Monarchist gangs of thugs in Tsarist Russia formed by the police to fight against the revolutionary movement. They murdered revolutionaries, hounded progressives among the intellectuals and organized anti-Jewish pogroms.
The buying or selling of commodities under illegal circumstances. The goods sold may be stolen or smuggled, or have escaped government taxes, or be priced outside the bounds of current law (when price controls exist), or may consist of things (such as certain drugs or types of weapons) which the government has made illegal for ordinary people to possess.
In recent decades the dominant currency used in many black markets overseas has been the American dollar. By the 1990s about 75% of all U.S. $100 bills in circulation were overseas. It is thought that the production of very convincing counterfeit $100 bills, largely for use in such black markets, is what forced the U.S. government to redesign that bill in 1996. (The currency used in illegal black markets mostly comes from, and eventually gets redeposited into, “legitimate” commercial banks.) The black market within the U.S. itself may account for as much as 10% of GDP, but in many Third World countries it is thought to be a much higher percentage than that.
BLACK PANTHER PARTY
[To be added... ]
See also: FRED HAMPTON, GERONIMO PRATT, COINTELPRO, and COINTELPRO: FBI’s War on Black America (1989) [high quality 50 min. documentary video by Denis Mueller & Deb Ellis].
“BLACK SWAN EVENT”
A term invented by the Wall Street gambler Nassim Nicholas Taleb to refer to a major, supposedly unforeseeable event that fundamentally changes the situation. As applied to the bourgeois economy and the advent of financial crises, these things are not really “unforeseeable”, except for the precise timing of them. In other words, those who talk about “Black Swans” are usually only showing their own surprise and ignorance about some sudden new crisis and why it has developed.
BLANC, Louis (1811-1882)
French historian and petty-bourgeois socialist. During the February Revolution in France in 1848 he participated in the Provisional Government, but through his conciliation with the bourgeoisie helped them to undercut the workers’ revolutionary struggle. After the suppression of the June uprising in 1848 he went to England and returned to France in 1870. In 1871 he was elected to the National Assembly, but did not join the Paris Commune and instead remained one of its enemies.
BLANQUI, Louis Auguste (1805-1881)
Dedicated French revolutionary and utopian communist. He was the leader of a succession of secret revolutionary societies, participated in several conspiracies to seize political power, and as a consequence of the failure of these plots ended up spending over 36 years in prison. It has aptly been said of him that whenever a revolutionary upsurge struck France Louis Blanqui was not a leader of it—because he was already in prison! Marx and Engels admired Blanqui for his revolutionary enthusiasm and dedication, but they strongly criticized him for his conspiratorial strategy and failure to understand the necessity of organizing the masses for revolution, and making the revolution a mass-based phenomenon. Blanqui himself had little knowledge about how to organize the masses, had little faith in them or their potential, and actually did not really trust the masses. He thought that once one of his conspiratorial plots was successful he would still not be able to fully trust the masses for some time or institute democracy. In this he showed his pronounced paternalistic attitudes toward the people. (That is not a complement!)
“The Blanquists, Lenin wrote, expected ‘that mankind will be emancipated from wage-slavery, not by the proletarian class struggle, but through a conspiracy hatched by a small minority of intellectuals’. Substituting actions by a secret clique of conspirators for the work of a revolutionary party, they did not take into account the actual situation required for a victorious uprising and neglected links with the masses.” —Note 66, Lenin, SW 3 (1967).
BLIND FOLLOWERS (Slavishness)
[Intro to be added... ]
“Communists must always go into the whys and wherefores of anything, use their own heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should they follow blindly and encourage slavishness.” —Mao, “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” (Feb. 1, 1942), SW 3:49-50.
The unintended negative consequences of a policy or action.
This term was invented by the American CIA to describe some of the negative consequences (even from their own reactionary bourgeois perspective) of the overthrow they engineered of the elected Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1953. Of course no class, movement or political party is totally immune from making mistakes which lead to consequences they do not desire. But the U.S. government and its “intelligence” agencies, because of their notorious stupidity, have been particularly prone toward doing this. Chalmers Johnson, who was once a consultant to the CIA himself (but who later became an opponent of American imperialism) wrote a well-known book with the title Blowback (2000) which documents many such episodes, though still from a bourgeois, anti-communist perspective.
Dictionary Home Page and Letter Index
MASSLINE.ORG Home Page