By George Woodcock
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Additional resources for The Anarchist Reader
Proudhon took part in the 1848 revolution in Paris and became an early disillusioned member of the National Assembly. He learnt quickly how parliamentary activity puts a man out of touch with the people, and spent much more of his time during the revolutionary year on fierily independent journalism in a series of newspapers-The People, The Representative of the People and The People's Friend - which were successively suppressed because the revolutionary authorities could not endure his impartial attacks on all sides in the new republic, which he accused of being devoid of ideas.
But the anarchist idea, as distinct from the movement, did not, and in the last decade it has risen like a phoenix from the fire of its own transformation. 4 PHOENIX IN THE AWAKENING DESERT In these pages I have been stressing the differences between anarchism and more dogmatic political orthodoxies, and especially between anarchist groups and the tightly hierarchical structures of political parties whose aim is power. When anarchism existed as an identifiable movement, it had intellectual leaders but no organizational leadership.
The German in the trio was Karl Marx, himself a notable creator of historic phrases and in those days an almost irrepressible fountain of German metaphysics; his contribution to the gatherings apparently consisted largely of long expositions of the philosophy of Hegel for the edification of his companions. Marx, of course, was to be the ancestor of modern authoritarian communism, though he and Engels Anarchism: A Historical Introduction 37 would not issue their Communist Manifesto for several years to come; Proudhon and Bakunin were to become the founders of anarchism as a social revolutionary movement.