On two separate occasions in the last couple of weeks, people have asked me a familiar question: “In a system of ‘anarcho-capitalism’ or the free-market order, wouldn’t society degenerate into constant battles between private warlords?” Unfortunately I didn’t give adequate answers at the times, but I hope in this article to prove the adage that later is better than never.
The Free Land of The Free Territory of Makhnovia is a massive, efficient nation, remarkable for its pith helmet sales, unlimited-speed roads, and state-planned economy. The compassionate, hard-working, democratic population of 1.523 billion Free Territory of Makhnovians hold their civil and political rights very dear, although the wealthy and those in business tend to be viewed with suspicion.
Building upon the federalist and libertarian socialist ideas of his friend Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as well as those in the European labour movement, Bakunin shaped anarchism into its modern form. His revolutionary, class struggle based anarchism soon became the dominant form of anarchism in the First International. He combated the state socialism of Marx and Engels and laid the foundations for both communist-anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. His predictions about Marxism have been confirmed and his critique of capitalism, the state and religion as just as valid as when they were first expounded. Both the Russian and Spanish revolutions have confirmed the power of his ideas on revolution.Yet Bakunin’s ideas are less well known than they should be outside the anarchist movement. This is due to the fact that Marxists hate him while liberals cannot understand him. Their combined distortions of his ideas have ensured that many radicals have failed to read him and see for themselves the power of his theories. So why should we be interested in what a dead Russian had to say in the 1860s and 1870s?