About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 22.2, Autumn 2014)



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Format: Article

Publication date: November 1, 2014

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Allan Antliff

In 2014, the government of Brazil blew roughly 11.63 billion on the FIFA World Cup. Mass protests against this fiasco, before and during the event, were met with harsh police repression, in the course of which Mikhail Bakunin became a ‘subject of interest’. Brazilian anarchists were delighted and news of his riotous reappearance spread quickly. An anonymous article posted on the http://revolution-news. com website communicates the gist of the Brazilians’ response:

Nineteenth Century Anarchist Bakunin, Investigated by Brazil’s Police As ‘Suspect’ Brazil’s police state has played a joke on itself: Mikhail Bakunin, an anarchist born in Russia 200 years ago, is being investigated by the Rio de Janeiro police under the suspicion that he is participating in protests against the World Cup and social injustice. Police suspect Bakunin of participating in ‘vandalism acts’ during protests. Bakunin, considered among the founders of anarchism (which is a theory of organising the society without the state and without capi- talism; horizontally, without hierarchies, without the bourgeois class, oppression, exploitation, wage slavery and private property), has been listed as ‘a potential suspect’ because a thirty-four year old professor, who is enduring state repres- sion, mentioned him in a phone conversation. Police tapped her phone to spy on her activities, and when they heard her mentioning the name they included it in a 2000 page report against social activists. In the past, cops investigated Marx too; oddly enough Marx and Bakunin are known due to their divergent posi- tions regarding the state’s disappearance. Bakunin’s conflict with Marxists is best stated in his words: ‘As for me, I do not hesitate to say that all the Marxist flirta- tions with radicalism of the bourgeois, whether reformist or revolutionary, can have no other result than the demoralization and disorganization of the rising power of the proletariat, and consequently a new consolidation of the established power of the bourgeois.’ Bakunin is censored by mainstream curricula, and by mainstream political ideas, because he and other anarchists contest the legitimacy of the capitalist ruling classes, of their capitalist economic arrangements, and of their domination over the majority of the population, which they keep in submission through silent or violent coercion. So with this, cops help the ones they hate most, the anarchists, propagate their ideas. [After news of the police targeting of Bakunin] a webpage immediately appeared denouncing more terrorists and vandals to the police. Those listed have been fighting against the state and the capital all their lives: Mikhail Bakunin, Louise Michel, Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Ricardo Flores Magón, Emiliano Zapata (who was partly influenced by the anarchist from Oaxaca, Ricardo Flores Magón), Nestor Makhno, and Alexander Berkman.

The article closes with the poster featured in this issue’s cover appealing to concerned citizens to help police track down ‘Bakunin, the leader of the vandals’.
Happy 200th Mikhail!