Life and Labor Commune

The Life and Labor Commune was a Tolstoyan agricultural commune founded in 1921 and disbanded as a state run collective farm in 1937. The commune was founded near Moscow but was later resettled on the outskirts of Siberia. Throughout its existence the members of the commune were persecuted by the Bolsheviks, both for refusing to enlist or support their war efforts as well as for organizing themselves communally outside of the approved state structure.


[edit] Founding (1921-1930)

The Life and Labor Commune was founded on December 31st, 1921 with a rental contract with the Moscow District Land Department for the Shestakvka estate, twelve miles outside of Moscow. The commune was built on land in the Tsartsyn district of the Moscow region and fell under the village soviet of Troparyovo. The commune was named "Life and Labor" after the Tolstoyan and anarchist leanings of its founding members. From the very beginning, all communal meals were strictly vegetarian.

In 1927 the commune began to come under attack along with the Tolstoy New Jerusalem Commune, which was liquidated by the Soviet government in 1929. Many of the members from there joined the Life and Labor Commune. Leading members of the commune came under legal prosecution by the government, which attempted to revoke their charter. They were defended in court by anarchist Peter Kropotkin, a member of the Public Defender's Office, as well as nephew of Kropotkin.

[edit] Resettlement (1931)

Vladimir Cherkov, who intervened on behalf of conscientious objectors to the Red Army with Lenin and had won them their freedom from impressment, suggested that the Life and Labor Commune resettle along with other followers of Tolstoy to form one large commune. On February 28th, 1930 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree by the Presidium of the Committee, Protocol 41, Paragraph 5, about "the resettlement of Tolstoyan communes and cooperatives." After a scouting expedition in the spring of 1930, the location of Kuznetsk along the Tom River was chosen. On March 22nd, 1931, after selling the livestock and donating the farm to an outpatient psychiatric hospital, the inhabitants of the Life and Labor Commune set out for outskirts of Siberia.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Memoirs Of Peasant Tolstoyans In Soviet Russia, William Edgerton; Indiana University Press, 1993

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