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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
  William Godwin
  Emma Goldman
  Peter Kropotkin
  Errico Malatesta
  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  Elisée Reclus
  Max Stirner
  Murray Bookchin
  Noam Chomsky
  Bright but Lesser Lights
  Cold Off The Presses
  Anarchist History
  Worldwide Movements
  First International
  Paris Commune
  Haymarket Massacre
  Spanish Civil War
  Art and Anarchy
  Education and Anarchy
  Anarchist Poets


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federalism, which had been the organisational principle of the precapitalist era. That was why Bakunin found most of this adherents in Italy, Spain, and Russia, in countries where capitalist development was backward. Marx's supporters, on the other hand, were recruited from lands of advanced capitalist development, those with an industrial proletariat. The two men represented two successive phases of social revolution. Furthermore, Bakunin looked upon man rather as the subject of history who, 'having the devil in his body," spontaneously ripens for the revolution, and merely needs to have his chains broken; but Marx regarded man rather as the object, who much slowly be trained for action, in order that, marshaled for class activity, he may play his part as a factor of history. The two outlooks might have been combined, for in combination they supply the actual picture of man in history. But in the case of both of these champions, the necessary compromise was rendered impossible by the orthodox rigidity of intellectual dogmatism, by deficient elasticity of the will, and by the narrow circumstances of space and time, so that in actual fact they became adversaries. Then, owing to their respective temperaments, owing to the divergences in mental structure which found expression in behaviour, their opposition in concrete matters developed into personal enmity."

Mehring defends Marx too eloquently. When we gaze at the world to-day, and the condition of the Labour Movement, we must feel that there was much more to be said for Bakunin's approach than for that of Marx.

Inspired by Marx, the General Council of the International refused to accept the affiliation of the Alliance. The affiliation was proposed by the Genevese section which was led by Bakunin.

Marx now denounced the Bakuninst programme as: "an olla podrida of worn-out commonplaces, thoughtless chatter; a rose-garland of empty motions, and insipid improvisation."

Marx feared the influence of Bakunin among the homeworkers in the watchmaking industry of the Neuchatel and Bernese Jura. In 1865, Dr. Coullery had founded, in La Chaux des Fonds, a section of the International. Its principal leader was James Guillaume, a teacher at the Industrial School in Le Locle. The Jura section was federalistically inclined and soon became ardent supports of Bakunin. He amalgamated their groups into a federal council; founded a weekly, Egalite, and started a vigorous revolutionary movement. In London this aroused the impression that Bakunin was trying to capture the International. At the Basle Congress of the International, on September 5 and 6, 1869, Bakunin was no longer, as he had been in Brussels, alone against the Marxian front, but was backed up by a resolute phalanx of supporters. It was obvious that Bakunin's influence was on the increase. This became especially plain during the discussion on the question of direct legislation by the people (initiative and referendum).

At this Congress, Bakunin once more brought to a head the slanders that the Marxists had circulated concerning him. His opponents had tried to check his influence by a flood of suspicions and invectives.



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