By Michael Bakunin. Edited, Translated and with an Introduction, by Sam Dolgoff. Preface by Paul Avrich
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Extra resources for Bakunin on Anarchy: Selected Works by the Activist-Founder of World Anarchism
They may call forth sporadic local rebellions, but not great and widespread mass uprisings.... It is indispensable that the people be inspired by a universal ideal, . . that they have a general idea of their rights, and a deep, passionate . belief in the validity of these rights. "21 Here, Bakunin had in mind his own aristocratic background and that of other revolutionaries who, in his time as in our own, left comfortable and even luxurious homes behind to fight for an all-embracing humanitarian ideal.
Of itself this negative passion is not nearly enough to attain the revolutionary heights. . But without it, revolution would be impossible. " Bakunin had faith in the latent revolutionary "instincts" of the masses which could be brought to the surface by their misery, by spontaneous outbursts, and by the propaganda and activist initiative of conscious, dedicated revolutionists. ) Instinct and spontaneity, however are not enough: . . For if instinct alone sufficed to liberate peoples, they would long since have freed themselves.
17 INTRODUCTION Among Bakunin's most significant contributions to modem revolutionary theory was his confidence in the revolutionary capacities of the peasantry. To be sure, he did not idealize them: he knew that they were ignorant, superstitious, and conservative. But he believed that if the radicals and progressive city workers would abandon their snobbish attitudes and try to understand the peasants' problems, the latter could be won over to the side of the Revolution. And, indeed, since poor peasants and landless laborers constituted the overwhelming mass of the rural population, the very fate of the Revolubon—as Bakunin well realized—hinged upon actively involving them in the struggle, not as second-class cibzens, but in brotherly solidarity with the urban workers.