Manifesto of the Insurgent Army of the Ukraine

(January 1st 1920)

[NB. A different translation of the same document is available here]

To all of the Ukraine's peasants and workers!
For transmission by telegraph, telephone or courier to all of the Ukraine's villages!
For reading at peasants' meetings, in factories and in forms!

Brother toilers!

The Insurgent Army of the Ukraine has been created to resist the oppression of workers and peasants by the bourgeoisie and by the Bolshevik-Communist dictatorship. It has set itself the task of fighting for the complete liberation of Ukrainian toilers from the yoke of any sort of tyranny and for the creation of a genuine socialist constitution of our own. The Insurgent Army of makhnovitsi partisans has fought with gusto on many fronts in order to achieve that goal. It is presently bringing to a successful conclusion the fight against Denikin's army, liberating region after region, wheresoever tyranny and oppression existed.

Many peasant toilers have asked themselves the question: what to do? What can and what ought we to do? How should we conduct ourselves with regard to the laws of the authorities and their organizations?

To which question the Ukrainian Union of Toilers and Peasants will reply anon. Indeed, it must meet very shortly and summon all peasants and workers. Given that the precise date on which that assembly of the peasants and workers will proceed, at which they will have the chance to come together to debate and resolve the most important problems facing our peasants and workers, is not known, the makhnovitsi army deems it useful to publish the following manifesto:

1. All ordinances of the Denikin government are hereby annulled (...) Likewise annulled are those ordinances of the Communist government which conflict with peasant and worker interests. It will be for the toilers themselves to resolve thye question which ordinances of the Communist government are damaging to the toilders' interests.

2. All estates belonging to monasteries, big landowners and other enemies pass into the hands of the peasants who live by the labour of their arms alone. Such transfer should be determined at meetings after discussion by the peasantry. Peasants will have to bear in mind and take account not just of their personal interests but also the common interests of the toiling people, bowed down under the exploiters' yoke.

3. Factories, firms, collieries and other means of production become the property of the working class as a whole, which assumes the responsibility for their direction and administration, encouraging and pursuing development with the benefit of experience and seeking to gather the whole production of the country under the umbrella of a single organization.

4. All peasants and workers are invited to set up free peasants' and workers' councils. Only workers and peasants playing an active part in some useful sector of the popular economy may be elected to such councils. Representatives of political organizations are to play no part in the workers' and peasants' councils, because that might harm the interests of the toilers themselves.

5. The existence of tyrannical, militarized organizations which are at odds with the spirit of the free toilers will not be countenanced.

6. Freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly is the right of every toiler and any gesture contrary to that freedom constitutes an act of counter-revolution.

7. Police organizations are hereby abolished: in their place self-defence bodies will be set up and these may be launched by the workers and peasants.

8. The workers' and peasants' councils represent the toilers' self-defences: each of them must struggle against any manifestation of the bourgeois and the military. Acts of banditry must be resisted and bandits and counter-revolutionaries shot where they stand.

9. Either of the two currencies, the soviet and the Ukrainian, shall be accepted as the equivalent of the other: all breaches of this ordinance will be punished.

10. The exchange of work produce or luxury goods remains free, unless overseen by peasant and worker organizations. It is proposed that such exchanges should proceed between toilers.

11. All persons hindering diffusion of this manifesto are to be deemed counter-revolutionaries.


The Revolutionary Councils of the Ukrainian Army (makhnovitsi)

January 1, 1920

Source: Daniel Guérin, No Gods, No Masters

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