Friday, 18 September 2015

Mikhail Bakunin (18/5/1814 - 1/7/1876) - State and Government

Though welcoming Jeremy Corbyn's victory last Sunday and recognising his passion and peoples  genuine hunger for change here in the UK. and how clearly people can be mobilised and really hoping that these forces can continue to be garnered against the evils of capitalism, exploitation and austerity, igniting the struggle that I feel that is needed in the coming days and months ahead. I truly feel that a new better society cannot be forged if the capitalist state is still in place.
I might be naive but believe that the Labour Party is still a party political machine, that is l used as an instrument to prop up the state, one that I am not particularly fond of,  tied in with the usual bureaucracy and compromises that bind it together, so I really do have mixed feelings.
Anyway here is a pertinent and still convincing message from the past from Russian Revolutionary Anarchist and founder of collectivist anarchism Mikhail Bakunin.

State and Government

" I have no hesitation in saying that the State is an evil, albeit a historically necessary evil,  as necessary in the past as its utter extinction will sooner or later prove to be, as necessary as were men's primitive brutishness and theological meanderings. Historically, in every land it was born of the marriage of violence, rapine and pillage - in short, of war and conquest - with the gods successively invented by nations' theological fantasies.  From its inception, it has been and remains to this day a divine sanction upon brute force and triumphant iniquity.
Revolt against the state is a much easier undertaking because there is in the very nature of the State something that is an incitement to revolt. The State is authority, force, the display of and fascination with force. It does not wheedle and does not seek converts: and every time it dabbles in these,  it does so with very bad grace: for persuasion is not in its nature which is rather to impose and compel. To what lengths it goes to conceal its nature as the lawful trespasser against men's wills,  as the standing negation  of their freedom. Even when it serves the good, it does it disservice and spoils it, precisely because it commands good, and any command provokes and inspires freedom to righteous  revolt: and because the good, once it is commanded becomes from the vantage point of true morality, human ( though not, of course, divine morality, and in terms of human respect and liberty, the bad.
Exploitation and government, the first affording the means whereby to govern, and representing the pre-requisite as well as the object of all government, which, in turn, guarantees and legalises the power to exploit, are the two indivisible terms of all that goes by the name of politics. Since the beginning of history, they have indeed constituted the stuff of the life of States, theocratic, monarchial, aristocratic and even democratic. Previously and up until the great Revolution at the end of the 18th century, the intimacy between them has been disguised by the fictions of religion, loyalty and chivalry: but ever since  the rough hand of  the bourgeoisie tore away all the veils, which had in any case become fairly transparent, and ever since its blast of revolution scattered all the empty concrete under cover of which Church and State, theocracy, monarchy and aristocracy had for so long managed, undisturbed, to perpetrate their historical vileness; ever since the bourgeoisie, wearying of being the anvil, took its turn at being the hammer; ever since it ushered in the modern State - in short, that necessary connection has turned into a revealed truth, indeed, an incontrovertible truth as far as everyone is concerned.
Exploitation is the visible body and government the soul of the  bourgeois rule. And as we have seen, the one and the other in such intimacy, are, in theoretical as well as practical terms, the necessary and faithful representative of metaphysical idealism, the inescapable consequence of that bourgeois doctrine that looks outside of social solidarity for the morality of the individual. That teaching results in exploitative government by a tiny number of the fortunate or elect, in exploitative  slavery for the greater number, and for all and sundry, in negation of all morality and all liberty."

Reprinted from :-

No Gods, No Masters; An anthology of Anarchism - Daniel Guerin,

AK Press 2005

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