Anarchists on the Red Army

First Congress of NABAT (Confederation of Anarchist Organizations in Ukraine), On the Red Army. April 1919


Original Source: Rezoliutsii pervogo s”ezda Konfederatsii anarkhistkikh organizatsii Ukrainy Nabat (Buenos Aires, 1923), pp. 17-19.

1. The Congress regards the compulsory, regulated, disciplined and centralized Red Army as an inevitable consequence of the authoritarian, political and statist path onto which the ‘Communists’ have temporarily diverted the revolution. That this would be the fatal consequence of pursuing the political path of revolution is something which the anarchists have always foreseen and predicted.

2. No compulsory army, the Red Army included, can be the genuine and faithful defender of the social revolution. Because of its very nature, every such army must, in the final analysis, become a tool of reactionary forces and thus pose a constant threat to the revolution.

3. The Congress holds that the only real defender of the social revolution can be a partisan (insurgent) army. Moreover, by a partisan army and a partisan war the anarchists do not mean small scattered detachments, isolated from the population and acting at their own risk and peril; by a partisan war the anarchists mean a war conducted by insurgents in conjunction with the broad masses of the population, who are determined to defend their revolution with the support of strong united partisan detachments. Such a war and such an army, by taking the correct revolutionary path made by the living independent masses, will quickly, easily and decisively cope with the internal counter-revolution. The Congress regards the organization of such an insurgent army as a task to be carried out from Mon, by the army itself. The Congress calls particular attention to the fact that the present revolution and the victorious struggle against the counterrevolution in the Ukraine have been accomplished, by and large, by precisely such insurgent forces.

4. With regard to the external attack on the social revolution by Western and other imperialist powers, the anarchists have always relied and will continue to rely not on the regular Red Army, not even on an insurgent war, but on the inevitable collapse of imperialism and its armed forces through the unfolding world-wide social revolution.

Bearing in mind the above, the Congress declares:

1. That, while not hostile to the Red Army in itself, it takes the view that anarchists should avoid it and continue their efforts to rouse among the masses those living forces which alone can transfer the revolution to the correct path. Anarchists must bring into being a broad insurrectionary movement, an insurgent army. This is the ‘golden reserve’ of the social revolution, which alone is able, if necessary, to protect and defend its gains and benefits.

2. If anarchists do join the ranks of the Red Army, the Congress recommends that they conduct among the soldiers tireless revolutionary propaganda in an anarchist spirit, striving to create within the bosom of the army conscious anarchist groups and to prepare the latter for their impending role as scouts in the active defense of gains already won as well as in the future extension of the social revolution.

Source: Paul Avrich, ed., Anarchists in the Russian Revolution (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1973), pp. 125-127.

Comments are closed.