During 1975-76, “Solidarité Ouvrière” published a series of articles on Bakunin, Kropotkin and Malatesta. Undoubtedly, these articles did not help reduce the suspicion some libertarians, in particular those of the Fédération Anarchiste, had about us. A rumour circulated that we were “crypto-Marxists”, a label that has remained stuck to some of us, even after the dissolution of the Alliance.
Reflecting on the issue, this suspicion was not entirely unfounded, on the surface. Our concern was to restore to anarchism a theory of proletarian revolution, a theory it should have never given up, and not to justify a vague revolt against “authority”. In doing so, we could give the impression of using a language that brought us closer to Marxism : the articles below talk about “method”, “dialectic”, “class struggle”, etc.
Moreover, this series of articles did not just go against Kropotkin but also Malatesta, even if the latter was called to the rescue in order to criticise the former. It was quite iconoclastic…
Only Bakunin was doing well in the whole affair, which only made us seem all the more suspicious. Bakunin had always been kept a bit on the sidelines by the French libertarian movement ; it was suspected that, despite his opposition to Marx, he was still too “Marxist”.
René Berthier, March 2008
PS. We must keep in mind that in 1976 we were very young, that we undoubtedly had the faults of youth, categorical opinions and a bit of arrogance. However, as I reread these articles, I realize that my overall view of the problems addressed has not fundamentally changed, even if I have formulated them differently in more recent studies.
R.B., February 2021