Karl Marx and the Anarchists
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Karl Marx and the Anarchists examines Marx's disputes with the anarchist theoreticians he encountered at various stages of his career as a revolutionist. Marx's attacks on Stirner, Proudhon, and Bakunin are shown to be of vital importance to the understanding not only of the subsequent enmity between Marxists and anarchists, but also of Marx's own interpretation of revolutionary politics.
progress. Political activity is class collaboration, pure and simple; to resort to electioneering is fatally to accept the rules of a game that need to be changed, the game itself scrubbed out. Proudhon believed fervently - all Proudhon's beliefs were fervent 178 Disputations -in the salvation of working men, by their own efforts, through economic and social action alone. He urged that the state, whatever its form or pretensions, be defeated, hands down, but not on its own ground, not
does not abolish economic individualism is itself subsumed within -or beneath -such individualism. The need to abolish it is· not postponed but strengthened if it is given a new lease of life by being validated and artificially kept alive by the state. What Hegel and Marx share is very fundamental indeed: an opposition to the dissociative tendencies produced by modern civil society and the operation of the modern economy, and a profound recognition that modern economic life is the antithesis of
reality. What men lack in fact they attain in fancy. If meaningful political participation is withheld or denied, man will participate abstractly, in the fantasy world of citizenship; the state itself becomes a kind of religious fetish. The division of man's social nature into separate, exclusive spheres of privacy and universality must mean that man's very 'universality' is fictitious. Worse still, the state is presented as 'universal' at the very historical moment when the relations of
one another and thus lead by extension to a social system close to the Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes. 'This', says Marx, is the liberty of man viewed as an isolated monad, withdrawn into himself. .. [which is] not based on the association of man with man but rather on the separation of man from man ... The practical application of the right of liberty is the right of private property ... it lets every man find in every other man not the reality but the limitation of his own freedom. 26 In
it for its own purposes'. 72 Marx's address, The Civil War in France, insisted that 'the direct antithesis to the empire [of Louis Bonaparte) was the Commune' of 1871 because the Commune was the 'positive form' of 'a Republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself'. 73 The most positive feature of the Paris Commune, according to Marx, was precisely that it de-institutionalized political power, and in so doing re-politicized society. 'Public