Blanqui and Blanquism

What is Zig Forums's opinion on Louis-Auguste Blanqui?

Also is Blanquism a feasible strategy for communist revolution?

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Blanquism is trash and anyone who believes a tiny conspiratorial group can take over state power and hold it without the masses and establish a communist dictatorship is deluded

Probably the best critique you'll find on Blanqui and Blanquism is this short article by Engels
and tangentially this by Marx
To touch on this and elaborate, the main problem with Blanquism is that it attempts to usurp the current system with a conspiracy (actual literal meaning here) of a few knowing actors, something which comes with its own inherent problems. In Blanqui's case it was a conspiracy which, by the merit of being a conspiracy, collapsed in on itself due to its failure to have the patience to build up proletariat support for socialism and instead just vouching for "blowing it" all in one go. This differs very greatly from something like vanguardism which is intended to build up large public proletariat support before taking action, with the party merely being an apparatus to do so. By doing so the party guarantees its long term success to a greater degree, as a revolution by the workers is more likely to succeed against the full force of the capitalist state as opposed to a small inconsequential group of revolutionaries. It is also in this fashion that even if the party disappeared the next day before the revolution even began, the ideas and sentiments that the party espoused would continue in the minds of a newly class conscious people and thus the potential for revolution and possibly another party would continue as well.

This isn't to say things can't be learned from Blanqui himself, as Marx thought him to be the man the french commune had been missing as a leader and Engels thought him to have profound revolutionary instinct and decisiveness. His complete singleness of purpose, total commitment to the revolution, and belief in the need for action are things to be admired and maybe even emulated. But unfortunately his ideas were antiquated and were mostly a holdover from revolutions and coups prior. He's a man of his conditions, and an excellent study of a revolutionary figure, but his ideas fall short of what actually needed to be done.

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Do you not remember Occupy?

Pol Pot was arguably a Blanquist.

How? Pol Pot led a communist party and organised guerrilla peasant resistance engaging in people's war until the government forces were defeated. It wasn't Blanquist at all.

October Revolution proved the correctness of Blanqui and BTFO Marx.

Objectively false and to the contrary lmao.

I guess you believe it was like October by Eisenstein lmao

newsflash: it was only thanks to vast popular support and socialist agitation conducted over decades and the deepening crisis and radicalisation of the masses which led to the spontaneous collectivising of land by peasants and the formation of soviets of workers and soldiers, as well as the conscious organisation of these into frameworks of dual power by the bolsheviks that allowed them to depose the government and, it is only this popular support and movement of the revolutionary masses that permitted the success of the reds in the ensuing civil war.
October wasn't blanquist in the slightest and the idea that the October revolution was some coup by a small minority of professional revolutionaries is anti-communist slander repeated by the bourgeois propagandists ever since to misrepresent the revolution and downplay its socialist nature.

It was a revolution (or coup) inside a revolution, which is still Blanquist Gang. Bolsheviks had the hardest time first fighting leftists in Moscow and using personally loyal military units like Latvian Rifles and Kronstatd sailors to remove left opposition in Petrograd. The revolution was totally independent of the Bolsheviks with very little direction from them till they seized power directly.

And no, Lenin also overthrew dual power he did nothing to set it up or maintain it

Except the Bolsheviks as a party were massively popular among the workers, and held an elected majority in the Petrograd Soviet. They weren't a tiny clique of conspirators, but a mass movement with an electoral mandate from the Russian proletariat. Their seizure of power was also backed by the Left SRs, with the SRs being the largest party in the constituent assembly.

Pol Pot is a lot of things but he’s not that shitty in his praxis

this is true but meaningless as the Soviet was literally a toothless body with no power whatsoever. All its important action was in the beginning when it was in Menshevik hands, when its mostly capitulated to the Provisional government over continuing WWI. It's most important order, which caused true chaos and opened up the way for Bolshevik power, was Order 1 which caused anarchical disintegration of the army. That was passed by workers and soldier's delegates pressuring the Mensheviks and SRs, and had nothing to do with Bolsheviks.
popularity is fickle. they didn't support the bolsheviks originally. almost no one knew who they were. then they did because they projected their aspirations onto the bolsheviks.
who do you think seized the winter palace? the red guards were factions trained by the bolshevik leaders from among the groups of the most radical workers, i.e. they were a vanguard. When the winter palace was taken, almost no one in the city even knew what was going on and trolley's were running as usual.
they only joined the bolsheviks after being presented with the fait accompli of their having seized power.
the left SRs were a minority that broke off from the main party and eventually declared war on the bolsheviks over Brest Litovsk in a Blanquist-type coup that actually could have succeeded had they pressed home their advantage. Left SRs went on to lead the Greens as well.

There are plenty of Blanquists around today. Theyre called MLs and Trots

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Always better than be killed like a bitch

That has nothing to do with whether or not the Russian Revolution was Blanquist. What matters is that it was an elected worker's government that elected the Bolsheviks to a legitimate majority.
Why they supported them is beside the point. What matters is that the Bolsheviks had a mass base of popular support. Blanquism by definition calls for a seizure of power by a small minority with or without popular support. The Bolsheviks didn't do this, they actively cultivated a mass movement and waited until they had a mandate.
They were a vanguard with massive popular support and a mandate conferred to them via and election. That fact alone precludes it from being Blanquist.

yes it does because blanquism, as you say, is about a small group seizing power, which is what happened regardless of their electoral status in other bodies which they soon made obsolete or abolished. Anyway, while the bolshevik did have majorities in some soviets they did not have them in all of them, most especially provincial soviets where they tended to share power with mensheviks and rule in coalition with them for lack of skilled activists.
yes it does. they supported the bolsheviks for reasons for different reasons than the bolshevik leaders themselves believed, which is why a lot of workers either became apathetic, downright hostile to or violent to the bolsheviks after the October coup. It was a temporary, illusory coalition between bolshevik conspirators and a mass base whose demands were totally at odds with each other. The workers, in so far as they knew what their demands were, wanted an alliance between leftist parties, vague ideas of "soviet power", wage increases, and greater trade union power, all of which the Bolsheviks never desired to fulfill or could never desire due to the extreme constraints placed by the Civil War.
why does that matter when the Bolsheviks seized power and proceeded to rule without other worker elected parties or worker input? That's precisely why the workers became indifferent or hostile to them after October.
That's what happened. You haven't refuted this point yet.
a lot of that cultivation was limited to petrograd and a lot of the support was a misinterpretation of what the bolsheviks stood for, and because the bolsheviks were the only party (to lenin's credit) that was not tainted by ruling through the provisional government and the petrograd soviet (which was also thoroughly discredited).
you just said blanquism is a seizure of power by a small minority with popular support. now you're contradicting yourself. As it is, I think Lenin offered a new template for blanquism based on his deep study of the paris commune (before which, ironically, blanquist found himself arrested and thrown in prison on grounds he was about to overthrow the govt). It was blanquism adapted to mass politics of the 20th centuries. To quote the little finger meme lenin used chaos and mass politics as a ladder


Blanquism excludes mass-involvement of the proletariat in the revolution. Anyone calling the Bolsheviks blanquist is fooling themselves

Your entire point is fucking garbage because this isn't what Blanquism is, otherwise nearly every force who utilizes a small group in any capacity, even in addition to mass involvement with the public, is Blanquist. Actually read Blanqui before you come here and try to claim the Bolsheviks were Blanquist.
For example in Work, Suffer, and Die
>Do we dream, then, of exterminating all the bourgeois? Not at all; that would be suicidal. The bourgeoisie contains an elite minority, an indestructible phalanx – enthusiastic, zealous, ardent: this is the essence, the life, the soul and spirit of the Revolution. It is from this incandescent core that ideas of reform or renewal incessantly arise, like little bursts of flame that ignite the population
>Who planted the proletarian flag? Who raises it up again after every defeat? Who are the promulgators, the apostles of egalitarian doctrines? ===Who leads the people into combat against the bourgeoisie? Members of the bourgeoisie===
>Without this sacred battalion, indefatigably rallying the masses in the wake of every rout, the latter would have long since slumped into servitude. Through their heroic tenacity, the resolve and constancy of this small troop saves the masses from discouragement and despondency. It also recruits some of its members from those workers educated and trained in their broad school, and who become, in turn, leaders in their own right. This group will not give up until it has led the Revolution to the achievement of Equality

This differs from the Bolsheviks who based everything by necessity and engaged in both mass politics and the construction of dedicated cells. They went everywhere and attempted to reach out to every sphere of the proletariat, including the military. They utilized both small, dedicated, militant groups and large, far reaching, and all encompassing workers unions. They made alliances with other leftist groups and constructed massive popular fronts, and broke off connections and burned bridged when the time came and they were no longer needed. They robbed banks, manipulated, used, and broke their opposition, and inserted dedicated socialists loyal to the bolshevik cause into Social Democratic and liberal circles to learn information and overtime turn them. Nothing was completely off the table, because nothing was off their greater oppositions table as well. Their enemies would no whatever they needed to in order to remove them, and so they needed to match them in kind. This was something which was learned from insurrections prior is Russia, all of which failed due to their lack of strategy and failure to build popular support and organizational infrastructure before striking, something which Blanquism also failed in and in its orthodox form will always fail in.

Pretty much this. Ted Kaczynski wrote some good criticisms awhile back on why upper-level conspiracies probably won't work.

Firstly, it takes time, money, and energy to work up from an abslolute nobody to a high up position in political office, we're talking 10 or so years.
Second, the level of trust needed between all actors in on the conspiracy not to turn traitor or sell out eachother, and REAL commitment for that 10+ years.
Third, when the conspirators infiltrate the offices they may find its not so bad and either abandon the conspiracy for a life of pleasure or go full succdem with muh reforms.
Fourth, intelligence agencies are nosy fuckers and even small conspiracies in the US by a few people were quickly found out and disbandoned.

Don't hold yer breath is what I'm saying.

I was using that user’s own definition against him, by which he define blanquism as small conspiratorial group that seized power with or without popular support. If you read my last sentence I proposed that Lenin created a Blanquist template for seizing power suited for mass politics of the 20th century. The conspiratorial core was still essential to this though, and everything you mentioned about sophisticated maneuvering, tactics, and no-holds-barred methods doesnt negate that and perhaps proves the rule.
As for the Blanquist, wasnt he notoriously contradictory in theory. Also tbh hes not wrong with the bourgeois comment as many leading bolsheviks were bourgeois or petty bourgeois (lenin was inherited hereditary status from his father ascending table of ranks and drew wealth from his mothers estate while in exile) and it also drew from the most educated proles

I understood that
As I explained though, it was by definition not Blanquist. To be Blanquist would be to ignore mass politics for a single small group of conspirators embedded within the elite of society. Anything else is not Blanquist.
It was not by definition a conspiracy in the Blanquist sense either. What could be called the progenitors of the bolsheviks started with the disagreements within 2nd Party Congress of the RSDLP, with the "hards" who agreed with Lenin that they should first form an active base who would spend all of their time organizing the party towards becoming a mass revolutionary party, and the "softs" who thought they should simply rely on a larger number regulars and fellow travelers who may be able to come every once in a while to meetings. These disagreements persisted and eventually culminated in the writing of "What is to be done?", which caused members to take a harder stance on the organizational structure of the party. Eventually the bolsheviks within the RSDLP came into their own as a distinct entity in the party in 1905 during the 3rd Party Congress when they held a separate meeting in London from the Mensheviks who themselves had their own conference. As I mentioned they had their disagreements before and both sides had already started forming themselves within the party, but until then there hadn't been anything which could be considered a "split". There was an attempt to reunify the party during the fourth congress, but that fell through with the Mensheviks simply allying with the Bundists and assuming a majority in the party. It was only at this point did Lenin and a few other form a Centre which organized the Bolshevik faction within the party itself. The bolshevik faction itself was never quiet about their stance and stood firmly by it both within the party and publicly outside of it. All the centre did was keep the faction together, admittedly clandestinely as the RSDLP had forbid such separate internal organizational bodies. Then in the fifth congress the bolsheviks seized a majority within the party, with the faction by then only being together in name. After that a couple things occurred, including an incident of Tsarist infiltration which increased tensions within the party and in many ways validated he bolsheviks in their stance. In 1912 the bolsheviks officially split into their own party becoming the RSDLP(b) and continued to publicly make clear their position and engage in mass organizing.

tl;dr At no point did the bolsheviks hide their main intentions or stances, save a singular time when a centre was formed to properly keep the faction together and reiterate its main position. The bolsheviks did not hide themselves from the public, going as far as to make their own party to make clear their distinction form the original RSDLP. Both groups believed and engaged in mass revolutionary organizing, but differed in their structure and tactics to do so.
Yes, and it caused all sorts of problems along the way, culminating in the conspiracy occurring far earlier then intend to avoid it total collapse.
The problem is that he saw this as the end all be all and that anything beyond this was needless chaff that just got in the way of successfully pulling off a revolt or coup.

aren't there examples of leftist military coups succeeding though in 20th century third world politics? Sankara comes to mind among other left wing populists. Granted, popular movements do have a better record.
can't we acknowledge that some aspects of his thinking concerning small conspiratorial groups is useful? It's not the be all end all of revolutionary politics, but like is often mentioned on this board it should perhaps work separately or in collusion or conjunction with mass politics. In other words, a new revolutionary synthesis which I think Leninism showed us. I agree blanquism is obsolete as a practice or isolated strategy.
If I'm understanding correctly, Lenin's bid for power in the party was conspiratorial. I don't mean that in a bad way, it is just to say that he disagreed with strategy from one school of thinking in the party and organized within its structures to win people to his view and to make his ideas the consensus within the party. He did this precisely because the far reach of the Tsarist police state required more secretive (conspiratorial) organization to evade authorities, coordinate activities more quickly and so take advantage of antagonisms inherent in Tsarist development so as to work toward worker emancipation and pave the way for the seizure of power by the RSDLP. Whether Lenin hoped to share power with Mensheviks in different circumstances is a difficult question, but events conspired to make him disinclined to share power and to exclude the other leftist parties. This was vindicated by the Menshevik's less militant stance, which paved the way for increasing bolshevik influence in the trade unions (for example after the Lena goldfields massacre), and ultimately made them more adaptable to the revolutionary situation of 1917, even after police repression basically wiped out menshevik AND bolshevik organizations throughout WWI. In this sense the Bolsheviks' quasi-blanquist mentality and organization favored them.
I don't understand this? Their slogans like "peace, bread, and land" and "all power to the soviets" were calculated to win worker and soldier support while also occluding their willingness to fight another bloody three year war which effectively annulled these promises and to sweep away the soviets as organs of workers power and rule.
how so? I'm not seeing that in your argument exactly. It was not a matter of short term tactics but long term strategy. The mensheviks, for better or worse, wanted to work with the bourgeois reformist parties, and they hewed to this line dogmatically. Mass politics was a means to an end "within" a parliamentary system. To their discredit, they didn't even want to rule with the bolsheviks and srs in a left coalition cause of their distaste for the bolshevik's Winter Palace coup. The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, saw mass politics as a means to an end to seize state power. Once the masses brought them to this point, they promptly disposed of their reliance on mass support (except when it was convenient, like when the Whites almost succeeded on advancing to moscow). In a sense, then, the Bolsheviks were disingenuous about what they meant. In a word, they were conspiratorial about their ultimate goals and ways of achieving them. The question is whether circumstances exacerbated these tendencies or they were always inherent in their manner or organizing and structure. People here on Zig Forums seem to agree that Lenin was in the right about his means and ends, and I'm inclined to agree with them, with reservations
fair enough

I'll just build my own cult and make people fight for the revolution.
- This post was made by the Blanquist Gang