Makhnovist Insurgent Army


April 1920

1. Who are the "makhnovitsi" and for which cause do they fight?

The makhnovitsi are peasants and workers who rose up as long ago as 1918 against the brutality of the bourgeois, German, Hungarian and Austrian authorities and against that of the hetman of the Ukraine.

The makhnovitsi are toilers who have unfurled the banner of struggle against Denikin and against any form of oppression, violence and falsehood, whatever its provenance.

The makhnovitsi are those same toilers who, through their life-long labours, have enriched and fattened the bourgeoisie in general and, today, the soviets in particular.

2. Why are they called "makhnovitsi"?

Because, during the darkest and gravest moments of the reaction in the Ukraine, our ranks included our indefatigable friend and condottiere, Makhno, whose voice rang out across the whole of the Ukraine, in protest at every act of violence against the toilers, summoning them all to the struggle against the oppressors, robbers, usurpers and political charlatans who deceive the toilers. To this very day that voice rings out among us, within our ranks, unchanging in its exhortation to struggle for the ultimate goal of the libertarian and emancipation of toilers from each and every oppression.

3. How do you intend to bring that liberation about?

By overthrowing the monarchist coalition government, the republican, social democratic government, the Bolshevik-Communist government. In their place, through free elections, toilers' councils must be elected and these will not constitute a government, complete with written, arbitrary laws. For the soviet arrangement is not authoritarian (unlike the Social Democrats and Bolshevik Communists who purport to be the soviet authorities today). It is the purest form of anti-authoritarian, anti-State socialism, articulated through free organization of the social life of toilers, independent of authorities: a life where happiness and his own complete well-being, in accordance with the precepts of solidarity, amity and equality.

4. What is the "makhnovitsi" view of the soviet regime?

The toilers themselves must choose their own councils (soviets) which are to carry out the wishes and instructions of those same toilers: so they are to be executive councils, not authoritative councils. The land, factories, forms, mines, transport, etc., should belong to the toilers who toil, so they must be socialized.

5. Which are the paths leading to the "makhnovitsi" final objective?

A consistent and implacable revolutionary struggle against all falsehoods, arbitrariness and violence, from wherever these may emanate, a struggle to the death: free speech, just deeds and struggle under arms.

Only through the abolition of each governor, every representative of authority, through radical destruction of every political, economic and statist falsehood, through destruction of the State by social revolution can a genuine system of worker and peasant soviets be achieved and progress towards socialism assured.

Drafted by the cultural and educational branch of the Makhnovist Insurgent Army.

Source: Daniel Guérin, No Gods, No Masters

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