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one of the trends of anarchism, linked with the name of M. A. Bakunin. The proponents of Bakuninism were spokesmen for petit bourgeois revolutionism, which was characterized by extreme individualism and the doctrine of absolute individual freedom. Along with the abolition of private property, the Bakuninists demanded the elimination of the state in any form (which they saw as the original cause of exploitation and inequality) and complete autonomy for small communes of producers, which were to be united in a free federation (this program was called social liquidation in the language of the Bakuninists). Bakunin and his followers emerged as outright opponents of the Marxist teaching of socialist revolution. They rejected all forms of working class struggle (political and economic) that did not lead directly to social liquidation, denied the necessity of creating an independent workers’ party, and promoted a voluntaristic conception of spontaneous uprising ( bunt), the motive forces of which were to be, along with the working class, the peasantry, the Lumpenproletariat, and student youth (the last-mentioned group being assigned the crucial role). Bakuninism was disseminated in the late 1860’s and 1870’s (especially after the Paris Commune) among the petite bourgeoisie and also among sections of the working class in then economically backward countries (such as Spain, Italy, southern France, and Romanic Switzerland), acquiring different shades and undergoing a marked evolution in the process. In Russia, Bakuninism influenced the formation of one of the strains in revolutionary populism (narodnichestvo).
Striving to implement their ideas, the Bakuninists created secret organizations that were cut off from the masses, totally centralized, and blindly obedient to the directives of a “center”; the most important of these organizations was the Alliance of Social Democracy. These organizations were called upon to establish their hegemony in the workers’ movement and lead the spontaneous uprising of the masses.
Rallying all anarchist forces, the Bakuninists engaged in divisive disorganizing activity in the First International. K. Marx, F. Engels, and their comrades-in-arms exposed this disorganizing activity and the petit bourgeois essence of the views of the Bakuninists, achieving the expulsion of their leaders from the International.
The struggle waged by Marxists for the creation of mass workers’ parties, the failure of anarchist actions—for example, during the Spanish Revolution, 1868–74—and the growth in class consciousness and organization of the working class brought about the rapid degeneration of Bakuninism into an insignificant sect, cut off from the masses, during the last quarter of the 19th century. At the same time, Bakuninism influenced the appearance of different currents that were anarchist and close to anarchist in nature (such as anarcho-syndicalism).
N. IU. KOLPINSKII