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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
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murder outright the European proletariat in the world was of 1914 to 1918. The war ended, it had given birth to Fascism. With this hopeless movement of middle-class suffrage, the anarchists seriously thought of identifying themselves. They imagined such as alliance to be an honour to Bakunin, just as the Marxists thought they were honouring Marx by repudiating his revolutionary principles.

"And so you think that Marx and Bakunin were at one," said my friend.

"Yes," I replied, "I think that they were at one. I believe that they were one in purpose and in aspiration. But they accomplished distinct tasks and served different functions. It would not do for us all to act the same part. Fitted by temperament to enact a peculiar role, each man felt his work to be a special call, the one aim of life. This developed strong personality. And when the two strong personalities came into conflict through the nature of their respective tasks, the natural antagonisms of their temperament displayed themselves. Then came fools, who called themselves disciples of the wise men, and magnified their accidental collisions into vital discords of purpose. Do we not know the friend who persuades us to quarrel? And do we not know the 'disciples' who are actually street brawlers of a refined order? Marx and Bakunin have suffered at the hands of these mental numskulls.

"But how would you define the difference between the two men," pursued my friend.

"Very easily," I answered, "Marx DEFINED the Social Revolution, whilst Bakunin EXPRESSED it. The first stood for the invincible logic of the cause. The second concentrated in his own person its unquenchable spirit. Marx was an impregnable rock of first principles, remorselessly composed of facts. He dwarfed the intelligence of Capitalist society and witnessed to the indestructability of Socialism. He incarnated the proletarian upheaval. He was the immovable mountain of the revolution. Bakunin, on the other hand, was the tempest. He symbolised the coming flood. Both were great brave men; and together they gave completeness to the certitude of revolution. They promised success by land and by water. They symbolised inexhaustible patience, unwearying stability, inevitable growth, and tireless, resistless attack. Who can conceive of a world not made up of land and water? Who can conceive of the Social Revolution without the work of Mars and Bakunin?

But my friend was not convinced, so we turned to other subjects.



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