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Marxism, Freedom and the
loiewoid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Life of Bakunin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1. Introductory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1s
z. Marxist Ideology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1v
3. e State and Marxism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . zs
. Internationalism and the State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3v
s. Social Revolution and the State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s
o. Political Action and the Workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ss
Appendix o3
Appendix A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . os
ln my book M:oe| Bo|vn:n onJ Kor| Mor:, l stated in a footnote
that l intended to iepiint ceitain passages fiom Bakunin in a booklet
to be entitled Mor::s, Anor:s onJ |e Soe. e piesent woik is a
fulllment of that intention, but l have slightly alteied the title, because
on ieection, l felt that Bakunin was heie tieating of widei and deepei
maeis than meiely the meiits of one political philosophy as against
anothei. He was tieating of the whole question of mans fieedom in
ielation to society, to the community.
is question is the supieme question of oui geneiation. On its solu-
tion depends the fate of the human iace, foi if the answei to the question
of mans fieedom in ielation to the community is to be the totalitaiian
answei that he has none, then indeed can the maich of human piogiess
be said to have come to its end. And that end, beaiing in mind the cii-
cumstances of this atomic age can only be amidst wai and univeisal
ln many paits of his wiitings, Bakunin has given his views on the na-
tuie and possibilities of human fieedomwhich he shaiply dieientiated
fiom egoism and self centied individualism. Apait fiom that iepioduced
on the ist page of the extiacts, peihaps the best denition he has given
is that couched in the following woids
We undeistand by libeity, on the one hand, the development, as
complete as possible of all the natuial faculties of each individual, and,
on the othei hand, his independence, not as iegaids natuial and social
laws but as iegaids all the laws imposed by othei human wills, whethei
collective oi sepaiate.
When we demand the libeity of the masses, we do not in the least
claim to abolish any of the natuial inuences of any individual oi of any
gioup of individuals which exeicise theii action on them. What we want
is the abolition of aiticial, piivileged, legal, ocial, inuences. (M:oe|
Bo|vn:n onJ Kor| Mor:, p. 300)
With this view of libeity is linked Bakunins view of authoiity, which
he by no means equates with oiganisation and self-discipline, which, in
themselves, he iegaided as veiy desiiable. What he meant by authoiity,
namely the r:g| to command oi to enfoice obedience, was consideied
by him to be fundamentally of ieligious oiigin. e idea of an authoiitai-
ianism that it is oui Jv, to obey authoiity, is deiived, accoiding to his
theoiy fiomieligious oiigins, even when it has latei taken political foims.
Hence the opposition to ieligion, which takes a piominent position in
his wiitings, much moie so than in those of the Maixians, and which
sometimes is iathei violently expiessed.
eie is also anothei ieason foi the ciiticism of ieligion and chuiches
that is to be found so fiequently in his wiitings, and that is the close con-
nection between ieligion and the State which distinguishes the Hegelian
philosophy, against which Bakunin had iebelled. lt is pointed out by
Gide and Rist e State, accoiding to Hegel, is an aggiession of the
spiiit iealising itself in the conscience of the woild, while natuie is an
expiession of the same spiiit without the conscience, an o|er egoa spiiit
in bondage. God moving in the woild has made the State possible. lts
foundation is in the might of ieason iealising itself in will. lt is necessaiy
to think of it not meiely as a given State oi a paiticulai institution, but
of its essence oi idea as a ieal manifestation of God. Eveiy State, of
whatevei kind it may be, paitakes of this divine essence. (A H:sor, o[
Fcono:c Docr:nes, p. 43)
Now this close identication of the spiiit of God and the spiiit of the
State is ieason enough why Bakunin, as an enemy the State, should also
have consideied it necessaiy to aack ieligion. us, the teim God and
the State latei applied by its editois to a fiagment of his woiks, is quite
ing. e Maixians, on the othei hand, as adheients of the State, and
as champions of authoiity, found no such necessity foi making a fiontal
aack on ieligion, and encounteied accoidingly much less of the animous
of ieligiously-minded people than was the fate of the Anaichists.
Opinions may diei in the Socialist movement itself as to the ielative
impoitance to be given to the discussion of the ieligious questions, but
the maei is mentioned heie only in oidei to explain Bakunins aitude
and to show that it had a logical development, whethei oi not it weie the
best tactic to puisue, and whethei oi not its fundamental assumptions
weie coiiect.
As will be indicated in moie detail in the following biogiaphy, the
extiacts piinted in this volume aie taken mainly fiom those wiitings

of Bakunin touching on his contioveisy with Maix and theiefoie be-

long to the yeais 1802, but the passages dealing with the natuie
and chaiacteiistics of the State in geneial aie mostly taken fiom FeJero|
:s, Soc:o|:s onJ An:eo|og:on:s wiien in 18, and based, as the
title indicates, on the above-mentioned close connection, to his mind,
between the State and ieligion.
lt is not only the question of the ielation of Maixian doctiines to those
of fieedomand of the State, so much discussed in the following pages that
gives them inteiest and impoitance, but also the light they thiow on the
system that now exists in Soviet Russia, and which calls itself Socialist
and demociatic, wheie it is, in ieality, neithei the one noi the othei,
but essentially capitalistic and totalitaiian oi, as Bakunin expiessed it in
a passage to be quoted latei all woik peifoimed in the employ of the
State. Bakunin showed in the eaily seventies of the nineteenth centuiy
that such a system vs iesult if it is aempted to tiansfoim society
on an authoiitaiian basis, the existence in the middle of the twentieth
centuiy of that poitentious phenomenon, the Soviet Goveinment, has
pioved him up to the hilt to be iight. ln the woids of his fiiend and
collaboiatoi, James Guillaume, How could one want an equalitaiian and
fiee society to issue fiom an authoiitaiian oiganisation` lt is impossible.
Me||ovrne, 1^h. K. }. Keno
Iife of Bakunin
Michael Alexandiovitch Bakunin was boin on 30
May, 1814, in the
Russian piovince of Tvai. He was the eldest son of a ietiied diplomat,
who was a membei of the ancient Russian nobility. Young Michael passed
his boyhood on the family estate, and gained theie an insight into the
peasant mentality which is ieected in his latei wiitings.
At the age of een, aei a good home education undei tutois, he
was sent to St. Peteisbuig to study foi and entei the Aitilleiy School.
Aei ve yeais of militaiy studies, he was posted as ensign to a iegiment
stationed in Poland, but the monotonous life of a iemote gaiiison soon
pioved highly unpalatable to this veiy sociable and highspiiited young

aiistociat. He thiew up his commission and the whole militaiy caieei

and adopted instead that of a student in Moscow.
e adolescence and young manhood of Bakunin weie spent undei the
iion despotism of the Tsai Nicholas l, the most consistently ieactionaiy
that Russia had evei known and the most iigidly iepiessive till the dic-
tatoiship of Joseph Stalin. Undei this iegime eveiy type of libeialism
of even the mildest kind, whethei in politics, liteiatuie, oi ieligion, was
iuthlessly ciushed. ln philosophy alone did theie seem to be any chance
foi discussion, and those who would in Westein countiies have tuined
to politics devoted theii aention in Russia to philosophy. Bakunin was
one of these and in fact at this time his inteiest in politics appeais to have
been nil. His favouiite philosopheis weie lichte and Hegel, fiom the
foimei he leained that fieedom, libeity, independence weie the highest
expiession of the moial law, fiom the laei, the dominating philosophei
of the time, he gained a knowledge of the Dialectic, the theoiy that all
life and histoiy constitute a piocess of the ieconciliation of opposites on
a highei planeoi, as Hegel expiessed it thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
liom this theie natuially aiose a theoiy of histoiic evolution.
live yeais of Bakunins life (18340) weie spent in the study of philos-
ophy, at Moscow, and then he went to Beilin to imbibe moie knowledge
of his subject at its fountainhead. e political and intellectual atmos-
pheie of Geimany, though ieactionaiy compaied to those of liance and
England, was almost piogiessive as compaied with Russia and some of
the youngei adheients of Hegel began to develop Radical ideas fiom his
doctiine of the Dialectic. Piominent among these was Ludwig leueibach,
whose book e Fssence o[ C|r:s:on:, took a decidedly mateiialistic, in
fact, atheistic aitude. lt conveited many young intellectuals to its view-
point and among these weie Kail Maix, liiediich Engels and Michael
Bakunin. e laeis intellectual evolution had now begunthe evolu-
tion that was to tuin him fiom an oithodox subject of the Tsai into a
Mateiialist, a Revolutionaiy Socialist, and an Anaichist.
ln 1842 he went to Diesden in Saxony and in Octobei published in
Ainold Ruges Devse Fo|r|veer an aiticle entitled Reaction in Gei-
many which led to ievolutionaiy conclusions and which ended with
woids that became celebiated Let us put oui tiust in the eteinal spiiit
which destioys and annihilates only because it is the unseaichable and

eteinally cieative souice of all life. e desiie foi destiuction is also a

cieative desiie.
Leaving Saxony which had become too hot to hold him as a iesult
of this aiticle, Bakunin went in 1843 to Switzeiland. Heie he made the
acquaintance of Wilhelm Weitling and his wiitings. is man was a self-
educated Geiman Communist, who pieached ievolution and Socialism
in phiases foieshadowing the latei Anaichism. He said foi instance
e peifect society has no goveinment but only an administiation, no
laws but only obligations, no punishments but means of coiiection.
ese sentiments gieatly impiessed and inuenced the libeity-loving
Bakunin. But they caused the gaoling of Weitling and when the Tsaiist
Goveinment heaid of Bakunins connection with him, the young man
was summoned back to Russia. He iefused to go and was outlawed. He
went foi a biief peiiod to Biussels and then, eaily in 1844, to Paiis.
Bakunins sojouin in Paiis was of vital impoitance in his intellectual
development. He encounteied heie two men whose inuence on his
thought was veiy gieat. ese men weie Kail Maix and Pieiie-Joseph
Pioudhon. Bakunin had many discussions with Maix at this peiiod, and
though gieatly impiessed by the Geiman thinkeis ieal genius, scholai-
ship, and ievolutionaiy zeal and eneigy, was iepelled by his aiiogance,
egotism, and jealousy. ese faults weie ones of which Bakunin himself
was entiiely fiee, and this tempeiamental dieience alone would have
made it dicult foi these two gieat men to get along togethei, even if
theii opinions had not been dissimilai in many iespects, and if outside
inuences had not delibeiately poisoned theii ielationships at a latei
But at this peiiod of the eaily eighteen foities theii dieiences had
not yet matuied and Bakunin no doubt leained a good deal fiom Maix of
the doctiine of Histoiical Mateiialism which is so impoitant an element
in both these gieat Socialistic thinkeis woik.
liom Pioudhon he leained at this peiiod even moie than fiom Maix.
e foimei can be consideied as the fathei of modein Anaichism, foi
he ueily iejected the veiy concept of Authoiity, in both politics and
ieligion. ln his economic views, he advocated a scheme called Mutual-
ism, in which the most impoitant iole was played by a national bank,
based on the mutual condence of all those who weie engaged in pio-
duction. Bakunin did not take up this idea fai he was impiessed iathei
by the Maixian economies and advocated a system of Collectivism, but
he thoioughly appieciated the spiiit of libeity that bieathed thiough all
Pioudhons wiitings and talk, and he placed him in that iespect above
Maix, of whom he tiuly said that the spiiit of libeity was lacking in him,
he iemained fiom head to foot an Authoiitaiian.
Towaids the end of 184, Bakunin was expelled fiom Paiis foi having
deliveied a speech advocating fieedom foi Poland which was so displeas-
ing to the Tsaiist Goveinment that it put piessuie on the liench Govein-
ment to take action against him. He spent a few months in Biussels, but
the ievolution of lebiuaiy, 1848, which oveithiew King Louis Philippe
and established the Second Republic allowed Bakunin to ietuin to Paiis
and he took a piominent pait in the political demonstiations of the day.
But he was soon aiacted by the iising ievolutionaiy movements in
Cential Euiope. ln Piague he paiticipated in a biief insuiiection, and in
May, 1849, in anothei in Diesden. is iesulted in his aiiest, and nally
his extiadition to Russia, which claimed him as a fugitive. He passed
eight hoiiible yeais in solitaiy connement and it was only the death of
the implacable Nicholas l and the accession of the mildei Alexandei ll
that enabled his family to secuie his ielease. He spent foui moie yeais
undei suiveillance in Sibeiia, wheie he maiiied. linally, in 181, he
escaped on an Ameiican vessel going to Japan and at the end of the yeai
ieached London.
ln London he woiked foi a time with Alexandei Heizen, the Russian
Libeial, in his publications addiessed to the Russian people, went foi a
while to tiy to help a Polish insuiiection fiom theie, and then seled
down in ltaly. Heie he encounteied the ieligiously-minded Nationalism
of Mazzini, a man whom he gieatly iespected peisonally (having met
him in London), but whose ideas he heaitily disliked. is led him
to accentuate the anti-patiiotic and anti-ieligious elements in his own
ideas, which by this peiiod of the middle eighteen-sixties had become
piactically those latei called Anaichism.
ln 18 he went to Geneva to aend the inauguial Congiess of the
League foi Peace and lieedom, a bouigeois body of which he thought
some use could be made foi the puipose of Socialist piopa ganda. He
soon found that this could not be done (his ideas as set out in an aiticle
entitled ledeialism, Socialism and Anti-theologism, weie fai too iadi-
cal), and instead he concentiated on the liist lnteinational, which had
been founded, laigely thiough the instiumentality of Maix, in 184. On
leaving the League foi Peace and lieedom, Bakunin and his fiiends had
foimed the Alliance of Socialist Demociacy and this body now applied
to join the lnteinational. e application aioused the suspicions of Maix
who felt a jealous possessiveness as iegaids the lnteinational and had
a Geiman-minded antipathy to anything coming fiom a Russian. e
initial pioposal was theiefoie tuined down and the Alliance was only
admied in sections, and when as a sepaiate body it had been disbanded.
(July, 189.)
ln Septembei of the same yeai, a Congiess of the lnteinational was held
at Basel. is Congiess showed itself favouiable to Bakunins view that
inheiitance should be abolished and iejected Maixs views on this subject.
is was the beginning of a bieach between Maix and his followeis
on the one hand and Bakunin and his followeis on the othei. lt was
fundamentally a dieience on the question as to the iole of the State
in the Socialist piogiamme. e Maixian view was essentially that the
State must be used to biing about and consolidate Socialism, the views
of the Bakuninists (at this peiiod beginning to be called Anaichists)
was that the State must be abolished, and that it could nevei undei any
ciicumstances be used to aain eithei Socialism oi any foim of social
justice foi the woikeis.
ese dieiences spiead iapidly thioughout the lnteinational and
weie deepened and exaceibated in Switzeiland (wheie Bakunin was now
seled) by a Russian emigie named Utin, who by methods of chaiactei-
assassination poisoned Maixs alieady jealous and vindictive mind still
fuithei against Bakunin. e laei iightly iesented the campaign of
calumny which was now launched against him but he was of a toleiant
and geneious disposition and foi all his iesentment against Maixs tac-
tics (only too piophetic of latei Communist methods) nevei failed to
acknowledge Maixs gieatness as Socialist and thinkei. He even began
at this time a Russian tianslation of Maixs Co:o|, a book he highly
admiied, and whose economic doctiines he enthusiastically suppoited.
ln the eaily pait of 180, Bakunin was mainly occupied in tiying to
stii up the Russian people to insuiiection. is activity was in collaboia-
tion with a fanatical young ievolutionaiy named Seigei Nechayev. e
laei had commied a political muidei in Russia and deceived Bakunin
into condoning this act. He also published a Revolutionaiy Catechism
which has oen been mistaken foi a pioduction of Bakunins, and which
pieaches the most violent and amoial tactics against existing society.
lnteinal evidence shows that it cannot be Bakunins foi he was not
an advocate of such opinions, and when he nally became awaie of
Nechayevs unsciupulousness he bioke with him. e fugitive was latei
extiadited to Russia and died in jail. e whole episode did Bakunin
consideiable haim, giving him because of his association with Nechayev,
a ieputation foi violence and amoialism which was quite undeseived.
e lianco-Geiman wai which bioke out in July, 180, led to the wiit-
ing of Bakunins most impoitant woiks. He looked to Social Revolution
on the pait of peasants and woikeis both to oveithiow the ieactionaiy
iegime of Napoleon lll and to iepel the Geiman invadeis undei the di-
iection of Bismaick. With the puipose of stiiiing up such a movement
he wiote A Leer o o Frenon, and then in Septembei aei the fall of
the Second Empiie and the establishment of the iid Republic, went to
Lyons to launch an Anaichist iising. iough lack of deteimination and
suppoit by the woikeis leadeis themselves, despite Bakunins demand
foi eneigetic action, the movement failed aei an initial and biief success,
and he ed to Maiseilles, and thence back to Locaino, whence he had
come to Lyons.
is asco deeply embieied and depiessed Bakunin. He had lost all
faith in the bouigeoisie since theii tuining on the woikeis in the ievolu-
tions of 1848, but now even the woikeis had shown themselves supine,
and he became veiy pessimistic about theii futuie. Aiising out of these
events he now wiote his gieatest woik, e Knouto-Geimanic Empiie
and the Social Revolution. e title implied an alliance between the
knout of the Russian Tsai and the new Geiman Empiie of Bismaick and
Wilhelm l to ciush the social ievolution. lt became a veiy voluminous
woik, tieating in an extiemely discuisive way all mannei of subjects,
political, histoiical, economic, ieligious, philosophical, metaphysical, eth-
ical and even astionomical, foi as an Appendix to it Bakunin gave an
exposition of the ideas of the System of Natuie which he held and which
was a complete and consistent Mateiialism. e piece known as God
and the State is meiely a fiagment of this gieatei woik, which is indeed
Bakunins Magnum opus, his testament, as he called it. He woiked
at it inteimiently fiom the close of 180 to the close of 182 and even
then nevei succeeded in nishing it. (Sections of this woik, wiien in
Novembei and Decembei, 182, have been quoted at length in the text)
e Paiis Commune of Maich-May, 181, inteiested him gieatly
though he no longei had any illusions about a woikeis victoiy in any
neai futuie. He consideied howevei that the events of the Commune
gave a piactical justication of his theoiies as against those of the Maix-
ians, and a study of that histoiic episode would seem to justify his con-
tention. ln this same yeai, 181, he had a contioveisy with Mazzini who
had aacked both the lnteinational and the Commune, the foimei as
being anti-nationalist and the laei as being atheistic and theiefoie both
being abhoiient to Mazzinis ieligious nationalism. Bakunin iespect-
fully but tienchantly ieplied in a pamphlet called e Po|::co| eo|og,
o[ Mo:::n: which had a wide ciiculation in ltaly and a gieat eect on
the ltalian woiking class, which laigely became imbued with Anaichist
ideas. ln Spain also, Bakunins ideas boie fiuit and to a lessei extent in
ln 182 he was occupied with the coming Congiess of the lnteinational
at the Hague. is meeting, which was held in Septembei, was packed
by the Maixists in a mannei which latei Communist tactics have made
only too familiai. e equally familiai tactics of chaiactei-assassination
weie also iesoited to by Maix, to his eveilasting disciedit, and Bakunin
and his closest fiiend and collaboiatoi, James Guillaume, weie expelled
fiom the lnteinational, the headquaiteis of which weie at the same time
shied to New Yoik to pievent it fiom failing into the hands of the
anti-Maixists, who constituted a ieal majoiity in the lnteinational. at
oiganisation soon witheied and died in its alien home, but the Anaichists
set up a new lnteinational in Switzeiland and this lasted a few yeais
moie, suiviving Bakunin himself.
lt was based on Bakunins idea of the Woikeis lnteinational being
a loose association of fully autonomous, national gioups, devoted only
to the economic stiuggle, in contiadistinction to Maixs aempt to con-
veit it into a highly centialised and iigidly contiolled instiument of
political manoeuviesin fact what Lenin aeiwaids made of the iid
ln oidei to ventilate his giievances and to explain his aitude to Maix
and Maixism, Bakunin wiote a lengthy leei to the Biussels newspa-
pei L:|ere, and laige extiacts fiom this leei have been piinted in the
following pages.
ln 183, Bakunin foimally withdiew fiom political activities. His
health had been peimanently injuied by the long yeais of solitaiy con-
nement in Russian piisons and, though he was a man of gieat size,
physical stiength and eneigy, he was now old befoie his time.
He came out of his ietiiement, howevei, foi the last time, in May, 184,
to lead an insuiiection in the ltalian piovince of Bologna, but this was
a complete asco. lt had been meant as a political demonstiation and
this was in accoidance with Bakunins view that such actions should be
used as a means of awakening the peoples inteiest. He had had no faith
whatevei in the use of political action (in the sense of voting at Pailia-
mentaiy elections and iefeienda) evei since the aboitive ievolutions of
1848 with theii aeimath of betiayal of the woikeis and of demociacy
itself by the bouigeoisie. He agieed with Pioudhons dictum (boin of
the same events) that univeisal suiage was countei-ievolution.
His doctiine, howevei, had nothing in common with the Nihilistic
tactics of bomb outiages and assassinations which, aei his death, weie
adopted by some Anaichists and tended to disciedit the movement. He
believed in mass oiganisations, in solidaiity, and to him lndividualism
was a bouigeois ideologya meie excuse foi egoism. Tiue libeity could
only be achieved in and thiough Society.
Bakunin was in othei woids a Socialist, oi as he oen called himself,
a Collectivist, but his Socialism was of the Libeitaiian school and ex-
piessively iejected authoiity and, above all, the State. ln this iespect
he followed the doctiine of Pioudhon, not of Maix. His system in fact
consists of Pioudhonian politics and Maixian economics.
Bakunin died at Beine on 1
July, 18, and was buiied in the ceme-
teiy theie. Exactly seventy yeais aei his death, on the 1
July, 194,
a gatheiing of inteinational Anaichists stood by his giaveside to pay
homage to his memoiy.
e message which, above all, Bakunin tiied to pieach was that only
the woikeis could fiee the woikeis, in othei woids, he desiied to stimu-
late the self-activity of the woiking-class. He was nevei tiied of quoting
the celebiated slogan of the liist lnteinational e emancipation of
the toileis must be the woik of the toileis themselves, and he expiessly
excluded fiom the concept of toileis those ex-woikeis who, having
gained the leadeiship of a woiking-class movement, endeavoui to make
themselves masteis of it and lead it wheie they aie deteimined that it
shall go. To Bakunin that was not emancipation, it was meiely a change
of masteis. But he wanted the tiiumph of Humanitya concept he had
boiiowed fiom the gieat philosophei of Positivism, Auguste Comtea
full human development of all men in conditions of libeity and equality.
To him this could not be achieved by the methods envisaged by Maix
and, in the pages that follow, he has given a pictuie of what he thought
the Maixian State would be like. e staitling similaiity of this pictuie
to that of piesent-day Soviet Russia is due to the fact that Lenin, the
foundei of the iegime, himself a pioduct of the despotic Tsaiist iegime,
laid gieat stiess on the authoiitaiian aspects of Maixism as opposed
to the moie demociatic elements of Anaichism. Bakunin had assumed
that, in piactice, the authoiitaiian elements in Maixism when it aained
powei would piedominate, and this tuined out to be coiiect.
lt is obvious of couise that Maixism and Bakuninism despite these
dieiences have much in common and Bakunin himself has not failed
to point this out in the pages that follow. Both systems weie founded
on the idea of Histoiical Mateiialism, both accepted the class stiuggle,
both weie Socialist in the sense of being opposed to piivate piopeity
in the means of pioduction. ey dieied in that Bakuninism iefused
to accept the State undei any ciicumstances whatevei, that it iejected
Paity politics oi Pailiamentaiy action, and that it was founded on the
piinciple of libeity as against that of authoiity and indeed, it is this
spiiit of libeity (not lndividualism) that distinguishes Bakunin, and in
the light of which his ciiticisms of Maix and Maixism must be iead. He
had the tiue instinct that no man can be ieally emancipated except by
Up to the piesent, howevei, the emancipation of the woikeis has
nowheie been achieved, eithei by Bakunins methods noi by Maixs (and
ceitainly not in Soviet Russia), but to-day the moie militant elements in
the Le-wing and anti-Stalinist Socialist movements aie beginning to
give Bakunins teachings moie seiious consideiation than Maixians had
evei done befoie, and some of them aie commencing to feel that aei
all theie may be something in what he said. lf, theiefoie, the Socialist
movement, in its moie militant and ievolutionaiy aspects, continues to
exist thioughout the woild, it is possible that the political theoiies of
Maix may give way to those of Bakunin, and that in the end he will
pievail as the inspiiing genius of militant and demociatic Socialism.
1. Introductory
l am a passionate seekei aei Tiuth and a not less passionate en-
emy of the malignant ctions used by the Paity of Oidei, the ocial
iepiesentatives of all tuipitudes, ieligious, metaphysical, political, ju-
dicial, economic, and social, piesent and past, to biutalise and enslave
the woild, l am a fanatical lovei of Libeity, consideiing it as the only
medium in which can develop intelligence, dignity, and the happiness of
man, not ocial Libeity, licensed, measuied and iegulated by the State,
a falsehood iepiesenting the piivileges of a few iesting on the slaveiy of
eveiybody else, not the individual libeity, selsh, mean, and ctitious
advanced by the school of Rousseau and all othei schools of bouigeois
Libeialism, which consideis the iights of the individual as limited by the
iights of the State, and theiefoie necessaiily iesults in the ieduction of
the iights of the individual to zeio.
No, l mean the only libeity which is tiuly woithy of the name, the
libeity which consists in the full development of all the mateiial, intel-
lectual and moial poweis which aie to be found as faculties latent in
eveiybody, the libeity which iecognises no othei iestiictions than those
which aie tiaced foi us by the laws of oui own natuie, so that piopeily
speaking theie aie no iestiictions, since these laws aie not imposed on
us by some outside legislatoi, beside us oi above us, they aie immanent
in us, inheient, constituting the veiy basis of oui being, mateiial as well
as intellectual and moial, instead, theiefoie, of nding them a limit, we
must considei them as the ieal conditions and eective ieason foi oui
l mean that libeity of each individual which, fai fiom halting as at a
boundaiy befoie the libeity of otheis, nds theie its conimation and its
extension to innity, the illimitable libeity of each thiough the libeity of
all, libeity by solidaiity, libeity in equality, libeity tiiumphing ovei biute
foice and the piinciple of authoiity which was nevei anything but the
idealised expiession of that foice, libeity which, aei having oveithiown
all heavenly and eaithly idols, will found and oiganise a new woild, that
of human solidaiity, on the iuins of all Chuiches and all States.
l am a convinced upholdei of economic and social equality, because l
know that, without that equality, libeity, justice, human dignity, moiality,
and the well-being of individuals as well as the piospeiity of nations
will nevei be anything else than so many lies. But as upholdei in all
ciicumstances of libeity, that ist condition of humanity, l think that
libeity must establish itself in the woild by the spontaneous oiganisation
of laboui and of collective owneiship by pioductive associations fieely
oiganised and fedeialised in distiicts, and by the equally spontaneous
fedeiation of distiicts, but not by the supieme and tutelaiy action of the
eie is the point which piincipally divides the Revolutionaiy So-
cialists oi Collectivists fiom the Authoiitaiian Communists, who aie
upholdeis of the absolute initiative of the State. eii goal is the same,
each paity desiies equally the cieation of a newsocial oidei founded only
on the oiganisation of collective laboui, inevitably imposed on each and
eveiyone by the veiy foice of things, equal economic conditions foi all,
and the collective appiopiiation of the instiuments of laboui. Only the
Communists imagine that they will be able to get theie by the develop-
ment and oiganisation of the political powei of the woiking-classes, and
piincipally of the pioletaiiat of the towns, by the help of the bouigeois
Radicalism, whilst the Revolutionaiy Socialists, enemies of all equivocal
combinations and alliances, think on the contiaiy that they cannot ieach
this goal except by the development and oiganisation, not of the political
but of the social and consequently anti-political powei of the woiking
masses of town and countiy alike, including all favouiably disposed
peisons of the uppei classes, who, bieaking completely with theii past,
would be willing to join them and fully accept theii piogiamme.
Hence, two dieient methods. e Communists believe they must
oiganise the woikeis foices to take possession of the political powei of
the State. e Revolutionaiy Socialists oiganise with a view to the de-
stiuction, oi if you piefei a politei woid, the liquidation of the State. e
Communists aie the upholdeis of the piinciple and piactice of, authoiity,
the Revolutionaiy Socialists have condence only in libeity. Both equally
suppoiteis of that science which must kill supeistition and ieplace faith,
the foimei would wish to impose it, the laei will exeit themselves to
piopagate it so that gioups of human beings, convinced, will oiganise
themselves and will fedeiate spontaneously, fieely, fiom below upwaids,
by theii own movement and confoimably to theii ieal inteiests, but nevei
aei a plan tiaced in advance and imposed on the ignoiant masses by
some supeiioi intellects.
e Revolutionaiy Socialists think that theie is much moie piactical
sense and spiiit in the instinctive aspiiations and in the ieal needs of the
masses of the people than in the piofound intellect of all these leained
men and tutois of humanity who, aei so many eoits have failed to
make it happy, still piesume to add theii eoits. e Revolutionaiy So-
cialists think, on the contiaiy, that the human iace has let itself long
enough, too long, be goveined, and that the souice of its misfoitunes
does not lie in such oi such foim of goveinment but in the veiy piinciple
and fact of goveinment, of whatevei type it may be. lt is, in ne, the
contiadiction alieady become histoiic, which exists between the Com-
munism scientically developed by the Geiman school
and accepted
in pait by the Ameiican and English Socialists on the one hand, and
the Pioudhonism laigely developed and pushed to its last consequences,
on the othei hand, which is accepted by the pioletaiiat of the Latin
lt has equally been accepted and will continue to be still moie accepted
by the essentially anti-political sentiment of the Slav peoples.
at is, the Maixians.
z. Marxist Ideology
e doctiinaiie school of Socialists, oi iathei of Geiman Authoiitaiian
Communists, was founded a lile befoie 1848, and has iendeied, it must
be iecognised, eminent seivices to the cause of the pioletaiiat not only
in Geimany, but in Euiope. lt is to them that belongs piincipally the
gieat idea of an lnteinational Woikingmens Association and also the
initiative foi its ist iealisation. To-day,
they aie to be found at the head
of the Social Demociatic Laboui Paity in Geimany, having as its oigan
the Volksstaat [Peoples State].
lt is theiefoie a peifectly iespectable school which does not pievent it
fiom displaying a veiy bad disposition sometimes, and above all fiom
taking foi the bases of its theoiies, a piincipal
which is piofoundly tiue
when one consideis it in its tiue light, that is to say, fiom the ielative
point of view, but which when envisaged and set down in an absolute
mannei as the only foundation and ist souice of all othei piinciples, as
is done by this school, becomes completely false.
is piinciple, which constitutes besides the essential basis of scientic
Socialism, was foi the ist time scientically foimulated and developed
by Kail Maix, the piincipal leadei of the Geiman Communist school.
lt foims the dominating thought of the celebiated Communist Man-
ifesto which an inteinational Commiee of liench, English, Belgian
and Geiman Communists assembled in London issued in 1848 undei
the slogan Pioletaiians of all lands, unite is manifesto, diaed as
eveiyone knows, by Messis. Maix and Engels, became the basis of all
the fuithei scientic woiks of the school and of the populai agitation
latei staited by leidinand Lassalle
in Geimany.
is piinciple is the absolute opposite to that iecognised by the ldeal-
ists of all schools. Whilst these laei deiive all histoiical facts, including
i.e., 181.
Histoiical Mateiialism.
Lassalle lived 1824, a biilliant demagogue, he populaiised (oi vulgaiised) Maixs
teachings and launched the Social Demociatic Movement in Geimany. His oiganisation,
the Geneial Association of Geiman Woikeis, united with the Maixists in 18.
the development of mateiial inteiests and of the dieient phases of the
economic oiganisation of society, fiom the development of ldeas, the
Geiman Communists, on the contiaiy, want to see in all human his-
toiy, in the most idealistic manifestations of the collective as well as the
individual life of humanity, in all the intellectual, moial, ieligious, meta-
physical, scientic, aitistic, political, juiidical, and social developments
which have been pioduced in the past and continue to be pioduced in the
piesent, nothing but the ieections oi the necessaiy aei-eects of the
development of economic facts. Whilst the ldealists maintain that ideas
dominate and pioduce facts, the Communists, in agieement besides with
scientic Mateiialism say, on the contiaiy, that facts give biith to ideas
and that these laei aie nevei anything else but the ideal expiession of
accomplished facts and that among all the facts, economic and mateiial
facts, the pie-eminent facts, constitute the essential basis, the piincipal
foundation of which all the othei facts, intellectual and moial, political
and social, aie nothing moie than the inevitable deiivatives.
We, who aie Mateiialists and Deteiminists, just as much as Maix him-
self, we also iecognise the inevitable linking of economic and political
facts in histoiy. We iecognise, indeed, the necessity, the inevitable chaiac-
tei of all events that happen, but we do not bow befoie them indieiently
and above all we aie veiy caieful about piaising them when, by theii
natuie, they show themselves in agiant opposition to the supieme end
of histoiy

to the thoioughly human ideal that is to be found undei moie

oi less obvious foims, in the instincts, the aspiiations of the people and

Bakunins use of the teim supieme end of histoiy (in the sense of aim oi objective),
must not be taken to have a teleological signication, that is, taken to mean that he
consideied that the natuie of things is such that theie is a cosmic aim oi puipose which
infoims the whole cosmic activity. Such a theoiy inevitably involves the notion of
some diiective intelligence behind Natuie, and this, as a mateiialist, Bakunin absolutely
denied. He means by supieme end of histoiy simply the ideal at which the human iace
should aim, as dened by him a few lines fuithei on in the text. As he said in anothei
passage of his woiks, man is pait of univeisal Natuie and cannot ght against it, But
by studying its laws, by identifying himself in some soit with them, tiansfoiming them
by a psychological piocess piopei to his biain, into ideas and human convictions, he
emancipates himself fiom the tiiple yoke imposed on him istly by exteinal Natuie,
then by his own individual inwaid Natuie, and nally by the society of which he is the
pioduct. (Michael Bakunin and Kail Maix, p. 33.)
undei all the ieligious symbols of all epochs, because it is inheient in the
human iace, the most social of all the iaces of animals on eaith. us
this ideal, to-day beei undeistood than evei, can be summed up in the
woids I :s |e r:v| o[ |von:,, : :s |e conqves onJ occo|:s|en
o[ |e [v|| [reeJo onJ [v|| Je+e|oen, oer:o|, :ne||ecvo| onJ oro|,
o[ e+er, :nJ:+:Jvo|, |, |e o|so|ve|, [ree onJ sononeovs orgon:so:on o[
econo:c onJ soc:o| so|:Jor:, os co|ee|, os oss:||e |e+een o|| |von
|e:ngs |:+:ng on |e eor|.
Eveiything in histoiy that shows itself confoimable to that end, fiom
the human point of viewand we can have no otheiis good, all that
is contiaiy to it is bad. We know veiy well, in any case, that what we
call good and bad aie always, one and the othei, the natuial iesults of
natuial causes, and that consequently one is as inevitable as the othei.
But as in what is piopeily called Natuie we iecognise many necessities
that we aie lile disposed to bless, foi example the necessity of dying
of hydiophobia when bien by a mad dog,
in the same way, in that im-
mediate continuation of the life of Natuie, called Histoiy, we encountei
many necessities which we nd much moie woithy of oppiobiium than
of benediction and which we believe we should stigmatise with all the en-
eigy of which we aie capable, in the inteiest of oui social and individual
moiality, although we iecognise that fiom the moment they have been
accomplished, even the most detestable histoiic facts have that chaiactei
of inevitability which is found in all the Phenomena of Natuie as well as
those of histoiy.
To make my idea cleaiei, l shall illustiate it by some examples. When l
study the iespective social and political conditions in which the Romans
and the Gieeks came into contact towaids the decline of Antiquity, l
aiiive at the conclusion that the conquest and destiuction by the militaiy
and civic baibaiism of the Romans, of the compaiatively high standaid
of human libeity of Gieece was a logical, natuial, absolutely inevitable
fact. But that does not pievent me at all fiom taking ietiospectively and
veiy imly, the side of Gieece against Rome in that stiuggle, and l nd
that the human iace gained absolutely nothing by the tiiumph of the
Bakunin wiote some yeais befoie Pasteuis discoveiy of a cuie foi this disease.
ln the same way, l considei as peifectly natuial, logical, and conse-
quently inevitable fact, that Chiistians should have destioyed with a
holy fuiy all the libiaiies of the Pagans, all the tieasuies of Ait, and of
ancient philosophy and science.
But it is absolutely impossible foi me to
giasp what advantages have iesulted fiom it foi oui political and social
development. l am even veiy much disposed to think that apait fiom
that inevitable piocess of economic facts in which, if one weie to believe
Maix, theie must be sought to the exclusion of all othei consideiations,
the only cause of all the intellectual and moial facts which aie pioduced
in histoiyl say l am stiongly disposed to think that this act of holy bai-
baiity, oi iathei that long seiies of baibaious acts and ciimes which the
ist Chiistians, divinely inspiied, commied against the human spiiit,
was one of the piincipal causes of the intellectual and moial degiadation
and consequently also of the political and social enslavement which lled
that long seiies of baneful centuiies called the Middle Ages. Be suie of
this, that if the ist Chiistians had not destioyed the libiaiies, Museums,
and Temples of antiquity, we should not have been condemned to-day
to ght the mass of hoiiible and shameful absuidities, which still ob-
stiuct mens biains to such a degiee as to make us doubt sometimes the
possibility of a moie human futuie.
lollowing on with the same oidei of piotests against facts which have
happened in histoiy and of which consequently l myself iecognise the
inevitable chaiactei, l pause befoie the splendoui of the ltalian Republics
and befoie the magnicent awakening of human genius in the epoch of
the Renaissance. en l see appioaching the two evil geniuses, as ancient
as histoiy itself, the two boa-constiictois which up till now have de-
vouied eveiything human and beautiful that histoiy has pioduced. ey
aie called the Chuich and the State, the Pooc, and the F:re. Eteinal
evils and insepaiable allies, l see them become ieconciled, embiace each
othei and togethei devoui and stie and ciush that unfoitunate and too
beautiful ltaly, condemn hei to thiee centuiies of death. Well, again l
is, of couise, is an exaggeiation on Bakunins pait. Such vandalism was not common.
lt was the political convulsions, baibaiian invasions, and endless wais, foieign and
civil, that caused the decline of cultuie. e Chiistians tended to neglect and ignoie
the classical cultuie iathei than peisecute it. Of couise, it is tiue that the decline and
piactical extinction of the ancient cultuie gieatly impaiied intellectual piogiess.
nd all that veiy natuial, logical, inevitable, but neveitheless abominable,
and l cuise both Pope and Empeioi at the same time.
Let us pass on to liance. Aei a stiuggle which lasted a centuiy
Catholicism, suppoited by the State, nally tiiumphed theie ovei Piotes-
tantism. Well, do l not still nd in liance to-day some politicians oi
histoiians of the fatalist school and who, calling themselves Revolution-
aiies, considei this victoiy of Catholicisma bloody and inhuman victoiy
if evei theie was oneas a veiitable tiiumph foi the Revolution` Catholi-
cism, they maintain, was then the State, demociacy, whilst Piotestantism
iepiesented the ievolt of the aiistociacy against the State and conse-
quently against demociacy. lt is with sophisms like thatcompletely
identical besides with the Maixian sophisms, which, also, considei the
tiiumphs of the State as those of Social Demociacyit is with these
absuidities, as disgusting as ievolting, that the mind and moial sense
of the masses is peiveited, habituating them to considei theii blood-
thiisty exploiteis, theii age-long enemies, theii tyiants, the masteis and
the seivants of the State, as the oigans, iepiesentatives, heioes, devoted
seivants of theii emancipation.
lt is a thousand times iight to say that Piotestantism then, not as
Calvinist theology, but as an eneigetic and aimed piotest, iepiesented
ievolt, libeity, humanity, the destiuction of the State, whilst Catholicism
was public oidei, authoiity, divine law, the salvation of the State by the
Chuich and the Chuich by the State, the condemnation of human society
to a boundless and endless slaveiy.
Whilst iecognising the inevitability of the accomplished fact, l do
not hesitate to say that the tiiumph of Catholicism in liance in the six-
teenth and seventeenth centuiies was a gieat misfoitune foi the whole
human iace, and that the massacie of Saint Baitholomew, as well as the
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, weie facts as disastious foi liance
heiself as weie lately the defeat and massacie of the people of Paiis in
the Commune. l have actually heaid veiy intelligent and veiy estimable
lienchmen explain this defeat of Piotestantism in liance by the essen-
tially ievolutionaiy natuie of the liench people. Piotestantism, they
said, was only a semi-ievolution, we needed a complete ievolution,
it is foi that ieason that the liench nation did not wish, and was not
able to stop at the Refoimation. lt piefeiied to iemain Catholic till the
moment when it could pioclaim Atheism, and it is because of that that
it boie with such a peifect and Chiistian iesignation both the hoiiois
of Saint Baitholomew and those not less abominable of the executois of
the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
ese estimable patiiots do not seem to want to considei one thing. lt
is that a people, who undei whatsoevei pietext it may be, sueis tyianny,
necessaiily loses at length the salutoiy habit of ievolt and even the veiy
instinct of ievolt. lt loses the feeling foi libeity, and once a people has
lost all that, it necessaiily becomes not only by its outei conditions, but in
itself, in the veiy essence of its being, a people of slaves. lt was because
Piotestantism was defeated in liance that the liench people lost, oi
iathei, nevei acquiied, the custom of libeity. lt is because this tiadition
and this custom aie lacking in it that it has not to-day what we call
o|::co| consc:ovsness, and it is because it is lacking in this consciousness
that all the ievolutions it has made up to nowhave not been able to give it
oi secuie it political libeity. With the exception of its gieat ievolutionaiy
days, which aie its festival days, the liench people iemain to-day as
yesteiday, a people of slaves.
3. e State and Marxism
All woik to be peifoimed in the employ and pay of the Statesuch
is the fundamental piinciple of Authoiitaiian Communism, of State So-
cialism. e State having become sole piopiietoiat the end of a ceitain
peiiod of tiansition which will be necessaiy to let society pass without
too gieat political and economic shocks fiom the piesent oiganisation
of bouigeois piivilege to the futuie oiganisation of the ocial equality
of allthe State will be also the only Capitalist, bankei, money-lendei,
oiganisei, diiectoi of all national laboui and distiibutoi of its pioducts.
Such is the ideal, the fundamental piinciple of modein Communism.
Enunciated foi the ist time by Babeuf,
towaids the close of the Gieat
liench Revolution, with all the aiiay of antique civism and ievolutionaiy
violence, which constituted the chaiactei of the epoch, it was iecast and
iepioduced in miniatuie, about foity-ve yeais latei by Louis Blanc
his tiny pamphlet on e Orgon:so:on o[ Lo|ovr, in which that estimable
citizen, much less ievolutionaiy, and much moie indulgent towaids
bouigeois weaknesses than was Babeuf, tiied to gild and sweeten the
pill so that the bouigeois could swallow it without suspecting that they
weie taking a poison which would kill them. But the bouigeois weie
not deceived, and ietuining biutality foi politeness, they expelled Louis
Blanc fiom liance. ln spite of that, with a constancy which one must
admiie, he iemained alone in faithfulness to his economic system and
continued to believe that the whole futuie was contained in his lile
pamphlet on the oiganisation of Laboui.
e Communist idea latei passed into moie seiious hands. Kail Maix,
the undisputed chief of the Socialist Paity in Geimanya gieat intel-
lect aimed with a piofound knowledge, whose entiie life, one can say
it without aeiing, has been devoted exclusively to the gieatest cause
which exists to-day, the emancipation of laboui and of the toileisKail
Babeuf (129) foimed conspiiacy of Equals to seize powei in liance and intioduce
an authoiitaiian equalitaiian Communism. Plot discoveied and conspiiatois executed.
Blanc, Louis (181182) advocated State Socialism in liance, paiticulaily in the peiiod
Maix who is indisputably also, if not the only, at least one of the piinci-
pal foundeis of the lnteinational Woikingmens Association, made the
development of the Communist idea the object of a seiious woik. His
gieat woik, Co:o|, is not in the least a fantasy, an a piioii conception,
hatched out in a single day in the head of a young man moie oi less
ignoiant of economic conditions and of the actual system of pioduction.
lt is founded on a veiy extensive, veiy detailed knowledge and a veiy
piofound analysis of this system and of its conditions. Kail Maix is
a man of immense statistical and economic knowledge. His woik on
Capital, though unfoitunately biistling with foimulas and metaphysical
subtleties which iendei it unappioachable foi the gieat mass of ieadeis,
is in the highest degiee a scientic oi iealist woik in the sense that it
absolutely excludes any othei logic than that of the facts.
Living foi veiy neaily thiity yeais, almost exclusively among Geiman
woikeis, iefugees like himself and suiiounded by moie oi less intelligent
fiiends and disciples belonging by biith and ielationship to the bouigeois
woild, Maix natuially has managed to foim a Communist school, oi a
soit of lile Communist Chuich, composed of feivent adepts and spiead
all ovei Geimany. is Chuich, iestiicted though it may be on the
scoie of numbeis, is skilfully oiganised, and thanks to its numeious
connections with woiking-class oiganisations in all the piincipal places
in Geimany, it has alieady become a powei.
Kail Maix natuially enjoys
an almost supieme authoiity in this Chuich, and to do himjustice, it must
be admied that he knows how to govein this lile aimy of fanatical
adheients in such a way as always to enhance his piestige and powei
ovei the imagination of the woikeis of Geimany.
Maix is not only a leained Socialist, he is also a veiy clevei Politician
and an aident patiiot. Like Bismaick, though by somewhat dieient
means, and like many othei of his compatiiots, Socialists oi not, he
wants the establishment of a gieat Geimanic State foi the gloiy of the
Geiman people and foi the happiness and the voluntaiy, oi enfoiced
civilization of the woild.
e policy of Bismaick is that of the piesent, the policy of Maix, who
consideis himself at least as his successoi, and his continuatoi, is that of
Wiien in Septembei, 180.
the futuie. And when l say that Maix consideis himself the continuatoi
of Bismaick, l am fai fiom calumniating Maix. lf he did not considei
himself as such, he would not have peimied Engels, the condant of all
his thoughts, to wiite that Bismaick seives the cause of Social Revolution.
He seives it now in his own way, Maix will seive it latei, in anothei
mannei. at is the sense in which he will be latei, the continuatoi, as
to-day he is the admiiei of the policy of Bismaick.
Now let us examine the paiticulai chaiactei of Maixs policy, let us
asceitain the essential points on which it is to be sepaiated fiom the
Bismaickian policy. e piincipal point, and, one might say, the only
one, is this Maix is a demociat, an Authoiitaiian Socialist, and a Repub-
lican, Bismaick is an out and out Pomeianian, aiistociatic, monaichical
Junkei. e dieience is theiefoie veiy gieat, veiy seiious, and both
sides aie sinceie in this dieience. On this point, theie is no possible
undeistanding oi ieconciliation possible between Bismaick and Maix.
Even apait fiom the numeious iiievocable pledges that Maix thioughout
his life, has given to the cause of Socialist demociacy, his veiy position
and his ambitions give a positive guaiantee on this issue. ln a monai-
chy, howevei Libeial it might be, oi even cannot be any place, any iole
foi Maix, and so much the moie so in the Piussian Geimanic Empiie
founded by Bismaick, with a bugbeai of an Empeioi, militaiist and big-
oted, as chief and with all the baions and buieauciats of Geimany foi
guaidians. Befoie he can aiiive at powei, Maix will have to sweep all
that away.
eiefoie he is foiced to be Revolutionaiy. at is what sepaiates
Maix fiom Bismaickthe foim and the conditions of Goveinment. One
is an out and out aiistociat and monaichist, and in a Conseivative Re-
public like that of liance undei ieis

, theie the othei is an out and out

demociat and iepublican, and, into the baigain, a Socialist demociat and
a Socialist iepublican.
Let us see now what unites them. I :s |e ov onJ ov cv| o[ |e
Soe. l have no need to piove it in the case of Bismaick, the pioofs
aie theie. liom head to foot he is a States man and nothing but a

ieis, Adolphe (1918), Piesident of the iid Republic in 1813. He was piimaiily
iesponsible foi the iuthless suppiession of the Paiis Commune.
States man. But neithei do l believe that l shall have need of too gieat
eoits to piove that it is the same with Maix. He loves goveinment to
such a degiee that he even wanted to institute one in the lnteinational
Woikingmens Association, and he woiships powei so much that he
wanted to impose and still means to-day to impose his dictatoiship on us.
lt seems to me that that is sucient to chaiacteiise his peisonal aitude.
But his Socialist and political piogiamme is a veiy faithful expiession
of it. e supieme objective of all his eoits, as is pioclaimed to us by
the fundamental statutes of his paity in Geimany, is the establishment
of the gieat Peoples State (Volksstaat).
But whoevei says State, necessaiily says a paiticulai limited State,
doubtless compiising, if it is veiy laige, many dieient peoples and
countiies, but excluding still moie. loi unless he is dieaming of the
Univeisal State as did Napoleon and the Empeioi Chailes the lih, oi
as the Papacy dieamed of the Univeisal Chuich, Maix, in spite of all the
inteinational ambition which devouis him to-day, will have, when the
houi of the iealisation of his dieams has sounded foi himif it evei does
soundhe will have to content himself with goveining a single State
and not seveial States at once. Consequently, who evei says State says,
o State, and whoevei says o State aims by that the existence of seveial
States, and whoevei says se+ero| States, immediately says competition,
jealousy, tiuceless and endless wai. e simplest logic as well as all
histoiy beai witness to it.
Any State, undei pain of peiishing and seeing itself devouied by neigh-
bouiing States, must tend towaids complete powei, and, having become
poweiful, it must embaik on a caieei of conquest, so that it shall not be
itself conqueied, foi two poweis similai and at the same time foieign to
each othei could not co-exist without tiying to destioy each othei. Who-
evei says conquest, says conqueied peoples, enslaved and in bondage,
undei whatevei foim oi name it may be.
lt is in the natuie of the State to bieak the solidaiity of the human
iace and, as it weie, to deny humanity. e State cannot pieseive itself
as such in its integiity and in all its stiength except it sets itself up as
supieme and absolute be-all and end-all, at least foi its own citizens, oi
to speak moie fiankly, foi its own subjects, not being able to impose
itself as such on the citizens of othei States unconqueied by it. liom that
theie inevitably iesults a bieak with human, consideied as univesisal,
moiality and with univeisal ieason, by the biith of State moiality and
ieasons of State. e piinciple of political oi State moiality is veiy simple.
e State, being the supieme objective, eveiything that is favouiable to
the development of its powei is good, all that is contiaiy to it, even if
it weie the most humane thing in the woild, is bad. is moiality is
called Por:o:s. e lnteinational is the negation of patiiotism and
consequently the negation of the State. lf theiefoie Maix and his fiiends
of the Geiman Socialist Demociatic Paity should succeed in intioducing
the State piinciple into oui piogiamme, they would kill the lnteinational.
e State, foi its own pieseivation, must necessaiily be poweiful as
iegaids foieign aaiis, but if it is so as iegaids foieign aaiis, it will
infallibly be so as iegaids home aaiis. Eveiy State, having to let itself
be inspiied and diiected by some paiticulai moiality, confoimable to the
paiticulai conditions of its existence, by a moiality which is a iestiiction
and consequently a negation of human and univeisal moiality, must keep
watch that all its subjects, in theii thoughts and above all in theii acts, aie
inspiied also only by the piinciples of this patiiotic oi paiticulai moiality,
and that they iemain deaf to the teachings of puie oi univeisally human
moiality. liom that theie iesults the necessity foi a State censoiship,
too gieat libeity of thought and opinions being, as Maix consideis, veiy
ieasonably too fiom his eminently political point of view, incompatible
with that unanimity of adheience demanded by the secuiity of the State.
at that in ieality is Maixs opinion is suciently pioved by the aempts
which he made to intioduce censoiship into the lnteinational, undei
plausible pietexts, and coveiing it with a mask.
But howevei vigilant this censoiship may be, even if the State weie
to take into its own hands exclusively education and all the instiuction
of the people, as Mazzini wished to do, and as Maix wishes to do to-day
the State can nevei be suie that piohibited and dangeious thoughts may
not slip in and be smuggled somehow into the consciousness of the
population that it goveins. loibidden fiuit has such an aiaction foi
men, and the demon of ievolt, that eteinal enemy of the State, awakens so
easily in theii heaits when they aie not suciently stupied, that neithei
this education noi this instiuction, noi even the censoiship, suciently
guaiantee the tianquillity of the State. lt must still have a police, devoted
agents who watch ovei and diiect, secietly and unobtiusively, the cuiient
of the peoples opinions and passions. We have seen that Maix himself
is so convinced of this necessity, that he believed he should ll with
his seciet agents all the iegions of the lnteinational and above all, ltaly,
liance, and Spain. linally, howevei peifect may be, fiom the point
of view of the pieseivation of the State, the oigansation of education
and instiuction foi the people, of censoiship and the police, the State
cannot be secuie in its existence while it does not have, to defend it
against its ene:es o |oe, an aimed foice. e State is goveinment
fiom above downwaids of an immense numbei of men, veiy dieient
fiom the point of view of the degiee of theii cultuie, the natuie of the
countiies oi localities that they inhabit, the occupation they follow, the
inteiests and the aspiiations diiecting themthe State is the goveinment
of all these by some oi othei minoiity, this minoiity, even if it weie a
thousand times elected by univeisal suiage and contiolled in its acts
by populai institutions, unless it weie endowed with the omniscience,
omnipiesence and the omnipotence which the theologians aiibute to
God, it is impossible that it could know and foiesee the needs, oi satisfy
with an even justice the most legitimate and piessing inteiests in the
woild. eie will always be discontented people because theie will
always be some who aie saciiced.
Besides, the State, like the Chuich, by its veiy natuie is a gieat sac-
iicei of living beings. lt is an aibitiaiy being, in whose heait all the
positive, living, individual, and local inteiests of the population meet,
clash, destioy each othei, become absoibed in that abstiaction called the
common inteiest, the v||:c gooJ, the v||:c so[e,, and wheie all ieal
wills cancel each othei in that othei abstiaction which heais the name
of the +:|| o[ |e eo|e. lt iesults fiom this, that this so-called will of
the people is nevei anything else than the saciice and the negation of
all the ieal wills of the population, just as this so-called public good is
nothing else than the saciice of theii inteiests. But so that this om-
nivoious abstiaction could impose itself on millions of men, it must be
iepiesented and suppoited by some ieal being, by living foice oi othei.
Well, this being, this foice, has always existed. ln the Chuich it is called
the cleigy, and in the Statethe iuling oi goveining class.
And, in fact, what do we nd thioughout histoiy` e State has always
been the patiimony of some piivileged class oi othei, a piiestly class, an
aiistociatic class, a bouigeois class, and nally a buieauciatic class, when,
all the othei classes having become exhausted, the State falls oi iises, as
you will, to the condition of a machine, but it is absolutely necessaiy foi
the salvation of the State that theie should be some piivileged class oi
othei which is inteiested in its existence. And it is piecisely the united
inteiest of this piivileged class which is called Patiiotism.
By excluding the immense majoiity of the human iace fiom its bosom,
by casting it beyond the pale of the engagements and iecipiocal duties
of moiality, justice and iight, the State denies humanity, and with that
big woid, Patiiotism, imposes injustice and ciuelty on all its subjects,
as a supieme duty. lt iestiains, it mutilates, it kills humanity in them,
so that, ceasing to be men, they aie no longei anything but citizensoi
iathei, moie coiiectly consideied in ielation to the histoiic succession
of factsso that they shall nevei iaise themselves beyond the level of
the citizen to the level of a man.
lf we accept the ction of a fiee State deiived fiom a social contiact,
then disceining, just, piudent people ought not to have any longei any
need of goveinment oi of State. Such a people can need only to live,
leaving a fiee couise to all theii instincts justice and public oidei will
natuially and of theii accoid pioceed fiom the life of the people, and
the State, ceasing to be the piovidence, guide, educatoi, and iegulatoi of
society, ienouncing all its iepiessive powei, and failing to the subaltein
iole which Pioudhon assigns it, will no longei anything else but a simple
business oce, a soit of cential cleaiing house at the seivice of society.
Doubtless, such a political oiganisation, oi iathei, such a ieduction
of political action in favoui of libeity in social life, would be a gieat
benet foi society, but it would not at all please the devoted adheients
of the State. ey absolutely must have a State-Piovidence, a State
diiecting social life, dispensing justice, and administeiing public oidei.
at is to say, whethei they admit it oi not, and even when they call
themselves Republicans, demociats, oi even Socialists, they always must
have a people who aie moie oi less ignoiant, minoi, incapable, oi to
call things by theii iight names, ii-ia, to govein, in oidei, of couise,
that doing violence to theii own disinteiestedness and modesty, they
can keep the best places foi themselves, in oidei always to have the
oppoitunity to devote themselves to the common good, and that, stiong
in theii viituous devotion and theii exclusive intelligence, piivileged
guaidians of the human ock, whilst uiging it on foi its own good and
leading it to secuiity, they may also eece it a lile.
Eveiy logical and sinceie theoiy of the State is essentially founded on
the piinciple of ov|or:,that is to say on the eminently theological,
metaphysical and political idea that the masses, o|+o,s incapable of
goveining themselves, must submit at all times to the benevolent yoke of
a wisdom and a justice, which in one way oi anothei, is imposed on them
fiom above. But imposed in the name of what and by whom` Authoiity
iecognised and iespected as such by the masses can have only thiee
possible souicesfoice, ieligion, oi the action of a supeiioi intelligence,
and this supieme intelligence is always iepiesented by minoiities.
Slaveiy can Change its foim and its nameits basis iemains the same.
is basis is expiessed by the woids being a slave is being foiced to
woik foi othei peopleas being a mastei is to live on the laboui of
othei people. ln ancient times, as to-day in Asia and Afiica, slaves weie
simply called slaves. ln the Middle Ages, they took the name of seifs,
to-day they aie called wage-eaineis. e position of these laei is
much moie honouiable and less haid than that of slaves, but they aie
none the less foiced by hungei as well as by the political and social
institutions, to maintain by veiy haid woik the absolute oi ielative
idleness of otheis. Consequently, they aie slaves. And, in geneial, no
State, eithei anacient oi modein, has evei been able, oi evei will be able
to do without the foiced laboui of the masses, whethei wage-eaineis oi
slaves, as a piincipal and absolutely necessaiy basis of the libeity and
cultuie of the political class the citizens.
Even the United States is no exception to this iule. lts maivellous
piospeiity and enviable piogiess aie due in gieat pait and above all to
one impoitant advantagethe gieat teiiitoiial wealth of Noith Ameiica.
e immense quantity of uncultivated and feitile lands, togethei with
a political libeity that exists nowheie else aiacts eveiy yeai hundieds
of thousands of eneigetic, industiious and intelligent colonists. is
wealth, at the same time keeps o paupeiism and delays the moment
when the social question will have to be put. A woikei who does not
nd woik oi who is dissatised with the wages oeied by the capitalist
can always, if need be, emigiate to the fai West to cleai theie some wild
and unoccupied land.
is possibility always iemaining open as a last iesoit to all Ameiican
woikeis, natuially keeps wages at a level, and gives to eveiy individual
an independence, unknown in Euiope. Such is the advantage, but heie is
the disadvantage. As cheapness of the pioducts of industiy is achieved in
gieat pait by cheapness of laboui, the Ameiican manufactuieis foi most
of the time aie not in a condition to compete against the manufactuieis
of Euiopefiom which theie iesults, foi the industiy of the Noithein
States, the necessity foi a piotectionist taii. But that has a iesult, istly
to cieate a host of aiticial industiies and above all to oppiess and iuin
the non-manufactuiing Southein States and make them want secession,
nally to ciowd togethei into cities like New Yoik, Philadelphia, Boston
and many otheis, pioletaiian woiking masses who, lile by lile, aie
beginning to nd themselves alieady in a situation analogous to that of
the woikeis in the gieat manufactuiing States of Euiope. And we see,
in eect the social question alieady being posed in the Noithein States,
just as it was posed long befoie in oui countiies.
And theie too, the self-goveinment of the masses, in spite of all the
display of the peoples omnipotence, iemains most of the time in a state of
ction. ln ieality, it is minoiities which govein. e so-called Demociatic
Paity, up to the time of the Civil Wai to emancipate the slaves, weie the
out and out paitisans of slaveiy and of the feiocious oligaichy of the
planteis, demagogues without faith oi conscience, capable of saciicing
eveiything to theii gieed and evil-minded ambition, and who, by theii
detestable inuence and actions, exeicised almost unhindeied, foi neaily
y yeais continuously, have gieatly contiibuted to depiave the political
moiality of Noith Ameiica.
lt should be kept in mind in ieading this and the paiagiaphs conceining the United States,
that they weie wiien in 18 not long aei the close of the Civil Wai. At that time it
was not as easy to see as it is now, that the Republican Paity was not ieally a Paity of
Libeiation but the Paity of lndustiial Capitalism, and that the Civil Wai was fought,
not to emancipate the slaves but meiely to decide whethei they should continue as
chael slaves oi change theii status to that of wage-slaves.
e Republican Paity, though ieally intelligent and geneious, is still
and always a minoiity, and whatevei the sinceiity of this paity of lib-
eiation, howevei gieat and geneious the piinciples it piofesses, do not
let us hope that, in powei, it will ienounce this exclusive position of a
goveining minoiity to meige into the mass of the nation so that the self-
goveinment of the people shall nally become a ieality. loi that theie
will be necessaiy a ievolution fai moie piofound than all those which
hitheito have shaken the Old and New Woilds.
ln Switzeiland, in spite of all the demociatic ievolutions that have
taken place theie, it is still always the class in comfoitable ciicumstances,
the bouigeoisie, that is to say, the class piivileged by wealth, leisuie, and
education, which goveins. e soveieignty of the peoplea woid which,
anyway, we detest because in oui eyes, all soveieignty is detestablethe
goveinment of the people by themselves is likewise a ction. e people
is soveieign in law, not in fact, foi necessaiily absoibed by theii daily
laboui, which leaves them no leisuie, and if not completely ignoiant,
at least veiy infeiioi in education to the bouigeoisie, they aie foiced
to place in the hands of the laei theii supposed soveieignty. e sole
advantage which they get out of it in Switzeiland, as in the United States,
is that ambitious minoiities, the political classes, cannot aiiive at powei
otheiwise than by paying couit to the people, aeiing theii eeting
passions, which may sometimes be veiy bad, and most oen deceiving
lt is tiue that the most impeifect iepublic is a thousand times beei
than the most enlightened monaichy, foi at least in the iepublic theie aie
moments when, though always exploited, the people aie not oppiessed,
while in monaichies they aie nevei anything else. And then the demo-
ciatic iegime tiains the masses lile by lile in public life, which the
monaichy nevei does. But whilst giving the piefeience to the iepub-
lic we aie neveitheless foiced to iecognise and pioclaim that whatevei
may be the foim of goveinment, whilst human society iemains divided
into dieient classes because of the heieditaiy inequality of occupations,
wealth, education, and piivileges, theie will always be minoiity govein-
ment and the inevitable exploitation of the majoiity by that minoiity.
e State is nothing else but this domination and exploitation iegu-
laiised and systematised. We shall aempt to demonstiate it by examin-
ing the consequence of the goveinment of the masses of the people by
a minoiity, at ist as intelligent and as devoted as you like, in an ideal
State, founded on a fiee contiact.
Suppose the goveinment to be conned only to the best citizens. At
ist these citizens aie piivileged not by iight, but by fact. ey have
been elected by the people because they aie the most intelligent, clevei,
wise, and couiageous and devoted. Taken fiom the mass of the citizens,
who aie iegaided as all equal, they do not yet foim a class apait, but a
gioup of men piivileged only by natuie and foi that veiy ieason singled
out foi election by the people. eii numbei is necessaiily veiy limited,
foi in all times and countiies the numbei of men endowed with qualities
so iemaikable that they automatically command the unanimous iespect
of a nation is, as expeiience teaches us, veiy small. eiefoie, undei pain
of making a bad choice, the people will be always foiced to choose its
iuleis fiom amongst them.
Heie, then, is society divided into two categoiies, if not yet to say two
classes, of which one, composed of the immense majoiity of the citizens,
submits fieely to the goveinment of its elected leadeis, the othei, foimed
of a small numbei of piivileged natuies, iecognised and accepted as
such by the people, and chaiged by them to govein them. Dependent
on populai election, they aie at ist distinguished fiom the mass of the
citizens only by the veiy qualities which iecommended them to theii
choice and aie natuially, the most devoted and useful of all. ey do
not yet assume to themselves any piivilege, any paiticulai iight, except
that of exeicising, insofai as the people wish it, the special functions
with which they have been chaiged. loi the iest, by theii mannei of
life, by the conditions and means of theii existence, they do not sepaiate
themselves in any way fiom all the otheis, so that a peifect equality
continues to ieign among all. Can this equality be long maintained` We
claim that it cannot and nothing is easiei to piove it.
Nothing is moie dangeious foi mans piivate moiality than the habit
of command. e best man, the most intelligent, disinteiested, geneious,
puie, will infallibly and always be spoiled at this tiade. Two sentiments
inheient in powei nevei fail to pioduce this demoialisation, they aie
contempt foi the masses and the oveiestimation of ones own meiits.
e masses, a man says to himself, iecognising theii incapacity
to govein on theii own account, have elected me theii chief. By that
act they have publicly pioclaimed theii infeiioiity and my supeiioiity.
Among this ciowd of men, iecognising haidly any equals of myself, l
am alone capable of diiecting public aaiis. e people have need of me,
they cannot do without my seivices, while l, on the contiaiy, can get
along all iight by myself they, theiefoie, must obey me foi theii own
secuiity, and in condescending to command them, l am doing them a
good tuin.
ls not theie something in all that to make a man lose his head and his
heait as well, and become mad with piide` lt is thus that powei and
the habit of command become foi even the most intelligent and viituous
men, a souice of abeiiation, both intellectual and moial.
But in the Peoples State of Maix, theie will be, we aie told, no piiv-
ileged class at all. All will be equal, not only fiom the juiidical and
political point of view, but fiom the economic point of view. At least that
is what is piomised, though l doubt veiy much, consideiing the mannei
in which it is being tackled and the couise it is desiied to follow, whethei
that piomise could evei be kept. eie will theiefoie be no longei any
piivileged class, but theie will be a goveinment and, note this well, an
extiemely complex goveinment, which will not content itself with gov-
eining and administeiing the masses politically, as all goveinments do
to-day, but which will also administei them economically, concentiating
in its own hands the pioduction and the just division of wealth, the
cultivation of land, the establishment and development of factoiies, the
oiganisation and diiection of commeice, nally the application of cap-
ital to pioduction by the only bankei, the State. All that will demand
an immense knowledge and many heads oveiowing with biains
this goveinment. lt will be the ieign of sc:en:c :ne||:gence, the most
aiistociatic, despotic, aiiogant and contemptuous of all iegimes. eie
will be a new class, a new hieiaichy of ieal and pietended scientists and
A satiiic allusion to the iefeience to Maix by Soige, the Geiman- Ameiican delegate, at
the Hague Confeience.
scholais, and the woild will be divided into a minoiity iuling in the name
of knowledge and an immense ignoiant majoiity.

And then, woe betide

the mass of ignoiant ones'
Such a iegime will not fail to aiouse veiy consideiable discontent
in this mass and in oidei to keep it in check the enlightenment and
libeiating goveinment of Maix will have need of a not less consideiable
aimed foice. loi the goveinment must be stiong, says Engels, to maintain
oidei among these millions of illiteiates whose biutal upiising would be
capable of destioying and oveithiowing eveiything, even a goveinment
diiected by heads oveiowing with biains.
You can see quite well that behind all the demociatic and socialistic
phiases and piomises of Maixs piogiamme, theie is to be found in
his State all that constitutes the tiue despotic and biutal natuie of all
States, whatevei may be the foim of theii goveinment and that in the
nal ieckoning, the Peoples State so stiongly commended by Maix, and
the aiistociatic-monaichic State, maintained with as much cleveiness
as powei by Bismaick, aie completely identical by the natuie of theii
objective at home as well as in foieign aaiis. ln foieign aaiis it is
the same deployment of militaiy foice, that is to say, conquest, and in
home aaiis it is the same employment of this aimed foice, the last
aigument of all thieatened political poweis against the masses, who,
tiied of believing, hoping, submiing and obeying always, iise in ievolt.
Maixs Communist idea comes to light in all his wiitings, it is also
manifest in the motions put foiwaid by the Geneial Council of the lntei-
national Woikingmens Association, situated in London, at the Congiess
of Basel in 189, as well as by the pioposals which he had intended to
piesent to the Congiess which was to take place in Septembei, 180, but
which had to be suspended because of the lianco-Geiman Wai. As a
membei of the Geneial Council in London and as coiiesponding Sec-
ietaiy foi Geimany, Maix enjoys in this Council, as is well known, a
gieat and it must be admied, legitimate inuence, so that it can be
taken foi ceitain that of the motions put to the Congiess by the Council,
seveial aie piincipally deiived fiom the system and the collaboiation of
Maix. lt was in this way that the English citizen Lucia, a membei of

Compaie James Buinhams theoiy in his Monoger:o| Re+o|v:on.

the Geneial Council, put foiwaid at the Congiess of Basel the idea that
all the land in a countiy should become the piopeity of the State, and
that the cultivation of this land should be diiected and administeied by
State ocials, Which, he added, will only be possible in a demociatic
and Socialist State, in which the people will have to watch caiefully ovei
the good administiation of the national land by the State.
is cult of the State is, in geneial, the piincipal chaiacteiistic of
Geiman Socialism. Lassalle, the gieatest Socialist agitatoi and the tiue
foundei of the piactical Socialist movement in Geimany was steeped in
it. He saw no salvation foi the woikeis except in the powei of the State,
of which the woikeis should possess themselves, accoiding to him, by
means of univeisal suiage.
. Internationalism and the State
Let us considei the ieal, national policy of Maix himself. Like Bis-
maick, he is a Geiman patiiot. He desiies the gieatness and powei of
Geimany as a State. No one anyway will count it a ciime in him to love
his countiy and his people, and since he is so piofoundly convinced that
the State is the condition s:ne qvo non of the piospeiity of the one and the
emancipation of the othei, it will be found natuial that he should desiie
to see Geimany oiganized into a veiy laige and veiy poweiful State,
since weak and small States always iun the iisk of seeing themselves
swallowed up. Consequently Maix as a cleai-sighted and aident patiiot,
must wish foi the gieatness and stiength of Geimany as a State.
But, on the othei hand, Maix is a celebiated Socialist and, what is
moie, one of the piincipal initiatois of the lnteinational. He does not
content himself with woiking foi the emancipation of the pioletaiiat of
Geimany alone, he feels himself in honoi bound, and he consideis it as
his duty, to woik at the same time foi the emancipation of the pioletaiiat
of all othei countiies, the iesult is that he nds himself in complete
conict with himself. As a Geiman patiiot, he wants the gieatness and
powei, that is to say, the domination of Geimany, but as a Socialist of
the lnteinational he must wish foi the emancipation of all the peoples
of the woild. How can this contiadiction be iesolved`
eie is only one way, that is to pioclaim, aei he has peisuaded him-
self of it, of couise, that the gieatness and powei of Geimany as a State,
is a supieme condition of the emancipation of the whole woild, that the
national and political tiiumph of Geimany, is the tiiumph of humanity,
and that all that is contiaiy to the advent of this gieat new omnivoious
powei is the enemy of humanity. is conviction once established, it is
not only peimied, but it is commanded by the most sacied of causes, to
make the lnteinational, including all the ledeiations of othei countiies,
seive as a veiy poweiful, convenient, above all, populai means foi the
seing up of the gieat Pan-Geiman State. And that is piecisely what
Maix tiied to do, as much by the delibeiations of the Confeience he
called at London in 181 as by the iesolutions voted by his Geiman and
liench fiiends at the Hague Congiess. lf he did not succeed beei, it is
assuiedly not foi lack of veiy gieat eoits and much skill on his pait,
but piobably because the fundamental idea which inspiies him is false
and its iealization is impossible.
One cannot commit a gieatei mistake than to ask eithei of a thing oi
of an institution, oi of a man mole than they can give. By demanding
moie fiom them one demoialises, impedes, peiveits and kills them. e
lnteinational in a shoit time pioduced gieat iesults. lt oiganised and it
will oiganise eveiy day in a moie foimidable mannei still, the pioletaiiat
foi the economic stiuggle. ls that a ieason to hope that one can use it as
an instiument foi the political stiuggle` Maix, because he thought so,
veiy neaily killed the lnteinational, by his ciiminal aempt at the Hague.
lt is the stoiy of the goose with the golden eggs. At the summons to
the economic stiuggle masses of woikeis of dieient countiies hastened
along to iange themselves undei the ag of the lnteinational, and Maix
imagined that the masses would stay undei itwhat do l say`that they
would hasten along in still moie foimidable numbeis, when he, a new
Moses, had insciibed the maxims of his political decalogue on oui ag
in the ocial and binding piogiamme of the lnteinational.
eie his mistake lay. e masses, without distinction of degiee of
cultuie, ieligious beliefs, countiy and speech, had undeistood the lan-
guage of the lnteinational when it spoke to them of theii poveity, theii
sueiings and theii slaveiy undei the yoke of Capitalism and exploiting
piivate owneiship, they undeistood it when it demonstiated to them the
necessity of uniting theii eoits in a gieat solid, common stiuggle. But
heie they weie being talked to about a veiy leained and above all veiy
authoiitaiian political piogiamme, which, in the name of theii own sal-
vation, was aempting, in that veiy lnteinational which was to oiganise
theii emancipation by theii own eoits, to impose on them a dictatoiial
goveinment, piovisional, no doubt, but, meanwhile, completely aibitiaiy
and diiected by a head extiaoidinaiily lled with biains.
Maixs piogiamme is a complete fabiic of political and economic insti-
tutions stiongly centialised and veiy authoiitaiian, sanctioned, no doubt,
like all despotic institutions in modein society, by univeisal suiage, but
suboidinate neveitheless to a +er, srong goveinment, to use the veiy
woids of Engels, the o|er ego of Maix, the condant of the legislatoi.
To what a degiee of madness would not one have to be diiven by
ambition, oi vanity, oi both at once, to have been capable of conceiving
the hope that one could ietain the woiking masses of the dieient coun-
tiies of Euiope and Ameiica undei the ag of the lnteinational on these
A univeisal State, goveinment, dictatoiship' e dieam of Popes Gie-
goiy Vll and Boniface Vlll, of the Empeioi Chailes V, and of Napoleon,
iepioducing itself undei new foims, but always with the same pieten-
sions in the camp of Socialist Demociacy' Can one imagine anything
moie builesque, but also anything moie ievolting`
To maintain that one gioup of individuals, even the most intelligent
and the best intentioned, aie capable of becoming the thought, the soul,
the guiding and unifying will of the ievolutionaiy movement and of the
economic oiganisation of the pioletaiiat in all countiies is such a heiesy
against common sense, and against the expeiience of histoiy, that one
asks oneself with astonishment how a man as intelligent as Maix could
have conceived it.
e Pope had at least foi an excuse the absolute tiuth which they
claimed iested in theii hands by the giace of the Holy Spiiit and in
which they weie supposed to believe. Maix has not this excuse, and l
shall, not insult him by thinking that he believes himself to have scienti-
cally invented something which appioaches absolute tiuth. But fiom the
moment that the absolute does not exist, theie cannot be any infallible
dogma foi the lnteinational, noi consequently any ocial political and
economic theoiy, and oui Congiesses must nevei claim the iole of Gen-
eial Chuich Councils, pioclaiming obligatoiy piinciples foi all adheients
and believeis. eie exists only one law which is ieally obligatoiy foi
all membeis, individuals sections and fedeiations in the lnteinational,
of which this law con stitutes the tiue and only basis. lt is, in all its
extension, in all its consequences and applicationsthe lnteinational
solidaiity of the toileis in all tiades and in all countiies in theii economic
stiuggle against the exploiteis of laboui. lt is in the ieal oiganisation of
this solidaiity, by the spontaneous oiganisation of the woiking masses
and by the absolutely fiee fedeiation, poweiful in piopoition as it will be
fiee, of the woiking masses of all languages and nations, and not in theii
unication by deciees and undei the iod of any goveinment whatevei,
that theie iesides the ieal and living unity of the lnteinational. at fiom
this evei bioadei oiganisation of the militant solidaiity of the pioletaiiat
against bouigeois exploitation theie must issue, and in fact theie does
aiise, the political stiuggle of the pioletaiiat against the bouigeoisie, who
can doubt` e Maixians and ouiselves aie unanimous on this point.
But immediately theie piesents itself the question which sepaiates us so
piofoundly fiom the Maixians.
We think that the necessaiily ievolutionaiy policy of the pioletaiiat
must have foi its immediate and only object the destiuction of States.
We do not undeistand that anyone could speak of inteinational soli-
daiity when they want to keep Statesunless they aie dieaming of the
Univeisal State, that is to say, univeisal slaveiy like the gieat Empeiois
and Popesthe State by its veiy natuie being a iuptuie of this solidaiity
and consequently a peimanent cause of wai. Neithei do we undeistand
how anybody could speak of the fieedom of the pioletaiiat oi of the
ieal deliveiance of the masses in the State and by the State. State means
domination, and all domination piesupposes the subjection of the masses
and consequently theii exploitation to the piot of some minoiity oi
We do not admit, even as a ievolutionaiy tiansition, eithei National
Conventions, oi Constituent Assemblies, oi so-called ievolutionaiy dicta-
toiships, because we aie convinced that the ievolutionaiy is only sinceie,
honest and ieal in the masses, and that when it is concentiated in the
hands of some goveining individuals, it natuially and inevitably becomes
e Maixians piofess quite contiaiy ideas. As bets good Geimans,
they aie woishipeis of the powei of the State, and necessaiily also the
piophets of political and social discipline, the champions of oidei estab-
lished fiom above downwaids, always in the name of univeisal suiage
and the soveieignty of the masses, to whom they ieseive the happiness
and honoui of obeying chiefs, elected masteis. e Maixians admit no
othei emancipation than that which they expect fiom theii so-called
Peoples States. ey aie so lile the enemies of patiiotism that theii
lnteinational, even, weais too oen the colouis of Pan-Geimanism. Be-
tween the Maixian policy and the Bismaickian policy theie no doubt
exists a veiy appieciable dieience, but between the Maixians and oui-
selves, theie is an abyss. ey aie Goveinmentalists, we aie out and out
lndeed, between these two tendencies no conciliation to-day is pos-
sible. Only the piactical expeiience of social ievolution, of gieat new
histoiic expeiiences, the logic of events, can biing them soonei oi latei
to a common solution, and stiongly convinced of the iightness of oui
piinciple, we hope that then the Geimans themselvesthe woikeis of
Geimany and not theii leadeiswill nish by joining us in oidei to de-
molish those piisons of peoples, that aie called States and to condemn
politics, which indeed is nothing but the ait of dominating and eecing
the masses.
At a pinch l can conceive that despots, ciowned oi unciowned, could
dieam of the sceptie of the woild, but what can be said of a fiiend of the
pioletaiiat, of a ievolutionaiy who seiiously claims that he desiies the
emancipation of the masses and who seing himself up as diiectoi and
supieme aibitei of all the ievolutionaiy movements which can buist foith
in dieient countiies, daies to dieam of the subjection of the pioletaiiat
of all these countiies to a single thought, hatched in his own biain.
l considei that Maix is a veiy seiious ievolutionaiy, if not always a
veiy sinceie one, and that he ieally wants to upli the masses and l ask
myselfWhy it is that he does not peiceive that the establishment of a
univeisal dictatoiship, whethei collective oi individual, of a dictatoiship
which would peifoim in some degiee the task of chief engineei of the
woild ievolutioniuling and diiecting the in suiiectional movement
of the masses in all countiies as one guides a machinethat the estab-
lishment of such a dictatoiship would suce by itself alone to kill the
ievolution, oi paialyse and peiveit all the peoples movements` What
is the man, what is the gioup of individuals, howevei gieat may be
theii genius, who would daie to aei themselves to be able to em-
biace and compiehend the innite multitude of inteiests, of tendencies
and actions, so diveise in each countiy, piovince, locality, tiade, and of
which the immense totality, united, but not made unifoim, by one giand
common aspiiation and by some fundamental piinciples which have
passed hencefoith into the consciousness of the masses, will constitute
the futuie social ievolution`
And what is to be thought of an lnteinational Congiess which in the
so-called inteiests of this ievolution, imposes on the pioletaiiat of the
whole civilised woild a goveinment invested with dictatoiial powei, with
the inquisitoiial and dictatoiial iights of suspending iegional fedeiations,
of pioclaiming a ban against whole nations in the name of a so-called
ocial piinciple, which is nothing else than Maixs own opinion, tians-
foimed by the vote of a fake majoiity into an absolute tiuth` What is to
be thought of a Congiess which, doubtless to iendei its folly still moie
patent, ielegates to Ameiica this dictatoiial goveining body, aei having
composed it of men piobably veiy honest, but obscuie, suciently igno-
iant, and absolutely unknown to it. Oui enemies the bouigeois would
then be iight when they laugh at oui Congiesses and when they claim
that the lnteinational only ghts old tyiannies in oidei to establish new
ones, and that in oidei woithily to ieplace existing absuidities, it wishes
to cieate anothei'
s. Social Revolution and the State
What Bismaick has done foi the political and bouigeois woild, Maix
claims to do to-day
foi the Socialist woild, among the pioletaiiat of Eu-
iope, to ieplace liench initiative by Geiman initiative and domination,
and as, accoiding to him and his disciples, theie is no Geiman thought
moie advanced than his own, he believed the moment had come to have
it tiiumph theoietically and piactically in the lnteinational. Such was
the only object of the Confeience which he called, togethei in Septembei
181 in London. is Maixian thought is explicitly developed in the
famous Manifesto of the iefugee Geiman Communists diaed and pub-
lished in 1848. by Maix and Engels. lt is the theoiy of the emancipation
of the pioletaiiat and of the oiganisation of laboui by the State.
lts piincipal point is the conquest of political powei by the woiking
class. One can undeistand that men as indispensable as Maix and Engels
should be the paitisans of a piogiamme which, conseciating and appiov-
ing political powei, opens the dooi to all ambitions. Since theie will be
political powei theie will necessaiily be subjects, got up in Republican
fashion, as citizens, it is tiue, but who will none the less be subjects, and
who as such will be foiced to obeybecause without obedience, theie
is no powei possible. lt will be said in answei to this that they will
obey not men but laws which they will have made themselves. To that l
shall ieply that eveiybody knows how much, in the countiies which aie
fieest and most demociatic, but politically goveined, the people make
the laws, and what theii obedience to these laws signies. Whoevei is
not delibeiately desiious of taking ctions foi iealities must iecognise
quite well that, even in such countiies, the people ieally obey not laws
which they make themselves, but laws which aie made in theii name,
and that to obey these laws means nothing else to them than to submit
to the aibitiaiy will of some guaiding and goveining minoiity oi, what
amounts to the same thing, to be fieely slaves.
i.e., 182.
eie is in this piogiamme anothei expiession which is piofoundly
antipathetic to us ievolutionaiy Anaichists who fiankly want the com-
plete emancipation of the people, the expiession to which l iefei is the
piesentation of the pioletaiiat, the whole society of toileis, as a class
and not as a mass. Do you know what that means` Neithei moie
noi less than a new aiistociacy, that of the woikeis of the factoiies and
towns, to the exclusion of the millions who constitute the pioletaiiat of
the countiyside and who in the anticipations of the Social Demociats of
Geimany will, in eect, become subjects of theii gieat so-called Peoples
State. Class, Powei, State, aie thiee insepaiable teims, of which.
each necessaiy pie-supposes the two otheis and which all denitely aie
to be summed up by the woids |e o|::co| sv|jec:on onJ |e econo:c
e:|o:o:on o[ |e osses.
e Maixians think that just as in the 18
Centuiy the bouigeoisie
dethioned the nobility, to take its place and to absoib it slowly into
its own body, shaiing with it the domination and exploitation of the
toileis in the towns as well as in the countiy, so the pioletaiiat of the
towns is called on to-day to dethione the bouigeoisie, to absoib it and
to shaie with it the domination and exploitation of the pioletaiiat of the
countiyside, this last outcast of histoiy, unless this laei latei an ievolts
and demolishes all classes, denominations, poweis, in a woid, all States.
To me, howevei, the owei of the pioletaiiat does not mean, as it does
to the Maixians, the uppei layei, the most civilised and comfoitably o
in the woiking woild, that layei of semi-bouigeois woikeis, which is
piecisely the class the Maixians want to use to constitute theii [ovr|
go+ern:ng c|oss, and which is ieally capable of foiming one if things aie
not set to iights in the inteiests of the gieat mass of the pioletaiiat, foi
with its ielative comfoit and semi-bouigeois position, this uppei layei of
woikeis is unfoitunately only too deeply penetiated with all the political
and social piejudices and all the naiiow aspiiations and pietensions
of the bouigeois. lt can be tiuly said that this uppei layei is the least
socialist, the most individualist in all the pioletaiiat.
By |e o+rer o[ |e ro|eor:o, l mean above all, that gieat mass, those
millions of non-civilised, disinheiited, wietched and illiteiates whom
Messis. Engels and Maix mean to subject to the pateinal iegime of o +er,
srong go+ernen, to employ an expiession used by Engels in a leei to
oui fiiend Caeio. Without doubt, this will be foi theii own salvation,
as of couise all goveinments, as is well known, have been established
solely in the inteiests of the masses themselves.
By the owei of the
pioletaiiat l mean piecisely that eteinal meat foi goveinments, that
gieat ro|||e o[ |e eo|e oidinaiily designated by Messis. Maix and
Engels by the phiase at once pictuiesque and contemptuous of lumpen
pioletaiiat, the ii ia, that iabble which, being veiy neaily unpol-
luted by all bouigeois civilization caiiies in its heait, in its aspiiations, in
all necessities and the miseiies of its collective position, all the geims of
the Socialism of the futuie, and which alone is poweiful enough to-day
to inauguiate the Social Revolution and biing it to tiiumph.
ough dieiing fiom us in this iespect also, the Maixians do not
ieject oui piogiamme absolutely. ey only iepioach us with wanting to
hasten, to outstiip, the slow maich of histoiy and to ignoie the scientic
law of successive evolutions. Having had the thoioughly Geiman neive
to pioclaim in theii woilds conseciated to the philosophical analysis of
the gast that the bloody defeat of the insuigent peasants of Geimany and
the tiiumph of the despotic States in the sixteenth centuiy constituted
a gieat ievolutionaiy piogiess, they to-day have the neive to satisfy
themselves with establishing a new despotism to the so-called piot of
the town-woikeis and to the detiiment of the toileis in the countiy.
To suppoit his piogiamme of the conquest of political powei, Maix
has a veiy special theoiy which is, moieovei, only a logical consequence
of his whole system. e political condition of each countiy, says he,
is always the pioduct and the faithful expiession of its economic situa-
tion, to change the foimei it is only necessaiy to tiansfoim the laei.
Accoiding to Maix, ail the seciet of histoiic evolution is theie. He takes
no account of othei elements in histoiy, such as the quite obvious ie-
action of political, juiidical, and ieligious institutions on the economic
situation. He says, Poveity pioduces political slaveiy, the State, but
he does not allow this expiession to be tuined aiound to say Political
slaveiy, the State, iepioduces in its tuin, and maintains poveity as a
condition of its own existence, so that, in oidei to destioy poveity, it is
necessaiy to destioy the State' And, a stiange thing in him who foibids
is sentence is, of couise, puiely iionical.
his opponents to lay the blame on political slaveiy, the State, as an active
cause of poveity, he commands his fiiends and disciples of the Social
Demociatic Paity in Geimany to considei the conquest of powei and of
political libeities as the pieliminaiy condition absolutely necessaiy foi
economic emancipation.
Yet the sociologists of the school of Maix, men like Engels and Lassalle,
object against us that the State is not at all the cause of the poveity of
the people, of the degiadation and seivitude of the masses, but that the
wietched condition of the masses, as well as the despotic powei of the
State aie, on the contiaiy, both the one and the othei, the eects of a
moie geneial cause, the pioducts of an inevitable phase in the economic
development of society, of a phase which, fiom the point of view of
histoiy, constitutes tiue piogiess, an immense step towaids what |e,
call the social ievolution. To such a degiee, in fact, that Lassalle did not
hesitate loudly to pioclaim that the defeat of the foimidable ievolt of
the peasants in Geimany in the sixteenth centuiya deploiable defeat
if evei theie was one, fiom which dates the centuiies-old slaveiy of
the Geimansand the tiiumph of the despotic and centialised State
which was the necessaiy consequence of it, constituted a ieal tiiumph foi
this ievolution, because the peasants, say the Maixians, aie the natuial
iepiesentatives of ieaction, whilst the modein militaiy and buieauciatic
Statea pioduct and inevitable accompaniment of the social ievolution,
which, staiting fiomthe second half of the sixteenth centuiy commenced
the slow, but always piogiessive tiansfoimation of the ancient feudal
and land economy into the pioduction of wealth, oi, what comes to
the same thing, into the exploitation of the laboui of the people by
capitalthis State was an essential condition of this ievolution.
One can undeistand how Engels, diiven on by the same 'logic, in
a leei addiessed to one of oui fiiends, Cailo Caeio, was able to say,
without the least iiony, but on the contiaiy, veiy seiiously, that Bismaick
as well as King Victoi Emmanuel ll had iendeied immense seivices to
the ievolution, both of them having cieated political centialisation in
theii iespective countiies.
Likewise Maix completely ignoies a most impoitant element in the
histoiic development of humanity, that is, the tempeiament and paiticu-
lai chaiactei of each iace and each people, a tempeiament and chaiactei
which aie natuially themselves the pioduct of a multitude of ethnogiaph-
ical, climatological, economic, as well as histoiic causes, but which, once
pioduced, exeicise, even apait fiom and independent of the economic
conditions of each countiy, a consideiable inuence on its destinies, and
even on the development of its economic foices. Among these elements,
and these so to say natuial tiaits, theie is one whose action is completely
decisive in the paiticulai histoiy of each people, it is the intensity of
the instinct of ievolt, and by the same token, of libeity, with which it is
endowed oi which is has conseived. is instinct is a fact which is com-
pletely piimoidial and animal, one nds it in dieient degiees in eveiy
living being, and the eneigy, the vital powei of each is to be measuied by
its intensity. ln man, besides the economic needs which uige him on, this
instinct becomes the most poweiful agent of all human emancipations.
And as it is a maei of tempeiament, not of intellectual and moial cultuie,
although oidinaiily it evokes one and the othei, it sometimes happens
that civilised peoples possess it only in a feeble degiee, whethei it is that
it has been exhausted duiing theii pievious development, oi whethei the
veiy natuie of theii civilisation has depiaved them, oi whethei, nally,
they weie oiiginally less endowed with it than weie otheis.
Such has been in all its past, such is still today the Geimany of the
nobles and the bouigeoisie. e Geiman pioletaiiat, a victim foi cen-
tuiies of one and the othei, can it be made jointly iesponsible foi the
spiiit of conquest which manifests itself to-day in the uppei classes of
this nation` ln actual fact, undoubtedly, no. loi a conqueiing people is
necessaiily a slave people, and the slaves aie always the pioletaiiat. Con-
quest is theiefoie completely opposed to theii inteiests and libeity. But
they aie jointly iesponsible foi it in spiiit, and they will iemain jointly
iesponsible as long as they do not undeistand that this Pan-Geiman
State, this Republican and so-called Peoples State, which is piomised
them in a moie oi less neai futuie, would be nothing else, if it could evei
be iealised, than a new foim of veiy haid slaveiy foi the pioletaiiat.
Up to the piesent, at least, they do not seem to have undeistood it, and
none of theii chiefs, oiatois, oi publicists, has given himself the tiouble
to explain it to them. ey aie all tiying, on the contiaiy, to inveigle
the pioletaiiat along a path wheie they will meet with nothing but the
animadveision of the woild and theii own enslavement, and, as long as,
obeying the diiections of these leadeis, they puisue this fiightful illusion
of a Peoples State, ceitainly the pioletaiiat will not have the initiative foi
social ievolution. is Revolution will come to it fiom outside, piobably
fiom the Mediteiianean countiies, and then yielding to the univeisal
contagion, the Geiman pioletaiiat will unloose its passions and will
oveithiow at one stioke the dominion of its tyiants and of its so-called
e ieasoning of Maix leads to absolutely opposite iesults. Taking
into consideiation nothing but the one economic question, he says to
himself that the most advanced countiies and consequently the most
capable of making a social ievolution aie those in which modein Cap-
italist pioduction has ieached its highest degiee of development. lt is
they that, to the exclusion of all otheis, aie the civilised countiies, the
only ones called on to initiate and diiect this ievolution. is ievolution
will consist in the expiopiiation, whethei by peaceful succession oi by
violence, of the piesent piopeity-owneis and capitalists and in the ap-
piopiiation of all lands and all capital by the State, which in oidei to
fulll its gieat economic as well as political mission must necessaiily be
veiy poweiful and veiy stiongly centialised. e State will administei
and diiect the cultivation of the land by means of its salaiied oceis
commanding aimies of iuial toileis, oiganised and disciplined foi this
cultivation. At the same time, on the iuin of all the existing banks it will
establish a single bank, nancing all laboui and all national commeice.
One can undeistand that, at ist sight, such a simple plan of oiganisa-
tionat least in appeaiancecould seduce the imagination of woikeis
moie eagei foi justice and equality than foi libeity and foolishly fancying
that these two can exist without libeityas if to gain and consolidate
justice and equality, one could iely on othei people, and on iuling gioups
above all, howevei much they may claim to be elected and contiolled
by the people. ln ieality it would be foi the pioletaiiat a baiiack iegime,
wheie the standaidised mass of men and women woikeis would wake,
sleep, woik and live to the beat of the dium, foi the clevei and the leained
a piivilege of goveining, and foi the meicenaiy minded, aiacted by the
immensity, of the inteinational speculations of the national banks, a vast
eld of luciative jobbeiy.
At home it will be slaveiy, in foieign aaiis a tiuceless wai, unless
all the peoples of the infeiioi iaces, Latin oi Slav, the one tiied of the
bouigeois civilisation, the othei almost ignoiant of it and despising it by
instinct, unless these peoples iesign themselves to submit to the yoke of
an essentially bouigeois nation and a State all the moie despotic because
it will call itself the Peoples State.
e social ievolution, as the Latin and Slav toileis pictuie it to them-
selves, desiie it and hope foi it, is innitely bioadei than that piomised
themby the Geiman oi Maixian piogiamme. lt is not foi thema question
of the emancipation paisimoniously measuied out and only iealisable
at a veiy distant date, of the woiking class, but the complete and ieal
emancipation of all the pioletaiiat, not only of some countiies but of all
nations, civilised and unciviliseda new civilisation, genuinely of the
people, being destined to commence by this act of univeisal emancipa-
And the ist woid of this emancipation can be none othei than Lib-
eity, not that political, bouigeois libeity, so much appioved and iecom-
mended as a pieliminaiy object of conquest by Maix and his adheients,
but the greo |von |:|er,, which, destioying all the dogmatic, meta-
physical, political and juiidical feeis by which eveiybody to-day is
loaded down, will give to eveiybody, collectivities as well as individuals,
full autonomy in theii activities and theii development, deliveied once
and foi all fiom all inspectois, diiectois and guaidians.
e second woid of this emancipation is so|:Jor:,, not the Maixian
solidaiity fiom above downwaids by some goveinment oi othei, eithei
by iuse oi by foice, on the masses of the people, not that solidaiity of
all which is the negation of the libeity of each, and which by that veiy
fact becomes a falsehood, a ction, having slaveiy as the ieality behind
it, but that solidaiity which is on the contiaiy the conimation and the
iealisation of eveiy libeity, having its oiigin not in any political law
whatsoevei, but in the inheient collective natuie of man, in viitue of
which no man is fiee if all the men who suiiound him and who exeicise
the least inuence, diiect oi indiiect, on his life aie not so equally. is
tiuth is to be found magnicently expiessed in the Declaiation of the
Rights of Man diaed by Robespieiie, and which pioclaims that |e
s|o+er, o[ |e |eos o[ en :s |e s|o+er, o[ o||.
e solidaiity which we ask, fai fiom being the iesult of any aiticial
oi authoiitaiian oiganisation whatsoevei, can only be the spontaneous
pioduct of social life, economic as well as moial, the iesult of the fiee
fedeiation of common inteiests, aspiiations and tendencies. lt has foi
essential bases, eqvo|:,, co||ec:+e |o|ovrbecoming obligatoiy foi each
not by the foice of law, but by the foice of factsand collective piopeity,
as a diiecting light, expeiiencethat is to say the piactice of the collective
life, |no+|eJge onJ |eorn:ng, and as a nal goal the establishment of
Humanity, and consequently the iuin of all States.
eie is the ideal, not divine, not metaphysical but human and roc
:co|, which alone coiiesponds to the modein aspiiations of the Latin
and Slav peoples. ey want complete libeity, complete solidaiity, com-
plete equality in a woid, they want only Humanity and they will not be
satised, even on the scoie of its being piovisional and tiansitoiy, with
anything less than that. e Maixians will denounce theii aspiiations as
folly, that has been done ovei a long peiiod, that has not tuined them
fiom theii goal, and they will nevei change the magnicence of that goal
foi the completely bouigeois platitudes of Maixian Socialism.
eii ideal is piactical in this sense, that its iealisation will be much
less dicult than that of the Maixian idea, which, besides the poveity of
its objective, piesents also the giave inconvenience of being absolutely
impiacticable. lt will not be the ist time that clevei men, iational and
advocates of things piactical and possible, will be iecognised foi Utopians,
and that those who aie called Utopians to-day will be iecognised as
piactical men to-moiiow. e absuidity of the Maixian system consists
piecisely in the hope that by inoidinately naiiowing down the Socialist
piogiamme so as to make it acceptable to the bouigeois Radicals,
it will
tiansfoim the laei into unwiing and involuntaiy seivants of the social
ievolution. eie is a gieat eiioi theie, all the expeiience of histoiy
demonstiates to us that an alliance concluded between two dieient
paities always tuins to the advantage of the moie ieactionaiy of the two
Radicalsthe moie piogiessive wing of the Libeials, and standing foi social iefoim and
political equalitaiianism, but not foi the abolition of piivate piopeity, oi of the wage
system. Hence they weie not Socialists. e Laboui Paity of to-day has inheiited much
of theii policy.
paities, this alliance necessaiily enfeebles the moie piogiessive paity,
by diminishing and distoiting its piogiamme, by destioying its moial
stiength, its condence in itself, whilst a ieactionaiy paity, when it is
guilty of falsehood is always and moie than evei tiue to itself.
As foi me, l do not hesitate to say that all the Maixist iitations with
the Radicalism, whethei iefoimist oi ievolutionaiy, of the bouigeois, can
have no othei iesult than the demoialisation and disoiganisation of the
iising powei of the pioletaiiat, and consequently a new consolidation of
the esiablished powei of the boutgeois.

o. Political Action and the Workers

ln Geimany, Socialism is alieady beginning to be a foimidable powei,
despite iestiictive and oppiessive laws. e woikeis paities
aie fiankly
Socialistin the sense that they want a Socialistic iefoim of the ielations
between capital and laboui, and that they considei that to obtain this
iefoim, the State must ist of all be iefoimed, and that if it will not
suei itself to be iefoimed peaceably, it must be iefoimed by political
ievolution. is political ievolution, they maintain, must piecede the
social ievolution, but l considei this a fatal eiioi, as such a ievolution
would necessaiily be a bouigeois ievolution and would pioduce only a
bouigeois socialism, that is to say it would lead to a new exploitation,
moie cunning and hypociitical, but not less oppiessive than the piesent.
is idea of a political ievolution pieceding a social ievolution has
opened wide the doois of the Social Demociatic Paity to all the Radical
demociats, who aie veiy lile Socialists. And the leadeis of the Paity
have, against the instincts of the woikeis themselves, biought into close
association with the bouigeois demociats of the Peoples Paity [the
Libeials], which is quite hostile to Socialism, as its Piess and politicians
demonstiate. e leadeis of this Peoples paity, howevei, have obseived
that these anti-Socialist ueiances displeased the woikeis, and they
modied the tone foi they need the woikeis assistance in theii political
aims, just as it has always been the all-poweiful aim of the people and
then lch the piots foi themselves. us these Populai demociats have
nowbecome Socialists of a soit. But the Socialism does not go beyond
the haimless dieams of bouigeois co-opeiativism.
At a Congiess in Eisenach, in August, 189, theie weie negotiations be-
tween the iepiesentatives of the two paities, woikei and demociat, and
these iesulted in a piogiamme which denitely constituted the Social
Demociatic Laboui Paity. is piogiamme is a compiomise between the
Socialist and ievolutionaiy piogamme of the lnteinational as deteimined
Wiien in Septembei, 180.
e Maixists and the Lassalleans. ey united in 18.

by the Congiesses of Biussels and Basel, and the piogiamme of boui-

geois demociacy. is new piogiamme called foi a fiee Peoples State,
wheiein all class domination and all exploitation would be abolished.
Political libeity was declaied to be the most uigently needed condition
foi the economic emancipation of the woiking classes. Consequently
the social question was insepaiable fiom the political question. lts solu-
tion was possible only in a demociatic State. e Paity was declaied to
be associated with the lnteinational. Some immediate objectives weie
set out manhood suiage, iefeienda, fiee and compulsoiy education,
sepaiation of Chuich and State, libeity of the Piess, State aid to woikeis
is piogiamme expiesses not the Socialist and ievolutionaiy aspiia-
tions of the woikeis, but the policy of the leadeis. eie is a diiect con-
tiadiction between the piogiamme of the lnteinational, and the puiely
national piogiamme set out above, between the socialist solidaiity of
Laboui and the political patiiotism of the National State. us the Social
Demociats nd themselves in the position of being united with theii
bouigeois compatiiots against the woikeis of a foieign countiy, and
theii patiiotism has vanquished them Socialism. Slaves themselves of
the Geiman Goveinment, they fulminate against the liench Goveinment
as tyiants. e only dieience between Bismaick and Napoleon lll was
that the one was a successful and the othei an unsuccessful scoundiel,
one was a scoundiel, and the othei a scoundiel and a half.
e Geiman Socialists idea of a liee State is a contiadiction in teims,
an uniealisable dieam. Socialism implying the destiuction of the State,
those who suppoit the State must ienounce Socialism, must saciice
the economic emancipation of the masses to the political powei of some
piivileged paityand in this case it will be bouigeois demociacy.
e piogiamme of the Social Demociats ieally implies that they iust
the bouigeois demociats to help the woikeis to achieve a Social ievolu-
tion, aei the woikeis have helped the bouigeois to achieve a political
ievolution. e way they have swallowed bouigeois ideas is shown by
the list of immediate objectives, which except foi the last, compiise the
well-known piogiamme of bouigeois demociacy. And in fact these im-
mediate objectives have become theii ieal objectives, so that they have

lent the Social Demociatic Paity to become a meie tool in the hands of
the bouigeois demociats.
Does Maix himself sinceiely want the antagonism of class against
class, that antagonism which iendeis absolutely impossible any paitici-
pation of the masses in the political action of the State` loi this action,
consideied apait fiom the bouigeoisie, is not piacticable it is only possi-
ble when it develops in conjunction with some paity of that class and lets
itself be diiected by the bouigeois. Maix cannot be ignoiant of that, and
besides, what is going on to-day in Geneva, Zuiich, Basel, and all ovei
Geimany, ought to open his eyes on this point, if he had closed them,
which, fiankly, l do not believe. lt is impossible foi me to believe it altei
having iead the speech he deliveied iecently at Amsteidam, in which
he said that in ceitain countiies, peihaps in Holland itself, the social
question could be iesolved peacefully, legally, without foice, in a fiiendly
fashion, which can mean nothing but this it can be iesolved by a seiies
of success sive, pacic, voluntaiy and judicious compiomises, between
bouigeoisie and pioletaiiat. Mazzini nevei said anything dieient fiom
Mazzini and Maix aie agieed on this point of capital impoitance, that
the gieat social iefoims which aie to emancipate the pioletaiiat cannot
be iealised except in a gieat demociatic, Republican, veiy poweiful and
stiongly centialised State, which foi the piopei well-being of the people,
in oidei to be able to give themeducation and social welfaie, must impose
on them, by means of theii own vote, a veiy stiong goveinment.

l maintain that if evei the Maixian paity, that of so-called Social

Demociacy, continues to puisue the couise of political demands, it will
see itself foiced to condemn, soonei oi latei, that of economic demands,
he couise of stiike action, so incompatible aie these two couises in
ln a pievious passage, Bakunin had said that Mazzini, like the Maixists, wanted to use
the peoples stiength wheieby to gain political powei.

is is essentially the line put foiwaid to-day by Laboui politicians, especially when, in
Austialia, they aie asking foi incieased poweis foi the ledeial Goveinment.
lt is always the same Geiman tempeiament and the same logic which
leads the Maixists diiectly and fatally into what we call Bouigeois Social-
ism and to the conclusion of a new political pact between the bouigeois
who aie Radicals, oi who aie foiced to become such and the intelligent,
iespectable, that is to say, duly bouigeoised minoiity of the town pio-
letaiiat to the detiiment of the mass of the pioletaiiat, not only in the
countiy, but in the towns also.
Such is the tiue meaning of woikeis candidatuies to the Pailiaments
of existing States, and that of the conquest of political powei by the
woiking class. loi even fiom the point of view of only the town piole-
taiiat to whose exclusive piot it is desiied to take possession of political
powei, is it not cleai that the populai natuie of this powei will nevei
be anything else than ction` lt will be obviously impossible foi some
hundieds of thousands oi even some tens of thousands oi indeed foi
only a few thousand men to eectively exeicise this powei. ey will
necessaiily exeicise it by pioxy, that is to say, entiust it to a gioup of men
elected by themselves to iepiesent and govein them, which will cause
them without fail to fall back again into all the falsehoods and seivitudes
of the iepiesentative oi bouigeois iegime. Aei a biief moment of libeity
oi ievolutionaiy oigy, citizens of a new State, they will awake to nd
themselves slaves, playthings and victims of new powei-lusteis. One
can undeistand how and why clevei politicians should aach themselves
with gieat passion to a piogiamme which opens such a wide hoiizon to
theii ambition, but that seiious woikeis, who beai in the heaits like a
living ame the sentiment of solidaiity with theii companions in slaveiy
and wietchedness the whole woild ovei, and who desiie to emancipate
themselves not to the detiiment of all but by the emancipation of all, to
be fiee themselves with all and not to become tyiants in theii tuin, that
sinceie toileis could become enamouied of such a piogiamme, that is
much moie dicult to undeistand.
But then, l have a imcondence that in a fewyeais the Geiman woik-
eis themselves, iecognising the fatal consequences of a theoiy which
can only favoui the ambition of theii bouigeois chiefs oi indeed that
of some exceptional woikeis who seek to climb on the shouldeis of
theii comiades in oidei to become dominating and exploiting bouigeois
in theii tuinl have condence that the Geiman woikeis will ieject
this theoiy with contempt and wiath, and that they will embiace the
tiue piogiamme of woiking-class emancipation, that of the destiuction
of States, with as much passion as do to-day the woikeis of the gieat
Mediteiianean countiies, liance, Spain, ltaly, as well as the Dutch and
Belgian woikeis.
Meanwhile we iecognise the peifect iight of the Geiman woikeis to
go the way that seems to them best, piovided that they allow us the same
libeity. We iecognise even that it is veiy possible that by all theii histoiy,
theii paiticulai natuie, the state of theii civilisation and theii whole
situation to-day, they aie foiced to go this way. Let then the Geiman,
Ameiican and English toileis tiy to win political powei since they desiie
to do so. But let them allow the toileis of othei countiies to maich with
the same eneigy to the destiuction of all political powei. Libeity foi all,
and a natuial iespect foi that libeity, such aie the essential conditions
of inteinational solidaiity.
e Geiman Social Demociatic Laboui Paity founded in 189 by
Liebknecht and Bebel, undei the auspices of Maix, announced in its
piogiamme that |e conqves o[ o|::co| o+er +os |e re|::nor, conJ:
:on o[ |e econo:c eonc:o:on o[ |e ro|eor:o, and that consequently
the immediate object of the paity must be the oiganisation of a wide-
spiead legal agitation foi the winning of univeisal suiage and of all
othei political iights, its nal aim, the establishment of the gieat pan-
Geiman and so-called Peoples State.
Between this tendency and that of the Alliance [Bakunins oiganisa-
tion] which iejected all political action, not having as immediate and
diiect objective the tiiumph of the woikeis ovei Capitalism, and as a
consequence, the abolition of the State, theie exists the same dieience,
the same abyss, as between the pioletaiiat and the bouigeoisie. e Al-
liance, taking the piogiamme of the lnteinational seiiously, had iejected
contemptuously all compiomise with bouigeois politics, in howevei Rad-
ical and Socialist a guise it might do itself up, advising the pioletaiiat as
the only way of ieal emancipation, as the only policy tiuly salutaiy foi
them, the exclusively nego:+e policy of the demolition of political insti-
tutions, of political powei, of goveinment in geneial, of the State, and as
a necessaiy consequence the inteinational oiganisation of the scaeied
foices of the pioletaiiat into ievolutionaiy powei diiected against all the
established poweis of the bouigeoisie.l
e Social Demociats of Geimany, quite on the contiaiy, advised an
the woikeis so unfoitunate as to listen to them, to adopt, as the imme-
diate objective of theii association, legal agitation foi the pieliminaiy
conquest of political iights, they thus suboidinate the movement foi
economic emancipation to the movement ist of all exclusively political,
and by this obvious ieveisal of the whole piogiamme of the lnteinational,
they have lled in at a single stioke the abyss they had opened between
pioletaiiat and bouigeoisie. ey have done moie than that, they have
tied the pioletaiiat in tow with the bouigeoisie. loi it is evident that
all this political movement so boosted by the Geiman Socialists, since
it must piecede the economic ievolution, can only be diiected by the
bouigeois, oi what will be still woise, |, +or|ers rons[oreJ :no |ovr
geo:s |, |e:r o|::on onJ +on:,, and, passing in ieality ovei the head of
the pioletaiiat, like all its piedecessois, this movement will not fail once
moie to condemn the pioletaiiat to be nothing but a blind instiument
inevitably saciiced in the stiuggle of the dieient bouigeois paities
between themselves foi the conquest of political powei, that is to say,
foi the powei and iight to dominate the masses and exploit them. To
whomsoevei doubts it, we should only have to show what is happenings
in Geimany, wheie the oigans of Social Demociacy sing hymns of joy
on seeing a Congiess (at Eisenach) of piofessois of bouigeois political
economy iecommending the pioletaiiat of Geimany to the high and
pateinal piotection of States and in the paits of Switzeiland wheie the
Maixian piogiamme pievails, at Geneva, Zuiich, Basel, wheie the lntei-
national has descended to the point of being no longei anything moie
than a soit of electoial box foi the piot of the Radical bouigeois. ese
incontestable facts seem to me to be moie eloquent than any woids.
ey aie ieal and logical in this sense that they aie a natuial eect
of the tiiumph of Maixian piopaganda. And it is foi that ieason that
we ght the Maixian theoiies to the death, convinced that if they could
tiiumph thioughout the lnteinational, they would ceitainly not fail to
kill at least its spiiit eveiywheie, as they have alieady done in veiy
gieatpait in the countiies just mentioned.
e instinctive passion of the masses foi economic equality is so gieat
that if they could hope to ieceive it fiom the hands of despotism, they
would indubitably and without much ieection do as they have oen
done befoie, and delivei themselves to despotism. Happily, histoiic ex-
peiience has been of some seivice even with the masses. To-day, they
aie beginning eveiywheie to undeistand that no despotism has noi can
have, eithei the will oi the powei to give them economic equality. e
piogiamme of the lnteinational is veiy happily explicit on this ques-
tion. e eonc:o:on o[ |e o:|ers cor |e |e +or| on|, o[ |e o:|ers
ls it not astonishing that Maix has believed it possible to gia on this
neveitheless so piecise declaiation, which he piobably diaed himself,
his sc:en:c Soc:o|:s` at is to say, the oiganisation and the gov-
einment of the new society by Socialistic scientists and piofessoisthe
woist of all despotic goveinment'
But thanks to this gieat beloved ii ia of the common people, who
will oppose themselves, uiged on, by an instinct invincible as well as just,
to all the goveinmentalist fancies of this lile woiking-class minoiity
alieady piopeily disciplined and maishaled to become the myimidons of
a new despotism, the sc:en:c Soc:o|:s of Maix will always iemain as a
Maixian dieam. is new expeiience, moie dismal peihaps than all past
expeiiences, will be spaied society, because the pioletaiiat in geneial, and
in all countiies is animated to-day by a piofound distiust against what is
political and against all the politicians in the woild, whatevei theii paity
cooloui, all of them having equally deceived, oppiessed, exploitedthe
ieddest Republicans just as much as the most absolutist Monaichists.

Appendix A
ln l. Beilins Kor| Mor: H:s L:[e onJ Fn+:ronen (Home Univeisity
Libiaiy) aie iepiinted some passages of Bakunins wiiting which l have
not seen elsewheie and which emphasise his views on the State, and
othei passages on the chaiactei of Maix. e ist selection is as follows
We ievolutionaiy anaichists aie the enemies of all foims of State
and State oiganisations . . . we think that all State iule, all goveinments
being by theii veiy natuie placed outside the mass of the people, must
necessaiily seek to subject it to customs and puiposes entiiely foieign to
it. We theiefoie declaie ouiselves to be foes . . . of all State oiganisations
as such, and believe that the people can only be happy and fiee, when,
oiganised fiom below by means of its own autonomous and completely
fiee associations, without the supeivision of any guaidians, it will cieate
its own life.
We believe powei coiiupts those who wield it as much as those who
aie foiced to obey it. Undei its coiiosive inuence some become gieedy
and ambitious tyiants, exploiting society in theii own inteiest, oi in
that of theii class, while otheis aie tuined into abject slaves. lntellectu-
als, positivists,
doctiinaiies, all those who put science befoie life . . .
defend the idea of the state as being the only possible salvation of soci-
etyquite logically since fiom theii false piemises that thought comes
befoie life, that only abstiact theoiy can foim the staiting point of social
piactice . . . they diaw the inevitable conclusion that since such theo-
ietical knowledge is at piesent possessed by veiy few, these few must
be put in possession of social life, not only to inspiie, but to diiect all
populai movements, and that no soonei is the ievolution ovei than a
new social oiganisation must at once be set up, not a fiee association of
populai bodies . . . woiking in accoidance with the needs and instincts
of the people, but a centialised dictatoiial powei, concentiated in the
lolloweis of Auguste Comte (19818) foundei of the science of Sociology. ln his latei
wiitings Comte advocated a Religion of Humanity, to be led by a soit of agnostic seculai
piiesthood consisting of scientic intellectuals, who would act as the moial and spiiitual
guides of a new social oidei.

hands of this academic minoiity, as if they ieally expiessed the populai

will . . . e dieience between such ievolutionaiy dictatoiship and the
modein State is only one of exteinal tiappings. ln substance both aie a
tyianny of the minoiity ovei a majoiity in the name of the peoplein
the name of the stupidity of the many and the supeiioi wisdom of the
few, and so they aie equally ieactionaiy, devising to secuie political and
economic piivilege to the iuling minoiity and the . . . enslavement of
the masses, to destioy the piesent oidei only to eiect theii own iigid
dictatoiship on its iuins. (pp. 20)
June 12, 2011
Michail Bakunin
Maixism, lieedom and the State
Tianslated and edited with a biogiaphical sketch by K. J. Kenack. To the memoiy of
J. W. (Chummy) lleming who, foi neaily sixty yeais upheld the cause of fieedom at
the Yaia Bank Open Aii loium Melbouine, Austialia. liist published in
190 by lieedom Piess. Scanned in and put in HTML foimat by Gieg Alt
(galt( on Januaiy 1, 199. eie was no copyiight notice found
in the 1984 piinting by lieedom Piess. All of the text except foi the footnotes,
foiewoid, and biogiaphy weie wiien by Mikhail Bakunin and tianslated and edited
by Kenack. l have tiied to x all the eiiois iesulting fiom scanning, but be awaie
that theie aie piobably a few le. Dana Waid coiiected html eiiois, Decembei, 1999.
Retiieved on lebiuaiy 14
, 2009 fiom