Works of Auguste Blanqui 1851

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

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


What shoals threaten the revolution of tomorrow?

The shoals that shattered yesterday’s: the deplorable popularity of bourgeois disguised as tribunes.

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

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

It’s the provisional government that 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 does nothing but its job in slitting democracy’s throat.

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

Contemptible government! Despite screams and prayers, it decrees the 45 centime tax that arouses the desperate countryside; it keeps in place the royalist leadership, the royalist magistrates, the royalist laws. Treason!

It attacks the workers of Paris; April 15 it imprisons those of Limoges; it guns down those of Rouen on the 27th; it unleashes all their executioners; it deceives and hunts 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 masters of its future.

Woe on us if, on the imminent 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 this list of accursed names before their eyes! And if one of them should ever appear in a government produced by the insurrection, let them all cry out with one voice: treason!

Speeches, sermons, and programs would be nothing but 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 violent 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 protect ourselves 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 all workers into a national militia.

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.

Not one rifle must remain 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 poverty.

Who has iron, has bread.

We prostrate ourselves before the bayonets; the disarmed crowd is swept aside. 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, grapeshot. And destitution forever.

Let the people choose!