Subsequent events have, to a remarkable extent, confirmed the accuracy of Bakunin’s vision. It is small wonder, then, that contemporary historians have shown a new appreciation of the role of spontaneous and primitive movements in shaping history. From the work of Barrington Moore, who has recently investigated the relationship between modernization and agrarian revolt, as well as of Eric Hobsbawm, George Rude, E. P. Thompson, and others, we are coming to understand that most modern revolutions, like those of the past, have been largely unplanned and spontaneous, driven by mass movements of urban and rural laborers, and in spirit predominantly anarchistic. No longer can these naive, primitive, and irrational groups be written off as fringe elements to be ignored by the historian. They lie, rather, at the very basis of social change.
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.