But all the leading Makhnovists that we have biographical information on came from the poor peasantry, including Makhno himself, and in a few cases the middle peasantry. As Malet says: "the Bolsheviks have totally misconstrued the nature of the Makhno movement. It was not a movement of kulaks, but of a broad mass of the peasants, especially the poor and middle peasants".
We have little empirical evidence for the composition of the peasant uprisings in the Don and Kuban areas.
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Radkey has provided some information on the Tambov insurrection through research under difficult conditions, and has found that Antonov was the son of a small-town artisan - hardly a kulak! There is evidence that some leading Antonovists were of kulak origin, based on Bolshevik archives yet one Cheka historian had to admit that a "considerable part of the middle peasantry" supported the insurrection. There is evidence that Antonov had the support of the poor peasantry and some workers in the province.
One must have reservations over the allegations of the 'kulak character' of these uprisings. Even if it is admitted that some kulaks took parting the risings, it must be granted, from the little evidence available, that other sections of the peasantry took an active part. What can be made of the allegations that far from being counter-revolutionary, the peasant uprisings were the start of a 'Third Revolution' leading on from the February and October Revolutions?
This term appears to have been developed by anarchists within the Makhnovist movement, appearing in a declaration of a Makhnovist organ, the Revolutionary Military Soviet, in October It reappeared during the Kronstadt insurrection. Anatoli Lamanov developed it in the pages of the Kronstadt Izvestia, the journal of the insurgents, of which he was an editor. Lamanov was a leader of the Union of Socialist-Revolutionary Maximalists in Kronstadt, and saw Kronstadt as the beginning of a 'Third Revolution' which would overthrow the "dictatorship of the Communist Party with its Cheka and state capitalism" and transfer all power "to freely elected Soviets" and transform the unions into "free associations of workers, peasants and labouring intelligentsia".
The Maximalists, a split from the Socialist-Revolutionaries, demanded immediate agrarian and urban social revolution, a Toilers Republic of federated soviets, anti-parliamentarism and distrust of parties. There is little evidence on the links between them and the Makhnovists, though it would be unlikely that this slogan emerged in two places totally independently. The term 'Third Revolution' however, seems vague, with no clear idea of how to bring this Revolution about.
It had its adherents in Makhnovist circles, and possibly in West Siberia and with Maslakov, but never operated in a unified approach to a development of its implementation.
The Peasant Uprising in the Russian Revolution of
What distinguished the Makhnovist movement from Tambov was the former's specific ideology. The Antonov movement had no ideology, "knew what they were against The Antonovists were a local movement with local perspectives. The Makhnovists were wide-ranging, and links were formed with Maslakov. Makhno himself campaigned as far as the Volga, going around the Don area linking up similar bands.
A Makhnovist detachment under Parkhomenko was sent off to the Voronezh area in early March and it might have been attempting to link up with Antonovist detachments under Kolesnikov. But the vast expanse of the Soviet Union curtailed link-ups between the movements. There seems to have been widespread mutual ignorance of either the existence or the aims of the differing peasant movements. Where there was an awareness, there seems to have been little effort to combine the movements for a unified onslaught against the Bolshevik government. The Kronstadt insurrection was later deemed as several months premature by some of its leading lights.
Localism and lack of a more global strategy similarly hamstrung Antonov and the movements in the Don, Kuban and west Siberian regions, as did the very spontaneity of the risings. The Makhnovists may have had a better grasp of the situation, but they failed to unite the opposition, going into alliance once more with the Bolsheviks, despite previous unhappy experiences.
Nevertheless, the sum of these risings presented a very grave threat to the regime, forcing it to at least move from War Communism to the New Economic Policy. Nick Heath Edited by libcom First published in Organise! Izmeniia , in Atkinson. Kubanin 'The anti-Soviet peasant movement during the years of civil war war communism , in Skirda.
Palij, Malet, Skirda all cite evidence of Makhnovist achievement in saving the Bolshevik capital 6. Lebeds, quoted by Malet. Sofinov, in Radkey. See Getzler Avrich, P.
Princeton Kronstadt Atkinson,D. Malet, M. MacMillan Washington The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno. Radkey, O. Maximoff, G. Cienfuegos The Guillotine at Work. Skirda, A. Ferro, M.
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Getzler, I. Kulak - a better off peasant Muzhik - the poorer peasants Whites - the reaction to the Russian Revolution, gathered around the Tsarists Socialist-Revolutionaries - revolutionary party that saw a key role for the peasants and thought that Russian society could avoid capitalism and go straight to a socialist society Left Socialist-Revolutionaries - a more radical split from the SRs. An excellent summary of Third Revolution movements. I just wanted to point out one minor mistake. Left-Bank Ukraine could also be used.
That other article you linked to looks really interesting, it would be great if somebody posted it up to our history section here. Having this article bumped has also prompted me to go through, add a picture and format it properly. An interesting article I've been looking for information of left opposition to the Bolsheviks and this was a helpful introduction.
I am in process of expanding the Kate Sharpley pamphlet into something a bit more booklet size with added information and analysis. Watch this space. After the rebellion was crushed, the government implemented policies to reduce Polish cultural influences. The Russian government felt that the unification of Germany would upset the power balance among the great powers of Europe and that Germany would use its strength against Russia.
The government thought that the borders would be defended better if the borderland were more "Russian" in character. The economic situation in Russia before the revolution presented a grim picture. The government had experimented with laissez-faire capitalist policies, but this strategy largely failed to gain traction within the Russian economy until the s. War and military preparations continued to consume government revenues. At the same time, the peasant taxpayers' ability to pay was strained to the utmost, leading to widespread famine in In the s, under Finance Minister Sergei Witte , a crash governmental programme was proposed to promote industrialization.
30.2.4: The October Revolution
His policies included heavy government expenditures for railroad building and operations, subsidies and supporting services for private industrialists, high protective tariffs for Russian industries especially heavy industry , an increase in exports, currency stabilization, and encouragement of foreign investments. Railroad mileage grew from a very substantial base by 40 percent between and The "peasant worker" saw his labour in the factory as the means to consolidate his family's economic position in the village and played a role in determining the social consciousness of the urban proletariat.
The new concentrations and flows of peasants spread urban ideas to the countryside, breaking down isolation of peasants on communes. Industrial workers began to feel dissatisfaction with the Tsarist government despite the protective labour laws the government decreed. Some of those laws included the prohibition of children under 12 from working, with the exception of night work in glass factories. Employment of children aged 12 to 15 was prohibited on Sundays and holidays.
Workers had to be paid in cash at least once a month, and limits were placed on the size and bases of fines for workers who were tardy.
Employers were prohibited from charging workers for the cost of lighting of the shops and plants. At the start of the 20th century, Russian industrial workers worked on average an hour day 10 hours on Saturday , factory conditions were perceived as grueling and often unsafe, and attempts at independent unions were often not accepted.
Others were still subject to arbitrary and excessive fines for tardiness, mistakes in their work, or absence. Although the cost of living in Russia was low, "the average worker's 16 rubles per month could not buy the equal of what the French worker's francs would buy for him. Dissatisfaction turned into despair for many impoverished workers, which made them more sympathetic to radical ideas.
The government responded by arresting labour agitators and enacting more "paternalistic" legislation.
In —, the period of industrial depression caused many firm bankruptcies and a reduction in the employment rate. Employees were restive: they would join legal organizations but turn the organizations toward an end that the organizations' sponsors did not intend. Workers used legitimate means to organize strikes or to draw support for striking workers outside these groups.