The search for a libertarian communism: Daniel Guerin and the ‘synthesis’ of marxism and anarchism

2017-03-17T15:22:23Z (GMT) by David Berry
Concerned that his reinterpretation of the French Revolution, La Lutte de classes sous la Première République (1946), had been misunderstood, Daniel Guérin wrote to his friend, the socialist Marceau Pivert in 1947 that the book was to be seen as ‘an introduction to a synthesis of anarchism and Marxism-Leninism I would like to write one day.’2 This paper aims to analyze exactly what Guérin meant by this ‘synthesis’, and how and why he came to be convinced of its necessity—for as Alex Callinicos has commented, ‘[g]enuinely innovative syntheses are rare and difficult to arrive at. Too often attempted syntheses amount merely to banality, incoherence, or eclecticism.’