Speech at the Prado (25 February 1848)

France is not yet republican; the revolution that has just taken place is a pleasant surprise and nothing more.1 If we were to seek to raise to power, today, names that have been compromised in the eyes of the bourgeoisie by previous political condemnations, then the provinces will take fright. They will remember the Terror and the Convention, and may recall the fugitive king. The National Guard itself has been nothing but an unwilling accomplice. It is made up of fearful shopkeepers who are capable of undoing tomorrow what they allowed to be done today, to cries of ‘Vive la République!’… Leave the men of the Hôtel de Ville to their impotence: their weakness is a sure sign of their fall. They have in their hands an ephemeral executive power [pouvoir]; we, for our part, we have the people and the clubs, where we will organise them in a revolutionary manner, as the Jacobins once did. We must be ready to wait a few days more and the revolution will be ours! If we seize power by a bold assault, like thieves in the night, who can say how long our power [puissance] might last? Beneath us, would there not be energetic and ambitious men, burning to replace us by similar means? What we need is the immense mass of the people, the faubourgs rising up in revolt, a new 10 August.2 We will at least have the prestige of revolutionary force.

  1. Source: MF, 134-135. This is an extract from a speech Blanqui gave at a meeting of around four to five hundred revolutionaries at the Prado, a public hall near the Palais du Justice, in Paris.
  2.  A reference to one of the most important days of the French Revolution, 10 August 1792, when the people of Paris stormed the Tuileries Palace, overthrew the monarchy and established an insurrectionary Commune.