August Blanqui 1848
Translated: from the original for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007.
The counter-revolution has just bathed in the blood of the people. Judgment, immediate judgment of the assassins!
For the past two months the royalist bourgeoisie of Rouen has plotted in the shadows a St Bartholomew’s massacre of the workers. It had stocked up on cartridges. The authorities knew of this.
Calls for death had broken out here and there, the premonitory symptoms of the catastrophe. We have to have done with these scoundrels! Scoundrels who in February, after three days of resistance, forced the bourgeois guard to submit to the Republic.
Citizens of the Provisional Government, how is it that in two months the working class population of Rouen and the surrounding valleys were not organized into National Guard units?
How is it that only the aristocracy possessed organization and arms?
How is it that at the moment of the execution of its horrible plot it only met unarmed breasts?
How is it that the 28th Regiment of the line, this sinister hero of the faubourg de Vaise, was in Rouen?
How is it that the garrison obeyed the orders of generals who were declared enemies of the Republic, of a General Gerard, creature and henchman of Louis-Philippe?
They were thirsty for a bloody revenge, these hired killers of a fallen dynasty. They needed an April massacre as consolation for a second July. They didn’t have to wait long.
April days barely two months after the revolution!
And nothing was missing from these new April scenes! Neither guns, nor bullets nor destroyed houses, nor state of siege nor the ferocity of the soldiers, nor the insulting of the dead, nor the unanimous insults from the newspapers, these cowardly adorers or might. The rue Transnonain has been surpassed. Upon reading the wretched story of the exploits of these brigands we again find ourselves in the aftermath of the horrible days that once covered France in mourning and shame.
These are exactly the same executioners and the same victims! On one side frenzied bourgeois pushing to carnage imbecilic soldiers that they have filled with wine and hatred. On the other unfortunate workers defenselessly falling under the bullets and bayonets of the assassins.
And as a final sign of resemblance, here comes the royal court, Louis-Philippe’s judges, falling like hyenas on the debris of the massacre and filling the prisons with 250 republicans. At the head of these inquisitors is Frank-Carré, the execrable procureur-general of the court of peers, this Laubardemont who asked with rage for the heads of the insurgents of May 1839. The arrest warrants followed those patriots to Paris who fled the royalist proscription.
For it is a royalist terror that reigns in Rouen: do you not know this citizens of the Provisional Government? The bourgeois guard of Rouen furiously rejected the Republic in February. It is the Republic that it blasphemes and that it wants to overthrow.
All that was Republican yesterday has been put in irons. Your very own agents have been threatened with death, removed from office, arrested. The municipal magistrates Lemason and Durand have been dragged through the streets, bayonets at their chests, their clothing in rags. They are being held in secret by authority of the rebels. It is a royalist insurrection that has triumphed in the ancient capital of Normandy, and it is you, republican government, that supports these rebel assassins! Is this treason or is this cowardice? Are you weaklings or accomplices?
You know full well that there was no battle: it was a slaughter! And you let the slaughterers recount their feats of prowess! Is it that in your eyes, like in those of kings, the blood of the people is nothing but water, good for washing down the over-encumbered streets from time to time? If so, then erase from your buildings that detestable lie in three words that you have just inscribed on them: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!
If your wives, if your daughters, those brilliant and frail creatures who promenade their idleness in gold and silk in sumptuous equipages, had been thrown at your feet, their breast opened by the fire of pitiless enemies, what cries of pain and vengeance you’d make heard to the ends of the earth!
So go, go see stretched out on the slabs of your hospitals, on cots in mansards these cadavers of slaughtered women, their breasts perforated by bourgeois bullets; the very breast that bore and nourished the workers whose sweat fattens the bourgeois!
The women of the people are worth as much as yours, and their blood should not, cannot remain unavenged!
Justice, then, justice for the assassins!
For the Central Republican Society, the members of the Bureau:
L-Auguste Blanqui, chairman
C.Lacambre,DMO – Vice-Chair
Pierre Beraud, Loroue secretaries, members of the Bureau
1. Site of a massacre of republicans on April 15, 1834 by the forces of the July Monarchy