Volin, The Unknown Revolution, 1917-1921, Book III: Struggle for the Real Social Revolution, Part II: Ukraine (1918-1921)

Chapter Eight

Testament of the Makhnovshchina to the Workers of the World

I would conclude with a passage from the final pages of Peter Arshinov's book, a passage with which I associate myself fully:

"The history just narrated is far from giving a picture of the movement in all its grandeur. We have merely traced - and that briefly - the story of a single current of this movement (the most important, it is true), arising from the Gulyai-Pole region. This current formed part of a much greater whole...

If we could have followed the movement in all the ramifications of Makhnovism throughout the whole Ukraine, if we could have traced the history of each of these lesser currents and then linked them together and illuminated them with a common light, we could have obtained a great tableau of a people, several million strong, in revolt, a people struggling under the standard of Makhnovism for the fundamental ideas of the real social revolution; true freedom and true equality. We hope that a more detailed and complex history of the Makhnovist movement will one day perform this task...

Makhnovism is universal and immortal... Wherever the labouring masses do not let themselves be subjugated, wherever they cultivate the love of independence, wherever they concentrate and express their class will and spirit, they will always create their own popular social movements, they will act according to their own understanding. That is what constitutes the real essence of Makhnovism.

The bloody tragedy of the Russian peasants and workers must not pass without leaving its trace on history. More than anything else, the practice of Socialism in Russia has demonstrated that the labouring classes have no friends, that they have only enemies who seek to take away the fruits of their toil. State Socialism has fully demonstrated that it also belongs among these enemies. This idea is being implanted, more firmly from year to year, in the consciousness of the masses of the people.

Proletarians of the whole world, look into the depths of your own beings, seek out the truth and realise it yourselves. You will find it nowhere else. Such is the watchword bequeathed by Russian Makhnovism to the workers of the world."


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