Idolatry of St. Max | Karl Marx and the Anarchists


Idolatry, Max Stirner / Monday, December 25th, 2017

There are no photos of Max Stirner. It should be one of the first things you learn about him, because his likeness as rendered by Friedrich Engels many years later is the closest thing we have. All depictions of Stirner are based on that. Unfortunately people keep attributing photos of other people to Stirner. Benjamin Tucker, Marc Bloch, Rudolph Steiner… etc.

For whatever reason, Google has determined that Marc Bloch is also Max Stirner.

It’s not just Google, but the radical London press PM Press featured Steiner as Stirner in the REVISED edition of The Bonnot Gang issued in 2016. Unfortunate that happened.

Stirner memes are popular, but the thing that interests me most about them is the source of all of these different depictions of St. Max. When I saw a retweet of @liethlen featuring a likeness I didn’t recall, I decided I’d go ahead and begin formally documenting the sources of these various Stirners in a series I’m calling “Idolotry of St. Max”:

@liethlen was quick to respond to my inquiry as to the source, and they have my thanks. I was able to cobble together and clean up a scan found on Amazon.com of Karl Marx and the Anarchists by Paul Thomas (1980, Routledge & Kegan Paul Books):

Libcom.org describes the book as:

Karl Marx and the Anarchists examines Marx’s confrontations with anarchist theoreticians he encountered at various stages of his career as a revolutionist. Paul Thomas argued that Marx’s attacks on Stirner, Proudhon, and Bakunin strongly influenced his own interpretation of revolutionary politics, and are of vital importance to an understanding of the subsequent enmity between Marxists and Anarchists.

And if you care to use it, I’ve cleaned it up a bit and isolated him from the crowd. It is not the best resolution image, but it’s the best I could manage given the online source material:

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