Three Sacred Monsters of Anarchy: Today Bakunin and Collectivism

Continuing with this series dedicated to three sacred monsters of anarchy, today we continue with Bakunin. (The previous post on Proudhon can be seen here).

My intention is to show an analogous path between the thinking of these anarchy theorists and the decentralization process that Satoshi Nakamoto started with his White Paper in 2009. In short, Bitcoin and blockchain are part of an ideological current aimed at banishing imposed centralization by corporations and political bodies on humanity in the last 100 years, under the pretext of stabilizing society. However, we know that what politicians want is wars, capital accumulation, hunger, poverty, and more and more concentration of power.


Image by janeb13 from Pixabay

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a Russian revolutionary anarchist, politician, philosopher, and sociologist, the son of landowners. He was an officer of the Imperial Guard and always had a very difficult character. It was troublesome to deal with this guy. He is considered one of the fathers of anarchy and is credited, within this philosophy, with the creation of "collectivism".

Bakunin's proposal is an anti-state social revolution, based on groups of workers who own their own means of production, and on a distribution of the product of work according to the principle "to each according to his/her contribution", clearly differentiating himself from Proudhon, and, as we will see in the next post on Kropotkin, he also differs from Kropotkin, which was based on the principle “to each according to his/her needs”. Bakunin is often considered halfway between Proudhon and Kropotkin.

Although anarcho-collectivism admits the market, the proposal is based on the organization of producers in large federations to cooperate with each other and plan production and distribution.

Bakunin thought that anarcho-collectivism was a Prudhonism (or mutualism) that improved and carried to its natural evolution.

Bakunin and Marx belonged to the First International Labor Association, founded in 1864, and they lived fighting, both with very strong characters. Marx accused Bakunin of being a Pan-Slavist Russian agent, charging a salary for doing that, to which Bakunin responded by creating anarchist factions within the Association and driving Marx mad who accused him of being a conspirator.

Bakunin hated communism and regarded it as "the denial of freedom". He considered that the communist system was synonymous with centralism. It would be applauded today by us decentralizers who love the crypto ecosystem.

A very interesting aspect of Bakunin is his warning towards so-called "progress", showing great mistrust of science and technology. This is a very lively discussion today, considering that science lost its virginity in Hiroshima. Unfortunately, the image of the "mad scientist" working alone in his laboratory has been replaced by a swarm of supposed men and women of science paid by large corporations in search of patents and power, with the camouflage of "progress", "health", and "well-being". Bakunin foresaw this long before nuclear energy and its devastating power of domination and occupation were discovered. His analysis proved prophetic.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

But what Bakunin is most remembered for is his criticism of the God-State binomial. Like many other thinkers, Bakunin considered that religions were a set of fallacious beliefs that were going to disappear over time, as is actually happening. Furthermore, he believed that religion was a strong obstacle to the emancipation of people. Like Marx, Bakunin thought that religion is a kind of consolation for the afflicted, hope for the miserable life of the poor and weak.

But the most interesting thing is that for Bakunin, the State is the product of religion since subordination to a metaphysical supernatural authority lays the foundation for doing the same from political authority.


Image by intographics from Pixabay 

Bakunin's collectivism proposal supposes an absence of the State, this being replaced by federalism in which the workers organize themselves freely in a system in which solidarity prevails over any other social factor.

Bakunin embodied the typical 19th-century revolutionary. He was one of the many revolutionaries who sacrificed his tranquility to seek the freedom of a large number of people oppressed by a growing and devouring capitalist machine. Marx was concerned about the crisis of the capitalist system, conferring on the working class the historical mission of relieving the bourgeoisie of power, in the most developed countries at an industrial level. In contrast, Bakunin, because of his descent from the Russian rural nobility, concentrated on the most backward part of that Europe where agriculture was still the predominant activity, especially in Russia, Italy, and Spain.

Bakunin thought that the land and natural resources are the common property of all, but only those who use and cultivate them with their own effort can take advantage of them. Without reaching expropriation, by the natural force of workers' associations coordinating among themselves the use of land and resources, the land and the means of production will fall into the hands of those who produce wealth with their own work.

Bakunin thinks that collectivism is the only guarantee of economic self-determination, this being the indispensable condition to achieve the real freedom of the individual. The ideal social model for Bakunin is the horizontal federation of workers' associations, organized from the bottom up in groups, communes, provinces, regions, and nations. However, he never raises the eradication of private property. Although he maintains that equality is the fair distribution of goods, equality does not presuppose a hasty and forced egalitarianism. Bakunin is an activist with a peasant mentality, as far as possible from the urban planning that capitalism proposes. Bakunin believes that the important thing about land and natural resources is their use, so he envisions a peaceful transfer of land accumulation by the bourgeoisie.

In collectivism, workers are volunteers. They must work in what they think is convenient, or what they have previously agreed with the corresponding workers' association. However, collectivism received and continues to receive strong criticism, including from other anarchist currents. Criticisms are based on its way of distributing according to "merit". The so-called "meritocracy" is a source of corruption for the capitalist right, in which merit is synonymous with wealth obtained by inheritance or by access to political sectors that participate in a totally biased distribution of goods.

An example may clarify this a bit more. Let us suppose that there is a very successful international textile company that manufactures its garments in the Far East, paying miserable wages to 12-year-old working girls, and then sells those garments in the main European capitals at exorbitant prices, obviously generating spectacular profits for the shareholders. The businessman at the head of this monster is considered one of the most successful businessmen in the history of capitalism and is the cover of many business magazines and an international speaker on the subject of "how to do good business." Well, considering that this businessman started from very low and from a life of poverty, the label of meritocracy is perfect for him. But, can one speak of meritocracy if there is exploitation and poverty? What opportunities did working girls have to show their “merit”? How much power had to be bribed to allow such exploitation? It seems that access to merit is held by a few. What would the salary and life of working girls be like if they had been organized under a collectivist scheme of workers' association?

Of course, the shareholders of the corporation would not have had the profits they have today, based on their effort and merit...


Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Frankly speaking, the inflation caused by the debt-based system that is imposed throughout the world under the name of Modern Monetary Theory ends up being a tax that the rich levy on the poor, and that is why it exists, to make more poor people. The theorist of the Austrian School of Economics and Nobel Prize in Economics Frederick Hayek shows the inflationary effect with a simple analogy, using honey. When you pour some honey on the edge of a plate, it will slowly creep towards the center of the plate, but those on the edge will get the most honey. When it reaches the center, those who are there will receive very little.


Image by Hanjörg Scherzer from Pixabay 

This is how the Modern Monetary Theory works, the corporations order the government (they don't ask it, they order it) to issue a certain amount of money they need for their strategy, then the commercial banks "create" the money through an instrument such as a loan, the Central Banks endorse this outrage of creating money "out of thin air" by starting up the printing machine, and the corporations use the largest amount of honey received. When the honey reaches people, the inflationary event occurs, and a kilo of tomato costs $2 while last month it cost $1.

This is the system that governs us, that enriched corporations, that keeps hunger and poverty always in force, and that governments around the world continue to use to stay in power. That is why governments, corporations, especially financial ones, and international organizations are so afraid of the decentralization proposed by cryptocurrencies. That is why some billionaires who made their money using this debt system that made them rich while impoverishing most of the world's population, say that cryptocurrencies are "rat poison" or "venereal diseases”. Listen Cenozoic dinosaurs, venereal diseases are you!


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay 


Anarchy is an attempt to decentralize power, in the same way that cryptocurrencies are an attempt to decentralize the enormous and discretionary power that governments and Central Banks have to decide how much the promissory notes they print and call "money" are worth. And also, when we can use it. (I don't have to tell you what happened in Canada during the last few weeks, do I?)

The cryptosphere is slowly organizing itself as a "free association of wills", coordinating a new paradigm to make money, this time, without the intervention of corrupt states and dinosaurs sick of power.

This is so for a simple reason: Modern Monetary Theory bills are debt, and cryptocurrencies are assets. As simple as that.


As usual, none of the things written in this post are financial advice and are not intended to replace personal research.

Thank you for reading!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down below


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Franchise veteran, Dapps developer, DeFi evangelizer, Bitcoin and Ether since a long time

SirGerardThe1st Grimoire
SirGerardThe1st Grimoire

The book of secrets. The book of spells. The fundamentals of anarchy. Nature does not make mistakes. Tao does not fight, triumph.

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