Bakunin

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1940

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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.)
• "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.)
• "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.)

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Until I commenced to publish translations of Bakunin’s writings, and accounts of incidents in his career, in the Herald of Revolt (1910–14), The Spur (1914–21), The Commune (1923–29), and The Council (1923–33), little of the great Russian Nihilist’s life or thought was to be found in English except his “God and the State” — itself but an indigestible fragment. I published an abridged edition of his work in August, 1920, and issued, shortly afterwards, my “life” of Bakunin. In the present book, that life has been revised and re-written completely. All the essays from Bakunin’s pen published by me have been collected and will be published as a separate and complete work. From the foreword to the 1920 biography, dated from “Bakunin House, Glasgow, N.W., November, 1920,” I select the following passage, explanatory of my reason for publishing a study of Bakunin : —... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Michel Alexandrovitch Bakunin was born on May 8th, 1814, at the family seat of his father, at Pryamuchina, situated between Moscow and St. Petersburg, renamed Petrograd a century later, and now called Leningrad. What a cycle of history these changes indicate! Bakunin was born two years after his friend, Alexander Herzen, first saw the light by the fires of Moscow. Those fires were lit by the order of Prince Rostopchin, as intelligent as reactionary a man, in order to drive Napoleon and his Grand Army out of the Russian Capital. Rostopschin considered that Russia faced a graver enemy in her idealistic nobility than in any foreign invaders. He observed that, in other countries, aristocrats planned insurrection in order to secure power for themselves: and democracy rose against the aristocracy in order to broaden the basis of privilege, to widen the opportunity and illusion of power: but in Russia the privileged and the aristocrats plotted revolution, and ri... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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One of the main reasons which caused a change in Bakunin’s father’s life was his marriage. Already over forty, he fell in love with a girl of eighteen, likewise of aristocratic birth, beautiful but poor. He married this young thing; and in order to quieten his conscience for this egoistic act, he endeavored for the rest of his life, not to raise her to his level but to reduce himself to her’s. Bakunin’s mother came from the family Muraview. She was a niece of the hangman Muraview and of a hanged Muraview. She was a very common woman, vulgar and selfish. None of her children loved her. But they loved her father so much the more; for, during their childhood, he was always kind and affectionate towards them. Although there were eleven children, of whom two sisters and five brothers were alive when Bakunin was at the height of his revolutionary career. Thanks to the influence of their father they were brought up more in a European t... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Bakunin did not escape Liberalism at the Artillery School. Economic conditions had decided that his natural destiny was the army. Political circumstance selected him for a revolutionist. He discovered Liberalism, if not among the majority, at least among a large minority of the students. Here was a menacing undercurrent of radical thought and sympathy which was only outwardly loyal and obedient to the behests of the Governmental despotism. Among themselves, the rebel students cherished the memories of the Decemberists of 1825, and handed round the poems — that some of the martyred insurrectionists had written — as sacred literature to be preserved and handed on from generation to generation. Anecdotage of the martyrs themselves — most of whom had belonged to the First Cadet Corps and the Artillery Institute — was retailed eagerly also and recited jealously. The students felt that Decembrism expressed and maintained “the honor of the school.” Th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Years afterwards, Bakunin explained the mental atmosphere of Russia at the time that he studied at the Artillery School. He also outlined the aims and objects of the Decembrist conspiracy. It was the beginning of a new epoch. No one who was born in America or one of the Western European countries, not even a Frenchman who received his political education under the reign of Napoleon III., or a German who went to school with Bismarck in order to learn how to become a free citizen, or an Italian who suffered under the Austrian yoke, could imagine what a terrible condition Russia was in under the regime of Nicholas. Perhaps, to-day, someone living under Hitlerism, or in Italy, under Mussolini, can imagine the Russia of “Nicholas with the Big Stick.” The accession of Nicholas erected a memorial stone, i.e. the suffocation of the military uprising which had been prepared silently through a great aristocratic conspiracy. This is the movement which... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Herzen was the love child of a German mother and a Russian noble. His father recognized and cared for him from birth. In 1827 he was sent to the University at Moscow to complete the studies he had commenced at home. Reaction was striding triumphant through Russia. The Czar and his Court were conspiring to close the universities and to replace them with organized military schools. Living a century later, we are familiar with the arguments of military despotism and entrenched bureaucracy at the war with democracy and public right. Lord Trenchard gives an excellent impersonation of the Czar’s Statesmen militarizing the universities during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when he urged to-day the military reconstruction of the London Metropolitan Police Force. The unoriginal medieval Hitler apologizes for the militarizing of the German Universities in phrases that have been plagiarized without any alteration from these pioneer Czarist despots inspired with the so-ca... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Tourgenieff once invented a Nihilist hero named Bazaroff. This character lives in Socialist literature because of his propagandist reply to the usual skeptical question: Do you imagine that you influence the masses? Bazaroff answered: “A half-penny tallow dip sufficed to set all Moscow in a blaze.” Herzen’s nativity associates his name with the immortal flames thus humbly originated. He is the lighted tallow dip which began the mighty Russian conflagration which yet threatens to consume the whole of Capitalist Society. Even as the flames spread, Herzen spluttered and went out. Before succumbing to reaction, he set fire to a rare torch in Bakunin. His great disciple was destined to light the beacon fires of revolution throughout the world. For many years Bakunin’s activities may have seemed to have been so much smoke. To-day we know they were smoldering fires. The last has not been heard of his world influence. Bakunin began his mission in 1841. He proceede... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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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 n... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The year 1848 was an era in the history of European Socialism. It will probably prove to be a turning point in the history of human progress. Not only did it witness the so-called French Revolution., with its marvelous February days, but it found the whole of Europe in a ferment. Radicalism now became Socialism. The political revolution now gave place to the social revolution. Although agitators and advanced thinkers quibbled as to whether the Social Revolution was a political revolution or not, and although their theories of action proved a chaos of blundering, they agreed definitely on the necessity for a social revolution as distinct from a mere political revolution. Socialism now turned its back on its Utopian pioneers and aspired to be scientific. It regarded itself as inevitable. It made its appearance in Russia. Twenty years after Herzen had been introduced by the scared police authorities of Russia to Hegel at Moscow, the theories of St. Simon, relieved of their Utopian t... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Bakunin was compelled to quit Prague. He fled to Germany and was received with open arms by the Radical element. Everywhere pursued and expelled whenever the police discovered his place of concealment, he wandered from town to town till the end of April, 1849. In this fashion he lived first at Berlin, then at Dessau, Cothen, and various towns in Saxony. At last, under an assumed name, he found employment at the university of Leipsig. He organized a revolutionary circle of Bohemian students, and formed a revolutionary alliance of Slavonian democrats, Hungarian rebels and German revolutionists. Wilhelm Richard Wagner, the great composer, lived in Paris from 1839 to 1842. He returned to Dresden that year. In Paris, he made the acquaintance of Bakunin. The friendship was renewed when Bakunin came to Saxony. When Bakunin took command at the defense of Dresden, Wagner was his close associate. When Bakunin was arrested in 1849 the great composer fled from Germany. He remai... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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From August, 1849, to May, 1850, Bakunin was kept a prisoner in the fortress of Konistein. He was then tried and sentenced to death by the Saxon tribunal. In pursuance of a resolution passed by the old Diet of the Bund in 1836, he was delivered up to the Austrian Government and sent (chained) to Prague instead of being executed. The Austrian Government attempted in vain to extort from him the secrets of the Slavonian movement. A year later, it sentenced him to death, but immediately commuted the death sentence to one of perpetual imprisonment. In the interval he had been removed from the fortress at Gratz to that of Almutz, as the government was terrified by the report of a design to liberate him. Here he passed six months chained to the wall. After this, the Austrian government surrendered him to the Russian. The Austrian chains were replaced by native irons of twice the weight. This was in the autumn of 1851, when Bakunin was taken through Warsaw and Vilna to St. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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“The slightest concession, the smallest grace and compassion will bring us back to the past again, and leave our fetters untouched. Of two things we must choose one. Either we must justify ourselves and go on, or we must falter and beg for mercy when we have arrived half-way.” In these terms, written in a mood of uncompromising Nihilism, Herzen condemned his later career. The condemnation applies to the world socialist movement. It is safe to say that the careerist labor leaders of European politics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries flourished in retreat. The organization of the Labor Movement has been a long story of calculated anti-socialist conspiracy and intrigue. Should a future generation ever pause to tell the story it will be found that the workers never organized from the time of the Tolpuddle Martyrs to the triumph of Fascism and the outlawry of Marxism in Germany. They were organized steadily towards th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Kropotkin has asserted that we must measure Bakunin’s influence not by his literary legacy, which was small contrasted against that of Marx, but by the thought and action he inspired in his immediate disciples. The influence has descended through them to our time. It is legendary and oral rather than written and direct. It is purely spiritual but none the less real. Blanqui used to assert that one should never measure the influence of events by their seeming direct results. These were always unreal and unimportant. The accurate measurement was to judge the indirect consequences. This is how Bakunin must be judged. From his life and work has flown a steady stream of revolutionary thought, passion, and work throughout the world. It has not merely contributed towards the triumph of the Russian Revolution but it will pass on to destroy utterly the present Stalinist counter-revolution and the menacing Fascism now triumphant in Europe. His three books and his many pamphlets all o... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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In 1869, Bakunin delivered his famous speech to the League of Peace and Liberty Congress at Berne. Plechanoff has described this organization as an entirely bourgeoisie body. The history of social democratic movement that George Plechanoff defended so laboriously, has proven to be so completely counter-revolutionary that his censures of Bakunin may pass as mere words of abuse. Bakunin’s speech impeached modern civilization as having been “founded from time immemorial on the forced labor of the enormous majority, condemned to lead the lives of brutes and slaves, in order that a small minority might be enabled to live as human creatures. This monstrous inequality,” he discovered, rested “upon the absolute separation between head-work and hand-labor. But this abomination cannot last: for in the future the working-classes are resolved to make their own politics. They insist that instead of two classes, there shall be in future only one, which shall offer to al... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Herzen, as has been stated, was that the natural son of a rich nobleman named Iakovlev and a Stuttgardt lady, Louise Haaag. Herzen’s name was a fancy one and signified a love token. “Herzen’s kind” means “child of the heart.” His father spared no expense in the matter of his education. The result was that Herzen not merely spoke correctly but brilliantly in Russian, French, English, and German. Despite these advantages he appealed to a Russian audience only. In 1865 he met Garibaldi in London. The effect of this meeting was to convince Herzen that, as Garibaldi was the Italian patriot, he must prove himself a Russian one. Unlike Herzen, Bakunin demanded the European stage. He remained the Slav at heart and before the audience of International Labor paraded his hatred of the Teuton. The Germans, he declared, were authoritarians. Their socialism was a menace. Despite phrases of equality and justice, they would bring the workers of the world to di... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Bakunin closed his stormy career at Berne, on the 1st July 1876. He had founded the social democratic alliance and been expelled from the Marxist International. It was decided at his funeral to reconcile the social democrats and the anarchists in one association. Fraternal greetings were exchanged between the Jura federation, assembled at Chaux-de Fonds, and the German social democratic congress at Gotha. At the eighth international congress, at Berne, in October, the social democrats and the anarchists met and expressed the desire that all socialists should treat each other with mutual consideration and complete common understanding. A banquets conclude this congress. Caferio, the disciple of Bakunin, drank to Marxism and the German socialists. De Paepe, the Marxist, toasted the memory of Bakunin. All Bakunin’s fiery words against the State, his talk of the revolution, his hurrying across Europe to boost first one then another insurrection had ended seemingly in... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Many comrades have found it hard to understand the difference between Marx and Bakunin. The story is very simple and can be told clearly. During his imprisonment and exile, Bakunin was attacked by Marx and the latter’s friends. Bakunin summarized the attack: — “While I was having a far from amusing time in German and Russian fortresses, and in Siberia, Marx and Co. were peddling, clamoring from the housetops, publishing in English and German newspapers, the most abominable rumors about me. They said that it was untrue to declare that I had been imprisoned in a fortress, that, on the contrary, Czar Nicholas had received me with open arms, had provided me with all possible conveniences and enjoyments, that I was able to amuse myself with light women, and had a abundance of champagne to drink. This was infamous, but it was also stupid.” After Bakunin arrived in London, in 1861, and set... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The braggart, Franco, at the beginning of his mountebank career of Fascist adventurism, boasted that Catalonia would fall before his alien arms without a struggle. Such chatter was worthy of the tool of Hitler and Mussolini! It defined the extent of the man’s ignorance with a superbness of irony that no other persons could have achieved. It stamped as grotesque the knowledge, the approach, the attitude of Franco. It showed the man in action and in repose to be the one character: a clown turned butcher n order that he might clown at tragedy as well as at comedy; clown as wantonly with human misery as he had clowned hopelessly at politics. The Capitalist and Fascist powers treated this comedian seriously merely because his comedy grew into crime and his fool’s costume dripped with proletarian blood. His mirthless braggadocio regarded the conquest of Catalonia as something to be attained without struggle: a maidenly surrendered to be obtained... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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As stated in the Foreword, the manuscript of the present biography was completed in 1934. Three years after this work had been written, Professor E.H. Carr published his magnificent book, Michael Bakunin. The publishers were MacMillan & Company, of St. Martin’s Street, London. The book consisted of thirty-four exhaustive chapters. Unfortunately, it was published at the impossible price, so far as the workers were concerned, of twenty-five shillings. No effort has been made to produce a popular addition. This militates seriously against the excellent research work of Professor Carr being popularized. Professor Carr’s study is a growth: for his Bakunin embodies chapters from his previous writings on Herzen. The reception that was accorded to Carr’s work did not make for welcome understanding. Reviews in the capitalist press stated that Professor Carr had nothing but affectionate contempt for this sinister political... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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TO EDITORS, READERS, AND LIBRARIANS [The author has collected nine pamphlets, Word Library, 1st Series, into one Volume, and issued them in collected form under the title Essays in Revolt.. This second series will be collected into another volume.] This collection of essays will be sent to a number of papers in all parts of the world for review. It will be sent specifically to the press in Britain, America, the American Colonies, and the British Dominions. Editors are asked, as a favor, to send copies of their papers containing review notices to the author. The volume will be sent, also, to the chief public libraries in Britain and the United States. It will be sent post free to any public library in the world on the receipt of an application from the librarian. Readers are reminded that the first editions of each of the pamphlets, revised and collected in this volume, can be consulted in the... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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1940 :
Bakunin -- Publication.

September 13, 2021 ; 1:33:20 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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