Title: Fundamental Principles of the New Slavic Politics
Author: Mikhail Bakunin
Date: June 1848
Source: Retrieved on 25th April 2021 from www.libertarian-labyrinth.org

Having traversed centuries of slavery, of painful struggles and suffering, the Slavs gather today for the first time in a general congress, and clasp hands for a fraternal alliance, declares solemnly before God and before the nations that the following principles will from now on form the basis of their new political existence.

  1. Arrived last in the march of European civilization, tested and formed by longs misfortunes, they feel themselves called to accomplish what the other peoples of Europe have prepared by their previous development, what is regarded today as the final aim of humanity: the greatness, liberty and good fortune of all, founded on a holy and fraternal solidarity among individuals as well as nations.

  2. They have themselves been too long the victims of foreign oppression; they have seen too well the unfortunate consequences, the demoralization and disorganization that results from the oppression, not only for the oppressed, but also and especially for those who oppress; they have too deeply abhorred the foreign yoke to ever wish to impose their own on a foreign race. The respect and love for the liberty of the others is in their eyes the first condition of their own liberty.

  3. They have been victims for too long of lies and violence to wish to draw any part of their new existence and their strength except from pure and holy truth, pure liberty, and pure justice without any restriction or ulterior motive, and because of this they exclude forever from their politics, both foreign and domestic, diplomacy and conquest everything that would aim to artificially or mechanically establish any central power to the detriment of the liberty of individuals or nations. The new politics of the Slavic race Slave will thus not be a politics of states, but a politics of nations, a politics of free and independent peoples.

  4. The will establishing their new power on the individual and fraternal alliance of all the peoples that make up the Slavic race and they will not seek any other centralization that that of the entire Slavic federation. All their misfortunes originate from their disunion. Together they would be invincible, but they were dispersed, divided to the point of forgetting the sacred bonds of race and of blood that should unite them irrevocably in a common destiny; others have let themselves be drawn into a fratricidal war; still others have forgotten themselves to the point of serving as the instrument of a foreign race ad an anti-Slavic politics in order to oppress their brothers. And God, in order to punish them for it, has let them fall one after the other under the yoke of the Germans. Without excepting even those who have preserved the appearance of a national and independent existence, for those have become the scourge of their brothers, the enforcers, at once unfortunate and criminal, of a German thought.

But the time of trials is finished, the hour of deliverance has sounded for the Slavs. Arriving at Prague from the most opposite points, they have encountered, recognized, and felt one another to be brothers; they have not only felt it in their hearts, they have understood one another by their languages, which are only the dialects, some modifications of that beautiful and sonorous language that is spoken from the shores of the Adriatic and Black seas to the edges of the White Sea and Siberia. They find themselves united by their common interests, but still more united by the feeling of the great destiny that the future prepares for them; they have bowed before God, thanking him for having put an end to their hard trials, of having preserved in them this fraternal sentiment in all its purity, they have mutually pardoned the past and not longer seeing anything before them by the present and the future, they have sworn to no longer separate their destinies.

Bases of the Slavic alliance.

  1. The independence of all the peoples making up the Slavic race is recognized.

  2. But all these peoples are connected [solidaires] with one another. That solidarity must be so close that the happiness of misfortune of one is the happiness or misfortune of the other and that none can think or feel themselves free which the others are not and, vice versa, the oppression of one is the oppression of the others.

  3. The universal federation of all the Slavic peoples is the expression and realization of that solidarity. It represents the entirety of Slavia and bears the name of the Slavic council.

  4. The Slavic council is placed over all the Slavic peoples as authority and as supreme tribunal; – all must equally bow before its judgments and execute its orders.

  5. Every attempt on the part of a Slavic people, intending to form in the heart of the general federation an individual federation; – or else to subject another Slavic people, by diplomacy or by violence, with the aim of forming a powerful central state, capable of counterbalancing or even limiting the power of the general federation; – every tendency to form any hegemony whatsoever, to the profit of one people or of a few peoples united to the detriment of the others, is declared a crime and like a treason to all of Slavia. – The Slavic peoples, who wish to take part in the federation must entirely relinquish their power and concentrate it in the hands of the council and no longer seek their individual grandeur except in the development of their happiness, their liberty and in that holy fraternity that must be the life-giving and religious basis of the new existence.

  6. The council alone has the right to declare war against foreign powers. No people can undertake it without the consent of all, for according to that same law of solidarity all must take part in the war of each and none can abandon their brother in the moment of danger.

  7. The intestine war between the Slavic peoples is forever forbidden as a crime, as the most odious fratricide. – If it be disputes between two Slavic peoples, they should be brought before the council, whose judgment and decision must be executed as sacred.

  8. But it necessarily follows from the last three points that when a Slavic people is attacked without warning, either by a foreign people or by a rebellious Slavic people, before the council had had the time to make any decision or take any measures, all the neighboring peoples must fly to their aid. So every Slavic people that bears arms against another, every Slavic people that in case of attack does not fly to the aid of its attacked neighbor is declared a traitor to the homeland. To defend one’s brother is the first of duties.

  9. No Slavic people can establish alliances with foreign peoples; this right is uniquely reserved for the council; no one can put Slavic troops at the disposition of a foreign people or politics.

Internal constitution of the Slavic peoples.

The Slavic peoples being independent each can give itself constitutions adapted to its customs, its interests and its position, without the council having a right to intervene. But there are principles inherent in the Slavic nature that must consequently form part of the fundamental basis of the new existence of the allied Slavic people, without the religious observation of which none can enter into the universal federation.

  1. The principles are: the equality of all, the liberty of all and brotherly love. Under the free skies of Slavia there are no slaves (neither by law or in fact). Constraint, in whatever form it presents, itself is forbidden forever; all the Slavs are equally free, equally brothers. No other inequality that that which nature has created. No castes. Henceforth, wherever an aristocracy or privileged nobility still exists, it must, if it wishes to be Slavic, seek its honor and its privilege in the wealth of its love and in the grandeur of its sacrifice; older sister of its people through the sciences and arts, it must dissolve and lose itself entirely in the popular masses in order to draw a new life there and in order to initiate it in its turn in the civilization accumulated by the centuries.

  2. On the immense and hallowed terrain that the Slavic race slave there is a place for everyone and each must have a portion of the natural property and of the well-being of all.

  3. Every individual belonging to a Slavic people has, by the very fact, the right of citizenship among all the peoples of the same race and should be regarded and treated by all as a brother; the same solidarity that unites the Slavic peoples must also exist among all the Slavic individuals.

  4. The council has the right and duty to ensure that these three points were religiously observed and fully applied in the domestic institutions of all the peoples that take part in the universal confederation. It has a right and duty to intervene when they are violated by any institution or measure and every Slav has the right to appeal to the council against the injustices of its individual government.