Works of Auguste Blanqui 1851

Warning to the People
(The London Toast — February 25, 1851)


Source: Mimeographed UCI brochure. 1961.
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor 2004;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.

Note: Toast sent by Blanqui from Belle-Isle to London, in response to a request for a toast for the February 25, 1851 banquet celebrating the anniversary of the 1848 revolution. Engels told the story of the toast; “Barthélémy, calling himself a Blanquiste, convinced Blanqui to send a toast to the congress. Instead, he received a magnificent attack on the Provisional Government, Louis Blanc & Co, among others. Barthélémy, stunned, put the document aside, and it was decided not to publish it.”


blanqui

What reef menaces tomorrow’s revolution?

The reef that broke that of yesterday: the deplorable popularity of bourgeois disguised as tribunes of the people.

Ledru-Rollin, Louis Blanc, Crémieux, Lamartine, Garnier-Pagé, Dupont de l’Eure, Flocon, Albert, Arago, Marrast!

A dismal list! Sinister names written in blood on the paving stones of democratic Europe.

The provisional government killed the Revolution. It is upon its head that the responsibility for all these disasters, for the blood of so many thousands of victims must fall.

Reaction is doing nothing but its job in cutting democracy’s throat.

The crime is that of the traitors the trusting people accepted as guides, but who instead gave them reaction.

Miserable government! Despite screams and prayers, it decrees the 45 centime tax that causes the desperate countryside to rise up; it keeps in place the royalist headquarters, the royalist magistrates, the royalist laws. Treason!

It runs down the workers of Paris; April 15 it imprisons those of Limoges; it guns down those of Rouen on the 27th; it sets loose all its executioners; it deceives and tracks down all sincere republicans. Treason! Treason!

To it alone belongs the terrible burden of all of the calamities that have all but wiped out the Revolution

Oh, these are the real guilty ones, the guiltiest among the guilty; those the deceived people saw as its sword and shield; those it acclaimed with enthusiasm, the judges of its future.

What a misfortune it would be for us if, on the forthcoming day of the people’s victory, the forgetful indulgence of the masses allows a single one of these men who forfeited their mandate to take power! That, for a second time, would be the end of the revolution.

Let the workers always have before their eyes this list of accursed names! And if even one should ever appear in a government that is a product of the insurrection, let them all cry out with one voice: treason!

Speeches, sermons, and programs would only be frauds and lies; the same jugglers will return to perform the same act, with the same bag of tricks; they would form the first link of a new, more furious chain of reaction!

Anathema on them, should they ever dare reappear!

Shame and pity on the imbecilic mass which would again fall into their net!

It’s not enough that the thieves of February be ejected for good from the Hotel de Ville; we must be protected against new traitors.

That government would be treasonous which, raised upon the proletarian bulwark, doesn’t instantly carry out:

1. The disarmament of the bourgeois guards,

2. The armament and organization of a national militia of all workers.

There are doubtless other indispensable measures, but they will grow naturally from this first act, which is the preliminary guarantee, the only pledge of security for the people.

There must remain not one rifle in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Without this, there is no salvation.

The diverse doctrines which today dispute among themselves for the sympathy of the masses can one day fulfil their promises of betterment and well being, on condition they not abandon the prey for its shadow.

Arms and organization, these are the decisive elements of progress, the serious method for putting an end to misery.

Who has iron, has bread.

We prostrate ourselves before the bayonets; they sweep up the disarmed crowd. France bristling with workers in arms means the advent of socialism.

In the presence of armed workers obstacles, resistances, and impossibilities will all disappear.

But for those workers who allow themselves to be amused by ridiculous strolls in the street, by the planting of liberty trees, by the mellifluous phrases of lawyers, there will first be holy water, then insults, and, finally, the gun. And misery forever.

Let the people choose!