Anarchist Black Cross Information

The Anarchist Black Cross is an anarchist politics support organization. The group is notable for its efforts at providing prisoners with political literature, but it also organises material and legal support for class struggle prisoners worldwide. It commonly contrasts itself with Amnesty International, which is concerned mainly with prisoners of conscience and refusing to defend those accused of encouraging violence. The ABC openly supports those who have committed illegal activity in furtherance of revolutionary aims that anarchists accept as legitimate.

The Anarchist Black Cross began as the Anarchist Red Cross, a breakaway organization from the Political Red Cross organized to aid political prisoners in Czarist Russia. For years, the origin of the organization was under dispute, but recent documents have resurfaced that has narrowed down the time frame. According to Rudolph Rocker, once the treasurer for the Anarchist Red Cross in London, the organization was founded in Russia during the "hectic period between 1900 and 1905." Most material discussing ABC history points to this era as the birth of this group. The group came into prominence after the 1905 Revolution with the increase of imprisoned anarchists in Russia. Due to the refusal of the Political Red Cross and other prisoner aid groups to support anarchist political prisoners, Russian anarchists in Russia and those in exile abroad created the Anarchist Red Cross to support their comrades held in Russian prisons. Each branch of the organization was known by the region in which they operated Within a few years, the organization spread beyond the Russian borders to the United States and England, where exiled revolutionaries had settled.

By 1905, the group changed its name, dropping "Red Cross" from the title. In this era, the group used various names including: Chicago Aid Fund, Society to Aid Anarchist Prisoners in Russia, Joint Committee to Aid Revolutionaries Imprisoned in Russia, and finally, the title that would remain, the Anarchist Black Cross.

Wikipedia, Anarchist Black Cross, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchist_Black_Cross (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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