London AF Public Meeting September 7th

London Anarchist Federation has organised the following event at Housmans Bookshop on September 7th

‘Social-Democracy and Anarchism: In the International Workers’ Association, 1864-1877’ with Rene Berthier
Wednesday 7th September, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Much of the ongoing IWA were inspired by Bakunin. He argued for the priority of labour solidarity. But it was not an anarchist International that was created in 1872. Anarchism was born some five years later, when Bakunin was dead. Rather, the adoption of anarchism by the remnants of the IWA marked a breach with Bakuninism.

Berthier’s account also shows how the International Workers’ Association (IWA) was formed in 1864 by French and British trade unionists and quickly became a forum for socialist discussion over both strategy and goals; how Marx and Engels used bureaucratic manipulation to secure their control over the body and, in so doing, marginalise themselves so completely they ended up expelling the majority of the organisation; that Bakunin came to play a key role in the IWA because he articulated the majority position, what came to be called  “syndicalist”.

After the Paris Commune (1871), Bakunin characterised Marx’s ideas as authoritarian, and argued that if a Marxist party came to power its leaders would end up as bad as the ruling class they had fought against. In 1872, the conflict in the First International climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress. This clash is often cited as the origin of the long-running conflict between anarchists and Marxists.

This split is sometimes called the ‘red and black divide’, red referring to the Marxists and black referring to the anarchists. Otto von Bismarck remarked, upon hearing of the split at the First International, “Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!”


“This is an excellent work, recommended to both anarchist activists and those interested in the rise of modern, revolutionary, anarchism.” – Anarchist Writers

“This book is a credit to its author, who has thoroughly researched the available evidence on this subject.” – Weekly Worker

About the Author

Rene Berthier is an active researcher, writer, and a veteran French anarcho-syndicalist activist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: