February 18, 2021
From London Anarchist Communists (UK)

A meeting to mark the centenary of
the Kronstadt rebellion, crushed by the Bolsheviks. What are the lessons to be
learned for today?

In this meeting we look at the
circumstances that led up to the Revolt, and examine the idea of an aborted
Third Revolution intended to carry out the true revolutionary aims of the
Russian masses. We look at the implications of what happened and how the truth
about Kronstadt needs to be revealed to expose the dangers of Leninist
vanguardism, which still has a detrimental effect on our struggles today.

The sailors at the naval base of
Kronstadt were at the forefront of the Russian Revolution of 1917. They formed
one of the first soviets in summer of that year. They were among those who
stormed the Winter Palace in October. They took an active part in the defence
of Petrograd against the White advance. Yet by 1921 they were disillusioned
with the Bolshevik government, with War Communism, the lack of free speech, the
exactions of the Cheka, the Bolshevik political police, and the brutal grain
requisitioning in the countryside. On March 1st, 1921 they held mass meetings
of up to 15,000 on various ships and garrisons and demanded immediate new
elections to the Soviet by secret ballot; freedom of speech and the press for
all left and anarchist parties and groups; freedom of assembly for trade unions
and peasant organizations; abolition of Communist political agencies in the
Army and Navy; immediate withdrawal of all grain requisitioning squads, and
re-establishment of a free market for the peasants.”

For this they were denounced as
agents of the Whites. In reply, they broadcast the following radio message:
“Comrade workers, red soldiers and sailors. We stand for the power of the
Soviets and not that of the parties. We are for free representation of all who
toil. Comrades, you are being misled. At Kronstadt all power is in the hands of
the revolutionary sailors, of red soldiers and of workers. It is not in the
hands of White Guards, allegedly headed by a General Kozlovsky, as Moscow Radio
tells you.”

Trotsky ordered the Red Army to
attack. Fierce fighting followed and the revolt was brutally crushed. Victor
Serge wrote: “The final assault was unleashed by Tukhachevsky on 17 March… Some
of the rebels managed to reach Finland. Others put up a furious resistance,
fort to fort and street to street; they stood and were shot crying, “Long
live the world revolution! Hundreds of prisoners were taken away to Petrograd
and handed to the Cheka; months later they were still being shot in small
batches, a senseless and criminal agony. Those defeated sailors belonged body
and soul to the Revolution; they had voiced the suffering and the will of the
Russian people”.

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Source: Londonacg.blogspot.com