Also like the other anarchists we have seen, Bakunin holds to the conquest theory of the state, as opposed to the contract theory of Rousseau, Locke, and most statist liberals. Like Spooner, he sees the state as the tool of a minority elite enslaving the masses. Bakunin emphasizes the unholy collusion of church and state, and points out that the particular form of state does not alter its essence of privilege by aggression.
The State is an evil but a historically necessary evil, as necessary in the past as its complete extinction will be necessary sooner or later, just as necessary as primitive bestiality and theological divigations were necessary in the past. The State is not society; it is only one of its its historical forms, as brutal as it is abstract in character. Historically, it arose in all countries out of the marriage of violence, rapine, and pillage - in a word, of war and conquest - with the Gods created in succession by the theological fancies of the nations. From its very beginning it has been - and still remains - the divine sanction of brutal force and triumphant iniquity. Even in the most democratic countries, like the United States of America and Switzerland, it is simply the consecration of the privileges of some minority and the actual enslavement of the vast majority. - Michael Bakunin, The Immorality of the State
Perhaps Bakunin's main claim to fame is his role as Marx's arch-nemesis. Both Bakunin and Marx were extreme socialists, i.e. against private property, employment ("wage labor"), and (like their inspiration, Pierre Proudhon) the belief that equality of opportunity and economic condition were compatable with and necessary for liberty. But Marx's socialism was authoritarian; not only did Marx contend that a "dictatorship of the proletariat" was necessary, but he also asserted a necessity for party discipline and uniformity. Bakunin ridiculed the notion that a state could be a transition to statelessness, and warned that if such a dictatorship were ever achieved, it would be just as bad as, and maybe worse, than any other state.