BAKUNIN – ANARCHIST AS AN EXISTENTIALIST
Mikhail Bakunin considered himself as a political-social anarchist, yet he was one of the early European existentialists. Bakunin preceded Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre.
Bakunin defined his anarchist personal freedom this way:
I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect, nor savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting a single authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognize no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such individual, I have no absolute faith in any person.
Source: Written 1871. Online Version: Essays by Bakunin and Bakunin Internet Archive, marxists.org 1999.
De Beauvoir defined her existentialist credo that way:
We regarded any situation as raw material for our joint efforts,
And not as a factor conditioning them…
We had no external limitations; No overriding authority;
And no imposed pattern of existence.
We created our own links with the world,
And freedom was the very essence of our existence.
Source: Simone de Beauvoir: The Prime of Life, 1963.
Both were libertarians. None was a Marxist. More to come.
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