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No Harmless Power: The Life and Times of the Ukrainian Anarchist Nestor Makhno

No Harmless Power: The Life and Times of the Ukrainian Anarchist Nestor Makhno

By Charlie Allison

Lively, incendiary, and inspiring, No Harmless Power follows the life of Nestor Makhno, who organized a seven-million-strong anarchist polity during the Russian Civil War and developed Platformist anarchism during his exile in Paris as well as advising other anarchists like Durruti on tactics and propaganda. Both timely and timeless, this biography reveals Makhno’s rapidly changing world and his place in it. He moved swiftly from peasant youth to prisoner to revolutionary anarchist leader, narrowly escaping Bolshevik Ukraine for Paris. This book also chronicles the friends and enemies he made along the way: Lenin, Trotsky, Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Ida Mett, and others.

No Harmless Power is the first text to fully delve into Makhno’s sympathy for the downtrodden, the trap of personal heroism, his improbable victories, unlikely friendships, and his alarming lack of gun safety in meetings. Makhno and the movement he began are seldom mentioned in most mainstream histories—Western or Russian—mostly on the grounds that acknowledging anarchist polities calls into question the inevitability and desirability of the nation-state and unjust hierarchies.

With illustrations by N.O. Bonzo and Kevin Matthews, this is a fresh, humorous, and necessary look at an under examined corner of history as well as a deep exploration of the meaning—and value, if any—of heroism as history.

Softback book.
256 pages.

Published by PM Press.