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Anarchism: Stirner and Bakunin. D. Allen Dalton ECON 325 – Radical Economics Boise State University Fall 2011. Max Stirner (1806-1856). Born Johann Kaspar Schmidt in Bavaria Studied philosophy and theology in Berlin and Erlanger

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Anarchism stirner and bakunin

Anarchism:Stirner and Bakunin

D. Allen Dalton

ECON 325 – Radical Economics

Boise State University

Fall 2011

Max stirner 1806 1856
Max Stirner (1806-1856)

  • Born Johann Kaspar Schmidt in Bavaria

  • Studied philosophy and theology in Berlin and Erlanger

  • Passed Gymnasiallehrer in 1835, but received no government appointment

  • 1839 – teacher at young ladies school

  • Associate of the Young Hegelians during the 1840s

Max stirner 1806 18561
Max Stirner (1806-1856)

  • Wrote under pseudonym of Max Stirner and also wrote several anonymous works

  • The Ego and His Own (1845)

    • Attack on communism and the leftist Young Hegelians, including Feuerbach and Bauer

    • Defense of egoistic individualism

  • Resigned from teaching upon publication; lived his later years on the edge of poverty, twice ending up in debtor’s prison


“Men are such as they should be – can be. What should they be? Surely not more than they can be!”

- Ego and His Own, p. 435

…my relation to the world is this: I no longer do anything for it ‘for God’s sake’, I do nothing ‘for man’s sake’, but what I do I do ‘for my sake’.”

- Ego and His Own, p. 426

Stirner s teaching
Stirner’s Teaching

  • Basis – individual’s own welfare

  • On Law – Law only exists through individual recognition of favor to own interests; sacred law v. individual welfare; “rights” v. self-owenrship

  • On the State – State can not exist independent of the sacredness of law; state’s behavior can not be judged sacred – based on violence

State and individual
State and Individual

“The State has never any object but to limit the individual, to tame him, to subordinate him, to subject him to something gneral; it lasts only so long as the individual is not all in all, and is only the clear-cut limitation of me, my limitedness, my slavery.”

- Ego and His Own, p. 298

Stirner s teaching1
Stirner’s Teaching

  • Organization of the Stateless Society – “the union of egoists.” Individuals are held together by the advantage which each individual receives at every moment from the union.

  • On Property – As it exists, it is sacred; but it is not – for as it exists it is not favorable to the individual’s welfare. Property relations must exist based on competence.

Self ownership and union
Self-Ownership and Union

“What a difference between freedom and self-ownership! I am free from what I am rid of; I am owner of what I have in my power. …Each must say to himself, I am all to myself and I do all for my sake.”

- Ego and His Own, p. 207,214

“…the union exists for you and by you, society contrariwise claims you for itself and exists even without you; in short, society is sacred, the union is your own; society uses you up, you use up the union.”

- Ego and His Own, p. 417-8

Stirner s teaching2
Stirner’s Teaching

“To what property am I entitled? To any which I empower myself. I give myself the right of property in taking property to myself…”

“Property…must be torn from ghostly hands and become my property…”

“…I must have as much as I am competent to appropriate to myself.”

- Ego and His Own, p. 339, 349

Stirner s teaching3
Stirner’s Teaching

  • On Transition –An inward change of mankind from an obedience to the sacred to egoism; afterwards a violent transformation of social conditions will occur. Stirner rejects no methods in the violent transformation.

Mikhail bakunin 1814 1876
Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876)

  • Artillery school, St. Petersburg, became officer, resigned commission

  • Left Russia in 1840, over next decade involved himself in revolutionary activities across Europe; in Paris, associated with Proudhon

  • Twice sentenced to death, Saxony and Austria, imprisoned

  • In 1851, deported to Russia; escaped Siberia to London in 1865

  • From 1868 to death, moved about Europe continuing activities

Evolutionary progress
Evolutionary Progress

“History consists in the progressive negation of man’s original bestiality by the evolution of his humanity.”

- God and State, p. 16

Bakunin s teaching
Bakunin’s Teaching

  • On Law – Enacted law belongs to a lower stage of human evolution and has the aim of the exploitation of the laboring classes by rulers.

  • On the State – The State is a necessary evil as man transforms himself from beast to human. Man takes the first step from beast to humanity by religion; the State is the product of religion.

God and state
God and State

“No State is without religion, and none can be without religion.”

“There is a class of people who, even if they do not believe, must necessarily act as if they believed. This class embraces all mankind’s tormentors, oppressors, and exploiters. Priests, monarchs, statesmen, soldiers, financiers, office-holders of all sorts; policemen, gendarmes, jailers, and executioners; capitalists, usurers, heads of business, and house-owners; lawyers, economists, politicians of all shades…”

- God and State, p. 9, 11

Bakunin s teaching1
Bakunin’s Teaching

  • On Society – Complete humanity can only be achieved in society; only joint labor can free humanity from nature; liberty arises from mutuality.

  • On Rights – All rights and duties are founded in liberty, which arises from mutuality.

    “A free society can not be held together by authority, but only by contract.”

    - Proposition, p. 155

Bakunin s teaching2
Bakunin’s Teaching

  • On Property –Unlimited private property is a result of the State and serves only to exploit the laboring classes. In the future society ruled by contract, private property will only extend to objects of consumption; landand capital will be social property.

Bakunin s teaching3
Bakunin’s Teaching

  • Economics – “I am not a Communist, but a Collectivist.”

    • Simple justice demands that enjoyment corresponds to the quantity of goods produced.

    • Organization formed from below by free union. Land and capital owned by “industrial and agricultural associations.”

Bakunin s teaching4
Bakunin’s Teaching

On Transition –A social revolution is near that will destroy all institutions of inequality and establish economic and social equality. Bloody revolution often necessary due to human stupidity; but are always an evil.

“If one would make a thorough revolution, therefore, one must attach things and relationships, destroy property and the State: then there is no need of destroying men and exposing one’s self to the inevitable reaction…”