[Marxism] Buonarroti on revolutionary organization...

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sun Apr 2 21:29:00 MDT 2006

I've had recent occasion to reread a biography of Buonarroti, Babeuf's
co-conspirator from the French Revolution and ran across this really
great explanation by him of revolutionary organization.  

By the way, Buonarroti survived until 1837, organizing one revolutionary
secret society after another.  He had a particularly strong influence on
Blanqui and some others who persisted in these efforts as long as the
Paris Commune and beyond.  It was always a serious current in the
international Left.

Anyway, here's Buonarroti on revolutionary organization....

"The secret society . . . is a democratic institution in its principles
and in its end; but its forms and its organization cannot be those of a

"With respect to doctrines, which one assumes are held in a pure form by
the leaders, they would be better preserved and transmitted by them,
than by the crowd of initiated whose opinions, whatever one does, will
never be altogether fixed nor uniform. With respect to action, whether
preparatory or definitive, it is absolutely necessary that the impulse
come from above and that all the rest obey. This society is nothing else
but a secret army, destined to fight a powerful enemy."

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, _The First Professional Revolutionist: Filippo
Michele Buonarroti (1761-1837)_ (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1959), p. 37.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Mark L.

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