Pensées montagnardes

Bienvenue à l'an CCXXII de la République

33 notes

Marisa Linton's article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

bunniesandbeheadings:

montagnarde1793:

needsmoreresearch:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship…

Yeah, we’re not as subtle as we like to believe. What you see is what you get with most of us.

In any case, I like to think there’s a lot of room to maneuver in between explaining everything by pure “ideology” and economic determinism, so I’m not sure why people like to cling so much to one or the other of those poles - particularly the former these days.

Of course, there’s also the separate issue of teleology. If the “Terror”, however one defines it (but usually with this kind of argument as a rather amorphous boogeyman) is inevitable (and that does seem to be the postulate) then everything leading up to it can only be read as a cause of it. Personally, I think more can be gleaned from studying things on their own terms. Not that seeking the causes of the revolutionary government and the way events unfolded in the Year II isn’t legitimate, but not everything is about that. Pretending revolutionary repression became inevitable from the moment Montesquieu wrote of the necessity of virtue for the survival of republics isn’t doing anyone any favors.

(And that’s not even getting into the fact that an historian like Linton’s argument falls apart from the moment she attempts to give the Girondins a free pass because I could paper the walls of my whole apartment building with all the times Girondins like Brissot and “the virtuous Roland” go on about the importance of virtue. And mind, that’s an internal critique, because I don’t buy that a Girondin discourse on virtue is any more the root cause of any and all troubles of the revolutionary period than a Montagnard discourse on virtue.)

Wul, I either misspoke or was misunderstood if there’s an impression that i think studying ideology and the fuels and results of it is irreconcilable with materialistic analysis. To use my anatomic example again, you can study the left leg alone so long as you acknowledge the right exists as well.

But to be fair to this generation of ideologically-focused scholars, they often set about rolling the Mountain and Girondin alike under the bus of Evil Virtue. Higgonet even contends that the differences between the two are arbitrary and that had we not been reading about the Tyrant Robespierre we’d have the Tyrant Vergniaud. I…disagree with that idea, at least insofar as they mean it, but Linton’s cherry-picking isn’t (in my experience) the norm. But then, you aren’t usually speaking in generalities like me so I would do well to view your criticisms of Linton as just that: criticisms of one individual rather than a movement (although, certainly, the movement has a myriad of other flaws).

Naturally I agree with you re: not everything tying to Year II, not everything needs to be analyzed as intrinsic contribution, Montesquieu’s virtue isn’t inevitably going to knock heads off, etc.

Oh, no, I wasn’t talking about you in particular, just general tendencies I’ve noticed toward explanations that rely exclusively on “ideology”. While we’re on that point, I feel I should also clarify that I was kind of lumping two distinct but often convergent phenomena together: the focus on a history of ideas detached from material realities on the one hand and the use of the term “ideology” to discredit a group or individual’s politics by portraying it as a rigid abstract dogma (that, ironically, and as we’ve already discussed, is supposed to be problematic because of its abstraction from reality). I’m actually all for the study of the history of ideas, politics and political culture - I’ve just written three progressively longer theses that fall under that heading - I just object to “ideology” as a catch-all explanation for everything. And I think it’s disingenous to pretend, for example, that revolutionary discussions about counter-revolution have nothing to do with the very real activities of said counter-revolution, just as it would be disingenous to pretend that the taboo around the “agrarian law” had nothing to do with the demands of the peasant movements for agrarian reform. But I think we’re on the same page there, no?

As for the Girondins vs Montagnards issue, you’re right, that was a critique levelled chiefly at Marisa Linton. There do seem to be a baffling large number of historians who think that there was no difference between the Gironde and the Montagne and the whole thing can be reduced to a personal quarrel between Robespierre and Brissot or Danton and Roland. (I say baffling because I’ve personally had occasion in the course of my research to observe some serious policy divergences and differences of general political philosophy between the main Girondins and the main Montagnards…) But that group is by no means limited to historians of “ideology” - I’ve definitely also seen the argument that there can’t possibly be any difference between Montagne and Gironde because the leaders of the two groups were all largely petit-bourgeois.

33 notes

Marisa Linton's article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

needsmoreresearch:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship…

Yeah, we’re not as subtle as we like to believe. What you see is what you get with most of us.

In any case, I like to think there’s a lot of room to maneuver in between explaining everything by pure “ideology” and economic determinism, so I’m not sure why people like to cling so much to one or the other of those poles - particularly the former these days.

Of course, there’s also the separate issue of teleology. If the “Terror”, however one defines it (but usually with this kind of argument as a rather amorphous boogeyman) is inevitable (and that does seem to be the postulate) then everything leading up to it can only be read as a cause of it. Personally, I think more can be gleaned from studying things on their own terms. Not that seeking the causes of the revolutionary government and the way events unfolded in the Year II isn’t legitimate, but not everything is about that. Pretending revolutionary repression became inevitable from the moment Montesquieu wrote of the necessity of virtue for the survival of republics isn’t doing anyone any favors.

(And that’s not even getting into the fact that an historian like Linton’s argument falls apart from the moment she attempts to give the Girondins a free pass because I could paper the walls of my whole apartment building with all the times Girondins like Brissot and “the virtuous Roland” go on about the importance of virtue. And mind, that’s an internal critique, because I don’t buy that a Girondin discourse on virtue is any more the root cause of any and all troubles of the revolutionary period than a Montagnard discourse on virtue.)

33 notes

Marisa Linton's article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

montagnarde1793:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship and the Girondins

To be entirely fair here, I’ve never read more than extracts of Linton, so the only complete argument of hers I’ve heard was her twenty minute presentation at the colloquium a little over a week ago and I do have to acknowledge that it can be hard at the best of times to back up one’s conclusions in 20 minutes.

That said, I do have a similar impression to yours. I would say that almost everything she says is either banal or dubious and tends in any case to have already been said by someone else. In other words, I would sum up her communication as really not adding anything to the conversation. Just repeating that virtue is pathological isn’t particularly convincing, especially when it takes the form of the circular argument of: “Why the ‘Terror’? Because virtue is pathological. How do we know virtue is pathological? Because the ‘Terror’”.

Did she really say virtue is pathological?? She used that term???

I’m not sure she used that exact term to be honest, but that was what I got out of her argument. And she certainly borrows her argument that virtue causes terror from people who have referred to virtue in similar terms. But perhaps that unfair. If we stick to her implicit terms, we get that virtue is “traumatic” and that it results in an inherently “unstable” “ideal community”. Make of that what you will.

I really need to stop trying to write in the middle of the night. Read: “perhaps that’s unfair” and “If we stick to her explicit terms”. It should also be noted that I’m translating here, albeit literally. The actual terms she used were “traumatique”, “instable” and “communauté idéale”.

(via bunniesandbeheadings)

33 notes

Marisa Linton's article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

saintjustitude:

montagnarde1793:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship and the Girondins

To be entirely fair here, I’ve never read more than extracts of Linton, so the only complete argument of hers I’ve heard was her twenty minute presentation at the colloquium a little over a week ago and I do have to acknowledge that it can be hard at the best of times to back up one’s conclusions in 20 minutes.

That said, I do have a similar impression to yours. I would say that almost everything she says is either banal or dubious and tends in any case to have already been said by someone else. In other words, I would sum up her communication as really not adding anything to the conversation. Just repeating that virtue is pathological isn’t particularly convincing, especially when it takes the form of the circular argument of: “Why the ‘Terror’? Because virtue is pathological. How do we know virtue is pathological? Because the ‘Terror’”.

Did she really say virtue is pathological?? She used that term???

I’m not sure she used that exact term to be honest, but that was what I got out of her argument. And she certainly borrows her argument that virtue causes terror from people who have referred to virtue in similar terms. But perhaps that’s unfair. If we stick to her explicit terms, we get that virtue is “traumatic” and that it results in an inherently “unstable” “ideal community”. Make of that what you will.

33 notes

Marisa Linton's article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship and the Girondins

To be entirely fair here, I’ve never read more than extracts of Linton, so the only complete argument of hers I’ve heard was her twenty minute presentation at the colloquium a little over a week ago and I do have to acknowledge that it can be hard at the best of times to back up one’s conclusions in 20 minutes.

That said, I do have a similar impression to yours. I would say that almost everything she says is either banal or dubious and tends in any case to have already been said by someone else. In other words, I would sum up her communication as really not adding anything to the conversation. Just repeating that virtue is pathological isn’t particularly convincing, especially when it takes the form of the circular argument of: “Why the ‘Terror’? Because virtue is pathological. How do we know virtue is pathological? Because the ‘Terror’”.

28 681 notes

jean-grey-o-lantern:

So last night cops arrested 7 protesters, then turned to the rest of the protesters and told them “we’ll release them without bond if you leave (stop protesting)”

They literally turned their own dubiously legal arrests into a hostage situation. They took hostages. Ferguson PD is a terrorist organization and they aren’t even trying to hide that fact any more.

Look at this

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

You can donate to protesters’ legal defense and bail here

(Source : twitter.com, via stalinistqueens)

16 notes

saintjustitude:

valdsbejakande:

saintjustitude:

"The deputies of the Convention heard him [Robespierre] in terrified silence and voted to send the Dantonists to prison without a hearing.”

image

How do you know that.

Hey.

Hey, Linton.

I asked you a question.

How do you know that.

Were you there?

Is it written “the Convention was in a terrified silence” in the Archives parlementaires for that session?

http://media.tumblr.com/e332f7ec03945bc32c9550efdf8e626a/tumblr_inline_mieap8g5uo1qz4rgp.gif

Because I very much doubt they would be silent. That would be highly suspicious of dantonist sympathy. Remember: apathy is suspicious; enthousiasm is revolutionary. I mean, remember your anti-robespierrist arguments right. They terrify everybody in silence or they force everyone to be enthusiastic? Make up your mind.

If only there was some way of knowing what went on during these meetings. Like a record of the debates, or something.

image

image

Knew it. Case closed.

Classé dans magnifique

33 notes

Marisa Linton’s article on Jacobin friendship is a TRAINWRECK

saintjustitude:

The article, titled “Fatal Friendships: The Politics of Jacobin Friendship” (which you can view online on Jstor if you have access to that), has three parts (besides an introduction):

  1. Jacobin Ideas about Friendship
  2. Friendship and the Girondins
  3. Friendship and the Robespierrists

Until now I had skipped reading the Girondins part because it wasn’t relevant to my paper. Nevertheless, since I was done working with the others, I decided to read it to see if there was anything relevant after all.

Now you must know: I have read those other parts several times, annotated, highlighted, underlined, and written notes. I know them. 

And wow, the tone is entirely different.

Buckle up, this is a long post.

Read More

You would have enjoyed her hackneyed, unoriginal arguments at the colloquium. See, as far as Linton is concerned, everything about the “Terror” can be explained by making such a “problematic” concept as virtue mandatory. Her conclusions were basically:

1) Since there is/was doubt as to whether people can be virtuous, making virtue mandatory implies coercion (never mind that as Céline Spector pointed out right afterward, for Robespierre at least - and considering he’s Linton and everyone else’s main bugbear, his views are pretty important - the people are naturally virtuous because their private interests coincide with the public interest so if any coercion is necessary, it would only be against corrupt magistrates);

2) that you can never know for sure whether someone who appears outwardly virtuous really is, which supposedly implies constant suspicion and a need for magic sensors to read everyone’s innermost thoughts (you know, as opposed to just making the government accountable to the people - but I guess when you put it that way it doesn’t sound scary enough);

And 3) that it implies putting the public good above individuals and sacrificing one’s friends (to which I say again: speaking from the point of view of a member of the public and not a corrupt government official, how the fuck is it a bad thing if politicians are held accountable instead of being able to steal from the treasury, screw over the people and betray their country because it would make their fellow-politician friends feel bad not to cover for them?).

And it might sound like I’m countering her arguments with arguments of principle abstracted from the sometimes genuinely tragic reality of the Year II, but that’s only because her arguments are completely abstracted from the realities of what was going on during the Revolution. It’s like a mathematical proof for her: If virtue, then terror. Reality doesn’t work that way.

(I’m not sure what pisses me off more, Linton’s argument or the not entirely unrelated argument of that guy at the Thomas Paine journée d’études who posited that Joel Barlow = a puritan = a partisan of achieving virtue by coercion = puts equality before liberty = close to the Montagne = utopian = defending him or the Montagne means coming “dangerously” close to the “Reign of Terror” BUT that Bonaparte is a “democratic monarch” and “monarchy turns out to be closer to democracy than we would have thought”. So equality is apparently a “dangerous” idea, but not equating democracy and dictatorship. I guess that answers my question: this guy is worse. But then, I don’t know Linton’s views on Bonaparte…)

3 776 notes

maddehhey:

PLEASE LISTEN 

Peaceful student protesters in Hong Kong are being tear gassed and pepper sprayed. They are protesting pro-democracy rights and simply want they’re voices to be heard. 

You can read all about the situation here 

Too many times peaceful protesters have been victims of police brutality in an attempt to silence them. This needs to stop before some even more serious damage can be done and by that I mean the loss of lives. 

Pictures via BBC World News 

(via lacommunarde)

52 notes

saintjustitude:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

unspeakablevice:

Current goal in life: to someday learn French well enough to read Daniel Guérin’s (queer anarchist activist and author; 1904-1988) Homosexualité et Révolution. Here’s the work in French:
http://kropot.free.fr/Guerin-homorev.htm
The reason I pasted the address visibly was just so we could all appreciate the accidental term ‘homorev’. 
Also, have a choice quote from Homosexualité et Révolution—

"Les persécutions dont sont victimes les homosexuels dans les pays dits socialistes ne sont nullement la preuve d’une incompatibilité entre homosexualité et Révolution. Car, précisément, ces pays où sévit une sorte de capitalisme d’Etat, reposant sur une terreur policière omniprésente, n’ont de socialiste qu’une étiquette grossièrement mensongère. Les authentiques libertaires respectent la liberté des homosexuels comme toutes les autres formes de liberté, car autrement ils se démentiraient eux-mêmes. Durant les premières années de la Révolution russe, alors qu’elle était encore, dans une certaine mesure, l’émanation du prolétariat, l’homosexuel y avait droit de cité.
Bien plutôt dans le temps, en 1793, Chaumette, le procureur général de la Commune parisienne, elle-même expression de l’avant-garde populaire, ne se gênait pas pour aimer les garçons et aucun sans-culotte ne s’immisçait dans sa vie privée. Saint-Just, Camille Desmoulins n’étaient pas qu’hétérosexuels et la fidélité que le premier manifesta à Robespierre, jusqu’à accepter d’être guillotiné avec lui, semble bien avoir été une forme d’homosexualité sublimée.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. 

I hate to be a killjoy and state the obvious but…
1. “They weren’t just straight, they might have been homo too” That… means… bisexual, Guérin. Bisexuality exists, Guérin.
2. Which, for the matter, was the reasonable model of sexuality for pre-industrial Western civilisation. Gay/straight, that comes in the mid-19th. If you had homosexual desires, well culture pretty much made you bisexual. It doesn’t mean there weren’t people who were strictly homosexual, because there are cases, and that’s always been the case, but… those categories aren’t there, so the way to think of sexuality isn’t there. For the matter, the very term of “sexuality” doesn’t exist yet.
3. Why would loyalty be gay?
4. Guérin, you’re writing a fanfic. Like, it’s okay, I wrote a ton of fanfics too, and I ship them as no one has ever shipped, but… this is not academic or scientific at all, Guérin. Your feels that they are gay are no more accurate than Vinot’s feels that Saint-Just can’t be gay “because he said sodomy was an aristocratic vice in Organt" (which, for the record, he never even said).
Sighs.

Isn’t this the same Guérin who thought Robespierre and Saint-Just were just bourgeois reactionaries oppressing the supposedly proto-anarchist Enragés ?

I think so. He also said this apparently:
On se souvient de la thèse de Daniel Guérin, qui vit en Robespierre le précurseur de la réaction thermidorienne; …
(can’t access the full text on Google!books)

Yeah, now that I’ve gone and checked, that’s what my director’s book says too (Robespierre. La fabrication d’un mythe, p. 222-223): 

Selon Guérin, la Révolution française fut une révolution bourgeoise mais avec un embryon de révolution prolétarienne, incarnée par les Enragés, présentés comme les porte-parole de l’avant-garde populaire. Robespierre est l’intermédiaire entre la bourgeoisie montagnarde et les bras nus dont elle s’assure l’appui pou se débarrasser de ses adversaires, en particulier les Girondins. Cette stratégie réside dans “un jeu subtil qui consiste à utiliser la fougue populaire” avec “machiavélisme”, en l’excitant par moments, en la retenant à d’autres. […]
Guérin s’appuie sur Gustave Tridon pour développer la thèse d’une révolution qui progresse grâce à la pression politique des Enragés et des Hébertistes et reflue “le soir du 1er frimaire, du 21 novembre 1793, quand Robespierre, du haut de la tribune des Jacobins, déclara la guerre aux déchristianisateurs.” Robespierre ne prône donc en rien une révolution sociale, est hostile au maximum et ne résiste pas “à la retraite économique accomplie au début de 1794”. Guérin réfute donc l’interprétation que propose Mathiez des lois de ventôse - elles étaient “un attrape-nigaud dont le but était de détourner les masses populaires de l’hébertisme” - et considère que Robespierre “est mort la face tournée vers la réaction.” Le 9 thermidor ne constitue donc pas une rupture puisque Robespierre a été le précurseur de la réaction thermidorienne.

Wow, you know Furet really is just the other side of the same coin. I’m pretty sure he said at some point that Boissy d’Anglas was just continuing what Robespierre had already started… (Though you would think that would make him more sympathetic to him, wouldn’t you? I guess revisionist logic is not earth logic.)

saintjustitude:

montagnarde1793:

saintjustitude:

unspeakablevice:

Current goal in life: to someday learn French well enough to read Daniel Guérin’s (queer anarchist activist and author; 1904-1988) Homosexualité et Révolution. Here’s the work in French:

http://kropot.free.fr/Guerin-homorev.htm

The reason I pasted the address visibly was just so we could all appreciate the accidental term ‘homorev’. 

Also, have a choice quote from Homosexualité et Révolution

"Les persécutions dont sont victimes les homosexuels dans les pays dits socialistes ne sont nullement la preuve d’une incompatibilité entre homosexualité et Révolution. Car, précisément, ces pays où sévit une sorte de capitalisme d’Etat, reposant sur une terreur policière omniprésente, n’ont de socialiste qu’une étiquette grossièrement mensongère. Les authentiques libertaires respectent la liberté des homosexuels comme toutes les autres formes de liberté, car autrement ils se démentiraient eux-mêmes. Durant les premières années de la Révolution russe, alors qu’elle était encore, dans une certaine mesure, l’émanation du prolétariat, l’homosexuel y avait droit de cité.

Bien plutôt dans le temps, en 1793, Chaumette, le procureur général de la Commune parisienne, elle-même expression de l’avant-garde populaire, ne se gênait pas pour aimer les garçons et aucun sans-culotte ne s’immisçait dans sa vie privée. Saint-Just, Camille Desmoulins n’étaient pas qu’hétérosexuels et la fidélité que le premier manifesta à Robespierre, jusqu’à accepter d’être guillotiné avec lui, semble bien avoir été une forme d’homosexualité sublimée.”

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. 

I hate to be a killjoy and state the obvious but…

1. “They weren’t just straight, they might have been homo too” That… means… bisexual, Guérin. Bisexuality exists, Guérin.

2. Which, for the matter, was the reasonable model of sexuality for pre-industrial Western civilisation. Gay/straight, that comes in the mid-19th. If you had homosexual desires, well culture pretty much made you bisexual. It doesn’t mean there weren’t people who were strictly homosexual, because there are cases, and that’s always been the case, but… those categories aren’t there, so the way to think of sexuality isn’t there. For the matter, the very term of “sexuality” doesn’t exist yet.

3. Why would loyalty be gay?

4. Guérin, you’re writing a fanfic. Like, it’s okay, I wrote a ton of fanfics too, and I ship them as no one has ever shipped, but… this is not academic or scientific at all, Guérin. Your feels that they are gay are no more accurate than Vinot’s feels that Saint-Just can’t be gay “because he said sodomy was an aristocratic vice in Organt" (which, for the record, he never even said).

Sighs.

Isn’t this the same Guérin who thought Robespierre and Saint-Just were just bourgeois reactionaries oppressing the supposedly proto-anarchist Enragés ?

I think so. He also said this apparently:

On se souvient de la thèse de Daniel Guérin, qui vit en Robespierre le précurseur de la réaction thermidorienne; …

(can’t access the full text on Google!books)

Yeah, now that I’ve gone and checked, that’s what my director’s book says too (Robespierre. La fabrication d’un mythe, p. 222-223):

Selon Guérin, la Révolution française fut une révolution bourgeoise mais avec un embryon de révolution prolétarienne, incarnée par les Enragés, présentés comme les porte-parole de l’avant-garde populaire. Robespierre est l’intermédiaire entre la bourgeoisie montagnarde et les bras nus dont elle s’assure l’appui pou se débarrasser de ses adversaires, en particulier les Girondins. Cette stratégie réside dans “un jeu subtil qui consiste à utiliser la fougue populaire” avec “machiavélisme”, en l’excitant par moments, en la retenant à d’autres. […]

Guérin s’appuie sur Gustave Tridon pour développer la thèse d’une révolution qui progresse grâce à la pression politique des Enragés et des Hébertistes et reflue “le soir du 1er frimaire, du 21 novembre 1793, quand Robespierre, du haut de la tribune des Jacobins, déclara la guerre aux déchristianisateurs.” Robespierre ne prône donc en rien une révolution sociale, est hostile au maximum et ne résiste pas “à la retraite économique accomplie au début de 1794”. Guérin réfute donc l’interprétation que propose Mathiez des lois de ventôse - elles étaient “un attrape-nigaud dont le but était de détourner les masses populaires de l’hébertisme” - et considère que Robespierre “est mort la face tournée vers la réaction.” Le 9 thermidor ne constitue donc pas une rupture puisque Robespierre a été le précurseur de la réaction thermidorienne.

Wow, you know Furet really is just the other side of the same coin. I’m pretty sure he said at some point that Boissy d’Anglas was just continuing what Robespierre had already started… (Though you would think that would make him more sympathetic to him, wouldn’t you? I guess revisionist logic is not earth logic.)