The Third Revolution: Popular Movements in the Revolutionary Era

By Murray Bookchin

Revolt Library Anarchism The Third Revolution

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(1921 - 2006)

Father of Social Ecology and Anarcho-Communalism

: Growing up in the era of traditional proletarian socialism, with its working-class insurrections and struggles against classical fascism, as an adult he helped start the ecology movement, embraced the feminist movement as antihierarchical, and developed his own democratic, communalist politics. (From: Anarchy Archives.)
• "The historic opposition of anarchists to oppression of all kinds, be it that of serfs, peasants, craftspeople, or workers, inevitably led them to oppose exploitation in the newly emerging factory system as well. Much earlier than we are often led to imagine, syndicalism- - essentially a rather inchoate but radical form of trade unionism- - became a vehicle by which many anarchists reached out to the industrial working class of the 1830s and 1840s." (From: "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Book....)
• "...real growth occurs exactly when people have different views and confront each other in order to creatively arrive at more advanced levels of truth -- not adopt a low common denominator of ideas that is 'acceptable' to everyone but actually satisfies no one in the long run. Truth is achieved through dialogue and, yes, harsh disputes -- not by a deadening homogeneity and a bleak silence that ultimately turns bland 'ideas' into rigid dogmas." (From: "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bo....)
• "...a market economy based on dog-eat-dog as a law of survival and 'progress' has penetrated every aspect of society..." (From: "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bo....)


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This book has been written because of a deepening concern I have felt over the past two decades: the ebbing of the revolutionary tradition. The era of the great revolutionary movements, from that of the English Revolution of the 1640s to that of the Spanish Revolution of 1936–39, is waning today from the consciousness of even radical young people, let alone the reasonably educated. Insofar as these revolutions are remembered at all, they are dismissed as irrelevant failures or as the incubators of authoritarian states and their rulers such as Oliver Cromwell, Maximilien Robespierre, and Joseph Stalin. Yet while the names of the tyrants that the revolutions are said to have produced live on as historical villains, the names of the people who tried to rescue their liberatory potentialities are nearly lost, and so too are the exhilarating ideas they propounded. All but forgotten, in fact, are the littleknown popular spokespersons who articulated great visions of... (From :

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Introduction. Revolution from Below The title of this book, The Third Revolution, is taken from what may seem an extraordinary historical coincidence. The demand for a “third revolution” was actually raised in two great revolutions: the French Revolution in the closing decade of the eighteenth century, and 120 years later in the Russian Revolution during the opening decades of the twentieth. The revolutionary sans-culottes of Paris in 1793 raised the cry to replace the supposedly radical National Convention with a popular democracy—the Parisian sections—that they themselves had established during a series of insurrections, often against the wishes of the Convention’s Jacobin leaders who professed to speak in their name. In another place and another time, in 1921 in Russia, the revolutionary workers of Petrograd and the famous “red sailors” of Kronstadt, the capital’s nearby naval base, r... (From :

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PART I. PEASANT REVOLTS Chapter 1. Late Medieval Uprisings The view that history can be summed up as “the history of class struggle,” most famously expressed by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, has become increasingly problematical among historians and social theoriests over the past half-century. Although antagonistic class interests undoubtedly played a role of enormous importance in the social conflicts discussed in this book, in many of these struggles different hierarchical strata staked out claims to traditional rights and duties that were cultural, religious, and political as well as economic in nature. Often, in fact, it was not only classes in the economistic sense that were embattled with each other but also various culturally privileged and underprivileged status groups. The tendency of historians, liberal no less than Marxian, to reduce all social conflicts to class conflicts has placed a heavy veil over our un... (From :

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Chapter 2. The German Peasant Wars One of the great culminating points in the premodern uprisings of oppressed peoples has been broadly described as the “German Peasant War”, a sweeping conflict that exploded in central Europe early in the sixteenth century. The war stemmed in part from economic problems that arose within the patchwork of principalities known as the Holy Roman Empire. As the empire began to fall apart, feudal domination intensified enormously, even as serfdom was declining elsewhere in Europe, and many of the ruling princes, lay and ecclesiastical, attempted to aggrandize themselves in their sovereign principalities at the expense of the peasantry. Whether owing to growing economic needs or in pursuit of greater power (the two are not mutually exclusive), lords and princes began to impose heavier and heavier burdens on the peasants by seizing their traditional common lands, increasing virtually all feudal exactions, and try... (From :

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PART II. THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION Chapter 3. The Rise of Commerce: The Dutch Revolt and Tudor England Despite the enormous damage that the Reformation wars and the Thirty Years War inflicted on the German-speaking regions of Europe, the social and economic decline of these areas should not be attributed exclusively to military conflict. From the mid-sixteenth century onward, Europe’s historical development shifted by degrees away from the inland areas of the continent and the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast and the northern cities of the continent, particularly to the emerging nation-states of the Netherlands and England. A booming commerce arose, in great part owing to the discovery of the New World and new trade routes along the Atlantic to the Indies. Portugal became a major maritime power for a time, as did Spain, whose cities flourished during the rule of Charles V and Philip II. In the British Isles the forces that were to pre... (From :

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Chapter 4. “Country” versus “Court” The seventeenth century was an era of nation-state building par excellence, marked by efforts by emerging absolutist monarchs to centralize power. In France, Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, the principal ministers of Louis XIII and XIV respectively, seemed to lead the development along strictly monarchical lines, excluding the nobles and their particularistic claims to sovereignty over their regions. In England, the effort to centralize monarchical power intensified with the Stuart successors of Elizabeth. At her death in 1603, Elizabeth left no direct heir. Since the Tudor line had branched off earlier into Scottish royalty, including the Stuarts, a Stuart dynasty now replaced the Tudors, and the English throne fell to James VI of Scotland. Upon his ascension as James I of England, Scotland and England were now united by a shared monarchy. But this shared monarchy did not produce a... (From :

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Chapter 5. The Levelers and the New Model Army Despite its premodern, often religious vernacular, the English Revolution had a remarkably modern and secular character. In retrospect, the religious factions that prosecuted its internal conflicts actually had very practical and worldly social goals. Their theological rhetoric tends, if anything, to conceal the extent to which the English Revolution opened the era of the great, basically secular democratic revolutions that were to follow in its wake. For one thing, the English Revolution had a notably plebeian dimension. It was fought out not only in the halls of Parliament and on various battlefields but also in the streets of London as well as other cities and villages. The House of Commons spoke in the name of “the people,” not of God, to legitimate its claims, declaring that “the people” or at least their “representatives” had sovereignty superior to that of the kin... (From :

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Chapter 6. The Putney Debates Had it not been for the “Grandees” on the Army’s General Council, the New Model Army might well have made a successful third revolution of its own in England. After two fruitless months of negotiations in the summer of 1647 between the Army and Parliament, the Agitators expressly called upon the Army to march on the capital and occupy it. Over the strong objections of Cromwell and Ireton, this powerful, well-disciplined, and socially conscious military body that no force of arms could defeat began moving toward the capital, bringing England to the edge of a radical political democracy and perhaps even an agrarian and artisanal social democracy. On June 14, in an extraordinary appeal to Parliament and indirectly to the people—again, perhaps, the first of its kind in modern revolutions—the Army issued its Declaration of the Army, in which the soldiers justified their involvement in politics and decla... (From :

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Chapter 7. Regicide and Defeat Although Charles was still the nominal head of the Church of England, he opportunistically agreed to accept the Presbyterian faith in exchange for Scottish support and was once again able to lead a military force into battle against the New Model Army. The persistent treachery of this “man of blood,” as he was called by the Puritans, had put an end to all patience on the part of the New Model Army—and early in 1648, the Second Civil War erupted in England. Unlike the first, it lasted for only a few months. Yet despite its brevity, the Second Civil War often demanded more military prowess and even greater ruthlessness from Cromwell’s forces than the first. The New Model Army was now obliged to defeat an invading Scottish army that was substantially larger than itself. Indeed, much of England expected that this time the royalists would prevail. Yet within a matter of months, the zeal of the New Model... (From :

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Chapter 8. Millenarian Sects and Cromwellian Governments The waning influence and defeat of the Levelers did not bring the English Revolution to a complete end—but they did lead to a period that combined parody with pathos, absurdity with tragedy. Once the “Grandees” had firmly established themselves in power, they found themselves in a political cul-de-sac, much as the Jacobins would a century and a half later. Many goals that the parliamentary forces had long sought were fulfilled: the king was executed, and the monarchy and House of Lords were no more. Having accomplished these ends and created a Commonwealth, the “Grandees,” who were unwilling to fulfill more radical ones, could advance no further socially. In the lack of new causes to fight for and ideals to uphold, the sense of rectitude that had impelled the revolutionary fervor of Puritanism and given it a social motivation was drastically diminished, and the officers, who were... (From :

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PART III. THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Chapter 9. “A Kind of Revolution” The men and women who rallied to the Leveler cause in the late 1640s faded away with the rise of Cromwell’s interregnum. But their political ideal of “an agreement of the people acceptable to the general will,” as H.N. Brailsford observes, did not disappear. “It crossed the Atlantic ... and bore ripe fruit. Defeated in Europe, the English Revolution found its triumph and its culmination in America.” Until recently, there has been a tendency among historians to deprecate the migration of radical ideals to colonial America and the radicalism of the American Revolution generally. Its revolutionary character has been slighted by historians who treat it as a mere war for independence, a conservative movement to preserve existing political institutions, or a purely economic conflict between competing colonial interests and the... (From :

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Chapter 10. Colonial Resistance There is little to show that the mother country was very motherly toward her American colonies. From the 1650s onward, British economic policy was overwhelmingly mercantilist in character, aimed at the accrual of a favorable balance of trade, in which raw materials flowed into England at the expense not only of commercial rivals but of the colonies themselves. In the mercantilist world, wealth and a sound commercial policy required the accumulation of bullion. Hence, the Crown sought not so much to expand as to control the market in order to acquire gold and silver, a policy that it often implemented by outright parasitism and commercial piracy. Britain’s policy toward its American colonies, basically guided by the mercantilist ideas of the day, aimed not to foster their industrial development but to pillage them of their resources. One of the most succinct statements of this policy was made by Sir Francis... (From :

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Chapter 11. Revolutionary Ideology When the American colonists rebelled against rule by the British, there was as yet very little of a conscious revolutionary tradition with which they could identify and to which they could appeal. The radical aspects of the 1640s in England were little known to the people at large. What the revolutionary intellectuals were acutely aware of, however, was an ongoing decline of liberty throughout the world. Nearly everywhere, they believed, people had known only tyranny. Only a few societies had ever been able to enjoy liberty for any length of time, notably, ancient Athens, the Roman Republic, the Swiss Confederacy, the Dutch Republic, the Venetian Republic, Sweden, Denmark, pre-Norman England, and post-1688 England. In these societies, virtuous and sturdy citizens had lived the cherished simple and patriotic lives devoted to justice and individual liberty that Americans identified with freedom. But, as the... (From :

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Chapter 12. The Committees of Safety and the Militias The American Revolution was to innovate very remarkable revolutionary institutions, many of which were to resurface in popular uprisings throughout the world. Perhaps one of the most remarkable of these innovations was the network of revolutionary committees that emerged at every level of society, which were to constitute the authentic engine of the Revolution—later to be emulated in the French Revolution and in other comparable upheavals well into the twentieth century. When the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in September 1774 to create a Continental Association designed to end all intercourse with Britain, it also set up a specific mechanism to implement its goals. Article 11 of the resolution passed by the Congress on October 20 recommended “that a committee be chosen in every county, city, and town, by those who are qualified to vote for representatives in the legislature, whose bu... (From :

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Chapter 13. Internal Revolutions As avidly as people from all strata of American society united to fight the British for independence, many were also fighting to alter their society at home—to eliminate political privilege and create a polity that lived up to the ideals of liberty and popular sovereignty enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. Backwoods yeomen, commonly abetted by the poor stratum of “mechanics” in the large towns and cities, pitted themselves against plantation aristocrats, Hudson valley patroons, merchants large and small, land speculators, shippers, landlords of all sorts, well-to-do artisans, and an emerging financial stratum that profiteered from the war and from the deflation of the currency. If broad republican ideals were “self-evident” to Whigs and patriots generally, they were by no means in agreement about what kind of republic would replace the royal administration. Indeed, patriots such as A... (From :

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Chapter 14. Shays’s Rebellion and the Constitution of 1789 Even after independence was achieved, prominent Whigs and radical patriots continued their battle over what kind of republic the states should establish. Most of the moderate Whigs favored a strong, unitary, centralized republic after the war was over. To the camp of John Adams, James Wilson, and Gouverneur Morris were now added Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, as well as many lesser figures. Some of these men, to be sure, were more centralistic in their views: Hamilton and Morris, in fact, would not have been averse to a constitutional monarchy, whereas Adams and Madison merely wanted an oligarchical republic in which mainly men of “wealth and talents” would hold power—in short, a republic that contained checks against “mob rule.” Many patriots, on the other hand, favored a quasi-confederal republic: Richard Henry Lee, John Rutledge, Christopher Gadsden, T... (From :

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PART IV. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION Chapter 15. The Ancien Regime If the American Revolution has been too often seen as merely a genteel disagreement over colonial independence, the French Revolution of 1789–95 has been widely seen as the classical revolution par excellence. This interpretation became so deeply ingrained in revolutionary social thought during the nineteenth century that it immensely influenced the behavior of revolutionary leaders thereafter, so that the French Revolution became a kind of template for revolutionary movements in the century and a half that followed. Revolutionary leaders of all kinds expected the course of events to duplicate those of the French Revolution, and they drew upon its history for an understanding of the “stages” their revolutions would follow. By studying the Jacobins, their assumed prototypes, they learned what social strata they could expect to trust or mistrust, and what alliances they... (From :

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Chapter 16. The Origins of Revolt The many factors that produced the French Revolution—a revolution that reached searing proportions over a span of five years—utterly transformed Western life, from traditional to new ways of thinking, even of dress, speech, and everyday manners. But was that far-reaching revolution inevitable? An answer to this question is not easy to give. The archaic French state, structured around explicit privileges and disorganized by a jumble of often conflicting jurisdictions, could hardly have lasted long into the next century. Had the royal administration been less incompetent, France might have evolved gradually in a direction similar to that of England. In fact, this possibility had been the dream of philosophes such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot, whose writings, no less than Rousseau’s, profoundly influenced the revolutionary intelligentsia. But none of the men who were to play leading roles during the... (From :

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Chapter 17. The Journees of 1789–1790 As the news resounded throughout Europe, indeed in many of its remote towns, the fall of the Bastille seemed for millions to usher in a new historical era. Nearly all thinking people waxed enthusiastic, celebrating in fervent prose and poetry the heroism of the Bastille “conquerors” and planting liberty trees, where they could, as symbols not only of the victory over tyranny in France but of a historic step toward liberty for the entire world. Still, not everyone’s heart was gladdened at the news. Terrified by the events of July 14, many French nobles, led by the Count of Artois, fled in a steady stream out of the country and settled abroad. These numerous aristocratic emigres subsequently devoted themselves to turning back the revolutionary tide. As for the king, two days alter the fall of the Bastille, he was still considering suppressing Paris by force, a plan that his m... (From :

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Chapter 18. Journées toward the Republic The Left in the National Assembly following the fall of the Bastille was by no means republican, still less radical. It was composed largely of constitutionalists, who accepted the monarchy as an indispensable part of the new government, and its deliberations were guided by prudent lawyers who tilted toward fairly conservative views. Far more liberal—even radical—were the elected officials in the municipalities, whose constituencies were more open to public scrutiny and pressure than departmental officials or Assembly deputies. The authentic radicals of this period could be found in the Cordeliers district, on the Left Bank of the Seine. Perhaps the most militant district in the capital and a major propaganda center of the Revolution, the Cordeliers played a strategic role in awakening public consciousness in favor of a republic. Led by the ebullient lawyer Georges Danton, who preside... (From :

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Chapter 19. The Sections of Paris The triumph of August 10, 1792, produced an exuberance that infected nearly every aspect of Parisian life. The more affluent abandoned their powdered wigs and adorned clothing for the simple garb of artisans; jewelry and fans that depicted revolutionary scenes became fashionable; newborn infants were given names that reflected the revolutionary era. In conversation, citoyen (citizen) replaced monsieur (sire) as a form of address. The “Scythian” red cap (bonnet rouge), the ancient headgear of freed slaves, had already been a popular way of proclaiming fidelity to the Revolution; now, after August 10, various sections adopted it—“the red cap of freedom”—as the required headgear for their officials to wear. Indeed, it became a symbol of the sections’ political power. Many sections once again changed their names, giving themselves more revolutionary appellations: the s... (From :

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CHAPTER 20. The Insurrection of June 2, 1793 THE REVOLUTION IN LIMBO The period from late 1792 to early 1793 was marked by an uneasy truce, broken by growing eruptions of differences between the Girondins and the Montagnards in the Convention, and increasing tension between the radical sections and all other governmental institutions. The direct democracy, embodied by the Parisian sections, had essentially become a popular dual power that confronted the republican state, embodied by the Convention. This historic confrontation was blurred by the political conflict between the two parliamentary factions in the national government. The Girondins now detested Paris and addressed themselves primarily to the provinces in harsh opposition to the radicals in the capital. The Montagnards, in turn, did not hesitate to appeal to the radical sans-culottes when they needed them, albeit not without fear that the Revolution might slip out of the... (From :

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Chapter 21. Terror and Thermidor The power gained by the Montagnards as a result of the June 2 journie was considerable and increased with every passing month. Even before the insurrection, the central government had already vastly expanded its authority over France by means of the February conscription decree, the establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunal, the imposition of the maximum price for bread, and the formation of a powerful executive, the Committee of Public Safety, which worked in tandem with the Committee of General Security. Once the Jacobins were the dominant faction in the Convention, the government became even more centralized than it had ever been in the past, and commensurately more authoritarian. Perhaps the most immediate problem the government faced was to counter the revolt in the countryside. Throughout the provinces, the news that the people of Paris had intimidated the legitimate, elected Convention and driven out t... (From :

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PART V. THE RISE OF ARTISANAL SOCIALISM Chapter 22 From Jacobinism to Socialism The influence of the French Revolution did not end with the fall of the Robespierrists on July 28, 1794—or, by the revolutionary calendar, with the tenth of Thermidor in Year Two of the Republic. Among a minority of radical conspirators, the Great Revolution, as it came to be called, was to haunt the Napoleonic era and the Bourbon Restoration that followed it. Although it was given a grisly image by the returning monarchy and nobility and clergy as the incarnation of terror and bloody civil war, the Revolution lived on among beleaguered republicans, and later among socialists, as a valiant attempt to create a new era of freedom for the oppressed masses of France and even for humanity as a whole. Indeed, as I have noted, it remained an imperishable source of lessons for revolutionaries of every kind who, well into the twentieth century, would model their st... (From :

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Chapter 23. From Restoration to Revolution France was to enjoy pride of place in producing the principal, indeed the legendary revolutions of the nineteenth century, virtually overshadowing uprisings elsewhere on the European continent. The French knew it— particularly the Parisians—and so did other peoples, who either loved or detested the city of the Great Revolution accordingly. Among those who loved it was Arnold Ruge, the German publicist and coeditor with the young Marx of the Deutsch-Franzdsische Jahrbucher, who exclaimed at the outset of a journey to Paris in 1846: We are going to France, the threshold of a new world. May it live up to our dreams! At the end of our journey we will find the vast valley of Paris, the cradle of the new Europe, the great laboratory where world history is formed and has its ever fresh source. It is in Paris that we shall live our victories and our defeats. Even our philosophy, th... (From :

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Chapter 24. The Revolution of 1830 None of the leading liberals, still less the ultras, had any suspicion that Charles’s coup d’etat would induce Paris to explode in revolution. Nor did the opposition factions in the Chamber of Deputies have any desire to see the return of armed masses—so redolent of the journees of the Great Revolution— with their capacity for violence against the well-to-do and against property. In 1830, bourgeois and nobles were still alive who could vividly recall the great masses of sans-culottes who had stormed the Bastille, battled the king’s troops in the Luxembourg Garden, and roared approvingly at the drop of the guillotine’s blade. Yet despite rumors that the king might use his Article 14 powers to act sternly against the new, more liberal Chamber of Deputies, the full scope of his repressive plans was virtually unknown to anyone outside the circle of his closest ministers. The new ord... (From :

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PART VI. THE BARRICADES OF PARIS Chapter 25. The Revolution of February 1848 The French Revolution of 1830 sent shock waves throughout Europe. In Britain, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain, as well as a number of states in the German Confederation, movements for the reform of dynasties or monarchies flared up, sometimes taking the form of insurrections. But most of these reforms were nationalist in character, or liberal—seeking to broaden political rights—or both, rather than social uprisings, in which the masses fought for a radically new economic as well as political dispensation. In time, nagging problems of national unification were resolved, not by popular insurgencies but by forceful statesmen, such as Cavour in Italy and Bismarck in Germany, who fulfilled the aspirations of established monarchs rather than those of quasi- democratic popular movements. It was almost exclusively in France, in the nineteenth century, and usually... (From :

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Chapter 26. The Incomplete Revolution The conflict over what kind of republic would follow the monarchy began almost at the very moment the king fled Paris. Some insurgents, to be sure, were content to occupy the Tuileries and caricature the nobility by sitting at Louis-Philippe’s vacated dining table and playfully addressing one another as “duke” and “marquis.” But thousands of others, armed with muskets, bayonets, pikes, and swords, raced to the Palais Bourbon, where the panicked Chamber of Deputies was in session, and to the Hotel de Ville, where Paris traditionally established its revolutionary governments. The city’s main streets and boulevards were clogged with people joyously shouting huzzahs, singing the “Marseillaise,” and calling for a republic. They waved red flags as well as the tricolor—symbolic portents of the differences that were soon to divide the capital between supporters of a conventional midd... (From :

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Chapter 27. “Defeat of the Revolution!” Every revolution that fails to complete its social tasks immediately opens the way to counterrevolution and finally its own bloody annihilation. This principle can be taken as absolutely fixed. The vacuum that an unfinished revolution leaves behind is quickly filled by its enemies, who, sometimes presenting themselves as “compromisers,” “realists,” and “reasonable” men, try to harness the revolution and steer the energy it has churned up toward its own destruction. In the English Revolution irresolute Levelers such as Lilbume failed to use their influence with the army to move decisively against Cromwell; and in the Great French Revolution the enrages, lacking any coordinating leadership, were manipulated by Marat and delivered over to the Committee of Public Safety. A hesitant revolution is a doomed revolution. The moment when a revolutionary situation cre... (From :

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Chapter 28. The Insurrection of June 1848 Although the immediate cause of the insurrection of June 23 to 26 was the government’s decision to terminate the National Workshops, it was a profound underlying class conflict that brought it about. Militant and class conscious, women as well as men, the June insurgents had reached a complete impasse with the Assembly, and they were left with no recourse but to rise up in armed revolt In an extraordinary statement that appears to date from June, the workers of the nineteenth brigade of the National Workshops warned the Assembly. Do not forget, Monarchists, that it was not that we could remain your slaves that we brought about a third revolution. We fought your social system, the sole cause of the disorder and poverty that devours and swallows contemporary society. The first revolution had overthrown the absolute monarchy in 1789; th... (From :

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Chapter 29. Reaction and Revival Even as Louis Napoleon brought the Revolution of 1848 to a definitive end in France, the high hopes that swept over Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and even the Slavic countries under Turkish and Austrian rule were smothered by counterrevolution and the triumph of reaction. Dreams of a unified Germany and Italy, a sovereign Hungary, a constitutional monarchy in Austria, and independent Czech, Slovak, and south Slav nations were effaced by a renewal of authoritarian rule, press censorship, increased surveillance, the arrest of coundess nationalists and republicans, and the fading of social ideals. Throughout the 1850s the French, Prussian, Austrian, and Russian governments unrelentingly persecuted their domestic radicals, suppressing their writings and lectures, censoring their press, and honeycombing their meetings with police and spies when they did not execute, jail, or exile them. The dark cloud of repression setded over the con... (From :

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Chapter 30. Prelude to the Paris Commune The Franco -Prussian War marked the clash of two contrasting but hitherto parallel developments in nineteenth-century Europe. In 1870 both France and Germany—in its various stages of unification— were still predominandy rural. Although both countries were on the threshold of the industrial revolution, nearly seventy per cent of the French population and sixty per cent of the German population lived in rural areas. In the two decades that Louis Napoleon sat on the throne, as we have seen, he did not decisively alter this basic economic landscape: even when the Second Empire came to an end, artisanal labor still produced the bulk of French goods, and the peasants still accounted for the great majority of the French population. Unskilled proletarians producing machine-made commodities were becoming much more numerous, but in 1870 French artisans still occupied a considerable place in the economic life o... (From :

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Chapter 31. The Paris Commune of 1871 The peace treaty between Bismarck and the National Assembly, it has been noted, permitted the Prussian army to stage a formal march into the French capital on March 1 and “occupy” it (more as a symbolic gesture than a reality) until the first payment on the indemnity was met—which the national government prompdy proceeded to pay. Prior to the parade, Parisians furiously debated whether they should violendy resist this military insult to the city or treat it with disdainful indifference. After much discussion in the Central Committee of the National Guard and the Delegation of the Twenty Arrondissements, it was wisely decided not to provoke the Prussians, who, after their parade, confined their occupation of Paris to the north of the capital’s perimeter. At the same time, the more radical sectors of the populace were mindful that Thiers and his government were only too eager to disarm Paris,... (From :

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Chapter. 32 The Rise of Proletarian Socialisms In the wake of the Commune, French socialism would never be the same. The Jacobin mystique, which had lingered among workers and radical intellectuals for so many decades, disappeared almost completely, and the antiroyalism and andclericalism that had formerly been the province of the Jacobins were absorbed by the more conventional republican parties— notably the so-called Radicals—who commanded a considerable following among shopkeepers, professionals, well-to-do peasants, and even workers. Proudhon’s individualistic “mutualism,” with its hostility to associations, strikes, and even trade unions, also lost its popular following, to be replaced by syndicalism—an explicitly collectivistic form of federalism structured around trade unions and the most sweeping of working-class initiatives, the general strike. This shift, as we have seen, had been under way well in advance of the Paris C... (From :

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Chapter 33. The Social Democratic Interregnum Despite the considerable public reputation Karl Marx acquired as the “red terrorist doctor” who guided the International during the Paris Commune, his most important writings and theories had only limited influence during his lifetime. By the time of his death in 1883 in London, Capital had been translated into only two languages—Russian and French—and Marxism as a credo was largely unknown except among small groups of radical intellectuals. Virtually ignored in England, it was popularized to a limited extent in France due to the efforts of the indefatigable Guesde. For the rest of the continent, Marxism was too exodc to gain wide acceptance. Italians, Spaniards, and Russians were more strongly influenced by anarchism, as were a sizable number of French syndicalists, who, around the turn of the century, formed the most militant and impressive working-class movement in Europe. (From :

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Bibliographical Essay GENERAL WORKS It would be difficult to gain an understanding of the revolutions discussed in this book without placing them in the general context of nineteenth-century European history. The range of historical works covering this immensely important period, of course, is enormous, but several general histories are exceptional. The latter half of R. R. Palmer and Joel Colton’s A History of the Modem World (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1965) and particularly David Thomson’s Europe Since Napoleon, 2nd edn revised (New York McGraw-Hill, 1982), are invaluable sources for the social environment in which the classical nineteenth-century revolutions occurred. An excellent overall history of the first half of the century is William L. Langer’s Political and Social Upheaval, 18321852 (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), in the Rise of Modem Europe series. Among the economic hi... (From :


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