Two letters to l’anarchie
[published in l’anarchie n°4, May 4th 1905]
With songs, only songs, with red flags for all guns, the people, in Russia, has yet again gone to their deaths.
And the cosaks, without risk, were able to beat them left and right, this powerless crowd.
They were having a stroll, over 5000 of them, and women and children were with them. They left the Vitzkovsky square, were they had gathered; they went through the streets, protected, they thought, by their red flag and their wisdom.
And the uhlans… and the cosaks came. In the Marchalskovskaia street, police murderers started to charge with great blows from their nagaikas.
I don’t know… they say there are over 50 dead and as many wounded… We will never know the truth, as always here…. Everyone takes home their dead and cry…
A few officers, they say, were hurt by a bomb. Is it true? These brutes have such tough skin…
60.000 soldiers, children of the people, were waiting, arms in hands, for their brothers of servitude. What to tell them, what to shout at them? What inconsequence, what madness on both sides! To walk without weapons towards guns! To use guns on an unarmed crowd!
Here, like in every country, will unfortunate men carry weapons much longer to protect the fortunate and kill their own kin?
How long will poor men who have strength in numbers still have the ridiculous magnanimity not to use every means to kill the riche men?
[published in l’anarchie n°5 Thursday May 11th 1905]
I told you all yesterday that people had gone empty handed, without weapons, towards the soldiers. that there had been many dead and wounded, more than 50 of each. I was well below the truth; there has been over 200 dead and 300 wounded.
The workers and the others who went on a stroll like with popes, were following an order by doing this silly action. And this order, how surprising, was given by the Committee of the Socialist Workers’ Party. On the day before the celebration, they had published proclamations throughout the city. They said that people should be on a completely general strike for one day. But also, they wrote: that all who attacked private property would be killed.
The committee wanted it to be a peaceful demonstration, a procession; it was that, a death procession for many people.
Since people don’t have weapons at home, they couldn’t take them, since they had to respect individual property, and consequently the places where there were guns… and then they let themselves be slaughtered.
I don’t have news from your country, but Rosalef told me that the same had happened, in a town where they make pottery in the middle of France [Limoges]… and that the socialists had said the same thing as here.
They are all the same in every country. they do not want to destroy the cause of social evil, the economic injustice. They think or pretend to think that, once they replace the picture of the tsar by the picture of the republic, all will be over.
I feel deeply within myself, as do a few others, that it is not so and that we must do better.