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 itself in the blood of the people. Let the assassins be judged!
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 warning signs of the catastrophe. We must 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 met only unarmed breasts? How is it that the 28th Regiment of the line, that 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 Gérard, lackey 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 is really rushing things along, citizens of the provisional government!
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 admirers of force. The rue Transnonain has been surpassed. Upon reading the wretched story of the exploits of these brigands we find ourselves again 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 from behind imbecilic soldiers who they have gorged on wine and hatred to carnage. On the other poor, defenseless workers falling under the bullets and bayonets of the assassins.
And as a final mark of resemblance, here comes the royal court, Louis-Philippe’s judges, falling like hyenas on the debris of the massacre and filling the dungeons with 250 republicans. At the head of these inquisitors is Frank-Carré, the execrable general prosecutor of the Court of Peers, this Laubardemont who furiously demanded the heads of the insurgents of May 1839. The arrest warrants follow 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 the republicans of the day before have 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, as in those of kings, the blood of the people is nothing but water, good for washing down the overcrowded streets from time to time? If so, then erase from your buildings that detestable three word lie that you have just inscribed on them: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!
If your wives, if your daughters, those brilliant and frail creatures who promenade their gold- and silk-woven idleness in sumptuous equipages, had been thrown at your feet, their breasts opened by the iron of pitiless enemies, what cries of pain and vengeance you'd make resound to the ends of the earth!
So go, go see stretched out on the slabs of your hospitals, on cots in mansards those corpses of slaughtered women, their breasts pierced 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!
Let the assassins be judged!
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