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Saturday, 24 July 2010

A couple of Swiss things

"Freedom to travel was one of the many new relaxations enjoyed by Russian citizens under Alexander II, and one result of thsi was the establishment of student colonies in foreign towns, including Heidelberg and Zurich. Soon spies of the Third Section (Russian secret police) were reporting back that these places had been turned into cesspits of Nihilism. The area around ZXurich Polytechnic became heavily infested with young Russians whose loud voices and carefree gesticulations - not to mention their extreme Socialist views and reputation for promiscuity - shocked the staid burghers of that ancient Swiss City."

from Ronald Hingley's 'Nihilists'

Bakunin: "In Switzerland, in spite of all the democratic revolutions that have taken place there, it is still always the class in comfortable circumstances, the bourgeoisie, that is to say, the class privileged by wealth, leisure, and education, which governs. The sovereignty of the people - a word which, anyway, we detest because in our eyes, all sovereignty is detestable - the government of the people by themselves is likewise a fiction. The people is sovereign in law, not in fact, for necessarily absorbed by their daily labour, which leave them no leisure, and if not completely ignorant, at least very inferior in education to the bourgeoisie, they are forced to place in the hands of the latter their supposed sovereignty. The sole advantage which they get out of it in Switzerland, as in the United States, is that ambitiuos minorities, the political class, cannot arrive at power otherwise than by paying court to the people, flattering their fleeting passions, which may sometimes be bad, and most often deceiving them.
It is true that the most imperfect republic is a thousand times better than the most enlightened monarchy, for at least in the republic there are moments when, though always exploited, the people are not oppressed, while in monarchies they are never anything else."

Also criticised "the parts of Switzerland where the Marxiam programme prevails, at Geneva, Zurich, Basel ... the International has descended to the point of being no longer anything more than a sort of electoral box for the profit of the Radical bougeois."
As opposed to hte programme of the International which states "The emancipation of the toilers can be the work only of the toilers themselves."

From K.J.Kenafick's edited Bakunin, 'Marxism Freedom & the State'

Kropotkin: "The egalitarian relations which I found in the Jura mountains; the independence of thought and expression which I saw developing in the workers and their unlimited devotion to the cause appealed strongly to my feelings; and when I came away from the mountains, after a week's stay with the watchmakers, my views upon socialism were settled; I was an anarchist."

1898, Luigi Luccheni kills Austria's Empress Elizabeth, in Geneva.

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