No alliance with the vanguard of reaction, with the renegades who opened the floodgates to counter-revolution.1 Let us say after the psalmist: ‘Discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et dolos erue me’!2 Let us distinguish our cause from that of the defectors and tear ourselves from the clutches of the wicked and deceitful who betrayed the Republic!
There must be nothing in common between the faithful socialists, the proven defenders of the people, and the henchmen of this provisional government, of this executive commission, the disgrace and scourge of the revolution. This would substitute confusion for union.
There is nothing more harmful than doubtful allies – friends of today, enemies of tomorrow, traitors forever. Reject this adulterous mélange, this impure alloy. Let there be no Saxons in our ranks to fire on us in the middle of the battlefield.
Let us have done with this ambiguous flag that others seek to plant in the midst of our camp! The flag of the provisional government is the flag of the deserters; it is not ours. Do not fear losing the forces that are still gathered behind that sullied banner. One by one, the last solders will open their eyes and line up behind the only true republican colours, the socialist colours. Let a handful of wily schemers exhaust themselves in intrigues and manoeuvres. Their ridiculous agitation will soon succumb under the jeers and curses of the disabused patriots. Do not be duped by the hypocritical appeals for unity that resound in our ears. This is the favourite manoeuvre of tricksters. This perfidious cry, which they let fly in the aftermath of February, lulled the republicans and ensured the success of the provisional government’s sleight of hand.
The men of La Réforme set only one good example: the inexorable ostracism they pronounced against the dynastic opposition. Ledru-Rollin said to Thiers: ‘Be gone, men of the 45 centimes3 and of Le Rappel, victor of 15 May,4 butchers of June!’5 Thiers does not deserve to receive from the people the sceptre of the presidency; he deserves an indictment. Long live the union of all victims against all executioners!
What do we care for your speeches, your manifestoes, your professions of faith! What do we care for the socialist inscriptions that you have painted over your banners, and added to your pledges and your protests! We no longer believe in anything, for you have trampled on everything. What did you do with these noble principles on 17 March, 16 April,6 15 May, and 23 June? You were then the government! You were even the dictatorship! It was the moment to implement your Dijon and Lille programmes. What became of them? They resulted in counter-revolutionary laws and measures! But reaction has proved victorious, thanks to your assistance, and it has since dismissed you and kicked you out like lackeys for which it has no further use. And now you quickly gather up from here and there the tattered remnants of your programmes, you smooth them down and wipe them off, so as to renew the old pantomime of people’s banquets, and once again ceremonially promenade the old rags, the old costumes, the old harangues – typed out afresh, and coiffed à la socialiste!
- Source: MF, 147-148, based on the manuscript in MSS 9580, f. 141. Blanqui wrote this text from the prison of Vincennes in response to Ledru-Rollin’s attempt, during the presidential election of late 1848, to regroup the forces of the radical left around his campaign. ↩
- ‘Plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked.’ (Psalm 43, New International Version). ↩
- On 18 March 1848 the government introduced a very unpopular tax of 45 centimes on every franc collected in direct tax. ↩
- A major demonstration took place in Paris on 15 May 1848 in opposition to the results of the Constituent Assembly elections of 23 April, which returned a large majority for the moderate republicans. After the National Guard regained control, Blanqui was arrested along with Barbès, Raspail and other prominent leaders on the radical republican left. ↩
- A reference to the June Days, the workers’ uprising of 23-26 June 1848 that was brutally repressed by government troops, with thousands killed and injured, and thousands more deported. ↩
- 17 March and 16 April 1848 saw demonstrations in Paris calling for the postponement of the Constituent Assembly elections. ↩