The reactions of Dutch anarchists to the Russian Revolution are until now as good as unexplored. This contribution tries to fill this gap by analyzing five anarchist and syndicalist newspapers. Together they represent the whole spectrum of Dutch anarchism. The anarchists and their newspapers can be divided into two groups: those who considered anarchism as a principle and project to bring human civilization into a new stage of perfection, and those who focussed more narrowly on anarchism as a movement to liberate workers in order to create a society in which these workers themselves, through their trade unions, would control production and distribution. The central question is whether these different interpretations of anarchism guided opinion on what had happened in Russia. The final answer is positive. The first group, inspired by the works of a Russian, Peter Kropotkin, was very critical of the Russian socialists, although it applauded their peace initiatives. The second group saw the whole revolution much more as a struggle, in which injustice and killings were unavoidable, than as a means to create a new anarchist society in which justice would reign for all.

, , , ,,
Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Altena, B. (Bert). (2017). The Russian Revolution was not an anarchist revolution. Dutch anarchists and the Russian Revolution 1917-19. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis (Vol. 130, pp. 387–407). doi:10.5117/TVGESCH2017.3.ALTE