Bakunin : Chapter 7 : Before the Storm

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(1886 - 1963) ~ Scottish Bakuninist and Anarcho-Communist from Glasgow : Guy Alfred Aldred had worked ceaselessly at his propaganda, writing, publishing and public speaking, he took on injustices wherever he saw it. He had spoken at every May Day for 60 years except the years he spent in prison. (From : Glasgow Caledonian University.)
• "Anti-Parliamentarism is now the recognized Socialism of the Proletariat." (From : Socialism and Parliament.)
• "It is only the effect of this menace, only the fear of the power of the revolutionary agitator outside parliament, that persuades the capitalist class to tolerate the presence of Labor members inside." (From : Socialism and Parliament.)
• "To dream of a society not founded on the 'law of constructive murder,' of a social state in which all are brethren and peace and good fellowship prevail, of a society founded on truth and freedom, is to become an enemy of the society that is, and to be regarded as a dreamer of the most fanatical type." (From : Studies in Communism.)


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Chapter 7

November 29th, 1847, was the anniversary of the insurrection of Warsaw. On this date Paris celebrated Bakunin’s speech to the Poles. For the first time a Russian offered the hand of brotherhood to the rebel nationalists of this much persecuted people, and renounced publicly the government of St. Petersburg. His oration promised that the future Russian Revolution would make amends for the grievous injustice suffered by the Polish nation under the Czar. It would remove all differences between the two leading Slav families and unite them into a federative Social Republic. It must not be concluded that Bakunin was anticipating the postwar Poland of the counter revolutionary financiers. He was not anticipating even Stalinist Soviet Russia, where revolutionists are exiled and imprisoned for their adherence to the permanent revolution and their opposition to the counter-revolutionary fallacy that an agrarian country can build a socialist state surrounded by capitalist nations. He envisioned a Soviet Poland and a Soviet Russia, two allied proletarian lands in which all power would be vested in the direct hands of the producers themselves. Bakunin wanted a real social reorganization of society. His new Russia was merely an introduction to a new Europe and a new world. Its full import was not appreciated at the time. All that the Czar’s government realized was that it had made a sensation and was thoroughly seditious. It placed a reward of 10,000 rubles on the venturesome orator’s head, and demanded his expulsion from Paris. His every move was watched by Russian police agents. The idea was to kidnap him once the French government had sacrificed his political immunity to the Czar’s request.

Guizot has some reputation in literature for radicalism. As a statesman, he was a reactionary of the worst description and always ready to play lackey to the Czar. A few years before had been too polite to refuse the Russian government’s request for Marx’s expulsion. The latter was actually expelled from Paris not even to please the Kaiser but to placate the Czar. Bakunin was expelled, and like Marx, went to Brussels. He had scarcely reached here when Paris rose in revolt and expelled Guizot and Louis Phillippe from France. The new provisional government now invited the “brave and loyal Marx” to return. It extended a similar invitation to Bakunin and described France as being “the country whence tyranny had banished” them and where “all fighting in the sacred cause of the fraternity of the peoples” were welcome. Bakunin returned to Paris and became active in the new political life of that city.

Marx and Bakunin were an annoyance to the Lamartine and Marast government. They took the republican ideal seriously and realized the material revolution must proceed its realization. The government did not expel Bakunin but his departure was a relief to it. He went to the Slavo-Polish Congress at Breslau, and afterwards attended the Prague Congress of June 1st, 1848. Here his famous Slavonic program was written. To avoid arrest, he traveled on the passport of an English merchant, and cut off his long hair and beard. Up till the time that Windisgraetz dispersed this congress with Austrian cannon, Bakunin worked with the Slavonians. These events inspired Marx’s famous chapters on “Revolution and Counter-Revolution.” Credit for this work is now given to Engels. It is admitted, however, that if Marx did not write it, he inspired it. Engels seems to have been, on occasion, the most efficient secretary and if necessary, the complete literary ghost.

Treating of this political storm period, Marx sings the praises of the generous bravery and the noble far-sightedness of the spontaneous revolt of the Viennese populace in the cause of Hungarian freedom. He contrasts their action against the “cautious circumspection” of Hungarian statesmanship. He dismisses Parliamentarians as poor, weak-minded men so little accustomed to anything like success during their generally very obscure lives that they actually believed their parliamentary amendments more important than external events. Marx proves that at this crisis Parliament did not control the army nor even the executive authority. He quotes with approval Radetzky’s sneer at the imbecile responsible ministers at Vienna, that they were not Austria, but that he and his army were. Marx adds: “The army was a decisive power in the State, and the army belonged, not to the middle classes, but to themselves.” It “had only to be kept in pretty constant conflicts with the people and the decisive moment once at hand, it could with one great blow, crush the revolutionists, and set aside the presumptions of the middle class parliamentarians.”

Although Marx flirted with the universal suffrage in Britain, he neither answered nor recalled his trenchant contrast of the superiority of a confident army to a babbling parliament. His words sound the call of battle and revolutionary anti-parliamentarism. He identifies his work with the ideal and endeavor of Bakunin.

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November 30, 1939 :
Chapter 7 -- Publication.

September 13, 2021 13:41:40 :
Chapter 7 -- Added to

September 14, 2021 09:17:39 :
Chapter 7 -- Last Updated on


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