Bakunin's antisemitism

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radicalgraffiti
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Aug 25 2016 01:11
Bakunin's antisemitism
so its well known that Bakunin was antisemetic, and this is a quote on Wikipedia used to illustrate this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Bakunin#Antisemitism Quote:
This whole Jewish world, comprising a single exploiting sect, a kind of blood sucking people, a kind of organic destructive collective parasite, going beyond not only the frontiers of states, but of political opinion, this world is now, at least for the most part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand, and of Rothschild on the other... This may seem strange. What can there be in common between socialism and a leading bank? The point is that authoritarian socialism, Marxist communism, demands a strong centralisation of the state. And where there is centralisation of the state, there must necessarily be a central bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, speculating with the Labour of the people, will be found.
and this quote is often use by marxists to claim that Bakunin's opposition to the state was based on anti-Semitism, and therefore anarchism is based on antisemitism, while anarchists typically acknowledge Bakunin's anti-Semitism, but claim it was actually in opposition to the majority of his politics. The references for this quote on Wikipedia are slightly odd, i cant actual find a source for Bakunin's quote in them, which is strange, and leads me to the question: is this actually a quote from Bakunin and if so where is it from? and if its not not what are actual antisemetic quotes from Bakunin? I feel that anarchists are typically vary dismissive of Bakunins antisemitism, dispite the fact that we are not bakninists and we could do with more clearly acknowledging his flaws and putting a bit less emphasis on him
freemind
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Aug 25 2016 07:19
Sam Dolgoff claims there is only one example of Bakunins antisemitism in his classic Bakunin on Anarchism and excused it by claiming he was under extreme provocation by Marx but he's wrong as Statism and Anarchy by Bakunin is laced with antisemitism. In the initial stages of Anarchist and Socialist thought a prevailing notion was that all Jews were involved with money.As the ideologies matured this misunderstanding was modified and the pin striped suit cigar smoking curve nosed stereotype was consigned to the rubbish bin of history. As some revolutionaries were antisemitic some were misogynists and homophobes etc but they were victims of their times and their lack of foresight.Ideologies mature and evolve with time so it was inevitable that some reactionary attitudes would reside in comrades until they were able to confront and purge themselves of them.
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Aug 25 2016 08:13
I pretty well agree with freemind #2, though in the last paragraph I’d substitute the word ‘product’ for ‘victim’. The victims of the time were the Jews, etc., who bore persecution for being themselves. It seems strange to me, that some ‘intellectuals’ prefer the symmetry of their theoretical explorations, rather than assimilating the evidence before their eyes. Did Bakunin never meet a working class Jewish cobbler, tailor, etc.?
potrokin
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Aug 25 2016 11:21
Proudhon was also anti-semitic aswell as sexist and I have heard that Bakunin was rather misogynistic, though I've not seen any evidence for that, I can believe it though considering the times we are talking about.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Joseph_Proudhon Quote:
Stewart Edwards, the editor of the Selected Writings Of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, remarks: "Proudhon's diaries (Carnets, ed. P. Haubtmann, Marcel Rivière, Paris 1960 to date) reveal that he had almost paranoid feelings of hatred against the Jews, common in Europe at the time. In 1847 he considered publishing an article against the Jewish race, which he said he "hated". The proposed article would have "called for the expulsion of the Jews from France... The Jew is the enemy of the human race. This race must be sent back to Asia, or exterminated. H. Heine, A. Weil, and others are simply secret spies. Rothschild, Crémieux, Marx, Fould, evil choleric, envious, bitter men etc., etc., who hate us" (Carnets, vol. 2, p. 337: No VI, 178). [59] His diary entry dated 26 December 1847 states: Jews. Write an article against this race that poisons everything by sticking its nose into everything without ever mixing with any other people. Demand its expulsion from France with the exception of those individuals married to French women. Abolish synagogues and not admit them to any employment. Finally, pursue the abolition of this religion. It's not without cause that the Christians called them deicide. The Jew is the enemy of humankind. They must be sent back to Asia or be exterminated. By steel or by fire or by expulsion the Jew must disappear.[59] In an introduction to Proudhon's works Iain McKay, author of 'An Anarchist FAQ' (AK Press, 2007),[60][61] cautions readers: "This is not to say that Proudhon was without flaws, for he had many." He was not consistently libertarian in his ideas, tactics and language. His personal bigotries are disgusting and few modern anarchists would tolerate them – Namely, racism and sexism. He made some bad decisions and occasionally ranted in his private notebooks (where the worst of his anti-Semitism was expressed). While he did place his defence of the patriarchal family at the core of his ideas, they are in direct contradiction to his own libertarian and egalitarian ideas. In terms of racism, he sometimes reflected the less-than-enlightened assumptions and prejudices of the nineteenth century. While this does appear in his public work, such outbursts are both rare and asides (usually an extremely infrequent passing anti-Semitic remark or caricature). In short, "racism was never the basis of Proudhon's political thinking" (Gemie, 200-1) and "anti-Semitism formed no part of Proudhon's revolutionary programme." (Robert Graham, "Introduction", General Idea of the Revolution, xxxvi) To quote Proudhon: "There will no longer be nationality, no longer fatherland, in the political sense of the words: they will mean only places of birth. Man, of whatever race or colour he may be, is an inhabitant of the universe; citizenship is everywhere an acquired right." (General Idea of the Revolution, 283) — Iain McKay, "Property Is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. AK Press UK – Edinburgh, 2011" p. 36 Nevertheless, while racism was not overtly part of his political philosophy, Proudhon did express sexist beliefs. He held patriarchal views on women’s nature and their proper role in the family and society at large. In his Carnets (Notebooks), unpublished until the 1960s, Proudhon maintained that a woman’s choice was to be “courtesan or housekeeper...” To a woman, a man is “a father, a chief, a master: above all, a master.” His justification for patriarchy is men’s greater physical strength. And he recommended that men use this greater strength to keep women in their place. “A woman does not at all hate being used with violence, indeed even being violated.” In her study of Gustave Courbet, who painted the portrait of Proudhon and his children (1865) – art historian Linda Nochlin points out that alongside his early articulations of anarchism Proudhon also wrote and published "the most consistent anti-feminist tract of its time, or perhaps, any other," La Pornocratie ou les femmes dans les temps modernes, which "raises all the main issues about woman's position is society and her sexuality with a paranoid intensity unmatched in any other text." (Nochlin, Courbet. Thames & Hudson, 2007. p. 220, note 34) Proudhon's defenses of patriarchy did not go unchallenged in his lifetime; Joseph Déjacque attacked Proudhon's anti-feminism as a contradiction of anarchist principles. Déjacque directed Proudhon "either to 'speak out against man's exploitation of woman' or 'do not describe yourself as an anarchist.'" (Jesse Cohn "Anarchism and gender" in: The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Immanuel Ness (Ed.), 2009)
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Serge Forward
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Aug 25 2016 12:59
potrokin wrote:
I have heard that Bakunin was rather misogynistic, though I've not seen any evidence for that
From my reading the opposite is true and Bakunin was possibly the least misogynistic of all your old-time beardy revolutionaries at the time and for many years after. Proudhon, on the other hand, was misogynistic and supposed to be pretty unpleasant in other areas too.
freemind
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Aug 25 2016 15:32
Proudhon was easily the most malevolent inconsistent bigot to exist within Anarchist thought.I find him and his Mutualist standpoint more redolent of neocapitalist/psuedoI libertarianism than Anarchism.A nasty bastard that Bakunin claimed was "the master of us all" Well no one is perfect
Gulai Polye
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Aug 25 2016 16:53
Take what you can use and discard the rest Like if someone says anarchism is good and then he also says the jews are evil, then take the part where he said anarchism is good and discard the part where he said jews are evil. You dont have to take the whole package
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Aug 25 2016 16:57
Well, it's not as easy as that...
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Serge Forward
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Aug 25 2016 18:26
Aye, it's hard to do with Proudhon, who had so many despicable personal and ideological characteristics that makes it very difficult to extract the diamonds from the dogshit. With Bakunin, a declassé aristocrat from what then was possibly the most anti-Semitic country on the planet, the fact that so many of his ideas were brilliant in spite of all this means it's easier to separate off some of his more unpleasant comments without being an apologist for his prejudices. The same goes for Marx and Engels - some of their comments about Ferdinand Lassalle were appalling.
Gulai Polye
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Aug 26 2016 04:49
Khawaga wrote:
Well, it's not as easy as that...
Well if you have faith in authority... Proudhon and Bakunin didnt so they probably expected others to have the same independent mind. B and P always expected their readers to have a critical mind and not be blind followers. In the end one can say its what you do that counts and not what you say or think. And i havent heard about P. or B. doing anything bad to someone just becuase they were a jew?
Gulai Polye
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Aug 26 2016 05:22
For those who are interested in the subject can read more here: http://reasoninrevolt5.blogspot.dk/2012/10/anti-semitism-and-anarchism.html Quote:
In conclusion, Proudhon, Bakunin as well as Marx were products of their social enviroment and their ideas reflected this. Their anti-Semitic views should be given context and not used as Ad hominem attacks against their ideas as revolutionaries.
Gulai Polye
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Aug 26 2016 05:35
Quote:
Germany § 130 Incitement to hatred In Germany, Volksverhetzung ("incitement of the people")[29][30] is a concept in German criminal law that bans incitement to hatred against segments of the population.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial#Germany I wonder if it would be illegal in Germany to quote some of the text written by anarchists due to § 130?
freemind
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Aug 26 2016 05:48
Words do count as that's how you propagate your view and explain your actions!They have to be consistent or your a hypocrite,flawed or false.
Gulai Polye
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Aug 26 2016 05:56
freemind wrote:
Words do count as that's how you propagate your view and explain your actions!They have to be consistent or your a hypocrite,flawed or false.
Yeah but i see a lot of politicians saying stuff like we will lower the taxes, and then when the words have to become actions their will raise the taxes instead and vice versa etc etc..
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Aug 26 2016 06:26
Gulai Polye #14 ‘freemind wrote: Words do count as that's how you propagate your view and explain your actions!They have to be consistent or your a hypocrite,flawed or false. Yeah but i see a lot of politicians saying stuff like we will lower the taxes, and then when the words have to become actions their will raise the taxes instead and vice versa etc etc..’ So you are in fact agreeing with freemind, as most politicians are demonstrably liars and hypocrites. Are you also bracketing Proudhon and Bakunin with them - after all by your account they wrote about the ‘bad Jews’ though never acted upon their beliefs? Sometimes your posts point in all directions.
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Aug 26 2016 07:26
Auld-bod wrote:
Gulai Polye #14 So you are in fact agreeing with freemind, as most politicians are demonstrably liars and hypocrites. Are you also bracketing Proudhon and Bakunin with them - after all by your account they wrote about the ‘bad Jews’ though never acted upon their beliefs?
I think P and B together with many politicians are making a promise or a desire born out of an unrealistic perception of reality. An unrealistic perception that is easy to carry as long as you are deprived from power. But when you get power, for anarchists in unity with others, you are going to face that reality. People seldom know enough about how things work, but they will gladly make promises, because its "free". For politicians they get to face the reality that there are no support in the population for the politics they want to enact despite being voted into power. For anarchists they get to face the reality that solidarity must be strong from all the workers to all the workers no matter anyone's religious background if the old system have to crumble and give away to anarchism and socialism.
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Entdinglichung
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Aug 26 2016 08:27
Gulai Polye wrote:
Quote:
Germany § 130 Incitement to hatred In Germany, Volksverhetzung ("incitement of the people")[29][30] is a concept in German criminal law that bans incitement to hatred against segments of the population.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial#Germany I wonder if it would be illegal in Germany to quote some of the text written by anarchists due to § 130?
simply to quote it is not banned: Quote:
the law requires that said speech be "qualified for disturbing public peace" either by inciting "hatred against parts of the populace" or calling for "acts of violence or despotism against them", or by attacking "the human dignity of others by reviling, maliciously making contemptible or slandering parts of the populace".
the antisemitic letters of Bakunin are included in editions of Bakunin's works in German translation which are freely available
S. Artesian
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Aug 27 2016 00:36
Gulai Polye wrote:
Khawaga wrote:
Well, it's not as easy as that...
Well if you have faith in authority... Proudhon and Bakunin didnt so they probably expected others to have the same independent mind. B and P always expected their readers to have a critical mind and not be blind followers. In the end one can say its what you do that counts and not what you say or think. And i havent heard about P. or B. doing anything bad to someone just becuase they were a jew?
Quote:
This whole Jewish world, comprising a single exploiting sect, a kind of blood sucking people, a kind of organic destructive collective parasite, going beyond not only the frontiers of states, but of political opinion, this world is now, at least for the most part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand, and of Rothschild on the other... This may seem strange. What can there be in common between socialism and a leading bank? The point is that authoritarian socialism, Marxist communism, demands a strong centralisation of the state. And where there is centralisation of the state, there must necessarily be a central bank, and where such a bank exists, the parasitic Jewish nation, speculating with the Labour of the people, will be found
Fuck no, nothing wrong with that. That quote from Bakunin certainly can't be considered as doing anything bad to someone just because he/she is Jewish, right? What? Hitler said the same thing? Pure coincidence. You know, infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters, and eventually you'd get two of them typing out.......Mein Kampf. And I just love this: Quote:
In conclusion, Proudhon, Bakunin as well as Marx were products of their social enviroment and their ideas reflected this. Their anti-Semitic views should be given context and not used as Ad hominem attacks against their ideas as revolutionaries
Hmmh.......let's try this: "In conclusion, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, etc. etc. were products of their social environment and their ideas reflected this. Their pro-slavery views, and actions, and commercial enterprises should be given context and not used as ad hominem attacks against their ideas as advocates of democracy." Fuck that bullshit, and bullshit it is. Marx, Proudhon, and Bakunin were critical of the dominant ideologies, and relations of their time. If they didn't exercise their critical facilities when it can to the dominant ideology of anti-semitism, it's not a result of their "social environment." It's a failure to think critically.
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jesuithitsquad
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Aug 27 2016 02:15
Yup-- they certainly weren't "victims."
factvalue
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Aug 30 2016 08:05
Bakunin biographer Mark Leier said the following in a Black Flag (no. 229) interview : Bakunin's anti-Semitism has been greatly misunderstood. At virtually every talk I've given on Bakunin, I'm asked about it. Where it exists, it is repellent, but it takes up about 5 pages of the thousands of pages he wrote, was written in the heat of his battles with Marx, where Bakunin was slandered viciously, and needs to be understood in the context of the 19th century. EDIT: Leier's is a much better book than Wheen's bullshit biography of Marx btw.
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Aug 30 2016 09:52
I think that quote may be Proudhon rather than Bakunin as it was the former who wrote about banks and tended towards that sort of virulent Jewish banking conspiracy nonsense. A lot of the uses of the quote are sourced back to Wikipedia but there is one that references it at http://www.therussophile.org/bakunin-on-the-jews.html/ to Mikhail Bakunin, 1907, ‘Oeuvres’, Vol. 5, 5th Edition, P. V. Stock: Paris, pp. 243-244 Which is online at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL22888320M/Oeuvres. I've little or no French but looking over the two referenced pages, 243-244 I don't see anything that looks like that paragraph, i.e. I can't see any mention of Rothschild which wouldn't be translated or political terms like communist or marxist. I wonder if the original use is a confusion made by a single author that has been reproduced over and over? Might be worth somebody with good French having a look at that link.
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Aug 30 2016 11:48
It is quoted in Draper's vol.4 of Theory of revolution, giving references. It seems these Bakunin documents only surfaced decades after his death, obviously his fans were trying to cover it up.
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Aug 30 2016 12:21
Whats the reference Draper gives, that could very easily close the question as once you post it we can find that text and confirm its presence. I'm asking you to be specific because It's quoted all over the place, as far back as 1923 but I've not yet found the actual Bakunin piece and the one place I found an attempt to cite it doesn't actually contain it. That's alongside with the fact that none of the other references actual reference a specific Bakunin text is pretty suspicious. At this stage I suspect this is an error or a smear made at some point that has grown through circular repetition into something that seems to have a huge amount of evidence except for an accurate link to something he wrote. But as above once you post the Draper reference my suspicion will be disproved, providing it leads us to an actual Bakunin text.
factvalue
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Aug 30 2016 13:50
It's in the footnotes to his 'Special Note B (to chapter six): Bakunin and the International: A "Libertarian Fable."' Draper writes that it's in the Archives Bakounine: '66. Bakunin: Lettre aux Int. de Bologne, in Archives Bakounine, 1.2:109 (for the extract and more), also 110, 111, 115f.'
radicalgraffiti
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Aug 30 2016 14:28
freemind wrote:
Sam Dolgoff claims there is only one example of Bakunins antisemitism in his classic Bakunin on Anarchism and excused it by claiming he was under extreme provocation by Marx but he's wrong as Statism and Anarchy by Bakunin is laced with antisemitism.
i haven't read much by bakunin, i will try to read that S. Artesian wrote:
Hmmh.......let's try this: "In conclusion, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, etc. etc. were products of their social environment and their ideas reflected this. Their pro-slavery views, and actions, and commercial enterprises should be given context and not used as ad hominem attacks against their ideas as advocates of democracy." Fuck that bullshit, and bullshit it is. Marx, Proudhon, and Bakunin were critical of the dominant ideologies, and relations of their time. If they didn't exercise their critical facilities when it can to the dominant ideology of anti-semitism, it's not a result of their "social environment." It's a failure to think critically.
i preaty much agree with this, especially in light of things like this potrokin wrote:
Quote:
Proudhon's defenses of patriarchy did not go unchallenged in his lifetime; Joseph Déjacque attacked Proudhon's anti-feminism as a contradiction of anarchist principles. Déjacque directed Proudhon "either to 'speak out against man's exploitation of woman' or 'do not describe yourself as an anarchist.'" (Jesse Cohn "Anarchism and gender" in: The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Immanuel Ness (Ed.), 2009)
and the claims that bakunins fans covered up his anti Semitism, i mean you dont hide stuff if you think its fine yes Joseph Déjacque is talking about about misogyny not anti Semitism but it shows how bigotry was not universally accepted why is it that anarchists have attempted to produce a marxist style procession of faces? there was loads of anarchists in the 19th century, I dont remember hearing of Joseph Déjacque before, why are two of the most reactionary people to ever call themselves anarchists given prominence but not one of the first people to promote anarchist communism? I cant help thinking the focus on proudhon and bakunin is because it advances the narrative that anarchism is "Great Idea" developed by a series of "Great Thinkers"
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Aug 30 2016 15:00
Good post radicalgraffiti. The procession of faces comment is spot on.
Battlescarred
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Aug 30 2016 15:46
The anarchist Rudolf De Jong in his THe Anarchist Debate on Anti-Semitism wrote: "Nettlau, writing about the anti-Semitism of Bakunin (introduction to the German edition, Werke III), thought that if his hero had lived longer and had seen the Jewish socialist movement, he might have written in a different way on the Jews. Silberner is not convinced by this remark, and neither.am I. It was also said, trying to excuse Bakunin, that we must consider the time and the personal history of Bakunin, son of a great landowner who made a career in the Russian army. Butnot anti-Semitic at Alexander Herzen nor Peter Lavrov, contemporary with Bakunin, Russian revolutionaries also born into the aristocracy and high society are not anti-Semitic . On the contrary: "Why speak of Jewish races? "Herzen wrote in a letter to Bakunin, after receiving the manuscript written against Moses Hess (one finds the letter in their correspondence). Peter Kropotkin, also a Russian aristocrat and military officer of the tsar, was free of anti-Jewish prejudice, and he always made an appearance in protests against the pogroms and anti-Semitism. An observation: when Bakunin speaks of "German Jew", the adjective "German" is as pejorative as the word "Jew"!"
Battlescarred
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Aug 30 2016 15:50
Without letting Bakunin off the hook at all, it should be remembered that the letters of Marx and Engels were riddled with anti-Semitic remarks, as well as other misogynist and racist remarks including against Slavs and black people.
2 W
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Aug 30 2016 17:32
It does beg the question though what was it about 'those times' that meant some of Europe's leading critical thinkers failed to have a goose at their own prejudices? It's as though the white bourgeoisie were bougie by choice but all Jewish people were assigned bourgeoisie by birth. Maybe it was Western imperialism mixed in with white chauvinist supremacy that even when calling for freedom of all, these thinkers saw the white man's ideas on freedom for all as the best kind of freedom for all. Either way I don't think their politics can be divorced from their politics and it's useful for us to ask how did these great minds and their great ideas fail to puncture the skin bags of patriarchy; racism, and anti-semitism. Equally it would be good to look at those whose ideas and thoughts did manage to do it or if any of these minds changed their thinking. That way hopefully the yoth of t'day, instead of turning round to me in a few years and saying "2W you are a hateful, prejudiced, old fashioned, stuck in the times, wanker." will just call me wanker.
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Aug 30 2016 21:32
Concerning Bakunin's polemic with Moses Hess, mentioned above, Wolfgang Eckhardt's comments are worth a look: Quote:
Hess went into even more detail in his peculiar analysis of the events in Basel in a two-part article that appeared as promised in the Parisian newspaper Le Réveil at the beginning of October 1869 under the headline ‘Collectivists and Communists at the Basel Congress’ (‘Les collectivistes et les communistes du congrès de Bâle’). Bakunin heard about Hess’s campaign from the big Parisian newspaper and immediately began writing a response. This grew into the extensive manuscript ‘To the Citizen Editors of the Réveil’, which remained unprinted in his lifetime. Bakunin began this manuscript with an outburst of anti-Jewish resentments, which strangely enough often appear in connection with his anti-German mentality – beginning with his row with Marx, who in his ‘threefold character as communist, German and Jew’ had always been just as suspicious to him as Hess and other supporters of Marx’s campaign against Bakunin in the International. In fact, the conflict in the International seems to have set off Bakunin’s anti-Jewish resentments, which emerged for the most part between 1869 and 1874 – i.e. during his feud with Marx. This resentment, which can be seen in various polemics and disparaging remarks, runs contrary to the anarchist ideas for which Bakunin became famous. It has thus been argued that Bakunin’s anti-Jewish gaffes should be considered separately from his political arguments. On the other hand, one must ask oneself how such a passionate advocate of freedom and self-determination like Bakunin could cultivate such crude prejudices? One possible explanation is that Bakunin resorted to deep-seated patterns of reasoning in the heat of the argument, which he learned from his family and during his socialisation in the Russian feudal aristocracy. The outbursts might even represent a commonplace anti-Jewish (and ostensibly anti-capitalist) sentiment, which a wide variety of European socialists – from Fourier, Leroux and Blanqui to Marx – shared in the 19th century. In this respect, it would be interesting to study how much the zeitgeist of the 19th century and family and social-psychological influences were responsible for Bakunin’s anti-Jewish clichés, in order to find out whether these statements are compatible with other more coherent positions – for example when he vehemently called for ‘respect for freedom of conscience’, ‘Absolute freedom of conscience and worship’ and ‘Absolute freedom of religious associations’.
See Wolfgang Eckhardt, The First Socialist Schism: Bakunin vs. Marx in the International Working Men's Association (Edmonton, 2016), p. 26; http://goo.gl/u6JMMm
Battlescarred
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Aug 31 2016 11:40
Radical Graffiti: "there was loads of anarchists in the 19th century, I dont remember hearing of Joseph Déjacque before, why are two of the most reactionary people to ever call themselves anarchists given prominence but not one of the first people to promote anarchist communism?" I've written about Dejacque to some extent here: https://libcom.org/history/prehistory-idea-part-two