Hooray. The Russian Revolution happened a 100 years ago. It started out as a dream for a new democracy and against all authority and oppression. The rationale was to give a new life to the oppressed, poor, starving, cold, and the ones without any real direction or hope. The revolutionaries acted out against authority and imperialism, local to international. The ideals of Equality of everyone, reflected by the possibility of a classless society and the opportunity for everyone to be educated and at least be able to read and write, or to participate in culture and art, were at the basis of a complete social, creative and industrial reinvention of society from bottom to … (ok the) top (was either eliminated or had emigrated). Soon it was clear that the Bolsheviks had their own interpretations and involvement. In 1918 Fanya Yefimovna Kaplan (though her real name was maybe Feiga Haimovna Roytblat or Roytman/Reutemann, Dora for the friends) fired three shots with a Browning pistol at Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin). Afterwards she declared: “I consider him a traitor to the Revolution. I was exiled to Akatui for participating in an assassination attempt against a Tsarist official in Kiev. I spent 11 years at hard labour. After the Revolution, I was freed. I favoured the Constituent Assembly and am still for it.” Her corpse was bundled into a barrel, and set alight, by Yakov Sverdlov who half a year earlier had ordered the execution of the tsar and his family. Fanya Kaplan was an SR (or Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries).
Petr Alexeyevich Kropotkin is remembered for his writings on biology about collaboration in nature, and his belief in a decentralist society based on voluntary associations of self-governing communities and worker-run enterprises. His “Mutual Aid: A factor of Evolution” starts with a foreword in which he corrects fundamentalist Darwinist followers believing in competition and the struggle for life. To him, exiled in Siberia, he only finds collaboration within and between species. In 1917, after 40 years of exile, Kropotkin returned to Russia, full of hope for the ideal new society prepared by the Russian revolutionaries. Soon he became disillusioned by the Bolshevik way and wrote in 1919 a Letter to the Workers of Western Europe in which he said: “We are learning to know in Russia how not to introduce communism, even with a people tired of the old regime and opposing no active resistance to the experiments of the new rulers.” In 1920 he ended a critical letter to Lenin with the words: “Why, then, push the revolution on a path leading to its destruction, primarily because of defects which are not at all inherent in socialism or communism, but represent the survival of the old order and old disturbances, of an unlimited, omnivorous authority?”. This time, no barrels, no herring, no fires, Petr Kropotkin died in 2021 of pneumonia.