The Russian Revolution in Ukraine
Chapter 5: Re-election of the public committee; whether or not to get involved in it
Our group occupied itself for a time with internal matters, giving some structure to the organization and distributing tasks among our members, strong in numbers but weak intellectually (we now had over 80 members). One of these tasks was taking out subscriptions to all the Anarchist newspapers being published in Russia and Ukraine. During this period the re-election of the Public Committee was begun.
Along with some other comrades from our group, I was nominated again by the peasants and was elected.
This was the situation. Some of the peasants abstained from voting. The ones who did take part in the election for the most part voted for members of our group or for people sympathetic to us. In spite of the entreaties of my electors, I refused to represent them on the Public Committee. I did not do so from principle, for I was not aware of what position the anarchists of the cities might have taken on this question of whether or not to take part in such institutions if elected. I had made an inquiry through the secretary of the Federation of Moscow Anarchists but did not receive a reply in time. Rather I refused for a more important reason: my entry into the Public Committee via the usual formal election process would be counterproductive to all my plans, which were geared towards attenuating the power of these committees with their governmental form and functions, while building alternatives with our Group and the peasants.
These plans had been adopted by our group and because of them I had accepted the chairmanship of the Executive Committee of the Peasants' Union.
These plans of mine had been designed with several aims in mind:
This principles inspired the plan of action which I had presented to the group of comrades upon my arrival from Moscow. I had nagged, implored, and persuaded the comrades to accept my plans as the basis of our future program of action among the labouring peasantry. Because of these principles I decided to abandon many tactical positions adopted by the anarchist group of the 1906-1907 period. At that time the anarchists were less interested in mass organizational work than in preserving their own exclusiveness. Isolated in their own circles and groups, they developed abnormally and became mentally sluggish through lack of involvement in practical work. Thus they lost the possibility of intervening effectively at times of popular uprisings and revolution.
My plans were totally accepted by our group of anarcho-communists. Through our activities these plans, refined and corrected, eventually embraced an overwhelming majority of the peasants of Gulyai-Pole. In fact this required several months. We shall describe in detail the activities of our Group, which participated fully in the successive phases of the Revolution.
On to Chapter 6 The role of teachers. Our work in the public committee
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