To the Presidium o f the G. P. U.
Ten years have passed since the final smash-up of the legal Anarchist organizations has taken place in the U.S.S.R. A long time ago the Bolsheviks cast off the mask behind which they were hiding in the first years of the revolution.
When the Anarchists were in the van of the bloody struggle, when they were coolies of the revolution, when they were still needed, the Bolsheviks tolerated them with a “comradely” smile.
But no sooner were the military fronts liquidated, no sooner was the internal counter-revolution crushed, than the Bolshevik authorities found it no more necessary to work together with the Anarchists.
The Anarchist printing shops were confiscated, their press was strangled, their publications seized and hundreds of comrades were locked up in prisons without the benefit of trial, banished to places of exile and even executed. Old men, youths, women have been driven about from one place to another.
We shall not dwell here at any length upon such known facts as the pogrom carried out in the Butirky prison, the shootings in Solovki, the beatings administered to the prisoners of the Verkhne-Uralsk prison. Hunger strikes became common, every-day events, reminiscent of the most ferocious years of the Tzar’s regime.
The sentences meted out by the G. P. U. are nothing but Jesuitic lies, since the terms of those sentences are invariably lengthened in quite an arbitrary manner; this is done under the guise of applying the so-called “minus-system”, and at times it is just put into effect with no embellishments at all.
“Political isolation” means at least nine years of trials and tribulations with the G. P. U. In prison and exile - nine years of slow methodical beatings, with no visible traces left on the body.
Apart from the gradual murders by starvation, the exiled Anarchists are also subjected to the humiliation of treatment as common criminals, prostitutes and wreckers.
Those that are released with the “minus” marked on their papers, must show those documents whenever they register or apply for work; they become an easy prey to any one with a bent for persecution, who can lynch them at will.
They are deprived of the right to work and are only suffered to earn a livelihood by some special grace of the authorities. Black listing is frequently applied, and we both can testify to it in our capacity of unemployed. Proscription lists exist not as a matter of chance, but as part of a system.
As a result of the long confinement in prison, an illness which could not be attended under the conditions of life in exile, of semi-starvation and moral tortures - there perished one of the most active figures of the three revolutions and the European revolutionary movement - the Anarchist Nicolai Rogdayev, who was picked up on Sacco and Vanzetti street.
His premature death was predetermined by the “monkey trial” of 1929, at which also our lynching took place.
Such a fate threatened all of us, and especially the old comrades among us.
We cannot wait in silence until the noose draws tightly around our necks.
We openly declare our defiance of the “minuses” tacked on after we had unwarrantedly served our time in exile, and of the arrests or detentions later. We shall declare a five-day hunger strike in sign of protest against the death of Nicolai Rogdayev and the flouting of the rights of the Anarchists. We shall continue our hunger strike until we are freed, and if compelled, we shall hold out unto our death.
The Bolsheviks can crush us, but the idea of Anarchism will triumph; it will yet lead to their downfall and the destruction of prisons; for the blood of the Anarchists is the kind of ink which Nechayev used when writing upon the walls of his casement.
How long will this brutality against Anarchists continue?
ZORA GANDLEVSKAYA, ANDREY ANDREYEV.
(“Dielo Trouda,” No. 80, June-July, 1934. Chicago, Ill.).
From: The guillotine at work p. 614-15..