Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the Russian Jewish immigrants who were once called “the two most notorious anarchists in the United States” by the New York Times, were the most outstanding revolutionary activists of their generation. Arrested in 1917 for their anti-conscription campaign during the First World War, they were subsequently deported to Russia in the 1919-1920 Red Scare.
Although they were initially optimistic about returning to Russia in the midst of social revolution, over the next two years Goldman and Berkman would come face-to-face with the contradictions of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” as they witnessed the persecution of Russian anarchists, the suppression of revolutionary labor movements, and the brutal annihilation of the 1921 Kronstadt Uprising.
The two anarchists learned from experience that the Bolshevik dictatorship was not the embodiment of the workers’ revolution that it claimed to be, but was in fact “the very antithesis of revolution.” Their first-hand accounts of the situation in Russia reminded revolutionaries everywhere that “the state - whatever its name or form - is ever the mortal enemy of liberty and popular self-determination” and that true social revolution can never be managed or manipulated by political parties seeking state power, but must emerge from the creative self-activity of working people themselves.
This new volume collects selected writings by Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman that recount their experiences in Russia from 1920 to 1922. Famous essays like “Bolsheviks Shooting Anarchists,” “The Prisons of Russia,” and “There Is No Communism in Russia” are collected here alongside immortal pamphlets like The Crushing of the Russian Revolution, The Russian Tragedy, and The Kronstadt Rebellion. Selections from Emma Goldman’s memoir, My Disillusionment in Russia, are also included, as well as many other documents and manuscripts.
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