Gracchus Babeuf and the Conspiracy of the Equals 1796
Source; Ph. Buonarroti. La conspiration pour l'égalité, Editions Sociales, Paris. 1957;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.
In 1828, more than thirty years after the Conspiracy’s failure, Philippe (born in Pisa as Filippo, and a descendant of Michelangelo) Buonarroti, one of its leaders (and its greatest chronicler), set down on paper the new economic order the Equals sought to establish. It’s a vision that looks something like a Fourierist phalanstery, a kolkhoz, a kibbutz, and war communism, all growing from the left-wing of Jacobinism.
In the Republic there will be established a great national community
The national community consists of the following goods, to wit:
Goods which, having been declared national, were not sold the 9th Thermidor of the year II;
Goods of enemies of the Revolution, which the decrees of the 8th to the 13th Ventose of the year II had given the poor;
Goods having fallen due to the Republic as a result of judicial condemnation;
Buildings currently occupied by the public service;
Goods which communes enjoyed use of before the law of June 10, 1793;
Goods turned over to alms-houses and establishments of public instruction;
Lodgings occupied by poor citizens in the carrying out of the proclamation to the French of ...;
Goods of those who have abandoned the Republic;
Goods usurped by those who enriched themselves in the exercise of public functions;
Goods whose owners neglect their cultivation.
The right of succession ab intestate or by testament is abolished; all goods currently owned by individuals will revert, upon their death, to the national community.
Shall be considered “current owner” those children of a father today living who are not called by law to the army.
Every Frenchman, of one or the other sex, who abandons all his goods to the fatherland, and who consecrates to it his person and the work of which he is capable, is a member of the great national community.
The elderly, who have reached their 60th year, and the infirm, if they are poor, are by right members of the national community.
Are also members of the national community young people raised in national houses of education.
The goods of the national community are exploited in common by all able-bodied members
The great national community maintains all its members in an equal and honest mediocrity; it furnishes them with all they need.
The Republic invites good citizens to contribute to the success of this reform by a voluntary abandonment of their goods to the community.
Effective ..., no one can be a civil or military functionary if he is not a member of said community.
The great national community is administered by local magistrates chosen by its members, under the laws and under the direction of the Supreme Administration.
Every member of the national community owes it the agricultural labor and the useful arts of which he is capable.
The elderly aged 60 years and the infirm are excepted.
Those citizens who by the voluntary abandonment of their goods become members of the national community, will not be forced to submit to any painful labor, if they’ve reached their 40th year, and if they didn’t exercise a mechanical trade before the publication of the present decree.
In each commune the citizens are distributed by class; there are as many classes as useful arts; each class is composed of those who work in the same art.
In each class there are magistrates named by those who compose it. These magistrates direct the labor, ensure equal distribution, carry out the orders of the municipal administration, and set an example of zeal and activity.
For each season, the law determines the duration of the workday for members of the national community
Each municipal administration has a council of elders, delegated by each class of laborers; this council enlightens the administration on all that concerns the distribution, the lightening, and the improvement of work.
The supreme administration shall apply to the labors of the national community the use of machines and those processes needed to diminish the suffering of men.
The municipal administration constantly has before its eyes the state of the laborers of each class, and that of the tasks they must accomplish: it will regularly instruct the Supreme Administration of this.
The movement of laborers from one commune to another is ordered by the Supreme Administration, according to its knowledge of the strengths and needs of the community.
The Supreme Administration obliges to work at forced labor those individuals of the two sexes whose lack of civic spirit, idleness, profligacy, and disorders set society a pernicious example. Their goods are turned over to the national community.
The magistrates of each class watch over the stock in the storehouses of the national community, the fruits of the earth, and the products of the arts capable of conservation.
The accounting of these objects is regularly communicated to the Supreme Administration
The magistrates attached to the agricultural class have guard over the propagation and improvement of animals that can be used as food, clothing, transport, and for the lightening of human labor.
Members of the national community can only enjoy the use of that the which law gives him according to the magistrate’s distribution of property.
From this time forward, the national community assures each of its members:
A healthy, comfortable, and properly furnished lodging; work and leisure clothes of linen or wool, in conformity with the national costume; laundry, lighting and heat; a sufficient quantity of foodstuffs in the form of bread, meat, fowl, fish, eggs, butter or oil, wine and other drinks commonly used in the various regions; vegetables, fruits, seasoning, and other objects with the gathering together of constitutes a mediocre and frugal ease; the assistance of the healing arts.
In each commune there will be, at pre-determined times, meals in common, which all members must attend.
The pay rate of public functionaries and the military will be the same as that of the members of the national community.
Any member of the national community who receives a salary, or keeps money, is punished.
Members of the national community can only receive the common ration in the district in which they reside, except for transfers authorized by the administration.
The domicile of those who are currently citizens is that which they enjoy at the time of publication of the present decree. That of young people raised in houses of national education is their commune of birth.
In each community there are magistrates charged with the distribution to the homes of members of the national community of the products of agriculture and the arts.
The law determines the rules of this distribution
The national community is under the legal direction of the Supreme Administration of the state.
As regards administration, the Republic is divided into regions.
A region consists of all contiguous departments of which the products are more or less the same.
In each region there is an Intermediate Administration to which Departmental Administrations are subordinated.
Telegraph lines speed up the correspondence between departmental and intermediate administrations, and between these and the Supreme Administration.
In accordance with the law, the Supreme Administration determines the nature and amount to be distributed to members of the community in each region.
In accordance with this determination, the Departmental Administration makes known to the Intermediate Administration the deficit or surplus of the respective districts.
As far as possible, the Intermediate Administrations fill the deficit of one department by the surplus of another, order deposits and necessary transport, and give an accounting to the Supreme Administration of their needs or their surplus.
The Supreme Administration meets the needs of regions that are lacking in certain objects with the overflow of those with too much, or by foreign trade.
Above all, every year the Supreme Administration deducts and deposits in military stores a tenth of all the community harvests.
It ensures that the surplus of the Republic is carefully saved for famine years.
All individual commerce with foreign peoples is forbidden. Any merchandise from this source will be confiscated to the profit of the national community. Violators will be punished.
The Republic procures for the national community the objects it lacks by exchanging its surplus in agriculture and manufactured goods for those of foreign peoples.
To this effect, appropriate warehouses are established on the land and sea borders.
The Supreme Administration trades with foreigners by means of its agents; it deposits the surplus that it wishes to exchange in the warehouses, where it receives from foreigners the agreed-upon goods.
The agents of the Supreme Administration in the commercial warehouses are often changed. The dishonest are severely punished.
In each commune there are magistrates charged with the directing of communal goods from one commune to another.
Each commune is granted sufficient means of transport, by land and by sea.
The members of the national community are in turn called upon to drive and keep guard over the objects transported from one commune to another.
Every year the Intermediate Administrations commission a certain number of young people, taken from all the departments subordinate to them, to carry out the most distant transports.
Citizens commissioned to handle any transport, are maintained in the communes in which they are found.
The Supreme Administration transports from commune to commune those objects by which they fill the deficits of regions in need by the shortest route, under the guard of the Lower Administration.
Those individuals who do not participate in the national community are the sole taxpayers.
They owe the contributions established in the preceding.
These contributions will be made in kind, and deposited in the storehouses of the national community.
The sum due from this year’s taxpayers is double that of last year.
This total will be broken down by department, and levied against taxpayers in a progressive fashion.
Non-participants in the community can be required, in case of need, to deposit in the storehouse of the national community an advance on future contributions, in the form of their surplus of agricultural or manufactured goods.
The national debt is erased for all Frenchmen
The Republic will reimburse foreigners for the capital amount of the perpetual pensions it owes them. It sets the rates for this, as well as that of lifetime annuities, on a per capita basis.
The debts owed to another Frenchman by any Frenchman who becomes a member of the national community are erased.
The Republic assumes responsibility for the debts owed by members of the community to foreigners
Any fraud in this matter is punished by perpetual slavery.
The Republic no longer issues money.
Minted matter which falls due to the national community will be employed in purchasing from foreign peoples those objects it needs.
Any individual not participating in the community who shall be convicted of having offered minted matter to one of its members will be severely punished.
Neither gold nor silver will ever again be brought into the Republic.