Friday, January 06, 2006

Nestor Makhno: Anarchy's Cossack

Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack
By Alexandre Skirda
Published by AK Press

Book Review
by Jose Antonio Gutierrez - OCL-Chile - Red and Black Revolution

This was a much awaited book. Published originally in French back in 1982, its English version finally saw the light of day, and the wait was well worth it. For those who are not familiar with the subject, the Makhnovists were a libertarian movement, deeply rooted in the traditions of anarchist-communism, that developed an experience of revolutionary changes in the economic and political structures of the backwarded Ukrainian society. To defend the gains of the Social Revolution, they launched a guerrilla warfare in Ukraine against a number of enemies: foreign troops, Nationalists, Whites, different warlords and Bolsheviks.

The flaws that are commented upon don't invalidate the work but they make it more directed to an anarchist public, than to a non-anarchist one; and unfortunately, the information provided here is quite strong and well researched, and would be very valuable to discuss with a broader leftist audience, but the language make it a bit difficult, as it sounds sectarian. We are still waiting for a further history on the Makhnovist movement that is done in such a fashion that allows us to start that discussion around the methods of the revolution under the light of this historical experience.


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