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Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant | Rest In Power

Translated by the Anarchist Federation from the French language original ‘Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste’ from Le Monde Libertaire (journal and website of La Fédération Anarchiste– French-speaking Anarchist Federation, our comrades in the International of Anarchist Federations):

Death of Alexandre Skirda – historian and anarchist militant

Following a long illness, on Wednesday 23 December our friend and comrade Alexandre Skirda passed away aged of 78. Has he now joined Nestor Makhno, likewise a descendant of Zaporozhian Cossacks, on banks of the Dnieper?

His interest in the region and understanding of its language enabled him to get to know the revolutionary peasant movement in southern Ukraine, heir to centuries of direct democracy practice. In books such as Nestor Makhno: Anarchy’s Cossack. The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine 1917-1921 he showed how the creation of free municipalities in that period aimed to establish a stateless society, and how the Bolshevik state destroyed these after eliminating the Ukrainian insurrectionary revolutionary army (which consequently allowed them to defeat the White armies).

Even today, most Trotskyist militants shudder at hearing the name of Alexandre Skirda. They cannot forgive him for revealing the manner in which the Red Army, sent by Trotsky, crushed the City of Kronstadt that had wished for direct federalist democracy in Russia: “It is here in Kronstadt that the first stone of the Third Revolution opposed to the bureaucratic order of the Bolsheviks was laid, leaving behind the dictatorship of the Communist Party, chekas and state capitalism ” (8th March, 1921). In publishing Kronstadt 1921: Prolétariat contre Bolchévisme he granted the longstanding wish of Stépan Pétrichenlo, president of the Kronstadt Provisional Revolutionary Committee: “They may shoot the Kronstadiens, but they will never shoot down the truth about Kronstadt”.

His research enabled him to write several books on that historical event, which have been translated into different languages and reissued many times, enriched by new documents. Significantly, he recently translated and presented the previously unavailable Kronstadt in the Russian Revolution by Efim Yartchuk [also now in English].  This recounted the experiences of one of the key instigators of the Kronstadt anarchists dedicated “To those who had shed their blood during the revolution of 1905 for the complete emancipation of the proletariat from the yoke of capital and authority; To those who fought in February and July 1917 against the new world order; To those who let themselves be deceived by the slogans of the proletarian state raising their arms against the new masters, the Bolsheviks. In memory of those who perished on the road to the Society of free men: anarchy”.

Having this opportunity to scale the mountain of documents feeding his books, those mentioned here being only a small part, we are able to see the importance of his historical work in revealing what has long been hidden – as much by the “Whites” as by the “Reds” – on a revolution which has had consequences, for decades, on the workers’ movement in many countries.

We will not forget Alexandre Skirda, the essential historian of the Russian Revolution, and also the anarchist activist who, from the 1960s, led the Anarchist Studies and Action Group.

“The dead live on, and with them, the dreams they carried”, Gustav Landauer.■

Original text

Décès d’Alexandre Skirda, historien et militant anarchiste

À la suite d’une longue maladie, mercredi 23 décembre notre ami, notre compagnon Alexandre Skirda nous a quittés à l’âge de 78 ans. Est-il allé sur les rives du Dniepr rejoindre Nestor Makhno, descendant de Cosaques zaporogues comme lui ?

Son intérêt pour cette région et sa connaissance de la langue lui avaient permis de connaître le mouvement révolutionnaire paysan du sud de l’Ukraine, héritier de plusieurs siècles de pratique de la démocratie directe. Dans des livres tel Nestor Makhno, le cosaque libertaire, la lutte pour les soviets libres en Ukraine 1917-1921, il montre comment dans cette période la création de communes libres visait à établir une société sans État, puis la façon dont l’État bolchevik les a détruites, après avoir éliminé l’Armée révolutionnaire insurrectionnelle ukrainienne, qui avait pourtant permis de vaincre les armées blanches.

Encore aujourd’hui le nom d’Alexandre Skirda fait frémir la majorité des militants trotskistes, qui ne lui pardonnent pas d’avoir révélé la manière dont l’armée rouge, envoyée par Trotski, avait écrasé la Commune de Kronstadt, qui souhaitait pour la Russie une démocratie directe, fédéraliste, et déclarait le 8 mars 1921 : « C’est ici à Kronstadt qu’est posée la première pierre de la IIIème Révolution opposée à l’ordre bureaucratique des bolcheviks, laissant derrière la dictature du Parti communiste, des tchékas et du capitalisme d’État ». En publiant Kronstadt 1921: soviets libres contre dictature de parti, Il exauçait longtemps après le souhait de Stépan Pétrichenlo, président du Comité révolutionnaire provisoire de Kronstadt : « Ils peuvent fusiller les Kronstadiens, mais ils ne pourront jamais fusiller la vérité de Kronstadt ».

Ses recherches lui ont permis d’écrire plusieurs livres sur cet événement historique, qui ont été l’objet de traductions dans divers pays et de nombreuses rééditions, enrichies par de nouveaux documents. Il a notamment récemment traduit et présenté Kronstadt dans la révolution russe d’Efim Yartchouk, inédit jusque-là. Celui-ci, un des principaux animateurs des anarchistes de Kronstadt, décrit ce qu’il a vécu et dédie son ouvrage « à ceux qui versèrent leur sang lors de la révolution de 1905 pour l’émancipation complète du prolétariat du joug du capital et de l’autorité. À ceux qui luttèrent en février et en juillet 1917 contre les maîtres du monde. À ceux qui s’étant laissé abuser par les slogans de l’État prolétarien levèrent bientôt les armes contre les nouveaux maîtres, les bolcheviks. À la mémoire de ceux qui périrent sur la route menant à la Société des hommes libres : l’anarchie ».

Ayant eu l’occasion d’approcher la montagne de documents alimentant ses livres, ceux évoqués ici n’en étant qu’une partie, nous avons pu mesurer l’importance de son travail historique pour révéler ce qui a été longtemps occulté – aussi bien par les « blancs » que par les « rouges » – sur une révolution qui a eu des conséquences, pendant des dizaines d’années, sur le mouvement ouvrier de nombreux pays.

Nous n’oublierons pas Alexandre Skirda, l’historien incontournable de la révolution russe, et aussi le militant anarchiste qui, dès les années 1960, animait le Groupe d’études et action anarchiste.

« Les morts vivent et avec eux, les rêves qui les ont portés », Gustav Landauer.■

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Stuart Christie | Rest In Power

Stuart Christie, one of the most influential British anarchists of modern times, has died from lung cancer aged 74.

Most famous for his attempt, aged 18, on the life of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, Christie went on to work closely with Albert Meltzer. Together they founded Black Flag, which was probably the most prominent anarchist publication of the 1970s.

His most enduring legacy will be as a publisher, founding both the Cienfuegos Press and, later, Christiebooks (, which hosts possibly the largest open anarchist film archive available today. Christie leaves an immense body of work behind him, and is a great loss to anarchism not just in Britain but internationally.

The above announcement does not capture the depth of Christie’s contribution and Freedom will be looking to produce a full obituary in due course.

Freedom News

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Ewan Brown – Rest In Power

Rest In Power Ewan Brown, who went missing yesterday and started our Mayday was sad news. A popular face up in the North East and Newcastle, Ewan was well known for being an lovely guy full of creative spark and a passion for making the world a better place.

From Active Disto;

“Ewan Brown, a wonderfully enthusiastic and caring person has died. He helped out on Active stalls, at the northern warehouse, designed posters and stickers, and always bubbled with ideas.

He made the world a better place, not only by caring, but my making it beautiful. His artwork can be seen on a number of walls around Newcastle – and through them, and the memories we have of him, his spirit lives on.”

His auntie Carol said of him;

“Ewan was always trying to put the world to rights and fix our broken society in his utterly unique and innocent way and I thought he’d always be there putting himself in harms way to makes things better – because of course ‘right’ and ‘fair’ often are at odds with norms and rules.

“I just can’t believe we all couldn’t by pure force of will make this a happy ending.
Be kinder and speak out for the underdogs .. be more Ewan x”

Next time you’re in Freedom check out his Kropotkin poster and keep his name alive.

Below is some of his art up on a Newcastle wall.

Take a moment out to watch this short piece about Ewan, about his deafness and his music with “Through Deaf Ears – Life of a profoundly born Deaf musician

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Tekoşer Piling / Lorenzo Orsetti – Rest In Power

It is our sad duty to report that on the 18th of March, Italian comrade Tekoşer Piling / Lorenzo Orsetti, lost his life in combat with ISIS in Baghouz after a year and half of fighting fascism in Rojava as a member of Tekoşîna Anarşîst (Anarchist Struggle).

Tekoşîna Anarşîst reported; “Today our comrade Heval Tekoşer Piling fell şehid in battle in Baghouz. He was a great friend to all of us and an incredibly brave soldier. Many of us had the pleasure of fighting by his side. From Afrin to Deir Ezzor, he was always the last to leave. Şehid namirin!”

There are no more fitting words that those he chose to leave

If you read this message, it is a sign that I am not in this world anymore. Bah, don’t be so sad, I’m doing well; I have no regrets, I died doing what I thought was the right thing, defending the weak, and being loyal to my ideals of justice, equality, and freedom. So, in spite of my premature departure, my life has been a success, and I am almost sure that I went with a smile on my lips. I could not have asked for better. I wish you the very best, and I hope that you too one day (if you have not already done so) decide to give your life for others. Because it is only like this that the world can be changed. Only by overcoming the individualism and selfishness in each one of us, can the difference be made.

These are difficult times, I know, but don’t fall into resignation, don’t abandon hope; never! Not for one moment.

Even if everything seems lost, and the bad things that afflict humans and the earth seem unbearable, keep on finding strength and inspire it in your comrades. It is exactly in those darkest moments that your light helps.

And always remember: ‘Every thunderstorm begins with a single drop’. Try to be this drop.

I love you all, and I hope that you treasure these words. Serkeftin!
Orso, Tekoşer, Lorenzo.”

Rest in Power Tekoşer, Lorenzo.
You are immortal.

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Helîn Qerecox / Anna Campbell – Rest In Power

(Anna died on the 15th March 2018 – We remember here with here Memoria from The Anarchist Federation)

It’s with heavy hearts, full of sadness, love, and rage, that we say goodbye to Anna Campbell, known in Rojava as Helîn Qerecox. She was killed in a missile strike by the Turkish state, after joining in the defence of Afrin with the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

Anna was a proudly queer feminist anarchist, committed to every aspect of revolutionary struggle. She supported prisoners and fought against the prison industrial complex as a core member of the Empty Cages collective and as part of Bristol Anarchist Black Cross, Community Action on Prison Expansion, Smash IPP and the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.  She fought fascism both ideologically and physically, undeterred by arrest or by injury. She fought for animal liberation, and would regularly go out to save wildlife with the hunt saboteurs. She organised books in Hydra, planned events, fixed bikes, combatted the arms trade, took part in environmental activism, helped defeat the mountain of admin work that any revolution produces, worked at Kino (a cafe cooperative), lent her voice to videos, and did countless other things to help fight oppression in all its forms.

More than just a list of accomplishments and campaign involvements, however, we’ll remember what she brought to the movements and communities she was a part of. Proof that you could take struggle completely seriously, be reliable, be committed, and yet at the same time be joyous, fun, and uplifting. That you be intelligent, insightful, and well read, without ever being condescending.  That you could take part in an almost unbelievably large amount of revolutionary work, yet never make anyone feel lesser for what they could or couldn’t do. That putting people down is never an option when you are able to welcome them in instead.

Anna was deeply inspired by the social revolution in Rojava, the steps being taken there to dismantle patriarchy and bring about a new world in the shadow of oppression. It would come as no surprise to anyone that knew her that she would risk her life to defend Rojava and the friends and comrades she met there. In fact, she gave her commanders an ultimatum: ‘Either I will go home and abandon the life as a revolutionary or you send me to Afrin. But I would never leave the revolution, so I will go to Afrin’. No force on Earth could’ve stopped her, and no force will stop her fight from living on in the people she inspired and the actions we’ll continue to carry out. 

We’ll leave the last words to her, rest in Power Anna.”Our search for what could be possible means accepting a rich heritage. The women of the Paris Commune of 1871, and the worker’s militias of the Hamburg Uprising of 1923 – that’s us. The comrades of the October Revolution and the Spanish Civil War – that’s us. The workers on strike in India and the Guerrilla in the mountains of Kurdistan – that’s us. We are the Anarchists of Greece, we are squatters, we are the witches and the rebellious farmers of the early modern period. We who are working here in Rojava as internationalists are part of the world wide fight of the oppressed against the reign of state, capital and patriarchy.” ■

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Samir Flores – Rest In Power

“Samir didn’t die, the government killed him”

That’s the call as thousands march on Mexico City following the murder of Samir Flores Soberanes environmental activist and journalist who was shot twice in the head in his home in Amilcingo, south of Mexico City, on Wednesday.

A member of The Peoples in Defense of Land and Water Front, Samir was a chief opponent of the Proyecto Integral Morelos (PIM), a development project in the state of Morelos that includes two new thermoelectric plants and a 93 mile gas pipeline and had attended a meeting about the project days before his assassination and challenged government representatives who were pushing flesh ahead of a vote on the PIM project.

Samir had been attacked numerous times before and a letter was left with his body, which the police have refused to release the details off. It seems clear in these times of struggle, he was executed for defending his community, the environment and indigenous autonomy against the corrupt state, a state who have immediately began laying the blame for this murder on organised crime. Given that is 2017, according to Global Witness, 15 environmental activists were murdered in Mexico you can be sure that organised crime is the blame, those responsible sit in the Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro and Palacio Nacional.

This part of an ongoing trend across South America and indeed the world with at least 207 land and environmental defenders killed last year. Thats 207 indigenous leaders, community activists and environmentalists murdered trying to protect their homes and communities from corrupt states, mining, agribusiness and other destructive industries.

Rest in Power Samir and all who die defending this planet from parasitic capitalists bent on destroying it for their own ends.

Demand justice for Samir Flores.

Demand the respect of indigenous communities.

Solidarity with all who continue the fight. ■

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Danielle Myriam – Rest In Power

At the start of the year we lost a long time comrade and a dear friend of several members to her own hands. She was a lively soul who would often get lost in science fiction and loved to share the ideas for a better worlds she found in her reading, Worlds she worked towards by putting her considerable skills to work for several groups working hard to make the world a better place.

I first met Danielle, in a midge infested Scottish field where they were fighting against the industrial destruction of the environment for capitalist gains. She was full of passion and fire, we had a wonderful hike running recon that I’ll never forget, A few days later we spent the day lay down, locked on, talking about The Culture series. We spent a night in the cells together for that and what a night. We spent it discussing and arguing politics, science fiction and boardgames. She spoke against the atrocities of this world with an erudite, compassionate voice and changed fundamentally who I am and how I approached the revolution.

She taught me to listen, to understand and put mutual aid and solidarity with the oppressed at the core of my politics. I’m sure on her travels she planted many such seeds and made the world a better place.

Unfortunately the world is not always a better place and when it came to transitioning she was hit with an uphill struggle. In the words of her close friend Alice:

“In a large part, it was transphobia that meant she could no longer face life.
It was having her gender questioned and doubted and fetishised and mocked in popular culture, and most painfully of all, amongst those that pre TERF wars, (TERF is someone who is anti trans people, but claim to come from a progressive, feminist, perspective) she would have thought were on the same side as her, as an Anarchist. … She is not with us because the world is transphobic. When we argue with those who use language that insults, minimises, fetishises or stigmatises trans people its not just an abstract political theoretical debate. These things matter. Real people suffer. Their lives are made unliveable. And we lose dear people from the world, and from progressive political movements.”

Those who knew her will mourn her passing with love and fury in their hearts.
Please take time to reflect on those around you, touch base with your mates and hug your comrades. Suicide can sometimes happen in a moment of passion but often it builds up over time, the depression permeating every aspect of your life until you feel unable to carry on. If your mate’s sharing dark memes, check in on them, let them know you love ’em. Give your transitioning pals a hug and tell them they are valid and worthy.

We will miss you forever sister.
Thank you for the last night we had playing games and chatting shit.

As she might have qouted “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.” and she burned so very, very brightly.

She will not be forgotten.

Rest in Power x

If you are suffering from depression, trauma and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact a friend or family member before you do anything drastic. Let them know what you are going through, contact a helpline, talk to folk, surround yourself with people and weather through this storm with those who love you.

You are not alone, you don’t have to go through this on your own. You are not an island and your existence is important to those around you.

Helpful numbers:-
MindLine Trans+ – 0300 330 5468
Samaritans – 116 123
LGBT+ helpline – 0300 330 0630
Young Minds Crisis Messanger – Text 85268