-going annihilation of the partisan's ideological leaders as well as men like Hryhoriyov who wielded political power." [Adams, Op. Cit., p. 360] Unsurprisingly, given Trotsky's stated mission, Bolshevik hostility towards the Makhnovists became more than mere words. It took the form of both direct and indirect aggression. "In the latter part of May," states Footman, "the Cheka sent over two agents to assassinate Makhno." Around the same time, the Red "hold-back of supplies for the Insurgents developed into a blockade of the area. Makhnovite units at the front ran short of ammunition." [Op. Cit., p. 271 and p. 272] This, obviously, had a negative impact the Makhnovists' ability to fight the Whites.

Due to the gravity of the military and political situations both at and behind the front, the Makhnovist Revolutionary Military Soviet decided to call an extraordinary congress of peasants, workers, insurgents and Red soldiers. This congress was to determine the immediate tasks and the practical measures to be taken by the workers to remedy the mortal danger represented by the Whites. On May 31st, a call was sent out which stated, in part, "that only the working masses themselves can find a solution [to the current problem], and not individuals or parties." The congress would be based as follows: "elections of delegates of peasants and workers will take place at general assemblies of villages, towns, factories and workshops." [quoted by Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 121]

The Bolshevik reply came quickly, with Trotsky issuing his infamous Order no. 1824 on June 4th:

"This Congress is directed squarely against the Soviet Power in the Ukraine and against the organisation of the southern front, where Makhno's brigade is stationed. This congress can have no other result then to excite some new disgraceful revolt like that of Grigor'ev, and to open the front to the Whites, before whom Makhno's brigade can only retreat incessantly on account of the incompetence, criminal designs and treason of its commanders.

1. By the present order this congress is forbidden, and will in no circumstances be allowed to take place.

2. All the peasant and working class population shall be warned. orally and in writing, that participation in the said congress will be considered an act of high treason against the Soviet Republic and the Soviet front.

3. All delegates to the said Congress shall be arrested immediately and bought before the Revolutionary Military Tribunal of the 14th, formerly 2nd, Army of the Ukraine.

4. The persons spreading the call of Makhno and the Hulyai Pole Executive Committee to the Congress shall likewise be arrested.

5. The present order shall have the force of law as soon as it is telegraphed. It should be widely distributed, displayed in all public places, and sent to the representatives of the executive committees of towns and villages, as well as to all the representatives of Soviet authority, and to commanders and commissars of military units." [quoted by Arshinov, Op. Cit., pp. 122-3]

Arshinov argues that this "document is truly classic" and "[w]hoever studies the Russian revolution should learn it by heart." He compares Trotsky's order to the reply the Makhnovists had sent to the Bolsheviks' attempt to ban the third congress. Clearly, Order No. 1824 shows that laws did exist "made by a a few people who call themselves revolutionaries which permit them to outlaw a whole people who are more revolutionary than they are themselves"! Equally, the order shows that "a revolutionary has the right to apply the most severe penalties to a revolutionary mass . . . simply because this mass has taken the good things which the revolution has promised them, freedom and equality, without his permission"! Little wonder Arshinov states that this order meant that the "entire peasant and labouring population are declared guilty of high treason if they dare to participate in their own free congress." [Op. Cit., p. 123]

According to Voline, in Alexandrovsk "all workers meetings planned for the purpose of discussing the call of the Council and the agenda of the Congress were forbidden under pain of death. Those which were organised in ignorance of the order were dispersed by armed force. In other cities and towns, the Bolsheviks acted in the same way. As for the peasants in the villages, they were treated with still less ceremony; in many places militants and even peasants 'suspected of acting in favour of the insurgents and the Congress' were seized and executed after a semblance of a trial. Many peasants carrying the call were arrested, 'tried' and shot, before they could even find out about Order No. 1824." [Op. Cit., pp. 599-600]

As Arshinov summarises:

"This entire document represents such a crying usurpation of the rights of the workers that it is pointless to comment further on it." [Op. Cit., p. 124]

Trotsky continued his usurpation of the rights of the workers in a later order on the congress. In this, Trotsky called this openly announced workers, peasant and insurgent congress a "conspiracy against Soviet power" and a "congress of Anarchist-kulaks delegates for struggle against the Red Army and the Soviet power" (which explains why the congress organisers had asked that hotbed of kulakism, the Red Army troops, to send delegates!). Trotsky indicated the fate of those workers and peasants who dared participate in their own revolution: "There can be only one penalty for these individuals: shooting." [How the Revolution Armed, vol. II, p. 293]

Trotsky also ordered the arrest of Makhno, who escaped but who ordered his troops to remain under Bolshevik command to ensure that the front against Denikin was maintained. However, five members of his staff were shot for having distributed literature concerning the banned fourth congress. This order was the first step in the Bolshevik attempt to "liquidate the Makhnovist movement." This campaign saw Bolshevik regiments invade the insurgent area, shooting militants on the spot and destroying the free communes and other Makhnovist organisations. [Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 121] It should be noted that during the Spanish Revolution, the Stalinists acted in the same way, attacking rural collectives while the anarchist troops fought against Franco at the front.

Thus the participating event for the break between the Makhnovists and Bolsheviks was Trotsky's banning of the fourth regional congress. However, this was preceded by an intense press campaign against the Makhnovists as well as holding back of essential supplies from the frontline troops. Clearly the Bolsheviks considered that the soviet system was threatened if soviet conferences were called and that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was undermined if the proletariat took part in the revolutionary process!

With the Makhnovist front weakened, they could not hold against Denikin's attacks, particularly when Red Army troops retreated on their flank. Thus, the front which the Makhnovists themselves had formed and held for more than six months was finally broken. [Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 124] The Red Army was split into three and the Whites entered the Ukraine, which the Bolsheviks promptly abandoned to its fate. The Makhnovists, drawing stray Red Army and other forces to it, continued to fight the Whites, ultimately inflicting a decisive defeat on them at Peregonovka, subsequently destroying their supply lines and ensuring Denikin's defeat (see section H.6.4).

The Red Army re-entered the Ukraine at the end of 1919. Bolshevik plans with regard to the Makhnovists had already been decided in a secret order written by Trotsky on December 11th. Red Army troops had to "be protected against infection by guerrilla-ism and Makhnovism" by various means, including "extensive agitation" which used "examples from the past to show the treacherous role played by the Makhnovites." A "considerable number of agents" would be sent "ahead" of the main forces to "join the guerrilla detachments" and would agitate against "guerrilla-ism." Once partisan forces meet with Red Army troops, the former "ceases to be a military unit after it has appeared on our side of the line . . . From that moment it becomes merely material for processing, and for that purpose is to be sent to our rear." To "secure complete subordination of the detachments," the Red forces "must make use of the agents previously set to these detachments." The aim, simply put, was to ensure that the partisans became "fully subordinate to our command." If the partisans who had been fighting for revolution and against the Whites opposed becoming "material for processing" (i.e cannon fodder), "refuses to submit to orders, displays unruliness and self-will," then it "must be subjected to ruthless punishment." Recognising the organic links the partisans had with the peasants, Trotsky argues that "in the Ukraine, guerrilla detachments appear and disappear with ease, dissolving themselves into the mass of the armed peasant population" and so "a fundamental condition for the success against guerrilla-ism is unconditional disarmament of the rural population, without exception." [Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed, vol. II, pp. 440-2] As events would show, the Bolsheviks implemented Trotsky's order to the letter.

On December 24th, Makhno's troops met with the Bolshevik 14th army and its commander "admitted Makhno's service in defeating Denikin." However, while "the Bolsheviks fraternised with the Makhno troops . . . they distrusted Makhno, fearing the popularity he had gained as a result of his successful fighting against Denikin." The Bolsheviks had "no intention of tolerating Makhno's independent policy, but hoped first to destroy his army by removing it from its own base. With this in mind, on January 8th, 1920, the Revolutionary Military Council of the Fourteenth Army ordered Makhno to move to the Polish Front . . . The author of the order realised that there was no real war between the Poles and the Bolsheviks at the time and he also knew that Makhno would not abandon his region. .. . . Uborevich [the author] explained that 'an appropriate reaction by Makhno to this order would give us the chance to have accurate grounds for our next steps' . . . [He] concluded: 'The order is a certain political manoeuvre and, at the very least, we expect positive results from Makhno's realisation of this.'" [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 209 and p. 210] As can be seen, these actions fit perfectly with Trotsky's secret order and with Bolshevik desire for a monopoly of power for itself (see next section).

As expected, the Makhnovists refused to leave their territory. They realised the political motivations behind the order. As Arshinov notes, "[s]ending the insurrectionary army to the Polish front meant removing from the Ukraine the main nerve centre of the revolutionary insurrection. This was precisely what the Bolsheviks wanted: they would then be absolute masters of the rebellious region, and the Makhnovists were perfectly aware of this." [Op. Cit., p. 163] As well as political objections, the Makhnovists listed practical reasons for not going. Firstly, "the Insurrectionary Army was subordinate neither to the 14th Corps nor to any other unit of the Red Army. The Red commander had no authority to give orders to the Insurrectionary Army." Secondly, "it was materially impossible to carry it out, since half the men, as well as nearly all the commanders and staff, and Makhno himself, were sick [with typhus]." Thirdly, "the fighting qualities and revolutionary usefulness of the Insurrectionary Army were certainly much greater on their own ground." [Voline, Op. Cit., pp. 650-1]

The Bolsheviks refused to discuss the issue and on the 14th of January, they declared the Makhnovists outlawed. They then "made a great effort to destroy" Makhno. [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 210] In summary, the Bolsheviks started the conflict in order to eliminate opposition to their power. This led to nine months of bitter fighting between the Red Army and the Makhnovists. To prevent fraternisation, the Bolsheviks did not use local troops and instead imported Latvian, Estonian and Chinese troops. They also used other "new tactics," and "attacked not only Makhno's partisans, but also the villages and towns in which the population was sympathetic toward Makhno. They shot ordinary soldiers as well as their commanders, destroying their houses, confiscating their properties and persecuting their families. Moreover the Bolsheviks conducted mass arrests of innocent peasants who were suspected of collaborating in some way with the partisans. It is impossible to determine the casualties involved." They also set up "Committees of the Poor" as part of the Bolshevik administrative apparatus, which acted as "informers helping the Bolshevik secret police in its persecution of the partisans, their families and supporters, even to the extent of hunting down and executing wounded partisans." [Palij, Op. Cit., pp. 212-3]

This conflict undoubtedly gave time for the Whites to reorganise themselves and encouraged the Poles to invade the Ukraine, so prolonging the Civil War. The Makhnovists were threatened by both the Bolsheviks and Wrangel. By mid-1920, Wrangel appeared to be gaining the upper hand and the Makhnovists "could not remain indifferent to Wrangel's advance . . . Everything done to destroy him would in the last analysis benefit the revolution." This lead the Makhnovists to consider allying with the Bolsheviks as "the difference between the Communists and Wrangel was that the Communists had the support of the masses with faith in the revolution. It is true that these masses were cynically misled by the Communists, who exploited the revolutionary enthusiasm of the workers in the interests of Bolshevik power." With this in mind, the Makhnovists agreed at a mass assembly to make an alliance with the Bolsheviks against Wrangel as this would eliminate the White threat and end the civil war. [Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 176]

The Bolsheviks ignored the Makhnovist offer using mid-September, when "Wrangel's success caused the Bolsheviks leaders to reconsider." [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 223] Sometime between the 10th and 15th of October the final agreement was signed:

"Part I -- Political Agreement.

"1. Immediate release of all Makhnovists and anarchists imprisoned or in exile in the territories of the Soviet Republic; cessation of all persecutions of Makhnovists or anarchists, except those who carry on armed conflict against the Soviet Government.

2. Complete freedom in all forms of public expression and propaganda for all Makhnovists and anarchists, for their principles and ideas, in speech and the press, with the exception of anything that might call for the violent overthrow of the Soviet Government, and on condition that the requirements of military censorship be respected. For all kinds of publications, the Makhnovists and anarchists, as revolutionary organisations recognised by the Soviet Government may make use of the technical apparatus of the Soviet State, while naturally submitting to the technical rules for publication.

3. Free participation in elections to the Soviets; and the right of Makhnovists and anarchists to be elected thereto. Free participation in the organisation of the forthcoming Fifth Pan-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets . . .

Part II -- Military Agreement.

1. The Ukrainian Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army (Makhnovist) will join the armed forces of the Republic as a partisan army, subordinate, in regard to operations, to the supreme command of the Red Army; it will retain its established internal structure, and does not have to adopt the bases and principles of the regular Red Army.

2. When crossing Soviet territory at the front, or going between fronts, the Insurrectionary Army will not accept into its ranks neither any detachments of, nor deserters from, the Red Army . . .

3. For the purpose of destroying the common enemy -- the White Army -- the Ukrainian Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army (Makhnovists) will inform the working masses that collaborate with it the agreement that has been concluded; it will call upon the people to cease all military actions hostile to the Soviet power; and for its part, the Soviet power will immediately publish the clauses of the agreement.

4. The families of combatants of the Makhnovist Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army living in the territory of the Soviet Republic shall enjoy the same rights as those of soldiers of the Red Army . . ." [quoted by Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 178]

This agreement was agreed by both sides, although the Bolsheviks immediately broke it by publishing the military agreement first, followed by the political agreement a week later, so obscuring the real meaning of the pact. As it stands, the political clause simply gave anarchists and Makhnovists the rights they should have already had, according to the constitution of the Soviet state. This shows how far the Bolsheviks had applied that constitution.

The agreement is highly significant as in itself it disproves many of the Bolsheviks slanders about the Makhnovists and it proves the suppression of the anarchist press to have been on political grounds.

However, the Makhnovists desired to add a fourth clause to the Political Agreement:

"Since one of the essential principles of the Makhnovist movement is the struggle for the self-management of the workers, the Insurrectionary Army (Makhnovist) believes it should insist on the following fourth point of the political agreement: in the region where the Makhnovist Army is operating, the population of workers and peasants will create its own institutions of economic and political self-management; these institutions will be autonomous and joined in federation, by means of agreement, with the government organs of the Soviet Republic," [quoted by Arshinov, Op. Cit., pp. 179-80]

Unsurprisingly, the Bolsheviks refused to ratify this clause. As one Bolshevik historian pointed out, the "fourth point was fundamental to both sides, it meant the system of free Soviets, which was in total opposition to the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat." [quoted by Malet, Op. Cit., p. 108] As we discuss in the next section, the Bolsheviks had equated the "dictatorship of the proletariat" with the dictatorship of their party and so working-class self-management could not be allowed. It should be noted that this fourth clause was the cause of Lenin and Trotsky's toying with the idea of allowing the Makhnovists south-eastern Ukraine as an anarchist experiment (as mentioned by both Victor Serge and Trotsky in later years).

Once Wrangel had been defeated by Makhnovist and Red Army units, the Bolsheviks turned on the movement. Makhno had "assumed that the coming conflict with the Bolsheviks could be limited to the realm of ideas, feeling that the strong revolutionary ideas and feelings of the peasants, together with their distrust of the foreign invaders, were the best guarantees for the movement's territory. Moreover, Makhno believed that the Bolsheviks would not attack his movement immediately. A respite of some three months would have allowed him to consolidate his power [sic!] and to win over much of the Bolshevik rank and file." [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 231] From the wording of the second clause of the military agreement (namely, to refuse Red Army deserters or units), it is clear that the Bolsheviks were aware of the appeal of Makhnovist politics on the Red Army soldiers. As soon as Wrangel was defeated, the Red Army attacked. Makhnovist commanders were invited to meetings, arrested and then shot. The Red Army surrounded Makhnovist units and attacked them. At the same time, anarchists were arrested all across the Ukraine. Hulyai Pole itself was attacked (Makhno, despite overwhelming odds, broke out). [Malet, Op. Cit., pp. 71-2]

In the words of Makhno:

"In this difficult and responsible revolutionary position the Makhno movement made one great mistake: alliance with the Bolsheviks against a common enemy, Wrangel and the Entente. In the period of this alliance that was morally right and of practical value for the revolution, the Makhno movement mistook Bolshevik revolutionism and failed to secure itself in advance against betrayal. The Bolsheviks and their experts treacherously circumvented it." [quoted by Palij, Op. Cit., p. 234]

While the Bolsheviks continuously proclaimed the final defeat of the Makhnovists, they held out for nearly a year before being forced to leave the Ukraine in August 1921. Indeed, by the end of 1920 his troops number ten to fifteen thousand men and the "growing strength of the Makhno army and its successes caused serious concern in the Bolshevik regime." More Red troops were deployed, "stationing whole regiments, primarily cavalry, in the occupied villages to terrorise the peasants and prevent them from supporting Makhno. . . Cheka punitive units were constantly trailing the partisans, executing Makhno's sympathisers and the partisans' families." [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 237 and p. 238] Combined with this state terrorism, economic conditions in the villages got worse. The countryside was exhausted and 1921 was a famine year. With his rural base itself barely surviving, the Makhnovists could not survive long.

It should be noted that during the periods after the Bolsheviks had turned on the Makhnovists, the latter appealed to rank-and-file Red Army troops not to attack them. As one of their leaflets put it: "Down with fratricidal war among the working people!" They urged the Red Army troops (with some success) to rebel against the commissars and appointed officers and join with the Makhnovists, who would "greet [them] as our own brothers and together we will create a free and just life for workers and peasants and will struggle against all tyrants and oppressors of the working people." [contained in Arshinov, Op. Cit., p. 276 and p. 283]

Even after the defeat of the Makhnovists, the Bolsheviks did not stop their campaign of lies. For example, Trotsky reported to the Ninth Congress of Soviets on December 26th, 1921, that the Makhnovists were "in Romania," where Makhno had "received a friendly welcome" and was "liv[ing] comfortably in Bucharest." The Makhnovists had picked Romania because it was, like Poland, "a country where they . . . felt secure" due to the way they treated "Russian counter-revolutionary bands." [How the Revolution Armed, vol. IV, p. 404] In reality, the "Romanian authorities put Makhno, his wife, and his followers in an internment camp." The Bolsheviks were not unaware of this, as they "sent a series of sharp diplomatic notes demanding Makhno's extradiction." They expelled Makhno and his wife to Poland on April 11, 1922. The Poles also interned them and, again, the Bolsheviks demanded Makhno's extradition "on the ground that he was a criminal and not entitled to political asylum." [Palij, Op. Cit., p. 242] Trotsky's lies come as no surprise, given his and his party's track record on slandering anarchists.

As can be seen, the relationship of the Makhnovists to the Bolsheviks was one of constant betrayal of the former by the latter. Moreover, the Bolsheviks took every opportunity to slander the Makhnovists, with Trotsky going so far as to report Makhno was living well while he was rotting in a capitalist prison. This is to be expected, as the aims of the two groups were at such odds. As we discuss in the next section, while the Makhnovists did whatever they could to encourage working-class self-management and freedom, the Bolsheviks had evolved from advocating the government of their party as the expression of "the dictatorship of the proletariat" to stating that only the dictatorship of their party could ensure the success of a social revolution and so was "the dictatorship of the proletariat." As the Makhnovist movement shows, if need be, the party would happily exercise its dictatorship over the proletariat (and peasantry) if that was needed to retain its power.


Back to Index

On to Next Section