Submitted by libcom on April 4, 2005


1. That is, the Marxians.
2. i.e., 1871.
3. Historical Materialism.
4. Lassalle lived 1825-64; a brilliant demagogue, he popularised (or vulgarised) Marx's teachings and launched the Social Democratic Movement in Germany. His organisation, the General Association of German Workers, united with the Marxists in 1875.
5. Bakunin's use of the term "supreme end of history" (in the sense of aim or objective), must not be taken to have a teleological signification, that is, taken to mean that he considered that the nature of things is such that there is a cosmic aim or purpose which informs the whole cosmic activity. Such a theory inevitably involves the notion of some directive intelligence behind Nature, and this, as a materialist, Bakunin absolutely denied. He means by "supreme end of history" simply the ideal at which the human race should aim, as defined by him a few lines further on in the text. As he said in another passage of his works, man is part of universal Nature and cannot fight against it; "But by studying its laws, by identifying himself in some sort with them, transforming them by a psychological process proper to his brain, into ideas and human convictions, he emancipates himself from the triple yoke imposed on him firstly by external Nature, then by his own individual inward Nature, and finally by the society of which he is the product." (Michael Bakunin and Karl Marx, p. 337.)
6. Bakunin wrote some years before Pasteur's discovery of a cure for this disease.
7. This, of course, is an exaggeration on Bakunin's part. Such vandalism was not common. It was the political convulsions, barbarian invasions, and endless wars, foreign and civil, that caused the decline of culture. The Christians tended to neglect and ignore the classical culture rather than persecute it. Of course, it is true that the decline and practical extinction of the ancient culture greatly impaired intellectual progress.
8. Babeuf (1762-97) formed conspiracy of "Equals" to seize power in France and introduce an authoritarian equalitarian Communism. Plot discovered and conspirators executed.
9. Blanc, Louis (1811-82) advocated State Socialism in France, particularly in the period 1840-50.
10. Written in September, 1870.
11. Thiers, Adolphe (1797-1877), President of the Third Republic in 1871-3. He was primarily responsible for the ruthless suppression of the Paris Commune.
12. It should be kept in mind in reading this and the paragraphs concerning the United States, that they were written in 1867 not long after the close of the Civil War. At that time it was not as easy to see as it is now, that the Republican Party was not really a "Party of Liberation" but the Party of Industrial Capitalism, and that the Civil War was fought, not to "emancipate the slaves" but merely to decide whether they should continue as chattel slaves or change their status to that of wage-slaves.
13. A satiric allusion to the reference to Marx by Sorge, the German- American delegate, at the Hague Conference.
14. Compare James Burnham's theory in his Managerial Revolution.
15. i.e., 1872.
16. This sentence is, of course, purely ironical.
17. Radicals--the more progressive wing of the Liberals, and standing for social reform and political equalitarianism, but not for the abolition of private property, or of the wage system. Hence they were not Socialists. The Labour Party of to-day has inherited much of their policy.
18. Written in September, 1870.
19. The Marxists and the Lassalleans. They united in 1875.
20. In a previous passage, Bakunin had said that Mazzini, like the Marxists, wanted to use the'people's strength whereby to.gain political power.
21. This is essentially the line put forward to-day by Labour politicians, especially when, in Australia, they are asking for increased powers for the Federal Government.
22. Followers of Auguste Comte (1798-1857) founder of the science of Sociology. In his later writings Comte advocated a Religion of Humanity, to be led by a sort of agnostic secular priesthood consisting of scientific intellectuals, who would act as the moral and spiritual guides of a new social order.