Utopian civic virtue: Bakunin, Kropotkin, and anarchism’s republican inheritance
Civic virtue is a core concept in the republican tradition. Its associations with duty and sacrifice indicate that it is temperamentally incompatible with anarchism, an ideology typically defined by its commitment to maximising freedom. Presenting an original reading of the work of Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, two seminal figures in the history of anarchist ideas, this article argues that, nevertheless, a conception of civic virtue was central to their political theory. Tracing their engagement with the language of Enlightenment civic virtue, filtered through the experience of the French Revolution and the politics of Jacobinism, it argues that Bakunin and Kropotkin looked to anarchist civic virtues to both conceptualise anarchist revolution and underpin future anarchist social relations. Casting fresh light on anarchism’s intellectual origins, its neglected relations with republicanism, and the complexities of republican visions of civic virtue, this article also recovers duty, and a potentially demanding model of participation, as key values in anarchist political thought.
- Social Sciences
- Politics and International Studies