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Bakunin Part 1

Bakunin Part 1

 Bakunin Part 1. Guy A. Aldred. A study of the life and works of Mikhail Bakunin first published in 1920. Split into two parts for publishing expedience. 

 

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 Bakunin Part 1. Guy A. Aldred. A study of the life and works of Mikhail Bakunin first published in 1920. Split into two parts for publishing expedience.

 

Michael Alexandrovich Bakunin was born on May 18, 1814 at his family estate in Premukhino, Russia, about forty miles south of Moscow. Michael's father, Alexander, exposed his son to the ideals of European liberalism and the French Revolution during his childhood. The Decemberist uprising brought an end to Michael's liberal education however. Alexander, horrified by the uprising and afraid that his liberal ways would cause him trouble, became a loyal Tsarist. It was also at this time that he decided to send Michael to St. Petersburg to become an artillery officer. The artillery school in St. Petersburg was not, however, the institution that Alexander thought it was.

Alexander had sent Michael there so that he would become a good loyal subject of the Tsar, unfortunately, the school he was sent to was a bastion of liberal thought. Michael soon tired of his studies and, after nearly deserting, was sent to Poland in 1832. In Poland, all the liberal ideas Michael had been exposed to suddenly made sense in the aftermath of the Polish uprising of 1830. Two years later, Michael would leave the army and begin studying philosophy at Moscow. In 1840, Michael would go to Berlin to study for a professorship in philosophy. Due to his radical views, Michael was soon forced to leave Berlin for Geneva where he, for the first time, came into contact with the German Communists. From 1844 to 1847 Michael stayed in Paris until he was forced to leave after the Russian Ambassador heard about a speech in which he argued for Polish independence. But events would soon bring Michael back to Paris.

The revolutions of 1848 were where Michael Bakunin made his reputation as the great revolutionary. In a two-year period, Michael took part in at least four Revolutions: in France, Prague, Berlin and Dresden. In fact, the French government paid for Michael's travel. In each of these revolutions Michael's leadership and dedication were astounding, though Michael seemed to want the disorder to continue. The Dresden revolt marked the end of the revolutions of 1848 and of Michael's freedom, for shortly after the revolt collapsed Michael was arrested and eventually deported back to Russia.

Michael's experience as a Russian prisoner definitely marked the end of any respect he might have had for the Tsar. In prison Michael contracted scurvy and lost all his teeth. Eventually, his family convinced the Tsar to commute his life sentence and banish Michael to Siberia in 1857. In 1861 Michael managed to escape Siberia via ship to Tokyo and then San Francisco. By 1862 Michael was in London again taking part in various radical groups culminating in his founding in 1864 of the International Brotherhood of Revolutionary Socialists. The purpose of the International Brotherhood was to spread propaganda in support of revolution and for direct action in bringing about revolutions. Michael would also become a member of the International Workmen's Association but because of his opposition to Marx, would be kicked-out.

As this brief biography of Bakunin's life demonstrates, Bakunin had many reasons for becoming an anarchist even without being influenced by anarchist's theories. Bakunin's personality was such that he could never accept authority over himself. Partially because of this attitude, every experience Bakunin had with authority ended badly and each added to his hatred for organized authority. In a sense, it could be said that Michael was a natural anarchist, an argument that is supported by the fact that Bakunin was noted not for his theoretical work but for his work as an activist.

 

 

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