Bakunin: “Where I Stand”

(24 April 2013)

I’ve been reading Bakunin lately for some research I’ve been doing, and I thought I’d post some more great excerpts from his works, this time from his 1862 essay “Where I Stand” (emphasis mine).

I am a passionate seeker after truth (and no less embittered enemy of evil doing fictions) which the party of order, this official, privileged and interested representative of all the past and present religions, metaphysical, political, juridical and “social” atrociousness claim to employ even today only to make the world stupid and enslave it, I am a fanatical lover of truth and freedom which I consider the only surroundings in which intelligence, consciousness and happiness develop and increase.

I do not mean the completely formal freedom which the State imposes, judges and regulates, this eternal lie which in reality consists always of the privileges of a few based upon the slavery of allnot even the individualist’s, egotistical, narrow and fictitious freedom which the school of J. J. Rousseau and all other system of property moralists, middle class bourgeoisism and liberalism recommend—according to which the so-called rights of individuals which the State “represents” has the limit in the right of all, whereby the rights of every individual are necessarily, always reduced to nil. No, I consider only that as freedom worthy and real as its name should imply, which consists in the complete development of all material, intellectual and spiritual powers which are in a potential state in EVERYONE, the freedom which knows no other limits than those prescribed by the laws of our own nature, so that there be really no limits—for these laws are not enforced upon us by external legislators who are around and over us, these laws are innate in us, clinging to us and form the real basis of our material, intellectual and moral being; instead of therefore seeing in them a limitation, we must look upon them as the real condition and the actual cause of our freedom.

Once more, beautiful.