Anarchist critique of 'The Philosophical Roots of the Marx-Bakunin Conflict' by Ann Robertson?

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Vlad The Inhaler's picture
Vlad The Inhaler
Joined: 17-04-15
Dec 1 2017 22:51
Anarchist critique of 'The Philosophical Roots of the Marx-Bakunin Conflict' by Ann Robertson?

Ann Robertson, as far as I'm aware is affiliated to Socialist Appeal, an ultra-Orthodox Trotskyist micro-sect which was essentially the rump left over when the vast majority of the old Militant grouping within Labour opted to abandon entryism and form the Socialist Party of England and Wales, the acronym for which is, delightfully, SPEW. I digress...

The Philosophical Roots of the Marx-Bakunin Conflict

In this article Ann Robertson sets out the conflict between Bakunin and Marx as essentially stemming from first philosophical principles. That, essentially, Bakunin believes that humans have a perfectly free essence which was once manifest and the purpose of Anarchism is to struggle to return to this perfect state, where as Marx sees human relations as purely natural and contextual to that societies level of productive development. Therefore, for Marx, humans have not lost their freedom and there is nothing to return to, even if you could return to the past, which you cannot. You can deduce the rest for yourself.

Now, when I first read this a good while ago, when I was still wrapped up in Leninism, this made perfect sense and sat very well with my hackneyed view of Anarchism. Now, rereading this piece, it just doesn't hold together.

Who else has read this piece, what are your thoughts, agreements, criticisms, lamentations?

Joined: 22-10-06
Dec 11 2017 11:43

Read it when it came out -- it is so wrong that writing a critique would have taken ages. So, wrong from its assumptions upwards. Like most marxist attacks on anarchism -- it assumes something and runs with it. Sadly, the assumptions do not seem to reflect actually reading anarchist thinkers and seeing what they actually argued.