Karl Marx and the anarchists - Paul Thomas

Karl Marx and the Anarchists examines Marx's confrontations with anarchist theoreticians he encountered at various stages of his career as a revolutionist. Paul Thomas argued that Marx's attacks on Stirner, Proudhon, and Bakunin strongly influenced his own interpretation of revolutionary politics, and are of vital importance to an understanding of the subsequent enmity between Marxists and Anarchists.

marx and the anarchists.docx530.7 KB

Posted By

Ross Arctor
Aug 3 2015 03:31


Attached files


Aug 6 2015 08:12

I love this book. Thanks for uploading. Also I think the real discussion of the separation of the first international was the most interesting part of the book.

Aug 8 2015 11:26

Actually, this book is just a rehash of standard Marxist nonsense about anarchism. The author just repeats what Marx proclaims as if it were true.

While not without some okay bits, I would not recommend it -- unless you are a Marxist seeking to renew the dogma by reading another Marxist proclaim that, in the main, Marx was right about anarchism.

Those interested in the real differences between anarchism and Marxism or an accurate account of Proudhon's ideas or Bakunin's politics need to look elsewhere.

Aug 8 2015 12:01

It is interesting why you are so harsh on this book. First of all I am not a political expert but I think the book provides a good example of the failure of anarchism to have a some sort of unified theory. This is something I agree with Well even he title is sort of sign of weakness - Marx and Anarchists - Who exaclty - Well a bunch of people some of people considered essential (for example Stirner is he an anarchist?? )(on the other hand I think it can be possible to transcend the history of anarchism to find a unified core of some sort. However this is not the aim of book, -and why it should be anyway. I think this heterogeneity can be observed in anarchist circles -not necessarily a totally negative thing, but sometimes not great either.)

However for example The Bakunin and International part of the book is very pro-anarchist. And if I remember correctly goes beyond Marx was authoritarian and Bakunin was a sexual pervert and secret agent of some sort arguments. And show on the concrete level that how Bakunin and Marx approached to the question of the organisation (or if you want to call it party) how differently, in the end destroying the International which was actually very in line with (more or less) the anarchist ideals of decentralization and federation.(So again united class organisation divided because of demand for centralization - as anarchists predicted and opposed.)

Of course there might be better books on the topic (Any advise would be appreciated). Or for example to read about the philosophy of the Proudhon, propably Ian McKay's writings might be better (and you get sort of anarchist pride reading him - we said it already, in your face Marx! tongue )

EDIT: I made some google search and now I find my last sentence a bit funny grin Sorry grin

Jan 16 2020 00:25

Just started reading this, and I can see where anarcho is coming from, it doesn't really seem like Paul Thomas had done a lot of reading on the anarchists, even the big three he's singled out. He keeps making statements about their failings when at least one (sometimes all three) absolutely did try to account for what he claims they lacked.

The chapter on Hegel is also very strange, it seems clear that Thomas views orthodox Hegelianism as some sort of compelling argument in its own right. Several sections revolve around

Hegel's view on X
A statement that "the anarchists" don't agree or ignore it
Marx agrees with Hegel

And the last two sections are about Hegel's failures, but the failings are all just from Marx's early works.

Its not what I'd call a balanced work so far.