What Every Radical Should Know About State Repression
A Guide for Activists
Published by Ocean Press
2005, 150pp, ISBN 1920888179, Paperback
“Repression can really only live off fear. But is fear enough to remove need, thirst for justice, intelligence, reason, idealism — all those revolutionary forces that express the formidable, profound impulse of the economic factors of a revolution? Relying on intimidation, the reactionaries forget that they will cause more indignation, more hatred, more thirst for martyrdom, than real fear. They only intimidate the weak; they exasperate the best forces and temper the resolution of the strongest.” — Victor Serge
Victor Serge’s exposé of the surveillance methods used by the tsarist police reads like a spy thriller. An irrepressible rebel, Serge wrote this manual for political activists, describing the structures of state repression and how to dodge them. He also explained how such repression is ultimately ineffective.
As civil liberties attorney Dalia Hashad illustrates in her introduction, Serge’s broad discussion on the oft-recycled tools of harassment and provocation is as relevant today as it was in pre-revolutionary Russia. Today’s repressive apparatus — racial profiling, the USA Patriot Act, and similar legislation introduced in the name of the “war on terror” — point toward the unchecked power of the US government and its allies, a power symptomatic of totalitarian regimes.
Victor Serge was born to Russian émigré parents in 1890. He wrote numerous novels, poems and political essays and was forced into exile for opposing Stalin’s rule.
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