Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973
Hector MacNeill's letter concerning Graham Rua's article on Kronstadt completely falsifies several points. Mr MacNeill speaks of Makhno's "atrocities against jews". Yet Makhno frequently expressed his opposition to any form of ethnic or national discrimination. Makhno himself shot a fellow revolutionary who had written "Defend the Revolution! Long Live Makhno! Down with the Jews"! Sure Makhno was responsible for the death of some Jews, but they were wealthy bourgeois. Makhno wrote that while the rich Jews would naturally side against die Anarchists, die poorer Jews were the friends and comrades of the peasants.
Mr MacNeill further distorts the truth when he speaks of the lack of support of workers and peasants for Makhno. Makhno's main commanders comprised eleven peasants and two workers (Voline's figures). It was Lenin who made the sneering remark: ". . . the peasants are infected with anarchism", and continued to say that the "mere peasant" enthusiasm would seon bum itself out. Makhno had the solid support of the peasants who were strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Devikin (a leading counter-revolutionary general).
As for Trotsky, he was indeed responsible as Minister of War, for the repression of the sailors and peasants in Kronstadt and the Ukraine. True he made peace with them for a while, yet this was due to his recognition of their capabilities as powerful fighters and great tacticians. Once he had used them, he turned on them like a traitor, to impose the communist state and all its authoritarianism upon the people. On March 4, 1921 there appeared an official manifesto signed by Lenin and Trotsky declaring Kronstadt guilty of meeting and ordering Kronstadt to be suppressed. On March 5 Trotsky issued an ultimatum. And on March 7 Kronstadt was attacked, signifying the death of freedom in Russia.
If people wish to get the true story of Kronstadt, told by one who was there, they would be best advised to read The Bolshevik Myth and The Kronstadt Rebellion both by Alexander Berkman, and not to write to Hector MacNeill for his warped trash.
Yours Geoff Adlam