Today in Working Class History
March 18, 2011 9:38 AM Subscribe
May 18th marks two significant days in the history of labor. On May 18th, 1871 the workers of Paris, joined by mutinous National Guardsmen, seized the city and set about re-organising society in their own interests based on workers' councils.
Ninety years ago, in May 1921, the largest naval base in Russia – Kronstadt
- was the site of a brutal and bloody battle. Civilians and sailors at Kronstadt had risen up in open revolt against the Bolshevik state headed by Lenin and Trotsky. During the fighting that ensued, thousands died, over 10 000 rebels were arrested, many executed and buried in mass graves, others sent to concentration camps in Archangelsk, Vologda and Murmansk . Indeed, the Kronstadt rebels suffered and died for a set of demands, which they had put forward on the eve of the rebellion, in the Petropavlovsk Manifesto. These demands were:
* free and fair elections to the soviets;
* freedom of speech for workers, peasants, anarchists and socialists;
* free trade union activity;
* peasants to control land without employing wage labour.
These demands were drowned in blood by the Bolsheviks and without any sense of irony they celebrated the crushing of Kronstadt on the 18th March - the 50th anniversary of the Paris Commune.