The Bâle Congress

  • E. H. Carr


Havingthus secured his first objective, Bakunin forgot all about Marx and the General Council, and plunged into the proletarian politics of Geneva; and the first battle which he waged within the International turned on issues altogether different from those at stake in his later and more notorious duel with Marx. The sections of the International at Geneva fell into two groups. The watchmakers and jewellers, who were born Genevese and exemplified the solid caution of the Swiss craftsmen, formed the Right wing; the builders, carpenters, and workers in the heavier trades, the majority of whom were immigrants from France or Italy, represented the Left. The former concentrated on the improvement of working conditions and other practical measures of reform. The latter nourished hopes of a complete social upheaval. Prior to Bakunin’s arrival, the watchmakers, thanks to their superior education and organisation, had always succeeded in controlling the central section (which was the common ground for the two groups) and the general policy of the International at Geneva. Bakunin determined to change all that. The orderly bourgeois instincts of the watchmakers were thoroughly antipathetic to him.


Private Property General Council Fervent Supporter Direct Legislation Superior Education 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

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  • E. H. Carr

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