Bakunin met Marx with simplicity and friendship.
Ruhle points out that Bakunin endeavoured honestly to be on good terms with Marx and to avoid friction. He adds that Bakunin loved the peasants and detested intellectualism and abstract systems, with their dogmatism and intolerance. He hated the modern State, industrialism, and centralisation. He had the most intense dislike for Judaism, which he considered loquacious, intriguing, and exploitative. All that authority and theorising for which he had an instinctive abhorrence were, for him, incorporated in Marx. He found Marx's self-esteem intolerable. Yet he mastered his spiritual repugnance and antagonism for the sake of building the movement of struggle towards Freedom, from loyalty to the workers, and from a sense of justice to Marx's worth as a master in the struggle. Bakunin's loyalty and aspiration after friendship were magnificent. It lent him a stature that dwarfs the envious and contemptible Marx into a mere pigmy. With justice, Bakunin says of Marx and his political circle:-
"Marx loved his own person much more than he loved his friends and apostles, and no friendship could hold water against the slightest wound to his vanity. He would far more readily forgive infidelity to his philosophical and socialist system...Marx will never forgive a slight to his person. You must worship him, make an idol of him, if he is to love you in return; you must at least fear him, if he is to tolerate you. He likes to surround himself with pygmies, with lackeys and flatterers. All the same, there are some remarkable men around his intimates.
"In general, however, one may say that in the circle of Marx's intimates there is very little brotherly frankness, but a great deal of machination and diplomacy. There is a sort of tacit struggle, and a compromise between the self-loves of the various persons concerned; and where vanity is at work, there is no longer place for brotherly feeling. Every one is on his guard, is afraid of being sacrificed, of being annihilated. Marx's circle is a sort of mutual admiration society. Marx is the chief distributor of honours, but is also invariably perfidious and malicious, the never frank and open, inciter to the persecution of those whom he suspects, or who gave had the misfortune of falling to show all the veneration he expects.
"As soon as he has ordered a persecution, there is no limit to the baseness and infamy of the method. Himself a Jew, he has round him in London and in France, and above all in Germany, a number of petty, more of less able, intriguing, mobile, speculative Jews (the sort of Jews you can find all over the place), commercial employees, bank clerks, men of letters, politicians, the correspondents of newspapers of the most various shades of opinion. In a word, literary go-betweens, just as they are financial go-betweens, one foot in the bank, the other in the Socialist Movement, while their rump is in German periodical literature... These Jewish men of letters are adepts in the art of cowardly, odious, and perfidious insinuations. They seldom make open accusation, but they insinuate, saying they 'have heard- it is said- it may not be true, but,' and then they hurl the most abominable calumnies in your face."
Bakunin had a profound respect for Marx's intellectual abilities and scientific efficiency. When he read Marx's Capital he was