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New Militant, 2 November 1935


The Author


From New Militant, Vol. I No. 45, 2 November 1935, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Victor Serge (Victor Kibalchiche) was born in Brussels December 30, 1890. His (parents) were exiled Russian revolutionists.

He was active in the movement at the age of fifteen as an anarchist, He was arrested in France in connection with the Bonnet case and was condemned to five years, which he served because he refused to denounce his comrades.

Freed in 1917 he went to Spain. As a printer in Barcelona he participated in an abortive insurrection. When the news of the October Revolution came he tried to reach Russia. He was arrested and interned in the Sarthe concentration camp in France. He was exchanged together with some Russians for officers of the French military mission in Russia, He travelled in the company of Roussakov, whose daughter Liuba, he later married.

He joined the Third International and was given the direction of the French language bureau, and later of the International Correspondence. He took part in the revolutionary struggle in Russia (during the defense of Petrograd from the Yudenitch offensive), and as a journalist, in the Austrian and German revolutions.

But he also took part in the faction struggles inside the party. In the latter part of 1927 he was expelled from the party and spent six weeks in prison.

Deprived henceforth of political activity, he lived by doing hack work (translations, etc.) which he was still able to procure, and devoted himself to his own literary and historical works: The Year 1 of the Russian Revolution, Men in Prison, Birth of Our Power, Literature and Revolution, The Conquered City, etc.

At the same time he tried to get permission ito leave Russia. He received no answer, or at best equivocal answers for years, and finally a blank refusal. His friends in France made efforts in the same direction (letters to soviet authorities, visits to the ambassadors; only in the last few weeks (1933) did they have recourse to the press as a last measure) with no more success. The Committee which has taken up his cause includes such artists and writers as Paul Signac, Leon Werth, Georges Duhamel, Firmin Gemier, Victor Margueritte, Magdeleine Paz, Luc Durtlain, Henry Poulaille, Charles Vildrac, etc. It has offered to stand all the expenses of repatriating Serge and bis family.

On March 8, 1933, Serge was arrested and imprisoned once more. At the end of June he was exiled to Orenburg by executive order – renewable at will, and the same measure to be cancelled at will – from the G.P.U.

He is still in exile.

The article printed here is a chapter translated from his best work: The Year One of the Russian Revolution.

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