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What Every Radical Should Know About State Repression: A Guide for Activists Paperback – 2 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ocean Press (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1920888179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1920888176
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 865,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A classic expose of political repression in Czarist Russia which will be chillingly familiar to activists today. This is a timely publication of the work of an anarchist and socialist humanist writer in a time of growing global activism. There has been a revival of interest in Serge since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The relevance of his writings today is drawn out by U.S. civil liberties lawyer and Arab-American community activist Dalia Hashad. Serge's expose of the methods of surveillance and harassment of political activists by the Czarist police reads like a spy thriller. But as Dalia Hashad points out in her introduction, this book will have a resonance with political activists today who face a new wave of repression under the Patriot Act and racial profiling in the name of the "war on terror."

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Shires on 13 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not being a fan of Serge's politics or analysis, this little volume is of interest as to how historically oppressive state forces and more modern ones - CIA, FBI, MI5, MI6 and myriad others, despite all technological advances are pretty much the same. In fact technological advance has only added to the data they can amass and still they fail in dealing with revolution. Revolutionaries not on the net are obviously even more dangerous. It is also interesting that CIA histories have transposed the workings of the Czarist secret police and pretended they were only invented by the Soviet authorities. Cheap and yet further re-writing of history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Thin, somewhat clumsy, but important 22 Feb 2007
By Phil Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This small book delivers somewhat less than its title promises-- only a few pages in the middle are devoted to sensible, if somewhat obvious advice for activists facing state repression (e.g, don't talk to police, operate on a need-to-know basis. The rest of the book falls into two parts: First comes a brief and fascinating report on what was learned about the Tsar's Okhrana, or secret police, when the police archives were opened after the revolution, revealing the staggering extent and level of coordination of police infiltration of rebel groups.

The later chapters of the book defend clandestine organizing and the use of violence in social movements. More troublingly, the last chapters Serge defends the use of _the same tools of repression employed by the Tsar_ by communists after the revolution. This lamentable position was taken by Serge shortly after the success of the October 1917 revolution. The writings of an older, more disillusioned Serge make it clear that he rejected this naive belief in "working class repression" once the abominable nature of Stalin's Cheka became clearer.

For a more useful, thorough guide to activist security culture in the age of electronic surveillance, see the chapter in Crimethinc's book "Recipes for Disaster".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
As valuable a read for activists today as it was nearly a hundred years ago 9 Feb 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What Every Radical Should Know About State Repression: A Guide For Activists is a manual written by an outspoken Russian activist Victor Serge, born in 1890 and forced into exile for opposing Stalin's rule. His discussion of the government's tools of harassment, and his methodologies for dodging state repression are as vital to today's era of racial profiling and abuses of the Patriot Act as they were in Czarist Russia. Chapters discuss the abuses of Russia's secret police and the methods they employed, practical means to protect oneself from being followed, what to do if arrested, an overview of the lessons of history, and more. "In social conflict there is no truth in common between the exploited classes and the exploiters," warns Serge, decrying impulses to denounce the system when one is under arrest or on trial; his fiery opinions do not detract from the solid advice on how to comport oneself when fomenting political change. As valuable a read for activists today as it was nearly a hundred years ago.
After Reading This Book I Joined the ACLU 15 July 2012
By Mary Wilbur - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago, when it was written. The excesses of the Patriot Act have damaged the civil liberties of all Americans, whether they are citizens or not, and indefinite detention is administrative terrorism. Americans who are activists of any group are spied upon and surveillance of their activities is practiced, informers and potentially provocateurs are used. The records due to excessive secrecy since 9/11 are exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests. The government has gone nuts, and as far as I'm concerned as long as we are governed by fear Al Quaeda has won the war.
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