2 bakunin and anarchism



chapter two of proposed roads to freedom this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit librivox.org recording by John Thomas coos coos Markey proposed roads to freedom by Bertrand Russell chapter two in the popular mind the anarchist is a person who throws bombs and commits other outrages either because he is more or less insane or because he uses the pretense of extreme political opinions as a cloak for criminal proclivities this view is of course in every way inadequate some anarchists believe in throwing bombs many do not men of almost every other shade of opinion believe in throwing bombs in suitable circumstances for example the men who threw the bomb at Sarajevo which started the present war were not an artists but nationalists and those anarchists who are in favor of bomb throwing do not in this respect differ on any vital principle from the rest of the community with the exception of that infinitesimal portion who adopt the Tolstoy in attitude of non-resistance anarchists like socialists usually believe in the doctrine of the class war and if they use bombs it is as government's use bombs for purposes of war but for every bomb manufactured by an anarchist many millions are manufactured by governments and for every man killed by anarchist violence many millions are killed by the violence of States we may therefore dismiss from our minds the whole question of violence which plays so large a part in the popular imagination since it is neither essential nor peculiar to those who adopt the anarchist position anarchism as its derivation indicates is the theory which is opposed to every kind of forcible government it is opposed to this state as the embodiment of the force employed in the governments of the community such government as anarchism can tolerate must be free government not merely in the sense that it is that of majority but in the sense that it is that assented to by all anarchists object to such institutions as the police and the criminal law by means of which the will of one part of the community is forced upon another part in their view the democratic form of government is not very enormous ly preferable to other forms so long as minorities are compelled by force or its potentiality to submit to the will of majorities liberty is the supreme good in the anarchist Creed and liberty is sought by the direct road of abolishing all forcible control over the individual by the community anarchism in this sense is no new doctrine it is set forth admirably by tchangzu a Chinese philosopher who lived about the Year 300 BC horses have hooves to carry them over frost and snow hair to protect them from wind and cold they eat grass and drink water and fling up their heels over the champagne such is the real nature of horses palatial dwellings are of no use to them one day PO Lord appeared saying I understand the management of horses so he branded them and clicked them and paired their homes and put halters on them tying them up by the head and shackling them by the feet and disposing them in stables with the result that two or three and every ten died then he kept them hungry and thirsty trotting them and galloping them and grooming and trimming with the misery of the tasseled bridle before and the fear of the knotted whip behind until more than half of them were dead the Potter says I can do what I will with clay if I wanted round I use compasses if rectangular a square the carpenter says I can do what I will with wood if I wanted curved I use an arc if straight a line but on what grounds can we think that the nature's of clay and would desire this application of compasses and square a our canned line nevertheless every age ex tolls polo for his skill in managing horses and Potter's and carpenters for their skill with clay and wood those who govern the Empire make the same mistake now I regard government of the Empire from quite a different point of view the people have certain natural instincts to weave and clothe themselves to till and feed it themselves these are common to all humanity and all are agreed they're on such instincts are called Heaven Sent and so in the days when natural instincts prevailed men moved quietly and gazed steadily at that time there were no roads over mountains nor boats nor bridges over water all things were produced to each for its own proper sphere birds and beasts multiplied trees and shrubs grew up the former might be led by the hand you could climb up and keep into the Ravens nest for then man dwelt with birds and beasts and old creation was one there were no distinctions of good and bad men being all equally without knowledge their virtue could not go astray being all equally without evil desires they were in a state of natural integrity the perfection of human existence but when sages appeared tripping up people over charity and feathering them with duty to their neighbor doubt found its way into the world and then with their gushing over music and fussing over ceremony the Empire became divided against itself musings of a Chinese mystic selections from the philosophy of Shang Xue with an introduction by Lionel Geils ma ox on wisdom of the East series John Murray 1911 pages 66 to 68 the modern anarchism in the sense in which we shall be concerned with it is associated with the belief in the communal ownership of land and capital and is thus in an important respect akin to socialism this doctrine is properly called anarchist communism but as it embraces practically all modern anarchism we may ignore would you list anarchism altogether and concentrate attention upon the communistic form socialism and anarchist communism alike have arisen from the perception that private capital is a source of tyranny by certain individuals over others Orthodox socialism believes that the individual will become free if the state becomes the sole capitalist anarchism on the contrary fears that in that case the state might merely inherit the tyrannical propensity of the private capitalist accordingly it seeks for a means of reconciling communal ownership with the utmost possible diminution in the powers of the state and indeed ultimately with the complete abolition of the state it has arisen mainly within the Socialist Movement as its extreme left-wing in the same sense in which Marx may be regarded as the former of modern socialism bakunin may be regarded as the founder of anarchist communism but back Union did not produce like Marx a finished and systematic body of doctrine the nearest approach to this will be found in the writings of his follower Kropotkin in order to explain modern anarchism we shall begin with the life of Bakunin and the history of his conflicts with Marx and shall then give a brief account of anarchist theory as set forth portly in his writings but more in those of Kropotkin and accounts of the life of Bakunin from the anarchist standpoint will be found in volume 2 of the complete edition of his works Michel Bakunin lives tome to a vicuna notice biographic des avant propo a des note power gem guillaume Perry PV stock editor page 5 to 63 criticism of these theories will be reserved for part 2 Michele Bakunin was born in 1814 of a Russian aristocratic family his father was a diplomatist who at the time of backing ins birth had retired to his country estate in the government of fur Bakunin entered the school of artillery in Petersburg at the age of 15 and at the age of 18 was sent as an ensign to a regiment stationed in the government of Minsk the Polish insurrection of 1880 had just been crushed the spectacle of terrorized Poland says geom acted powerfully on the heart of the young officer and contributed to inspire in him and the horror of despotism this led him to give up the military career after two years trial in 1834 he resigned his commission and went to Moscow where he spent six years studying philosophy like all philosophical students of that period he became a Hague alien and in 1840 he went to Berlin to continue his studies in the hope of ultimately becoming a professor but after this time his opinions underwent a rapid change he found it impossible to accept the Hegelian maxim that whatever is is rational and in 1842 he migrated to Dresden where he became associated with Arnold Rouge the publisher of Deutsche jabu share by this time he had become a revolutionary and in the following year he incurred the hostility of the Saxon government this led him to go to Switzerland where he became in contact with a group of German communists but as the Swiss police importuned him and the Russian government demanded his return he removed to Paris where he remained from 1843 to 1847 these years in Paris were important in the formation of his outlook and opinions he became acquainted with proud Hall who exercised a considerable influence on him also with George Sand and many other well-known people it was in Paris that he first made the acquaintance of marks and angles with whom he was to carry on a lifelong battle at a much later period in 1871 he gave the following account of his relations with Marx at this time Marx was much more advanced than I was as he remains today not more advanced but incomparably more learnand than I am I knew then nothing of political economy I had not yet rid myself of metaphysical abstractions and my socialism was only instinctive he though younger than I was already an atheist an instructive materialist a well-considered socialist it was just at this time that he elaborate in the first foundations of his present system we saw each other fairly often for I respected him much for his learning and his passionate and serious devotion always mixed however with personal vanity to the cause of the proletariat and I sought eagerly his conversation which was always instructive and clever when it was not inspired by a poultry hate which alas happened only too often but there was never any frank intimacy between us our temperaments would not suffer it he called me a sentimental idealist and he was right I called him a vain man perfidy as' and crafty and I also was right back Yunnan never succeeded in staying long in one place without incurring the enmity of the authorities in November 1847 as the result of a speech praising the Polish rising of 1830 he was expelled from France at the request of the Russian embassy which in order to rob him of public sympathy spread the unfounded report that he had been an agent of the Russian government but was no longer wanted because he had gone too far the French government by calculated reticence encouraged this story which clung to him more or less throughout his life being compelled to leave France he went to Brussels where he renewed acquaintance with Marx a letter of his written at this time shows that he entertained already that bitter hatred for which afterward he had so much reason the Germans artisans born stead marks and angles and above all marks are here doing their ordinary mischief vanity spite gossip theoretical overbear and practical coucil anonymity reflections of life action and simplicity and complete absence of life action and simplicity the early and argumentative artisans and repulsive caca tree with them phobar is a bourgeois and the bourgeois grown into an epithet and repeated ad nauseam but all of them themselves from head to foot through and through provincial bourgeois with one word lying and stupidity stupidity and lying in this society there is no possibility of drawing a free full breath I hold myself aloof from them and have declared quite decidedly that I will not join their communistic union of artisans and will have nothing to do with it the Revolution of 1848 led him to return to Paris and thence to Germany he had a quarrel with Marx over a small matter in which he himself confessed later that Marx was in the right he became a member of the Slav Congress in Prague where he vainly endeavoured to promote a Slav insurrection toward the end of 1848 he wrote an appeal to Slavs calling on them to combine with other revolutionaries to destroy the three oppressive monarchies Russia Austria and Prussia Marx attacked him in print saying in effect that the movement for bohemian independence was futile because thus laws had no future at any rate in those regions where they happened to be subject to Germany in Austria Bakunin accused marx of german patriotism in this manner and Marx accused him of pan-slavism no doubt in both cases justly before this dispute however a much more serious quarrel had taken place Marx's paper the new Rheinische Zeitung stated that George Sand had papers proving backing in to be a Russian government agent and one of those responsible for the recent arrest of poles Bakunin of course repeated the charge and George Sand wrote to the new Rheinische Zeitung denying this statement in toto the denials were published by Marx and there was a nominal reconciliation but from this time onward there was never any real abatement of the hostility between these rival leaders who did not meet again until 1864 meanwhile the reaction had been everywhere gaining ground in May 18-49 an insurrection in Dresden for a moment made the revolutionaries masters of the town they held it for five days and established a revolutionary government bakunin was the soul of the defense which they made against the Prussian troops but they were overpowered and at last Beck Union was captured while trying to escape with Huebner and richard wagner the last of whom fortunately for music was not captured now began a long period of imprisonment in many prisons and various countries back Union was sentenced to death on the 14th of January 1850 but his sentence was commuted after 5 months and he was delivered over to Austria which claimed the privilege of punishing him the Austrians in their turn condemned him to death in May 1851 and again his sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life in the Austrian prisons he had fetters on hands and feet and in one of them he was even chained to the wall by the belt there seems to have been some peculiar pleasure to be derived from the punishment of Bakunin for the Russian government in its turn demanded him of the Austrians who delivered him up in Russia he was confined first in the Peter and Paul Fortress and then in the shallow Solberg there he suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out his health gave way completely and he found almost all food impossible to assimilate but if his body became enfeebled his spirit remained inflexible he feared one thing above all it was to find himself some day led by van built any action no prison to the condition of degradation of which silvio palico offers a well-known type he feared that he might cease to hate that he might feel the sentiment of revolt which upheld him becoming extinguished in his hearts that he might come to pardon his persecutors and resign him elf to his fate but this fear was superfluous his energy did not abandon him a single day and he emerge from his cell the same man as when he entered after the death of the Tsar Nicholas many political prisoners were amnestied but Alexander the second with his own hand erased back unions name from the list when back unions mother succeeded in obtaining an interview with the new Tsar he said to her no madam that so long as your son lives he can never be free however in 1857 after eight years of captivity he was sent to the comparative freedom of Siberia from there in 1861 he succeeded in escaping to Japan and events through America to London he had been imprisoned for his hostility to governments but strange to say his sufferings had not had the intended effect of making him love those who inflicted them from this time onward he devote himself to spreading the spirit of anarchist revolt without whoever having to suffer any further term of imprisonment for some years he lived in Italy where he founded in 1864 an international fraternity or alliance of socialist revolutionaries this contained men of many countries but apparently no Germans it devoted itself largely to combating Mattson ease nationalism in 1867 he moved to Switzerland where in the following year he helped to found the international alliance of socialist democracy of which he drew up the program this program gives a good succinct resume of his opinions the Alliance declares itself atheist it desires the definitive and entire abolition of classes and the political equality and social equalization of individuals of both sexes it desires that the earth the instrument of labour like all other capital becoming the collective property of society as a whole shall be no longer able to be utilized except by the workers that is to say by agricultural and industrial associations it recognizes that all actual existing political and authoritarian States reducing themselves more and or to the mere administrative functions of the public services in their respective countries must disappear in the universal union of free associations both agricultural and industrial the international alliance of socialist democracy desired to become a branch of the International workingmen's association but was refused admission on the ground that branches must be local and could not themselves be international the geneva group of the Alliance whoever was admitted later in July 1869 the International workingmen's association had been founded in London in 1864 and its statutes and program were drawn up by Marx bakunin at first did not expect it to prove a success and refused to join it but it spread with remarkable rapidity in many countries and the soon became a great power for the propagation of socialist ideas originally it was by no means wholly socialist but in successive congresses Marx won it over more and more to his views at his third Congress in Brussels in September 1868 it became definitely socialist meanwhile Bakunin forgetting his earlier abstention had decided to join it and brought with him a considerable following in French Switzerland France Spain and Italy at the 4th Congress held in balla in September 1869 two currents were strongly marked the Germans and English followed Marx in his belief in the state as it was to become after the abolition of private property they followed him also in his desire to found labour parties in various countries and utilize the machinery of democracy for the election of Representatives of London two Parliament's on the other hand the Latin nations in the main followed Bakunin in opposing the state and displeasing in the machinery of representative government the conflict between these two groups grew more and more bitter and each accused the other of various offences the statement that backing in was a spy was repeated but was withdrawn after investigation Marx in a confidential communication to his German friends that bakunin was an agent of the pan-slavic Sparty and received from them twenty five thousand francs a year meanwhile backing in became for a time interested in the attempt to stir up an agrarian revolt in Russia and this led him to neglect the contest in the International at a crucial moment during the franco-prussian war back Union passionately took the side of France especially after the fall of Napoleon the third he never too roused people to revolutionary resistance like that of 1793 and became involved in an abortive attempt to revolt in Lille the French government accused him of being a paid agent of Prussia and it was with difficulty that he escaped to Switzerland the disputes with Marx and his followers had become exacerbated by the national dispute bakunin like Kropotkin after him regarded the new power of Germany as the greatest menace to Liberty in the world he hated the Germans with a bitter hatred partly no doubt on account of Bismarck but probably still more on account of Marx to this day anarchism has remained confined almost exclusively to Latin countries and has been associated with a hatred of Germany growing out of the contests between Marx and Bakunin in the International the final suppression of vicunas faction occurred at the general Congress of the International at the hague in 1872 the meeting place was chosen by the General Council in which Marx was unopposed with a view sobic unions friends contend to making excess impossible for Bakunin on account of the hostility of the French and German governments and difficult for his friends Beck Union was expelled from the international as the result of a report accusing him inter alia of theft backed up by intimidation the orthodoxy of the International was saved but at the cost of its vitality from this time onward it ceased to be itself a power but both sections continued to work in their very groups and the socialist groups in particular grew rapidly ultimately a new international was formed 1889 which continued down to the outbreak of the present war as to the future of international socialism it would be rash to prophesy though it would seem that the international idea has acquired sufficient strength to need again after the war some such means of expression as it found before in socialist congresses by this time back unions health was broken and except for a few brief intervals he lived in retirement until his death in 1876 bakunin 's life unlike Marx's was a very stormy one every kind of rebellion against Authority always aroused his sympathy and in his support he never paid the slightest attention to personal risk his influence undoubtedly very great arose chiefly through the influence of his personality upon important individuals his writings differ from Marx's as much as his life does and in a similar way they are chaotic largely aroused by some passing occasion abstract and metaphysical except when they deal with current politics he does not come to close quarters with economic facts but dwells usually in the region of theory and metaphysics when he descends from these regions he is much more at the mercy of current international politics than Marx much less imbued with the consequences of the belief that it is economic causes that are fundamental he praised marks for enunciated this doctrine but nevertheless continued to think in terms of nations his longest work Lemp ire luto germanic a la revolution social is mainly concerned with the situation in france during the later stages of the franco-prussian war and with the means of resisting German imperialism most of his writing was done in hurry in the interval between two instructions there is something of anarchism in his lack of literary order his best-known work is a fragment entitled by editors and state in his work he represents belief in God and belief in the state as the two great obstacles to human liberty a typical passage will serve to illustrate its style marks as a thinker is on the right Road he has established as a principle that all the evolutions political religious and judicial in history are not the causes but the effects of economic evolutions this is a great and fruitful thought which he has not absolutely invented it has been glimpsed expressed in part by many others besides him but in any case to him belongs the honor of having solidly established it and of enunciated it as the basis of his whole economic system this title is not vicunas but was invented by Cafiero and Alesi wreckless who edited it not knowing that it was a fragment of what was intended to be the second version of vampire Newt Oh German ich the state is not society it is only in historical form of it as brutal as it is abstract it was born historically in all countries of the marriage of violence rapine pillage in a word born conquest with the gods successively created by the theological fantasy of nations it has been from its origin and remains still at present the divine sanction of brutal force and triumphant inequality the state is Authority it is force it is the ostentation and infatuation of force it does not insinuate itself it is not to seek to convert even when it commands what is good it hinders and spoils it just because it commands it and because every command provokes and excites the legitimate revolt of Liberty and because the good from the moment that it is commanded becomes evil from the point of view of true morality of human morality doubtless not of divine from the point of view of human respect and of Liberty Liberty morality and the human dignity of man consists precisely in this that he does good not because it is commanded but because he conceives it wills it and loves it he does not find in back unions works a clear picture of the society at which he aims or any argument to prove that such a society could be stable if we wish to understand anarchism we must turn to his followers and especially to Kropotkin like him a Russian aristocrat familiar with the prisons of Europe and like him in our darkest who in spite of his internationalism is imbued with a fiery hatred of the Germans Kropotkin has devoted much of his writing to technical questions of production in fields factories and workshops and the conquest of bread he has set himself to prove that if production were more scientific and better organized a comparatively small amount of quite agreeable work would suffice to keep the whole population in comfort even assuming as we probably must that he somewhat exaggerated what is possible with our present scientific knowledge it must nevertheless be conceded that his contentions contain a very large measure of truth in attacking the subject of production he has shown that he knows what is the really crucial question if civilization and progress are to be compatible with equality it is necessary that equality should not involve long hours of painful toil for a little more than the necessaries of life since where there is no leisure art and science will die and all progress will become impossible the objection which some feel to socialism and anarchism alike on this ground cannot be upheld in view of the possible part if 'ti of labour the system at which Kropotkin aims whether or not it be possible is certainly one which demands a very great improvement in the methods of production above what is common at present he desires to abolish wholly the system of wages not only as most socialists do in the sense that the man is to be paid rather for his willingness to work than for the actual work demand of him but in a more fundamental sense there is to be no obligation to work and all things are to be shared in equal proportions among the whole population Kropotkin relies upon the possibility of making work Pleasant he holds that in such a community as he foresees practically everyone will defer work to idleness because work will not involve overwork or slavery or that excessive specialization that industrialism has brought about but will be merely a pleasant activity for certain hours of the day giving a man an outlet for his spontaneous constructive impulses there is to be no compulsion no law no government exercising force there will still be acts of the community but these are to spring from universal consent not from any enforced submission of even the smallest minority we shall examine in a later chapter how far such an ideal is realizable but it cannot be denied that Kropotkin presents it with extraordinary persuasiveness and charm we should do more of an justice to anarchism if we did not say something of its darker side the side which has brought it into conflict with the police and made it a word of terror to ordinary citizens in its general doctrines there is nothing essentially involving violent methods or a virulent hatred of the rich and many who adopt these general doctrines are personally gentle and temper mentally averse from violence but the general tone of the anarchist press and public is bitter to a degree that seems scarcely sane and appeal especially in Latin countries is rather to envy of the fortunate than to pity for the unfortunate a vivid and readable though not wholly reliable account from a hostile point of view is given in a book called la peril and Arc East by Felix Du Bois which incidentally reproduces a number of cartoons from anarchist journals the revolt against law naturally leads except in those who are controlled by a real passion for humanity to a relaxation of all the usually accepted moral rules and to a bitter spirit of retaliatory cruelty out of which good can hardly come Paris 1894 what are the most curious features of popular anarchism is its metrology aping Christian forms with the guillotine in France in place of the cross many who have suffered death at the hands of authorities on accounts of acts of violence were no doubt a genuine sufferers for their belief in a cause but others equally honored are more questionable one of the most curious examples of this outlet for the repressed religious impulse is the cult of ravashol who was guilty and in 1892 an account of various dynamite outrages his past was dubious but he died to finally his last words were three lines from a well-known anarchist song the Xiang du pere dushasana c2 vu Etra hero nomdedeu paul tall propriety air as was natural the leading anarchists took no part in the canonization of his memory nevertheless it proceeded with the most amazing extravagances it would be wholly unfair to judge anarchist doctrine or the views of its leading exponents by such phenomena but it remains a fact that anarchism attracts to itself much that lies in the borderland of insanity and common crime this must be remembered in exculpation of the authorities and the thoughtless public who often confound in a common detestation the parasites of the movement and the truly heroic and high-minded men who have elaborated its theories and sacrifice comfort and success to their propagation the attitude of all the better anarchists is that expressed by LS Bevington in the words a force we know that among those who call themselves anarchists there are a minority of unbalanced enthusiasts who look upon every illegal and sensational act of violence as a matter for hysterical jubilation very useful to the public and the press unsteady in intellect and of weak moral principle they have repeatedly shown themselves accessible to venal considerations they end their violence and their profess anarchism are purchasable and in the last resort they are welcomed and efficient partisans of the bourgeoisie in its remorseless war against the deliverers of the people his conclusion is a very wise one let us leave indiscriminate killing and injuring to the government to its statesmen its stockbrokers its officers and its law anarchism and violence page 9 to 10 Liberty press Chiswick 1896 the terrorist campaign in which such men as ravashol were active practically came to an end in 1894 after that time under the influence of pallucci are the better sort of anarchists found a less harmful outlet by advocating revolutionary syndicalism in the trade unions and bors's du travail the economic organization of society as conceived by anarchist Communists does not differ greatly from that which is sought by socialists their difference from socialists is in the matter of government they demand that government shall require the consent of all the governed and not only of a majority it is undeniable that the rule of majority may be almost as hostile to freedom as the rule of a minority the Divine Right of majorities is a Dogma as little possessed of absolute truth as any other a strong democratic state may easily be led into oppression of its best citizens namely those whose independence of mind would make them a force for progress experience of democratic parliamentary government shown that it falls very far short of what was expected of it by early socialists and the anarchist revolt against it is not surprising but in the pure form of anarchism this revolt has remained weak and sporadic it is syndicalism and the movements to which syndicalism has given rise that have popularized the revolt against parliamentary government and purely political means of emancipating the wage earner but this movement must be dealt with in a separate chapter end of chapter 2 recording by John Thomas coos coos morskie w w alle date your life calm




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