Anarchism and national liberation

Freedom-centred ideas entered Macedonia through young people who had been students in Switzerland and Bulgaria at the end of the 19th century. Between 1897 and 1898 two anarchist papers were published from Geneva - Glas (The Voice) and Otmachtenie of the so-called Secret Macedonian Revolutionary Committee fighting for Macedonia’s liberation from the Turks and for the establishment of a socialist Balkan Federation. The ideas of Russian populism and anarchism were espoused by the first Macedonian socialist Vasil Glavinov (1869-1929). In Sofia, Glavinov met Gotche Deltchev (1872-1903), a leading light of the struggle to liberate Macedonia and founder of the Adrianopolis-based Macedonian Secret Revolutionary Organisation (set up in Salonika in October 1893), the man behind the revolutionary uprising on St Elias’s day in 1903. Deltchev also had a hand in establishing the “Republic of Krusevo”, the Balkans’ first socialist republic (it survived for nearly three months).
Deltchev was in close contact and personal friends with the leading Bulgarian anarchists Mihail Guerdzhikov and Varban Kilifarski. Lots of other anarchist fighters for an independent Macedonia gathered around Deltchev, among them Petar Mandzhukov (1879-1966) who published The ABC of Anarchist Doctrine in Skopje in 1898, Dame Gruev (1871-1906), Jane Sandanski (1872-1915), Nikola Karev (1877-1905), Dimo Hadzidimov (1875-1915) and others. The Macedonian anarchists also had a secret “brodara” terrorist group, the Guemidzija, in Salonika (members included Jordan Pop-Jardanov, Marko Bosnakov, Dimiter Mecev, Konstantin Kirkov, Pavel Satev, Milan Arsov and Vladimir Pingov). By organising a wave of bomb attacks on public buildings they sought to focus the eyes of the word upon the Macedonian liberation struggle (1903). Some of them were killed, others captured, sentenced to death or banished to Turkey.

An international Balkan revolutionary anarchist association called the “Red Brotherhood” was active from 1910 to 1912 in Salonika, Strumitsa, Kumanovo and Kratovo and fought the Turks in an effort to liberate Macedonia.

Trivo Indic

The anarchist tradition on Yugoslav soil; Anarchism and national liberation

Umanità Nova, 27 May 1990. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.


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