cnt militias

anonymous asked:

Was lack of military discipline ever a problem for the Makhnovshchina or the CNT militias? Did the anarchist mode of organizing ever impair their effectiveness on the battlefield?

There’s no evidence that it did, both the anarchist militias and the Makhnovshchina were extremely effective in that sense, particularly given the fact that they were both severely under equipped in comparison to their enemies. If the Makhnovshchina hadn’t stopped Denikin’s army reaching Moscow the Russian Revolution might not have seen the 1920s

People often think that anarchist armies would have a problem with discipline, but history has shown the opposite to be true, like the Red Army had much greater problems with discipline than the Makhnovshchina, and it’s obvious why if you think about it… like the majority of Red Army soldiers were conscripts and the majority of Red Army officers were former Tsarist officers. Makhnovshchina were there by choice, they knew they could leave at any time and were directly involved in low level decision making, so there was a strong bond of loyalty, same with the militias, if you read the stuff members of the Durruti column wrote at the time, they’d have followed him off a cliff.

An army of conscripts is always going to need harsher discipline than an army of volunteers, like the Red Army who drafted peasants at gunpoint, shot deserters and quickly abolished all internal democracy… even the Tsarist officers in charge of them had been coerced into it - so yeah they needed the iron discipline, the blocking units behind troops ready to shoot anyone who retreated, the Cheka units spying on people and summarily executing ‘slackers’, they couldn’t have operated any other way.