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(Sociology, Arts, and Letters)
Biography of Bakounin
Narrating the life of Bakounin is narrating the life of socialism and of the revolution that occurred in Europe during some thirty years (1840-76). All of the important processes of ideas and events had in him an auxiliary or a supporter.
Should we study the life of Bakounin under an anecdotal or novelistic aspect? It would be enough to know about his escape from Siberia through China, Japan, and the Southern America (1860-61), escape due to personal charm which he knew how to put to use to conquer the mood of governor Mouravieff, who, being in charge of him, did not know how to deny him from being released of his chains. This escape is enough to stand on its own to provide material for one chapter of the liveliest and most dramatic interests that one could produce.
Should we study him particularly, under his aspect of agitator and propagandist? The revolution with Wagner (then an ardent revolutionary in politics, as he later became in music) that he organized and directed (1864), the consequent death sentence which he was saved from by the emperor Nicolas, just so that he could have the pleasure of imprisoning him and later send him off to Siberia; the organized propaganda that he conducted in Italy in the first years of the sixties, founding sections of the International, promoting strikes, writing newspapers; serving as delegate of the Italian International in the congress of Basel; the active role that he took in 68 in the League of Peace and Liberty as a member of the collectivist minority; the founding of the Universal Alliance of Democracy in Geneva, where he radiated with the powerful attraction of a grandiose popularity, Alliance that had a decisive importance in the history of the International; the various newspapers written or directed by him, the Zemlia and Volia, in London; the Normandic Federation, the Popular Judgement, the brilliant Equality, in Switzerland (the latter with Varlin, Malon, De Paepe, Reclus); and all of this labor accompanied by his disruptive actions in Italy, France, Belgium, and the Spanish Peninsula, where the Bakunist Alliance found increase, and always without leaving behind the conspiracy in favor of his native country; the struggle with the General Council, in London, inspired by Karl Marx, and the action exercised in Jura Bearnes (Neuchatel, Chaux de Fonds, Laecle, Saint-Inier, Moutier in 1869-70), where he erected and dragged the struggling population, converting it into anarchy;