The Vital Role of Anarchists in the Russian Revolution

No Gods No Masters Part 2

Icarus Films (2017)

Film Review

Part 2 covers 1907-21.

Link to Part 1: Why Social Studies Never Made Sense in School: The History of Anarchism

The early 20th century saw the flourishing of “individualist” anarchism. Unable to wait for the eventual overthrow of capitalism, the individualists simply chose to opt out of capitalist society, as many hippies would do in the 1960s. Rejecting work, country, religion, money and bourgeois morality (including marriage and clothes), they started libertarian* communes all over the world. Many Europeans emigrated to Latin America to start libertarian colonies, and a Jewish anarchist started the first kibbutz in Israel.

Under the influence of Spanish educator Francisco Ferrer, anarchists everywhere began experimenting with new forms of education to better prepare children to participate in a new society based on true equality and liberty. The shock caused by Spain’s brutal arrest and execution of Ferrer caused a new explosion of violence around the world. This time it focused mainly on the property of the ruling elite, particularly banks. Anarchists robbed banks (Stalin was a prime example) to help fund the coming revolution.

In 1912, the world saw the first successful revolution in Mexico. Although revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata never declared himself an anarchist, he had many anarchist supporters. Italian and American anarchists, as well as Black radicals, traveled to Mexico to support the Zapatistas.

Russia’s 1905 and February 1917 revolutions were both organized and led by anarchists.

The final part of the film describes the vital role played by Russian anarchists in helping the Bolsheviks come to power in October 1917, Ukraine’s anarchist army especial was pivotal in opening second front against European and US invaders who invaded Russia in 1918.**.

Once Lenin successfully consolidated power in 1921, he brutally quashed the Soviet anarchist movement by assassinating anarchists o4 sending them to Siberian labor camps. This move would prove catastrophic for global anarchism, which was already facing brutal repression from capitalists in many other countries (including Italy, China, Colombia, Japan, Bavaria and the US).


*Like Part 1, this video uses the terms “libertarian” and “anarchist” interchangeably.

**Called The American Expeditionary Force, the goal of the 1918 US invasion was to crush the Revolution.