My schoolteachers used to say that reactionaries have maligned anarchists, who are simply peaceful, if somewhat naive, believers in the goodness of human nature. These teachers had evidently never heard of Mikhail Bakunin and his followers.

“The will to destroy is a creative will,” declared Bakunin, who never encountered a revolution he didn’t like. “I was on my feet the whole day, took part in absolutely every meeting, gathering, club, procession, walk, demonstration,” he recalled of the Paris revolution of 1848. “In a word, I inhaled with all my senses, with all my pores, the intoxicating atmosphere of revolution. It was a banquet without beginning or end.” According to his friend Alexander Herzen, Bakunin longed for any action in the midst of danger and destruction. “I await my . . . fiancée, revolution,” Bakunin proclaimed....


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