Reply to “A Marxist Critique of Bakounine”By
15 Janvier 2008
300 pages against Stirner
Let’s get back to the GermanIdeology. Those who took thetrouble to read it entirely, andnot only chosen abstracts as isusually the case (it is a verythick book), realised that only avery small part of it concerns theexplanation of the historicalmethod Marx and Engels aresupposed to have discovered.The main part of the book isdedicated to hysterical polemics.And 300 pages (2/3 of the book !) concern Max Stirner.This man is considered byauthorised marxists who never read him as totally uninteresting.
Now, who is this uninteresting bloke about whom Marx writes300 pages ?
Most people (and particularlyanarchists) ignore that if Stirner had been famous for a short timein the intellectual circles of Berlin, he had fallen intooblivion until the late 1880’sand was literally propelled intothe anarchist “Pantheon” byEngels, who wanted to kick theanarchists out of the 2
International. In order todiscredit the anarchists, Engelstried to link Bakunin andStirner, saying that the former had been influenced by thelatter, which is absolutelywrong. Bakunin, who never hesitated to praise the authors heappreciated, never refers to histhought and mentions him onlyonce, casually, in anenumeration of “progressisthegelians”: “Were part of thisgroup the Bauer brothers, Brunoand Edgar, Max Stirner et then,in Berlin, the first circle of German nihilists who, by their cynical logic, left the wildRussian nihilists far behind.”(Statism and Anarchy.) This isthe
mention he ever makesof Stirner. As you can see, beingconsidered as a “nihilist” wasnot a particularly favorableopinion to Bakunin. It issignificant that the Bauer brothers and Stirner are put inthe same boat: they are part of that fraction of the leftHegelians who stuck tointellectuel criticism and never took action. In fact, Marx,Engels and Bakunin shared thesame opinion on him and if Engels hadn’t been so sectarian,he would have realized it.I, personally, don’t consider Stirner as an anarchist, butthat’s a strictly personalopinion. Most anarchists think he is an individualist but theyare wrong. His concern is notthe individual but the
. That makes agreat difference. There isnothing anarchist in him ; Iwould say he is more of a precursor of Freud.The young intellectuals who,around 1840, criticized Hegel’s philosophy finally split into two branches.The first branch, influenced byFeuerbach, but mainly by a Polecalled Cieskovsky, concludedthat it was necessary now to startacting. That was Bakunin, Marx,Engels, Hess.The second branch refused toact and stuck to a strictlyintellectually criticist point of view. That was Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner. During the1848 revolution in Germany,Stirner strictly did nothing. Thisis, among other reasons, why Ican’t consider him as ananarchist.Anyway, Stirner’s thoughtdeserves being studied because,among other things, he played animportant part in the constitutionof marxism. Which, of course,marxists won’t admit, and whichis why they are unable to explainwhy Marx wrote 300 pagesagainst him…In 1844, Marx’s thought wastotally influenced by Feuerbach ;he enthusiastically mentioned the“great discoveries” of the philosopher who had “given a philosophical foundation tosocialism”. At that time Marxwas a humanist. When he says inthe 1844 Manuscripts that“communism is not as such the