The political philosophy of Bakunin: scientific anarchism - G.P. Maximoff

Illustration of Bakunin by Clifford Harper

From the scattered writings of Bakunin, G.P. Maximoff has selected those pertinent theoretical sections that give the reader a complete statement of Bakunin's politics in Bakunin's own words. In addition to Bakunin's text, the book contains a definitive biographical sketch of Bakunin written by Max Nettlau, an introduction by Rudolph Rocker, and a preface by Bert F. Hoselitz.

Mikhail Bakunin stands out as unique among the revolutionary figures of the ninteenth century. It was Bakunin who was Marx's greatest historical enemy in the socialist movement, and it was Bakunin who was the founder and main inspiration for the libertarian wing of the First International. His life and writings are a marvelous introduction to the nineteenth century. He embodied in his actions and in the events of his life much of the experience of the struggle for freedom, both individual and national, which rocked Europe during this period. He was a leader in armed uprisings against despotic governments, a tireless propagandist and journalist, a teacher, a conspirator and, of course, a prisoner of the Czar for twelve years until his escape from Siberia. In the present work, G.P. Maximoff, a close student of Bakunin, has accomplished for Bakunin what he could not do himself. From the scattered writings of Bakunin, he has selected those pertinent theoretical sections that give the reader a complete statement of Bakunin's politics in Bakunin's own words. In addition to Bakunin's text, the book contains a definitive biographical sketch of Bakunin written by Max Nettlau, an introduction by Rudolph Rocker, and a preface by Bert F. Hoselitz.

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Comments

syndicalist
Apr 21 2016 23:14

Not sure if it's the translation or my pea brain, but this was a hard book to read
Folks should def try and give it a read. Few, Maximov was Dolgoffs acknowledged mentor.
Anyway, worth a looksee

paul r
Feb 15 2017 00:06

G.P. Maximoff's compilation of excerpts from Bakunin's works is the only book in the English language which gives a systematic presentation of the latter's political philosophy in Bakunin's own words.

Although it could be argued that Maximoff's book gives Bakunin's ideas a systematic coherence that does not accurately reflect their development or the specific contexts in which they were expressed, this compilation is invaluable as a reference work for Bakunin's political philosophy, and as a source of philosophical ideas for both anarchists, and those interested in philosophical overlaps between anarchism and Marxism.

For historical accounts of Bakunin's life, his political development, or in-depth studies of his intellectual sources, one goes elsewhere.

Red Marriott
Feb 15 2017 00:19
Quote:
Not sure if it's the translation or my pea brain, but this was a hard book to read

Unfortunately some formatting is lost in the scan produced here; in the original the paragraphs & sections have bold-type headings throughout that make the text arrangement easier to grasp. But it was never written as a complete book, it's Bakunin's comments on various subjects grouped together from all his writings. This is apparently to try to give some editorial structure to compensate for the relatively unstructured rambling of much of his writing.

paul r
Feb 15 2017 02:22

Red, there's no formatting lost in the PDF version. And yes, it was "never written as a complete book" by Bakunin, but rather it's Maximoff's compilation from Bakunin's writings -- a compilation which makes it possible for us to grasp the philosophical aspects of Bakunin's thinking without having to wade through Bakunin's collected works, much of it unavailable in English.

Red Marriott
Feb 15 2017 13:41
Quote:
Red, there's no formatting lost in the PDF version.

Yeh, there is. I have my paperback copy - Free Press, NY, 1964 - in front of me (same edition as the scan here). And in it many of the paragraphs have a bold heading - ie, the first sentence of the paragraph is not actually part of the original Bakunin text but has been added as a summary heading of that section of text. That bold formatting is missing from this scan. It may seem a small detail, but imo it makes the text - defined into sections - a lot easier to read. Without the bold they just look like strange short sentences at the start of many paragraphs. These headings are all through the original book, usually at least two per page. But this is not a straight PDF above - ie, a visual copy of the original pages (see, eg; http://libcom.org/library/notes-bakunins-book-statehood-and-anarchy-karl-marx ) but a Word doc scan that has been partially formatted in Word and then made a PDF.

paul r
Feb 17 2017 12:25

Yes, Red. I have the same paperback edition, and at least in the chapters of the pdf I've checked, the pdf scan has the headings, and they are in bold -- but in the pdf, although detectible, the bold is not as prominent as in the hard copy.

However, it's the content that matters, and I wouldn't want a petty dispute over typography to discourage people from accessing this valuable source-book of Bakunin's philosophical writings.

Cheers,
Paul.

Red Marriott
Feb 17 2017 21:05

Sorry, my mistake, I looked at the wrong file, you're right about the PDF. It's the other files that are a formatting mess.