What Every Radical Should Know About State Repression: A Guide for Activists

Victor Serge     Recommended by Staff    

This classic manual on repression by revolutionary activist Victor Serge offers fascinating anecdotes about the tactics of police provocateurs and an analysis of the documents of the tsarist secret police in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.

With a new introduction by Howard Zinn collaborator and Noam Chomsky’s literary agent, Anthony Arnove.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of Victor Serge’s classic 1926 expose of political repression, the spectre of fear as a tool of political repression is chillingly familiar to us in a world increasingly threatened by totalitarianism. Serge’s expose of the surveillance methods used by the tzarist 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 – including how to avoid being followed, what to do if arrested, and tips on securing correspondence. He also explains how such repression is ultimately ineffective.

‘Repression can really only live off fear. But is fear enough to remove need, thirst for justice, intelligence, reason, idealism … ? 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

‘Serge is one of the most compelling of twentieth-century ethical and literary heroes.’
-Susan Sontag

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