Engels Works 1850
Source: MECW Volume 10, p. 353-369;
Written: spring, 1850;
First published: The Democratic Review, April-June 1850.
In the years 1848 and '49, there was published, in Cologne, a German daily paper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (New Rhenish Gazette). This paper, edited by Charles Marx, chief editor, Frederick Engels, George Weerth, Freiligrath the celebrated poet, F. and W. Wolff, and others, very soon acquired an extraordinary degree of popularity, from the spirited and fearless manner in which it advocated the most advanced revolutionary principles, and the interests of the proletarians, of which it was the only organ in Germany. The Prussian government took advantage of the unsuccessful insurrections in the Rhenish provinces in May last, to stop the paper by various persecutions directed against the editors. They, in consequence, left the country, in order to seek new fields of activity in the various movements which at the time were either in preparation or taking place. Several of them went to Paris, where a decisive turn of affairs (the 13th of June) was near at hand, and where they represented the German revolutionary party at the centre of French democracy; another" took his seat in the German National Assembly, which, at that moment, was being driven into insurrection; another, again, went to Baden, and fought in the revolutionary army against the Prussians. After the defeats of these insurrections, they found themselves exiles in this country, in Switzerland, and France. Having no chance, for the moment, to re-establish a daily paper, they have got up a monthly magazine, to serve as their organ until circumstances shall allow them to re-assume their old position in the daily press of their country.
The first number of this publication has just come to hand. It bears the same title as the daily paper did--New Rhenish Gazette, a Political and Economical Review, edited by Charles Marx."
This first number contains three articles only. It opens with the first of a series of papers upon the two past years of revolutions, by the chief editor, Charles Marx. Then follows a relation of the insurrectionary campaign in Western and Southern Germany, during May, June, and July last, by Frederick Engels; and, lastly, an article from the pen of Charles Blind (ex-ambassador at Paris of the Baden Provisional Government) upon the state of parties in Baden. These latter articles, although containing many important disclosures, are of interest chiefly to the German reader. The first article is devoted to a subject of primary interest to the readers of all countries, particularly the working classes. The subject, too, has found in Citizen Marx a writer every way able to do it justice. For these reasons, we deem it a duty to give as much in the shape of extract as our limited space will allow.
The article under notice treats of the Revolution of February; its causes and effects, and the succeeding events up to the great insurrection of June, 1848.
"With the exception of very few chapters indeed, every important section of the revolutionary annals of 1848 and '49 bears upon its title page--Defeat of Revolution! But, what was really defeated in all these defeats was not revolution itself. It was, on the contrary, nothing but the unrevolutionary elements of the revolutionary party that were defeated; individuals, delusions, ideas, plans, and projects of a more or less unrevolutionary character; elements from which the subversive party was not free before February, and of which it could not be freed by the victory of February, but by a series of defeats only. In other words: It was not by the immediate tragical or comical results of the first victory that the revolutionising progress made its way; this progress, on the contrary, was occasioned chiefly by the formation of a mighty and united counter-revolutionary interest, in the procreation of a foe, in grappling with whom the subversive party could alone develop itself to a really revolutionary party."
This is the general theme which Citizen Marx develops in the course of his article. He begins with exposing the causes of the revolution of February, and shews those causes to be far deeper rooted than any of the previous writers upon the subject ever have been able to do. With all historians of the last twenty years events in France, it has been a thing generally agreed upon, that under Louis Philippe, the bourgeoisie, as a whole, was the ruling power, in France; that the scandalous disclosures of 1847 were the chief cause of the revolution, and that this revolution was a direct struggle of the proletarians against the bourgeoisie. Under Citizen Marx's pen, these assertions, although not directly and absolutely denied, yet undergo important modifications.
The German historian proves, that, under Louis Philippe, political power was concentrated in the hands, not of the entire bourgeois class, but of one fraction only of that class, that which is called in France the financial aristocracy, and, in England, the banking, funded, railway, etc., interests, or the moneyed interest, as opposed to the manufacturing interest.
"Not the entire bourgeois class of France lorded it over the country under Louis Philippe, but only one fraction of that class: bankers, stock-jobbers, railway kings, mining kings, and a part of the 'rallied' landlords--the so-called financial aristocracy. It was they who sat on the throne, who dictated laws in the Chambers, who disposed of government patronage, from the minister down to the licensed dealer in tobacco. The manufacturing portion of the bourgeoisie formed a part of the official opposition; they were represented by a minority only of the Chambers. Their opposition became more obstinate in the same measure as the exclusive sway of the financial aristocracy turned more and more exclusive; and as they themselves, after the fruitless insurrections of the working people in 1832, 1834, and 1839, deemed their dominion over the proletarians more firmly established.... The petty capitalists, the shopocracy in all its various gradations, and the farming class, were entirely excluded from political power."
The necessary consequences of this exclusive dominion of the financial aristocracy were, that all public interest was made subservient to theirs; that the State was considered by them as a mere means to increase their fortunes at its expense. Citizen Marx depicts in a very forcible manner how this scandalous system was carried on in France for eighteen years; how the running up of the public debt, the increase in the public expenses, the never-ending financial difficulties and defects of the public purse, were so many sources from which new wealth flowed into the pockets of the money-lords, sources which every year were made to flow more freely, and to exhaust so much the quicker the resources of the country; how the expense of the government, the army and navy, the railways, and other public works, offered hundreds of opportunities, eagerly seized upon by the financiers, to cheat the public by fraudulent contracts, &c. In short —
“The monarchy of July was nothing else than a joint-stock company for working up the national wealth of France; the dividends of which society were shared amongst ministers, Chambers, 240,000 Parliamentary voters, and their more or less numerous tail. Louis Philippe was the George Hudson of this company — Robert Macaire on the throne. Trade, manufactures, agriculture, shipping, the interests of the manufacturing middle-classes, were necessarily and constantly damaged and endangered under this system [....]
“And while the jobbing interest made laws, directed the public administration, disposed of every organised public power, dominated public opinion by the press and by the power of facts, there was imitated in all spheres of society, from the court down to the cafe-borgne, that very same prostitution, that same shameless imposition, that same avidity of accumulating wealth, not by production, but by cheating others out of produce already existing. There was let loose — particularly in the most elevated regions of society, and coming, at every moment, into collision with bourgeois law itself--an universal outburst of those disorderly, unsound lusts and appetites, in which wealth acquired by gambling very naturally looks for satisfaction, where enjoyment becomes crapuleux, where gold, mud, and blood flow mixing together. The financial aristocracy, in its mode both of appropriating and of enjoying, is nothing but the reproduction of 'Mob' in the elevated spheres of bourgeois society.”
The scandalous disclosures of 1847, the Teste. Praslin, Gudin, Dujarrier affairs, brought this state of things to the broad light of day. The infamous behaviour of the government in the Cracow, and Swiss Sonderbund affairs, violated the national pride to the utmost; while the victory of the Swiss liberals, and the revolution at Palermo, in January,'48 exalted the spirits of the opposition.
“At last, the outbreak of the universal unsettled feeling was ripened into revolt by two great and general economical events. The first of these events was the potatoe disease, and the bad harvests of 1845 and '46. The all but famine of 1847 provoked in France and other continental countries numerous bloody conflicts. Here the orgies of the financial aristocracy, there the people struggling for the first necessaries of life! At Buzancais the mutineers of hunger beheaded, at Paris aristocratic thimble-riggers saved from the law by the royal family! The second great economical event was an universal commercial and industrial revulsion. Announced in England already in autumn 1845 by the wholesale breakdown of railway speculation, interrupted during 1846 by a series of incidents, and particularly the repeal of the Corn-laws--at last, in autumn 1847, it broke out in the failures of the large London colonial firms, followed up by the failures of country bankers, and the shutting up of the factories in the English manufacturing districts. The reaction of this crisis upon continental trade was not exhausted at the time the revolution broke out. This devastation of trade made still more insupportable, in France, the exclusive rule of the monied interest. The opposing fractions of the bourgeoisie united in the banquet agitation for a reform in Parliament, which should secure the majority to them. The commercial revulsion in Paris threw a number of manufacturers and wholesale dealers upon the home trade, as the foreign market offered for the moment no chance of profit. These capitalists set up large retail concerns, the competition of which ruined hundreds of smaller shopkeepers. Thence the numerous failures in this section of the Paris bourgeoisie, thence its revolutionary spirit in February."
The united action of these causes made the revolution of February break out. The provisional government was established. All opposing parties were represented in this government: the monarchical opposition Cremieux and even Dupont de l'Eure), the republican bourgeoisie (Marrast, Marie, Garnier-Pagets), the republican small trading class (Ledru-Rollin and Flocon), and the proletarians (Louis Blanc and Albert). Lamartine, lastly, represented the revolution of February itself, the common insurrection of bourgeois and proletarians, with its imaginary results, its delusions, its poetry, and its big words. By his position and his views he belonged to the bourgeoisie, the representatives of whom, therefore, formed the large majority of the new government.
"If in consequence of political centralisation Paris governs France, the working class in moments of revolutionary earthquakes govern Paris. The first act of the provisional government was directed against this overwhelming influence; it was an appeal from revolution-intoxicated Paris' to 'sober France'. Lamartine contested the right of the combatants" to proclaim the republic; 'the majority of the French people alone were competent to do so; the working men had better not stain their victory by an usurpation', etc. The bourgeoisie permitted to the working men one usurpation only: that of the combat."
The proletarians forced the government to proclaim the republic. Raspail acted as their speaker. He declared that, if in two hours this was not done, he should call again at the head of 200,000 armed working men. Before the term had elapsed the republic was proclaimed.
"The working class, in dictating the republic to the government and to France, all at once stepped forward into the foreground as an independent party, but at the same time provoked against itself all the bourgeois interest of France. What the proletarians had conquered, was not their emancipation, but the battle-field, upon which they could fight for their emancipation. The republic of February, in the beginning, could do nothing but complete the government of the middle-classes, in opening the circle of political action to all the propertied classes of France. The majority of the large landlords, the Legitimists, were emancipated from the political nullity to which they had been doomed by the revolution of 1830. [...] By universal suffrage, that vast class of mere nominal landed proprietors (the real proprietors are the capitalists, to whom the property is mortgaged), that class which forms the large majority of Frenchmen-the peasantry--was called upon to arbitrate the destinies of France. And lastly, the republic of February made openly manifest the rule of the bourgeoisie by setting aside the crown behind which capital had hitherto hid itself. The working men had established, in July 1830, the bourgeois monarchy--in February 1848, they established the bourgeois republic. But as the monarchy of 1830 was forced to announce itself a 'monarchy surrounded with republican institutions', the republic of 1848 announced itself 'a republic surrounded with social institutions'. This concession, too, was forced from the republic by the Parisian working men."
The "right to work" and the commission of the Luxembourg (by which Louis Blanc and Albert were virtually excluded from the government, the bourgeois majority of which retained the actual power) were the most conspicuous of these social institutions. The working men saw themselves reduced to work out their salvation, not against the bourgeoisie, but independent of, and side-to-side with the bourgeoisie. The Bourse and the Bank continued to exist; only the Socialist church of the Luxembourg was set up by the side of these two great bourgeois churches; and as the working men believed they could emancipate themselves without interfering with the interests of the bourgeoisie, they also believed they could do so without interfering with the remaining bourgeois nations of Europe.
“The development of the industrial working class is entirely dependent upon the development of the industrial capitalist class. It is only under the government of this latter class, that the industrial proletarians attain that importance which alone can make their revolution a national one; that they create those immense productive powers of modern industry, which will become the means of their revolutionary emancipation; that the last rots of feudalism are torn up, and thus the field prepared upon which alone a proletarian revolution is possible. Now manufacturing industry, in France, is more advanced than in any other country of the continent. But the fact, that the revolution of February was directed, before all, against the financial aristocracy--this fact proves clearly that the industrial bourgeoisie, before February, did not govern France. Indeed, the industrial bourgeoisie can govern in a country only, whose manufacturing industry commands, for its produce, the universal market: the limits of the home market are too narrow for its development. The manufacturing industry of France, however, in a great measure commands even the home markets, by the protective duties only. Therefore, if in Paris the proletarians, at the moment of a revolution, possess a real power, and an influence which lead them to outrun their ultimate means of action--in the remainder of France they are concentrated in a few industrial centres, such as Lyons, Lille, Mulhouse, Rouen, and almost disappear under the vast majority of surrounding peasants and small tradesmen. Therefore, the struggle against capital in its most developed and decisive form, the struggle of the industrial salaried working man against the industrial working capitalist, in France, is a mere local fact, which, after February, could not form the prominent national feature of the revolution. And it could do so the less, as the struggle against the more subordinate modes of action of capital, the struggle of the peasant against usury and the mortgaging system, of the small tradesman against the wholesale dealer, the banker, and manufacturer, in one word, against bankruptcy, were as yet enveloped in the general rising against the financial aristocracy. [...] The French proletarians could not take a single step in advance, could destroy not a single atom of the existing bourgeois institutions, until the march of the revolution had aroused against the rule of capital, had forced to join the proletarians, all those intermediate classes, the peasants and the small tradesmen, who are neither bourgeois nor proletarians, and who, in France, form the large mass of the nation. Then, and then only, the proletarians, instead of pursuing their interests without interfering with those of the bourgeoisie, could proclaim the proletarian interests to be the revolutionary interests of the nation, and assert them in direct opposition to those of the bourgeoisie. And it was only by their immense defeat in June,'48, that the proletarians could approach that victory....
“Thus the government of the bourgeoisie was abolished by the establishment of the republic; it was abolished, not in reality, but in the imagination of the working men, who took the financial aristocracy for the entire bourgeoisie; in the imagination of republican worthies who denied the existence of hostile classes, or who, at the very utmost, admitted it as a consequence of monarchy. Thus every royalist all at once called himself a republican, and every millionaire a working man. The word which corresponded to this imaginary abolition of classes and class interests was the word Fraternity, the universal brotherhood. This very pleasant abstraction from all existing antagonism of classes, this sentimental adjustment of opposed class interests, this enthusiastic elevation into those sublime regions where no earthly class struggles exist, this fraternity was the great word of the revolution of February. The struggling classes were divided by a mere mistake, and Lamartine, on the 24th of February, called for a government which should put an end to that 'dreadful misunderstanding', which had sprung up between the several classes of society.”
We shall continue these extracts in our next. The acts of the provisional government, the convocation of the National Assembly, and the insurrection of June will then be passed in review.
In our number for April we followed up Citizen Marx's remarks upon the revolution of February, up to the establishment and first acts of the provisional government. We had, already, more than one occasion to see that the middle-class elements of that government were powerful enough to subserve the interests of their order, and to profit by the ignorance of the proletarians of Paris as to their real interests, and to the means for advancing them. We continue our extracts:--
“The republic found no resistance, neither at home nor abroad. By this single fact it was disarmed. Its aim was no longer to revolutionise the world, its aim was to adapt itself to the exigencies of existing bourgeois society And the fanaticism with which the provisional government followed up this aim, is proved especially in its financial measures.
“Public and private credit, of course, were shaken. Public credit is based on the certainty that the State allows the Jews of finance to fatten upon it. But the old State was gone, and the revolution had been directed, before all, against these financial Jews. Besides, that oscillations of the last European commercial crisis had not yet subsided. There were, as yet, failures following upon failures. Private credit had been paralysed, circulation stopped, and production obstructed, before even the revolution of February broke out. The revolutionary crisis, of course, augmented the commercial one. And if private credit is based upon the certitude, that the bourgeois mode of producing wealth, that the whole bourgeois order of things, is intact and inviolable, what must have been the effect of a revolution which called into question the very foundation of the bourgeois mode of producing the economical slavery of the proletarian class; and which, in opposition to the Bourse, set up the Sphinx of the Luxembourg? The emancipation of the proletarian class, means the repeal of bourgeois credit, for it is the abolition of bourgeois production and of the social state consistent with it. Public and private credit are the thermometers by which you may measure the intensity of a revolution. In the same degree in which credit falls rises the ardour and the potency of revolution.
“The provisional government was anxious to free the republic from its anti-bourgeois appearance. It had, therefore, in the first instance to ensure its exchangeable value, its current price on 'Change. And with the current price of the republic on 'Change, private credit, of course, was sure to rise again.
“In order to destroy even the slightest suspicion, that the republic would or could nor fulfil the engagements inherited from monarchy--in order to restore faith in its bourgeois morality and solvency, the provisional government had recourse to a puff quite as childish as it was devoid of dignity. It paid to the public creditors the interest of the debt even before it was legally due. The bourgeois a-plomb, the self -reliance of the capitalists awoke suddenly again when they saw the anxiety with which the government sought to buy up their confidence. [...]
“The financial aristocracy who ruled under Louis Philippe, had their cathedral church in the Bank. As the Exchange governs public credit, the Bank governs private credit.
“Directly menaced by the revolution, not only in its dominion but in its very existence, the Bank tried at once to discredit the republic by destroying credit everywhere. The Bank at once refused credit to the private bankers, to the manufacturers and merchants. This manoeuvre, as it did not succeed in producing a counter-revolution, recoiled, in its consequences, upon the Bank itself. Capitalists withdrew the coin they had deposited in its vaults. Holders of notes ran upon the Bank to have them changed for coin.
“Without any forcible interference, in a strictly legal manner, the provisional government could have forced the Bank into bankruptcy, they had only to remain passive and to abandon it to its fate. The failure of the Bank--that was the deluge which would have swept away from the soil of France in an instant the financial aristocracy, that most powerful and most dangerous enemy of the republic--that golden pedestal of the monarchy of July. And the Bank once bankrupt, must not even the bourgeoisie have regarded it as a last effort on the part of the government if it had created a national bank and subjected national credit to the control of the nation?
“But on the contrary: the provisional government acted as Pitt in 1797 had done, suspended cash payments and' made the notes of the bank a legal tender. Still more, it made all provincial banks branch banks of the Bank of France, and allowed it, thus, to spread its net all over the country. Later on, the government mortgaged to the Bank, for a loan, the national woods and forests. Thus the revolution of February fortified and enlarged the power of the financial aristocracy a which it had been its aim to destroy!”
It is generally known what the government, so merciful to the money-lords of the Exchange and the Bank, gave to the classes forming the opposite extremity of society: to the working men and small tradespeople it gave the confiscation of the money in the savings' banks, to the peasantry the tax of the 45 centimes upon every franc of the four direct taxes.
“The sums deposited in the savings' bank were seized and declared a consolidated public debt. By this the small trader was exasperated against the republic. By receiving, instead of his money, mere government securities, which he was obliged to sell on 'Change, he fell utterly a prey to the Jews of the Bourse, against whom he had made the revolution of February!! [...]
“The tax of the 45 centimes fell most heavily upon the peasantry, who formed the large majority of the French people. They had to pay the expenses of the revolution of February, and naturally they henceforth formed the chief material for the counter-revolution. The tax of the 45 centimes was a vital question for the peasant, and he made it a vital question for the republic. The republic, for him, was henceforth identical with that obnoxious tax, and the proletarian of Paris appeared to him in the light of the lazy prodigal who feasted at his expense. If the revolution of 1789 had set in with the freeing of the peasantry from all feudal charges, the revolution of 1848 announced itself to that class by a new tax!!
“There was only one means for the government to weather all these inconveniences and to throw the State out of the old track: and that was a declaration of national bankruptcy. The Jew banker Fould, the present minister of finance proposed this remedy to Ledru-Rollin, and the various indignation is not yet forgotten with which this citizen, as he himself stated in the National Assembly, protested against such a proposal. M. Fould had offered to him the apple from the tree of knowledge!!!
“The provisional government, in accepting the bills of exchange drawn by old bourgeois society upon the State, had surrendered into its hands. It had become the persecuted debtor of bourgeois society, instead of standing up against it as its threatening creditor, who had to enforce payment of revolutionary debts of many years' standing. It had to refortify bourgeois society, in order to be enabled to fulfil engagements which can be fulfilled within the pale of bourgeois society only. Credit was its very first condition of existence, and the concessions and promises made to the proletarians were turned into as many fetters, which it had to throw off. The emancipation of the proletarians, even as a mere word, became an insupportable danger for the republic, for it was a never-ending protest against the restoration of credit, which is based upon the undisturbed and inviolate acknowledgement of the existing antagonism of classes. There was a necessity, then, to put down, once for all, the proletarians.”
The army had been exiled from Paris since February; the national guard, i,e., the armed bourgeoisie, the only armed force in Paris, had never been strong enough to fight, by itself, the proletarians. It had, in spite of all resistance, been adulterated by the admixture of working men. There was no chance left but that of opposing working men to working men.
“For this purpose the provisional government formed twenty-four battalions of gardes mobile, each numbering 1,000 men, mostly from 15 to 20 years of age. They were recruits, almost exclusively from the mob, which in all large towns, forms a recruiting class for thieves mass entirely distinct from the industrial working class, and criminals of all sorts, living upon the offal of society, people without any fixed trade, vagrants, gens sans feu et sans aveu differing according to the character of the nation to which they belong; and in the early age at which the government recruited them, capable as well of the greatest heroism and the most exalted self-sacrifice, as of the lowest degree of villainy and the dirtiest corruptibility. The provisional government bought them up for one and a half francs daily. They gave them a regimental dress to distinguish them in every respect from the working men in the blouse. Their officers were either taken from the army or from the sons of the bourgeoisie, whose splendid speeches about dying for the republic deceived them. And the people took these 24,000 vigorous and daring young soldiers, who had just left the barricades, for their own army, for the Teal proletarian guards, in opposition to the old bourgeois national guard. Their error was excusable.
“The government, besides, resolved to surround themselves with an industrial army. Minister Marie enlisted a hundred thousand working men (thrown into the street by the crisis and the revolution), into ateliers nationaux. Under this high-sounding name there was hidden nothing but the application of these working men to tedious, monotonous. unproductive labour on embankments, &c., &c., for wages of 23 sous (11/2d) daily. English workhouses in the open air--the ateliers nationaux were nothing but that. The provisional government hoped they had thus formed by them a second proletarian army to be used against the working class at large. But the bourgeoisie were deceived in the ateliers nationaux, as the people were deceived in the garde mobile. They had created an army for insurrection.
“But one end was obtained: ateliers nationaux was the name for the public workshops which Louis Blanc had asked for in the Luxembourg. The ateliers of Marie had been created in direct opposition to the Luxembourg. [...] The rumour was spread that Louis Blanc had invented the ateliers nationaux; and this appeared the more credible as Louis Blanc, the prophet of national workshops, was himself a member of the provisional government. And thus in the opinion, artificially kept up, of the Paris bourgeoisie, of France and Europe, those workhouses were the first realisation of Socialism which, in them, was nailed to the pillory.
“Not by their reality, but by their name, the ateliers nationaux were the incorporated protest of the proletarian order against bourgeois industry, bourgeois credit, and the bourgeois republic. Upon them, then, fell the whole hatred of the bourgeoisie. This class, at the same time, had found in them the object against which to direct the first attack, as soon as it had recovered the necessary strength for declaring against the illusions of February. All the hatred and grumbling of the small trading class was at once directed against these ateliers nationaux. They, with unfeigned anger, calculated the sums devoured by these proletarian unproductives, while their own position got worse every day. [...] The national workshops, the declarations of the Luxembourg, the proletarian processions through Paris, these were, in their estimation, the causes of their own critical situation. And no one fanaticised himself more against the pretended plottings of the Communists,than the petty tradesman, the shopkeeper of Paris, who himself was on the verge of the abyss of bankruptcy.
“Thus, while every day brought the stirring news of a new revolution to the victory-intoxicated people, the bourgeoisie concentrated more and more in their hands all the advantages, all the decisive positions for the ensuing struggle between them and the proletarians--ail the control over the intermediate classes of society.”
The necessary consequence was a series of moral victories of the bourgeoisie. If the proletarians, on the 17th of March, had apparently the upper hand, yet the real end of the manifestation, the subjection of the provisional government to the will of the proletarians, was defeated. The 16th of April, however, was a decided defeat of the proletarians, and was followed by the return of the army into Paris. The election for the National Assembly, shortly after, gave a decided majority to the bourgeoisie.
“Universal suffrage did not possess that magic power which the old republican party had attributed to it. They saw in all France, at least in the majority of Frenchmen, only citizens with identical interests, identical ideas and intelligences. They worshipped what they called the people. But, instead of this imaginary French people, universal suffrage brought to light the real people, that is to say, representatives of the different classes of which it is composed. And we have seen why the peasantry and the small trading class were obliged to vote under the direction of the now again warlike bourgeoisie, and of the large landlords, who ardently strove for a restoration. But if universal suffrage was not the magic wand, which credulous, self-deceiving republicans believed it to be, it had the far higher merit of causing the struggle of the classes to make the different intermediate sections of bourgeois society illusions and disillusionings, to force all pass rapidly through the different stages of the factions of the capitalist class at once into political power, and thus to tear off from a portion of them the delusive mask of opposition which they had worn under the monarchy.
“In the Constituent National Assembly, which met on the 4th of May, the bourgeois republicans, the men of the National had the majority. Legitimists and Orleanists, in the beginning, dared to show themselves only under the mask of bourgeois republicanism. It was in the name of the republic only that the struggle against the proletarians could be commenced.... The republic, as proclaimed by the National Assembly, was not a revolutionary weapon against bourgeois society, but, on the contrary, [...] was the bourgeois republic. In the National Assembly all France sat in judgment on the Parisian working men. That assembly at once did away with the social delusions of February, it proclaimed plainly and unmistakably the bourgeois republic,' it excluded from the Executive Commission the representatives of the proletarians, Louis Blanc and Albert; it rejected the motion for a separate Ministry of Labour; it received with storms of applause the announcement of its minister, Trelat, that the only thing to be done was, to reduce labour to its former conditions.
“But all this was insufficient. The republic of February had been founded by the working men with the passive assistance of the bourgeoisie. The proletarians considered themselves,rightly, as the conquerors, and made the haughty pretensions of conquerors. It was necessary, therefore, to combat and vanquish them in the streets. And as the republic of February, with its socialist concessions, had been brought about by a battle of the proletarian class, then united with the bourgeoisie against royalty, another battle was necessary to separate the republic from the socialist concessions, to set up the bourgeois republic officially. [...] The real birth of the bourgeois republic is not the victory of February, it is the defeat of June.”
The collision of the 15th of May, and the battle of the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th of June,268 are known enough in their immediate causes, and in the events connected with them. The defeat of June decided, for a time, the conflict between the two contending classes.
“The Paris proletarians had been forced into the insurrection of June by the bourgeoisie. This circumstance already contains in it its condemnatory judgment. Neither were the proletarians pushed by immediate and recognised necessity to overthrow the bourgeoisie; nor were they strong enough for the task. The Moniteur informed them officially that the time was past when the republic could feel inclined to bow before their 'illusions'; and their defeat could alone convince them that even the very least amelioration of their condition was hopeless if looked for within the limits of the bourgeois republic. And now, in the place of the seemingly extravagant, but in reality very petty and even middle-class measures which the workman would force upon the republic of February, now was proclaimed the daring, revolutionary battle-cry: Down with the bourgeoisie! Dictatorship of the Working Class!
“The bourgeois republic, created from the blood of the working people, was compelled to come out at once in its true character as the state, the openly proclaimed end of which is to eternalise the ascendancy of capital and the slavery of labour. Bourgeois ascendancy freed from all fetters, but never losing sight of its implacable and invincible enemy, could not but immediately turn into bourgeois terrorism. The proletarians for the moment removed from the stage; the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie once acknowledged; the intermediate strata of bourgeois society, shopocracy, and peasantry, the more their own condition got insupportable, and the more their antagonism against the bourgeoisie became pronounced, were obliged to associate with the proletarians.
If the defeat of June, in France, fortified the political power of the bourgeoisie, it destroyed it in the other continental countries. The open alliance of the bourgeoisie with feudal royalty, which everywhere, after June, was entered into, was profited of by royalty to break the power of the bourgeoisie.
“The defeat of June revealed to the despotic powers of Europe the secret that France could not do without external peace in order to carry on the internal war. Thus the nations that had risen for national independence were sacrificed to Russia, Austria, and Prussia. These national revolutions were subjected to the fate of the proletarian revolution. The Hungarian shall not be free, nor the Pole, nor the Italian, as long as the working man remains a slave!
“Lastly, by the victories of the Holy Alliance, Europe took a direction which necessarily will cause any new proletarian revolution in France to give birth to universal war. The next French revolution will be forced to extend itself beyond the limits of the national territory, and to conquer that European surface which alone will allow free development to the social revolution of the nineteenth century.
“Thus it was by the defeat of June only that all the conditions were created under which France is enabled to take the initiative of the European revolution. Thus, only after its having been dyed in the blood of the insurgents of June, the Tricolour became the banner of European revolution--the Red Flag!!”