Statism and Anarchy is the first completed volume of a larger projected work by Bakunin. Written in Russian, with special emphasis on Slavic problems, this work tremendously influenced Russian revolutionary thought. The dictatorial power of this learned minority is concealed by the fiction of a pseudo-representative government which presumes to express the will of the people. The final excerpt , taken from the appendix to Statism and Anarchy, deals primarily with the pre-conditions for a social revolution in Russia. Bakunin does not idolize the Russian peasant, nor does he, like so many of his contemporaries, uncritically accept the Mir peasant community as the ideal unit of the future society.
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She came from the ancient noble Muravyov family founded in the 15th century by the Ryazan boyar Ivan Vasilievich Alapovsky nicknamed Muravey meaning "ant" who was granted land in Veliky Novgorod. After Nicolas I became Emperor, Alexander gave up politics and devoted himself to the estate and his children—five girls and five boys, the oldest of whom was Mikhail. In , he received a rank of Praporshchik and was seconded to serve in an artillery brigade in the Minsk and Grodno Governorates.
In , he was seconded to Tver and from there returned to his village. Although his father wanted him to continue in either the military or civil service, Bakunin traveled to Moscow to study philosophy.
They studied idealist philosophy grounded in the poet Nikolay Stankevich , "the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics" E. By autumn , Bakunin conceived of forming a philosophical circle in his home town of Pryamukhino.
Bakunin became increasingly influenced by Hegel and made the first Russian translation of his work. He developed his panslavic views. After long wrangles with his father, Bakunin went to Berlin in His stated plan was to become a university professor a "priest of truth" as he and his friends imagined it , but he soon met and joined students of the Young Hegelians and the socialist movement.
In his essay "The Reaction in Germany", he argued for the revolutionary role of negation, summed up in the phrase "the passion for destruction is a creative passion".
He abandoned his interest in an academic career, and devoted more and more time to promoting revolution. The Russian government, becoming aware of this activity, ordered him to return to Russia. On his refusal, his property was confiscated. Until , he was friendly with the German communists, occasionally calling himself communist and writing articles on communism in the Schweitzerische Republikaner.
This led to reports to the imperial police. The Russian ambassador in Bern ordered Bakunin to return to Russia. Lelewel greatly influenced him, but he clashed with the Polish nationalists over their demand for a historic Poland based on the borders of before the Partitions of Poland as he defended the right of autonomy for the non-Polish peoples in these territories. He also did not support their clericalism and they did not support his calls for the emancipation of the peasantry.
In , Bakunin went to Paris, then a centre of the European political current. He made contact with Karl Marx and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon , who greatly impressed him and with whom he formed a personal bond. In December , Emperor Nicholas I issued a decree that stripped Bakunin of his privileges as a noble , confiscated his land in Russia, and exiled him for life in Siberia.
In another letter to the Constitutionel in March , he defended Poland after the repression of Catholics there. In his speech, Bakunin called for an alliance of the Polish and Russian peoples against the Emperor, and looked forward to "the definitive collapse of despotism in Russia". As a result, he was expelled from France and went to Brussels. In Brussels, he renewed contacts with revolutionary Poles and Karl Marx. He spoke at a meeting organised by Lelewel in February about a great future for the Slavs, who would rejuvenate the Western world.
Around this time, the Russian embassy circulated rumours that Bakunin was a Russian agent who had exceeded his orders. The break out of the revolutionary movement of made Bakunin ecstatic, but he was disappointed that little was happening in Russia.
He left for Germany travelling through Baden to Frankfurt and Cologne. Much later in , Bakunin was to write: I must openly admit that in this controversy Marx and Engels were in the right. With characteristic insolence, they attacked Herwegh personally when he was not there to defend himself.
In a face-to-face confrontation with them, I heatedly defended Herwegh, and our mutual dislike began then. The Congress was followed by an abortive insurrection that Bakunin had promoted but which was violently suppressed. As no barber was available, Rockel had to undertake the task. A small group of friends watched the operation, which had to be executed with a dull razor, causing no little pain, under which none but the victim himself remained passive.
We bade farewell to Bakunin with the firm conviction that we should never see him again alive. But in a week he was back once more, as he had realised immediately what a distorted account he had received as to the state of things in Prague, where all he found ready for him was a mere handful of childish students.
Very similar to his expectations from the Prague students were his presumptions with regard to the Russian people. Bakunin published his Appeal to the Slavs  in the fall of , in which he proposed that Slav revolutionaries unite with Hungarian, Italian and German revolutionaries to overthrow the three major European autocracies, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Bakunin played a leading role in the May Uprising in Dresden in , helping to organize the defense of the barricades against Prussian troops with Richard Wagner and Wilhelm Heine. Bakunin was captured in Chemnitz and held for 13 months, then condemned to death by the government of Saxony. His sentence was commuted to life to allow his extradition to Russia and Austria, both of whom sought to prosecute him. In June , he was handed to the Austrian authorities.
Eleven months later he received a further death sentence but this too was commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, in May , Bakunin was handed over to the Russian authorities. Imprisonment, "confession" and exile[ edit ] Bakunin was taken to the Peter and Paul Fortress. At the beginning of his captivity, Alexey Fyodorovich Orlov , an emissary of the Tsar, visited Bakunin and told him that the Tsar requested a written confession.
Due to his diet, he suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out. Later, he recounted that he found relief in mentally re-enacting the legend of Prometheus. His continuing imprisonment in these awful conditions led him to entreat his brother to supply him with poison.
Bakunin and Antonina Kwiatkowska, circa Novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago published in recounts that Bakunin "abjectly groveled before Nicholas I — thereby avoiding execution.
Was this wretchedness of soul? Or revolutionary cunning? Within a year of arriving in Tomsk, Bakunin married Antonina Kwiatkowska, the daughter of a Polish merchant. He had been teaching her French. Muravyov was a liberal and Bakunin, as his relative, became a particular favourite.
In the spring of Muravyov helped Bakunin with a job for Amur Development Agency which allowed him to move with his wife to Irkutsk , the capital of Eastern Siberia. Muravyov was forced to retire from his post as governor general, partly because of his liberal views and partly due to fears he might take Siberia towards independence.
He was replaced by Korsakov, who perhaps was even more sympathetic to the plight of the Siberian exiles. Escape from exile and return to Europe[ edit ] On 5 June , Bakunin left Irkutsk under cover of company business, ostensibly employed by a Siberian merchant to make a trip to Nikolaevsk. By 17 July, he was aboard the Russian warship Strelok bound for Kastri. However, in the port of Olga , he persuaded the American captain of the SS Vickery to take him aboard.
The presence of the Russian revolutionist Michael Bakunin, in flight from Siberia, was as far as one could see being winked at by the authorities.
He was well-endowed with money, and none who came to know him could fail to pay their respects. He was one of 16 passengers including Heine, Rev. Koe, and Joseph Heco. Bakunin immediately went to London to see Herzen. That evening he burst into the drawing-room where the family was having supper.
Are you sitting down eating oysters! Tell me the news. What is happening, and where?! In , while still in Irkutsk , Bakunin and his political associates had been greatly impressed by Giuseppe Garibaldi and his expedition to Sicily , during which he declared himself dictator in the name of Victor Emmanuel II.
After his return to London, he wrote to Garibaldi on 31 January If you could have seen as I did the passionate enthusiasm of the whole town of Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, at the news of your triumphal march across the possession of the mad king of Naples, you would have said as I did that there is no longer space or frontiers. Garibaldi was preparing for the Expedition against Rome. By June, he had resolved to move to Italy, but waited for his wife to join him.
When he left for Italy in August, Mazzini wrote to Maurizio Quadrio, one of his key supporters, that Bakunin was a good and dependable person. In September, Bakunin returned to England and focussed on Polish affairs. When the Polish insurrection broke out in January , he sailed to Copenhagen to join the Polish insurgents. This attempt failed, and Bakunin met his wife in Stockholm before returning to London. Now he focussed again on going to Italy and his friend Aurelio Saffi wrote him letters of introduction to revolutionaries in Florence , Turin , and Milan.
It was here that he first developed his anarchist ideas. Bakunin planned a secret organization of revolutionaries to carry out propaganda and prepare for direct action. By July , Bakunin was informing Herzen and Ogarev about the fruits of his work over the previous two years. Among his Polish associates was the former insurgent , Walery Mroczkowski , who became a friend and translator into French. He supported freedom of association and the right of secession for each unit of the federation, but emphasized that this freedom must be joined with socialism for "[l]iberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality".
The founding conference was attended by 6, people. This solemn meeting of two old and tried warriors of the revolution produced an astonishing impression. Joukovsky, V. Mratchkovsky, and others found themselves in a minority.
They seceded from the LPF, establishing their own International Alliance of Socialist Democracy , which adopted a revolutionary socialist program.
Bakunin was instrumental in establishing branches of the International in Italy and Spain. In , the Social Democratic Alliance was refused entry to the First International on the grounds that it was an international organisation in itself, and only national organisations were permitted membership in the International. The Alliance dissolved and the various groups which it comprised joined the International separately.
Between and , Bakunin became involved with the Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev in a number of clandestine projects. In his Letters to A Frenchman on the Present Crisis, he argued for a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the peasantry, advocated a system of militias with elected officers as part of a system of self-governing communes and workplaces, and argued the time was ripe for revolutionary action:.
She came from the ancient noble Muravyov family founded in the 15th century by the Ryazan boyar Ivan Vasilievich Alapovsky nicknamed Muravey meaning "ant" who was granted land in Veliky Novgorod. After Nicolas I became Emperor, Alexander gave up politics and devoted himself to the estate and his children—five girls and five boys, the oldest of whom was Mikhail. In , he received a rank of Praporshchik and was seconded to serve in an artillery brigade in the Minsk and Grodno Governorates. In , he was seconded to Tver and from there returned to his village. Although his father wanted him to continue in either the military or civil service, Bakunin traveled to Moscow to study philosophy. They studied idealist philosophy grounded in the poet Nikolay Stankevich , "the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics" E.
Statism and Anarchy
Given his influence, it is surprising that this work was his only book and even this is technically incomplete referring as it does to a second part which was never written. Marshall Shatz has proved an excellent introduction. To be fair, this would have been recognised as important by an anarchist rather than an academic. Thus, the Serbian state will crush the Serbian people for the sole purpose of enabling Serbian bureaucrats to live a fatter life. That will be determined first by the situation of each people, and secondly by the desires that manifest themselves and operate most strongly within them. By doing this, Bakunin thought, they would automatically place themselves above the people. The people are not learned, so they will be liberated from the cares of government and included in entirety in the governed herd.
Statism and Anarchy (Texts in the History of Political Thought)