Bakunin: No to the State, Yes to the power that is already within us


More of what appears to be my project to catalog those who insist on a future politics without the state…

It is no surprise, of course, but it is worth remembering that Bakunin offers the clearest classic-theoretical backing for those who want to think communism at a distance from the state (though of course Bakunin prefers to think in terms of anarchism rather than communism).  Near the end of his life, in Statism and Anarchy in 1873, he says:

We are convinced that the masses of the people carry in themselves, in their instincts,…in their conscious or unconscious aspirations, all the elements of the future social organization.  We seek this idea in the people themselves.  Every state power, every government, by its very nature places itself outside and over the people and inevitably subordinates them to an organization and to aims which are foreign to and opposed to the real needs and aspirations of the people.  We declare ourselves enemies of every government and every state power, and of governmental organization in general (p. 328 of the Dolgoff translation, Knopf, 1972).


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