100663.643 at compuserve.com
Sun Jun 16 02:50:08 MDT 1996
What to read on Kronstadt. The first thing to read, without which I wouldn't
even bother discussing is Paul Avrich's book . he was no Trostkyist (vaguely
anarchist in fact) , but the explanations he give of the context and what really
happened form an essential basis to any reasoned discussion.
Otherwise a couple of elements.
1. In a desperate situation where there were many revolts, Kronstadt had nothing
very special about it. There were lots of revolts, mostly peasants not wanting
to give grain to towns who had nothing to give them in return. Now it is
possible and relatively honorable to consider that workers' governents have
never under any circumstances the right to attack rebellions or revolts. I don't
think it is reasonable. If we want a new society we have to understand that it
is not the case that all th mean oppressors line up on one side and all the nice
oppressed on the other. The division of the oppresed is the key strength of the
I personally think that the way the bolsheviks went about Kronstadt was
pretty smart : the attempts at negotiation, etc. Interestingly enough, the
Kronstadt rebellion had little support elsewhere (less than the peasant
rebellions). It has become a bete noire of anarchoids since.
One important detail. Naturally in a civil war when you are busy smashing
rebellions, this does not bring out the best in people, so I have no doubt that
there were many pretty horrible things done about this time by bolsheviks. But
the problem us to decide what would the result of allowing the Kronstadt revolt
to continue, and I think the bolsheviks qere right to smash it.
Finally something which may appear to be a historical detail, but I think
is important. OK the government ordered the smashing of the rebellion. But to
talk of a "massacre" etc as many do is ludicrous. The rebels were holding an
island fortress and quite naturally managed to kill a lot more of the attackers
than vice versa...
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