International anarchist statement on the centenary of the 1921 Kronstadt Uprising
On 1 March, 1921, the Kronstadt Soviet rose in revolt against the regime of the Russian “Communist” Party. The Civil War was effectively over, with the last of the White armies in European Russia defeated in November, 1920. The remaining battles in Siberia and Central Asia were over the territorial extent of what would become the USSR the following year. Economic conditions, though, remained dire. In response, strikes broke out across Petrograd in February, 1921. The sailors of Kronstadt sent a delegation to investigate the strikes.
The mass “Makhnovist” (anarchist) movement emerged in 1917 in Ukraine, a colonial country in East Europe that was until then divided between the Russian and Austrian (or Austro-Hungarian) Empires. The Makhnovists made an anarchist revolution. The anarchists were a central force in the 1917-1921 Ukrainian War of Independence.
They fought for decolonisation through anarchist revolution, meaning the independent Ukraine should be reconstructed on anarchist lines: self-management and participatory democracy, equality not hierarchy and domination, collectively-owned property, and the abolition of the class system, capitalism and the state. They were called “Makhnovists,” after the leading Ukrainian anarchist militant, Nestor Makhno. He came from a poor peasant family, had been a factory worker, and former political prisoner.