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

Regular price $ 15.95

by Victor Serge

Seven Stories Press

5/28/2024, paperback

SKU: 9781644213674


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.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of Victor Serge's (1926) classic exposé of political repression, the specter of fear as a tool of political repression is chillingly familiar to us in world increasingly threatened by totalitarianism. Serge's exposé of the surveillance methods used by the Czarist 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

With a new introduction by Howard Zinn collaborator Anthony Arnove and a foreword by Dalia Hashad.


"Victor Serge is one of the unsung heroes of a corrupt century." -- Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

About the Contributors:

Victor Serge was born to Russian émigré parents in Belgium in 1890. He became active at an early age in revolutionary activities, for which he was imprisoned for five years in France. On his release he returned to revolutionary Russia where he threw himself into the defense of the fledgling government. After Lenin's death he became increasingly alienated from Stalin's clique and was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1936 for speaking out against the purges. He died in exile in Mexico in 1947. He wrote numerous novels, poems, memoirs and political essays. Prefiguring Solzhenitsyn by 40 years, Serge believed: "He who speaks, he who writes is above all one who speaks on behalf of all those who have no voice."

Anthony Arnove (introduction to this edition) is the editor of several books, including, with Howard Zinn, Voices of a People's History of the United States and Terrorism and War. He wrote the introduction for the thirty-fifth anniversary edition of Zinn's classic book A People's History of the United States. Arnove cofounded the nonprofit education and arts organization Voices of a People's History of the United States. Arnove is on the editorial boards of Haymarket Books and Tempestmag.org and is the director of Roam Agency, where he represents authors including Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky. He lives in Hopewell, New Jersey.