- Birth Date:
- Death date:
- Extra names:
- Mihails Bakuņins, Михаил Александрович Бакунин, Michaił Bakunin, Михаил Бакунин
- Anarchist, Aristocrat, Dissident, Nobleman, landlord, Philosopher, Publicist, Revolutionary, Second lieutenant, Writer
- Bremgarten Cemetery, Bern
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (/bəˈkuːnɪn/; Russian: Михаил Александрович Бакунин; IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil bɐˈkunʲɪn]; 30 May [O.S. 18 May] 1814 – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary anarchist, and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism, and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition. Bakunin's enormous prestige as an activist made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, and he gained substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe.
Bakunin grew up in Pryamukhino, a family estate in Tver Governorate, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French encyclopédistes, leading to enthusiasm for the philosophy of Fichte. From Fichte, Bakunin went on to immerse himself in the works of Hegel, the most influential thinker among German intellectuals at the time. That led to his embrace of Hegelianism, bedazzled by Hegel's famous maxim, "Everything that exists is rational." In 1840, Bakunin traveled to St. Petersburg and Berlin with the intention of preparing himself for a professorship in philosophy or history at the University of Moscow. In 1842, Bakunin moved from Berlin to Dresden. Eventually he arrived in Paris, where he met Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx.
Bakunin's increasing radicalism – including staunch opposition to imperialism in east and central Europe by Russia and other powers – changed his life, putting an end to hopes of a professorial career. He was eventually deported from France for speaking against Russia's oppression of Poland. In 1849, Bakunin was apprehended in Dresden for his participation in the Czech rebellion of 1848, and turned over to Russia where he was imprisoned in the Peter-Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg. He remained there until 1857, when he was exiled to a work camp in Siberia. Escaping to Japan, the US and finally ending up in London for a short time, he worked with Alexander Herzen on the journal Kolokol (The Bell). In 1863, he left to join the insurrection in Poland, but he failed to reach his destination and instead spent some time in Switzerland and Italy.
In 1868, Bakunin joined the socialist International Working Men's Association, a federation of trade unions and workers' organizations, which had sections in many European countries, as well as in Latin America and (after 1872) in North Africa and the Middle East. The "Bakuninist" or anarchist trend rapidly expanded in influence, especially in Spain, which constituted the largest section of the International at the time. A showdown loomed with Marx, who was a key figure in the General Council of the International. The 1872 Hague Congress was dominated by a struggle between Marx and his followers, who argued for the use of the state to bring about socialism, and the Bakunin/anarchist faction, which argued instead for the replacement of the state by federations of self-governing workplaces and communes. Bakunin could not attend the congress, as he could not reach the Netherlands. Bakunin's faction present at the conference lost, and Bakunin was (in Marx's view) expelled for supposedly maintaining a secret organisation within the international.
However, the anarchists insisted the congress was unrepresentative and exceeded its powers, and held a rival conference of the International at Saint-Imier in Switzerland in 1872. This repudiated the Hague meeting, including Bakunin's supposed expulsion. The great majority of sections of the International affiliated to the St. Imier body, making Marx's victory rather more illusory than pro-Marxist accounts suggest. The far larger Bakuninist international outlasted its small Marxist rival, which was isolated in New York; it also greatly facilitated the global spread of anarcho-socialism. In the International, as well as in his writings, Bakunin articulated the basic ideas of syndicalism and of anarchism, and developed the basic anarchist analysis and strategy. He had by this stage abandoned the anti-imperialist nationalism of his youth.
From 1870 to 1876, Bakunin wrote some of his longer works, such as Statism and Anarchy and God and the State. Bakunin remained, however, a direct participant in struggles. In 1870, he was involved in an insurrection in Lyon, France, which foreshadowed the Paris Commune. The Paris Commune closely corresponded to many elements of Bakunin's anarchist programme – self-management, mandates delegates, a militia system with elected officers, and decentralisation. Anarchists like Élisée Reclus, and those in the tradition of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – who had greatly influenced Bakunin – were key figures in the Commune. Despite declining health, much a result of his years of imprisonment, Bakunin also sought to take part in a communal insurrection involving anarchists in Bologna, Italy, but was forced to return to Switzerland in disguise, where he settled in Lugano. He remained active in the worker's and peasant's movements of Europe and was also a major influence on movements in Egypt and Latin America.
In the spring of 1814, Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin "was born to a noble family of only modest means" – the family owned 500 serfs – in the village of Pryamukhino (Прямухино), between Torzhok and Kuvshinovo, in Tver Governorate, northwest of Moscow. His father was a career diplomat who, as a young attache, had lived for years in Florence and Naples. Upon his return to Russia, his father settled down on his paternal estate where at the age of forty, he married an eighteen-year-old girl from the prominent Muravyov family. His father's commitment to liberal ideas led to his involvement with one of the Decembrist clubs. After Nicolas I became Tsar, however, Bakunin senior gave up politics and devoted himself to the care of his estate and the education of his children, five girls and five boys, the oldest of whom was Mikhail (Michael).
At the age of 14 Michael left for Saint Petersburg, receiving military training at the Artillery University, "a rigid, anti-Western military school, where he chafed at the arbitrary discipline and the narrow curriculum—much less encompassing than the homeschooling he had experienced before." He was "expelled from school in 1834 for poor grades and assigned to barracks on the Polish frontier." He was commissioned a junior officer in the Russian Imperial Guard and sent to Minsk and Gardinas in Lithuania (now Belarus). After two years he left the Imperial Guard, as he could not agree on how the Polish people were treated by the Russian authorities. Since that time, the fate of the Polish national liberation struggle became Bakunin's constant interest. Though his father wished him to continue in either the military or the civil service, Bakunin abandoned both in 1835, and made his way to Moscow, hoping to study philosophy.
Interest in philosophy
In Moscow, Bakunin soon became friends with a group of former university students, and engaged in the systematic study of Idealist philosophy, grouped around the poet Nikolay Stankevich, "the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics" (E. H. Carr). The philosophy of Kant initially was central to their study, but they progressed to Schelling, Fichte, and Hegel. By autumn 1835, Bakunin had conceived of forming a philosophical circle in his home town of Pryamukhino. Moreover, by early 1836, Bakunin was back in Moscow, where he published translations of Fichte's Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar's Vocation and The Way to a Blessed Life, which became his favorite book. With Stankevich he also read Goethe, Schiller, and E.T.A. Hoffmann.
He became increasingly influenced by Hegel and provided the first Russian translation of his work. During this period he met slavophile Konstantin Aksakov, Piotr Chaadaev and the socialists Alexander Herzen and Nikolay Ogarev. In this period he began to develop his panslavic views. After long wrangles with his father, Bakunin went to Berlin in 1840. His stated plan at the time was still to become a university professor (a “priest of truth,” as he and his friends imagined it), but he soon encountered and joined students of the Young Hegelians and the socialist movement in Berlin. In his 1842 essay "The Reaction in Germany", he argued in favor of the revolutionary role of negation, summed up in the phrase "the passion for destruction is a creative passion."
After three semesters in Berlin, Bakunin went to Dresden where he became friends with Arnold Ruge. Here he also read Lorenz von Stein's Der Sozialismus und Kommunismus des heutigen Frankreich and developed a passion for socialism. He abandoned his interest in an academic career, devoting more and more of his time to promoting revolution. The Russian government, becoming aware of this activity, ordered him to return to Russia. On his refusal his property was confiscated. Instead he went with Georg Herwegh to Zürich, Switzerland.
Switzerland, Brussels, Prague, Dresden and Paris
During his six-month stay in Zürich, he became closely associated with German communist Wilhelm Weitling. Until 1848 he remained on friendly terms with the German communists, occasionally calling himself a communist and writing articles on communism in the Schweitzerische Republikaner. He moved to Geneva in western Switzerland shortly before Weitling's arrest. His name had appeared frequently in Weitling's correspondence seized by the police. This led to reports being circulated to the imperial police. The Russian ambassador in Bern ordered Bakunin to return to Russia, but instead he went to Brussels, where he met many leading Polish nationalists, such as Joachim Lelewel, co-member with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at Brussels. Lelewel greatly influenced him; however, he clashed with the Polish nationalists over their demand for a historic Poland based on the borders of 1776 (before the Partitions of Poland) as he defended the right of autonomy for the non-Polish peoples in these territories. He also did not support their clericalism and they did not support his calls for the emancipation of the peasantry.
In 1844 Bakunin went to Paris, then a centre of the European political current. He established contact with Karl Marx and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who greatly impressed him and with whom he formed a personal bond. In December 1844, Emperor Nicholas issued a decree that stripped Bakunin of his privileges as a noble, confiscated his land in Russia, and condemned him to lifelong exile in Siberia. He responded with a long letter to La Réforme, denouncing the Emperor as a despot and calling for democracy in Russia and Poland (Carr, p. 139). In March 1846 in another letter to the Constitutionel he defended Poland, following the repression of Catholics there. Some Polish refugees from Kraków, following the defeat of the uprising there, invited him to speak at the meeting in November 1847 commemorating the Polish November Uprising of 1830.
In his speech, Bakunin called for an alliance between the Polish and Russian peoples against the Emperor, and looked forward to "the definitive collapse of despotism in Russia." As a result, he was expelled from France and went to Brussels. Bakunin's attempt to draw Alexander Herzen and Vissarion Belinsky into conspiratorial action for revolution in Russia fell on deaf ears. In Brussels, Bakunin renewed his contacts with revolutionary Poles and Karl Marx. He spoke at a meeting organised by Lelewel in February 1848 about a great future for the Slavs, whose destiny was to rejuvenate the Western world. Around this time the Russian embassy circulated rumours that Bakunin was a Russian agent who had exceeded his orders.
As the revolutionary movement of 1848 broke out, Bakunin was ecstatic, despite disappointment that little was happening in Russia. Bakunin obtained funding from some socialists in the Provisional Government, Ferdinand Flocon, Louis Blanc, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin and Alexandre Martin, for a project for a Slav federation liberating those under the rule of Prussia, Austro-Hungary and Ottoman Empire. He left for Germany travelling through Baden to Frankfurt and Köln.
Bakunin supported the German Democratic Legion led by Herwegh in an abortive attempt to join Friedrich Hecker's insurrection in Baden. He broke with Marx over the latter's criticism of Herwegh. Much later in 1871 Bakunin was to write:
"I must openly admit that in this controversy Marx and Engels were in the right. With characteristic insolence, they attacked Herwegh personally when he was not there to defend himself. In a face-to-face confrontation with them, I heatedly defended Herwegh, and our mutual dislike began then."
Bakunin went on to Berlin but was stopped by the police from traveling to Posen, part of Polish territories gained by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland, where a nationalist insurrection was taking place. Instead Bakunin went to Leipzig and Breslau and then on to Prague where he participated in the First Pan Slav Congress. The Congress was followed by an abortive insurrection that Bakunin had sought to promote and intensify but which was violently suppressed.
Richard Wagner writes in his autobiography about Bakunin's visit:
First of all, however, with the view of adapting himself to the most Philistine culture, he had to submit his huge beard and bushy hair to the tender mercies of the razor and shears. As no barber was available, Rockel had to undertake the task. A small group of friends watched the operation, which had to be executed with a dull razor, causing no little pain, under which none but the victim himself remained passive. We bade farewell to Bakunin with the firm conviction that we should never see him again alive. But in a week he was back once more, as he had realised immediately what a distorted account he had received as to the state of things in Prague, where all he found ready for him was a mere handful of childish students. These admissions made him the butt of Rockel's good-humoured chaff, and after this he won the reputation among us of being a mere revolutionary, who was content with theoretical conspiracy. Very similar to his expectations from the Prague students were his presumptions with regard to the Russian people.
He returned to Breslau, where Marx republished the allegation that Bakunin was an imperial agent, claiming that George Sand had proof. Marx retracted the statement after George Sand came to Bakunin's defense.
Bakunin published his Appeal to the Slavs in the fall of 1848, in which he proposed that Slav revolutionaries unite with Hungarian, Italian and German revolutionaries to overthrow the three major European autocracies, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Bakunin played a leading role in the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849, helping to organize the defense of the barricades against Prussian troops with Richard Wagner and Wilhelm Heine. Bakunin was captured in Chemnitz and held for thirteen months before being condemned to death by the government of Saxony. His sentence was commuted to life to allow his extradition to Russia and Austria both of whom were seeking to prosecute him. In June 1850, he was handed over to the Austrian authorities. Eleven months later he received a further death sentence but this too was commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, in May 1851, Bakunin was handed over to the Russian authorities.
Imprisonment, "confession", and exile
Bakunin was taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. At the beginning of his captivity, Count Orlov, an emissary of the Tsar, visited Bakunin and told him that the Tsar requested a written confession hoping that the confession would place Bakunin spiritually as well as physically in the power of the Russian state. Since all his acts were known, he had no secrets to reveal, and so he decided to write to the Tsar, "You want my confession; but you must know that a penitent sinner is not obliged to implicate or reveal the misdeeds of others. I have only the honor and the conscience that I have never betrayed anyone who has confided in me, and this is why I will not give you any names."
After three years in the underground dungeons of the Fortress of St Peter and St Paul, he spent another four years in the castle of Shlisselburg. It was here that he suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out as a result of the diet. He later recounted that he found some relief in mentally re-enacting the legend of Prometheus. His continuing imprisonment in these awful conditions led him to entreat his brother to supply him with poison.
Following the death of Nicholas I, the new Tsar, Alexander II personally struck Bakunin's name off the amnesty list. In February 1857 his mother's pleas to the Tsar were finally heeded and he was allowed to go into permanent exile in the western Siberian city of Tomsk. Within a year of arriving in Tomsk, Bakunin married Antonia Kwiatkowska, the daughter of a Polish merchant. He had been teaching her French. In August 1858 Bakunin received a visit from his second cousin, General Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, who had been governor of Eastern Siberia for ten years.
Muravyov was a liberal and Bakunin, as his relative, became a particular favourite. In the spring of 1859 Muravyov helped Bakunin with a job for Amur Development Agency which enabled him to move with his wife to Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia. This enabled Bakunin to be part of the circle involved in political discussions centred on Muravyov's colonial headquarters. Resenting the treatment of the colony by the Saint Petersburg bureaucracy, including its use as a dumping ground for malcontents, a proposal for a United States of Siberia emerged, independent of Russia and federated into a new United States of Siberia and America, following the example of the United States of America. The circle included Muravyov's young Chief of Staff, Kukel – who Kropotkin related had the complete works of Alexander Herzen – the civil governor Izvolsky, who allowed Bakunin to use his address for correspondence, and Muravyov's deputy and eventual successor, General Alexander Dondukov-Korsakov.
When Herzen criticised Muravyov in The Bell, Bakunin wrote vigorously in his patron's defence. Bakunin tired of his job as a commercial traveller, but thanks to Muravyov's influence, was able to keep his sinecure (worth 2,000 roubles a year) without having to perform any duties. Muravyov was forced to retire from his post as governor general, partly because of his liberal views and partly due to fears he might take Siberia towards independence. He was replaced by Korsakov, who perhaps was even more sympathetic to the plight of the Siberian exiles. Korsakov was also related to Bakunin, Bakunin's brother Paul having married his cousin. Taking Bakunin's word, Korsakov issued him with a letter giving him passage on all ships on the Amur River and its tributaries as long as he was back in Irkutsk when the ice came.
Escape from exile and return to Europe
On 5 June 1861 Bakunin left Irkutsk under cover of company business, ostensibly employed by a Siberian merchant to make a trip to Nikolaevsk. By 17 July he was on board the Russian warship Strelok bound for Kastri. However, in the port of Olga, Bakunin managed to persuade the American captain of the SS Vickery to take him on board. Despite bumping into the Russian Consul on board, Bakunin was able to sail away under the nose of the Russian Imperial Navy. By 6 August he had reached Hakodate in the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaidō and was soon in Yokohama.
In Japan Bakunin met by chance Wilhelm Heine, one of his comrades-in arms from Dresden. He also met the German botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold who had been involved in opening up Japan to Europeans (particularly Russians and the Dutch) and was a friend of Bakunin's patron Muraviev. Von Siebold's son wrote some 40 years later:
In that Yokohama boarding-house we encountered an outlaw from the Wild West Heine, presumably as well as many other interesting guests. The presence of the Russian revolutionist Michael Bakunin, in flight from Siberia, was as far as one could see being winked at by the authorities. He was well-endowed with money, and none who came to know him could fail to pay their respects.
Bakunin, his ideas still developing, left Japan from Kanagawa on the SS Carrington, as one of nineteen passengers including Heine, Rev. P. F. Koe and Joseph Heco. Heco was a Japanese American, who eight years later played a significant role giving political advice to Kido Takayoshi and Itō Hirobumi during the revolutionary overthrow of the feudal Tokugawa shogunate. They arrived in San Francisco on 15 October. In the period before the transcontinental railroads had been completed, the quickest way to New York was via Panama. Bakunin boarded the Orizaba for Panama, where after waiting for two weeks he boarded the Champion for New York.
In Boston, Bakunin visited Karol Forster, a partisan of Ludwik Mieroslawski during the 1848 Revolution in Paris, and caught up with other "Forty-Eighters", veterans of the 1848 revolutions in Europe, such as Friedrich Kapp. He then sailed for Liverpool arriving on December 27. Bakunin immediately went to London to see Herzen. That evening he burst into the drawing-room where the family was having supper. "What! Are you sitting down eating oysters! Well! Tell me the news. What is happening, and where?!"
Relocation to Italy and influence in Spain
Having re-entered Western Europe, Bakunin immediately immersed himself in the revolutionary movement. In 1860, while still in Irkutsk Bakunin and his political associates had been greatly impressed by Giuseppe Garibaldi and his expedition to Sicily, during which he declared himself dictator in the name of Victor Emmanuel II. Following his return to London, he wrote to Garibaldi on 31 January 1862:
If you could have seen as I did the passionate enthusiasm of the whole town of Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, at the news of your triumphal march across the possession of the mad king of Naples, you would have said as I did that there is no longer space or frontiers.
Bakunin asked Garibaldi to participate in a movement encompassing Italians, Hungarians and South Slavs against both Austria and Turkey. Garibaldi was then engaged in preparations for the Expedition against Rome. By May Bakunin's correspondence was focussing on Italian-Slavic unity and the developments in Poland. By June he had resolved to move to Italy, but was waiting for his wife to join him. When he left for Italy in August, Mazzini wrote to Maurizio Quadrio, one of his key supporters that Bakunin was a good and dependable person. However, with the news of the failure at Aspromonte Bakunin paused in Paris where he was briefly involved with Ludwik Mierosławski. However Bakunin rejected Mieroslawski's chauvinism and refusal to grant any concessions to the peasants.
Bakunin returned to England in September and focussed on Polish affairs. When the Polish insurrection broke out in January 1863, he sailed to Copenhagen where he hoped to join the Polish insurgents. They planned to sail across the Baltic in the SS Ward Jackson to join the insurrection. This attempt failed, and Bakunin met his wife in Stockholm before returning to London. Now he focussed again on going to Italy and his friend Aurelio Saffi wrote him letters of introduction for Florence, Turin and Milan. Mazzini wrote letters of commendation to Federico Campanella in Genoa and Giuseppe Dolfi in Florence. Bakunin left London in November 1863 travelling by way of Brussels, Paris and Vevey (Switzerland) arriving in Italy on 11 January 1864. It was here that he first began to develop his anarchist ideas.
He conceived the plan of forming a secret organization of revolutionaries to carry on propaganda work and prepare for direct action. He recruited Italians, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, and Slavs into the International Brotherhood, also called the Alliance of Revolutionary Socialists.
By July 1866 Bakunin was informing Herzen and Ogarev about the fruits of his work over the previous two years. His secret society then had members in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, England, France, Spain, and Italy, as well as Polish and Russian members. In his Catechism of a Revolutionary of 1866, he opposed religion and the state, advocating the "absolute rejection of every authority including that which sacrifices freedom for the convenience of the state."
Giuseppe Fanelli met Bakunin at Ischia in 1866. In October 1868 Bakunin sponsored Fanelli to travel to Barcelona to share his libertarian visions and recruit revolutionists to the International Workingmen's Association. Fanellis trip and the meeting he organised during his travels provided the catalyst for the Spanish exiles, the largest workers' and peasants' movement in modern Spain and the largest Anarchist movement in modern Europe. Fanelli's tour took him first to Barcelona, where he met and stayed with Elisée Reclus. Reclus and Fanelli were at odds over Reclus' friendships with Spanish republicans, and Fanelli soon left Barcelona for Madrid. Fanelli stayed in Madrid until the end of January 1869, conducting meetings to introduce Spanish workers, including Anselmo Lorenzo, to the First International. In February 1869 Fanelli left Madrid, journeying home via Barcelona. While in Barcelona again, he met with painter Josep Lluís Pellicer and his cousin, Rafael Farga Pellicer along with others who were to play an important role establishing the International in Barcelona, as well as the Alliance section.
During the 1867–1868 period, Bakunin responded to Émile Acollas's call and became involved in the League of Peace and Freedom (LPF), for which he wrote a lengthy essay Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism Here he advocated a federalist socialism, drawing on the work of Proudhon. He supported freedom of association and the right of secession for each unit of the federation, but emphasized that this freedom must be joined with socialism for: "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.".....
Bakunin played a prominent role in the Geneva Conference (September 1867), and joined the Central Committee. The founding conference was attended by 6,000 people. As Bakunin rose to speak:
the cry passed from mouth to mouth: 'Bakunin!' Garibaldi, who was in the chair, stood up, advanced a few steps and embraced him. This solemn meeting of two old and tried warriors of the revolution produced an astonishing impression... Everyone rose and there was a prolonged and enthusiastic clapping of hands.
At the Bern Congress of the League (1868) he and other socialists (Élisée Reclus, Aristide Rey, Jaclard, Giuseppe Fanelli, N. Joukovsky, V. Mratchkovsky and others) found themselves in a minority. They seceded from the League establishing their own International Alliance of Socialist Democracy which adopted a revolutionary socialist program.
The First International and the rise of the anarchist movement
In 1868, Bakunin joined the Geneva section of the First International, in which he remained very active until he was expelled from the International by Karl Marx and his followers at the Hague Congress in 1872. Bakunin was instrumental in establishing branches of the International in Italy and Spain.
In 1869, the Social Democratic Alliance was refused entry to the First International, on the grounds that it was an international organisation in itself, and only national organisations were permitted membership in the International. The Alliance dissolved and the various groups which it comprised joined the International separately.
Between 1869 and 1870, Bakunin became involved with the Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev in a number of clandestine projects. However, Bakunin broke with Nechaev over what he described as the latter's "Jesuit" methods, by which all means were justified to achieve revolutionary ends.
In 1870 Bakunin led a failed uprising in Lyon on the principles later exemplified by the Paris Commune, calling for a general uprising in response to the collapse of the French government during the Franco-Prussian War, seeking to transform an imperialist conflict into social revolution. In his Letters to A Frenchman on the Present Crisis, he argued for a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the peasantry, advocated a system of militias with elected officers as part of a system of self-governing communes and workplaces, and argued the time was ripe for revolutionary action:
we must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda.
These ideas and corresponded strikingly closely with the program of the Paris Commune of 1871, much of which was developed by followers of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Marxists were almost entirely absent from the Commune. Bakunin was a strong supporter of the Commune, which was brutally suppressed by the French government. He saw the Commune as above all a "rebellion against the State," and commended the Communards for rejecting not only the State but also revolutionary dictatorship. In a series of powerful pamphlets, he defended the Commune and the First International against the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini, thereby winning over many Italian republicans to the International and the cause of revolutionary socialism.
Bakunin's disagreements with Marx, which led to the attempt by the Marx party to expel him at the Hague Congress (see below), illustrated the growing divergence between the "anti-authoritarian" sections of the International, which advocated the direct revolutionary action and organization of the workers and peasants in order to abolish the state and capitalism, and the sections allied with Marx, which advocated the conquest of political power by the working class. Bakunin was "Marx’s flamboyant chief opponent", and "presciently warned against the emergence of a communist authoritarianism that would take power over working people."
The anti-authoritarian majority, which included most sections of the International, created their own First International at the St. Imier Congress, adopted a revolutionary anarchist program, and repudiated the Hague resolutions, rescinding Bakunin's alleged expulsion. Although Bakunin accepted elements of Marx’s class analysis and theories regarding capitalism, acknowledging "Marx’s genius", he thought Marx's analysis was one-sided, and that Marx's methods would compromise the social revolution. More importantly, Bakunin criticized "authoritarian socialism" (which he associated with Marxism) and the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat which he adamantly refused.
If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.
Bakunin retired to Lugano in 1873 and died in Bern on 1 July 1876.
His grave can be found in Bremgarten Cemetery of Bern, box 9021, grave 68. His original epitaph reads: "Remember those who sacrificed everything for the freedom of their country". In 2015 the commemorative plate was replaced in form of a bronze portrait of Bakunin by swiss artist Daniel Garbade containing Bakunin's quote: "By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible". It was sponsored by the Dadaists of Cabaret Voltaire Zurich, who adopted Bakunin post mortem.
Source: wikipedia.org, news.lv
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