an excoriating open letter spelling out the facts of his quarrel with Marx, denouncing his underhand attempts at blackening his public reputation, observing that he does not usually respond to attacks in the press, singling out Marx, next to the Russian government, as the most rabid of his detractors, ascribing this to the fact of his being a communist, a German and a Jew, claiming that, although Marx pretends to despise the Russian government, he acts in fact in harmony with it, discussing in detail the Hague Worker's Congress of 1872 and accusing Marx of using it for his own ends, repudiating the claim made in the Journal des Débats, and reprinted in the Journal de Genève of 14 September, that he was the cause of revolutionary events in Spain and that he was the author of various anarchistic publications, admitting his disgust at public life, stating that he has had enough of it and that he has neither the energy nor perhaps the confidence to continue much longer
...Parmi mes calomniateurs les plus acharnés, à côté des agents du gouvernement russe, je place naturellement Mr Marx, le chef des communistes allemands, qui, sans doute à cause de son triple caractère de communiste, d'allemand et de Juif, m'a pris en haine, et qui, tout en prétendant nourrir également une grande haine contre le Gouvernement russe, à mon égard du moins, n'a jamais manqué d'agir en pleine harmonie avec lui. Pour me noircir aux yeux du public, Mr Marx n'a pas eu seulement recours aux organes d'une presse pas trop complaisante; il s'est servi des correspondances intimes, des comités, des conférences et des congrès mêmes de l'Internationale, n'hésitant pas à faire de cette belle et grande Association qu'il avait contribué à fonder, un instrument de ses vengeances personnelles...tout cela m'a profondement dégouté de la vie publique. J'en ai assez, et après avoir passé toute ma vie dans la lutte, j'en suis las. J'ai soixant ans passés, et...je ne me sens plus ni la force ni peut-être la confiance necessaires pour rouler plus longtemps la pierre de Sisyphe contre la réaction partout triomphante...
4 pages, 8vo, some autograph corrections and cancellations, no place or date , horizontal and vertical folds
Letters by the Russian anarchist Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (1814-1876) are exceedingly rare at auction.
This is an explosive letter, in which the revolutionary Bakunin pulls no punches in castigating his perceived opponent Marx. The background to it lay in the Fifth International Workers' Congress at The Hague in September 1872, which saw a Marx faction arguing for participation in parliamentary elections and one grouped around Bakunin resisting such participation. In the event, Bakunin's view did not prevail, and the conference ended with Bakunin's final rift with Marx and the former's expulsion for apparently organising a secret grouping within the conference. As David Levy observes, however, Bakunin's 'negative arguments...against Marx...are unmatched by any convincing positive defence of his own position. His anarchism is, in the last analysis, an affair of the heart, based in revulsion against every actual or potential limitation on the expression of human life. That is the strength of his work as well as its weakness. It explains Bakunin's continuing appeal as much as the frustration of his hopes.'
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