Mikhail Bakunin
Overview
 
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 and theorist of collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists, leading to enthusiasm for the philosophy of Fichte. From Fichte, Bakunin went on to immerse himself in the works of Hegel, the most influential thinker among German intellectuals at the time.
Quotations

Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying.

The Red Association (1870)

When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick."

Statism and Anarchy (1873)

By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible. Those who have cautiously done no more than they believed possible have never taken a single step forward.

Attributed to Bakunin in The Explorers (1996) by Paolo Novaresio ISBN 1-55670-495-X

We wish, in a word, equality - equality in fact as a corollary, or rather, as primordial condition of liberty. From each according to his faculties, to each according to his needs; that is what we wish sincerely and energetically.

Attr. in J. Morris Davidson, The Old Order and the New, 1890.

Encyclopedia
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 and theorist of collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists, leading to enthusiasm for the philosophy of Fichte. From Fichte, Bakunin went on to immerse himself in the works of Hegel, the most influential thinker among German intellectuals at the time. That led to his wholehearted embrace of Hegelianism, as he became bedazzled by Hegel's famous maxim; "Everything that exists is rational". In 1840 Bakunin traveled to St. Petersburg and Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, preparing himself for a professorship in philosophy or history at the University of Moscow.

Bakunin moved from Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, in 1842, to Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

. Eventually he arrived in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he met George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

 and Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

. He was eventually deported from France for speaking against Russia's oppression of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. In 1849 he was apprehended in Dresden for his participation in the Czech rebellion of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

. He was turned over to Russia where he was imprisoned in Peter-Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706-1740.-History:...

 in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

. He remained there until 1857, when he was exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

d to a work camp in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. Escaping to Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, the USA and finally ending up in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 for a short time, he worked with Herzen on the journal Kolokol ("The Bell"). In 1863, he left to join the insurrection in Poland
January Uprising
The January Uprising was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against the Russian Empire...

, but he failed to reach his destination and spent some time in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Despite his criminal status, Bakunin gained great influence with the youth in Russia, and all of Europe. In 1870, he was involved in the insurrection in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, which foreshadowed the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

.

In 1868, Bakunin joined the International Working Men's Association, a federation of trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 organizations with sections in most European countries. The 1872 Congress was dominated by a struggle between Marx and his followers who argued for parliamentary electoral participation and a faction around Bakunin who opposed it. Bakunin's faction lost the vote, and he was eventually expelled for supposedly maintaining a secret organisation within the international. The anarchists insisted the congress was rigged, and so held their own conference of the International at Saint-Imier in Switzerland in 1872. From 1870 to 1876, he wrote much of his seminal work such as Statism and Anarchy
Statism and Anarchy
Statism and Anarchy was the last work by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. Written in the summer of 1873, the key themes of the work are: the likely impact on Europe of the Franco-Prussian war and the rise of the German Empire, Bakunin's view of the weaknesses of the Marxist position, and an...

and God and the State
God and the State
God and the State is the best-known literary work of Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin.-Composition:God and the State was written between February and March 1871. It was originally written as Part II of a greater work that was going to be called The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution...

. Despite his declining health, he tried to take part in an insurrection in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, but was forced to return to Switzerland in disguise, and settled in Lugano
Lugano
Lugano is a city of inhabitants in the city proper and a total of over 145,000 people in the agglomeration/city region, in the south of Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy...

. He remained active in the worker's movement of Europe until further health problems caused him to be moved to a hospital in Bern, where he died in 1876.

Early years

In the spring of 1814, Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin "was born to a noble family of only modest means", the family owned only 500 serfs, in the village of Pryamukhino (Прямухино) between Torzhok
Torzhok
Torzhok is a town in Tver Oblast, Russia, famous for its folk craft of goldwork embroidery. Population: Torzhok has twenty-two large and medium-sized industrial enterprises. Two of them are especially significant...

 (Торжок) and Kuvshinovo
Kuvshinovo
Kuvshinovo is a town and the administrative center of Kuvshinovsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Osuga River, from Tver. Population:...

 (Кувшиново), in Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 guberniya
Guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

, northwest of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. His father was a career diplomat who, as a young attache, had lived for years in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 and Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. Upon his return to Russia, he settled down on his paternal estate where at the age of forty, he married an eighteen-year-old girl from the prominent Muraviev family. Given to liberal ideas, he was for a while platonically involved with one of the Decembrist clubs. After Nicolas I became Tsar , however, Bakunin senior gave up politics and devoted himself to the care of his estate and the education of his children, five girls and five boys, the oldest of whom was Mikhail (Michael).

At the age of 14 Michael left for Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, receiving military training at the Artillery University, "a rigid, anti-Western military school, where he chafed at the arbitrary discipline and the narrow curriculum—much less encompassing than the homeschooling he had experienced before." He was "expelled from school in 1834 for poor grades and assigned to barracks on the Polish frontier." He was commissioned a junior officer in the Russian Imperial Guard
Russian Imperial Guard
The Russian Imperial Guard, officially known as the Leib Guard were military units serving as personal guards of the Emperor of Russia. Peter the Great founded the first such units following the Prussian practice in the 1690s, to replace the politically-motivated Streltsy.- Organization :The final...

 and sent to Minsk
Minsk
- Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

 and Gardinas
Hrodna
Grodno or Hrodna , is a city in Belarus. It is located on the Neman River , close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania . It has 327,540 inhabitants...

 in Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 (now Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

). That summer, Bakunin became embroiled in a family row, taking his sister’s side in rebellion to an unhappy marriage. Though his father wished him to continue in either the military or the civil service, Bakunin abandoned both in 1835, and made his way to Moscow, hoping to study philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.

Interest in philosophy

In Moscow, Bakunin soon became friends with a group of former university students, and engaged in the systematic study of Idealist philosophy, grouped around the poet Nikolay Stankevich, “the bold pioneer who opened to Russian thought the vast and fertile continent of German metaphysics” (E. H. Carr). The philosophy of Kant
KANT
KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...

 initially was central to their study, but then progressed to Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Fichte, his mentor prior to 1800, and Hegel, his former university roommate and erstwhile friend...

, Fichte, and Hegel. By autumn of 1835, Bakunin had conceived of forming a philosophical circle in his home town of Pryamukhino; a passionate environment for the young people involved. For example, Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. He was an associate of Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin , and other critical intellectuals...

 fell in love with one of Bakunin’s sisters. Moreover, by early 1836, Bakunin was back in Moscow, where he published translations of Fichte’s Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar's Vocation and The Way to a Blessed Life, which became his favorite book. With Stankevich he also read Goethe, Schiller, and E.T.A. Hoffmann
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann , better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann , was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist...

.

He became increasingly influenced by Hegel and provided the first Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 translation of his work. During this period he met slavophile
Slavophile
Slavophilia was an intellectual movement originating from 19th century that wanted the Russian Empire to be developed upon values and institutions derived from its early history. Slavophiles were especially opposed to the influences of Western Europe in Russia. There were also similar movements in...

 Konstantin Aksakov
Konstantin Aksakov
Konstantin Sergeyevich Aksakov was a Russian critic and writer, one of the earliest and most notable Slavophiles. He wrote plays, social criticism, and histories of the ancient Russian social order...

, Piotr Tschaadaev and the socialists Alexander Herzen
Alexander Herzen
Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism", and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism...

 and Nikolay Ogarev
Nikolay Ogarev
Nikolay Platonovich Ogarev , was a Russian poet, historian and political activist. He was deeply critical of the limitations of the Emancipation of the Serfs claiming that the serfs were not free but had simply exchanged one form of serfdom for another.Ogarev was a fellow-exile and collaborator of...

. In this period he began to develop his panslavic
Pan-Slavism
Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice...

 views. After long wrangles with his father, Bakunin went to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 in 1840. His stated plan at the time was still to become a university professor (a “priest of truth,” as he and his friends imagined it), but he soon encountered and joined students of the "Young Hegelians" and the socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 movement in Berlin. In his 1842 essay The Reaction in Germany, he argued in favor of the revolutionary role of negation, summed up in the phrase "the passion for destruction is a creative passion."

After three semesters in Berlin, Bakunin went to Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 where he became friends with Arnold Ruge
Arnold Ruge
Arnold Ruge was a German philosopher and political writer.-Studies in university and prison:Born in Bergen auf Rügen, he studied in Halle, Jena and Heidelberg. As an advocate of a free and united Germany he was jailed for five years in 1825 in the fortress of Kolberg, where he studied Plato and...

. Here he also read Lorenz von Stein
Lorenz von Stein
Lorenz von Stein was a German economist, sociologist, and public administration scholar from Eckernförde. As an advisor to Meiji period Japan, his conservative political views influenced the wording of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan.- Biography :Stein was born in the seaside town of Borby...

's Der Sozialismus und Kommunismus des heutigen Frankreich and developed a passion for socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

. He abandoned his interest in an academic career, devoting more and more of his time to promoting revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

. The Russian government, becoming aware of this activity ,ordered him to return to Russia. On his refusal his property was confiscated. Instead he went with Georg Herwegh
Georg Herwegh
Georg Friedrich Rudolph Theodor Herwegh was a German revolutionary poet.-Biography:He was born in Stuttgart on 31 May 1817, the son of an innkeeper...

 to Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

.

Switzerland, Brussels, Prague, Dresden and Paris

During his six month stay in Zürich, he became closely associated with German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 communist Wilhelm Weitling
Wilhelm Weitling
Wilhelm Weitling was an important 19th-century European radical.Both praised and critiqued by disciples of the growing Marxist philosophy during the 19th century, Weitling was characterized as a "utopian socialist" by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, although Engels also referred to Weitling as the...

.
Until 1848 he remained on friendly terms with the German communists, occasionally calling himself a communist and writing articles on communism in the Schweitzerische Republikaner. He moved to Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 in western Switzerland shortly before Weitling's arrest. His name had appeared frequently in Weitling's correspondence seized by the police. This led to reports being circulated to the imperial police. The Russian ambassador in Bern ordered Bakunin to return to Russia, but instead he went to Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, where he met many leading Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 nationalists, such as Joachim Lelewel
Joachim Lelewel
Joachim Lelewel was a Polish historian and politician, from a Polonized branch of a Prussian family.His grandparents were Heinrich Löllhöffel von Löwensprung and Constance Jauch , who later polonized her name to Lelewel.-Life:Born in Warsaw, Lelewel was educated at the Imperial University of...

, co-member with Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 at Brussels. Lelewel greatly influenced him, however he clashed with the Polish nationalists over their demand for a historic Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 based on the borders of 1776 (before the Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

) as he defended the right of autonomy for the non-Polish peoples in these territories. He also did not support their clericalism
Clericalism
Clericalism is the application of the formal, church-based, leadership or opinion of ordained clergy in matters of either the church or broader political and sociocultural import...

 and they did not support his calls for the emancipation of the peasantry.

In 1844 Bakunin went to Paris, then a centre of the European political current. He established contacts with Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and the anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

, who greatly impressed him and with whom he formed a personal bond. In December 1844, Emperor Nicholas issued a decree stripping Bakunin of his privileges as a noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, denying him civil rights, confiscating his land in Russia, and condemning him to life long exile in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 should the Russian authorities ever get their hands on him. He responded with a long letter to La Réforme, denouncing the Emperor as a despot and calling for democracy in Russia and Poland (Carr, p. 139). In March 1846 in another letter to the Constitutionel he defended Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, following the repression of Catholics there. Some Polish refugees from Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, following the defeat of the uprising
Kraków Uprising
The Kraków Uprising of February 1846 was an attempt, led by Edward Dembowski, to incite a Polish fight for national independence. Even though most of Poland was part of the Russian Empire, the Polish risings were conducted mainly in Prussia and in the Austrian Empire.-History:Most of the...

 there, invited him to speak at the meeting in November 1847 commemorating the Polish November Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

 of 1830.

In his speech, Bakunin called for an alliance between the Polish and Russian peoples against the Emperor, and looked forward to "the definitive collapse of despotism in Russia." As a result, he was expelled from France and went to Brussels. Bakunin's attempt to draw Alexander Herzen
Alexander Herzen
Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism", and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism...

 and Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Belinsky
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was a Russian literary critic of Westernizing tendency. He was an associate of Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin , and other critical intellectuals...

 into conspiratorial action for revolution in Russia fell on deaf ears. In Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Bakunin renewed his contacts with revolutionary Poles and Karl Marx. He spoke at a meeting organised by Lelewel in February 1848 about a great future for the slavs, whose destiny was to rejuvenate the West
West
West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

ern world. Around this time the Russian embassy circulated rumours that Bakunin was a Russian agent who had exceeded his orders.

As the revolutionary movement of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 broke out, Bakunin was ecstatic, despite disappointment that little was happening in Russia. Bakunin obtained funding from some socialists in the Provisional Government, Ferdinand Flocon, Louis Blanc
Louis Blanc
Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc was a French politician and historian. A socialist who favored reforms, he called for the creation of cooperatives in order to guarantee employment for the urban poor....

, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin was a French politician.The grandson of Nicolas Philippe Ledru, the celebrated quack doctor known as "Comus" under Louis XV and Louis XVI, Ledru-Rollin was born in a house that had once been Paul Scarron's, at Fontenay-aux-Roses...

 and Albert L'Ouvrier
Albert L'Ouvrier
Albert l'Ouvrier , born Alexandre Martin , was a French socialist statesman of the French Second Republic. He was the first member of the industrial working class to be in French government....

, for a project for a Slav federation liberating those under the rule of Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, Austro-Hungary and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. He left for Germany travelling through Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

 to Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 and Köln
KOLN
KOLN, digital channel 10, is the CBS affiliate in Lincoln, Nebraska. It operates a satellite station, KGIN, on digital channel 11 in Grand Island. KGIN repeats all KOLN programming, but airs separate commercials...

.

Bakunin supported the German Democratic Legion led by Herwegh in an abortive attempt to join Friedrich Hecker's insurrection in Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

. He broke with Marx over the latter's criticism of Herwegh. Much later in 1871 Bakunin was to write: “I must openly admit that in this controversy Marx and Engels were in the right. With characteristic insolence, they attacked Herwegh personally when he was not there to defend himself. In a face-to-face confrontation with them, I heatedly defended Herwegh, and our mutual dislike began then.”

Bakunin went on to Berlin, but was stopped from going to Posen
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

 by the police, which was part of Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 territories gained by Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 in the Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

, where a nationalist insurrection
Wielkopolska Uprising (1848)
The Greater Poland Uprising of 1848 or Poznań Uprising was an unsuccessful military insurrection of Poles against Prussian forces, during the Spring of Nations period...

 was taking place. Instead Bakunin went to Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 and Breslau, then to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 where he participated in the First Pan Slav Congress. The Congress was followed by an abortive insurrection
May Conspiracy
May Conspiracy was an unsuccessful attempt of radical democrats in the Czech lands to overthrow the government of Austrian Empire in 1849....

 that Bakunin had sought to promote and intensify but which was violently suppressed. He returned to Breslau, where Marx republished the allegation that Bakunin was an imperial agent, claiming that George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

 had proof. Marx retracted the statement after George Sand came to Bakunin's defense.

Bakunin published his Appeal to the Slavs in the fall of 1848, in which he proposed that Slav revolutionaries unite with Hungarian, Italian and German revolutionaries to overthrow the three major European autocracies, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Prussia.

Bakunin played a leading role in the May Uprising in Dresden
May Uprising in Dresden
The May Uprising took place in Dresden, Germany in 1849; it was one of the last of the series of events known as the Revolutions of 1848.-Events leading to the May Uprising:...

 in 1849, helping to organize the defense of the barricades against Prussian troops with Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 and Wilhelm Heine
Wilhelm Heine
Peter Bernhard Wilhelm Heine, better known as Wilhelm Heine was a German-American artist, world traveller and writer.-Early life:...

. He was captured in Chemnitz
Chemnitz
Chemnitz is the third-largest city of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Chemnitz is an independent city which is not part of any county and seat of the government region Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz. Located in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is a part of the Saxon triangle...

 and held for thirteen months before being condemned to death by the government of Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

. As the governments of Russia and Austria were also after him, his sentence was commuted to life. In June 1850, he was handed over to the Austrian authorities. Eleven months later he received a further death sentence, but this too was commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, in May 1851, Bakunin was handed over to the Russian authorities.

Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 wrote in his diary about Bakunin's visit:

Imprisonment, "confession", and exile

Bakunin was taken to the notorious Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706-1740.-History:...

. At the beginning of his captivity, Count Orlov
Orlov
Orlov is the name of a Russian noble family which produced several distinguished statesmen, diplomatists and soldiers. The family first gained distinction in the person of four Orlov brothers, of whom the senior was Catherine the Great's paramour, and the two junior were notable military...

, an emissary of the Emperor, visited Bakunin and told him that the Emperor requested a written confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 hoping that the confession would place Bakunin spiritually as well as physically in the power of the Russian state. Since all his acts were known, he had no secrets to reveal, and so he decided to write to the Emperor:
After three years in the underground dungeons of the Fortress of St Peter and St Paul, he spent another four years in the castle of Shlisselburg
Shlisselburg
Shlisselburg is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated at the head of the Neva River on Lake Ladoga, east of St. Petersburg. From 1944 to 1992, it was known as Petrokrepost...

. It was here that he suffered from scurvy
Scurvy
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, which is required for the synthesis of collagen in humans. The chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus, which also provides the adjective scorbutic...

 and all his teeth fell out as a result of the appalling diet. He later recounted that he found some relief in mentally re-enacting the legend of Prometheus
Prometheus
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals...

. His continuing imprisonment in these awful conditions led him to entreat his brother to supply him with poison.
Following the death of Nicholas I, the new Emperor Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 personally struck Bakunin's name off the amnesty list. In February 1857 his mother's pleas to the Emperor were finally heeded and he was allowed to go into permanent exile in the western Siberian city of Tomsk
Tomsk
Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004...

. Within a year of arriving in Tomsk, Bakunin married Antonia Kwiatkowska, the daughter of a Polish merchant. He had been teaching her French. In August 1858 Bakunin received a visit from his second cousin, General Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky
Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky
Nikolay Nikolayevich Muravyov-Amursky was a Russian statesman and diplomat, who played a major role in the expansion of the Russian Empire into the Amur River basin and to the shores of the Sea of Japan.-Surname spelling:The surname Muravyov has also been transcribed as Muravyev or Murav'ev.-Early...

, who had been governor of Eastern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 for ten years.

Muravyov was a liberal and Bakunin, as his relative, became a particular favourite. In the spring of 1859 Muravyov helped Bakunin with a job for Amur Development Agency which enabled him to move with his wife to Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

, the capital of Eastern Siberia. This enabled Bakunin to be part of the circle involved in political discussions centred on Muravyov's colonial headquarters. Resenting the treatment of the colony by the Saint Petersburg bureaucracy, including its use as a dumping ground for malcontents, a proposal for a United States of Siberia emerged, independent of Russia and federated into a new United States of Siberia and America, following the example of the United States of America. The circle included Muravyov's young Chief of Staff, Kukel – who Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

 related had the complete works of Alexander Herzen
Alexander Herzen
Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism", and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism...

 – the civil governor Izvolsky, who allowed Bakunin to use his address for correspondence, and Muravyov's deputy and eventual successor, General Alexander Dondukov-Korsakov.

When Herzen criticised Muravyov in The Bell, Bakunin wrote vigorously in his patron's defence. Bakunin tired of his job as a commercial traveller, but thanks to Muravyov's influence, was able to keep his sinecure (worth 2,000 roubles a year) without having to perform any duties. Muravyov was forced to retire from his post as governor general, partly because of his liberal views and partly due to fears he might take Siberia towards independence. He was replaced by Korsakov, who perhaps was even more sympathetic to the plight of the Siberian exiles. Korsakov was also related to Bakunin, Bakunin's brother Paul having married his cousin. Taking Bakunin's word, Korsakov issued him with a letter giving him passage on all ships on the Amur River and its tributaries as long as he was back in Irkutsk when the ice came.

Escape from exile and return to Europe

On June 5, 1861, Bakunin left Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 under cover of company business, ostensibly employed by a Siberian merchant to make a trip to Nikolaevsk
Nikolaevsk
Nikolaevsk could be:* Nikolaevsk, Alaska* Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, a town in Khabarovsk Krai, Russia* Nikolaevsk-Na-Amure Air Enterprise* Nikolayevsk, a town in Volgograd Oblast, Russia...

. By July 17 he was on board the Russian warship Strelok bound for Kastri
Kastri
Kastri , older form Kastrion may refer to several places in Greece:*Kastri, Evrymenes, a village in the Ioannina prefecture, also known as Kastri Vassilopoulou*Kastri, Thesprotia, a village in the Thesprotia prefecture...

. However, in the port of Olga
Olga, Russia
Olga is an urban locality and the administrative center of Olginsky District of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated on the Olga Bay of the Sea of Japan, northeast of Nakhodka. Population:...

, Bakunin managed to persuade the American captain of the SS Vickery to take him on board. Despite bumping into the Russian Consul on board, Bakunin was able to sail away under the nose of the Russian Imperial Navy. By August 6 he had reached Hakodate in the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 and was soon in Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

.
In Japan Bakunin met by chance Wilhelm Heine
Wilhelm Heine
Peter Bernhard Wilhelm Heine, better known as Wilhelm Heine was a German-American artist, world traveller and writer.-Early life:...

, one of his comrades-in arms from Dresden. He also met the German botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold
Philipp Franz von Siebold
Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold was a German physician and traveller. He was the first European to teach Western medicine in Japan...

 who had been involved in opening up Japan to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans (particularly Russians and the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) and was a friend of Bakunin's patron Muraviev. Von Siebold's son wrote some 40 years later:
He left Japan from Kanagawa
Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama
is one of the 18 wards of the city of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. As of 2010, the ward had an estimated population of 230,401 and a density of 9,650 persons per km²...

 on the SS Carrington, as one of nineteen passengers including Heine, Rev. P. F. Koe and Joseph Heco
Joseph Heco
Joseph Heco was the first Japanese person to be naturalized as a United States citizen and the first to publish a Japanese language newspaper.-Early years:...

. Heco was a Japanese American
Japanese American
are American people of Japanese heritage. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity...

, who eight years later played a significant role giving political advice to Kido Takayoshi
Kido Takayoshi
, also referred as Kido Kōin was a Japanese statesman during the Late Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji Restoration. He used the alias when he worked against the Shogun.-Early life:...

 and Itō Hirobumi
Ito Hirobumi
Prince was a samurai of Chōshū domain, Japanese statesman, four time Prime Minister of Japan , genrō and Resident-General of Korea. Itō was assassinated by An Jung-geun, a Korean nationalist who was against the annexation of Korea by the Japanese Empire...

 during the revolutionary overthrow of the feudal Tokugawa shogunate
Late Tokugawa shogunate
, literally "end of the curtain", are the final years of the Edo period when the Tokugawa shogunate came to an end. It is characterized by major events occurring between 1853 and 1867 during which Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy known as sakoku and transitioned from a feudal shogunate...

. They arrived in San Francisco on October 15. In the period before the transcontinental railroads had been completed, the quickest way to New York was via Panama. Bakunin boarded the Orizaba for Panama, where after waiting for two weeks he boarded the Champion for New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

.

In Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Bakunin visited Karol Forster, a partisan of Ludwik Mieroslawski
Ludwik Mieroslawski
Ludwik Adam Mierosławski was a Polish general, writer, poet, historian and political activist. Took part in the November Uprising of 1830s, after its fall he emigrated to France, where he taught Slavic history and military theory. Chosen as a commander for the Greater Poland Uprising of 1846, he...

 during the 1848 Revolution in Paris, and caught up with other "Forty-Eighters
Forty-Eighters
The Forty-Eighters were Europeans who participated in or supported the revolutions of 1848 that swept Europe. In Germany, the Forty-Eighters favored unification of the German people, a more democratic government, and guarantees of human rights...

", veterans of the 1848 revolutions in Europe, such as Friedrich Kapp
Friedrich Kapp
Friedrich Kapp was a German-American lawyer, writer, and politician. He was an outspoken opponent of Germany's colonization fervor during his time as a National Liberal Reichstag deputy. This was exemplified in his speech to the annual Congress of German Economists...

. He then sailed for Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 arriving on December 27. Bakunin immediately went to London to see Herzen. That evening he burst into the drawing-room where the family was having supper. "What! Are you sitting down eating oysters! Well! Tell me the news. What is happening, and where?!"

Relocation to Italy

Having re-entered Western Europe, Bakunin immediately immersed himself in the revolutionary movement. In 1860, while still in Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 Bakunin and his political associates had been greatly impressed by Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 and his expedition to Sicily, during which he declared himself dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 in the name of Victor Emmanuel II. Following his return to London, he wrote to Garibaldi on 31 January 1862:
If you could have seen as I did the passionate enthusiasm of the whole town of Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, at the news of your triumphal march across the possession of the mad king of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, you would have said as I did that there is no longer space or frontiers.

Bakunin asked Garibaldi to participate in a movement encompassing Italians, Hungarians and South Slavs
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 against both Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Garibaldi was then engaged in preparations for the Expedition against Rome. By May Bakunin's correspondence was focussing on Italian-slavic unity and the developments in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. By June, he had resolved to move to Italy, but was waiting for his wife to join him. When he left for Italy in August, Mazzini wrote to Maurizio Quadrio, one of his key supporters that Bakunin was a good and dependable person. However, with the news of the failure at Aspromonte
Battle of Aspromonte
The Battle of Aspromonte, named for the mountain near Reggio Calabria in southern Italy and fought August 29, 1862, is an inconclusive episode of the Italian unification process....

 Bakunin paused in Paris where he was briefly involved with Ludwik Mierosławski. However Bakunin rejected Mieroslawski's chauvinism and refusal to grant any concessions to the peasants. Bakunin returned to England in September and focussed on Polish affairs. When the Polish insurrection broke out in January 1863, he sailed to Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 where he hoped to join the Polish Legion. They planned to sail across the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 in the SS Ward Jackson to join the insurrection. This attempt failed, and Bakunin met his wife in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 before returning to London. Now he focussed again on going to Italy and his friend Aurelio Saffi wrote him letters of introduction for Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 and Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. Mazzini wrote letters of commendation to Frederico Campanella in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and Giuseppe Dolfi in Florence. Bakunin left London in November 1863 travelling by way of Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Paris and Vevey
Vevey
Vevey is a town in Switzerland in the canton Vaud, on the north shore of Lake Geneva, near Lausanne.It was the seat of the district of the same name until 2006, and is now part of the Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut District...

 (Switzerland) arriving in Italy on 11 January 1864. It was here that he first began to develop his anarchist ideas.

He conceived the plan of forming a secret organization of revolutionaries to carry on propaganda work and prepare for direct action. He recruited Italians, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, and Slavs into the International Brotherhood, also called the Alliance of Revolutionary Socialists.

By July 1866 Bakunin was informing Herzen and Ogarev about the fruits of his work over the previous two years. His secret society then had members in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, England, France, Spain, and Italy, as well as Polish and Russian members. In his Catechism of a Revolutionary
Catechism of a Revolutionary
The Revolutionary Catechism or Catechism of a Revolutionary refers to two documents:*a manifesto written by a Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin in 1865-1866;...

of 1866, he opposed religion and the state, advocating the "absolute rejection of every authority including that which sacrifices freedom for the convenience of the state."
During the 1867–1868 period, Bakunin responded to Emile Acollas
Emile Acollas
Emile Acollas was a French professor of Jurisprudence born in La Châtre, Indre.He was one of the founders of the League of Peace and Freedom set up in 1867. His call for the conference gained 10,000 adherents including Victor Hugo, John Stuart Mill, Elisée Reclus, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Louis Blanc...

's call and became involved in the League of Peace and Freedom
League of Peace and Freedom
The Inaugural Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom was originally planned for September 5, 1867 in Geneva. Emile Acollas set up the League’s Organising Committee which enlisted the support of John Stuart Mill, Elisée Reclus and his brother Élie Reclus....

 (LPF), for which he wrote a lengthy essay Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism Here he advocated a federalist socialism, drawing on the work of Proudhon. He supported freedom of association and the right of secession for each unit of the federation, but emphasized that this freedom must be joined with socialism for: "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality."

Bakunin played a prominent role in the Geneva Conference (September 1867), and joined the Central Committee. The founding conference was attended by 6,000 people. As Bakunin rose to speak:
At the Bern Congress of the League (1868) he and other socialists (Élisée Reclus
Élisée Reclus
Élisée Reclus , also known as Jacques Élisée Reclus, was a renowned French geographer, writer and anarchist. He produced his 19-volume masterwork La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes , over a period of nearly 20 years...

, Aristide Rey, Jaclard, Giuseppe Fanelli
Giuseppe Fanelli
Giuseppe Fanelli was a nineteenth century Italian revolutionary anarchist. Born in Naples, Italy, he visited Spain in 1868 on a journey planned by anarchist Mikhail Bakunin in order to recruit members for the First International...

, N. Joukovsky, V. Mratchkovsky and others) found themselves in a minority. They seceded from the League establishing their own International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
The International Alliance of Socialist Democracy was an organisation founded by Mikhail Bakunin along with 79 other members on October 28, 1868 as an organisation within the International Workingmen's Association. The establishment of the Alliance as a section of the IWA was not accepted by the...

 which adopted a revolutionary socialist program.

The First International and the rise of the anarchist movement

In 1868, Bakunin joined the Geneva section of the First International, in which he remained very active until he was expelled from the International by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and his followers at the Hague Congress
Hague Congress (1872)
The Hague Congress was the Fifth congress of the International Workingmen's Association held in in The Hague, Holland, which anarchists consider as null and void....

 in 1872. Bakunin was instrumental in establishing branches of the International in Italy and Spain.

In 1869, the Social Democratic Alliance
International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
The International Alliance of Socialist Democracy was an organisation founded by Mikhail Bakunin along with 79 other members on October 28, 1868 as an organisation within the International Workingmen's Association. The establishment of the Alliance as a section of the IWA was not accepted by the...

 was refused entry to the First International, on the grounds that it was an international organisation in itself, and only national organisations were permitted membership in the International. The Alliance dissolved and the various groups which it comprised joined the International separately.

Between 1869 and 1870, Bakunin became involved with the Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev
Sergey Nechayev
Sergey Gennadiyevich Nyechayev was a Russian revolutionary associated with the Nihilist movement and known for his single-minded pursuit of revolution by any means necessary, including political violence.-Early life in Russia:...

 in a number of clandestine projects. However, Bakunin broke with Nechaev over what he described as the latter’s “Jesuit” methods, by which all means were justified to achieve revolutionary ends.

In 1870 Bakunin led a failed uprising in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 on the principles later exemplified by the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

, calling for a general uprising in response to the collapse of the French government during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, seeking to transform an imperialist conflict into social revolution. In his Letters to A Frenchman on the Present Crisis, he argued for a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the peasantry and set forth his formulation of what was later to become known as propaganda of the deed
Propaganda of the deed
Propaganda of the deed is a concept that refers to specific political actions meant to be exemplary to others...

:
Bakunin was a strong supporter of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

 of 1871, which was brutally suppressed by the French government. He saw the Commune as above all a “rebellion against the State,” and commended the Communards for rejecting not only the State but also revolutionary dictatorship. In a series of powerful pamphlets, he defended the Commune and the First International against the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

, thereby winning over many Italian republicans to the International and the cause of revolutionary socialism.

Bakunin’s disagreements with Marx, which led to Bakunin’s expulsion from the International in 1872 after being outvoted by the Marx party at the Hague Congress, illustrated the growing divergence between the "anti-authoritarian" sections of the International, which advocated the direct revolutionary action and organization of the workers in order to abolish the state and capitalism, and the social democratic sections allied with Marx, which advocated the conquest of political power by the working class. Bakunin was "Marx’s flamboyant chief opponent" at the Hague meeting, and "presciently warned against the emergence of a communist authoritarianism that would take power over working people."

The anti-authoritarian sections created their own International at the St. Imier
Saint-Imier
Saint-Imier is a municipality in the Jura bernois administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. It is located in the French-speaking Bernese Jura .Observatoire Astronomique de Mont-Soleil is located above the village....

 Congress
Anarchist St. Imier International
The Anarchist St. Imier International was an international anarchist organization formed in 1872 when the anarchist sections were expelled from the First International after the Hague Congress .The St...

 and adopted a revolutionary anarchist program. Although Bakunin accepted Marx’s class analysis
Class analysis
Class analysis is research in sociology, politics and economics from the point of view of the stratification of the society into dynamic classes...

 and economic theories regarding capitalism, acknowledging "Marx’s genius", he thought Marx was arrogant, and that his methods would compromise the social revolution. More importantly, Bakunin criticized "authoritarian socialism
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

" (which he associated with Marxism) and the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

 which he adamantly refused.
Bakunin retired to Lugano
Lugano
Lugano is a city of inhabitants in the city proper and a total of over 145,000 people in the agglomeration/city region, in the south of Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy...

 in 1873 and died in Bern on July 1, 1876.

Political beliefs

Bakunin’s political beliefs rejected governing systems in every name and shape, from the idea of God downwards, and every form of external authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

, whether emanating from the will of a sovereign
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 or from universal suffrage. He wrote in Dieu et l’Etat (God and the State), published posthumously in 1882:
Bakunin similarly rejected the notion of any privileged position or class, since
Bakunin's political beliefs were based on several interrelated concepts: (1) liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

; (2) socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

; (3) federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

; (4) anti-theism; and (5) materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

. He also developed a (resultantly prescient) critique of Marxism, predicting that if the Marxists were successful in seizing power, they would create a party dictatorship "all the more dangerous because it appears as a sham expression of the people's will."

Liberty

By "liberty", Bakunin did not mean an abstract ideal but a concrete reality based on the equal liberty of others. In a positive sense, liberty consists of "the fullest development of all the faculties and powers of every human being, by education, by scientific training, and by material prosperity." Such a conception of liberty is "eminently social, because it can only be realized in society," not in isolation. In a negative sense, liberty is "the revolt of the individual against all divine, collective, and individual authority."

Collectivist anarchism

Bakunin's socialism was known as "collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

", in which the workers would directly manage the means of production through their own productive associations. There would be "equal means of subsistence, support, education, and opportunity for every child, boy or girl, until maturity, and equal resources and facilities in adulthood to create his own well-being by his own labor."

Federalism

By federalism Bakunin meant the organization of society "from the base to the summit—from the circumference to the center—according to the principles of free association and federation." Consequently, society would be organized "on the basis of the absolute freedom of individuals, of the productive associations, and of the communes," with "every individual, every association, every commune, every region, every nation" having "the absolute right to self-determination, to associate or not to associate, to ally themselves with whomever they wish."

Anti-theologism

Bakunin argued that "the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, in theory and practice." Consequently, Bakunin reversed Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

's famous aphorism that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him, writing instead that "if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish Him."

Materialism

Bakunin denied religious concepts of "free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

" and advocated a materialist explanation of natural phenomena: "the manifestations of organic life, chemical properties and reactions, electricity, light, warmth and the natural attraction of physical bodies, constitute in our view so many different but no less closely interdependent variants of that totality of real beings which we call matter" (Selected Writings, page 219). The "mission of science is, by observation of the general relations of passing and real facts, to establish the general laws inherent in the development of the phenomena of the physical and social world." However, Bakunin rejected the notion of "scientific socialism," writing in God and the State that a "scientific body to which had been confided the government of society would soon end by devoting itself no longer to science at all, but to quite another affair... its own eternal perpetuation by rendering the society confided to its care ever more stupid and consequently more in need of its government and direction."

Bakunin's concept of social revolution

Bakunin’s methods of realizing his revolutionary program were consistent with his principles. The workers and peasants were to organize on a federalist basis, "creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself."
The worker's trade union associations would "take possession of all the tools of production as well as buildings and capital." The peasants were to "take the land and throw out those landlords who live by the labor of others." Bakunin looked to "the rabble," the great masses of the poor and exploited, the so-called "lumpenproletariat," to "inaugurate and bring to triumph the Social Revolution," as they were "almost unpolluted by bourgeois civilization."

Critique of Marxism

The dispute between Mikhail Bakunin and Karl Marx highlighted the differences between anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 and Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

. Bakunin argued—against certain ideas of a number of Marxists—that not all revolutions need be violent. He also strongly rejected Marx's concept of the "dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

", a concept that Marx's modern adherents use to interpret to mean what would be described as a "workers democracy", but which also maintains the state in existence during the transition to the Marxist economical system of "communism". Bakunin, "who had now abandoned his ideas of revolutionary dictatorship", insisted that revolutions must be led by the people directly while any "enlightened elite" must only exert influence by remaining "invisible
Invisible dictatorship
An invisible dictatorship was a term coined by Mikhail Bakunin to describe clandestine revolutionary leadership. Bakunin also used the terms invisible legion and invisible network to describe his concept of invisible dictatorship....

...not imposed on anyone...[and] deprived of all official rights and significance". He held that the state should be immediately abolished because all forms of government eventually lead to oppression.
While both social anarchists and Marxists share the same final goal, the creation of a free, egalitarian society without social classes and government, they strongly disagree on how to achieve this goal. Anarchists believe that the classless, stateless society should be established by the direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 of the masses, culminating in social revolution
Social revolution
The term social revolution may have different connotations depending on the speaker.In the Trotskyist movement, the term "social revolution" refers to an upheaval in which existing property relations are smashed...

, and refuse any intermediate stage such as the dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

, on the basis that such a dictatorship will become a self-perpetuating fundament. For Bakunin, the fundamental contradiction is that for the Marxists, "anarchism or freedom is the aim, while the state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses, they have first to be enslaved."

However, Bakunin also wrote of meeting Marx in 1844 that
Bakunin found Marx's economic analysis very useful and began the job of translating Das Kapital
Das Kapital
Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

into Russian. In turn Marx wrote of the rebels in the Dresden insurrection of 1848 that "In the Russian refugee Michael Bakunin they found a capable and cool headed leader." Marx wrote to Engels of meeting Bakunin in 1864 after his escape to Siberia saying "On the whole he is one of the few people whom I find not to have retrogressed after 16 years, but to have developed further."

Bakunin was perhaps the first theorist of the "new class
New class
The "New Class" model, as a theory of new social groups in post-industrial societies, gained ascendency during the 1970s as social and political scientists noted how "New Class" groups were shaped by post-material orientations in their pursuit of political and social goals...

", the intellectuals and administrators forming the bureaucratic apparatus of the state. Bakunin argued that the "State has always been the patrimony of some privileged class: a priestly class, an aristocratic class, a bourgeois class. And finally, when all the other classes have exhausted themselves, the State then becomes the patrimony of the bureaucratic class and then falls—or, if you will, rises—to the position of a machine."

The revolutionary potential of the proletariat and the lumpenproletariat

Bakunin had a view almost opposite of Marx's on the revolutionary potential of the lumpenproletariat
Lumpenproletariat
Lumpenproletariat, a collective term from Lumpenproletarier , was first defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology and later elaborated on in other works by Marx...

and the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 Bakunin "considers workers' integration in capital as destructive of more primary revolutionary forces. For Bakunin, the revolutionary archetype is found in a peasant milieu (which is presented as having longstanding insurrectionary traditions, as well as a communist archetype in its current social form—the peasant commune) and amongst educated unemployed youth, assorted marginals from all classes, brigands, robbers, the impoverished masses, and those on the margins of society who have escaped, been excluded from, or not yet subsumed in the discipline of emerging industrial work...in short, all those whom Marx sought to include in the category of the lumpenproletariat."

Influence

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
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

. He continues to be an influence on modern-day anarchists, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

. Bakunin biographer Mark Leier
Mark Leier
Mark Leier is a Canadian historian of working class and left-wing history. He is the director of the Centre for Labour Studies at Simon Fraser University, where he is also a Professor of Canadian History and the history of Marxism....

 has asserted that "Bakunin had a significant influence on later thinkers, ranging from Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

 and Enrico Malatesta to the Wobblies and Spanish anarchists in the Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 to Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

, E.P. Thompson, Neil Postman
Neil Postman
Neil Postman was an American author, media theorist and cultural critic, who is best known by the general public for his 1985 book about television, Amusing Ourselves to Death. For more than forty years, he was associated with New York University...

, and A.S. Neill, down to the anarchists gathered these days under the banner of 'anti-globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

.'"

Violence, revolution and "Invisible dictatorship"

Bakunin has been accused of being a closet authoritarian. In his letter to Albert Richard, he wrote that However, Bakunin's supporters argue that this "invisible dictatorship" is not a dictatorship in any conventional sense of the word, as Bakunin was careful to point out that its members would not exercise any official political power: Charles A. Madison claimed that Others point out, however, that Bakunin never sought to take personal control of the International, that his secret organisations were not subject to his autocratic power, and that he condemned terrorism as counter-revolutionary. Robert M. Cutler goes further, pointing out that it is impossible fully to understand either Bakunin's participation in the League of Peace and Freedom
League of Peace and Freedom
The Inaugural Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom was originally planned for September 5, 1867 in Geneva. Emile Acollas set up the League’s Organising Committee which enlisted the support of John Stuart Mill, Elisée Reclus and his brother Élie Reclus....

 or the International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
International Alliance of Socialist Democracy
The International Alliance of Socialist Democracy was an organisation founded by Mikhail Bakunin along with 79 other members on October 28, 1868 as an organisation within the International Workingmen's Association. The establishment of the Alliance as a section of the IWA was not accepted by the...

, or his idea of a secret revolutionary organisation that is immanent in the people, without seeing that they derive from his interpretation of Hegel's dialectic from the 1840s. The script of Bakunin's dialectic, Cutler argues, gave the Alliance the purpose of providing the International with a real revolutionary organisation.

Anti-semitism

Bakunin was an outspoken anti-semite
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 and has been severely criticized for this part of his writing. Bakunin used anti-Jewish sentiments during his argument with Karl Marx; he claimed that Marxian communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, along with international banking cartels associated with Rothschild
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

, was part of Jewish system of global exploitation;

Eurocentrism

His Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism
Eurocentrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture...

 manifested itself in his call for a United States of Europe
United States of Europe
Since the 1950s, European integration has seen the development of a supranational system of governance, as its institutions move further from the concept of simple intergovernmentalism. However, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, new intergovernmental elements have been introduced alongside the...

, his support for Russian Colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, particularly as practised by his relative and patron Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky
Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky
Nikolay Nikolayevich Muravyov-Amursky was a Russian statesman and diplomat, who played a major role in the expansion of the Russian Empire into the Amur River basin and to the shores of the Sea of Japan.-Surname spelling:The surname Muravyov has also been transcribed as Muravyev or Murav'ev.-Early...

 and his indifference to Japan and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese peasants during and after his brief stay in Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

. (Japan was regarded as the most prominent revolutionary country in Asia following the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

 of 1866–1869.) All these aspects of his thought however date from before he became an anarchist. Bakunin's conversion to anarchism came in 1865, towards the end of his life, and four years after his time in Japan.

Works about Bakunin

  • God and the State
    God and the State
    God and the State is the best-known literary work of Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin.-Composition:God and the State was written between February and March 1871. It was originally written as Part II of a greater work that was going to be called The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution...

    , ISBN 0-486-22483-X
  • Bakunin on anarchism / edited, translated and with an introduction by Sam Dolgoff
    Sam Dolgoff
    Sam Dolgoff was an American anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist.Dolgoff was born in the shtetl of Ostrovno in Vitebsk, Russia, moving as a child to New York City in 1905 or 1906, where he lived in the Bronx and in Manhattan's Lower East Side where he died...

    ; preface by Paul Avrich
    Paul Avrich
    Paul Avrich was a professor and historian. He taught at Queens College, City University of New York, for most of his life and was vital in preserving the history of the anarchist movement in Russia and the United States....

    .—New York : Knopf, originally published in 1971 as Bakunin on anarchy. Includes James Guillaume
    James Guillaume
    James Guillaume was a leading member of the Jura federation of the First International, the anarchist wing of the International. Later, Guillaume would take an active role in the founding of the Anarchist St...

    ’s Bakunin—A Biographical Sketch.
  • Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, ed. A. Lehning. New York: Grove Press, 1974
  • Statism and Anarchy
    Statism and Anarchy
    Statism and Anarchy was the last work by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. Written in the summer of 1873, the key themes of the work are: the likely impact on Europe of the Franco-Prussian war and the rise of the German Empire, Bakunin's view of the weaknesses of the Marxist position, and an...

    , Cambridge University Press 1991
  • No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism by Daniel Guérin
    Daniel Guérin
    Daniel Guérin was a French libertarian and author, best known for his work Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, as well as his collection No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism in which he collected writings on the idea and movement it inspired, from the first writings of Max Stirner in the...

  • Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas
    Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas
    Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas is a three-volume anthology of anarchist writings edited by historian Robert Graham. The anthology is published by Black Rose Books. Each selection is introduced by Graham, placing each author and selection in their historical and ideological...

    , Volume 1: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE-1939)
    , ed. Robert Graham
    Robert Graham (historian)
    Robert Graham is a Canadian anarchist historian and writer. He is the editor of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, a three-volume collection of anarchist writings from ancient China to the present day. Volume One, subtitled "From Anarchy to Anarchism", covers the period from...

  • The Political Philosophy of Bakunin edited by G. P. Maximoff, including "Mikhail Bakunin—a Biographical Sketch" by Max Nettlau
  • The Basic Bakunin: Writings 1869-1871, ed. Robert M. Cutler (New York: Prometheus Books, 1992)
  • Mikhail Bakunin: The Philosophical Basis of his Anarchism, by Paul McLaughlin (New York: Algora Publishing, 2002, Paperback Edition ISBN 1-892941-84-8)
  • Michała Bakunina filozofia negacji, by Jacek Uglik (Warsaw: Aletheia, 2007)


English translations of Bakunin are generally rare when compared to the comprehensive editions in French (by Arthur Lehning
Arthur Lehning
Paul Arthur Müller-Lehning was a Dutch author, historian and anarchist.Arthur Lehning wrote noted French translations of Mikhail Bakunin. In 1992 he won the Gouden Ganzenveer, and in 1999 the P. C. Hooft Award...

), Spanish and German. Madelaine Grawitz’s biography (Paris: Calmann Lévy 2000) remains to be translated.

The standard English-language biography is by E. H. Carr. A new biography, Bakunin: The Creative Passion, by Mark Leier, was published by St. Martin’s Press August 22, 2006, hardcover, 320 pages, ISBN 0-312-30538-9

An eight-volume complete works of Bakunin is to be published at some point in the future by AK Press
AK Press
AK Press is a worker-managed independent publisher and book distributor that specialises in radical left and anarchist literature. It is collectively owned and operated.-History:...

; according to Ramsey Kanaan
Ramsey Kanaan
Ramsey Kanaan is a Lebanese-Scottish singer and publisher of anarchist literature, best known as the founder of AK Press, one of the largest distributors of anarchist and left-wing books in the world, named after his mother Ann Kanaan. He left AK in 2007 to found a new radical publisher PM Press...

 these will likely be published yearly for eight years in hardcover format.

See also

  • Labor aristocracy
    Labor aristocracy
    "Labor aristocracy" or "Labour aristocracy" has three meanings: as a term with Marxist theoretical underpinnings, as a specific type of trade unionism, and/or as a shorthand description by revolutionary industrial unions for the...

  • List of Russian anarchists
  • Anarchism in Russia
    Anarchism in Russia
    Russian anarchism is anarchism in Russia or among Russians. The three categories of Russian anarchism were anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist individualism...



Further reading

  • Leier, Mark. Bakunin: The Creative Passion: A Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-312-30538-9).
  • Tom Stoppard
    Tom Stoppard
    Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL is a British playwright, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and...

    . The Coast of Utopia
    The Coast of Utopia
    The Coast of Utopia is a 2002 trilogy of plays: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage, written by Tom Stoppard with focus on the philosophical debates in pre-revolution Russia between 1833 and 1866...

    . New York: Grove Press, 2002 (paperback, ISBN 0-8021-4005-X).
  • Daniel Guerin, Anarchism: From Theory to Practice (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970) (paperback, ISBN 0-8534-5175-3).

External links

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