Introduction, Archinov

Archinov’s text that we are presenting here has all the characteristics of works written by this author after the bitter experience

of the October revolution. We must not forget this premise in order to fully understand what he wants and what his preoccupations were,

not letting himself either draw from an apparent solidity to the bitter end which does not always correspond to the specific expectations

of anarchism ,as also from a sour and useless critique because he was absolutely dedicated to placing these contradictions in an

ahistorical absolute.
What is important for us, and it is for this reason that we have taken up this text again, is the constant preoccupation of

referring to the initiative of the mass and the enormous faith in the spontaneous capacity for organisation and definition which the masses

possess. Moreover, here the hint of a claim for rigid structuring for the anarchist movement is not absent, given the different type of

argument, as would fall to the platform, but remain the same structural impediments which we shall see further on in this introductive

Archinov goes into the problem of the first day of the revolution, the classical problem which has frustrated all the revolutionary

theoreticians, individuating in the worker-peasant relationship the key to the problem. He affirms that only the revolutionary collaboration

between these two classes will assure the survival of the victorious revolution in the face of the return of the counter-revolution and the

almost inevitable civil war.
Now, considering this affirmation carefully it is at the same time indisputable and aproximative. It is indisputable in that there can

be no doubt that a split, or worse still, a contrast, between peasants and workers renders the solution of supplies impossible, and with

this, determines the failure of the revolution approximate and insufficient in that it is not enough to declare the necessity of collaboration

between workers and peasants, class foundations must be examined in order to reach an analysis which is sufficient.
To rid oneself, in a few words, of the mythology of communist anarchism, Archinov immediately attacks the problem of this

collaboration between worker and peasant, but without going into it. In a certain sense it would seem to be opening up the way to

several important considerations, denying that the revolution is only an event of provisions but essentially of production, and therefore of

distribution; instead all that remains dead letters. Yes, the revolution is rightly seen as also a distributive event, and therefore

organisational, but it is not only such an event, it is also an ethical event, individual, collective, of the mass and personal; an event which

takes man by surprise but at the same time gives him instruments to barricarsi beyond his conquests: these instruments must not be

Nettlau wrote on the subject of libertarian syndicalism, ‘Neither the one nor the other can be included, among the true

supporters (Bakunin and Kropotkin) of that idea (syndicalist), who are those who see in it the only road, inevitable, safe, in favour of

which they believe it is useful and necessary to abandon other roads, as the Spanish internationalists were to do., the French syndicalists

and as do today the so-called ‘pure’ syndicalists. The said idea remains equal to whatever other prevision, such as the free municipality of

the experimental community (the falanster), of the communities called ‘soviets’, or the anarchist group, which construct their

primordialstage, in which and for which social convivence will free and the realities and the necessities of future social life will better

acquire their initial expansion.None of these and other forms excludes, nor reinforces, the other, and these five or six activities (there also

exists the organisation of the cooperative) would do well to attribute itself to working together, because there would be the necessity of

all and also of a form wehich no organisation could create, but which is indispensable: good intention, impulse, common sense, mutual

tolerance and will’. (Short Hisatory of anarchidsm).
In these lines speaks the same type of realism and pluralismwhich pushed Malatesta to write on the possible post-revolutionary

convivence of collectivism and anarchist communism. A realism which is good sense and a direct measure of the problem bearing in mind

the possibility of man, not of man in general, a mythological construction of philosophy, but of this man, historically well planted with all

his limitations.
It is exactly here the problem of the limitations of Archinov. He does not realise that to shout against the organisational

inefficiencies of Russian anarchism,as with more vehemence he does in the platform, it is not so important as tryinbg to investigate –

anarchistically – what should be done on the day and in the revolutionary moment. If the immediate creation of an organisation of liason

between peasants and workers in view of the resolution of the problems of supplies of raw materials and whatever else is necessary for

the survival of the community, is a problem of very great importance, it does not means that this alone can guarantee the success of the

revolution, and, into the bargain, of a special revolution, the libertarian and social one. Certainly the pain accumulated in him because of

the defeat of the revolution for which so many comrades had struggled can perfectly justify his incapacity to hardly see the great

significance of the problem, but that does not change that today, must make an effort to find the right road, not letting ourselves go off

the road of eventual analogies between the insufficience of the Russian anarchist movement in the October revolution and the

insignificance of the present anarchist movement in the face of its tasks always on a revolutionaryplane. We are obliged to get right to

the bottom of the possibilities of correcting the terrible mistakes of the anarchist movement, suggest possible modifications, also using

fully the treasure of experience which comes from the Russian revolution, but we must not for this accept as a block the attempts at

structurisation and restricted catalogation of problems which were made after the bitter experience of the struggle against the Bolsheviks

by Arshinov and the other comrades of his group.
It doesn’t pay him to remember that, as we shall not do in the historical note, that Archinov concluded his life entering nto the

lines of the Russian communist party and then falling victin to the Stalinist purges. It is not in this way that we intend to criticise the work

of a man who for the major part of this life was a sincere and extremely active comrade.
The mistake we have singled out is, for us, quite clear. The situation of defeat which these comrades come from carried

Archinov to theorising a more rigid structuring of the movement (the Platform) and a more rigid Unitarian analysis of the problem of the

revolution, in a particular way of the constructive problems on which the fights with the Bolshevic bands were defeated, in that in the

destructive moment the masses should have had the spontaneouscapacity to carry out the revolution and of filling up in this way and the

inefficiency of the anarchists and the aims of power of the Bolsheviks.
In this way Arshinov encloses the whole post-revolutionary problematic in the revolution within the worker-peasant problem. It is

not so; the problem is far more complex: the problem of supplies, but also the problem of the choice of production, of defence

organisation and that of propaganda, of the formation of armed nuclei for the defence of the revolution and individual organisations of

taking possession (habitations in the fdirst place). And this can come about not through the cold and analytical programming of a

producers organisation that establishes agreements with other producers, it can only come about if this organisation is enlivened by the

constructive will of the individuals, from the faith in the revolutionary possibility of constructing not an improved duplicate of the old

society, but a new, different society, radically in opposition to the oreceeding one. And the masses can only this conviction through a

process of penetration and propaganda which is fundamental, and decisions, as well as if not more than worker-peasant agreements.

Once again the spontaneity of the masses could make the revolution but it will be the propagandistic stimuli of clarification, the

appropriate use of means of communication and diffusion,which will guarantee the persistence of the revolution and the ideological

clarificatin necessary to this persistence.
This discourse becomes clearer, in its dangerous limitations, when Archinov speaks of the occupation of the factories, as

indispensable point of departure of the revolutionary process. His hard critique of the moderation and calm which is coming to be

considered in its very nature the arm of reaction,is very correct and very interesting. ////////But we do not agree with the ahistorical

consideration of the problem of factory occupations. In effect this instrument of struggle could turn out to be unusable in a certain

revolutionary situation, and at the same time, have all the conditions because it puts into motion a clear revolutionary process. We mean

that today, at the level of the development of world industry, the arm of occupation is not always an arm which will bear revolutionary

fruit immediately. The process of inglobation in course is so fast as to easily nullify the occupation, developing it in its own interests.
To make a concrete example, we can say that in a whatever capitalist State the class struggle is so advanced as to put in

serious danger the profit of capital, there can be two cases in which capital proposes systems and various forms of comanagement and

selfmanagement in a centralised form, in other words capital will more or less consign the factories into the hands of the workers, keeping

for itself only the centralisation and the economic programming. In thisway there will be a change from marketcapitalism to State

capitalism and this will fall from the frying pan into the fire. ?Certainly, in the course of the concrete events leading to this eventual

solution there could be such changes in the previsions which will carry to the violently revolutionary outlet, but that is not guaranteed

even if the factories are in the hands of the workers.Alongside the danger of inglobation by the state, alongside the reformist danger of

the unions,, there exists also this final danger of which Archinov does not speak.#
But why does Archinov give such importance to the occupation of the factories as a point of departure of the social revolution?

the reason is still that of social disorganisation. Arshinov speaks harshly of the disorganisation of the Russian anarchist movement in other

writings, and in the same ones we are publishing here he speaks harshly of the disorganisation of the workers in general, in the

confrontation of the organisations and of the competence of the reactionary forces.But, between this disorganisation, the best organised

force and that which has the clearest ideas are the industrial workers, it is to be they who give away the correct analysis necessary to

put into motion the revolutionary frces, it is they who formulate exactly these analyses to resolve the problems of linking up both with the

mass of the other workers in industry as well as with the workers of the land.
But Arshinov realises the danger of this affirmation and immediately runs to fix its limitations: these workers must always do

everything in collaboration with the masses, with all of the masses and not only those of this or that industry or industrial sector. In

practice, this affirmation, repeated more than once, is too general to be convincing. Certainly an eventual initiative from the most

advanced point of the proletariat could carry to the revolutionary event, but in this way if one should have to run immediately to share it

out, inserting this most advanced part of the proletariat in an egalitarian logic which can, within certain limits, guarantee the impossibility

of a transformation of this pre-eminence in a dictatorship from whence we should enter fully into the Marxist field.
We do not know how much this passage of Archinov’s has influenced the modern theoreticians of the French ORA and the

ideological abortion which responds to the name of the ‘anti-state dictatorship of the proletariat’, however, we can individuate, in this

work assigned by the Russian theoretician and revolutionary to the industrial proletariat, meant as an advanced point of the workers, a

dangerous opening to the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat’, a Marxist concept which remains such even if it is servedup in a

different guise.
… is a complex conception of human action, a conceptionwhich … praxis identifiable with the violent revolutionary struggle, but it

cannot clone itself without submitting to dis……. Even in the revolutionary moment the anarchist must ….. his action to with that wide

conception of life which cannot……. The particular moment demands it. Each time that has been….. to political strategy, we have found

ourselves in the losing par….. Spain, so in Russia. In spain the lesson is really very clear.
What really counts, in our opinion, is not organisational strength, which is only a faulkty efficientistic perspective can change for

dsomething essential, but the impulse, will, the consciousness that the wworld must be changed, interestedness, abnegation, moral

strength. If these premises exist they can develop, spontaneously or suggested by the active minority, forms of grass roots organisations

which can assume aspects and particularities that are very different in time and space, but all forms not tied to precise contingent

necessities considered in absolute as historical facts, necessary in any case to be able to speak of revolution. In our opinion, it is not right

to say that every future revolution will begin from the occupation of the factories and the organisational union between the land and

industry: the future revolution could be very much more complex and far more difficult to preconceive in detail. In this case, if anarchists

set off, against all their tradition, from preconceived schemes necessarily applicable because they have been constituted and analysed a

priori, they could have the ugly surprise of being ousted by the mass who, in their creative and destructive start, are not so ready to go

behind this or that preconstituted scheme.
The future revolution, if it is, will always be a revolution which will overeturn, along with the old reactionary world, also a good

part of our revolutionary proposals. To us the caspacity and sensibility to gather the new symptoms and impulses for the future which the

pre-revolutionary formations will never miss pointing out.