English: Mikhail Bakunin, russian Anarchist

English: Mikhail Bakunin, russian Anarchist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Marxists … console themselves with the idea that [their] rule will be temporary. They say that the only care and objective will be to educate and elevate the people economically and politically to such a degree that such a government will soon become unnecessary, and the state, after losing its political or coercive character, will automatically develop into a completely free organization of economic interests and communities

“There is a flagrant contradiction in this theory. If their state would really be of the people, why eliminate it? And if the state is needed to emancipate the workers, then the workers are not yet free, so why call it a people’s state? By our polemic against them we have brought them to the realization that freedom or anarchism, which means a free organization of the working masses from the bottom up, is the final objective of social development, and that every state, not excepting their people’s state, is a yoke, on the one hand giving rise to despotism and on the other to slavery. They say that such a yoke-dictatorship is a transitional step towards achieving full freedom for the people: anarchism or freedom is the aim, while state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses of the people, they have first to be enslaved!

“Upon this contradiction our polemic has come to a halt. They insist that only dictatorship (of course their own) can create freedom for the people. We reply that all dictatorship has no objective other than self-perpetuation, and that slavery is all it can generate and instill in the people who suffer it. Freedom can be created only by freedom…”

–Mikhail Bakunin, “Critique of the Marxist Theory of the State”

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Quoted in The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations

Front cover of "The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations

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