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Bakunin & German Social-Democracy.
Chapter 6 of “Bakounine politique, Révolution et contre-révolution en Europe centrale” – Éditions du Monde libertaire, 1991.
Article published on 24 September 2017
last modification on 30 November 2022

by Eric Vilain

Bakunin was accused of saying that there was connivance between Marx and Bismarck. This is totally false. On the contrary, he says: “Far be it from me to establish a shadow of conscious solidarity between M. von Bismarck and the leaders of the Party of Socialist Workers’ Democracy of Germany! Not only do I not think: I know that there is absolutely nothing in common between them, and that they are, on the contrary, fierce enemies.”
However, in spite of the flagrant oppositions between the Bismarckian program and the socialist program, there is a common trait between them, says Bakunin: “Both tend towards the formation of a centralized, unitarian and Pan-German state.” Bismarck wants to erect this empire by means of the bureaucratic and military nobility and the monopoly of the large financial companies, while the leaders of socialist democracy “want to base it on the economic emancipation of the proletariat”. “But one as well as the other is eminently patriotic, and in this political patriotism, unwittingly and without seeking it, they meet – the logic of trends and situations being always stronger than the will of individuals”.