Thursday, June 3, 2010

258: Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin (1814 - 1876)

I thought it might be interesting not to run to Marx immediately but to begin with his opponent. The communist system collapsed, so Marx was wrong. Was his opponent right?

This opponent of Marx was Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin (1814 - 1876). When you read his personal history you will be astonished about that life. He was a real revolutionary in those days.

Bakunin is remembered as a major figure in the history of anarchism and an opponent of Marxism, especially of Marx's idea of dictatorship of the proletariat

His disagreements with Marx led to his expulsion from the International in 1872 after being outvoted by the Marx party at the Hague Congress,

The dispute centered on disagreement over political methods. Marx and his followers held that socialists must seize the state and usher in a transitional dictatorship of the proletariat.

Bakunin argued that power seized by workers was no less evil than power in other hands. He called for the earliest possible destruction of the state and the avoidance of political means toward that end. The workers must win their own liberation by economic and insurrectional means.

Here we see the dispute between the "anti-authoritarian" ideas of Bakunin, which advocated the direct revolutionary action and organization of the workers in order to abolish the state and capitalism,

and the ideas of Marx, which advocated the conquest of political power by the working class.

This was collectivist anarchism against the dictatorship of the proletariat. Thus began the historic rivalry between libertarian and authoritarian views of socialism.

Bakunin and the other collectivists agreed with the mutualists , which were inspired by the ideas of Proudhon, in their rejection of the state and of political methods, in their stress on federalism, and in their view that the worker should be rewarded according to his labor.

On the other hand, they differed in stressing the need for revolutionary means to bring about the downfall of the state and the establishment of a libertarian society.

Most important, they advocated the public ownership and the exploitation through workers’ associations of the land and all services and means of production.

While in mutualism the individual worker had been the basic unit, in collectivism it was the group of workers; Bakunin specifically rejected individualism of any kind and maintained that anarchism was a social doctrine and must be based on the acceptance of
collective responsibilities.

All these ideas came into being when in 1865 Bakunin founded the International Brotherhood in Naples. Its program—embodied in Bakunin’s Revolutionary Catechism—was anarchism without the name;

it rejected the state and organized religion, advocated communal autonomy within a federal structure, and maintained that labor “must be the sole base of human right and of the economic organization of the state.”

In keeping with the cult of violence that was part of the romantic revolutionary tradition, Bakunin insisted that the social revolution could not be achieved by peaceful means.

Here you see what a hundred years of history mean in the development of mankind. Locke saw property as the basic economic value and a 60 years later Adam Smith showed that human labor the basic economic value is.

A hundred years later due to industrialization and mass production methods man follows Smith's idea: LABOR is the economic value and the laborer should be in charge in the state.

Bakunin's ideas didn't make it. He lost the vote. Marx won the vote and lost credibility a hundred years later.

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: so much on Bakunin...
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: well he had a very interesting life to say the least
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: i looked at his bio
[13:25] herman Bergson: Unbelievable...
[13:25] herman Bergson: That man must have had an energy like an elephant
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: haha'
[13:26] herman Bergson: And all the traveling he did...for the cause..!
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: What is very interesting is the economic value of labor in those days...
[13:27] herman Bergson: The laborers started to organize and become powerfull
[13:27] Alaya Kumaki: was he killed ?
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: with all that work he did not make much of an impression did he
[13:28] herman Bergson: And what is instructive too is the opposition of Bakunin against Marx's idea to give the laborer political power
[13:28] herman Bergson: He died when he was 62 when I am not mistaken of an illness...
[13:28] herman Bergson: In Switserland...
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: no he just died yes not killed
[13:29] Alaya Kumaki: to give them a state worker statue, as a state itself, seems the same as a state for me, just creating a higher salary worker groups.. look like what a monarchy is
[13:29] herman Bergson: Well he made some impression..oh yes..he was all over Europe
[13:29] herman Bergson: His ideas lived longest in Spain
[13:29] herman Bergson: But Marx won
[13:30] Alaya Kumaki: sate=state*
[13:30] herman Bergson: Kiki..are you ok?
[13:30] Kiki Walpanheim: yes
[13:30] herman Bergson: oh you looked frozen... ㋡
[13:30] Kiki Walpanheim: ;-)
[13:30] herman Bergson: Anyway…Marx won...
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: yes he did
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: seems so
[13:31] Kiki Walpanheim: i am just thinking about lecture notes....
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: cause Marx ive heard about but barley this guy
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: checking him up a little on wiki though
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well the main difference was power...
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:32] herman Bergson: should the worker have power or should everything be organized in small groups...and federations of groups
[13:33] herman Bergson: marx made of the workers one class...and yes Ayayla..maybe the new royalty ㋡
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: no doubt power to small groups would appeal to those who were already powerful in their small groups
[13:33] herman Bergson: Bakunin was right in one thing
[13:33] herman Bergson: he said..
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: not to be too cynical
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: which would likely be hard
[13:33] herman Bergson: give one revolutionary power and in no time he will be worse than the Tzar
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: yes ㋡
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: power people
[13:34] Repose Lionheart: all the same pretty much
[13:34] herman Bergson: And I think we can say that history has shown that he was right
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: aa yes
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: probably
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: would not be good thing
[13:34] druth Vlodovic: give anyone power and no controleing traditions or structure and they go the same
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: true it seems
[13:34] herman Bergson: Very true Druth...very true
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: who was the one who wanted the special class of leaders???
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: i always asked where they would come from
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: with that special gift
[13:35] herman Bergson: Plato already wanted that Gemma
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: yes but someone this grouping
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: trying to recall the name
[13:36] herman Bergson: ok...all humans are equal...
[13:36] druth Vlodovic: there are advantages to it, if the leaders are in for life and progeny then they can more easily take the long view
[13:37] herman Bergson: Liberalism and socialism made fundamental mistakes...
[13:37] Alaya Kumaki: there are many marxist who agree upon the use of violence to achieve their ways too, i wonder if they brought that idea from Bakunin
[13:37] herman Bergson: I'll get to that at the end of the project...
[13:38] Repose Lionheart: interesting, druth
[13:38] herman Bergson: bakunin pleaded fror a total destruction of the old situation as a necessary condition to build the new world
[13:39] Repose Lionheart: ahhhh...some tried that in Cambodia more recently
[13:39] Repose Lionheart: horror results
[13:39] herman Bergson: Well Druth..and where do they get that long term view from?
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: really bad
[13:39] Kiki Walpanheim: This is where i dont seems like just marxist idea to me....
[13:39] Kiki Walpanheim: a total destruction of the old situation
[13:40] Kiki Walpanheim: well....this time I didnt do pre-reading before the lecture...maybe i need to look them up a little later...
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well is basically is an anarchist view to overthrow government..
[13:41] Alaya Kumaki: what can we do if we learned from youth to reproduce a model that if we think to change it, we just reproduce the same, unless we reorganize the structure, differently, and that is utopic, since that what is there was build in more than 400 years, what can we don in one human lifes
[13:41] Kiki Walpanheim: a total destruction of the old situation to build the new world --- seems like the idea of revolution....
[13:41] Kiki Walpanheim: just like marxism or maoism....
[13:41] Kiki Walpanheim: I don't know
[13:41] herman Bergson: I am not sure ..
[13:41] Kiki Walpanheim: maybe the key is what to do after the destruction
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: or the Khmer Rouge, perhaps?
[13:42] herman Bergson: but Marx wanted to use the political ways to seize power for the workers...
[13:42] druth Vlodovic: plenty of examples of hereditary ruling classes taking a very limited view, but n cases where they like their kids the future of the nation is also the future of their own family/clan
[13:42] herman Bergson: Bakunin wanted direct action
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: violence
[13:42] Kiki Walpanheim: does political ways involve violence and warfare?
[13:43] herman Bergson: That does not apply to the Clans in Afghanistan Druth
[13:43] Kiki Walpanheim: there are some approaches to social revolution, could be via violence, or peace
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: i think not
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: not the right way to do it
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: unfortunately this is what happens all over the world in many countries
[13:44] herman Bergson: one will ne Marx and then we'll see how he tought about violent revolution ㋡
[[13:44] Kiki Walpanheim: oh
[13:44] Repose Lionheart: oh, good ㋡
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:44] Kiki Walpanheim: never read marxism thoroughly.....mostly secondary literature about him
[13:45] herman Bergson: Marx believed that the capitalist system would collapse by itself, so that the workers could take over automatically if I am not mistaken
[13:45] Kiki Walpanheim: oh....then that is quite different from maoism i think
[13:45] Repose Lionheart: ideology based on 19th C. social theory
[13:45] herman Bergson: I never did read "Das Kapital" myself Kiki ㋡
[13:45] Kiki Walpanheim: me neither
[13:45] Repose Lionheart: still, he was prescient in some ways...
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: i never did just a little
[13:46] Kiki Walpanheim: only studied his philosophy and his political economics
[13:46] Kiki Walpanheim: but only through secondary literature
[13:46] Kiki Walpanheim: his objectivism and the like
[13:47] herman Bergson: history shows...MArx's ideas lead to a dictatorship of the ideology, while Bakunin would have detested that
[13:47] Repose Lionheart: oh
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: oki
[13:47] Kiki Walpanheim: but it seems as if in real life, they chose bakunin .....
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:47] Kiki Walpanheim: i dont know
[13:48] herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that, Kiki...
[13:48] Kiki Walpanheim: regarding, if violence was used on the revolution
[13:48] herman Bergson: In real life all freedom was gone for the workers...there was the oppression if The Party ideology
[13:48] Kiki Walpanheim: or they let the capitalism collapse itself
[13:49] herman Bergson: I think that that would be against all ideas of Bakunin
[13:49] Kiki Walpanheim: bakunin advocated the western type of freedom? because marxism said all this was for the freedom of the workers too...only ppl interpreted freedom quite differently
[13:50] Kiki Walpanheim: :/
[13:50] herman Bergson: Well...what I learnt..even as a youngster was that the communist were just sitting and waiting for Capitalism to collapse
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: the chinese civil war happened prior to.....
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: i don't know....
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: to when the communism was established
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: think so...
[13:51] herman Bergson: That was Mao's big march wasnt it?
[13:51] Kiki Walpanheim: the civil war before 1949 i mean
[13:52] herman Bergson: 1949..
[13:52] Repose Lionheart: began before WWII
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well..these are facts we can find inour history books ㋡
[13:52] Kiki Walpanheim: yes
[13:52] Repose Lionheart: yes ㋡
[13:52] herman Bergson: So..
[13:53] herman Bergson: for today we might say...maybe Bakinin was right but outvoted
[13:53] Kiki Walpanheim: i dont have any impression that revolution was achieved by waiting the old world to collapse itself....
[13:53] herman Bergson: and Marx..well...we'll see next class ㋡
[13:53] Kiki Walpanheim: according to the civil war
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: ohoh
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:54] Repose Lionheart: Thank you, Professor ㋡
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:54] herman Bergson: So..Thank you all for the good discussion and your participation again
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: see you thursday i hope
[13:54] Zinzi Serevi: thanks prof bye all..:)
[13:54] Zinzi's translator: thanks prof bye all ..:)
[13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:54] Kiki Walpanheim: Thank you Professor
[13:54] Rodney Handrick: thanks
[13:54] Kiki Walpanheim: Thank you all
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: wow
[13:54] Josiane Llewellyn: thank you Professor
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: thanks professor
[13:54] Bejiita Imako: ok some more interesting stuff for sure :)
[13:55] druth Vlodovic: next time I'll have to arrive at the beginning :)
13:55] Yakuzza Lethecus: thx herman
[13:55] Kiki Walpanheim: it is each tuesday and thursday druth
[13:55] herman Bergson: Holy Cow Abraxas
[13:56] Abraxas Nagy: whassup prof?
[13:56] herman Bergson: What happened toyou?
[13:56] Kiki Walpanheim: at 1 pm PDT
[13:56] Abraxas Nagy: I dont know
[13:56] Yakuzza Lethecus: bye everyone
[13:56] Kiki Walpanheim: bye yakuzza
[13:56] Abraxas Nagy: do I look strabge
[13:56] Abraxas Nagy: strange*
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:57] herman Bergson: You are beginning to falll into the category "You look cute " ㋡
[13:57] Abraxas Nagy: ╔╗╔═╦╗
[13:57] Abraxas Nagy: ║╚╣║║╚╗
[13:57] Abraxas Nagy: ╚═╩═╩═╝
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: hahaa
[13:57] Abraxas Nagy: ty herman
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: :)
[13:57] Abraxas Nagy: see you in 2 days friends
[13:57] Bejiita Imako: aa cu
[13:58] herman Bergson: I am curious two days !
[13:58] Abraxas Nagy: uuhhmmnn thursday?
[13:58] herman Bergson: Yes
[13:58] Abraxas Nagy: isnt that twice 24 hours from now?
[13:58] herman Bergson: soemthing like that yes
[13:59] Abraxas Nagy: well that counts for 2 dayes
[13:59] Abraxas Nagy: in my book anyway
[13:59] herman Bergson: good.....

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