“Deported American anarchist Emma Goldman travels to Russia for the first time in 30 years. She provides a revealing picture on the rampant oportunism throughout the Soviet government and its steady roots throughout the bureacracy. In addition she focuses on how the Soviet government began to open its arms after the Civil War to those who once had fought against it: the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even the old tsarists. While these forces of the right were now coming into cooperation with the Soviet government, those on the extreme left saw an utter betrayal of revolutionary principles. At the one hand, during the Civil War, the Bolsheviks were much too brutal to the rightists, now they were much too nice. The extreme left then began to adamantly push for the overthrow of the Soviet government. Goldman explains life in Soviet Russia from the viewpoint of the extreme left revolutionaries, and charts the undemocratic injustices that occur to them as a result.
“Goldman was dismayed when she discovered that Doubleday, Page & Company had, without informing her, changed the title of her work from “My Two Years in Russia” to “My Disillusionment in Russia.” Even worse, the publisher cut the last twelve chapters of the manuscript (starting with Chapter 22: Odessa), omitting her account of crucial events such as the Kronstadt rebellion and the afterword in which she reflected on the trajectory of the revolution after the Bolsheviks seized power. At Goldman’s insistence, the omitted chapters were published as a separate volume: My Further Disillusionment in Russia (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1924). The complete text in one volume, with an introduction by Rebecca West, appeared the following year: My Disillusionment in Russia (London: C. W. Daniel Company, 1925).”
THE ABC of ANARCHISM was first published in 1929, by the Vanguard Press of New York, under the title What is Communist Anarchism? It comprised three parts: “Now”, “Anarchism”, and The Social Revolution”. It was re-issued in 1936, by Frei Arbeiter Stimme of New York, with the new title of Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism. Freedom Press first published it in Britain, this time as TheABC of Anarchism, in May 1942, but without part one. The ABC of Anarchism is now an historic document. Indeed, George Woodcock (for whatever his opinion is worth!) has called it a minor classic of libertarian literature. That however is not the reason for its republication. The reason is that it still remains one of the best introductions to the ideas of anarchism, written from the communist-anarchist viewpoint, in the English language. Its author, Alexander Berkman, was no mere theoretician or “intellectual”. He had been a militant activist for much of his life.
THE RUSSIAN TRAGEDY, Alexander Berkman. ISBN 978-0-904564-11-2. Edited, introduced and compiled by William G. Nowlin Jnr. First published as three separate pamphlets in 1922 by Der Syndikalist, Berlin. Compilation first published 1976 by Cienfuegos Press Ltd., Over The Water, Sanday, Orkney. Cover illustration by Flavio Costantini and cover design by Simon Stern. This e-Book edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks.
THE THREE PAMPHLETS, ISSUED HERE in book form for the ﬁrst time (‘The Russian Tragedy’, ‘The Russian Revolution and the Communist Party’, and ‘The Kronstadt Rebellion‘), are Alexander Berkman’s ﬁrst writings after leaving Russia in December of 1921. He had entered Russia just two years earlier, ﬁlled with devotion to the ideals of the Russian revolution and anxious to contribute his share to the revolutionary process. It was a return home for him, as he had lived his ﬁrst 17 years in Russia and had grown up among the revolutionaries of that era. Now he was welcomed back as an important revolutionary exile from his adopted United States.