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The Cynosure

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published at Neuchatel, gives Marx the credit of having discovered the materialistic conception of history. Bakunin defines this conception as follows:-

"All the religions, and all the systems of morals that govern a given society are always the ideal expression of its real, material condition, that is, especially of its economic organisation, but also of its political organisation, the latter, indeed, being never anything but the juridical and violent consecration of the former."

In this same year of tragedy, Bakunin records his first impressions of Marx when he met him in Paris:-

"Marx was much more advanced that I was as he remains to-day, not more advanced but incomparably more learned than I am. I knew then nothing of political economy. I had not yet rid myself of metaphysical abstractions, and my Socialism was only instinctive. He, though younger than I, was already an Atheist, an instructed materialist, a well-considered Socialist. It was just at this time (1847) that he elaborated the first foundations of present system. We saw each other fairly often, for I respected him much for his learning and his passionate and serious devotion-always mixed, however, with personal vanity-to the cause of the proletariat. I sought eagerly his conversation, which was always instructive and clever, when it was not inspired by a paltry hate, which, alas! happened only too often. But there was never any frank intimacy between us. Our temperaments would not suffer it. He called me a sentimental idealist, and he was right. I called him a vain man, perfidious, and crafty; and I, also, was right."

This takes us back to the forties and Bakunin's adventures in France. A few months after their meeting, Proudhon was obliged to leave Paris for Lyons. Bakunin was induced by his Polish to leave Paris for Lyons. Bakunin was induced by his Polish friends to go to Switzerland. He was involved in the trial of the Swiss Socialists and deprived of his rank as a Russian officer and his rights of nobility. He whittled away five years in the Swiss villages. Proceeding to Paris, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the struggle for freedom. His activity brought him into contact with Marx. His impression of Marx has been recorded.


November 29th, 1847, was the anniversary of the insurrection of Warsaw. On this date Paris celebrated Bakunin's speech to the Poles. For the first time a Russian offered the hand of brotherhood to the rebel nationalists of this much persecuted people, and renounced publicly the government of St. Petersburg. His oration promised that the future Russian Revolution would make amends for the grievous injustice suffered by the Polish nation under the Czar. It would remove all differences between the two leading Slav families and unite them into a federative Social Republic. It


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