Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805–1881) was one of the most important and controversial figures in nineteenth-century French revolutionary politics, and he played a major role in all of the great upheavals that punctuated his life—the insurrections of 1830, 1848 and 1870–1871. Adamant that a just and egalitarian society can only be established by revolutionary means, he recognised that no revolution can succeed if it fails to overcome the coercive resources of the state, and no revolutionary government can endure if it betrays the principles that alone earn and deserve mass support.
This is the first collection of Blanqui’s political writings ever published in English, and it includes new and complete translations of his best known texts: Instructions for an Armed Uprising and Eternity by the Stars.
“Auguste Blanqui was one of the most important of the revolutionary leaders who helped to shape French politics from the Bourbon Restoration to the Third Republic. He was famous as an organizer, a conspirator and a would-be maker of insurrections. He was also a prolific writer, many of whose texts are practically unknown. Philippe Le Goff and Peter Hallward have now made a good selection of them available in English—a service to all interested in this dramatic period of history, in this strange and unyielding individual, and in the wider history of revolutionary ideologies.”
“Auguste Blanqui believed that a well-organized and secretive revolutionary elite could succeed in taking power in nineteenth-century France and bring about a regime of social justice. Yet it did not work out that way. Spending much of his life in prison, he had lots of time to reflect and to write. This volume presents the best of the political writing of Blanqui, accompanied by the editors’ introduction. We see why Blanqui’s determined optimism and faith in education and ordinary people anticipated subsequent revolutionaries, including Lenin and Gramsci. And why what Blanqui has to say may be particularly relevant in our time.”