Alexander Schapiro

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Alexander M. Schapiro (1882–1946) was a Russian Jewish anarcho-syndicalist militant active in the international anarchist movement.[1]

Early life

Schapiro was born in 1882 in Rostov-on-Don, and as a child was taken to Turkey where he attended the French school in Istanbul.[2] As a result, he could speak Russian, French, and Turkish, and would later master German and English.[2] By the age of eleven, he was studying the works of anarchist theorists Peter Kropotkin, Jean Grave and Élisée Reclus.[2] After studying biology at the Sorbonne in Paris with the intention of embarking on a career in medicine, he was forced to drop out for financial reasons,[2] and joined his father in London where they were active in the London Anarchist Federation.[1]

London and international activism

In London, he was a member of the Arbeter Fraynd collective,[3] and a delegate of the Jewish Anarchist Federation of London at the 1907 International Anarchist Congress in Amsterdam,[1] at which he was elected one of three secretaries and became one of five members of a bureau calling itself the Anarchist International.[4] He was a signatory to the International Anarchist Manifesto against the First World War issued in London in 1915.[5][6] He was the secretary in the London branch of the Anarchist Red Cross, which provided aid to imprisoned anarchists (in Russia especially), working alongside Peter Kropotkin, Varlaam Cherkezov and Rudolf Rocker.[7] Schapiro was one of the few anarchist friends of Kropotkin not to cut his ties with the anarchist communist theorist over the latter's role in the pro-war Manifesto of the Sixteen.[8]

Years in Russia, and exile

In the aftermath of the February Revolution in 1917, Schapiro returned to Russia and began working on the anarcho-syndicalist paper Golos Truda (The Voice of Labour), seeking to re-invigorate the Russian anarcho-syndicalist movement.[1]

Schapiro became one of many Russian anarchists who collaborated with the Soviet government in the belief that he could help ameliorate working conditions; he accepted positions in the Commissariat for Jewish National Affairs and later the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.[1][9][10] Revolutionary anarchist-turned-Bolshevik Victor Serge described him in his Memoirs of a Revolutionary as a man "of critical and moderate temper".[2]

After a few unhappy years in the service of the Bolshevik regime, and protesting its persecution and imprisonment of anarchists, he chose to go into exile in 1922.[1] He then participated actively in the resurgent and by-then-anarcho-syndicalist International Workers Association (IWA), which at the time was organising aid for anarchists imprisoned in Russia.[1]

He worked on the Russian anarcho-syndicalist newspaper Rabochii Put' (The Workers Voice) with Gregory Maksimov while in Berlin, before traveling on to France, where he continued to work with the IWA and edited another anarcho-syndicalist paper, La Voix du Travail (The Voice of Labour). Schapiro left Europe for New York, where he remained a tireless activist in the cause of Russian political prisoners until his death in 1946.[1][9]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Graham, Robert (June 28, 2008). "Alexander Schapiro - Anarchosyndicalism and Anarchist Organization". Robert Graham's Anarchism Weblog. Retrieved March 20, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Avrich, Paul (2006). The Russian Anarchists. Stirling: AK Press. p. 138. ISBN 1-904859-48-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Avrich, Paul (2006). Anarchist Voices. Stirling: AK Press. p. 321. ISBN 1-904859-27-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  5. Graham, Robert (2005). "Selection 81". Anarchism: a Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas: from Anarchy to Anarchism. Montréal: Black Rose Books. ISBN 1-55164-250-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "International Anarchist Manifesto on the War". Freedom: a Hundred Years, October 1886 to October 1986. London: Freedom Press. 1986. p. 21. ISBN 0-900384-35-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hart, Matthew. "Yelensky's fable" (PDF). Organise! (60). Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Porter, David (2006). "Introduction". Vision on Fire. Stirling: AK Press. p. 37. ISBN 1-904859-57-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

External links