Voline to Max Nettlau (1923)

  1. VII. 1923

Dear Comrade,

I will write to you in French, for I write that language easily enough.

So, you ask me for some explanations.

Here they are.

If, in my letter, I have alluded to certain [   ] and [   ], it was precisely because I supposed you in possession of No. 2-3 of the “Rab. Put” [Rabochii Put‘] where our group and I are attacked by the comrades A. Chapiro [Alexander M. Schapiro] and E[fim]. Yartschouk on the subject of the “affaire Rostchine [Rostchin, mentioned by Berkman as in “old anarchist” in The Bolshevik Myth].” (I do not know if you are aware of the situation.) I want to make you aware that these [?] should not play a role in the decisions concerting our theoretical and literary enterprise, should not damage the task, the labor and the relations ayant trait à our revue.—The comrades of the “Comité de la defense anarcho-syndicaliste” have also attacked us (on the same subject—Rostchine) in an American journal (“Голос труженика” of Chicago.) [The Russian characters in the first word are hard to read, but from context it appears the reference is to “Golos truzhenika,” “The Worker’s Voice,” an IWW paper later edited by Maximov.] We respond to these attacks, but that does not prevent us at all from addressing ourselves to all these comrades with the same proposition—to collaborate on our revue. The differences of opinion that exist, from the syndicalist point of view or another, count for nothing there. This is what I want to say to you first of all. Our revue does not combat this or that anarchist idea. It is not a war. It is just the opposite: we strive to seek a libertarian synthesis, precisely making space in it for all the opinion and currents of the anarchist idea. This is the very basis of our revue. And then, I consider myself (and also several of my comrades) syndicalist to a certain degree. Not only are we far from any exclusivism, be it is precisely that we combat every exclusivism

I do not say more for the moment, for I hope that you are already in possession of issue No. 1 of our revue. That issue should tell you more.

To have a more precise idea of the character and direction of our revue, I particularly recommend to your attention:

1) The appeal: “Ко всем товарищи-анархисты и [согбембующи_?]” [“To all fellow anarchists and [?]”] (page 84);

2) The appeal: “Товарищи-анархисты!” [“Fellow anarchists!”] (page 83);

3) The declaration of the Editors: “Oт редакции” [“From the editors”] (page 1).

In translating your article, I was astonished at the agreement I noted on certain points with our mentality. Doubtless, you will easily notice it yourself, by attentively reading the articles indicated.

Also take not of all the “construction” of the revue. It will tell you enough. And then—you will decide.


Santillan has given me your manuscript. I am in the process of translating it for No. 2. We are completely in agreement with Santillan on this. It will do no harm to “La Protesta.”

Yes, Santillan has asked me to give him the manuscript, when the translation is done. That is what I will not fail to do.

I recently had some copies of “Гонение” [?] in French. [The reference is almost certainly to “”La persécution contre l’anarchisme en Russie Soviétique,” a translation made by Voline.] But I no longer have them. If you want them, you have only to write to the “Libertaire:” they will send them to you.

We have begun the French translation of “The History of the Makhnovist Movement.” That will be finished around the beginning of the month of September.

We will also translate several articles and extracts from the revue into French (and, perhaps, into German.)

If you come to Berlin, I would be happy to make your acquaintance. It would be necessary then that you warn me of your arrival through “Der Syndikalist” (Warschamerstrasse, 62) or through one of the comrades (Linder or Rocker) for I am terribly busy (there are only two of us here for all the work of editing, correspondence, caisse, literature, translation, etc.) and I live in the vicinity of Berlin.

I await, then, your more or less definitive response.

Write to me in French. If you send articles for the revue, it would be best if they were also written in French.



About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.