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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
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revolutionary library, and who was one of the most intellectually brilliant and uncompromising destroyers of political and intellectual reaction is slandered equally with Bakunin.

These slanders against Bakunin must be borne in mind when we recall that his alleged confessions have been published by the school of 'his traditional enemies, who are jealous of their own reputation, and have silenced all opposition by medieval methods. Yet the facts having been given to the revolutionary and labour world, their import must be considered.

The documents are summarised by L. Deitch, an old Russian revolutionist and a disciple of Bakunin, in the columns off the Yiddish monthly, The Future, of New York, for February, 1924. Deitch writes, that in the spring of 1876, when he was living in Odessa, Anna Rosenstein-Makerevitch returned to the comrades there from a visit to Bakunin, whom they regarded as their rebel idol and guide. She reported that Bakunin had not long to live. Her visit was undertaken in order to consult him about a plan that rising among the peasants of the district of Tchigirin by issuing a forged manifesto purporting to come from the Czar. Bakunin replied that falsehood is sewn always with white thread, and sooner or later the thread will show. This is a wise reply and does Bakunin credit. Yet history proves that oft-times falsehood achieves its purpose, unfortunately. Indeed it is safe to say that if truth triumphed naturally and spontaneously, as it should do, there would be no history. Politics and governments would cease to masquerade and society would become a harmony. The remarkable thing about Bakunin's utterance is that he must have known that his confessions were lying in the archives of the Russian third division. Time woul dpublish them; and no one was working harder for the dawn of that time than Bakunin himself. The future will place his confessions in the same category as that of Galileo. History recalls that even Giordano Bruno sought to evade trial and death. Had it been known, however, during Bakunin's life, that he had addressed himself to the Czars in the fashion that he did, not even his great personality, nor yet his logical concentrated diction, would have earned him that standing in the International Working-Class Movement that he came to enjoy so deservedly. It must be recalled, against the merit of Bakunin's revolutionary activity and writing that many of his colleagues suffered torture in the Czar's prisons and never wavered. The pioneer is never the perfect hero. As a thinker he is the wordincarnate. As a messenger he is often a very frail man. His life is usually a tragic and heroic stumbling between his two functions. He seems to be a dual personality. His career ever reminds us that there are no gods to order progress; only pioneers, very, very human beings, to blaze the trail, as they stumble along. Their names pass into legend, grow into a great tradition, and earn a brave respect. Then someone discovers the


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