Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin
30 May 1814
|Died||1 July 1876 62) (aged|
|Era||19th century philosophy|
|School|| Anarchism |
|Part of the Politics series on|
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin // ; 30 May [ O.S. 18 May] 1814 – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition. Bakunin's enormous prestige as an activist made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, gaining substantial influence amongst radicals throughout Russia and Europe.(
Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.
A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary anarchist doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production as it instead envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves.
Bakunin grew up in Pryamukhino, a family estate in Tver Governorate, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopédistes, leading to enthusiasm for the philosophy of Fichte. From Fichte, Bakunin went on to immerse himself in the works of Hegel, the most influential thinker among German intellectuals at the time. That led to his embrace of Hegelianism, bedazzled by Hegel's famous maxim: "Everything that exists is rational". In 1840, Bakunin traveled to Saint Petersburg and Berlin with the intention of preparing himself for a professorship in philosophy or history at the University of Moscow. In 1842, Bakunin moved from Berlin to Dresden. Eventually he arrived in Paris, where he met Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx.
Kuvshinovsky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the thirty-six in Tver Oblast, Russia. It is located in the center of the oblast and borders with Vyshnevolotsky District in the north, Torzhoksky District in the east, Staritsky District in the south, Selizharovsky District in the southwest, Ostashkovsky District in the west, and with Firovsky District in the northwest. The area of the district is 1,874 square kilometers (724 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Kuvshinovo. Population: 15,386 ; 17,847 (2002 Census); 20,601 (1989 Census). The population of Kuvshinovo accounts for 65.0% of the district's total population.
Tver Governorate was an administrative division of the Russian Empire and Russian SFSR, which existed from 1796 until 1929. Its seat was in Tver. The governorate was located in the center of the European part of the Russian Empire and bordered Novgorod Governorate in the north, Yaroslavl Governorate in the east, Vladimir Governorate in the southeast, Moscow Governorate in the south, Smolensk Governorate in the southwest, and Pskov Governorate in the west.
The Encyclopédistes were members of the Société des gens de lettres, a French writers' society, who contributed to the development of the Encyclopédie from June 1751 to December 1765 under the editors Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. The composition of the 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates of the Encyclopédie was the work of over 150 authors belonging, in large part, to the intellectual group known as the philosophes. They promoted the advancement of science and secular thought and supported tolerance, rationality, and open-mindedness of the Enlightenment.
Bakunin's increasing radicalism—including staunch opposition to imperialism in east and central Europe by Russia and other powers—changed his life, putting an end to hopes of a professorial career. He was eventually deported from France for speaking against Russia's oppression of Poland. In 1849, Bakunin was apprehended in Dresden for his participation in the Czech rebellion of 1848 and turned over to Russia where he was imprisoned in the Peter-Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg. In 1854 he was transferred to the Shlisselburg fortress, until 1857, when he was exiled to Siberia. Bakunin escaped to Japan, then made his way to the United States and eventually London, where he worked with Alexander Herzen on the journal Kolokol (The Bell). In 1863, he left to join the insurrection in Poland, but he failed to reach his destination and instead spent some time in Switzerland and Italy.
The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples, or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706 to 1740 as a star fortress. In the early 1920s, it was still used as a prison and execution ground by the Bolshevik government.
Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism" and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism. With his writings, many composed while exiled in London, he attempted to influence the situation in Russia, contributing to a political climate that led to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. He published the important social novel Who is to Blame? (1845–46). His autobiography, My Past and Thoughts, is often considered the best specimen of that genre in Russian literature.
In 1868, Bakunin joined the socialist International Working Men's Association, a federation of trade unions and workers' organizations, which had sections in many European countries as well as in Latin America and (after 1872) in North Africa and the Middle East. The Bakuninist or anarchist trend rapidly expanded in influence, especially in Spain, which constituted the largest section of the International at the time. A showdown loomed with Marx, who was a key figure in the General Council of the International. The 1872 Hague Congress was dominated by a struggle between Marx and his followers, who argued for the use of the state to bring about socialism; and the Bakunin/anarchist faction, which argued instead for the replacement of the state by federations of self-governing workplaces and communes. Bakunin could not attend the congress as he could not reach the Netherlands. Bakunin's faction present at the conference lost and Bakunin was (in Marx's view) expelled for supposedly maintaining a secret organisation within the international.
The Hague Congress was the fifth congress of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA), held from 2–7 September 1872 in The Hague, the Netherlands.
From 1870 to 1876, Bakunin wrote some of his longer works, such as Statism and Anarchy and God and the State . However, Bakunin remained a direct participant in struggles. In 1870, he was involved in an insurrection in Lyon, France, which foreshadowed the Paris Commune. The Paris Commune closely corresponded to many elements of Bakunin's anarchist programme—self-management, mandates delegates, a militia system with elected officers and decentralisation. Anarchists like Élisée Reclus and those in the tradition of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon—who had greatly influenced Bakunin—were key figures in the Commune. Despite declining health, much a result of his years of imprisonment, Bakunin also sought to take part in a communal insurrection involving anarchists in Bologna, Italy, but was forced to return to Switzerland in disguise, where he settled in Lugano. He remained active in the workers' and peasants' movements of Europe and was also a major influence on movements in Egypt and Latin America.
Statism and Anarchy was the last work by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. Written in the summer of 1873, the key themes of the work are: the likely impact on Europe of the Franco-Prussian war and the rise of the German Empire, Bakunin's view of the weaknesses of the Marxist position, and an affirmation of anarchism. Statism and Anarchy was the only one of Bakunin's major anarchist works to be written in Russian and was primarily aimed at a Russian audience, with an initial print run of 1,200 copies printed in Switzerland and smuggled into Russia.
God and the State is an unfinished manuscript by the Russian anarchist philosopher Mikhail Bakunin, published posthumously in 1882. The work criticises Christianity and the then-burgeoning technocracy movement from a materialist, anarchist and individualist perspective. Early editions contained rewrites by Carlo Cafiero and Élisée Reclus in order to make the work more poetic in the translated French and due to misreadings, but later translations have attempted to remain more faithful to the original text. It has gone on to become Bakunin's most widely read and praised work.
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was born to a Russian noble family "of only modest means"(they owned 500 serfs) in the Pryamukhino village situated between Torzhok and Kuvshinovo. His father Alexander Mikhailovich Bakunin (1768–1854) (ru) was a career diplomat who spent years serving in Italy and France and upon his return settled down at the paternal estate and turned a Marshal of Nobility. According to the family legend, the Bakunin dynasty was founded in 1492 by one of the three brothers of the noble Báthory family who left Hungary to serve under Vasili III of Russia. In reality, the first documented ancestor was a Moscow dyak (clerk) Nikifor Evdokimov nicknamed Bakunya (from the Russian bakunya, bakulya meaning "chatterbox, phrase monger") who lived during the 17th century. Alexander's mother, knyazna Lubov Petrovna Myshetskaya, belonged to the impoverished Upper Oka Principalities branch of the Rurik dynasty founded by Mikhail Yurievich Tarussky, grandson of Michael of Chernigov.
The Russian nobility originated in the 14th century. In 1914 it consisted of approximately 1,900,000 members.
The term "serf", in the sense of an unfree peasant of the Russian Empire, is the usual translation of krepostnoi krestyanin which meant an unfree person who, unlike a slave, could be sold only with the land he or she was "attached" to. Historic legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants.
Torzhok is a town in Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Tvertsa River along the federal highway M10 and a branch of the Oktyabrskaya Railway division of the Russian Railways. The town is famous for its folk craft of goldwork embroidery. Population: 47,644 (2010 Census); 48,967 (2002 Census); 49,982 (1989 Census).
In 1810, Alexander Bakunin married Varvara Alexandrovna Muravyova (1792—1864) who was 24 years younger than him. She came from the ancient noble Muravyov family that was founded during the 15th century by the Ryazan boyar Ivan Vasilievich Alapovsky nicknamed Muravey (translates simply as "ant") who was granted lands in Veliky Novgorod.Among her second cousins were Nikita Muravyov and Sergey Muravyov-Apostol, some of the key figures of the Decembrist revolt. Alexander's commitment to liberal ideas also led to his involvement with one in the Decembrist clubs. After Nicolas I became an Emperor, he gave up politics and devoted himself to the estate and his children—five girls and five boys, the oldest of whom was Mikhail.
At the age of 14, Bakunin left for Saint Petersburg and became a Junker at the Artillery School (known as Mikhailovskaya Military Artillery Academy today). In 1833, he received a rank of Praporshchik and was seconded to serve in the Minsk and Grodno Governorates in one of the artillery brigades.He did not enjoy army and having a lot of free time on his hands spent it on self-education. In 1835, he was seconded to Tver and from there went straight to his village. Though his father wished him to continue in either the military or the civil service, Bakunin decided to abandon both and made his way to Moscow, hoping to study philosophy.
In Moscow, Bakunin soon became friends with a group of former university students and engaged in the systematic study of idealist philosophy, grouped around the poet Nikolay Stankevich, "the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics" (E. H. Carr). The philosophy of Immanuel Kant initially was central to their study, but they progressed to Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. By autumn 1835, Bakunin had conceived of forming a philosophical circle in his home town of Pryamukhino. Moreover, by early 1836 he was back in Moscow, where he published translations of Fichte's Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar's Vocation and The Way to a Blessed Life, which became his favorite book. With Stankevich, Bakunin also read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and E. T. A. Hoffmann.
Bakunin became increasingly influenced by Hegel and provided the first Russian translation of his work. During this period, he met slavophile Konstantin Aksakov, Piotr Chaadaev and the socialists Alexander Herzen and Nikolay Ogarev. In this period he began to develop his panslavic views. After long wrangles with his father, Bakunin went to Berlin in 1840. His stated plan at the time was still to become a university professor (a "priest of truth" as he and his friends imagined it), but he soon encountered and joined students of the Young Hegelians and the socialist movement in Berlin. In his 1842 essay "The Reaction in Germany", he argued in favor of the revolutionary role of negation, summed up in the phrase "the passion for destruction is a creative passion".
After three semesters in Berlin, Bakunin went to Dresden where he became friends with Arnold Ruge. Here, he also read Lorenz von Stein's Der Sozialismus und Kommunismus des heutigen Frankreich and developed a passion for socialism. He abandoned his interest in an academic career, devoting more and more of his time to promoting revolution. The Russian government, becoming aware of this activity, ordered him to return to Russia. On his refusal, his property was confiscated. Instead, he went with Georg Herwegh to Zürich, Switzerland.
During his six-month stay in Zürich, Bakunin became closely associated with German communist Wilhelm Weitling. Until 1848, he remained on friendly terms with the German communists, occasionally calling himself a communist and writing articles on communism in the Schweitzerische Republikaner. He moved to Geneva in western Switzerland shortly before Weitling's arrest. His name had appeared frequently in Weitling's correspondence seized by the police. This led to reports being circulated to the imperial police. The Russian ambassador in Bern ordered Bakunin to return to Russia, but instead he went to Brussels, where he met many leading Polish nationalists, such as Joachim Lelewel, co-member with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at Brussels. Lelewel greatly influenced him, but he clashed with the Polish nationalists over their demand for a historic Poland based on the borders of 1776 (before the Partitions of Poland) as he defended the right of autonomy for the non-Polish peoples in these territories. He also did not support their clericalism and they did not support his calls for the emancipation of the peasantry.
In 1844, Bakunin went to Paris, then a centre of the European political current. He established contact with Karl Marx and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who greatly impressed him and with whom he formed a personal bond. In December 1844, Emperor Nicholas issued a decree that stripped Bakunin of his privileges as a noble, confiscated his land in Russia, and condemned him to lifelong exile in Siberia. He responded with a long letter to La Réforme, denouncing the Emperor as a despot and calling for democracy in Russia and Poland (Carr, p. 139). In another letter to the Constitutionel in March 1846, he defended Poland following the repression of Catholics there. Some Polish refugees from Kraków following the defeat of the uprising there invited him to speak at the meeting in November 1847 commemorating the Polish November Uprising of 1830.
In his speech, Bakunin called for an alliance between the Polish and Russian peoples against the Emperor, and looked forward to "the definitive collapse of despotism in Russia." As a result, he was expelled from France and went to Brussels. Bakunin's attempt to draw Alexander Herzen and Vissarion Belinsky into conspiratorial action for revolution in Russia fell on deaf ears. In Brussels, Bakunin renewed his contacts with revolutionary Poles and Karl Marx. He spoke at a meeting organised by Lelewel in February 1848 about a great future for the Slavs, whose destiny was to rejuvenate the Western world. Around this time the Russian embassy circulated rumours that Bakunin was a Russian agent who had exceeded his orders.
As the revolutionary movement of 1848 broke out, Bakunin was ecstatic, despite disappointment that little was happening in Russia. Bakunin obtained funding from some socialists in the Provisional Government, Ferdinand Flocon, Louis Blanc, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin and Alexandre Martin, for a project for a Slav federation liberating those under the rule of Prussia, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire. He left for Germany travelling through Baden to Frankfurt and Cologne.
Bakunin supported the German Democratic Legion led by Herwegh in an abortive attempt to join Friedrich Hecker's insurrection in Baden. He broke with Marx over the latter's criticism of Herwegh. Much later in 1871, Bakunin was to write:
I must openly admit that in this controversy Marx and Engels were in the right. With characteristic insolence, they attacked Herwegh personally when he was not there to defend himself. In a face-to-face confrontation with them, I heatedly defended Herwegh, and our mutual dislike began then.
Bakunin went on to Berlin but was stopped by the police from traveling to Posen, part of Polish territories gained by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland, where a nationalist insurrection was taking place. Instead Bakunin went to Leipzig and Breslau and then on to Prague where he participated in the First Pan Slav Congress. The Congress was followed by an abortive insurrection that Bakunin had sought to promote and intensify but which was violently suppressed.
Richard Wagner writes in his autobiography about Bakunin's visit:
First of all, however, with the view of adapting himself to the most Philistine culture, he had to submit his huge beard and bushy hair to the tender mercies of the razor and shears. As no barber was available, Rockel had to undertake the task. A small group of friends watched the operation, which had to be executed with a dull razor, causing no little pain, under which none but the victim himself remained passive. We bade farewell to Bakunin with the firm conviction that we should never see him again alive. But in a week he was back once more, as he had realised immediately what a distorted account he had received as to the state of things in Prague, where all he found ready for him was a mere handful of childish students. These admissions made him the butt of Rockel's good-humoured chaff, and after this he won the reputation among us of being a mere revolutionary, who was content with theoretical conspiracy. Very similar to his expectations from the Prague students were his presumptions with regard to the Russian people.
Bakunin published his Appeal to the Slavsin the fall of 1848, in which he proposed that Slav revolutionaries unite with Hungarian, Italian and German revolutionaries to overthrow the three major European autocracies, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Bakunin played a leading role in the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849, helping to organize the defense of the barricades against Prussian troops with Richard Wagner and Wilhelm Heine. Bakunin was captured in Chemnitz and held for thirteen months before being condemned to death by the government of Saxony. His sentence was commuted to life to allow his extradition to Russia and Austria both of whom were seeking to prosecute him. In June 1850, he was handed over to the Austrian authorities. Eleven months later he received a further death sentence but this too was commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, in May 1851, Bakunin was handed over to the Russian authorities.
Bakunin was taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. At the beginning of his captivity, Count Orlov, an emissary of the Tsar, visited Bakunin and told him that the Tsar requested a written confession.
After three years in the underground dungeons of the Fortress of St Peter and St Paul, he spent another four years in the castle of Shlisselburg. It was here that he suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out as a result of the diet. He later recounted that he found some relief in mentally re-enacting the legend of Prometheus. His continuing imprisonment in these awful conditions led him to entreat his brother to supply him with poison.
Novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago (published in 1973) recounts that Bakunin "abjectly groveled before Nicholas I — thereby avoiding execution. Was this wretchedness of soul? Or revolutionary cunning?".
Following the death of Nicholas I, the new Tsar Alexander II personally struck Bakunin's name off the amnesty list. In February 1857, his mother's pleas to the Tsar were finally heeded and he was allowed to go into permanent exile in the western Siberian city of Tomsk. Within a year of arriving in Tomsk, Bakunin married Antonina Kwiatkowska, the daughter of a Polish merchant. He had been teaching her French. In August 1858, Bakunin received a visit from his second cousin, General Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, who had been governor of Eastern Siberia for ten years.
Muravyov was a liberal and Bakunin, as his relative, became a particular favourite. In the spring of 1859 Muravyov helped Bakunin with a job for Amur Development Agency which enabled him to move with his wife to Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. This enabled Bakunin to be part of the circle involved in political discussions centred on Muravyov's colonial headquarters. Resenting the treatment of the colony by the Saint Petersburg bureaucracy, including its use as a dumping ground for malcontents, a proposal for a United States of Siberia emerged, independent of Russia and federated into a new United States of Siberia and America, following the example of the United States of America. The circle included Muravyov's young Chief of Staff Kukel, who Peter Kropotkin related had the complete works of Alexander Herzen; the civil governor Izvolsky, who allowed Bakunin to use his address for correspondence; and Muravyov's deputy and eventual successor, General Alexander Dondukov-Korsakov.
When Herzen criticised Muravyov in The Bell, Bakunin wrote vigorously in his patron's defence.Bakunin tired of his job as a commercial traveller, but thanks to Muravyov's influence, was able to keep his sinecure (worth 2,000 roubles a year) without having to perform any duties. Muravyov was forced to retire from his post as governor general, partly because of his liberal views and partly due to fears he might take Siberia towards independence. He was replaced by Korsakov, who perhaps was even more sympathetic to the plight of the Siberian exiles. Korsakov was also related to Bakunin, Bakunin's brother Paul having married his cousin. Taking Bakunin's word, Korsakov issued him with a letter giving him passage on all ships on the Amur River and its tributaries as long as he was back in Irkutsk when the ice came.
On 5 June 1861, Bakunin left Irkutsk under cover of company business, ostensibly employed by a Siberian merchant to make a trip to Nikolaevsk. By 17 July, he was on board the Russian warship Strelok bound for Kastri. However, in the port of Olga, Bakunin managed to persuade the American captain of the SS Vickery to take him on board. Despite bumping into the Russian Consul on board, Bakunin was able to sail away under the nose of the Russian Imperial Navy. By 6 August he had reached Hakodate in the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaidō and was soon in Yokohama.
In Japan, Bakunin met by chance Wilhelm Heine, one of his comrades-in arms from Dresden. He also met the German botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold who had been involved in opening up Japan to Europeans (particularly Russians and the Dutch) and was a friend of Bakunin's patron Muraviev.Von Siebold's son wrote some 40 years later:
In that Yokohama boarding-house we encountered an outlaw from the Wild West Heine, presumably as well as many other interesting guests. The presence of the Russian revolutionist Michael Bakunin, in flight from Siberia, was as far as one could see being winked at by the authorities. He was well-endowed with money, and none who came to know him could fail to pay their respects.
With his ideas still developing, Bakunin left Japan from Kanagawa on the SS Carrington, as one of nineteen passengers including Heine, Rev. P. F. Koe and Joseph Heco. Heco was a Japanese American, who eight years later played a significant role giving political advice to Kido Takayoshi and Itō Hirobumi during the revolutionary overthrow of the feudal Tokugawa shogunate.They arrived in San Francisco on 15 October. In the period before the transcontinental railroads had been completed, the quickest way to New York was via Panama. Bakunin boarded the Orizaba for Panama, where after waiting for two weeks he boarded the Champion for New York.
In Boston, Bakunin visited Karol Forster, a partisan of Ludwik Mieroslawski during the 1848 Revolution in Paris, and caught up with other "Forty-Eighters", veterans of the 1848 revolutions in Europe, such as Friedrich Kapp.He then sailed for Liverpool arriving on December 27. Bakunin immediately went to London to see Herzen. That evening he burst into the drawing-room where the family was having supper. "What! Are you sitting down eating oysters! Well! Tell me the news. What is happening, and where?!"
Having re-entered Western Europe, Bakunin immediately immersed himself in the revolutionary movement. In 1860, while still in Irkutsk, Bakunin and his political associates had been greatly impressed by Giuseppe Garibaldi and his expedition to Sicily, during which he declared himself dictator in the name of Victor Emmanuel II. Following his return to London, he wrote to Garibaldi on 31 January 1862:
Bakunin asked Garibaldi to participate in a movement encompassing Italians, Hungarians and South Slavs against both Austria and Turkey. Garibaldi was then engaged in preparations for the Expedition against Rome. By May, Bakunin's correspondence focused on Italian-Slavic unity and the developments in Poland. By June, he had resolved to move to Italy, but was waiting for his wife to join him. When he left for Italy in August, Mazzini wrote to Maurizio Quadrio, one of his key supporters that Bakunin was a good and dependable person. However, with the news of the failure at Aspromonte Bakunin paused in Paris where he was briefly involved with Ludwik Mierosławski. However, Bakunin rejected Mieroslawski's chauvinism and refusal to grant any concessions to the peasants.
Bakunin returned to England in September and focussed on Polish affairs. When the Polish insurrection broke out in January 1863, he sailed to Copenhagen where he hoped to join the Polish insurgents. They planned to sail across the Baltic in the SS Ward Jackson to join the insurrection. This attempt failed, and Bakunin met his wife in Stockholm before returning to London. Now he focussed again on going to Italy and his friend Aurelio Saffi wrote him letters of introduction for Florence, Turin and Milan. Mazzini wrote letters of commendation to Federico Campanella in Genoa and Giuseppe Dolfi in Florence. Bakunin left London in November 1863 travelling by way of Brussels, Paris and Vevey (Switzerland) arriving in Italy on 11 January 1864. It was here that he first began to develop his anarchist ideas. Bakunin conceived the plan of forming a secret organization of revolutionaries to carry on propaganda work and prepare for direct action. He recruited Italians, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, and Slavs into the International Brotherhood, also called the Alliance of Revolutionary Socialists.
By July 1866, Bakunin was informing Herzen and Ogarev about the fruits of his work over the previous two years. His secret society then had members in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, England, France, Spain, and Italy, as well as Polish and Russian members. Among his Polish associates was the former insurgent, Walery Mroczkowski who became a friend and translator into French.In his Catechism of a Revolutionary of 1866, he opposed religion and the state, advocating the "absolute rejection of every authority including that which sacrifices freedom for the convenience of the state."
Giuseppe Fanelli met Bakunin at Ischia in 1866.In October 1868, Bakunin sponsored Fanelli to travel to Barcelona to share his libertarian visions and recruit revolutionists to the International Workingmen's Association. Fanelli's trip and the meeting he organised during his travels provided the catalyst for the Spanish exiles, the largest workers' and peasants' movement in modern Spain and the largest Anarchist movement in modern Europe. Fanelli's tour took him first to Barcelona, where he met and stayed with Elisée Reclus. Reclus and Fanelli were at odds over Reclus' friendships with Spanish republicans, and Fanelli soon left Barcelona for Madrid. Fanelli stayed in Madrid until the end of January 1869, conducting meetings to introduce Spanish workers, including Anselmo Lorenzo, to the First International. In February 1869 Fanelli left Madrid, journeying home via Barcelona. While in Barcelona again, he met with painter Josep Lluís Pellicer and his cousin, Rafael Farga Pellicer along with others who were to play an important role establishing the International in Barcelona, as well as the Alliance section.
During the 1867–1868 period, Bakunin responded to Émile Acollas's call and became involved in the League of Peace and Freedom (LPF), for which he wrote a lengthy essay Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-TheologismHere he advocated a federalist socialism, drawing on the work of Proudhon. He supported freedom of association and the right of secession for each unit of the federation, but emphasized that this freedom must be joined with socialism for "[l]iberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality".
Bakunin played a prominent role in the Geneva Conference (September 1867), and joined the Central Committee. The founding conference was attended by 6,000 people. As Bakunin rose to speak:
[T]he cry passed from mouth to mouth: 'Bakunin!' Garibaldi, who was in the chair, stood up, advanced a few steps and embraced him. This solemn meeting of two old and tried warriors of the revolution produced an astonishing impression. [...] Everyone rose and there was a prolonged and enthusiastic clapping of hands.
At the Bern Congress of the League (1868), Bakunin and other socialists (Élisée Reclus, Aristide Rey, Jaclard, Giuseppe Fanelli, N. Joukovsky, V. Mratchkovsky and others) found themselves in a minority. They seceded from the League establishing their own International Alliance of Socialist Democracy which adopted a revolutionary socialist program.
In 1868, Bakunin joined the Geneva section of the First International, in which he remained very active until he was expelled from the International by Karl Marx and his followers at the Hague Congress in 1872. Bakunin was instrumental in establishing branches of the International in Italy and Spain.
In 1869, the Social Democratic Alliance was refused entry to the First International on the grounds that it was an international organisation in itself, and only national organisations were permitted membership in the International. The Alliance dissolved and the various groups which it comprised joined the International separately.
Between 1869 and 1870, Bakunin became involved with the Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev in a number of clandestine projects. However, Bakunin publicly broke with Nechaev over what he described as the latter's "Jesuit" methods, by which all means were justified to achieve revolutionary ends,but privately attempted to maintain contact.
In 1870, Bakunin led a failed uprising in Lyon on the principles later exemplified by the Paris Commune, calling for a general uprising in response to the collapse of the French government during the Franco-Prussian War, seeking to transform an imperialist conflict into social revolution. In his Letters to A Frenchman on the Present Crisis, he argued for a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the peasantry, advocated a system of militias with elected officers as part of a system of self-governing communes and workplaces, and argued the time was ripe for revolutionary action:
[W]e must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda.
These ideas corresponded strikingly closely with the program of the Paris Commune of 1871, much of which was developed by followers of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; the Marxist and Blanquist factions had voted for confrontation with the army while the Proudhonions had supported a truce. Bakunin was a strong supporter of the Commune, which was brutally suppressed by the French government. He saw the Commune as above all a "rebellion against the State," and commended the Communards for rejecting not only the State but also revolutionary dictatorship.In a series of powerful pamphlets, he defended the Commune and the First International against the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini, thereby winning over many Italian republicans to the International and the cause of revolutionary socialism.
Bakunin's disagreements with Marx, which led to the attempt by the Marx party to expel him at the Hague Congress (see below), illustrated the growing divergence between the "anti-authoritarian" sections of the International, which advocated the direct revolutionary action and organization of the workers and peasants in order to abolish the state and capitalism, and the sections allied with Marx, which advocated the conquest of political power by the working class. Bakunin was "Marx’s flamboyant chief opponent" and "presciently warned against the emergence of a communist authoritarianism that would take power over working people."
The anti-authoritarian majority, which included most sections of the International, created their own First International at the St. Imier Congress, adopted a revolutionary anarchist program, and repudiated the Hague resolutions, rescinding Bakunin's alleged expulsion.Although Bakunin accepted elements of Marx’s class analysis and theories regarding capitalism, acknowledging "Marx’s genius", he thought Marx's analysis was one-sided, and that Marx's methods would compromise the social revolution. More importantly, Bakunin criticized "authoritarian socialism" (which he associated with Marxism) and the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat which he adamantly refused, saying: "If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself".
In 1874, Bakunin retired with his young wife Antonia Kwiatkowska and three children to Minusio (near Locarno in Switzerland), in a villa called La Baronata that the leader of the Italian anarchists Carlo Cafiero had bought for him by selling his own estates in his native town Barletta (Apulia). His daughter Maria Bakunin (1873-1960) became a chemist and biologist. His daughter Sofia was the mother of Italian mathematician Renato Caccioppoli.
Bakunin died in Bern on 1 July 1876. His grave can be found in Bremgarten Cemetery of Bern, box 9201, grave 68. His original epitaph reads: "Remember those who sacrificed everything for the freedom of their country". In 2015 the commemorative plate was replaced in form of a bronze portrait of Bakunin by Swiss artist Daniel Garbade containing Bakunin's quote: "By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible". It was sponsored by the Dadaists of Cabaret Voltaire Zurich, who adopted Bakunin post mortem.
Bakunin joined the Scottish Lodge of the Grand Orient de France in 1845. 128 However his involvement with freemasonry lapsed until he was in Florence in the summer of 1864. Garibaldi had attended first real Italian Masonic Constituent Assembly in Florence in May of that year, and been elected Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy. Here the local head of the Mazzinist party was also grand master of the local lodge. Although he was soon to dismiss freemasonry, it was in this period that he abandoned his previous belief in a god and embraced atheism. He formulated the phrase "God exists, therefore man is a slave. Man is free, therefore there is no God. Escape this dilemma who can!" which appeared in his unpublished Catechism of a freemason Indeed it was during this period that he established the International Revolutionary Association, he did so with Italian revolutionaries who had broken with Mazzini because they rejected his Deism as well as his purely ‘political’ conception of the revolution, which they saw as being bourgeois with no element of a social revolution.:
Bakunin's political beliefs rejected statist and hierarchical systems of power in every name and shape, from the idea of God downwards, and every form of hierarchical authority, whether emanating from the will of a sovereign or even from a state that allowed universal suffrage. He wrote in God and the State:
The liberty of man consists solely in this, that he obeys the laws of nature because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been imposed upon him externally by any foreign will whatsoever, human or divine, collective or individual.
Bakunin similarly rejected the notion of any privileged position or class, since the social and economic inequality implied by class systems were incompatible with individual freedom. Whereas liberalism insisted that free markets and constitutional governments enabled individual freedom, Bakunin insisted that both capitalism and the state in any form were incompatible with the individual freedom of the working class and peasantry, saying:
[I]t is the peculiarity of privilege and of every privileged position to kill the intellect and heart of man. The privileged man, whether he be privileged politically or economically, is a man depraved in intellect and heart.
Bakunin's political beliefs were based on several interrelated concepts: (1) liberty; (2) socialism; (3) federalism; (4) anti-theism; and (5) materialism. He also developed a critique of Marxism, predicting that if the Marxists were successful in seizing power, they would create a party dictatorship "all the more dangerous because it appears as a sham expression of the people's will",adding:
When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick".— Mikhail Bakunin, 1873, Statism and Anarchy
Bakunin thought that "[d]oes it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting a single authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognise no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such individual, I have no absolute faith in any person".
Bakunin saw that "there is no fixed and constant authority, but a continual exchange of mutual, temporary, and, above all, voluntary authority and subordination. This same reason forbids me, then, to recognise a fixed, constant and universal authority, because there is no universal man, no man capable of grasping in all that wealth of detail, without which the application of science to life is impossible, all the sciences, all the branches of social life".
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According to political philosopher Carl Schmitt, "in comparison with later anarchists, Proudhon was a moralistic petit bourgeois who continued to subscribe to the authority of the father and the principle of the monogamous family. Bakunin was the first to give the struggle against theology the complete consistency of an absolute naturalism...For him, therefore, there was nothing negative and evil except the theological doctrine of God and sin, which stamps man as a villain in order to provide a pretext for domination and the hunger for power."
Bakunin thought that religion originated from the human ability for abstract thinking and fantasizing.According to Bakunin, religion is sustained by indoctrination and conformism. Another factor in the survival of religion is the existence of poverty, suffering and exploitation in real life, from which religion promises the salvation in the afterlife. Oppressors take advantage from religion, according to Bakunin, because many religious people reconcile themselves with injustice on earth by the promise of happiness in heaven.
Bakunin argues that oppressors receive authority from religion. Religious people are in many cases obedient to the priests, because many religious people believe that the statements of priests are based on direct divine revelation or scripture. The obedience to divine revelation or scripture is considered as the ethical criteria by many religious people, because God is considered as the omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being. Therefore, each statement which is considered derived from an infallible God cannot be criticized by humans. According to this religious way of thinking, humans cannot know by themselves what is just, but that only God decides what is good or wrong. People who disobey the “messengers of God” are threatened with punishment in hell.
According to Bakunin, the alternative for a religious power monopoly is the acknowledgement that all humans are equally inspired by God, but that means that multiple contradictory teachings are assigned to an infallible God, which is logically impossible. Therefore, Bakunin considers religion as necessarily authoritarian.
Bakunin argued in his book God and the State that "the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, in theory and practice." Consequently, Bakunin reversed Voltaire's famous aphorism that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him, writing instead that "if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish Him."
Bakunin was an early proponent of the term "political theology" in his 1871 text "The Political Theology of Mazzini and the International"to which Schmitt's book was a response. Political theology is a branch of both political philosophy and theology that investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking underlie political, social, economic and cultural discourses.
Bakunin’s methods of realizing his revolutionary program were consistent with his principles. The working class and peasantry were to organize from below, through local structures interlinked on a federalist basis, "creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself."Their movements would prefigure the future, in their ideas and practices, creating the building blocks of the new society.
This approach was exemplified by syndicalism, an anarchist strategy championed by Bakunin, according to which trade unions would provide both the means to defend and improve workers' conditions, rights and incomes in the present, and the basis for a social revolution based upon workplace occupations. The syndicalist unions would organize the occupations, as well as provide the radically democratic structures through which workplaces would be self-managed, and the larger economy coordinated. Thus, for Bakunin, the workers' unions would "take possession of all the tools of production as well as buildings and capital."
Bakunin did not reduce the revolution to syndicalist unions, however, stressing the need to organize working-class neighborhoods, as well as the unemployed. Meanwhile, the peasants were to "take the land and throw out those landlords who live by the labor of others."Bakunin did not dismiss the skilled workers, as is sometimes claimed; indeed, the watchmakers of the Jura region were central to the St. Imier International's creation and operations. However, at a time when unions largely ignored the unskilled, Bakunin placed great emphasis on the need to organize as well amongst "the rabble," "the great masses of the poor and exploited, the so-called "lumpenproletariat," to "inaugurate and bring to triumph the Social Revolution."
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Bakunin's socialism was known as "collectivist anarchism", where "socially: it seeks the confirmation of political equality by economic equality. This is not the removal of natural individual differences, but equality in the social rights of every individual from birth; in particular, equal means of subsistence, support, education, and opportunity for every child, boy or girl, until maturity, and equal resources and facilities in adulthood to create his own well-being by his own labor."
Collectivist anarchism advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production. It instead envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves. For the collectivization of the means of production, it was originally envisaged that workers will revolt and forcibly collectivize the means of production.Once collectivization takes place, money would be abolished to be replaced with labour notes and workers' salaries would be determined in democratic organizations based on job difficulty and the amount of time they contributed to production. These salaries would be used to purchase goods in a communal market.
The dispute between Bakunin and Karl Marx highlighted the differences between anarchism and Marxism. He strongly rejected Marx's concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat", a concept that vanguardist socialism including Marxist–Leninism would use to justify one-party rule from above by a party 'representing' the proletariat.Bakunin insisted that revolutions must be led by the people directly while any "enlightened elite" must only exert influence by remaining "invisible...not imposed on anyone...[and] deprived of all official rights and significance". He held that the state should be immediately abolished because all forms of government eventually lead to oppression. Libertarian Marxists argue Marx used the phrase to mean the worker control at the point of production, not a party, would still be a state until society is reorganized according to socialist principles.
They [the Marxists] maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.
[W]e are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.
While both social anarchists and Marxists share the same final goal, the creation of a free, egalitarian society without social classes and government, they strongly disagree on how to achieve this goal. Anarchists believe that the classless, stateless society should be established by the direct action of the masses, culminating in social revolution, and refuse any intermediate stage such as the dictatorship of the proletariat, on the basis that such a dictatorship will become a self-perpetuating fundament. For Bakunin, the fundamental contradiction is that for the Marxists, "anarchism or freedom is the aim, while the state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses, they have first to be enslaved."
However, Bakunin also wrote of meeting Marx in 1844:
As far as learning was concerned, Marx was, and still is, incomparably more advanced than I. I knew nothing at that time of political economy, I had not yet rid myself of my metaphysical observations... He called me a sentimental idealist and he was right; I called him a vain man, perfidious and crafty, and I also was right.
Bakunin found Marx's economic analysis very useful and began the job of translating Das Kapital into Russian. In turn Marx wrote of the rebels in the Dresden insurrection of 1848 that "In the Russian refugee Michael Bakunin they found a capable and cool headed leader."Marx wrote to Engels of meeting Bakunin in 1864 after his escape to Siberia saying "On the whole he is one of the few people whom I find not to have retrogressed after 16 years, but to have developed further."
Bakunin has sometimes been called the first theorist of the "new class", meaning that a 'class' of intellectuals and bureaucrats running the state in the name of the people or the proletariat – but in reality in their own interests alone. Bakunin argued that the "State has always been the patrimony of some privileged class: a priestly class, an aristocratic class, a bourgeois class. And finally, when all the other classes have exhausted themselves, the State then becomes the patrimony of the bureaucratic class and then falls—or, if you will, rises—to the position of a machine."
By federalism, Bakunin meant the organization of society "from the base to the summit—from the circumference to the center—according to the principles of free association and federation."Consequently, society would be organized "on the basis of the absolute freedom of individuals, of the productive associations, and of the communes," with "every individual, every association, every commune, every region, every nation" having "the absolute right to self-determination, to associate or not to associate, to ally themselves with whomever they wish."
By liberty, Bakunin did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a positive sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."
Bakunin denied religious concepts of a supernatural sphere, and advocated a 'materialist' explanation of natural phenomena: "the manifestations of organic life, chemical properties and reactions, electricity, light, warmth and the natural attraction of physical bodies, constitute in our view so many different but no less closely interdependent variants of that totality of real beings which we call matter" (Selected Writings, page 219). The "mission of science is, by observation of the general relations of passing and real facts, to establish the general laws inherent in the development of the phenomena of the physical and social world."
Bakunin had a different view as compared to Marx's on the revolutionary potential of the lumpenproletariat and the proletariat. As such, "[b]oth agreed that the proletariat would play a key role, but for Marx the proletariat was the exclusive, leading revolutionary agent while Bakunin entertained the possibility that the peasants and even the lumpenproletariat (-proletarians in rags- the unemployed, common criminals, etc.) could rise to the occasion."Bakunin "considers workers' integration in capital as destructive of more primary revolutionary forces. For Bakunin, the revolutionary archetype is found in a peasant milieu (which is presented as having longstanding insurrectionary traditions, as well as a communist archetype in its current social form—the peasant commune) and amongst educated unemployed youth, assorted marginals from all classes, brigands, robbers, the impoverished masses, and those on the margins of society who have escaped, been excluded from, or not yet subsumed in the discipline of emerging industrial work...in short, all those whom Marx sought to include in the category of the lumpenproletariat."
Bakunin is remembered as a major figure in the history of anarchism and as an opponent of Marxism, especially of Marx's idea of dictatorship of the proletariat and for his predictions that Marxist regimes would be one-party dictatorships over the proletariat, not of the proletariat itself. God and the State was translated multiple times by other anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker, Marie Le Compte and Emma Goldman; and he continues to be an influence on modern-day anarchists, such as Noam Chomsky.Bakunin biographer Mark Leier has asserted that "Bakunin had a significant influence on later thinkers, ranging from Peter Kropotkin and Errico Malatesta to the Wobblies and Spanish anarchists in the Civil War to Herbert Marcuse, E.P. Thompson, Neil Postman, and A.S. Neill, down to the anarchists gathered these days under the banner of 'anti-globalization.'" In short, Bakunin has had a major influence on labour, peasant and leftwing movements, although this was overshadowed from the 1920s by the rise of Marxist regimes. With the collapse of those regimes—and growing awareness of how closely those regimes corresponded to the dictatorships Bakunin predicted—Bakunin's ideas have rapidly gained ground amongst activists, in some cases again overshadowing Marxism.
According to McLaughlin Bakunin has been accused of being a closet authoritarianIn his letter to Albert Richard, he wrote:
There is only one power and one dictatorship whose organisation is salutary and feasible: it is that collective, invisible dictatorship of those who are allied in the name of our principle.
According to Madison 48::
He [Bakunin] rejected political action as a means of abolishing the state and developed the doctrine of revolutionary conspiracy under autocratic leadership– disregarding the conflict of this principle with his philosophy of anarchism.
According to Peter Marshall: "It is difficult not to conclude that Bakunin's invisible dictatorship would be even more tyrannical than a Blanquist or Marxist one, for its policies could not be openly known or discussed."
Madison contended that it was Bakunin's scheming for control of the First International that brought about his rivalry with Karl Marx and his expulsion from it in 1872: "His approval of violence as a weapon against the agents of oppression led to nihilism in Russia and to individual acts of terrorism elsewhere– with the result that anarchism became generally synonymous with assassination and chaos." 48 However, Bakunin's supporters argue that this "invisible dictatorship" is not a dictatorship in any conventional sense of the word. Their influence would be ideological and freely accepted, saying::
[T]his dictatorship will be all the more salutary and effective for not being dressed up in any official power or extrinsic character.
Bakunin was also criticized by Marxand the delegates of the International specifically because his methods of organization were similar to those of Sergey Nechayev, with whom Bakunin was closely associated. While Bakunin rebuked Nechayev upon discovery of his duplicity as well as his amoral politics, he did retain a streak of ruthlessness, as indicated by a 2 June 1870 letter: "Lies, cunning [and] entanglement [are] a necessary and marvelous means for demoralising and destroying the enemy, though certainly not a useful means of obtaining and attracting new friends."
Nevertheless, Bakunin began warning friends about Nechayev's behavior, and broke off all relations with Nechayev. Others note, moreover, that Bakunin never sought to take personal control of the International, that his secret organisations were not subject to his autocratic power, and that he condemned terrorism as counter-revolutionary.Robert M. Cutler goes further, pointing out that it is impossible fully to understand either Bakunin's participation in the League of Peace and Freedom or the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy, or his idea of a secret revolutionary organisation that is immanent in the people, without seeing that they derive from his interpretation of Hegel's dialectic from the 1840s. The script of Bakunin's dialectic, Cutler argues, gave the Alliance the purpose of providing the International with a real revolutionary organisation.
Marx's advocacy of participation in bourgeois politics, including parliamentary suffrage, would have been proof of [his being a "compromising Negative" in the language of the 1842 "Reaction in Germany" article]. It would have been Bakunin's duty, following the script defined by his dialectic, to bring the [International Working-Men's Association] to a recognition of its true role. [Bakunin's] desire to merge first the League and then the Alliance with the International derived from a conviction that the revolutionaries in the International should never cease to be penetrated to every extremity by the spirit of Revolution. Just as, in Bakunin's dialectic, the consistent Negatives needed the compromisers in order to vanquish them and thereby realize the Negative's true essence, so Bakunin, in the 1860s, needed the International in order to transform its activity into uncompromising Revolution.
In some of his pieces, Bakunin espouses blatantly antisemitic views, and has been severely criticized for this part of his writing, not least by anarchists.Bakunin used anti-Jewish sentiments that suggested a "Jewish" system of global exploitation, saying:
This whole Jewish world, comprising a single exploiting sect, a kind of blood sucking people, a kind of organic destructive collective parasite, going beyond not only the frontiers of states, but of political opinion, this world is now, at least for the most part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand, and of Rothschild on the other. [...] This may seem strange. What can there be in common between socialism and a leading bank? The point is that authoritarian socialism, Marxist communism, demands a strong centralisation of the state. And where there is centralisation of the state, there must necessarily be a central bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, speculating with the Labour of the people, will be found.
In his pre-anarchist years, Bakunin's politics were essentially a left-wing form of nationalism – specifically, a focus on East Europe and Russian affairs. While Bakunin, at this time, located the national liberation and democratic struggles of the Slavs in a larger European revolutionary process, he did not pay much attention to other regions. This aspect of his thought dates from before he became an anarchist, and his anarchist works consistently envisaged a global social revolution, including both Africa and Asia. Bakunin as anarchist continued to stress the importance of national liberation, but he now insisted that this issue had to be solved as part of the social revolution. The same problem that (in his view) dogged Marxist revolutionary strategy (the capture of revolution by small elite, which would then oppress the masses) would also arise in independence struggles led by nationalism, unless the working class and peasantry created an anarchy:
I feel myself always the patriot of all oppressed fatherlands. [...] Nationality [...] is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. [...] Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. [...] Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principal of freedom. —Bukunin [quoted by Alfredo M. Bonanno in Anarchism and the National Liberation Struggle, pp. 19–20]
When Bakunin visited Japan after his escape from Siberia, he was not really involved in its politics or with the Japanese peasants.This might be taken as evidence of a basic disinterest in Asia, but that would be incorrect. Bakunin stopped over briefly in Japan as part of a hurried flight from twelve years of imprisonment, a marked man racing across the world to his European home; he had neither Japanese contacts nor any facility in the Japanese language; the small number of expatriate newspapers by Europeans published in China and Japan provided no insights into local revolutionary conditions or possibilities. Besides, Bakunin's conversion to anarchism came in 1865, towards the end of his life, and four years after his time in Japan.
English translations of Bakunin are generally rare when compared to the comprehensive editions in French (by Arthur Lehning), Spanish and German. An eight-volume complete works of Bakunin in English is to be published at some point in the future by AK Press; according to Ramsey Kanaan these will likely be published yearly for eight years in hardcover format.
Madelaine Grawitz’s biography (Paris: Calmann Lévy 2000) remains to be translated.
The standard yet hostile English-language biography is by E. H. Carr. A new biography, Bakunin: The Creative Passion, by Mark Leier, was published by St. Martin's Press on 22 August 2006.
Libertarian socialism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy. Libertarian socialism is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization.
Sergey Gennadiyevich Nechayev was a Russian communist revolutionary, often associated with the nihilist movement and known for his single-minded pursuit of revolution by any means necessary, including terrorism and revolutionary terror. He was the author of the radical Catechism of a Revolutionary.
The term History of anarchism is as ambiguous as the word anarchism itself. Scholars find it hard to define or agree on what anarchism means, which makes it difficult to outline its history. There is a range of views on anarchism and its history. Some feel anarchism is a distinct, well-defined 19th and 20th century movement while others identify anarchist traits long before first civilisations existed.
The nihilist movement was a Russian movement in the 1860s that rejected all authorities. The word nihilism derives from the Latin nihil, meaning "nothing". After the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the nihilists were known throughout Europe as proponents of the use of violence in order to bring about political change.
The Jura Federation represented the anarchist, Bakuninist faction of the First International during the anti-statist split from the organization. Jura, a Swiss area, was known for its watchmaker artisans in La Chaux-de-Fonds, who shared anti-state, egalitarian views on work and social emancipation. The Jura Federation formed between international socialist congresses in 1869 and 1871. When the First International's General Council, led by Marxists, suppressed the Bakuninists, the Jura Federation organized a congress of the disaffected federations at Saint-Imier in 1872. The congress disavowed the General Council's authoritarian consolidation of power and planning as an affront to the International's loose, federalist founding to support workers' emancipation. Members of the First International agreed and even statists joined the anti-statists' resulting Anti-authoritarian International, but by 1876, the alliance had mostly dissolved. While in decline, the Jura Federation remained the home of Bakuninists whose figures engaged on a two-decade debate on the merits of propaganda of the deed. The egalitarian relations of the Jura Federation had played an important role in Peter Kropotkin's adoption of anarchism, who became the anarchist standard-bearer after Bakunin.
Carlo Cafiero was an Italian anarchist, champion of Mikhail Bakunin during the second half of the 19th century and one of the main proponents of insurrectionary anarchism and anarcho-communism during the First International.
Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Ceaușism and Maoism. Libertarian Marxism is also often critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France; emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation. Along with anarchism, libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.
Blanquism refers to a conception of revolution generally attributed to Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805–1881) which holds that socialist revolution should be carried out by a relatively small group of highly organised and secretive conspirators. Having seized power, the revolutionaries would then use the power of the state to introduce socialism. It is considered a particular sort of "putschism"—that is, the view that political revolution should take the form of a putsch or coup d'état.
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as anarchists, advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. While anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, opposition to the state is not its central or sole definition. For instance, anarchism can entail opposing authority or hierarchy in the conduct of all human relations.
Russian anarchism is anarchism in Russia or among Russians. The three categories of Russian anarchism were anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism and individualist anarchism. The ranks of all three were predominantly drawn from the intelligentsia and the working class, though the anarcho-communists – the most numerous group – made appeals to soldiers and peasants also.
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
Italian anarchism as a movement began primarily from the influence of Mikhail Bakunin, Giuseppe Fanelli, and Errico Malatesta. From there it expanded to include illegalist individualist anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. It participated in the biennio rosso and survived fascism. The synthesist Italian Anarchist Federation appeared after the war, and the old factions alongside platformism and insurrectionary anarchism continue today.
The commune is a model of government that is generally advocated by communists, revolutionary socialists, and anarchists. The model is often characterized as being a local and transparent organization composed of delegates bound by mandates. These delegates would be recallable at any time from their positions. Proponents view the right of recall as a particularly important safeguard against corruption and unresponsiveness among the representatives.
State socialism is a classification for any socialist political and economic perspective advocating state ownership of the means of production either as a temporary measure in the transition from capitalism to socialism, or as characteristic of socialism itself. It is often used interchangeably with state capitalism in reference to the economic systems of Marxist–Leninist states such as the Soviet Union to highlight the role of state planning in these economies, with the critics of said system referring to it more commonly as "state capitalism". Libertarian and democratic socialists claim that these states had only a limited number of socialist characteristics. However, Marxist–Leninists maintain that workers in the Soviet Union and other Marxist–Leninist states had genuine control over the means of production through institutions such as trade unions.
Social anarchism is a non-state form of socialism and is considered to be the branch of anarchism that sees individual freedom as being interrelated with mutual aid. Social anarchist thought emphasizes community and social equality as complementary to autonomy and personal freedom through norms such as freedom of speech maintained in a decentralized federalism, balanced with freedom of interaction in thought as well as incorporating the concept of subsidiarity, namely "that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry" and that "[f]or every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, [should] never destroy and absorb them", or simply the slogan "Do not take tools out of people's hands".
Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled or abolished by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests. Revolutionary socialists believe such a state of affairs is a precondition for establishing socialism and orthodox Marxists believe that it is inevitable but not predetermined.
In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a state of affairs in which the working class hold political power. Proletarian dictatorship is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the government nationalises ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership. The socialist revolutionary Joseph Weydemeyer coined the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels adopted to their philosophy and economics. The Paris Commune (1871), which controlled the capital city for two months, before being suppressed, was an example of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Marxist philosophy, the term "Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" is the antonym to "dictatorship of the proletariat".
The history of socialism has its origins in the 1789 French Revolution and the changes which it wrought, although it has precedents in earlier movements and ideas. The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels in 1848 just before the Revolutions of 1848 swept Europe, expressing what they termed "scientific socialism". In the last third of the 19th century, social democratic parties arose in Europe, drawing mainly from Marxism. The Australian Labor Party was the world's first elected socialist party when it formed government in the Colony of Queensland for a week in 1899.
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