BAKUNIN ON ANARCHY: Selected Works by the Great Activist-Founder of World Anarchism by Samuel -- Ed. Dolgoff

BAKUNIN ON ANARCHY: Selected Works by the Great Activist-Founder of World Anarchism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A displaced Russian nobleman who eulogized the lumpen of the earth for their will to violence, Bakunin played, as Paul Avrich notes in his preface, a major role in weakening the First International, and remains an icon for contemporary anarchists. Here we have annotated selections of his major works, including Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism; Letters to a Frenchman; God and State; The Program of the International Brotherhood; anti-Marxist polemics; and the Revolutionary Catechism, setting forth Bakunin's pluralist-corporatist vision of every group in its place with every individual spontaneously espousing Bakuninism. A biographical essay by Bakunin's friend and co-thinker James Guillaume, boosting him as the principal 19th-century revolutionary, is outshone by the editor's introduction, which relates Bakunin's predictions on the Chinese, Russian, and Spanish revolutions, Stalinism, and the military-industrial complex. The praise of purgative violence, the suspicion of theory, and the celebration of action for action's sake give Bakunin's work a strong contemporary flavor and social interest. ""My late friend and mentor, Gregory Petrovich Maximoff, attempted a systemization of Bakunin's writings under the title The Political Philosophy of Bakunin,"" Dolgoff tells us, deprecating Maximoff's effort to systematize this intrinsically anti-systematic oeuvre: he himself has fleshed out some works, added first English translations of others, freshly translated the lot, and added two Guillaume essays. Ambitious collectors must therefore welcome the book, but specialists will have already searched through the collected French and Russian works; moreover the general reader is well served by the Maximoff volume and E. H. Carr's biography remains far superior in portraying the real Bakunin and his actual political milieu.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Knopf