Quoting Bakunin for the second time in one night: on freedom

‘Does man’s [sic] freedom consist in revolting against all laws? We say No, in so far as laws are natural, economic, and social laws, not authoritatively imposed, but inherent in things, in relations, in situations, in natural development of which is expressed by those laws. We say Yes, if there are political and juridical laws, imposed by men upon men [sic]; whether violently by the right of force; whether by deceit and hypocrisy – in the name of religion or any doctrine whatever; or finally, by the dint of the fiction, the democratic falsehood called universal suffrage’ (Bakunin 1953, p. 263 edited by Maximoff).

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Quoting Bakunin for the second time in one night: on freedom

  1. Dazed

    I presume he would replace universal suffrage with a series of committees of suitably indoctrinated cadres? Those who know what’s best? Sounds like Conservativism.

  2. What I take him to mean by ‘the democratic falsehood of universal suffrage’ here (and I am reading him in good faith with regard to his wider body of writing(s)), are individual ‘rights’ granted and protected by the State. This as opposed to voluntary, decentralised socio-political and economic networks of relationships between free standing peoples – free association and federalism.

    Perhaps you have come across Bakunin’s writing in quite a different context? He is not a socialist, nor a communist.

    (I do not agree with any form of avante garde politics nor do I idealise any form of centralised government).

  3. “Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice… Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality” – Bakunin

  4. Dazed

    I am aware of Bakunin’s work and generally agree with it, and you’re right he isn’t a commie, however his philosophy does lie within the general spectrum of “socialism”. Strange irony that our brothers and sisters in the Middle East put their lives on the line for “universal suffrage” while we, whose greatest challenge is to decide what kind of coffee to purchase, question it. I think we should question our privilege, because the general population ain’t ready for Bakunin. Meanwhile, decide which priests you want to shoot.

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