new edition 2002
The Anarchist Federation
Bloody Brilliant! This pamphlet does a remarkable job in summarising
the basic ideas of Bakunin, the founder of revolutionary anarchism.
It covers his analysis of modern class society, the state, bourgeois
democracy and Marxism. On every count, Bakunin has been vindicated.
This edition also contains a new section on Bakunin's views on
religion. Moreover, it gives a good account of his ideas on how to
create an anarchist society and what that society could look like.
Bakunin's ideas on revolutionary unionism and the role of the
anarchist organisation are explained extremely well in a short space.
It exposes Marxist claims that Bakunin rejected collective class
struggle and organisation as the nonsense they are. As an added
bonus, the pamphlet explains what Bakunin meant by the phrase
"invisible dictatorship." Rather than signify a desire for personal
dictatorship (as Marxists claim) he simply used a bad expression to
signify the way an anarchist group would work within the class
struggle, by the natural influence of its members arguing the
anarchist case within working class organisations.
Of course it is not perfect. For example, the references to the
Militant Tendency should have been revised in light of its split in
the 1990s. It should have emphasised more that Bakunin's vision of
revolution predicted key aspects of both the Paris Commune and the
Russian Soviets. And it would have been nice for the pamphlet to
explain why the Anarchist Federation rejects Bakunin's syndicalist
ideas on unions. But these are minor points. The pamphlet is great
and well worth a quid. For those seeking to find out more about
Bakunin, I would recommend "Bakunin: The Philosophy of
Freedom" by Brian Morris.
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