Memoirs of an Anarchist in Romania

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 27 2010 10:40
Memoirs of an Anarchist in Romania

Little known, Zamfir Arbure-Ralli (1848-1933) is an interesting figure for several reasons, one, just because he was active for a broad historical period, from being a member of the first international to experiencing the degeneration of the third international.

Here is the information about him: [url= http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qz625d] http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qz625d[/url]

Boris Badenov
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Jun 27 2010 13:45

Yes he was probably one of a handful of radicals associated with anarchism in Romania. That said, this was a time of great ideological fluidity. Arbure was as much a nationalist (who wanted to see Bukovina independent from the Russians) and a populist (I think he even stood in Parliament for a short while) as a he was an "anarchist." IIRC he personally met Bakunin and Reclus.
One of his daughters was a painter of some fame, and the other one, Ecaterina Arbore, was an active Bolshevik cadre who died in the Stalinist purges.

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 27 2010 17:43

The article says that's a mystification by nationalist historians.

My interest was sparked after reading about the 1915 Balkan Conference
in which he's calling for a federation of Eastern Europe/Balkan, which he says bourgeois democracy couldn't achieve, but only the proletariat can. I think that rules out he was a nationalist. So hopefully the impression you got will be changed after the translation of his memoirs, because it wouldn't reflect well (on him and on anarchism) if he could turn nationalist that easily after such great political activity:

Quote:
Zamfir Arbure joined the narodnik social-revolutionary movement which was leading an armed struggle against the tsarist regime and its governors at the cost of many human lives. He got acquainted with Sergei Nechaev and later on with Alexander Herzen. As a result of the pressure put on him by the Russian authorities Zamfir moved to Zurich in 1870 and then to Geneva where he became an active collaborator of Mikhail Bakunin. He met and collaborated with Eliseé Reclus and Peter Kropotkin. Ralli, as he was known in Geneva, ran a publishing house, issued social-revolutionary and anarchist writings and distributed them. In 1875 Arbure published the first issue of Rabotnik (The Worker), the first Russian social-revolutionary publication in newspaper format. Among other numerous contributions he wrote a book about the Paris commune, and at the same time was actively involved in organizing the movement. He was member of the First International, supporter of the anarchist movement and member of the Jura Federation. Together with the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta he translated a letter of Bakunin into Spanish and intended to participate with the latter in the Spanish revolution. However, this did not happen. In time his relationship with Bakunin grew cold. On the other hand, he remained in contact with Reclus all his life.
Boris Badenov
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Jun 27 2010 18:03
Noa wrote:
The article says that's a mystification by nationalist historians.
...
in which he's calling for a federation of Eastern Europe/Balkan, which he says bourgeois democracy couldn't achieve, but only the proletariat can. I think that rules out he was a nationalist.

The article may say that (and obviously he has been appropriated by the nationalist anti-Russian right in Moldova; in Romania he is literally unknown IMO) but he did write a piece called "The liberation of Bassarabia" in 1915 (I'll try to translate it maybe if you're interested, when I have the time) arguing for the independent statehood of Bassarabia (not just Bukovina, as I mistakenly claimed above), and it is safe to say that while Arbore "accepted Bakunin's federal agenda" (it's hard to say exactly how he understood this federalism), he remained a social revolutionary narodnik at heart. Like I said, this was a time when old-fashioned umbrella radicalism was still running strong, especially in countries with no indigenous socialist tradition. I don't think he was an opportunist (he did some serious hard time in Russia after he was arrested), but his political convictions were only broadly anarchist I think.
I'm not surprised he remained friends with Reclus; they were both geographers. I think it's interesting however that his relationship with Bakunin grew cold as the above extract says; I wonder why that is. It could be political, but it could also be that Arbore was disgusted with Bakunin's heavy-handed ways and his antisemitism.

Quote:
So hopefully the impression you got will be changed after the translation of his memoirs

I actually read somewhere (this might be nothing but a misguided rumour) that AK Press is planning a translation of his memoirs. That would be fantastic, because the Romanian original is long out of print and impossible to find, as far as I know.

Also, have a look at this short piece, which repeats the claim that he briefly served as MP
http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=ro&u=http://www.syndikalismusforschung.info/zamfirro.htm&ei=FZQnTPjTFMT48AawtIjIDw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CC0Q7gEwBQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522zamfir%2Barbure%2522%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff

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Noa Rodman
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Jun 27 2010 20:06

Apparently he was member of the Romanian senate in 1920, so that's sad, but at this point we can only speculate and probably add to the existing confusion as to the exact how and why.

Btw, I read that he helped/supported the sailors' revolt of the Potemkin Battleship.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 27 2010 20:36
Noa Rodman wrote:
Apparently he was member of the Romanian senate in 1920, so that's sad, but at this point we can only speculate and probably add to the existing confusion as to the exact how and why.

Btw, I read that he helped/supported the sailors' revolt of the Potemkin Battleship.

I think most on the left did, including academic Marxists like Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea (friend of Trosky) and Constantin Mille. Not sure what the support materialized into though, as the Romanian government absolutely refused to permit supplies to be sent to the battleship, and eventually turned it over to the Russian navy.
Btw, it seems I was right about Arbure's memoirs being translated into English, except it's Black Cat Press (a small publishing house in Alebrta) doing it, not AK Press. Maybe it's out already, since this blog entry, announcing the project, was written over a year ago.

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Jun 27 2010 22:02

On behalf of Black Cat Press I'm sorry to report we have lost touch with the people supposedly working on the translation Arbure's memoirs. Any help in resuscitating this project would be appreciated. We have people at our end who are capable of translating and editing the material.

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Jun 28 2010 14:19

His book 'Temniţă şi exil' (Imprisonment and exile) is about 180 pages, dates from 1894 and covers what are his most interesting years of activity.

Here are some other of his books:

A scris lucrarea ştiinţifi că Darwin şi darwinismul
(1893), broşura Către ţăranii moldoveni din Basarabia (1906).
A lansat romanele Temniţă şi exil (1894), În Exil (1896), Nihiliştii
(1895), Anatomia sau anexarea Transilvaniei şi Bucovinei (1914),
Libertatea Basarabiei (1915), Ucraina şi România (1916), Viaţa
eternă în ceruri (1927). A fost premiat de Academia Română pentru
cartea Basarabia în veacul al XIX-lea (1898).

The title of his 1927 book, Eternal life in heaven, definitively sounds wrong though.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 28 2010 17:00
Noa wrote:
The title of his 1927 book, Eternal life in heaven, definitively sounds wrong though.

IIRC he was very anti-clerical, so I doubt it's Christian apologia. Also the first book you mention is a treatise on Darwinism.
Anyway, Karetelnik, I hope you got my PM; I'd be more than happy to help with this project.

vtlspr
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Jan 21 2018 19:43

I am from Moldova, will try to find out what I can find in the National Library about him.
it would be great to have at least some of his Romanian books online.
will try to solve this

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Steven.
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Jan 22 2018 16:18

vtlspr wrote:

I am from Moldova, will try to find out what I can find in the National Library about him.
it would be great to have at least some of his Romanian books online.
will try to solve this

great stuff!

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Jan 25 2018 20:53

btw, Chisinau at the turn of the century was a lively revolutionary point, as Michael Pavlovich (Veltman) recalled in his autobiography:

Quote:

Chisinau was at that moment (1899-1901) a lively revolutionary point in the south of Russia. Here already there were David Goldendakh (Ryazanov), Moses Hanji (anarchist), Bykhovsky (s.r.), two sisters Kornblyum (Social-Democrats), Bograd, shot by Czech-Slovaks in Krasnoyarsk, Basovsky (s.-d ), Rosa Halberstadt (Social-Democrat) Ilya and Bethia Shif, who came with me from exile, Alexander Kvyatkovsky (Social-Democrat), Kvita (the Bolshevik who died without knowing where), Godlevsky and Elena Godlevskaya and many others. Among the local intelligentsia there were many elements sympathetic to the exiles and providing the latter with all possible assistance.

Кишинев был в этот момент (1899--1901 гг.) оживленным революционным пунктом на юге России. Здесь уже находились Давид Гольдендах (Рязанов), Моисей Ханжи (анархист), Быховский (с.-р.), две сестры Корнблюм (с.-д.), Боград, расстрелянный чехо-словаками в Красноярске, Басовский (с.-д.), Роза Гальберштадт (с.-д.) Илья и Бетя Шиф, прибывшие со мной из ссылки, Александр Квятковский (с.-д.), Квита (большевик, погибший неизвестно где), Годлевский и Елена Годлевская и многие другие. Среди местной интеллигенции было немало элементов, сочувствовавших ссыльным и оказывавших последним всяческое содействие.

http://az.lib.ru/p/pawlowich_m_p/text_1926_autobiografia.shtml