Alexander Schapiro

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To be distinguished from Sascha Schapiro.

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

Early life[edit]

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 four languages – 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[edit]

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] 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]

Years in Russia[edit]

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 continuing 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[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Graham, Robert (June 28, 2008). "Alexander Schapiro - Anarchosyndicalism and Anarchist Organization". Robert Graham's Anarchism Weblog. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Avrich, Paul (2006). The Russian Anarchists. Stirling: AK Press. p. 138. ISBN 1-904859-48-8. 
  3. ^ Avrich, Paul (2006). Anarchist Voices. Stirling: AK Press. p. 321. ISBN 1-904859-27-5. 
  4. ^ Woodcock, George (1990). Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel. Montréal: Black Rose Books. p. 385. ISBN 0-921689-60-8. OCLC 21156316. 
  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. 
  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. 
  7. ^ Hart, Matthew. "Yelensky's fable". Organise! (60). Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ Woodcock, George (1990). Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel. Montréal: Black Rose Books. p. 387. ISBN 0-921689-60-8. OCLC 21156316. 
  9. ^ a b Porter, David (2006). "Introduction". Vision on Fire. Stirling: AK Press. p. 37. ISBN 1-904859-57-7. 
  10. ^ Woodcock, George (1990). Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel. Montréal: Black Rose Books. p. 349. ISBN 0-921689-60-8. OCLC 21156316. 

External links[edit]