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The Cynosure

  Michael Bakunin
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  Elisée Reclus
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  Art and Anarchy
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  Anarchist Poets


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category felt its strength and was joyful and active, like a new-born babe, in a consciousness of its power. This was the first breeze of liberty which swept over this slave-empire. After 1812, the peasants never ceased to clamour for bread and liberty. The aristocratic youth came back from abroad strangely changed. They had become liberal and revolutionary. A gigantic propaganda sprung up in all towns and garrisons, in all aristocratic palaces. Even the women took part at last, and fought with glorious enthusiasm. Thus changed the Russian aristocracy, the hitherto despicable slave of a barbaric despot, almost miraculously into fanatical propagandist of humanity and liberty.

This then, was the new world-full of progress and healthy, vigorous strength-which Czar Nicholas fought from the first day of his accession. The reaction, which broke out after the downfall of the December conspiracy, was terrible. Everything humane, everything intelligent, and everything true and good that existed in Russia, was destroyed and crushed. Everything brutal and debased ascended the throne with Nicholas! It was a systematic and entire destruction of humanity in favour of brutality and all corruption.

In the middle of these conditions, this gruesome time, Bakunin had entered, as boy of fourteen years, the Artillery School at St. Petersburg.


Herzen was the love child of a German mother and a Russian noble. His father recognised and cared for him from birth. In 1827 he was sent to the University at Moscow to complete the studies he had commenced at home. Reaction was striding triumphant through Russia. The Czar and his Court were conspiring to close the universities and to replace them with organised military schools. Living a century later, we are familiar with the arguments of military despotism and entrenched bureaucracy at the war with democracy and public right. Lord Trenchard gives an excellent impersonation of the Czar's Statesmen militarising the universities during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when he urged to-day the military reconstruction of the London Metropolitan Police Force. The unoriginal medieval Hitler apologises for the militarising of the German Universities in phrases that have been plagarised without any alteration from these pioneer Czarist despots inspired with the so-called German philosophy.

Moscow was made the centre of attack. The reaction suspected the educational foundation of being a hotbed of liberal thought and intrigue. The university was ancient and possessed a real tradition for learning. Traditions are not true, necessarily. Only, they grow hoary with legend, and stubborn believers sometimes try


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