Conflicting Strains in Anarchist Thought

GEORGE MOLNAR lectures at the University of Sydney. His article
is based on a paper delivered at the annual conference of the Australian
Student Labour Federation.

On a liberal-democratic view the State is a harmonizer of social con-
flicts. Supposedly disinterested, it stands above classes and meliorates
their struggles in the interest of the common good. Anarchists have
often criticised the view that the State is a disinterested arbiter, that it
represents, in some sense, the common good. It is not possible for the
State to serve the common good, even if there were such a thing.

"If you see the State as it was in history and as it is in essence today",
wrote Kropotkin, "and if you consider moreover that a social institution
cannot serve all aims indiscriminately . . . you will understand why we desire
the abolition of the State."


The same point is made by Bakunin, according to whom :

"There is no intellect that can devise a social organisation capable of
satisfying each and all", 2 because "the State is government from above
downwards of an immense number of men, very different from the point of
view of . . . the interests and the aspirations directing them — the State is
government of all these by some or other minority ... it is impossible that
(this minority) could know and foresee the needs, or satisfy with an even
justice the most legitimate and pressing interests in the world. There will
always be discontented people because there will always be some who are

Malatesta held that

The government — or the State if you will — as judge, moderator of social
strife, impartial administrator of the public interests is a lie, an illusion,
a Utopia, never realised and never realisable.'4

and he went on to indicate the role of this illusion in the following

A government cannot rule for any length of time without hiding its true
nature behind the pretence of general utility. It cannot respect the lives of
the privileged without assuming the air of wishing to respect the lives of all.
It cannot cause the privileges of some to be tolerated without appearing as
the custodian of the right of everybody.5

Anarchists argue that in a society characterized by economic, cultural
and other inequalities there is no common good; that as long as, for
instance, the economic powers of various classes are disparate, no
political arrangement can be equitable, de-spits any liberality it may seem
to have.

Whatever may be the form of government, whilst human society remains
divided into different classes because of the hereditary inequality of
occupations, wealth, education and privileges, there will always be a minority
government and the exploitation of the majority by that minority. 6

Political rule is always rule by minorities. The system of parliamen-
tary electoral representation does not change this.

The people have neither the leisure nor the necessary education to
to occupy themselves with the matters of government. The bourgeoisie,
possessing both, has in fact if not by right, the exclusive privilege of

Anarchists endorse Proudhon's description of elected government as
oligarchical ("Universal suffrage is counter-revolution"). The concept
of self-government through elective representation is unreal because
elections vest actual control, i.e. the power to make decisions and see
them inforced, in the hands of a minority. A ruler, a member of this
minority, unless he

"is frequently reinvigorated by contacts with the life of the people; unless
he is compelled to act openly under conditions of full publicity; unless he
is subjected to a salutary and uninterrupted regime of popular control and
criticism, which is to remind him constantly that he is not the master nor
even the guardian, of the masses but only their proxy or their elected
functionary who is always subject to recall—unless he is placed under those
conditions", be he "the most liberal and popular man", will nevertheless
'undergo a complete change in outlook and attitude. "8

These essential popular controls are lacking in any democracy. Politi-
cians meet the people only at election time, for a "brief interlude of

On the day after the elections everyone goes back to his daily business:
the people to their work, and the bourgeoisie to their lucrative affairs and
political intrigues. They do not meet and they do not know each other
any more. 9

Large masses of people are frequently indifferent to their political fate,
and have no interest in controlling their rulers, even if this were possible.
The germ of power, wrote Bakunin, will develop

if only it finds in its environment favourable conditions. These con-
ditions in human society are the stupidity, ignorance, apathetic indifference,
and servile habits of the masses . . . When the masses are deeply sunk in
their sleep, patiently resigned to their degradation and slavery the best men
in their midst . . . necessarily become despots. Often they become such by
entertaining the illusion that they are working for the good of those whom
they oppress. 10

It is for reasons such as these that the State cannot be regarded as the
guardian of the 'common good', nor indeed as the guardian of the
interests of the majority.

The very existence of the State demands that there be some privileged
class vitally interested in maintaining that existence. And it is precisely
the group interests of this privileged class that are called patriotism.11

The State exists, say anarchists, in an inequalitarian society; and
in such an environment it cannot be impartial : its intervention in social
conflicts will be conservative, it will always tend to maintain an unequal
distribution of wealth, privilege, and power. In the Marxist tradition
the State is viewed as fundamentally trie upholder of economic inequali-
ties; the other differential distributions which it upholds (of privilege,
power, etc.) are treated as subordinate and incidental to its main task.
Anarchists escape this reductionism by recognising that the State, apart
from upholding the interests of the economically dominant classes, has
interests of its own which are not derived from the interests of the
classes surrounding it, interests which the State will continue to have
irrespective both of the legal forms of the government and of the plat-
forms of the ruling parties. Anarchists base their criticism of parlia-
mentary action by socialists on this fact.

The modern radical is a centraliser, a State partisan, a Jacobin to the
core, and the Socialist walks in his footsteps. 12

When they are elected to parliament,

those very workers who are now staunch democrats and socialists, will
become determined aristocrats, bold or timid worshippers of the principle
of authority, and will also become oppressors and exploiters. 13

On attaining to parliamentary power Socialists inevitably become con-
servative. This is no due to the personal weaknesses of individual socialists.

Usually these backslidings are attributed to treason (says Bakunin),
That however, is an erroneous idea: they have for their main cause the
change of position and perspective.14

The results of the exercise of political power do not depend on the
good intentions or sound policies of the parties, groups or classes which
rule, but on the inescapable demands imposed by institutions and organ-
isations on those who hold power within them. Speaking of sincere
republicans who wanted to utilise the institution that already existed,
Kropotkin remarked:

And for not having understood that you cannot make an historical
institution go in any direction you would have it, that it must go its own
way, they were swallowed up by the institution. 15

The State is not merely an instrument in the hands of the powerful,
it has its own way which cannot be circumvented by labour politicians,
or by anyone else. This point is central to anarchist theory. It enables
anarchists to explain some important features of modern political life
which other social theories of radical orientation can, at best, only
explain away. Contemporary States are not simply the upholders of
the interests of an economically privileged minority against the rest of
society; put in the language of class-struggle, modern States are, to
varying extents, at war with all classes. They are internally expansion-
ist, and far from always securing the gains of capitalists against the
demands of others, the Welfare State often promotes an exchange
whereby it increases the supply of goods to the underprivileged while
in turn depriving them of enacted or de facto rights. (The operating of
compulsory arbitration in Australia is an instance of this.) In general,
State control is never relinquished voluntarily or in good grace, but
always only under pressure and as a result of struggle. Since any
State's power depends on its ability to restrain as many interest groups
as possible from acting outside the confines of legality and of politics,
organs of the contemporary State have developed concealed police
functions along with their other functions : they have become watchdogs
of society. Proudhon already foreshadowed this development: "The
government must have laws," he wrote;

It must make as many laws as it finds interests; and, as interests are
innumerable, relations arising from one another multiply to infinity, and
antagonism is endless, law-making must go on without stopping. Laws,
decrees, ordinances, resolutions will fall like hail upon the unfortunate
people. After a time the political ground will be covered with a layer of
paper, which the geologists will put down among the vicissitudes of the
earth as the papyraceous formation.16

This domestic imperialism of the State frequently compels all parties,
despite any allegiance they may have to specific classes or groups, to
frame and execute policies, which, irrespective of the intentions behind
them, have the effect of extending state tutelage over wide areas of
society formerly not under central control. All parties, socialist, com-
munist or conservative, thus attack self-reliance and initiative among
all classes, and foster dependence and servility. A signal feature of
anarchism is precisely its early recognition and forceful exposure of
the bureaucratisation of social life which, from its slender start in the
days of Proudhon and Bakunin, has grown to universal proportions in
our days.

This point, that social institutions cannot be made the vehicle for
nay policy whatever but have their own ways, underlies also the criti-
cism anarchists have made of the Marxist doctrine that "Political power,
properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppress-
ing another" 17 . On the basis of this theory Lenin adduced that the
emancipation of the toilers must take the political form of the dictator-
ship of the proletariat 18 . Organisationally this requires a party of pro-
fessional revolutionaries who would bring social-democratic conscious-
ness to the workers "from without" 19 . The aim of such a movement
is "the seizure of power — the political purpose will become clear after
the seizure" 20 . Against Lenin's theory of a revolutionary seizure of
power by a vanguard, anarchists argue that this will not result in the
dictatorship of the whole class.

If the proletariat is to be the new ruling class, over whom will it rule,
asked Bakunin. 21

To the contention that the dictatorship will be temporary and will
come to an end when the former ruling classes, the enemies of the
workers, are crushed, anarchists reply :

No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation
. . freedom can only be created by freedom. 22

The eventual outcome of the Bolshevik revolution, in terms of the
authoritarianism of the emergent regime, was indicated by the organisa-
tional precepts on which Leninists had based themselves: because
Bolshevism saw the working class as not spontaneously socialist in
aspirations, it commenced by bringing socialism to. the proletariat "from
without' and ended up. after the seizure of power, by imposing socialism
as the policy of the State. This imposition of socialism was unavoidable
because in Russia socialists were hopelessly outnumbered; the majority
of the nation was non-proletarian, and among urban workers Bolsheviks
commanded on overwhelming or lasting majorities. The barrack-room
socialism imposed by the State was no longer the socialism which
members of the vanguard had envisaged and in the name of which they
had seized power: it lacked precisely those liberating, emancipating
and ennobling features which gained it support in its struggle against.
Tsarist oppression 23. The dictatorship of the proletariat turned out to
be the government of

ex-workers, who once they become rulers or representatives of the people,
cease to be workers and begin to look down upon the toiling masses. From
that time on they represent not the people but themselves and their own
claims to govern the people. 24

Anarchists see in the Russian revolution a verification of their own
views: the institution of the State engulfed those who tried to use it,
the State asserted its own way. Even Lenin, in one of the last speeches
of his life, gave belated recognition to the fact that the autonomy of
political institutions can foil the revolutionaries:

Here we have lived a year, with the state in our hands, and under the
New Economic Policy. Has it operated our way? No. We don't like to
acknowledge this, but it hasn't. And how has it operated? The machine
isn't going where we guide it ... A machine doesn't travel exactly the way,
and often travels just exactly not the way, that the man imagines who sits
at the wheel. 25


Anarchists believe that

It would be impossible to make
such only because of this nature, and
to be a Stated
the State change its nature, for it is
in foregoing the latter it would cease to be a state.26

Consequently, when they came to frame their own, anarchist, policies
for the emancipation of the exploited majority and for the abolition
of economic classes and of political domination, they were committed to
a programme of attacking existing political institutions without, in the
process, substituting new ones. Their success, or failure, to work out
adequately the theoretical problems arising out of this requirement,
gives the answer to the celebrated question "Is anarchism practicable?"
All anarchists are revolutionaries, but not all have revolutionary
programmes. Thinkers such as Proudhon or Kropotkin give no instruc-
tions as to what should be done and how and by whom in order to
bring about an anarchist revolution. In the absence of such instructions,
in the absence of an organisational and tactical plan, the vision of
anarchist society must remain chimerical. Social changes cannot take
place without the action of social agencies, that is, of institutions and
of people; a plan for a new society which gives no answer to the question
"What social procedures will actually move us from the one situation
in the direction of the other?" 27 is, perforce, Utopian.

Not all anarchists, however, are Utopian in this sense. Two types
of anarchism, in particular, stand out as having a practical programme.
The first is anarcho-syndicalism, to which the overwhelming majority
of contemporary anarchists subscribe; the second, little known to modern
anarchists and not acknowledged by them, is the revolutionary organiz-
ational doctrine of Michael Bakunin.

Anarcho-syndicalism is revolutionary trade-unionism. In agree-
ment with Lenin, syndicalists hold that trade-union meliorism is not a
proper method of social emancipation, and that conventional political
parties are authoritarian in structure and achievement. According to
syndicalists the way to bring about a free society is by the organisation
of workers in autonomous, federated syndicates, whose aim is socialism
and whose revolutionary method is the general strike. The syndicates
are in principle completely independent, of all political parties, having
recognised "in a clear and penetrating manner ... the dangers of
bourgeois democracy" 28 . Internally, they aim at a non-authoritarian
organisation as an "antidote to oligarchy". In the words of a contem-
porary anarchist:

Syndicalists . . . adopt a federal organisation, in which local units are
autonomous ... In this way greater elasticity and speed of action are gained
and there is no chance of the betrayal of the workers by a governing
bureaucracy. Affairs concerning the syndicate as a whole are conducted by
delegates who are only allowed to voice the will of the workers who elected
them, and there is a minimum of officials elected for short periods, after
which they return to the bench or field, and subject to recall if their actions
dissatisfy the workers. In this way the rise of a bureacracy divorced from
the workers is avoided and the revolutionary nature of the syndicate

In practice syndicalism has failed to live up to these hopes. The
French C.G.T., at one time the most important of European syndicalist
organisation, was never completely revolutionary; and everywhere,
including in Catalonia where it became very influential, syndicalism
remained a minority movement in two senses : the industrial proletariat
was a minority among "the people", and the syndicalist workers were a
minority among the industrial proletariat. This fact immediately
assigned syndicalists to the role of a revolutionary vanguard which had
to initiate, and, if need be, to enforce revolutionary action since this
was not occurring spontaneously among the rest of the exploited. This
necessity to extend their influence forced syndicalists into making
political alliances. Syndicalism managed to abstain from politics only
on paper, in practice, especially in times of pressure, such as the Spanish
Civil War, anarcho-syndicalists were obliged to resort to those methods
which their own theory had shown them to be anti-revolutionary, 30 and
which they had on that account rejected. Similarly, safeguards on
internal freedom and self-government failed to insure against the rise
of an oligarchical leadership which "represented" the masses at decisive
moments, 31 edited the press, acted as spokesmen, and negotiated with
outsiders. The principles of autonomy and recall fell into disuse, 32 and
leaders who rose, from among the syndicates, had as a rule no difficulty
in consolidating their position. A number of these, in France, Italy
and Spain, have used the prominence they have gained in the syndicalist
movement as a stepping stone to a political career, sometimes a very
brilliant one . . . 'Usually these back-slidings are attributed to treason.
That, however, is an erroneous idea: they have for their main cause the
change in position and perspective.''

The theory of mass action professed by syndicalists rests largely on
fiction, for nowhere have syndicalists attained to influence over more
than a fraction of the people.

"Among organised workers," wrote Robert Michels in 1915, "it is once
more only a minority which plays an active part in trade-union life. The
syndicalists at once lament this fact and rejoice at it . . . They rejoice to be
rid of the dead weight of those who are still indifferent and immature . . .
If they were logical the syndicalists would draw the conclusion that the
general movement of the modern proletariat must necessarily be the work
of a minority of enlightened proletarians"


This is the actual conclusion that Lenin came to in 1902. In this
however he had been anticipated by none other than Michael Bakunin.
The anarcho-syndicalist prescription to revolutionize the trade-unions
does not, in practice, have the required consequences, namely elimination
of authoritarianism from the organisation of the movement, and the
emancipation of the whole of society from oppression. Bakunin clearly
recognised the second of these points, for he believed that

only a sweeping revolution, embracing both the city workers and the
peasants would be sufficiently strong to overthrow and break the organised
power of the state. 34

The general strike can never be general enough, even if it embraced
the whole of the urban proletariat. Oilier discontented elements, such
as the peasants or the declasse intellectuals, whom Bakunin saw as also
part of a revolutionary force, could not by definition take part in a
general strike. Besides, mass action, such as was envisaged by the
syndicalists, need not necessarily have revolutionary consequences.

Instinct, left to itself, and inasmuch as it has not been transformed into
consciously reflected, clearly determined thought, lends itself easily to
falsification, distortion and deceit. Yet it is impossible for it to rise to this
state of self -awareness without the aid of education, of science; and science,
knowledge of affairs and people, and political experience — these are things
which the proletariat compeltely lacks. 35

Here Bakunin, in phrases strikingly similar to Lenin's, is denying the
theory of popular spontaneity :

An elemental force lacking organisation is not a real power . . . the
question is not whether the people have the capacity to rebel, but whether
they are capable of building up an organisation enabling them to bring the
rebellion to a victorious end — not just to a casual victory but to a prolonged
and ultimate triumph . . . The first condition of victory is . . . organisation
of the people's forces.? 36

As a condition of organizing the people's forces, Bakunin, like Lenin
afterwards, envisaged a group of professional revolutionaries, who would

bring to the people the essential knowledge, the ability to generalise
facts, the skill needed to organise, to create association. This produces the
conscious fighting force without which victory is unthinkable. 37

This "conscious fighting force" is the organisation of the professional
revolutionaries which would be secret, few in numbers, but consisting of
"devoted, energetic and talented" persons, who

must devote their whole existence to the service of the international
revolutionary association. 38

The association would function as the "general staff", "the invisible
pilot" 39 of the revolution.

The internal organisation of Bakunin's association reveals further
similarities to the Bolshevik model. Membership was selective, a new
member must have proven himself not by words, but by deeds. 40

Bakunin was as anxious as Lenin to exclude those, in the words of
Eastman, "to whom ideas do not mean action". Unconditional accept-
ance of the association's theoretical premises; obliteration of all personal
interests: submission to strict discipline sanctioned by expulsion and
vengeance; the duty to divulge all secrets to the association including
the duty to spy on other members; unquestioning acceptance of actual
majority decisions of the Council of Directorium — these are among other
features of Bakunin's plan. 41 Within the association rigid centralisa-
tion was to reign, ideationally and tactically. Moreover the association
was not to disband on the morning after the successful revolution.

After the revolution the members will retain and consolidate their
organisation, so that in their solidarity their combined action may replace
an official dictatorship. 42

Although he would allow no "official dictatorship", Bakunin planned
an invisible dictatorship. He described it as

a power free in direction and spirit, but without freedom of the press;
surrounded by the unanimous people, hallowed by their Soviets, strengthened
by their free activity, but unlimited by anything or anybody .43

It needs hardly to be argued that this scheme is Leninist not only
in principle, but even in fine detail. Therefore it is subject to the same
criticism which anarchists levelled at the doctrine of the dictatorship
of the proletariat, namely, "No dictatorship can have any other aim but
that of self perpetuation . . . freedom can only be created by freedom".
These words are Bakunin's own, and we can now see that while in
expressing his anarchism he trenchantly criticised centralist, oligarchical
and other authoritarian conceptions found among revolutionaries, in
order to produce a realistic revolutionary programme of his own he had
to uphold these very principles. This not only shows that Bakunin's
political thought consisted of two incompatible parts, but it finally
forces on us the suggestion that anarchist theory as a whole is subject
to a fundamental, unresolved contradiction.

The central inconsistency of anarchism can be summed up, in the
light of previous discussion, as follows.

On the one hand anarchism presents a critique of social conditions
which takes up, in a realistic manner, some questions of the nature of
political domination. Fully worked out, this critique leads to the most
pessimistic conclusions, for implicit in anarchism is the contention that
all political action is by nature conservative, and no effective safeguards
can be devised which would combine the possession of social influence
with the absence of political authoritarianism.

On the other hand anarchists, although freely prepared to apply
their theories to the analysis of all other movements, stopped short of
applying their conclusions to anarchism itself. Instead they treated
anarchism as a potential mass movement with the aim of abolishing all
obstacles in the way of a free and classless society. Relative to this aim,
some anarchists remain Utopian (Kropotkin, etc.). Others (anarcho-
syndicalists) attempt to pursue a course of action outside accepted
political forms, in the belief that they will thus escape the odious effects
of politics, while still enjoying the power of being organised. This belief,
based on the false distinction between "free" and "authoritarian" forms
of mass organisation, has no substance : where anarcho- syndicalists have
gained sufficient strength to operate as a mass movement, there they
have exhibited unanarchist, political tendencies. Yet other anarchists,
now no longer influential, have subscribed to practicable revolutionary
schemes, which, however, if successful, would have produced not
anarchy but its exact opposite. Anarchism as a plan for the liberation
of society does not. work : in practice such plans always yield either
wishful thinking, or eventual regimentation.

This conclusion implies thai the conflicting strains in anarchism
cannot be resolved until anarchism is altogether purged of its association
with a programme of secular salvation, in order to consistently uphold
the libertarian and anti-authoritarian aspects of anarchism it will have
to be understood that these aspects cannot be secured by converting
society to them; that universal liberation is an illusion; that revolutions
always involve seizing and exercising power; that "the abolition of the
State", in the sense extolled by classical anarchism, is a myth. If, as
anarchists have always argued, many little reforms will not eliminate
authoritarianism, neither will One Big Reform. The muck of ages, as
Marx called it, clings to revolutionaries as fast as it does to the orthodox,
and anarchist revolutionaries are not exempt from this mournful
generalisation. It is only too evident, in any case, that the critical aspects
of anarchism will not attract large numbers of people, that anarchism is
not something which can assert itself over the whole of society.
Anarchism, consisently interpreted, is permanent opposition.

Peter Kropotkin: The State: Its Historic Role, London, 1946, p.41.
The Political Philosophy of Bakunin: Scientific Anarchism, ed. and trans, by
G. P. Maximoff, Glencoe, III., 1953, p.299.
Michael Bakunin: Marxism, freedom and the State, ed. and trans. K. J.
Kenafick, London, 1950. p.31.
Errico Malatesta: Anarchy, London, 1958 p
ibid. p. 15. Anarchists share this criticism of the libera] notion of the 'com-
mon good' with conservatives e.g.; "The doctrine of the harmony of interests
... is the natural assumption of a prosperous and privileged class, whose
members have a dominant voice in the community and are therefore naturally
prone to identify its interests with their own. In virtue of this identification,
any assailant of the interests of the dominant group is made to incur the
odium of assailing the alleged common interest of the whole community, and
is told that in making this assault he is attacking his own higher interests.
The doctrine of the harmony of interests thus serves as an ingenious moral
device invoked, in perfect sincerity, by privileged groups in order to justify
and maintain their dominant position". E. H. Carr: The Twenty Years'
Crisis. 1919-1939, London, 1946 (2nd ed.), p.80.
Kenafiek : op. cit. p.36.
Maximoff: op. cit. p. 21 8.
ibid, pp.2 12- 13.
ibid. 219.
ibid, pp.248-49.
ibid. p. 232.
Kropotkin: op. cit. p.41.
Maximofl: op. cit. p.218.
ibid, p.218.
Kropotkin : op. cit. p. 42.
P. J. Proudhon: The General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth
Century, London, 1923. p. 132.
K. Marx and F. Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party, Marx and
Engels Selected Works, Moscow, 1915. Vol. 1, p.51.
cf. V. I. Lenin: State and Revolution.
V. I. Lenin: What Is To Be Done?, Moscow, 1952, p.52.
V. I. Lenin: A Letter to the Members of the Central Committee, Selected
Works, Miscow, 1951, Vol. I, Part 1, p.197.
Maximoff: op. cit. p.286.
ibid, p.288.
Cf. the remarks of a recent historian of the Bolshevik party: "All govern-
ments are concerned to retain power, though they may differ in the means
which they adopt to this end, and the government of the communist party
is no exception . . . there are many, many actions of the party in the course
of my story which would be quite unintelligible unless they were seen in
the light of the fact that over long periods the party's hold over the country
was precarious and a false move would have meant its downfall. To ignore
this factor, which runs like a thread of scarlet through Soviet history, is to
write about phantoms and not about what really happened ... I have
discovered many instances in which it seemed to me that the theoretical
considerations had to be sacrificed to the realities of the situation. I have
as yet discovered no single instance in which the party was prepared to risk
its own survival in power for considerations of doctrine." L. Schapiro: The
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, London, 1960. Preface, p.xi.
Maximoff: op. cit. p.286.
quoted by Leon Trotsky in The Real Situation in Russia, New York, 1928,
Maximoff: op. cit. p.224.
Max Eastman: Marx, Lenin and the Science of Revolution, London, 1926.
p. 133. Eastman makes some sound criticisms of Kropotkin, but identifies
all anarchist programmes with Kropotkin's Utopianism.
Robert Michels: Political Parties, London, 1915. p.362.
George Woodcock: Anarchy or Chaos, London, 1944. p. 58.
Cf. V. Richards: Lessons of the Spanish Revolution, London, 1953, esp.
Ch. 7, for a description of the "united front" practices of the C.N.T.-F.A.l.
and the results of these practices.
Michels: op. cit. pp.364 et seq.
Cf. Richards: op. cit. Chs. 6, 7 and 13. Cf. also A. Souchy: The Tragic
Week in May, Barcelona, 1937, for a revealing apologetic account of the role
of the C.N.T. leadership in the May '37 rising.
Michels: op. cit. p. 369.
Eugene Pyziur: The Doctrine of Anarchism of Michael Bakunin, Milwaukee,
1955, p.66.
Maximoff: op. cit. p.215.
ibid. p. 367, emphasis in original.
Pyziur: op. cit. p. 82. The sinister phrase "to create association" is worthy
of note here, especially in contrast to the other anarchist notion, emphasized
by Kropotkin, that association (co-operation, mutual aid) occurs spontan-
eously in social iife. Practical revolutionaries cannot base their plans on
the romantic conclusions Kropotkin drew from his observations: if, as
the practicalists see, associations of the kind they require do not form spon-
taneously, then they will have to be created by the revolutionaries. In the
course of creating associations however, revolutionaries forsake all pretence
that what they are doing fits in with the manifest interests of the masses in
whose name they speak,
ibid. p. 87.
ibid. p. 86.
pp. 87-89.
pp. 97-98. Cf. Max Nomad: Apostles of Revolution, London, 1939.
pp. 158-2 10, 224-234.

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Jun 4 2016 11:11


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Jun 4 2016 12:13

He doesn't lecture, he did lecture. He died in 1999. Quite a blustering colourful character that I met in late 1960s, early 1970s, with a massive and impressive cranium like intellectuals are meant to have, in the Gramsci mould., I never thought much of his politics.He was one of the Permanent Protest crowd, that is "anarcho-reformist" and seemed antipathetic to class struggle. I remember a fieirce exhange between him and Keith Nathan (of ORA fame) over this.Bear this in mind when you read the above, especially the bollox comparing Bakunin's ideas to Bolshevism

Jun 21 2016 20:23

Yeah if you read Bakunin you learn that he pretty much meant "invisible dictatorship" to be nonhierarichal and egalitarian only spreading propaganda and ideas pushing for selfgovernment because Bakunin realised that in a revolution multiple perspectives existed and there is need to propagate for the anarchist one. It has nothing to do with bolsheviks except a very bad word choice.