THE GUILLOTINE AT WORK Vol. 1: The Leninist Counter-Revolution by Gregory Petrovich Maximoff; introduced by Bill Nowlin and Sam Dolgoff.
Cover illustration by the late Flavio Costantini. Jacket design by Simon Stern. ISBN 978-0-904564-23-5,
The Guillotine At Work develops the theme that the Stalinist terror of the 1930s-1950s, the bureaucratisation of Russian society, the imperialist escapades, through to the total disregard for human rights in the Soviet Union and other East European countries under its dominion were not aberrations in the development of a socialist society, but rather a logical development of Marxist philosophy which found its orientation in the writings and actions of Lenin (and Trotsky), had Stalin as one of its chief protagonists, and throughout its history had a host of faceless bureaucrats maintaining and bolstering its repressive regime with even more sophisticated control of the hearts and minds of the peoples of Eastern Europe. The Guillotine At Work serves one main purpose: “to dispel the aura which Lenin’s disciples have bestowed on him by showing that Lenin was primarily concerned with attaining power and holding on to it as a dictator by means of terror.” VOL 2 Available here
Originally published in two volumes in 1940, this is the (partly eyewitness) account of the Leninist terror inflicted upon Russia and the then Soviet Union. Maximoff, a life-long anarchist, fought in the Russian Revolution, was a member of the metalworkers union, and, when he refused to join the Red Army in 1920, was imprisoned by Lenin’s secret police (he was happy to fight the Whites, but not put down workers’ and peasants’ uprisings). Exiled in the USA, he wrote this incredible indictment, in English. Over the course of nearly 400 pages, he recounts not only the Leninist terror and reaction against the popular revolution, but shows how Stalin deliberately followed in his master’s—and mentor’s—footsteps. The second volume, a collection of supporting documents/primary evidence, etc., was never reprinted by Cienfuegos Press, but a Kindle e-Book will be published in the course of 2013-14. Regardless, this volume stands alone as a stunning, and sadly relevant indictment of the Bolshevik terror.
Gregory Petrovitch Maximov (1893-1950), Russian anarcho-syndicalist, studied for the priesthood before moving to Saint Petersburg, where he graduated as an agronomist at the Agricultural Academy in 1915. As a student he was an active revolutionary and, after the 1917 revolution, he joined the Red Army. However, when the Bolsheviks used the Army to disarm the workers, he refused to obey orders for which he was sentenced to death; only the intervention and solidarity of the metalworkers’ union saved his life. In 1918 Maximov was editor of the anarchist-syndicalist papers Golos Truda (Voice of Labour) and Novy Golos Truda (New Voice of Labour). A leading figure in NABAT (Anarchist Organizations of Ukraine, organized by Voline) he was also secretary of the Confederation of Russian Anarcho-Trade Unions. Arrested again on March 8 1921 during the Kronstadt revolt, he was imprisoned in Moscow’s Taganka Prison, along with other members of NABAT. Four months later he began a hunger strike for 10 days and ended it only after the intervention of European Syndicalists attending the Congress of the Red Trade Union International secured their exile abroad. Expelled, along with Voline and others, Maximov moved to Berlin, where he edited Rabotchy Put’ (Labour’s Path, or, Worker’s Way), a paper of the Russian Syndicalists in exile and participated in founding the A.I.T. (the umbrella organization of anarcho-syndicalists of 12 countries – FORA, USI, SAC, FAUD, CNT, etc. – which encompassed several million members and was headed by Rudolf Rocker, Augustin Souchy and Aleksandr Schapiro), as well as the “Defence Committee for the Revolutionists Imprisoned in Russia”. Maximov then moved to Paris, then to the USA, where he settled in Chicago and worked as a tapestry maker, becoming a leading newspaper trade unionist of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World). He edited Golos Truzhenika (Worker’s Voice) and later Delo Truda – Probuzhdenie (Labour’s Cause-Awakening) until his death on March 16, 1950.