Paper given at conference on “Blanqui and his Legacy” at Kingston University on 27 May 2016.

    Perhaps I should begin with the origins of my interest in the subject, which go back to the annus mirabilis of 1968.  During the French general strike of May-June 1968 I found myself from time to time in argument with members of the Communist Party, to whom I criticised what seemed to me the unnecessarily cautious strategy of their French comrades. Repeatedly their response came in the form “We are not Blanquists”. (This was in fact a quotation from Lenin, though somewhat torn out of context.)[1] I was later to discover that when State and Revolution was first published in Western Europe, many social democrats described Lenin as a “Blanquist”.[2]  At the time Blanqui was no more than a name to me, but it struck me that someone being maligned in this way couldn’t be all bad.

    I didn’t get to Paris till July 1968, by which time a right-wing government had been re‑elected and the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter were being covered in asphalt to make life more difficult for future builders of barricades. I had come to interview activists as part of my research for a small pamphlet on the events of which I was joint author. One meeting‑place was a Latin Quarter bookshop called La Vieille Taupe, and here I discovered books I had not seen elsewhere, notably the Éditions Spartacus. Among them were the works of a historian I was not familiar with, Maurice Dommanget, who specialised in figures from the history and pre-history of French socialism, Blanqui, Babeuf, the abbé Meslier, Sylvain Maréchal and others.

    Outside of specialist circles Dommanget and his work are not much known nowadays.[3] Born in 1888, he was a trade-union activist and a member of the Socialist Party (SFIO) before the First World War. Enthused by the Russian Revolution, he joined the French Communist Party (PCF) almost immediately after its foundation. He also began to engage in historical research, and was encouraged by the well-known historian of the French Revolution, Albert Mathiez. But he never held a university post, although he could have had an academic career had he wanted one. Influenced by the revolutionary syndicalist idea of the “refus de parvenir” (the refusal to make a career) he continued as a primary school teacher throughout his working life. He soon became unhappy with developments in the PCF; when Alfred Rosmer was removed from his post on the Party’s daily paper L’Humanité in 1923, Dommanget was offered his job, but declined it.[4] He left the PCF in 1929, forestalling impending expulsion.[5]

    Until his retirement in 1948 he devoted himself to activity in the teachers’ union, being associated with the journal L’École émancipée, for which he wrote regularly.  In line with its anti-bureaucratic principles, the union had no full-timers, so the posts which Dommanget held were extremely time-consuming.[6] He was involved in a number of actions which brought him into conflict with the authorities.[7]

    He had contact with various far left organisations, and when Trotsky was exiled in France it was Dommanget who helped to organise his accommodation. He met Trotsky, but was not persuaded to support him, and Trotsky, who was convinced that his road was the only road, had a rather low view of Dommanget,[8] though Dommanget, despite disagreements, recognised Trotsky as a great revolutionary.

    It was only when he retired that Dommanget was able to devote himself completely to the detailed historical research and pursuit of documents which fascinated him. He produced a steady stream of books and articles, including some eight books  on Blanqui.  But although in simple chronological terms his life seems to fall into two halves – the activist and the researcher, there was a deep underlying continuity; his preoccupations as an activist recur in his historical writings.

    There is a great deal that could be said about Dommanget’s contribution to historical writing, but I want to focus on two themes that run through a great deal of his work.

    Firstly, Dommanget’ main interest was in the history of socialism. This he saw as a continuing process and his approach was inclusive, if not positively eclectic; thus he wrote a book on socialists and education from Plato to Lenin.[9] But his main focus was on the roots of French socialism, from the abbé Meslier through Babeuf and the French Revolution to Blanqui. Dommanget identified himself as a Marxist, but he did not separate Marxism off from the development of socialism in general; on the contrary, he saw it as part of a process whereby the key themes and concepts of socialism were developed in struggle and by trial and error over a number of generations.

    This set him firmly apart from what was the dominant school of French historiography after 1945, which was dominated or heavily influenced by the PCF. For this school Marxism had a quasi-scriptural nature, and all other versions of socialism were at best erroneous, at worst heretical.

    Thus in 1949 the PCF journal La Nouvelle critique published a formal apology for referring to the British economist JA Hobson as a “precursor of Lenin”, describing the statement as a “dangerous mistake”.[10] A letter to Maurice Dommanget from the Russian historian J  Zilberfard in 1966 described the intellectual climate in the Stalin period:

    … This was the common fate of studies of pre-Marxist socialism in our country for some time. After the remarkable achievements of Soviet historians in the twenties and thirties, then the necessary interruption during the last world war, there was a dark period. Although the history of socialism was not condemned like genetics, cybernetics, pedagogy and psychotechnology as being “bourgeois pseudoscience”, it nonetheless became non grata. There were a few words in Stalin about “the desert of utopian socialism” and a statement that “Marx was the enemy of the utopians”, so they drew the conclusion… They ignored all that Marx, Engels and Lenin said about the contribution of the great precursors. That is why our researches in this branch of historical science were frozen for many years.[11]

    Dommanget’s work on Babeuf, Blanqui and others was a direct challenge to this idea that Marx and Lenin had no “precursors”.  (Louis Althusser, whose mission in life was to make Stalinism look intellectually plausible, used the phrase “epistemological break”.)

    Of course there are dangers inherent in the study of “precursors”. One is what Edward Thompson called “the condescension of posterity”.[12] Another, closely related, is the teleological attitude, which in effect awards the “precursors” marks out of ten for how closely they  approach the finished truth of Marxism. The very notion of “precursors” implies these dangers. As Philippe Riviale has pointed out in the case of Babeuf, it is vital to remember that “He is not addressing the people of the future; he is speaking in urgency, for the present. That is what we are prevented from seeing by the word ‘precursor’.”[13]

    It is true Dommanget does not always avoid these dangers. Thus when he presents the views of the young Blanqui about exploitation through taxation, he argues that he is giving terms a meaning “which has nothing in common with the Marxist concept of the proletarian which will appear later”.[14]

    Nonetheless he attempts to study such revolutionaries as Babeuf and Blanqui in their own terms and in their own context. Rather than seeing Marxism as a self-contained doctrine, he saw it as part of a continuing process of evolution. Historically Blanqui had preceded Marx. As a result “Marx is indebted to him for a good part of his political conceptions. And since no great doctrine emerges like a deus ex machina in an absolute vacuum, we can say that Blanqui, by his principles and by his methods, played a considerable role in taking Marx forward on the path leading to the elaboration of the revolutionary ideas to which the latter’s name would become attached.”[15]

    Secondly, Dommanget was, first and foremost, a revolutionary socialist. Unlike some Communist historians, whose academic work was merely used by their party to enhance its reputation,[16] Dommanget saw historical research as an aspect of his activism.  This meant that there was always an element of empathy in his treatment of the revolutionaries of the past; he shared their emotions and their enthusiasms.

    Thus he describes the imprisoned Blanqui in June 1848, within hearing of the gunfire yet unable to intervene:  “Let us imagine his states of mind. To be there, inactive, behind thick walls, close to a decisive battle, feeling impotent when freedom would have given him an opportunity,  perhaps a unique one, of leading a whole anxious people, determined to fight for bread, what heartbreak, what rage!”[17] But it also meant that he looked to the past as a source of lessons for the present.

    Dommanget’s first work on Blanqui dates from the early 1920s. The PCF had been founded at the end of 1920 when the majority of the Socialist Party voted to affiliate to the Communist International. It was a young party, divided into factions but drawing on both the radicalisation produced by the First World War and on the revolutionary syndicalist tradition which had represented the best in the pre-war working-class movement. Many of the best militants had, like Dommanget, disappeared by the end of the 1920s  as the party was first Bolshevised by Zinoviev, then Stalinised.[18]  Members of the new party were closely observing developments in Russia, enthused by the emergence of a new social order, but not uncritical of developments as the new state grappled with civil war and economic difficulties. And in 1923 the PCF faced its sternest test. In pursuit of unpaid reparations  the French army invaded the Ruhr.  PCF activists went to Germany and attempted to subvert the army. Germany was widely believed to be on the brink of revolution;  a successful rising in Germany would have meant that Russia was no longer isolated. (It was only after the failure of the German revolution that Stalin was able to float the idea of “socialism in one country”.)  However sceptical we may now be with the wisdom of hindsight, in the early 1920s there seemed a real possibility of proletarian revolution in France within a few years. It was the period of what Lukács was to call the “actuality of the revolution”. [19]

    This was the context in which Dommanget began to write about Blanqui. In 1924  he published his first book on Blanqui.[20]    It was a short book, some 94 pages, around forty thousand words. It contained no archival research, being based on Blanqui’s published works and on previous biographies. It was formed of two halves; the first gave a brief biography of Blanqui, while the second examined some of the key themes in his political thought.  Published by the Librairie de l’Humanité, it was aimed at PCF activists, people who didn’t have a lot of time for study but who wanted to get an understanding of France’s revolutionary traditions and how they could illuminate present-day problems. Blanquism was still a current in the French working-class movement.[21] There were also explicit references to revolutionary Russia.

    Dommanget stressed that the work was not hagiography; his admiration for Blanqui’s character and revolutionary integrity were evident, but he also insisted that it was necessary to recognise Blanqui’s weaknesses and mistakes so that revolutionaries could learn from them. “His shortcomings, his mistakes, his failures have been passed over in silence by overzealous panegyrists.”[22]  And he added that it was necessary for revolutionaries to take a critical attitude to their leaders. “But the proletariat has a right to scientific truth, even if it should be painful and disappointing. It must know the failures and the mistakes of those who have led it. To deceive it would not merely mean lacking respect for it, it would expose it, defenceless, to serious miscalculations.”[23]

    Dommanget’s later studies of Blanqui were based on extensive archival research, and added a mass of detail to his first account. Yet the central preoccupations of his first book persisted in his later work; for Dommanget the study of history was always a means for preparing for the struggles of the present and future. Often in his later work he seems obsessed with detail, with an almost pedantic concern to ensure the accuracy of his narrative. Yet this was always motivated by a recognition that we can’t learn from history if we don’t get it right.

    So in the confines of a brief paper I want to look at a few episodes and themes from Blanqui’s life and thinking to show how Dommanget used his studies.

    a)      In 1839 Blanqui organised an attempted insurrection. In many ways it was a model of how not to do it. He attempted to challenge the power of the French state with only a few hundred armed men; in the interest of secrecy those involved were not told of the plans in advance.[24]  Failure was inevitable and the only result was a jail sentence for Blanqui. In the 1924 book Dommanget is relatively generous to Blanqui; he does not accumulate much detail, but he does allow himself a moment of revolutionary empathy when, imagining Blanqui giving the signal for action, he is beset by doubt and wonders whether the action is premature. “At this moment Blanqui hesitates, trembles, is afraid. Perhaps he realises the rising is premature; perhaps it is merely a reflex.”[25]

    In a later and more extensive study, published some forty-five years later, Dommanget tried to make an assessment of the positive and negative features of the 1839 rising. Dommanget insisted that there could be no criticism of Blanqui’s courage, that he was a “true captain of street warfare” and that “before Marx, before Lenin, Blanqui already treated insurrection as an art”.  Yet he also identified the fatal weakness; Blanqui hoped to use the rising to provoke a popular rebellion because he “overestimated the masses’ discontent and their capacity for struggle” – in other words, he had failed to “listen to the voice of the masses”.[26] Dommanget’s understanding was rooted in his experience of the 1920s and his view of what a revolutionary party could and could not do.

    b)      Dommanget was particularly interested in Blanqui’s concepts of organisation and in the specific details of the various organisations that Blanqui had built. As a political activist himself Dommanget had an understanding of how political organisations functioned which is quite absent in those historians who have merely poked their noses into the archives. But at the same time Dommanget wanted to learn lessons, both positive and negative, from Blanqui’s organisation that could be picked up by those engaged in a similar task. This extended even to practical details; thus he examined in some detail the methods used by Blanqui for preventing his correspondence from being intercepted by the authorities.[27]

    Dommanget’s account is a balanced one, drawing out both the strengths and the weaknesses of Blanqui’s organisational conceptions. Thus he stressed that there was a continuity between the structure of modern Communist parties and Blanquist organisations: “the structure of Communist parties on the basis of workplace cells as well as the coexistence within these parties of locally based cells and workplace cells is merely a revival of the Blanquist groups of the Second Empire.”[28]

    But he also noted that the “authoritarian structure” of Blanquist organisation led to a “hierarchical structure” in which “passive obedience counts for much more than the discussion of theories”.  As a result there was a tendency towards “blind obedience … and above all the attribution of divine status to the Leader. They follow a man rather than an idea. When we’re dealing with an apostle like Blanqui, whose opinions are well established, and whose selflessness is above all suspicion, this may, if necessary, be acceptable…. But a man like Blanqui is quite exceptional. This became very clear when he died.”[29]  Though  Dommanget does not make the comparison explicit, it would be easy to substitute the name Lenin for that of Blanqui in these remarks.[30]

    Dommanget noted that one of the essential features of the Blanquist organisation was its “homogeneity”. At the centre there was a “solid nucleus” of “men of character, prepared for struggle and sacrifice, capable of leading and maintaining an action amid the storm”, while around them there were “ardent, discreet, confident insurgents ready to respond to any commands”. Yet he also notes the dangers of such homogeneity, that such an organisation becomes a mere sect unless it has “many thousands of connections” to the masses.[31]

    When discussing the failure of Blanqui’s attempted rising in 1839, Dommanget describes Blanqui’s organisation as an “active minority” which failed to win the support of the masses. The term “active minority” had been popularised by the pre‑1914 revolutionary syndicalists, who rejected the idea of a  political party.[32] As a longstanding trade-unionist who had worked with syndicalists, Dommanget was only too well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the syndicalist conception of the minority. As he commented rather sadly: “Blanqui has not left any remark about how he envisages the problem of the relations between the revolutionary élite and the masses. What a pity!”[33]

    c)      In February 1848 Louis-Philippe was overthrown and the Republic established.  But Blanqui disagreed with the strategy of the new government of the Second Republic.  He believed that it was a mistake to proceed to immediate elections. His argument was based on a general critique of parliamentarism  and in particular on the argument that since the working class were deeply under the influence of ruling-class ideology, it would take time for them to be won over to republican ideas. Dommanget cites Blanqui’s arguments with apparent approval; capitalist reaction, using the church, press and education system, “was stupefying the masses”; their power had to be broken. “For Blanqui this was one of the essential tasks of the proletarian Dictatorship”. As Dommanget notes, Blanqui “never understood …. fetishism with regard to a Constituent Assembly”. (The relevance to recent events in Russia was obvious.)[34]

    As Dommanget notes “Blanqui stressed with remarkable prescience the fatal consequences of the premature application of  universal suffrage, namely the certain victory of Reaction in the first place, then civil war”. And indeed the April 1848 elections slowed the momentum of the revolution, saw the crushing of the workers’ rising in June[35]  and prepared the way for Louis Napoleon’s take-over. As Dommanget comments with apparent approval: “Rather than convening voters prematurely, Blanqui advocated their initiation and immediate education.”[36]   That Dommanget, whose entire life was devoted to education, should endorse Blanqui’s stance is no surprise.  Yet he might have recalled Marx’s observation that “the educator must himself be educated”.[37]

    d)     Blanqui was jailed before the Paris Commune. The communards made great efforts to get him released by exchange for hostages, but failed to do so. While accepting that such speculation is “futile and somewhat ridiculous”, Dommanget considered that if Blanqui had been present at the very beginning of the Commune he might have been able to organise a march on Versailles as early as 19 March, and that this might have forced the Thiers government to flee and be discredited.[38]

    Blanqui was, however, active at the time of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, and produced a daily paper entitled La Patrie en danger. In an introductory note to his book on Blanqui in 1870-71, Dommanget points out that he wrote the book under the German occupation, and that “in the light of the 1940 disaster and the political crisis which preceded the war and of four years of the Vichy regime, we can understand Blanqui’s attitude in 1870-71 better”.[39]

    Of course Blanqui was looking back to the traditions of 1789, when a “patriot” was one who supported the Revolution and the nation state that embodied its gains; the patriots were the people of the  left, not of the right.  But by 1870 things were changing.[40] There was a small internationalist opposition to the war,[41] but Blanqui does not seem to have been associated with it.[42] As Dommanget must have known only too well, in 1914 the leaders of the Socialist Party and the CGT used the rhetoric of 1789 and France’s revolutionary tradition in order to mobilise workers in support of national defence.[43]

    In fact Dommanget’s judgment on Blanqui was quite severe. While noting that memories of the French Revolution were very much “in the air” at the time, Dommanget pointed out that “this evocation, based on vague historical reminiscences and extremely superficial military notions, took no account of the difference between the two periods”.  He was critical of the way Blanqui called the Germans “barbarians” and claimed that they were “threatening civilisation”. (Doubtless he recalled the very similar rhetoric used in 1914.) He noted that both Marx and Lenin differentiated themselves from Blanqui’s nationalism at this point.[44]

    e)      Dommanget has relatively little to say about Blanqui’s little book L’Éternité par les astres (1872).[45] It was a mildly interesting piece of intellectual speculation, in some ways anticipating theories of the multiverse. Perhaps the imprisoned Blanqui, learning of the terrible repression of the Commune, got some consolation from the thought that there were other worlds where the revolutionary movement had been more successful. Unfortunately Walter Benjamin, misleadingly if not dishonestly,  claimed that “this resignation without hope is the last word of the great revolutionary”, and that “Blanqui, in his old age, was forced to concede victory”.[46]

    As Dommanget shows in his 1924 book[47] and develops in greater detail in a later work,[48] it was far from the end of the story. Released in 1879, Blanqui immediately returned to activity, and embarked on various campaigns to rebuild the movement that had been crushed in 1871; he also launched a short-lived daily newspaper. He stood as an election candidate on no fewer than six occasions, preparing the way for the amnesty of communards in 1880.

    He also found time to attend, in October 1879, a well-attended closed meeting of Dames réunies (united ladies) at which he urged “the brave female citizens who have taken on the difficult task of women’s emancipation to persevere on this road and to show redoubled energy and courage when a new obstacle obstructs their advance”.[49] This was a clear break with the misogyny of the Jacobin tradition.

    He toured the country tirelessly, travelling by rail second and even third class, speaking at rallies and banquets, and even visited Italy, where he met Garibaldi.[50]   In December 1880 he returned home at 2.00 a.m. after addressing a meeting, and collapsed; he died five days later.[51]  There is little evidence of “resignation” here.

    f)        Dommanget was favourable to Blanqui’s atheism, arguing that a collection of his writings on religion should be published. Dommanget, with his experience in the state school system – and well aware of the forces which would like to restore clerical hegemony over education – was committed to the principle of laïcité. He quoted with approval a passage in which Blanqui stated that religion was the “principal obstacle” to the liberation of humanity.[52]  Yet even in 1789 the Church had been the ally of an oppressive regime rather than the primary source of oppression. By 1880 Jules Ferry was preparing to take education out of the hands of the Church in order to bring it directly under the control of the French state which was expanding its colonial empire and preparing for a new war with Germany – and thus required recruits to its army to be inculcated with loyalty to the state.[53] Though he could not foresee how laïcité  would come to be used in the twenty-first century,[54] Dommanget does seem a little uncritical on this point.

    g)      Dommanget was more critical with regard to what many would see as a central aspect of Blanqui’s politics, his voluntarism. While it is clear that Dommanget felt a great affinity for Blanqui’s revolutionary enthusiasm, it is clear that he recognised the dangers inherent in Blanqui’s voluntarism.

    As he argued in his 1924 book “the revolutionary élite – while being firm and intransigent – must beware of becoming a sect”. On the contrary, it must be deeply rooted in the masses in  order to lead them. And he makes one of his most severe judgments on Blanquism: “Blanquism has remained, justly, synonymous with the launching of the insurrection before the masses have understood the necessity for it. The rising of 12 May 1839, and that of 14 August 1870, constitute typical examples of this sort of revolutionary adventurism.”[55] Dommanget was undoubtedly aware of the disastrous outcome of the March Action in Germany in 1921, when the German Communist Party had launched an insurrectionary strike based on a small minority of the working class.[56] He was clearly concerned to warn the members of the PCF against any such dangerous adventures.

    And more than thirty years later he repeated essentially the same judgment about May 1839: “The masses, surprised, not only did not help the active minority, but moved away from the struggle….  It was a typical example of putschism or if you prefer of revolutionary adventurism.”[57]

    To sum up, Dommanget’s approach to Blanqui began from an immense admiration for a great revolutionary. He saw him, not as a topic for academic discussion, but as a “companion in struggle”[58], first and foremost a fellow revolutionary, one committed to the same struggle for human solidarity and emancipation as Dommanget himself. This did not exempt Blanqui from criticism – on the contrary, fraternal criticism is an essential component of any authentic revolutionary movement. And Dommanget’s enormous respect for Blanqui implied the most vigorous criticism, notably of Blanqui’s voluntarism and his lapses into nationalism. However, on other points, notably Blanqui’s approach to religion and his views on education, Dommanget, immersed in the traditions of laïcité, was perhaps insufficiently critical.

    Dommanget was undoubtedly correct in believing that a detailed study of Blanqui contained many practical lessons of relevance to a later generation of activists. But in the last resort Blanqui was to be valued, not as a tactician, but as a moral example, whose tireless dedication and self-sacrifice could inspire imitation. This moral perspective was very much in keeping with the syndicalist tradition to which Dommanget owed so much.  Moreover,  Dommanget wanted to show new generations of revolutionary activists that Blanqui, like Babeuf, like Marx and Lenin, were part of a historic movement, one that would eventually succeed where Blanqui had failed. And if Blanqui gives us an example of revolutionary integrity, Dommanget gives us a model of scrupulous but partisan historical writing, one which also deserves imitation.

    [1]           VI Lenin, “The Dual Power”, 9 April 1917, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/apr/09.htm

    [2]           A Rosmer, Moscou sous Lénine, Paris, 1953, p. 71

    [3]           The fullest study of his life and work is J-L Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, Treignac, 1984, from which biographical information in this account is taken.

    [4]           Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, p. 39.

    [5]           Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, p. 41.

    [6]           Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, p. 38.

    [7]           E.g. Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, p. 56.

    [8]           Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, p. 63; see also the rather derogatory comments in a letter to Victor Serge in 1936 , L. Trotsky, Writings: Supplement 1934-40, New York, 1979, p. 679.

    [10]          N­o. 7 (1949), pp. 111-12.

    [11]          cited Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, pp.85‑6.

    [12]          E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, Harmondsworth, 1980, p. 12.

    [13]          P Riviale, L’impatience du bonheur: apologie de Gracchus Babeuf, Paris, 2001, p. 118.

    [14]          M Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui des origines à la révolution de 1848, Paris & The Hague, 1969, p. 107.

    [15]          M Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui, Paris, 1957, p. 398.

    [16]          For the ways in which the PCF used its intellectuals, see D Caute, Communism and the French Intellectuals 1914-1960, London, 1964, pp. 34-5.

    [17]          M Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui et la révolution de 1848, Paris & The Hague 1972,  p. 197.

    [18]          See I Birchall, “PCF: The Missing Founders”, http://grimanddim.org/historical-writings/2011-pcf-the-missing-founders/

    [19]          G Lukács, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought (1924), chapter 1, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/1924/lenin/ch01.htm

    [20]          M Dommanget,  Blanqui, Paris, 1924.

    [21]          There were Blanquists involved in the 1919 Black Sea mutinies in the French navy.  See “The Black Sea Revolt” in Revolutionary History  8/2 (2002), translation of an article which appeared in Cahiers de Mai in 1969, written with the assistance of three participants in the mutinies

    [22]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), p. 3.

    [23]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), p. 22.

    [24]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui des origines à la révolution de 1848, p. 193.

    [25]         Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), p. 12

    [26]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui des origines à la révolution de 1848, pp. 237-8.

    [27]          Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui, pp. 355-6.

    [28]          Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui, p. 350.

    [29]          Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui,  pp. 343-4.

    [30]          See I Birchall, “Lenin: Yes ! Leninism: No?” https://rs21.org.uk/2014/08/02/leninism/

    [31]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), pp. 85-6.

    [32]          At the Second Congress of the Communist International  Lenin, dissociating himself from the sectarianism of Zinoviev and Paul Levi towards the syndicalists, said there was “really no difference” between the Bolshevik notion of the party and the syndicalist idea of the “minority”. (Riddell, John (ed.), Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite!,  New York, 1991, Vol. I, pp 166-8).

    [33]          Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui,  pp. 370, 372.

    [34]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), pp. 69-72.  See also  Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui et la révolution de 1848, pp. 52-7.  There had been a similar debate among the leaders of Babeuf’s organisation ; see I Birchall, The Spectre of Babeuf, Basingstoke, 1997, chapter 11.

    [35]          Blanqui was in jail by the time of the June rising by Paris workers against the closure of the national workshops for the unemployed. For his analysis of the events, see I Birchall, “The Enigma of Kersausie”, Revolutionary History 8/2 (2002), https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/birchall/2002/xx/kersausie.html

    [36]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui et la révolution de 1848, pp.  56, 53.

    [37]          K Marx, Theses on Feuerbachhttps://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/index.htm

    [38]          M Dommanget, Blanqui la guerre de 1870-71 et la Commune, Paris 1947, p. 128.

    [39]          Dommanget, Blanqui la guerre de 1870-71 et la Commune, p.7. During the German occupation Dommanget was sacked as a teacher and had to earn his living selling insurance policies. He did not, however, join the Resistance, which he regarded as too nationalist. (Rouch, Prolétaire en veston, pp. 79-80).

    [40]          See Engels’ letter of 27 June 1893 to Paul Lafargue, in  which he argues against the use of the word “patriot” and accuses Lafargue of inclining “a little too far  towards Blanquism”. K Marx & F Engels, Collected Works, volume 50, London, 2004, pp. 157-9.

    [41]          J Vallès, L’Insurgé, Paris, 1964, pp. 200-01.

    [42]          It is not mentioned in Dommanget, Blanqui la guerre de 1870-71 et la Commune.

    [43]          This is extensively documented in A Rosmer, Le Mouvement ouvrier pendant la guerre, Volume I, Paris, 1936.

    [44]          Dommanget, Blanqui la guerre de 1870-71 et la Commune, pp. 33-4, 49.

    [45]          There are ten pages about it in Dommanget, Blanqui la guerre de 1870-71 et la Commune (pp.145-55), where it is described as a “philosophical hiatus” (p. 155).

    [46]          W Benjamin, The Arcades Project, Cambridge Mass & London, 1999,  pp. 26, 112. See also P Hallward, “Blanqui’s Bifurcations”, Radical Philosophy 185 (2014).

    [47]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), pp. 41-4.

    [48]          M Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui au début de la IIIe. République (1871-1880), Paris & The Hague, 1971.  In this book Dommanget devotes just a single paragraph to L’Éternité par les astres, (pp. 3-4), describing it as an “astronomical hypothesis”.

    [49]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui au début de la IIIe. République, p. 114.

    [50]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui au début de la IIIe. République,  pp. 99, 107, 130.

    [51]          Dommanget, Auguste Blanqui au début de la IIIe. République, p. 141.

    [52]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), p. 73.

    [53]          See I Birchall, “From the Schoolroom to the Trenches”, http://grimanddim.org/historical-writings/2015-from-the-schoolroom-to-the-trenches/

    [54]          Jim Wolfreys, “After the Paris attacks: An Islamophobic Spiral”, International Socialism 146, 2015  http://isj.org.uk/after-the-paris-attacks/

    [55]          Dommanget, Blanqui (1924), p. 86.

    [56]          See S Koch-Baumgarten, Aufstand der Avantgarde, Frankfurt am Main, 1986.

    [57]          Dommanget, Les Idées politiques et sociales d’Auguste Blanqui, p. 370.

    [58]          I take the term from Tony Cliff’s essay on revolutionary leadership “Trotsky on Substitutionism” https://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1960/xx/trotsub.htm