A Response to Malatesta on the Platform

Unknown author’s reply to Malatesta, Delo Truda, No. 30, May 1928, pages 4-11.

The present epoch, when, by millions, workers engaged on the battlefield of social struggle, demanded direct and precise responses from the anarchists concerning this struggle and the communist construction which must follow it; it demanded of the same, the collective responsibility of the anarchists regarding these responses and anarchist propaganda in general. If they did not assume this responsibility the anarchists like anyone else in this case, do not have the right to propagandise in an inconsequent manner among the working masses, who struggled in agreeing to heavy sacrifices and lost numberless victims.

At this level, it is not a question of a game or the object of an experiment. That is how, if we do not have a General Union of Anarchists, we cannot furnish common responses on all those vital questions.

At the start of his article, comrade Malatesta appears to salute the idea of the creation of a vast anarchist organisation, however, in categorically repudiating collective responsibility, he renders impossible the realisation of such an organisation. For that will not only not be possible if there exists no theoretical and organisational agreement, constituting a common platform where numerous militants can meet. In the measure to which they accept this platform, that must be obligatory for all. Those who do not recognise these basic principles, cannot become, and besides would themselves not want to, become a member of the organisation. Continue reading “A Response to Malatesta on the Platform”

The Old and New in Anarchism: A Reply to Comrade Malatesta

Piotr Arshinov’s reply to Malatesta, Delo Truda, No. 30, May 1928, pages 4-11.

In the anarchist organ Le Reveil of Geneva, in the form of a leaflet, comrade Errico Malatesta has published a critical article on the project of the Organisational Platform edited by the Group of Russian Anarchists Abroad.

This article has provoked perplexity and regret in us.  We very much expected, and we still expect, that the idea of organised anarchism would meet an obstinate resistance among the partisans of chaos, so numerous in the anarchist milieu, because that idea obliges all anarchists who participate in the movement to be responsible and poses the notions of duty and constancy.  For up to now the favourite principle in which most anarchists are educated can be explained by the following axiom: “I do what I want, I take account of nothing”.  It is very natural that anarchists of this species, impregnated by such principles, are violently hostile to all ideas of organised anarchism and of collective responsibility. Continue reading “The Old and New in Anarchism: A Reply to Comrade Malatesta”

About the “Platform”

Nestor Makhno’s reply to A Project of Anarchist Organisation, 1928

Dear Comrade Malatesta,

I have read your response to the project for an “Organisational Platform of a General Union of Anarchists”, a project published by the group of Russian anarchists abroad.

My impression is that either you have misunderstood the project for the “Platform” or your refusal to recognise collective responsibility in revolutionary action and the directional function that the anarchist forces must take up, stems from a deep conviction about anarchism that leads you to disregard that principle of responsibility.

Yet, it is a fundamental principle, which guides each one of us in our way of understanding the anarchist idea, in our determination that it should penetrate to the masses, in its spirit of sacrifice.  It is thanks to this that a man can choose the revolutionary way and ignore others.  Without it no revolutionary could have the necessary strength or will or intelligence to bear the spectacle of social misery, and even less fight against it.  It is through the inspiration of collective responsibility that the revolutionaries of all epochs and all schools have united their forces; it is upon this that they based their hope that their partial revolts – revolts which opened the path for the oppressed – were not in vain, that the exploited would understand their aspirations, would extract from them the applications suitable for the time and would use them to find new paths toward their emancipation. Continue reading “About the “Platform””