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Klassenkampf in Frankreich
Karl Marx

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The Class Struggles in France Klassekampene i Frankrig
Part I: The Defeat of June 1848I. Juninederlaget 1848
After the July Revolution of 1830, when the liberal banker Laffitte led his compère, the Duke of Orléans, in triumph to the Hôtel de Ville, he let fall the words: “From now on the bankers will rule”. Laffitte had betrayed the secret of the revolution.

It was not the French bourgeoisie that ruled under Louis Philippe, but one faction of it: bankers, stock-exchange kings, railway kings, owners of coal and iron mines and forests, a part of the landed proprietors associated with them – the so-called financial aristocracy. It sat on the throne, it dictated laws in the Chambers, it distributed public offices, from cabinet portfolios to tobacco bureau posts.

The industrial bourgeoisie proper formed part of the official opposition, that is, it was represented only as a minority in the Chambers. Its opposition was expressed all the more resolutely the more unalloyed the autocracy of the finance aristocracy became, and the more it imagined that its domination over the working class was insured after the revolts of 1832, 1834, and 1839, which had been drowned in blood. [1] Grandin, a Rouen manufacturer and the most fanatical instrument of bourgeois reaction in the Constituent as well as in the Legislative National Assembly, was the most violent opponent of Guizot in the Chamber of Deputies. Léon Faucher, later known for his impotent efforts to climb into prominence as the Guizot of the French counterrevolution, in the last days of Louis Philippe waged a war of the pen for industry against speculation and its train bearer, the government. Bastiat agitated in the name of Bordeaux and the whole of wine- producing France against the ruling system.

The petty bourgeoisie of all gradations, and the peasantry also, were completely excluded from political power. Finally, in the official opposition or entirely outside the pays légal electorate, there were the ideological representatives and spokesmen of the above classes, their savants, lawyers, doctors, etc., in a word, their so-called men of talent.

Owing to its financial straits, the July Monarchy was dependent from the beginning on the big bourgeoisie, and its dependence on the big bourgeoisie was the inexhaustible source of increasing financial straits. It was impossible to subordinate the administration of the state to the interests of national production without balancing the budget, without establishing a balance between state expenditures and revenues. And how was this balance to be established without limiting state expenditures – that is, without encroaching on interests which were so many props of the ruling system – and without redistributing taxes – that is, without shifting a considerable share of the burden of taxation onto the shoulders of the big bourgeoisie itself?

On the contrary, the faction of the bourgeoisie that ruled and legislated through the Chambers had a direct interest in the indebtedness of the state. The state deficit was really the main object of its speculation and the chief source of its enrichment. At the end of each year a new deficit. After the lapse of four or five years a new loan. And every new loan offered new opportunities to the finance aristocracy for defrauding the state, which was kept artificially on the verge of bankruptcy – it had to negotiate with the bankers under the most unfavorable conditions. Each new loan gave a further opportunity, that of plundering the public which invested its capital in state bonds by means of stock-exchange manipulations, the secrets of which the government and the majority in the Chambers were privy to. In general, the instability of state credit and the possession of state secrets gave the bankers and their associates in the Chambers and on the throne the possibility of evoking sudden, extraordinary fluctuations in the quotations of government securities, the result of which was always bound to be the ruin of a mass of smaller capitalists and the fabulously rapid enrichment of the big gamblers. As the state deficit was in the direct interest of the ruling faction of the bourgeoisie, it is clear why the extraordinary state expenditure in the last years of Louis Philippe's reign was far more than double the extraordinary state expenditure under Napoleon, indeed reached a yearly sum of nearly 400,000,000 francs, whereas the whole average annual export of France seldom attained a volume amounting to 750,000,000 francs. The enormous sums which in this way flowed through the hands of the state facilitated, moreover, swindling contracts for deliveries, bribery, defalcations, and all kinds of roguery.

The defrauding of the state, practiced wholesale in connection with loans, was repeated retail in public works. What occurred in the relations between Chamber and government became multiplied in the relations between individual departments and individual entrepreneurs.

The ruling class exploited the building of railways in the same way it exploited state expenditures in general and state loans. The Chambers piled the main burdens on the state, and secured the golden fruits to the speculating finance aristocracy. One recalls the scandals in the Chamber of Deputies when by chance it leaked out that all the members of the majority, including a number of ministers, had been interested as shareholders in the very railway constructions which as legislators they had carried out afterward at the cost of the state.

On the other hand, the smallest financial reform was wrecked through the influence of the bankers. For example, the postal reform. Rothschild protested. Was it permissible for the state to curtail sources of revenue out of which interest was to be paid on its ever increasing debt?

The July Monarchy was nothing other than a joint stock company for the exploitation of France's national wealth, whose dividends were divided among ministers, Chambers, 240,000 voters, and their adherents. Louis Philippe was the director of this company – Robert Macaire [2] on the throne. Trade, industry, agriculture, shipping, the interests of the industrial bourgeoisie, were bound to be continually endangered and prejudiced under this system. Cheap government, governement à bon marché, was what it had inscribed on its banner in the July days.

Since the finance aristocracy made the laws, was at the head of the administration of the state, had command of all the organized public authorities, dominated public opinion through the actual state of affairs and through the press, the same prostitution, the same shameless cheating, the same mania to get rich was repeated in every sphere, from the court to the Café Borgne [3] to get rich not by production, but by pocketing the already available wealth of others, Clashing every moment with the bourgeois laws themselves, an unbridled assertion of unhealthy and dissolute appetites manifested itself, particularly at the top of bourgeois society – lusts wherein wealth derived from gambling naturally seeks its satisfaction, where pleasure becomes crapuleux debauched, where money, filth, and blood commingle. The finance aristocracy, in its mode of acquisition as well as in its pleasures, is nothing but the rebirth of the lumpenproletariat on the heights of bourgeois society.

And the nonruling factions of the French bourgeoisie cried: Corruption! The people cried: À bas les grands voleurs! À bas les assassins! Down with the big thieves! Down with the assassins! when in 1847, on the most prominent stages of bourgeois society, the same scenes were publicly enacted that regularly lead the lumpenproletariat to brothels, to workhouses and lunatic asylums, to the bar of justice, to the dungeon, and to the scaffold. The industrial bourgeoisie saw its interests endangered, the petty bourgeoisie was filled with moral indignation, the imagination of the people was offended, Paris was flooded with pamphlets – “The Rothschild Dynasty,” “Usurers Kings of the Epoch,” etc. – in which the rule of the finance aristocracy was denounced and stigmatized with greater or less wit.

Rien pour la gloire! Nothing for glory! Glory brings no profit! La paix partout et toujours! Peace everywhere and always! War depresses the quotations of the 3 and 4 percents which the France of the Bourse jobbers had inscribed on her banner. Her foreign policy was therefore lost in a series of mortifications to French national sentiment, which reacted all the more vigorously when the rape of Poland was brought to its conclusion with the incorporation of Cracow by Austria, and when Guizot came out actively on the side of the Holy Alliance in the Swiss separatist war. [4] The victory of the Swiss liberals in this mimic war raised the self-respect of the bourgeois opposition in France; the bloody uprising of the people in Palermo worked like an electric shock on the paralyzed masses of the people and awoke their great revolutionary memories and passions. [5]

The eruption of the general discontent was finally accelerated and the mood for revolt ripened by two economic world events.

The potato blight and the crop failures of 1845 and 1846 increased the general ferment among the people. The famine of 1847 called forth bloody conflicts in France as well as on the rest of the Continent. As against the shameless orgies of the finance aristocracy, the struggle of the people for the prime necessities of life! At Buzançais, hunger rioters executed [6]; in Paris, oversatiated escrocs swindlers snatched from the courts by the royal family!

The second great economic event that hastened the outbreak of the revolution was a general commercial and industrial crisis in England. Already heralded in the autumn of 1845 by the wholesale reverses of the speculators in railway shares, staved off during 1846 by a number of incidents such as the impending abolition of the Corn Laws, the crisis finally burst in the autumn of 1847 with the bankruptcy of the London wholesale grocers, on the heels of which followed the insolvencies of the land banks and the closing of the factories in the English industrial districts. The after-effect of this crisis on the Continent had not yet spent itself when the February Revolution broke out.

The devastation of trade and industry caused by the economic epidemic made the autocracy of the finance aristocracy still more unbearable. Throughout the whole of France the bourgeois opposition agitated at banquets for an electoral reform which should win for it the majority in the Chambers and overthrow the Ministry of the Bourse. In Paris the industrial crisis had, moreover, the particular result of throwing a multitude of manufacturers and big traders, who under the existing circumstances could no longer do any business in the foreign market, onto the home market. They set up large establishments, the competition of which ruined the small épiciers grocers and boutiquiers shopkeepers en masse. Hence the innumerable bankruptcies among this section of the Paris bourgeoisie, and hence their revolutionary action in February. It is well known how Guizot and the Chambers answered the reform proposals with an unambiguous challenge, how Louis Philippe too late resolved on a ministry led by Barrot, how things went as far as hand-to-hand fighting between the people and the army, how the army was disarmed by the passive conduct of the National Guard, how the July Monarchy had to give way to a provisional government.

The Provisional Government which emerged from the February barricades necessarily mirrored in its composition the different parties which shared in the victory. It could not be anything but a compromise between the different classes which together had overturned the July throne, but whose interests were mutually antagonistic. The great majority of its members consisted of representatives of the bourgeoisie. The republican petty bourgeoisie was represented by Ledru- Rollin and Flocon, the republican bourgeoisie by the people from the National [7], the dynastic opposition by Crémieux, Dupont de l'Eure, etc. [8] The working class had only two representatives, Louis Blanc and Albert. Finally, Lamartine in the Provisional Government; this was at first no real interest, no definite class; this was the February Revolution itself, the common uprising with its illusions, its poetry, its visionary content, and its phrases. For the rest, the spokesman of the February Revolution, by his position and his views, belonged to the bourgeoisie.

If Paris, as a result of political centralization, rules France, the workers, in moments of revolutionary earthquakes, rule Paris. The first act in the life of the Provisional Government was an attempt to escape from this overpowering influence by an appeal from intoxicated Paris to sober France. Lamartine disputed the right of the barricade fighters to proclaim a republic on the ground that only the majority of Frenchmen had that right; they must await their votes, the Paris proletariat must not besmirch its victory by a usurpation. [9] The bourgeoisie allows the proletariat only one usurpation – that of fighting.

Up to noon of February 25 the republic had not yet been proclaimed; on the other hand, all the ministries had already been divided among the bourgeois elements of the Provisional Government and among the generals, bankers, and lawyers of the National. But the workers were determined this time not to put up with any bamboozlement like that of July, 1830. They were ready to take up the fight anew and to get a republic by force of arms. With this message, Raspail betook himself to the Hôtel de Ville. In the name of the Paris proletariat he commanded the Provisional Government to proclaim a republic; if this order of the people were not fulfilled within two hours, he would return at the head of 200,000 men. The bodies of the fallen were scarcely cold, the barricades were not yet disarmed, and the only force that could be opposed to them was the National Guard. Under these circumstances the doubts born of considerations of state policy and the juristic scruples of conscience entertained by the Provisional Government suddenly vanished. The time limit of two hours had not yet expired when all the walls of Paris were resplendent with the gigantic historical words:

République français! Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!

Even the memory of the limited alms and motives which drove the bourgeoisie into the February Revolution was extinguished by the proclamation of the republic on the basis of universal suffrage. Instead of only a few factions of the bourgeoisie, all classes of French society were suddenly hurled into the orbit of political power, forced to leave the boxes, the stalls, and the gallery and to act in person upon the revolutionary stage! With the constitutional monarchy vanished also the semblance of a state power independently confronting bourgeois society, as well as the whole series of subordinate struggles which this semblance of power called forth!

By dictating the republic to the Provisional Government, and through the Provisional Government to the whole of France, the proletariat immediately stepped into the foreground as an independent party, but at the same time challenged the whole of bourgeois France to enter the lists against it. What it won was the terrain for the fight for its revolutionary emancipation, but by no means this emancipation itself.

The first thing the February Republic had to do was, rather, to complete the rule of the bourgeoisie by allowing, besides the finance aristocracy, all the propertied classes to enter the orbit of political power. The majority of the great landowners, the Legitimists, were emancipated from the political nullity to which they had been condemned by the July Monarchy. Not for nothing had the Gazette de France agitated in common with the opposition papers; not for nothing had La Roche-Jaquelein taken the side of the revolution in the session of the Chamber of Deputies on February 24. The nominal proprietors, the peasants, who form the great majority of the French people, were put by universal suffrage in the position of arbiters of the fate of France. The February Republic finally brought the rule of the bourgeoisie clearly into view, since it struck off the crown behind which capital had kept itself concealed.

Just as the workers in the July days had fought for and won the bourgeois monarchy, so in the February days they fought for and won the bourgeois republic. Just as the July Monarchy had to proclaim itself a monarchy surrounded by republican institutions, so the February Republic was forced to proclaim itself a republic surrounded by social institutions. The Paris proletariat compelled this concession, too.

Marche, a worker, dictated the decree [10] by which the newly formed Provisional Government pledged itself to guarantee the workers a livelihood by means of labor, to provide work for all citizens, etc. And when a few days later it forgot its promises and seemed to have lost sight of the proletariat, a mass of 20,000 workers marched on the Hôtel de Ville with the cry: Organize labor! Form a special Ministry of labor! Reluctantly and after long debate, the Provisional Government nominated a permanent special commission charged with lending means of improving the lot of the working classes! This commission consisted of delegates from the corporations guilds of Paris artisans and was presided over by Louis Blanc and Albert. The Luxembourg Palace was assigned to it as its meeting place. In this way the representatives of the working class were banished from the seat of the Provisional Government, the bourgeois part of which retained the real state power and the reins of administration exclusively in its hands; and side by side with the ministries of finance, trade, and public works, side by side with the Bank and the Bourse, there arose a socialist synagogue whose high priests, Louis Blanc and Albert, had the task of discovering the promised land, of preaching the new gospel, and of providing work for the Paris proletariat. Unlike any profane state power, they had no budget, no executive authority at their disposal. They were supposed to break the pillars of bourgeois society by dashing their heads against them. While the Luxembourg sought the philosopher's stone, in the Hôtel de Ville they minted the current coinage.

And yet the claims of the Paris proletariat, so far as they went beyond the bourgeois republic, could win no other existence than the nebulous one of the Luxembourg.

In common with the bourgeoisie the workers had made the February Revolution, and alongside the bourgeoisie they sought to secure the advancement of their interests, just as they had installed a worker in the Provisional Government itself alongside the bourgeois majority. Organize labor! But wage labor, that is the existing, the bourgeois organization of labor. Without it there is no capital, no bourgeoisie, no bourgeois society. A special Ministry of Labor! But the ministries of finance, of trade, of public works – are not these the bourgeois ministries of labor? And alongside these a proletariat Ministry of Labor had to be a ministry of impotence, a ministry of pious wishes, a Luxembourg Commission. Just as the workers thought they would be able to emancipate themselves side by side with the bourgeoisie, so they thought they would be able to consummate a proletarian revolution within the national walls of France, side by side with the remaining bourgeois nations. But French relations of production are conditioned by the foreign trade of France, by her position on the world market and the laws thereof; how was France to break them without a European revolutionary war, which would strike back at the despot of the world market, England?

As soon as it has risen up, a class in which the revolutionary interests of society are concentrated finds the content and the material for its revolutionary activity directly in its own situation: foes to be laid low, measures dictated by the needs of the struggle to be taken; the consequences of its own deeds drive it on. It makes no theoretical inquiries into its own task. The French working class had not attained this level; it was still incapable of accomplishing its own revolution.

The development of the industrial proletariat is, in general, conditioned by the development of the industrial bourgeoisie. Only under its rule does the proletariat gain that extensive national existence which can raise its revolution to a national one, and only thus does the proletariat itself create the modern means of production, which become just so many means of its revolutionary emancipation. Only bourgeois rule tears up the material roots of feudal society and levels the ground on which alone a proletarian revolution is possible. French industry is more developed and the French bourgeoisie more revolutionary than that of the rest of the Continent. But was not the February Revolution aimed directly against the finance aristocracy? This fact proved that the industrial bourgeoisie did not rule France. The industrial bourgeoisie can rule only where modern industry shapes all property relations to suit itself, and industry can win this power only where it has conquered the world market, for national bounds are inadequate for its development. But French industry, to a great extent, maintains its command even of the national market only through a more or less modified system of prohibitive duties. While, therefore, the French proletariat, at the moment of a revolution, possesses in Paris actual power and influence which spur it on to a drive beyond its means, in the rest of France it is crowded into separate, scattered industrial centers, almost lost in the superior number of peasants and petty bourgeois. The struggle against capital in its developed, modern form – in its decisive aspect, the struggle of the industrial wage worker against the industrial bourgeois – is in France a partial phenomenon, which after the February days could so much the less supply the national content of the revolution, since the struggle against capital's secondary modes of exploitation, that of the peasant against usury and mortgages or of the petty bourgeois against the wholesale dealer, banker, and manufacturer – in a word, against bankruptcy – was still hidden in the general uprising against the finance aristocracy. Nothing is more understandable, then, than that the Paris proletariat sought to secure the advancement of its own interests side by side with those of the bourgeoisie, instead of enforcing them as the revolutionary interests of society itself, that it let the red flag be lowered to the tricolor [11]. The French workers could not take a step forward, could not touch a hair of the bourgeois order, until the course of the revolution had aroused the mass of the nation, peasants and petite bourgeois, standing between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, against this order, against the rule of capital, and had forced it to attach itself to the proletarians as its protagonists. The workers could buy this victory only through the tremendous defeat in June.

The Luxembourg Commission, this creation of the Paris workers, must be given the credit of having disclosed, from a Europe-wide tribune, the secret of the revolution of the nineteenth century: the emancipation of the proletariat. The Moniteur blushed when it had to propagate officially the “wild ravings” [12] which up to that time had lain buried in the apocryphal writings of the socialists and reached the ear of the bourgeoisie only from time to time as remote, half- terrifying, half-ludicrous legends. Europe awoke astonished from its bourgeois doze. Therefore, in the minds of the proletarians, who confused the finance aristocracy with the bourgeoisie in general; in the imagination of the good old republicans who denied the very existence of classes or, at most, admitted them as a result of the constitutional monarchy; in the hypocritical phrases of the factions of the bourgeoisie which up to now had been excluded from power, the rule of the bourgeoisie was abolished with the introduction of the republic. At that time all the royalists were transformed into republicans and all the millionaires of Paris into workers. The phrase which corresponded to this imaginary abolition of class relations was fraternité, universal fraternization and brotherhood. This pleasant abstraction from class antagonisms, this sentimental reconciliation of contradictory class interests, this visionary elevation above the class struggle, this fraternité, was the real catchword of the February Revolution. The classes were divided by a mere misunderstanding, and on February 24 Lamartine christened the Provisional Government “une gouvernement qui suspends ce malentendu terrible qui existe entre les différentes classes” a government that removes this terrible misunderstanding which exists between the different classes, from Lamartine's speech, 24 February 1848. The Paris proletariat reveled in this magnanimous intoxication of fraternity.

The Provisional Government, for its part, once it was compelled to proclaim the republic, did everything to make it acceptable to the bourgeoisie and to the provinces. The bloody terror of the first French republic was disavowed by the abolition of the death penalty for political offenses; the press was opened to all opinions – the army, the courts, the administration remained with a few exceptions in the hands of their old dignitaries; none of the July Monarchy's great offenders was brought to book. The bourgeois republicans of the National amused themselves by exchanging monarchist names and costumes for old republican ones. To them the republic was only a new ball dress for the old bourgeois society. The young republic sought its chief merit not in frightening, but rather in constantly taking fright itself, and in winning existence and disarming resistance by soft compliance and nonresistance. At home to the privileged classes, abroad to the despotic powers, it was loudly announced that the republic was of a peaceful nature. Live and let live was its professed motto. In addition to that, shortly after the February Revolution the Germans, Poles, Austrians, Hungarians, and Italians revolted, each people in accordance with its immediate situation. Russia and England – the latter itself agitated, the former cowed – were not prepared. The republic, therefore, had no national enemy to face. Consequently there were no great foreign complications which could fire the energies, hasten the revolutionary process, drive the Provisional Government forward or throw it overboard. The Paris proletariat, which looked upon the republic as its own creation, naturally acclaimed each act of the Provisional Government which facilitated the firm emplacement of the latter in bourgeois society. It willingly allowed itself to be employed on police service by Caussidière in order to protect property in Paris, just as it allowed Louis Blanc to arbitrate wage disputes between workers and masters. It made it a point d'honneur point of honor to preserve the bourgeois honor of the republic unblemished in the eyes of Europe.

The republic encountered no resistance either abroad or at home. This disarmed it. Its task was no longer the revolutionary transformation of the world, but consisted only in adapting itself to the relations of bourgeois society. As to the fanaticism with which the Provisional Government undertook this task there is no more eloquent testimony than its financial measures.

Public credit and private credit were naturally shaken. Public credit rests on confidence that the state will allow itself to be exploited by the wolves of finance. But the old state had vanished and the revolution was directed above all against the finance aristocracy. The vibrations of the last European commercial crisis had not yet ceased. Bankruptcy still followed bankruptcy.

Private credit was therefore paralyzed, circulation restricted, production at a standstill before the February Revolution broke out. The revolutionary crisis increased the commercial crisis. And if private credit rests on confidence that bourgeois production in the entire scope of its relations – the bourgeois order – will not be touched, will remain inviolate, what effect must a revolution have had which questioned the basis of bourgeois production, the economic slavery of the proletariat, which set up against the Bourse the sphinx of the Luxembourg? The uprising of the proletariat is the abolition of bourgeois credit, for it is the abolition of bourgeois production and its order. Public credit and private credit are the economic thermometer by which the intensity of a revolution can be measured. The more they fall, the more the fervor and generative power of the revolution rises.

The Provisional Government wanted to strip the republic of its antibourgeois appearance. And so it had, above all, to try to peg the exchange value of this new form of state, its quotation on the Bourse. Private credit necessarily rose again, together with the current Bourse quotation of the republic.

In order to allay the very suspicion that it would not or could not honor the obligations assumed by the monarchy, in order to build up confidence in the republic's bourgeois morality and capacity to pay, the Provisional Government took refuge in braggadocio as undignified as it was childish. In advance of the legal date of payment it paid out the interest on the 5-percent, 4 ½- percent and 4-percent bonds to the state creditors. The bourgeois aplomb, the self-assurance of the capitalists, suddenly awoke when they saw the anxious haste with which this government sought to buy their confidence.

The financial embarrassment of the Provisional Government was naturally not lessened by a theatrical stroke which robbed it of its stock of ready cash. The financial pinch could no longer be concealed and petty bourgeois, domestic servants, and workers had to pay for the pleasant surprise which had been prepared for the state creditors.

It was announced that no more money could be drawn on savings bank books for an amount of over a hundred francs. The sums deposited in the savings banks were confiscated and by decree transformed into an irredeemable state debt. This embittered the already hard-pressed petty bourgeois against the republic. Since he received state debt certificates in place of his savings bank books, he was forced to go to the Bourse in order to sell them and thus deliver himself directly into the hands of the Bourse jobbers against whom he had made the February Revolution.

The finance aristocracy, which ruled under the July Monarchy, had its high church in the Bank. Just as the Bourse governs state credit, the Bank governs commercial credit.

Directly threatened not only in its rule but in its very existence by the February Revolution, the Bank tried from the outset to discredit the republic by making the lack of credit general. It suddenly stopped the credits of the bankers, the manufacturers, and the merchants. As it did not immediately call forth a counterrevolution, this maneuver necessarily reacted on the Bank itself. The capitalists drew out the money they had deposited in the vaults of the Bank. The possessors of bank notes rushed to the pay office in order to exchange them for gold and silver.

The Provisional Government could have forced the Bank into bankruptcy without forcible interference, in a legal manner; it would have had only to remain passive and leave the Bank to its fate. The bankruptcy of the Bank would have been the deluge which in an instant would have swept from French soil the finance aristocracy, the most powerful and dangerous enemy of the republic, the golden pedestal of the July Monarchy. And once the Bank was bankrupt, the bourgeoisie itself would have had to regard it as a last desperate attempt at rescue, if the government had formed a national bank and subjected national credit to the control of the nation.

The Provisional Government, on the contrary, fixed a compulsory quotation for the notes of the Bank. It did more. It transformed all provincial banks into branches of the Banque de France and allowed it to cast its net over the whole of France. Later it pledged the state forests to the Bank as a guarantee for a loan contracted from it. In this way the February Revolution directly strengthened and enlarged the bankocracy which it should have overthrown.

Meanwhile the Provisional Government was writhing under the incubus of a growing deficit. In vain it begged for patriotic sacrifices. Only the workers threw it their alms. Recourse had to be had to a heroic measure, to the imposition of a new tax. But who was to be taxed? The Bourse wolves, the bank kings, the state creditors, the rentiers, the industrialists? That was not the way to ingratiate the republic with the bourgeoisie. That would have meant, on the one hand, to endanger state credit and commercial credit, while on the other, attempts were made to purchase them with such great sacrifices and humiliations. But someone had to fork over the cash. Who was sacrificed to bourgeois credit? Jacques le bonhomme, the peasant.

The Provisional Government imposed an additional tax of 45 centimes to the franc on the four direct taxes. The government press cajoled the Paris proletariat into believing that this tax would fall chiefly on the big landed proprietors, on the possessors of the milliard granted by the Restoration [13]. But in truth it hit the peasant class above all, that is, the large majority of the French people. They had to pay the costs of the February Revolution; in them the counterrevolution gained its main material. The 45-centime tax was a question of life and death for the French peasant. He made it a life and death question for the republic. From that moment the republic meant to the French peasant the 45 centime tax, and he saw in the Paris proletariat the spendthrift who did himself well at his expense.

Whereas the Revolution of 1789 began by shaking the feudal burdens off the peasants, the Revolution of 1848 announced itself to the rural population by the imposition of a new tax, in order not to endanger capital and to keep its state machine going.

There was only one means by which the Provisional Government could set aside all these inconveniences and jerk the state out of its old rut – a declaration of state bankruptcy. Everyone recalls how Ledru-Rollin in the National Assembly subsequently described the virtuous indignation with which he repudiated this presumptuous proposal of the Bourse Jew, Fould from Ledru-Rollin's speech 21 April 1849, now French Finance Minister. Fould had handed him the apple from the tree of knowledge.

By honoring the bills drawn on the state by the old bourgeois society, the Provisional Government succumbed to the latter. It had become the hard-pressed debtor of bourgeois society instead of confronting it as the pressing creditor that had to collect the revolutionary debts of many years. It had to consolidate the shaky bourgeois relationships in order to fulfill obligations which are only to be fulfilled within these relationships. Credit became a condition of life for it, and the concessions to the proletariat, the promises made to it, became so many fetters which had to be struck off. The emancipation of the workers – even as a phrase – became an unbearable danger to the new republic, for it was a standing protest against the restoration of credit, which rests on undisturbed and untroubled recognition of the existing economic class relations. Therefore, it was necessary to have done with the workers.

The February Revolution had cast the army out of Paris. The National Guard, that is, the bourgeoisie in its different gradations, constituted the sole power. Alone, however, it did not feel itself a match for the proletariat. Moreover, it was forced gradually and piecemeal to open its ranks and admit armed proletarians, albeit after the most tenacious resistance and after setting up a hundred different obstacles. There consequently remained but one way out: to play off part of the proletariat against the other.

For this purpose the Provisional Government formed twenty–four battalions of Mobile Guards, each a thousand strong, composed of young men from fifteen to twenty years old. [14] They belonged for the most part to the lumpen proletariat, which in all big towns forms a mass sharply differentiated from the industrial proletariat, a recruiting ground for thieves and criminals of all kinds living on the crumbs of society, people without a definite trade, vagabonds, gens sans feu et sans aveu men without hearth or home, varying according to the degree of civilization of the nation to which they belong, but never renouncing their lazzaroni [15] character – at the youthful age at which the Provisional Government recruited them, thoroughly malleable, as capable of the most heroic deeds and the most exalted sacrifices as of the basest banditry and the foulest corruption. The Provisional Government paid them 1 franc 50 centimes a day; that is, it bought them. It gave them their own uniform; that is, it made them outwardly distinct from the blouse- wearing workers. In part it assigned officers from the standing army as their leaders; in part they themselves elected young sons of the bourgeoisie whose rodomontades about death for the fatherland and devotion to the republic captivated them.

And so the Paris proletariat was confronted with an army, drawn from its own midst, of 24,000 young, strong, foolhardy men. it gave cheers for the Mobile Guard on its marches through Paris. It acknowledged it to be its foremost fighters on the barricades. It regarded it as the proletarian guard in contradistinction to the bourgeois National Guard. Its error was pardonable.

Besides the Mobile Guard, the government decided to rally around itself an army of industrial workers. A hundred thousand workers, thrown on the streets by the crisis and the revolution, were enrolled by the Minister Marie in so-called national ateliers workshops. Under this grandiose name was hidden nothing else than the employment of the workers on tedious, monotonous, unproductive earthworks at a wage of 23 sous. English workhouses [16] in the open – that is what these national ateliers were. The Provisional Government believed that it had formed, in them, a second proletarian army against the workers themselves. This time the bourgeoisie was mistaken in the national ateliers, just as the workers were mistaken in the Mobile Guard. It had created an army for mutiny.

But one purpose was achieved.

National ateliers was the name of the people's workshops which Louis Blanc preached in the Luxembourg Palace. Marie's ateliers workshops, devised in direct antagonism to the Luxembourg, offered occasion, thanks to the common label, for a comedy of errors worthy of the Spanish servant farce. The Provisional Government itself surreptitiously spread the report that these national ateliers were the discovery of Louis Blanc, and this seemed the more plausible because Louis Blanc, the prophet of the national ateliers, was a member of the Provisional Government. And in the half-naive, half-intentional confusion of the Paris bourgeoisie, in the artificially molded opinion of France, of Europe, these workhouses were the first realization of socialism, which was put in the pillory, with them.

In their appellation, though not in their content, the national ateliers were the embodied protest of the proletariat against bourgeois industry, bourgeois credit, and the bourgeois republic. The whole hate of the bourgeoisie was therefore turned upon them. It had found in them, simultaneously, the point against which it could direct the attack, as soon as it was strong enough to break openly with the February illusions. All the discontent, all the ill humor of the petty bourgeois too was directed against these national ateliers, the common target. With real fury they totted up the money the proletarian loafers swallowed up while their own situation was becoming daily more unbearable. A state pension for sham labor, so that's socialism! they grumbled to themselves. They sought the reason for their misery in the national ateliers, the declamations of the Luxembourg, the processions of the workers through Paris. And no one was more fanatic about the alleged machinations of the communists than the petty bourgeoisie, who hovered hopelessly on the brink of bankruptcy.

Thus in the approaching melee between bourgeoisie and proletariat, all the advantages, all the decisive posts, all the middle strata of society were in the hands of the bourgeoisie, at the same time as the waves of the February Revolution rose high over the whole Continent, and each new post brought a new bulletin of revolution, now from Italy, now from Germany, now from the remotest parts of southeastern Europe, and maintained the general ecstasy of the people, giving it constant testimony of a victory that it had already forfeited.

March 17 and April 16 were the first skirmishes in the big class struggle which the bourgeois republic hid under its wing.

March 17 revealed the proletariat's ambiguous situation, which permitted no decisive act. Its demonstration originally pursued the purpose of pushing the Provisional Government back onto the path of revolution, of effecting the exclusion of its bourgeois members, according to circumstances, and of compelling the postponement of the elections for the National Assembly and the National Guard. [17] But on March 16 the bourgeoisie represented in the National Guard staged a hostile demonstration against the Provisional Government. With the cry À bas Ledru- Rollin Down with Ledru-Rollin! it surged to the Hôtel de Ville. And the people were forced, on March 17, to shout: Long live Ledru-Rollin! Long live the Provisional Government! They were forced to take sides against the bourgeoisie in support of the bourgeois republic, which seemed to them to be in danger. They strengthened the Provisional Government, instead of subordinating it to themselves. March 17 went off in a melodramatic scene, and whereas the Paris proletariat on this day once more displayed its giant body, the bourgeoisie both inside and outside the Provisional Government was all the more determined to smash it.

April 16 was a misunderstanding engineered by the Provisional Government in alliance with the bourgeoisie. The workers had gathered in great numbers in the Champ de Mars and in the Hippodrome to choose their nominees to the general staff of the National Guard. Suddenly throughout Paris, from one end to the other, a rumor spread as quick as lightning, to the effect that the workers had met armed in the Champ de Mars, under the leadership of Louis Blanc, Blanqui, Cabet, and Raspail, in order to march thence on the Hôtel de Ville, overthrow the Provisional Government, and proclaim a communist government. The general alarm is sounded – Ledru-Rollin, Marrast, and Lamartine later contended for the honor of having initiated this – and in an hour 100,000 men are under arms; the Hôtel de Ville is occupied at all points by the National Guard; the cry Down with the Communists! Down with Louis Blanc, with Blanqui, with Raspail, with Cabet! thunders throughout Paris. Innumerable deputations pay homage to the Provisional Government, all ready to save the fatherland and society. When the workers finally appear before the Hôtel de Ville, in order to hand over to the Provisional Government a patriotic collection they had made in the Champ de Mars, they learn to their amazement that bourgeois Paris has defeated their shadow in a very carefully calculated sham battle. The terrible attempt of April 16 furnished the excuse for recalling the army to Paris – the real purpose of the clumsily staged comedy and for the reactionary federalist demonstrations in the provinces.

On May 4 the National Assembly [18] met the result of the direct general elections, convened. Universal suffrage did not possess the magic power which republicans of the old school had ascribed to it. They saw in the whole of France, at least in the majority of Frenchmen, citoyens citizens with the same interests, the same understanding, etc. This was their cult of the people. Instead of their imaginary people, the elections brought the real people to the light of day; that is, representatives of the different classes into which it falls. We have seen why peasants and petty bourgeois had to vote under the leadership of a bourgeoisie spoiling for a fight and of big landowners frantic for restoration. But if universal suffrage was not the miracle – working magic wand the republican worthies had taken it for, it possessed the incomparable higher merit of unchaining the class struggle, of letting the various middle strata of bourgeois society rapidly get over their illusions and disappointments, of tossing all the sections of the exploiting class at one throw to the apex of the state, and thus tearing from them their deceptive mask, whereas the monarchy with its property qualifications had let only certain factions of the bourgeoisie compromise themselves, allowing the others to lie hidden behind the scenes and surrounding them with the halo of a common opposition.

In the Constituent National Assembly, which met on May 4, the bourgeois republicans, the republicans of the National, had the upper hand. Even Legitimists and Orléanists at first dared to show themselves only under the mask of bourgeois republicanism. The fight against the proletariat could be undertaken only in the name of the republic.

The republic dates from May 4, not from February 25 – that is, the republic recognized by the French people; it is not the republic which the Paris proletariat thrust upon the Provisional Government, not the republic with social institutions, not the vision that hovered before the fighters on the barricades. The republic proclaimed by the National Assembly, the sole legitimate republic, is a republic which is no revolutionary weapon against the bourgeois order, but rather its political reconstitution, the political reconsolidation of bourgeois society; in a word, a bourgeois republic. This contention resounded from the tribune of the National Assembly, and in the entire republican and anti-republican bourgeois press it found its echo.

And we have seen how the February Republic in reality was not and could not be other than a bourgeois republic; how the Provisional Government, nevertheless, was forced by the immediate pressure of the proletariat to announce it as a republic with social institutions; how the Paris proletariat was still incapable of going beyond the bourgeois republic otherwise than in its fancy, in imagination; how even where the republic acted in the service of the bourgeoisie when it really came to action; how the promises made to it became an unbearable danger for the new republic; how the whole life process of the Provisional Government was comprised in a continuous fight against the demands of the proletariat.

In the National Assembly all France sat in judgment upon the Paris proletariat. The Assembly broke immediately with the social illusions of the February Revolution; it roundly proclaimed the bourgeois republic, nothing but the bourgeois republic. It at once excluded the representatives of the proletariat, Louis Blanc and Albert, from the Executive Commission [19] it had appointed; it threw out the proposal of a special Labor Ministry and received with acclamation the statement of Minister Trélat: “The question now is merely one of bringing labor back to its old conditions.” from Trélat's speech of 20 June 1848

But all this was not enough. The February Republic was won by the workers with the passive support of the bourgeoisie. The proletarians rightly regarded themselves as the victors of February, and they made the arrogant claims of victors. They had to be vanquished in the streets, they had to be shown that they were worsted as soon as they did not fight with the bourgeoisie, but against the bourgeoisie. Just as the February Republic, with its socialist concessions, required a battle of the proletariat, united with the bourgeoisie, against the monarchy, so a second battle was necessary to sever the republic from socialist concessions, to officially work out the bourgeois republic as dominant. The bourgeoisie had to refute, arms in hand, the demands of the proletariat. And the real birthplace of the bourgeois republic is not the February victory; it is the June defeat.

The proletariat hastened the decision when, on the fifteenth of May, it pushed its way into the National Assembly sought in vain to recapture its revolutionary influence, and only delivered its energetic leaders to the jailers of the bourgeoisie. Il faut en finir! This situation must end! With this cry the National Assembly gave vent to its determination to force the proletariat into a decisive struggle. The Executive Commission issued a series of provocative decrees, such as that prohibiting congregations of people, [20] etc. The workers were directly provoked, insulted, and derided from the tribune of the Constituent National Assembly. But the real point of the attack was, as we have seen, the national ateliers. The Constituent Assembly imperiously pointed these out to the Executive Commission, which waited only to hear its own plan proclaimed the command of the National Assembly.

The Executive Commission began by making admission to the national ateliers more difficult, by turning the day wage into a piece wage, by banishing workers not born in Paris to the Sologne, ostensibly for the construction of earthworks. These earthworks were only a rhetorical formula with which to embellish their exile, as the workers, returning disillusioned, announced to their comrades. Finally, on June 21, a decree appeared in the Moniteur which ordered the forcible expulsion of all unmarried workers from the national ateliers or their enrollment in the army. [21]

The workers were left no choice; they had to starve or let fly. They answered on June 22 with the tremendous insurrection in which the first great battle was fought between the two classes that split modern society. It was a fight for the preservation or annihilation of the bourgeois order. The veil that shrouded the republic was torn asunder.

It is well known how the workers, with unexampled bravery and ingenuity, without leaders, without a common plan, without means and, for the most part, lacking weapons, held in check for five days the army, the Mobile Guard, the Paris National Guard, and the National Guard that streamed in from the provinces. It is well known how the bourgeoisie compensated itself for the mortal anguish it suffered by unheard–of brutality, massacring over 3000 prisoners. The official representatives of French democracy were steeped in republican ideology to such an extent that it was only some weeks later that they began to have an inkling of the significance of the June fight. They were stupefied by the gunpowder smoke in which their fantastic republic dissolved.

The immediate impression which the news of the June defeat made on us, the reader will allow us to describe in the words of the “Neue Rheinische Zeitung.” [22]

“The Executive Committee, [23] that last official vestige of the February revolution, vanished like a ghost in the face of these grave events. Lamartine's fireworks have turned into the incendiary shells of Cavaignac.

“Fraternité, the brotherhood of antagonistic classes, one of which exploits the other, this fraternity which in February was proclaimed and inscribed in large letters on the facades of Paris, on every prison and every barracks – this fraternity found its true, unadulterated and prosaic expression in civil war, civil war in its most terrible aspect, the war of labor against capital. This brotherhood blazed in front of the windows of Paris on the evening of June 25, when the Paris of the bourgeoisie held illuminations while the Paris of the proletariat was burning, bleeding, groaning in the throes of death.

“This fraternité lasted only as long as there was a consanguinity of interests between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Pedants sticking to the old revolutionary tradition of 1793; socialist doctrinaires who begged alms for the people from the bourgeoisie and who were allowed to deliver lengthy sermons and compromise themselves so long as the proletarian lion had to be lulled to sleep; republicans who wanted to keep the old bourgeois order in toto, but without the crowned head; members of the Dynastic Opposition [24] on whom chance imposed the task of bringing about the downfall of a dynasty instead of a change of government; legitimists, [25] who did not want to cast off their livery but merely to change its style – these were the allies with whom the people had fought their February revolution. What the people instinctively hated in Louis Philip was not Louis Philip himself, but the crowned rule of a class, the capital on the throne. But magnanimous as always, the people thought they had destroyed their enemy when they had overthrown the enemy of their enemies, their common enemy.

“The February revolution was the nice revolution, the revolution of universal sympathies, because the contradictions which erupted in it against the monarchy were still undeveloped and peacefully dormant, because the social struggle which formed their background had only achieved an ephemeral existence, an existence in phrases, in words. The June revolution is the ugly revolution, the nasty revolution, because the phrases have given place to the real thing, because the republic has bared the head of the monster by knocking off the crown which shielded and concealed it.

“Order! was Guizot's war-cry. Order! shouted Sebastiani, the Guizotist, when Warsaw became Russian. Order! shouts Cavaignac, the brutal echo of the French National Assembly and of the republican bourgeoisie. Order! thundered his grape- shot as it tore into the body of the proletariat.

“None of the numerous revolutions of the French bourgeoisie since 1789 assailed the existing order, for they retained the class rule, the slavery of the workers, the bourgeois system, even though the political form of this rule and this slavery changed frequently. The June uprising did assail this system. Woe to the June uprising!”

Woe to that June! Re-echoes Europe.

The Paris proletariat was forced into the June insurrection by the bourgeoisie. This sufficed to mark its doom. Its immediate, avowed needs did not drive it to engage in a fight for the forcible overthrow of the bourgeoisie, nor was it equal to this task. The Moniteur had to inform it officially that the time was past when the republic saw any occasion to bow and scrape to its illusions, and only its defeat convinced it of the truth that the slightest improvement in its position remains a utopia within the bourgeois republic, a utopia that becomes a crime as soon as it wants to become a reality. In place of the demands, exuberant in form but still limited and even bourgeois in content, whose concession the proletariat wanted to wring from the February Republic, there appeared the bold slogan of revolutionary struggle: Overthrow of the bourgeoisie! Dictatorship of the Working class!

By making its burial place the birthplace of the bourgeois republic, the proletariat compelled the latter to come out forthwith in its pure form as the state whose admitted object it is to perpetuate the rule of capital, the slavery of labor. Having constantly before its eyes the scarred, irreconcilable, invincible enemy – invincible because its existence is the condition of its own life

– bourgeois rule, freed from all fetters, was bound to turn immediately into bourgeois terrorism. With the proletariat removed for the time being from the stage and bourgeois dictatorship recognized officially, the middle strata of bourgeois society, the petty bourgeoisie and the peasant class, had to adhere more and more closely to the proletariat as their position became more unbearable and their antagonism to the bourgeoisie more acute. Just as earlier they had to find the cause of their distress in its upsurge, so now in its defeat.

If the June insurrection raised the self-assurance of the bourgeoisie all over the Continent, and caused it to league itself openly with the feudal monarchy against the people, who was the first victim of this alliances The continental bourgeoisie itself. The June defeat prevented it from consolidating its rule and from bringing the people, half satisfied and half out of humor, to a standstill at the lowest stage of the bourgeois revolution.

Finally, the defeat of June divulged to the despotic powers of Europe the secret that France must maintain peace abroad at any price in order to be able to wage civil war at home. Thus the people's who had begun the fight for their national independence were abandoned to the superior power of Russia, Austria, and Prussian, but at the same time the fate of these national revolutions was made subject to the fate of the proletarian revolution, and they were robbed of their apparent autonomy, their independence of the great social revolution. The Hungarian shall not be free, nor the Pole, nor the Italian, as long as the worker remains a slave!

Finally, with the victories of the Holy Alliance, Europe has taken on a form that makes every fresh proletarian upheaval in France directly coincide with a world war. The new French revolution is forced to leave its national soil forthwith and conquer the European terrain, on which alone the social revolution of the nineteenth century can be accomplished.

Thus only the June defeat has created all the conditions under which France can seize the initiative of the European revolution. Only after being dipped in the blood of the June insurgents did the tricolor become the flag of the European revolution – the red flag!

And we exclaim: The revolution is dead! Long live the revolution!

[1] The Paris uprising of June 5 and 6, 1832, was prepared by the Left republicans and by secret revolutionary societies including the Society of the Friends of the People. The uprising flared up during the funeral of General Lamarque, an opponent of Louis Philippe’s Government. The insurgent workers threw up barricades and defended them with great courage; the red flag was hoisted over them for the first time. The uprising of Lyons workers in April 1834, directed by the secret republican Society of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, was one of the first mass actions by the French proletariat. The uprising, supported by republicans in several other towns including Paris, was brutally suppressed. The Paris uprising of May 12, 1839, in which the revolutionary workers played a leading part, was prepared by the secret republican socialist Society of the Seasons led by Auguste Blanqui and Armand Barbès; it was suppressed by troops and the National Guard.
[2] Robert Macaire – a character portraying a clever swindler, created by the famous French actor Frederick Lemaître and immortalised in the caricatures of Honoré Daumier. The figure of Robert Macaire was a biting satire on the domination of the financial aristocracy under the July monarchy.
[3] A term applied to cafes of dubious reputation.
[4] The reference is to the repercussions of the suppression of the uprising in the free city of Cracow (the Cracow Republic) which, by decision of the Congress of Vienna, came under the joint control of Austria, Prussia and Russia, who had partitioned Poland at the end of the eighteenth century. The insurgents succeeded in seizing power in Cracow on February 22, 1846, established a National Government of the Polish Republic and issued a manifesto abolishing feudal services. The Cracow uprising was suppressed at the beginning of March; in November 1846, Austria, Prussia and Russia signed a treaty incorporating Cracow into the Austrian Empire.
[5] Annexation of Cracow by Austria in agreement with Russia and Prussia on November 11, 1846. – Swiss Sonderbund war: November 4 to 28, 1847. – Rising in Palermo: January 12, 1848; at the end of January, nine days’ bombardment of the town by the Neapolitans. Note by Engels to the edition of 1895.
[6] In the spring of 1847 at Buzaruçais (department of the Indre) the starving workers and the inhabitants of neighbouring villages looted storehouses belonging to profiteers, which led to a clash between the population and troops. Four of those who took part were executed and many others sentenced to hard labour.
[7] Le National, a liberal Paris daily produced by A. Marrast and L. A. Garnier-Pagès
[8] The dynastic opposition – an opposition group in the French Chamber of Deputies during the July monarchy (1830-48). The group, headed by Odilon Barrot, expressed the sentiments of the liberal industrial and commercial bourgeoisie and favoured a moderate electoral reform, which they regarded as a means to prevent revolution and preserve the Orleans dynasty.
[9] From Lamartine's speech of 24 February.
[10] Decree on the right to work, 25 February 1848.
[11] During the first days of the revolution, the workers of Paris demanded that the French Republic’s flag should be red, the colour of that hoisted in the workers’ suburbs of Paris during the June uprising of 1832. Bourgeois representatives insisted on the tricolour (blue-white-and-red) which had been the national standard during the French Revolution and under Napoleon 1. It had been the emblem of the bourgeois republicans grouped around the newspaper National even before 1848. In the end, the tricolour was accepted as the national standard with a red rosette fixed to the flagstaff; later, the rosette was removed.
[12] In 1848 Le Moniteur Universel printed reports on the sittings of the Luxembourg Commission alongside official documents.
[13] The reference is to the sum assigned by the King in 1825 as compensation for aristocrats whose property had been confiscated during the French Revolution.
[14] The Mobile Guards, set up by a decree of the Provisional Government on February 25, 1848, with the secret aim of fighting the revolutionary masses, were used to crush the June uprising of the Paris workers. Later they were disbanded on the insistence of Bonapartist circles, who feared that if a conflict arose between Louis Bonaparte and the republicans, the Mobile Guards would side with the latter.
[15] Lazzaroni – a contemptuous nickname for declassed proletarians, primarily in the Kingdom of Naples, who were repeatedly used in the struggle against the liberal and democratic movement.
[16] The Poor Law adopted in England in 1834 provided for only one form of relief for the able-bodied poor: workhouses with a prison-like regime in which the workers were engaged in unproductive, monotonous and exhausting labour. The people called these workhouses “Bastilles for the poor.” Here and later Marx uses the English word “workhouses.”
[17] The reference is to the elections to the National Guard and the Constituent Assembly which were to be held on March 18 and April 9, 1848, respectively. Paris workers, grouped around Blanqui, Dézamy and others, insisted on a postponement of the elections arguing that they should be prepared by thorough explanatory work among the population. As a result of the popular demonstration on March 17 in Paris, regular troops were withdrawn from the capital (after the events of April 16 they were brought back), and elections to the National Guard were postponed till April 5 and to the Constituent Assembly till April 23.
[18] The Constituent National Assembly, in power from May 4 1848 to May 1849.
[19] Commission du pouvoir executif (the Executive Commission) – the Government of the French Republic set up by the Constituent Assembly on May 10, 1848, to replace the Provisional Government which had resigned. It existed until June 24, 1848, when Cavaignac’s dictatorship was established during the June proletarian uprising. Moderate republicans predominated on the Commission; Ledru- Rollin was the sole representative of the Left.
[20] Under the decree prohibiting congregations of people adopted by the Constituent Assembly on June 7, 1848, the organisation of gatherings and meetings in the open was punishable by imprisonment of up to ten years.
[21] On June 22, 1848, Le Moniteur Universel No. 174 in the section ‘’Partie non officielle” reported an order of the Executive Commission of June 21 on the expulsion of workers between the ages of 17 and 25 from the national workshops and their compulsory enrolment in the army. On July 3, 1848, after the suppression of the June insurrection of the Paris workers, the government passed a decree dissolving the national workshops.
[22] Marx quotes from his article in Neue Rheinische Zeitung of June 29, 1848.
[23] The Executive Committee (the Commission of the Executive Government) – the Government of the French Republic set up by the Constituent Assembly on May 10, 1848, to replace the Provisional Government which had resigned. It survived until June 24, 1848, when Cavaignac’s dictatorship was established.
[24] The dynastic opposition – an oppositional group in the French Chamber of Deputies during the July monarchy (1830-48). The group headed by Odilon Barrot represented the views of the liberal industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, and favoured a moderate electoral reform, which they regarded as a means of preventing revolution and preserving the Orléans dynasty.
[25] The legitimists were supporters of the Bourbon dynasty, which was overthrown in 1830. They upheld the interests of the big hereditary landowners.


Efter Julirevolutionen, da den liberale bankier Laffitte i triumf førte sin staldbroder, [2] hertugen af Orleans, [3] til rådhuset, bemærkede han: »Fra nu af vil bankiererne herske«. Laffitte havde røbet revolutionens hemmelighed.

Det var ikke det franske bourgeoisi, som herskede under Louis Philippe, men en fraktion af det, bankierer, børskonger, jernbanekonger, ejere af kul- og jernværker og skove, og i kompagni med dem en del af godsejerne – det såkaldte finansaristokrati. Det sad på tronen, det dikterede love i kamrene, det besatte statens embeder fra ministeriet til tobaksbureauet.

Det egentlige industrielle bourgeoisi udgjorde en del af den officielle opposition, d.v.s. det var kun repræsenteret som et mindretal i kamrene. Dets opposition blev desto mere resolut, jo mere utilsløret finansaristokratiets eneherredømme udviklede sig, og jo mere det efter de blodigt undertrykte opstande 1832, 1834 og 1839 selv troede sit herredømme over arbejderklassen sikret. Grandin, en fabrikant fra Rouen, både i den konstituerende og i den lovgivende nationalforsamling det mest fanatiske redskab for den borgerlige reaktion, var i deputeretkammeret Guizots heftigste modstander. Leon Faucher, der senere blev bekendt på grund af sine afmægtige anstrengelser for at svinge sig op til at blive den franske kontrarevolutions Guizot, førte i Louis Philippes sidste tid til en pennefejde for industrien mod spekulationen og dens lakaj, regeringen: Bastiat agiterede i Bordeaux’ og hele det vinproducerende Frankrigs navn mod det herskende system.

Småborgerskabet i alle dets afskygninger var ligesom bondeklassen fuldstændig udelukket fra den politiske magt. Endelig fandtes i den officielle opposition eller helt udenfor pays legal [4] de ideologiske repræsentanter og talsmænd for de anførte klasser, deres videnskabsmænd, sagførere, læger o.s.v., kort sagt: de såkaldte kapaciteter.

På grund af sin finansnød var julimonarkiet fra første færd afhængigt af storbourgeoisiet, og dets afhængighed af storbourgeoisiet blev en uudtømmelig kilde til en voksende finansnød. Det var umuligt at indrette statsforvaltningen efter den nationale produktions interesser, når man ikke bragte ligevægt i budgettet og skabte ligevægt mellem statsudgifter og statsindtægter. Og hvorledes skulle man tilvejebringe denne ligevægt uden at indskrænke statens udgifter, d.v.s. uden at krænke interesser, der var lige så mange støtter for det herskende system, og uden at omordne skattefordelingen, d.v.s. uden at vælte en betydelig del af skattebyrden over på storbourgeoisiets egne skuldre?

At statsgælden tog til, var tværtimod af direkte interesse for den bourgeoisfraktion, der herskede og gav love gennem kammeret. Statsunderskuddet, det var netop den egentlige genstand for deres spekulation og hovedkilden til deres berigelse. Hvert år et nyt underskud. Efter 4-5 års forløb et nyt lån. Og hvert nyt lån gav finansaristokratiet ny anledning til at snyde staten, som kunstigt blev holdt på fallittens rand – den måtte kontrahere med bankiererne under de ugunstigste betingelser. Hvert nyt lån gav på ny lejlighed til at plyndre det publikum, som anbringer sin kapital i statslån, plyndre det gennem børsoperationer, i hvis hemmeligheder regeringen og kammerflertallet var indviet. Overhovedet bød statskreditens vaklende stilling og besiddelsen af statshemmelighederne bankiererne og deres forbundsfæller i kamrene og på tronen mulighed for at fremkalde ekstraordinære, pludselige svingninger i statspapirernes kurser, hvilket altid måtte resultere i en mængde mindre kapitalisters ruin og i de store spilleres fabelagtigt hurtige berigelse. Når statsunderskuddet var i den herskende bourgeois-fraktions direkte interesse, så forstår man, hvorfor de ekstraordinære statsudgifter i Louis Philippes sidste regeringsår langt overskred det dobbelte af de ordinære statsudgifter under Napoleon, ja næsten årligt nåede 400 millioner francs, mens Frankrigs samlede årlige udførsel gennemsnitlig sjældent nåede 750 millioner francs. De enorme sum-mer, der således flød gennem statens hænder, gav desuden anledning til bedrageriske leveringskontrakter, bestikkelser, underslæb og kæltringestreger af enhver art. Optrækkeriet overfor staten, som fandt sted i stor stil gennem lånene, gentog sig i det små ved statsarbejderne. Forholdet mellem kammeret og regeringen gentog sig om og om igen i forholdet mellem de enkelte administrationer og de enkelte arbejdsgivere.

Pa samme måde som med statsudgifterne overhovedet og med statslånene, således udbyttede den herskende klasse jernbaneanlæggene. Kamrene væltede hovedbyrderne over på staten og sikrede det spekulerende finansaristokrati de gyldne frugter. Man husker skandalerne i deputeretkammeret, når det af og til blev åbenbaret, at samtlige medlemmer af majoriteten, en del af ministrene medregnet, deltog som aktionærer i de samme jernbaneanlæg, som de bagefter som lovgivere lod udføre på statens bekostning.

Den mindste finansielle reform strandede derimod på bankierernes indflydelse. Således f. eks. postreformen. Rothschild protesterede. Turde staten forringe indtægtskilder, der skulle bruges til at forrente dens stadig voksende gæld?

Julimonarkiet var ikke andet end et aktieselskab til udbytning af den franske nationalrigdom, hvis dividender fordeltes mellem ministre, kamre, 240.000 vælgere og deres påhæng. Louis Philippe var dette kompagnis direktør – Robert Macaire [5] på tronen. Handel, industri, landbrug, skibsfart, det industrielle bourgeoisis interesser, måtte under dette system bestandig komme i fare og blive forfordelt. Billig regering, gouvernement á bon marché, havde dette bourgeoisi i julidagene skrevet på sin fane.

Eftersom finansaristokratiet gav lovene, administrerede staten, disponerede over samtlige organiserede offentlige myndigheder, beherskede den offentlige mening gennem den faktiske tilstand og gennem pressen, oplevede man i alle kredse, fra hoffet til Cafe Borgne, [6]den samme prostitution, det samme skamløse bedrageri, den samme stræben efter at berige sig, ikke ved produktion, men ved behændig tilegnelse af andres allerede forhåndenværende rigdom; derfor opstod der navnlig blandt det borgerlige samfunds spidser, og hvert øjeblik i konflikt med de borgerlige love, en hemningsløs dyrkelse af de usunde og løsagtige lyster, hvori spekulationsrigdom ifølge sin natur søger tilfredsstillelse, hvor nydelsen bliver udsvævende, hvor penge, blod og smuds flyder sammen. Finansaristokratiet er, i sin erhvervsmåde som i sine nydelser, ikke andet end en genfødelse af pjalteproletariatet i toppen af det borgerlige samfund.

Og de ikke-herskende fraktioner af det franske bourgeoisi råbte korruption! Folket råbte: Ned med de stor e tyve! Ned med morderne! Da det i året 1847 på det borgerlige samfunds mest ophøjede skuepladser så de samme scener fremført offentligt, som plejer at bringe pjalteproletariatet til bordellerne, til fattighusene, til galeanstalterne, for dommeren, i tugthuset og på skafottet. Det industrielle bourgeoisi så sine interesser truet, småborgerskabet var moralsk forfærdet, folkefantasien var oprørt. Paris oversvømmedes med stridsskrifter, – »Dynastiet Rothsclild«, »Ågerkarlene, vor tids konger« osv. – hvori finansaristokratiets herredømme med større eller mindre åndrighed blev afsløret og brændemærket.

Ikke en skilling for æren! Æren giver ikke profit! Fred for enhver pris! Krigen trykker kursen på tre- og fireprocentspapirerne! havde børshajernes Frankrig skrevet på sin fane. Dets udenrigspolitik fortabte sig derfor i en række krænkelser af den franske nationalfølelse, der reagerede så meget desto livligere, da rovet af Polen fuldførtes med Krakows indlemmelse i Østrig, og Guizot i den schweiziske særforbundskrig aktivt trådte over på den hellige alliances side. De schweiziske liberales sejr i denne skinkrig hævede i Frankrig den borgerlige oppositions selvfølelse, den blodige folkerejsning i Palermo virkede som et elektrisk stød på den lammede folkemasse og vakte dens store revolutionære erindringer og lidenskaber. [7]

Endelig fremskyndedes udbruddet af den almindelige misfornøjelse og forstemtheden modnedes til revolte af to økonomiske verdensbegivenheder.

Kartoffelsygen og misvæksten i 1845 og 1846 øgede den almindelige gæring i folket. Dyrtiden i 1847 fremkaldte i Frankrig som på det øvrige kontinent blodige konflikter. Mens finansaristokratiet fejrede sine skamløse orgier, måtte folket kæmpe for at skaffe de vigtigste livsfornødenheder! I Euzancais henrettedes hungeroprørerne, i Paris indstilledes på foranledning af den kongelige familie retsforfølgelsen mod overmætte svindlere!

Den anden store økonomiske begivenhed, som fremskyndede revolutionens udbrud, var en almindelig handels- og industrikrise i England; allerede i efteråret 1845 bebudedes den af de tab, som masser af jernbaneaktiespekulanter led, i 1846 blev den holdt hen af en række tilfældigheder som den forestående afskaffelse af korntolden, men brød så endelig ud i efteråret 1847 med de store kolonialvarehandleres bankerot i London, og i hælene på dem fulgte landbankernes fallit og lukningen af fabrikerne i de engelske industriområder. Eftervirkningen af denne krise var endnu ikke ophørt på kontinentet, da Februarrevolutionen brød ud.

Den økonomiske epidemis ødelæggelse af handel og industri gjorde finansaristokratiets eneherredømme endnu mere uudholdeligt. I hele Frankrig fremkaldte det oppositionelle bourgeoisi banketagitationen for en valgreform, som skulle skaffe det majoriteten i kamrene og styrte børsministeriet. I Paris havde industrikrisen yderligere specielt til følge, at en mængde fabrikanter og storkøbmænd, som under de nuværende forhold ikke mere kunne gøre forretninger på de udenlandske markeder, måtte gå over til indenrigshandelen. De oprettede store etablissementer, hvis konkurrence ruinerede en mængde kræmmere og småhandlende. Derfor et utal af fallitter i denne del af Paris’ borgerskab, derfor dets revolutionære optræden i februar. Det er en kendt sag, hvorledes Guizot og kamrene besvarede reformforslagene med en utvetydig udfordring, hvorledes Louis Philippe for sent besluttede sig til et ministerium Barrot, hvorledes det kom til et håndgemæng mellem folket og hæren, hvorledes hæren blev afvæbnet på grund af nationalgardens passive holdning, hvorledes julimonarkiet måtte vige pladsen for en provisorisk regering.

Den provisoriske regering, der rejste sig på februarbarrikaderne, afspejlede i sin sammensætning nødvendigvis de forskellige partier, som havde andel i sejren. Den kunne ikke være andet end et kompromis mellem de forskellige klasser, som i fællesskab havde omstyrtet julitronen, men hvis interesser stod fjendtligt overfor hinanden. Den store majoritet bestod af repræsentanter for bourgeoisiet. Det republikanske småborgerskab, repræsenteret af Ledru-Rollin og Flocon, det republikanske bourgeoisi af folkene fra "National", [8] den dynastiske opposition af Cremieux, Dupont de l'Eure osv. Arbejderklassen havde kun to repræsentanter, Louis Bianc og Albert. Endelig Lamartine i den provisoriske regering, han repræsenterede egentlig ikke nogen virkelig interesse, ikke nogen bestemt klasse, han var udtryk for Februarrevolutionen selv, den fælles rejsning med dens illusioner, dens poesi, dens indbildte indhold og dens fraser. Iøvrigt tilhørte denne ordfører for Februarrevolutionen, såvel efter sin stilling som efter sine anskuelser, bourgeoisiet.

Behersker Paris på grund af den politiske centralisering Frankrig, så behersker arbejderne under revolutionære jordskælv Paris. Den provisoriske regerings første livsytring var forsøget på at unddrage sig denne overvældende indflydelse ved en appel til det nøgterne Frankrig mod det sejrsberuste Paris. Lamartine bestred barrikadekæmpernes ret til at udråbe republikken, det havde kun franskmændenes flertal ret til; man måtte afvente deres stemmeafgivning, pariserproletariatet burde ikke plette sin sejr med en usurpation. Bourgeoisiet tillader kun proletariatet een usurpation – kampens.

Ved middagstid den 25. februar var republikken endnu ikke udråbt, derimod var samtlige ministerier allerede fordelt mellem den provisoriske regerings borgerlige elementer og mellem generalerne, bankiererne og »National«s advokater. Men arbejderne var besluttet på denne gang ikke at finde sig i et lignende bedrag som i juli 1830. De var parat til at optage kampen på ny og fremtvinge republikken med våbenmagt. Med dette budskab begav Raspail sig til rådhuset. I pariserproletariatets navn befalede han den provisoriske regering at udråbe republikken; hvis denne befaling fra folket ikke var fuldbyrdet i løbet af to timer, så ville han vende tilbage i spidsen for 200.000 mand. Ligene af de faldne var næppe nok blevet kolde, barrikaderne endnu ikke bragt af vejen, arbejderne ikke afvæbnet, og den eneste magt, som man kunne sende imod dem, var nationalgarden. Under disse omstændigheder forsvandt pludselig den provisoriske regerings statskloge betænkeligheder og juridiske samvittighedsskrupler. De to timers frist var endnu ikke udløbet, da de historiske kæmpeord allerede prangede på alle mure i Paris:

Den franske republik! Frihed, lighed og broderskab!

Med republikkens proklamering på grundlag af den almindelige valgret var selv erindringen om de begrænsede mål og motiver udslukt, som havde drevet bourgeoisiet ud i Februarrevolutionen. I stedet for nogle få fraktioner af borgerskabet var samtlige klasser i det franske samfund pludselig slynget ind i den politiske magtkreds, tvunget til at forlade logerne, parterret og galle riet og i egen person spille med på den revolutionære skueplads. Med det konstitutionelle kongedømme var også skinnet af statsmagtens egenmægtighed overfor det borgerlige samfund forsvundet, og dermed hele den række af underordnede kampe, som denne skinmagt udfordrer til!

Idet proletariatet tvang den provisoriske regering og derigennem hele Frankrig til at acceptere republikken, trådte det straks i forgrunden som selvstændigt parti, men det udfordrede samtidig hele det borgerlige Frankrig til kamp imod sig. Hvad det erobrede, var terræn til kampen for dets revolutionære frigørelse, men ingenlunde selve denne frigørelse.

Februarrepublikken måtte i første omgang tværtimod fuldstændiggøre bourgeoisiets herredømme, idet den lod samtlige besiddende klasser træde ind i den politiske magtkreds ved siden af finansaristokratiet. Flertallet af de store godsejere, legitimisterne, blev frigjort fra den politisk betydningsløse tilværelse, hvortil julimonarkiet havde dømt dem. Ikke for ingenting havde Gazette de France [9] agiteret sammen med oppositionsbladene, ikke for ingenting havde Laroche-Jaquelin i deputeretkammerets møde den 24. februar taget parti for revolutionen. Gennem den almindelige valgret blev de nominelle ejendomsbesiddere, bønderne, som udgør franskmændenes store flertal, indsat til voldgiftsdommere over Frankrigs skæbne. Februarrepublikken lod endelig bourgeoisiherredømmet træde klart frem, ved at slå den krone bort, bag hvilken kapitalen holdt sig skjult.

Ligesom arbejderne i julidagene havde tilkæmpet sig det borgerlige monarki, havde de i februardagene tilkæmpet sig den borgerlige republik. Ligesom julimonarkiet var tvunget til at tilkendegive sig som monarki, omgivet af republikanske institutioner, således var februarrepublikken tvunget til at tilkendegive sig som republik, omgivet af sociale institutioner. Pariserproletariatet fremtvang også denne indrømmelse.

Marche, en arbejder, dikterede det dekret, hvori den lige dannede provisoriske regering forpligtede sig til at sikre arbejdernes eksistens ved hjælp af arbejde osv. Og da den få dage senere glemte sine løfter og syntes at have mistet proletariatet af syne, marcherede en flok på 90.000 arbejdere til rådhuset under råbet: Organisering af arbejdet! Dannelse af et særligt arbejdsministerium! Modstræbende og efter lange debatter udnævnte den provisoriske regering en permanent specialkommission, der havde til opgave at finde på midler til forbedring af de arbejdende klassers stilling! Denne kommission blev sammensat af delegerede fra Paris’ håndværkerkorporationer, og Louis Blanc og Albert kom i spidsen for den. Luxembourgslottet blev anvist den som mødesal. Således var arbejderklassens repræsentanter forvist fra den provisoriske regerings opholdssted, den borgerlige del af regeringen beholdt den virkelige statsmagt og forvaltningens tøjler udelukkende i sine egne hænder; og ved siden af ministerierne for finanserne, for handelen, for offentlige arbejder, ved siden af bank og børs rejste der sig en socialistisk synagoge, hvis ypperstepræster, Louis Blanc og Albert, havde den opgave at opdage det forjættede land, forkynde det ny evangelium og at skaffe pariserproletariatet arbejde. I modsætning til en hvilken som helst verdslig statsmagt stod der ikke noget budget og ikke nogen eksekutivmagt til deres rådighed. De skulle løbe panden mod det borgerlige samfunds grundpiller. Mens Luxembourg søgte de vises sten, prægede man i rådhuset gangbar mønt.

Og faktisk kunne pariserproletariatets krav, for så vidt som de rakte ud over den borgerlige republik, ikke få nogen anden eksistens end tågen i Luxembourg.

Arbejderne havde gennemført Februarrevolutionen i fællesskab med bourgeoisiet, de søgte at sætte deres interesser igennem ved siden af bourgeoisiet, ligesom de i selve den provisoriske regering havde indsat en arbejder ved siden af den borgerlige majoritet. Organisering af arbejdet! Men lønarbejdet, det er den forhåndenværende, borgerlige organisering af arbejdet. Uden det ikke nogen kapital, ikke noget bourgeoisi, ikke noget borgerligt samfund. Et eget arbejdsministerium! Men ministerierne for finanserne, handelen og for offentlige arbejder, er de ikke de borgerlige arbejdsministerier? Og ved siden af dem et proletarisk arbejdsministerium, det måtte være et afmagtens ministerium, et ministerium for fromme ønsker, en Luxembourgkommission. Ligesom arbejderne troede, at de kunne frigøre sig ved siden af bourgeoisiet, mente de, at de inden for Frankrigs nationale vægge kunne fuldbyrde en proletarisk revolution ved siden af de øvrige bourgeoisnationer. Men de franske produktionsforhold er betinget af Frankrigs udenrigshandel, af dets stilling på verdensmarkedet og lovene der; hvorledes skulle Frankrig kunne bryde dem uden en europæisk revolutionskrig, som ville slå tilbage på verdensmarkedets despot, England?

Så snart en klasse, i hvilken samfundets revolutionære interesser er koncentreret, rejser sig, finder den umiddelbart i sin egen situation indholdet og materialet til sin revolutionære virksomhed: at slå fjender ned, at gribe til forholdsregler, som er bestemt af kampens behov; konsekvenserne af dens egne handlinger driver den videre. Den foretager ikke teoretiske undersøgelser over sin egen opgave. Den franske arbejderklasse befandt sig ikke på dette standpunkt, den var endnu ude af stand til at gennemføre sin egen revolution.

Det industrielle proletariats udvikling er overhovedet betinget af det industrielle bourgeoisis udvikling. Først under dets herredømme vinder det den udstrakte nationale eksistens, som kan hæve dets revolution op til at være national, først under det skaber det selv de moderne produktionsmidler, som bliver lige så mange midler til dets egen revolutionære befrielse. Dets herredømme river først det feudale samfunds materielle rødder op og jævner det terræn, hvorpå en proletarisk revolution alene er mulig. Den franske industri er mere udviklet og det franske bourgeoisi mere revolutionært end på det øvrige kontinent. Men Februarrevolutionen, var den ikke umiddelbart rettet mod finansaristokratiet? Denne kendsgerning beviste, at det industrielle bourgeoisi ikke beherskede Frankrig. Det industrielle bourgeoisi kan kun herske der, hvor den moderne industri former alle ejendomsforhold i overensstemmelse med sig selv, og kun der kan industrien vinde denne magt, hvor den har erobret verdensmarkedet, thi de nationale grænser er ikke vide nok for dets udvikling. Men Frankrigs industri hævder for en stor del selv sit nationale marked alene ved et mere eller mindre modificeret beskyttelsessystem. Mens det franske proletariat derfor i det øjeblik, da der udbryder revolution i Paris, besidder en faktisk magt og en indflydelse, som tilskynder det til et større fremstød, end det har kræfter til, så er det i det øvrige Frankrig trængt sammen på enkelte spredtliggende industrielle centralpunkter og forsvinder næsten mellem et over-mægtigt antal bønder og småborgere. Kampen mod kapitalen i sin udviklede, moderne form, i sin kulminationsfase, den industrielle lønarbejders kamp mod den industrielle bourgeois er i Frankrig kun een side af sagen. Efter februardagene kunne denne kamp så meget mindre give revolutionen dens nationale indhold, som kampen mod kapitalens underordnede udbytningsmåder – bondens mod renteågeren, småborgerens mod grossereren, bankieren og fabrikanten, kort sagt mod bankerotten – endnu var indhyllet i den almindelige rejsning mod finansaristokratiet. Intet er altså mere forklarligt, end at pariserproletariatet søgte at sætte sin interesse igennem ved siden af den borgerlige interesse, i stedet for at gøre den gældende som selve samfundets revolutionære interesse, at det lod den rode fane falde for den tre farvede. De franske arbejdere kunne ikke gøre et eneste skridt fremad, ikke krumme et hår på den borgerlige ordnings hoved, førend revolutionens forløb havde rejst nationens masse, bønderne og småborgerne, der stod mellem proletariatet og bourgeoisiet, mod denne ordning, mod kapitalens herredømme, havde tvunget dem til at tilslutte sig proletarerne som deres forkæmpere. Kun gennem det uhyre nederlag i juni kunne arbejderne erhverve sig denne sejr. Luxembourgkommissionen, dette produkt af pariserarbejderne, har gjort sig fortjent ved fra en europæisk talerstol at have forrådt hemmeligheden ved det nittende århundredes revolution: proletariatets frigørelse. »Le Moniteur« [10] rødmede, da den officielt måtte udbrede de »vilde sværmerier«, som tidligere havde ligget begravet i socialisternes apokryfe skrifter og kun fra tid til anden havde nået bourgeoisiets øren som fjerne, halvt frygtelige og halvt latterlige sagn. Europa for overrasket op af sin borgerlige halvslummer. I proletarernes tanker altså, som forvekslede finansaristokratiet med bourgeoisiet som sådant; i republikanske bedsteborgeres indbildning, som fornægtede selv klassernes eksistens eller højest indrømmede, at de var til som en følge af det konstitutionelle monarki; i de hykleriske fraser, der lanceredes af de borgerlige, hidtil magtesløse fraktioner, var bourgeoisiets herredømme afskaffet med republikkens indførelse. Alle royalister forvandledes dengang til republikanere, og alle millionærer i Paris til arbejdere. Det slagord, som svarede til denne indbildte afskaffelse af klasseforholdene, var » fraternite«, almindelig forbrødring og broderskab. Denne hyggelige abstraktion fra klassemodsætningerne, denne sentimentale udligning af de indbyrdes modsatte klasseinteresser, denne sværmeriske ophøjethed over klassekampen: fraternite, det var Februarrevolutionens egentlige stikord. Klasserne var adskilt ved en ren og skær misforståelse, og Lamartine døbte den provisoriske regering af 24. februar: »En regering, som afskaffer denne frygtelige misforståelse, der hersker mellem forskellige klasser«. Pariserproletariatet svælgede i denne storslåede fraternitetsrus.

Den provisoriske regering, der nu engang var blevet tvunget til at proklamere republikken, foretog sig på sin side alt muligt for at gøre den antagelig for bourgeoisiet og provinserne. De blodige rædsler under den første franske republik blev desavoueret ved afskaffelsen af dødsstraf for politiske forbrydelser, pressen stod åben for alle meninger; hæren, domstolene og administrationen forblev med få undtagelser i hænderne på deres gamle rangspersoner, ingen af de store skyldige fra julimonarkiet blev draget til regnskab. De borgerlige republikanere fra kredsen omkring »National« morede sig med at ombytte monarkistiske navne og kostumer med gammelrepublikanske. For dem var republikken ikke andet end en ny baldragt for det gamle borgerlige samfund. Sin hovedfortjeneste søgte den unge republik i ikke at afskrække nogen, men tværtimod selv bestandig at lade sig forskrække – og ved svag eftergivenhed og modstandsløshed at hævde sin eksistens og afvæbne modstanden. For de priviligerede klasser inde i riget og de despotiske magter udenfor forkyndtes det højlydt, at republikken var af fredsommelig natur. At leve og lade leve var dens motto. Dertil kom, at tyskerne, polakkerne, østrigerne, ungarerne, italienerne kort tid efter Februarrevolutionen gjorde oprør, hvert folk efter sin umiddelbare situation. Rusland og England – det sidste selv i bevægelse og det første skræmt – var ikke forberedt på indgriben. Republikken fore-fandt altså ikke nogen national fjende. Altså ingen store udenlandske forviklinger, som kunne opflamme handlekraften, fremskynde den revolutionære proces, drive den provisoriske regering fremad eller kaste den over bord. Pariserproletariatet, som i Februarrevolutionen så sit eget værk, hilste naturligvis med bifald enhver af den provisoriske regerings handlinger, som lettere lod den få fodfæste i det borgerlige samfund. Det lod sig villigt benytte til polititjeneste af Caussidiere for at beskytte ejendommen i Paris, ligesom det lod Louis Blanc mægle i lønstridighederne mellem arbejdere og mestre. Det regnede det for en æressag at bevare republikkens borgerlige ære uplettet i Europas øjne.

Republikken mødte ikke nogen modstand, hverken udefra eller indefra. Dermed var den afvæbnet. Dens opgave bestod ikke længere i at omskabe verden på revolutionær måde, dens opgave bestod nu kun i at tilpasse sig efter det borgerlige samfunds forhold. Der gives ikke noget mere talende vidnesbyrd om den fanatisme, med hvilken den provisoriske regering gav sig i lag med denne opgave, end dens finansielle dispositioner.

Den offentlige kredit og privatkrediten var naturligvis rystet. Den offentlige kredit beror på tilliden til, at staten lader sig udbytte af finanshajerne. Men den gamle stat var forsvundet, og revolutionen var fremfor alt rettet mod finansaristokratiet. Den sidste europæiske handelskrises svingninger var endnu ikke ebbet ud. Endnu fulgte bankerot på bankerot.

Privatkrediten var altså lammet, cirkulationen hæmmet, produktionen gået i stå, før Februarrevolutionen udbrød. Den revolutionære krise forøgede den kommercielle. Og når privatkrediten beror på tilliden til, at de borgerlige produktionsforhold i hele deres omfang, at den borgerlige orden er uantastet og uantastelig, hvorledes måtte da ikke en revolution virke, som truede den borgerlige produktions grundlag, proletariatets økonomiske slaveri, en revolution, som overfor børsen rejste Luxembourgs sfinx? Proletariatets rejsning, det er den borgerlige kredits afskaffelse; thi det er afskaffelsen af den borgerlige produktion og dens orden. Den offentlige kredit og privatkrediten er det økonomiske termometer, hvorpå man kan aflæse intensiteten af en revolution. I samme grad, som de falder, stiger revolutionens glød og skaberkraft.

Den provisoriske regering ville befri republikken for det antiborgerlige skær. Den måtte derfor først og fremmest søge at sikre denne nye statsforms bytteværdi, dens kurs på børsen. Med republikkens notering på børsen steg privatkrediten nødvendigvis igen.

For endog at udrydde mistanken om, at den ikke ville eller ikke kunne efterkomme de forpligtelse, som var overtaget fra monarkiet, for at styre troen på republikkens borgerlige moral og betallingsevne, tog den provisoriske regering sin tilflugt til et lige så uværdigt som barnligt praleri. Før de lovmæssige betalingstermin udbetalte den renter af 5 procents, 4½ procents og 4 procents papirer til statskreditorerne. Den borgerlige aplomb, kapitalisternes selvfølelse, vågnede pludselig, da de så, hvordan man ængsteligt havde hastværk med at købe deres tillid.

Den provisorisk regerings pengeforlegened blev naturligvis ikke mindre ved er sådant teaterkup, som berøvede den de disponible kontanter. Finanskniben kunne ikke længere skjules, og småborgerne, tyendet og arbejderne måtte betale den behagelige overraskelse, man havde beredt statskreditorerne.

Sparekassebøger på beløb over 200 francs blev erklæret for uindløselige med penge. De i sparekasserne anbregte summer blev konfiskeret og ved et dekret forvandlet til en statsgæld, der ikke skulle betales tilbage. Dermed blev den i forvejen trykkede småborger forbitret på republikken. Når han i stedet for sine sparekasseøger fik statsgældsbeviser, blev han tvunget til at på børsen for at sælge dem og således til at overgive sig direkte til børshajernes hænder, dem, mod hvem han havde lavet Februarrevolutionen.

Finansaristokratiet, som herskede under julimonakiet, havde sit tempel i banken. Ligesom børsen beherskede statskreditten, således behersker banken handelskreditten.

Direkte truet af Februarrevolutionen, ikke blot i sit herredæmme, men i sin eksistens, søgte banken på forhånd at miskreditere republikken, i det den gjorde mangelen på kredit almindelig. Den opsagde pludselig bankierernes, fabrikanternes og købmændenes kredit. Da denne manøvre ikke straks fremkaldte en kontrorevolution, gav den nødvendigvis agslag for banken selv. Kapitalisterne trak de penge tilbage, som dehavde anbragt i bankens kældere. Indeaverne af banknoter styrtede til dens kasse for at få dem omvekslet med guld og sølv.

Den provisoriske regering kunne have tvunget banken til bankerot uden voldsom indblanding, på legal måde; den behøvede blot at forholde sig passiv og overlade banken til sin skæbne. Bankens bankerot – det ville have været den syndflod, som i et nu kunne have fejet finansaristokratiet, den mægtigste og farligste fjende af republikken, julimonarkiets gyldne piedestal, væk fra fransk jord. Og var banken først bankerot, måtte bourgeoisiet selv betragte det som et sidste fortvivlet redningsforsøg, når regeringen oprettede en nationalbank og underkastede den nationale kredit nationens kontrol.

Den provisoriske regering satte derimod en tvangskurs på bankens sedler. Den gjorde mere end det. Den forvandlede alle provinsbanker til filialer under Banque de France og lod den spinde sit net over hele Frankrig. Den pantsatte senere statsskovene til banken som garanti for et lån hos den. Således befæstede og udviklede Februarrevolutionen umiddelbart det bankvælde, den skulle styrte.

Under alt dette vred den provisoriske regering sig i et voksende underskuds mareridt. Forgæves tiggede den om patriotiske ofre. Kun arbejderne ville afse almisser til den. Der måtte skrides til et heroisk middel, til udskrivning af en ny skat. Men hvem skulle beskattes? Børs-sjakalerne, bankkongerne, statskreditorerne, rentiererne, industriherrerne? Det var ikke noget middel til at bringe republikken i yndest hos bourgeoisiet. Det ville sige at bringe statskrediten og handelskrediten i fare fra den ene side, samtidig med at man med så store ofre og nedværdigelser søgte at tilkøbe sig den fra den anden side. Men en eller anden måtte punge ud. Hvem blev ofret til den borgerlige kredit? Jacques le bonhomme, [11] bonden.

Den provisoriske regering udskrev en tillægsskat på 45 centimer pr. franc på de fire direkte skatter. Regeringspressen foregøglede pariser-proletariatet, at denne skat fortrinsvis faldt på de store godsejere, på indehaverne af den milliard, [12] restaurationen havde bevilget. Men i virkeligheden ramte den først og fremmest bondeklassen, det vil sige den store majoritet af det franske folk. De måtte betale Februarrevolutionens omkostninger, i dem vandt kontrarevolutionen sit hovedmateriale. 45 centimers skatten, det var et livsspørgsmål for den franske bonde; han gjorde den til et livsspørgsmål for republikken. Fra dette øjeblik var republikken for den franske bonde denne 45 centimers skat, og i pariserproletariatet så han ødeladen, der muntrede sig på hans bekostning.

Mens revolutionen i 1789 begyndte med at frigøre bønderne for feudalbyrderne, præsenterede revolutionen i 1848 sig for landsbefolkningen med en ny skat, for ikke at bringe kapitalen i fare og for at holde sit statsmaskineri i gang.

Der var kun et middel, som kunne skaffe den provisoriske regering af med alle disse fortrædeligheder og kaste staten ud af den gamle bane – statsbankerotten. Man husker, at Ledru-rolin bagefter i nationalforsamlingen fortalte, hvordan han med dydig forfærdelse havde afvist forslag i denne retning fra børsspekulanten fould, den nuværende franske finansminister. Fould havde rakt ham æblet fra kundskabens træ.

Ved at anerkende den veksel, som det gamle borgerlige samfund havde trukket på staten, kom den provisoriske regering i kløerne på dette. Den var blevet det borgerlige samfund betrængte debitor i stdet for at stå overfor det som den truende kreditor, som skulle indkassere mangeårige revolutionære gældsfordringer. Den måtte fæstne de vaklende borgerlige forhold for at efterkomme forpligtelse, der kun kan opfyldes under disse forhold. Krediten blev dens livsbetingelse, og koncessionerne til proletariatet, de løfter, man havde givet det, blev til lige så mange lænker, som måtte sprænges. Arbejdernes firgørelse blev – selv som frase – til en uudholdelig fare for den ny republik, thi den var en stadig protest mod den genoprettelse krediten, der beror på den uforstyede og klare anerkendelse af bestående økonomiske klasseforhold. Der måtte altså gøres op med arbejderne.

Februarrevolutionen havde kastet hæren ud af Paris. Nationalgarden, dvs. bourgeoisiet i dets forskellige afskygninger, udgjorde den eneste magt, Alene følte den sig imilertid ikke proletariatet voksen. Tillige havde den, skønt den gjorde den sejgeste modstand og opstillede hundrede forskellige hindringer, været tvunget til lidt efter lidt og brudstykkevis at åbne sine rækker og lade bevæbnede proletarer træde ind i disse. Der blev altså kun en udvel tilbage: at sætte en del af proletarerne op mod en anden del.

Med dette formål dannede den provisoriske regering 25 bataljoner mobilgarde, hver på 2000 mand, af unge mennesker på 15-20 år. De tilhørte for størstedelen pjalteproletariatet, som i alle storbyer udgør en masse, der er skarpt adskilt fra industriproletariatet, en rekruteringskilde for alle mulige tyve og forbrydere, ernæ ;ret af samfundets smuler, folk uden bestemt arbejdsfag, omstrejfere, folk uden arne og hjem, af forskellig art alt efter dannelsesgraden hos den nation, som de tilhører, men aldrig fornægtende lazaronkarakteren; absolut påvirkelige i den ungdommelige alder, hvori den provisoriske regering rekruterede dem, i stand til de største heltegerninger og den mest uforbeholdne opofrelse, men også til de gemeneste banditstreger og den smudsigste korruption. Den provisoriske regering betalte dem 1,50 francs om dagen, d.v.s. den købte dem. Den gav dem en særlig uniform, d.v.s. den adskilte dem i det ydre fra arbejderne. Som førere blev dels officerer fra den stående hær tilforordnet dem, dels valgte de selv unge bourgeoisisønner, hvis store ord om døden for fædrelandet og hengivelse for republikken virkede bestikkende på dem.

Således stod der overfor pariserproletariatet en hær på 24.000 ungdommelige, kraftige og dumdristige mænd af deres egen kreds. Proletariatet tilråbte mobilgarden »Leve« på dens tog gennem Paris. Det så i den sine forkæmpere på barrikaderne. Det betragtede den som den proletariske garde i modsætning til den borgerlige nationalgarde. Dets fejltagelse var tilgivelig.

Foruden mobilgarden besluttede regeringen yderligere at samle en industriel arbejderhær om sig. Minister Marie indrullerede 200.000 arbejdere, som var kastet på gaden af krisen og revolutionen, i såkaldte nationalværksteder. Under dette prangende navn skjulte sig ikke andet end anvendelsen af arbejdere til kedelige, ensformige, uproduktive jordarbejder til en arbejdsløn af 23 sous. Engelske workhouses [13] i det fri – andet var disse nationalværksteder ikke. Med dem troede den provisoriske regering at have dannet en anden proletarisk hær mod arbejderne selv. Denne gang tog bourgeoisiet fejl med nationalværkstederne, ligesom arbejderne havde taget fejl med mobilgarden. Det havde skabt en hær for oprøret.

Men eet formål var nået.

Nationalværkstederne – det var navnet på de folkeværksteder, som Louise Blanc prædikede om i Luxembpurg. Maries værkersteder, der var planlagt i direkte modsætning til Luxembourg, gav på grund af det fælles navn anledning til en intrige af forvekslinger, som var en spansk tyendekomdeie værdig. Den provisroiske regering selv udbredte underhånden det rygte, at disse nationalværksteder var Louis Blancs opfindelse, og dette syntes så meget mere troværdigt, som Louis Blanc, nationalværkstedernes profet, var medlem af den provisoriske regering. Og pariserbourgeoisitets halvt naive, halvt tilsigtede forveksling, i den kunstigt bearbejdede offentlige mening i Frankrig, i Europa, var disse workhouses den første virkeliggørelse af socialismen, som hermed blev sat i gabestokken.

Ikke ved deres indhold, men ved deres navn, var natonalværkstederne, proletariatets legmliggjorte protest mod den borgerlige industri, den borgerlige kredit og den borgerlige republik. Hele bourgeoisiets had kastede sig altså over dem. Med dem havde det samtidig fundet det punkt, som det kunne rette sit angreb imod, så snart det var blevet stærkt nok til åbent at bryde med februarillusionerne. Alt småborgernes mishag, al deres ærgrelse rettede sig samtidig mod disse nationalværksteder, den fælles skydeskive. Med sand forbitrelse udregnede de de summer, som de proletariske dagdrivere slugte, mens deres egen stilling dag for dag blev mere utålelig. En statspension for et skinarbejde, det er socialisme! Knurrede de for sig selv. Nationalværkstederne deklamationerne på Luzembourg, arbejdernes optog gennem Paris – i alt dette søgte de grunden til deres elendighed. Og ingen opfanatiserede sig så stærkt mod kommunisternes påståede intriger som småborgeren, der redningsløs svævede på bankerottens rand.

I det forestående sammenstæd mellem bourgeoisi og proletariat var altså fordele, alle afgørende poster, alle mellemlag i samfund i hænderne på bourgeoisiet, på samme tid som Februarrevolutiones bølger gik højt over hele kontinentet; hver post bregte en revolutionsbulletin, snart fra tysklan, snart fra Italien, snart fra det fjerneste Sydøsteuropa, og holdt folkets almindelige opstemthed vedlige ved ustandseligt at bringe det vidnesbyrd om en sejr, som det allerede havde sat over styr.

Den 17. marts og den 16. april var de første forpostfægtninger i den store klassekamp, som den borgerlige republik skjulte under sine vinger.

Den 17. marts åbenbarede det tvetydige i proletariatets situation, som ikke tillod nogen afgørende handling. Dets demonstration havde oprindelig til hensigt at kaste den provisoriske regering tilbage på revolutionens bane, eventuelt at bevirke udelukkelsen af dens borgerlige medlemmer og at gennemtvinge udsættelsen af valgdagene til national-forsamlingen og nationalgarden. Men den 16. marts foranstaltede det bourgeoisi, der var repræsenteret i nationalgarden, en demonstration med brod mod den provisoriske regering. Under råbet: Ned med Ledru-Rollin! trængte de frem til rådhuset. Og folket var den 17. marts tvunget til at råbe: Ledru-Rollin leve! Den provisoriske regering leve! Det var nødt til, imod borgerskabet, at tage parti for den borgerlige republik, som forekom det at være i fare. Det befæstede den provisoriske regering i stedet for at gøre sig til herre over den. Den 17. marts futtede af i en melodramatisk scene, og selv om pariserproletariatet på denne dag endnu engang åbenbarede sin kæmpekraft, var bourgeoisiet inden for og uden for den provisoriske regering så meget mere besluttet på at knuse det.

Den 16. april var en misforståelse, som var iværksat af den provisoriske regering sammen med bourgeoisiet. Arbejderne havde i stort antal forsamlet sig på Marsmarken og i Hippodromen for at forberede deres valg til nationalgardens generalstab. Pludselig udspredtes i hele Paris, fra den ene ende til den anden, lynsnart det rygte, at arbejderne havde samlet sig bevæbnede på Marsmarken under ledelse af Louis Blanc, Blanqui, Cabet og Raspail for derfra at gå til rådhuset, styrte den provisoriske regering og proklamere en kommunistisk regering. Der bliver blæst til generalopmarch – Ledru-Rollin, Marrast og Lamartine stredes senere om æren for at have taget initiativet dertil – i løbet af en time står 200.000 mand under våben. Rådhuset er på alle punkter besat af nationalgarden, råbet: Ned med kommunisterne! Ned med Louis Blanc, med Blanqui, med Raspail, med Cabet! tordner gennem hele Paris, og den provisoriske regering bliver hyldet af et utal af deputationer, alle lede til at redde fædrelandet og samfundet. Da arbejderne endelig når frem til rådhuset for at overgive den provisoriske regering en pengesum, de har indsamlet på Marsmarken til patriotiske formål, erfarer de til deres forundring, at det borgerlige Paris i en meget omhyggeligt tilrettelagt skinkamp har besejret deres kygge. Det skrækkelige attentat den 16. april blev brugt som påskud til at kalde hæren tilbage til Paris – det egentlige formål med den grove komedie – og som påskud t il de reaktionære føderalistiske demontrationer i provinsen.

Den 4. maj trådte den nationalforsamling sammen, som var fremgået af direkte, almindelige valg. Den almindelige valgret havde ikke den magiske kraft, som republikanerne af den gamle type havde ventet af den. I hele Frankrig, i det mindste i flertallet af franskmænd, havde de kun set borger med samme interesser, samme indsigt osv. Sådan var deres folkekultus. I stedet for deres indbildte folk bregte valgene det virkelige folk for dagens lys, dvs. repræsentanter for de forskellige klasser, som det er opdelt i. Vi har set, hvorfor bønder og småborgere måtte stemme under ledelse af bourgeoisiet, der stilede efter kamp, og af storgodsejerne, der tørsted efter en tilbagevende til de gamle tilstande. Men selv om den almindelige valgret ikke var den undergørende ønskekvist, som republikanske bedsteborger havde anset den for, så havde den dog den ulige større fortjeneste, at en slap klassekampen løs, at den lod de forskellige mellemlag i det måborgerlige samfund hurtigt gennemleve deres illusioner og skuffelser, at den med eet kast slyngede samtlige fraktioner af den udbyttede op på statens top og dermed rev den bedrageriske maske af dem, mens monarkiet med sintrindelte valgretsbegrænsnin kun havde ladet bestemte fraktioner af bourgeoisiet kompromittere sig og ladet de andre holde sig skjult bag kulisserne og omgivet dem med en helgenglorie som fælles opposition.

I den konstituerende nationalforsamling, som trådte sammen den 4. maj, havde bourgeoisrepublikanerne , »National«s republikanere, overtaget. Selv legitimister og orleanister vovede i begyndelse kun at vise under den borgerlige republikanismes maske. Kun i republikkens navn kunne kampen mod proletariatet tages.

Fra 4. maj, ikke fra 25. februar, daterer republikken sig, dvs. den af det franske folk anerkendte republik; det er ikke den republik, som pariserproletaroatet påtvang den provisoriske regering, ikke republikken med sociale institutioner, ikke det drømmebillede, som foresvævede barrikadekæmperne. Den republik, nationalforsamlingen proklamerede, den eneste legitime republik, det er den, som ikke er noget revolutionært våben mod den borgerlige ordning, men tværtimod er dens politiske genoprettelse, den politiske genbefæstelse af det borgerlige samfund, kort sagt: den borgerlige republik. Denne påstand rungede fra nationalforsamlingens talerstol, den fandt sit ekko i den samlede republikanske og antirepublikanske borgerpresse.

Og vi har set, hvorledes februarrepublikken virkelig ikke var og ikke kunne være andet end en borgerlig republik, hvorledes den provisoriske regering imidlertid under proletariatets umiddelbare tryk var tvunget til at forkynde den som en republik med sociale institutioner, hvorledes pariserproletariatet endnu var ude af stand til at gå ud over den borgerlige republik på anden måde end i forestillingen, i indbildningen, hvorledes det overalt, hvor det virkelig kom til handling, handlede i den borgerlige republiks tjeneste, hvorledes de løfter, man havde givet det, blev en uudholdelig fare for den ny republik, hvorledes den provisoriske regerings hele livsproces mundede ud i en vedvarende kamp mod proletariatets krav.

I nationalforsamlingen sad hele Frankrig til doms over pariserproletariatet. Den brød straks med Februarrevolutionens sociale illusioner, den proklamerede rent ud den borgerlige republik, intet andet end den borgerlige republik. Af den eksekutivkommission, som den selv havde udnævnt, udelukkede den straks proletariatets repræsentanter: Louis Blanc og Albert; den forkastede forslaget om et særligt arbejdsministerium, den modtog med stormende bifaldsråb minister Trelats erklæring: »Det drejer sig nu bare om at føre arbejdet tilbage til dets gamle betingelser«.

Men det var altsammen utilstrækkeligt. Februarrepublikken var blevet vundet af arbejderne under bourgeoisiets passive bistand. Proletarerne betragtede sig med rette som sejrherrerne fra februar, og de stillede sejrherrens hovmodige fordringer. De måtte besejres på gaden, det måtte vises dem, at de var underlegne, så snart de ikke kæmpede sammen med bourgeoisiet, men mod bourgeoisiet. For at danne februarrepublikken med dens indrømmelser til socialismen udkrævedes der i sin tid en kamp, ført af proletariatet i forening med bourgeoisiet mod kongedømmet; nu var en næste kamp nødvendig, for at republikken kunne blive skilt fra de socialistiske indrømmelse, for officielt at forme den borgerlige republik som den herskende. Med våben i hånd måtte bourgeoisiet tilbagevise proletariatets krav. Og den borgerlige republiks virkelige fødested er ikke februarsejren, det er juninederlaget.

Proletariatet fremskyndede afgørelse, da det den 15. maj trængte ind i nationalforsamlingen uden resultat søgte at generobre sin revolutionære indflydelse og blot udleverede sine energiske førere til bourgeoisiets fangevogtere. [14] Il faut en finir! Denne situation må der gøres ende på! I dette råb gav nationalforsamlingen luft for sin beslutning om at tvinge proletariatet til den afgørende kamp. Eksekutivkommissionen udstedte en række udfordrende dekreter, som forbundet mod sammenstimlen osv. Arbejderne blev direkte provokeretm udskældt og forhånet fra den konstiturende nationalforsamlings talerstol. Men det egentlige angrebspunkt var, som vi har set, givet med nationalværkstederne. Den konstiturende forsamling udpegede dem på bydende måde for eksekutivkommissionen, der kun ventede på at gøre sin egen plan udtalt som nationalforsamlingens bud.

Eksekutivkmmissionen begyndte med at vanskeliggøre adgangen til nationalværkstederne, at forvandle daglønnen til akkordløn, at fovise de arbejdere, som ikke var født i Prais, til Sologne, angiveligt for at udfære jordarbejder. Disse jordarbejder var kun en floskel, hvormed man ynted epå deres fordrivelse, hvilket de skuffede, tilbagevendende arbejdere meddelte deres kammerater. Endelig den 21. juni fremkom et dekret i »Le Moniteur« som forordnede, at alle ugifte arbejdere med magt skulle uddrives fra nationalværkstederne eller indrulleres i hæren.

Arbejderne fik ikke noget valg, de måtte enten sulte ihjel eller slå løs. De svarede den 33. juni med den uhyre opstand, hvori det første store slag udkæmpedes mellem de to klasser, som spalter det moderne samfund. Det var en kamp om den borgerlige ordnings opretholdelse eller tilintetgørelse. Det slør, der havde tilhyllet republikken, blev flænget.

Alle ved, hvordan arbejderne med eksempelløs tapperhed og genialitet, uden førere, uden fælles plan, uden midler, for størstedelen uden våben, i fem dage holdt hæren, mobilgarden, Paris’ nationalgarde og den tililende nationalgarde fra provinsen i skak. Alle ved, hvorledes bourgeoisiet holdt sig skadesløs for den udståede dødsangst ved uhørt brutalitet og massakrerede mere end 3000 fanger.

Så stærkt var de officielle repræsentanter for det franske demokrati hildet i den republikanske ideologi, at de først nogle uger senere begyndte at ane junikampe ns betydning. De var som bedøvede af den krudtrøg, hvori deres fantastiske republik opløste sig.

Det umiddelbare indtryk, som juninederlaget gjorde på os, vil læseren sikkert tillade os at skildre med »Neue Rheinische Zeitung«s ord:

»Den sidste officielle rest af Februarrevolutionen, eksekutivkommissionen, er svundet bort som et tågebillede overfor begivenhedernes alvor. Lamartines lyskugler har forvandlet sig til Cavaignacs brandraketter. Fraternite, broderskabet mellem de modstående klasser, hvoraf den ene udbytter den anden, dette fraternite, proklameret i februar, skrevet med store bogstaver på Paris’ pande, på hvert fængsel, på hver kaserne – dets sande, uforfalskede, dets prosaiske udtryk er borgerkrigen, borgerkrigen i dens frygteligste form, krigen mellem arbejde og kapital. Dette broderskab flammede uden for alle vinduer i Paris den 25. juni om aftenen, da bourgeoisiets Paris var illumineret, mens proletariatets Paris brændte ned, forblødte og udåndede. Broderskabet varede netop så længe, som bourgeoisiets interesse var forbrødret med proletariatets interesse. – Pedanter af den gamle revolutionære over-levering fra 1793, socialistiske systematikere, som tiggede for folket hos bourgeoisiet, og som fik tilladelse til at holde lange prædikener og til at kompromittere sig i så lang tid, som behøvedes for at bulle den proletariske løve i søvn, republikanere, som forlangte hele den gamle borgerlige orden med undtagelse af det kronede hoved, dynastiske oppositionelle, som tilfældet lod iværksætte et dynastis fald i stedet for et ministerskifte, legitimister, som ikke ville aflægge livreet, men blot ændre dets snit, – det var de forbundsfæller, hvormed folket havde gennemført sin Februar. – Februarrevolutionen var den smukke revolution, den almindelige sympatis revolution, fordi de modsætninger, som i den åbenbarede sig mod kongedømmet, slumrede uudviklet, endrægtigt side om side, fordi den sociale kamp, som udgjorde dens baggrund, kun havde fået en luftig eksistens, frasens, ordets eksistens. Junirevolutionen er den hæslige revolution, den frastødende revolution, fordi sagen er trådt i stedet for frasen, fordi republikken selv blottede uhyret hoved, idet den slog den skærmende og skjulende krone af det. – Orden! – det havde været Guizots kamperåb. Orden! – det havde Sebastiani, den lille Guizot, skreget, da warszawa blev russisk. Orden! Skriger Cavaignac, det brutale ekko af den franske nationalforsamling og det republikanske bourgeoisi. Orden! Tordnede hans kardæsker, da de sønderrev proletariatet legeme. Ingen af det franske bourgeoisis talrige revolutioner siden 1780 var et attemtat på ordenen, thi de lod klassens herredømme, de lod arbejdernes slaveri, de lod den borgerlige orden bestå, så ofte dette herredømmes og dette slaveris politiske form end skiftede. Juni har angrebet denne orden. Ve over juni!« (»N.Rh. Z. 29. juni 1848)

Ve over juni! Gjalder det europæiske ekko tilbage.

Bourgeoisiet tvang pariserproletariatet til juniopræret. Allered dermed var dkomme fældes over proletariaet. Det var ikke dets umiddelbare, oplagte behov, der drev det til at ville gennemtvinge bourgeoisiets fald med vold, ej heller var det denne opgave voksen. »Le Moniteuv« måtte officielt underette det om, at den tid var forbi, hvor republikken så sig foranlediget til at gøre dets illusioner siin opvartning, og færst dets nederlag overbeviste det som om den sandhed, at selv den ringeste forbedring af dets stilling inden for den borgerlige republik er og bliver en utopi, en utopi, der bliver behandlet som en forbrydelse republik er og bliver en utopi, en utopi, der bliver behandlet som en forbrydelse, så snart den forsøges realiseret. I stedet for dets, efter formen opstyltede, efter indholdet smålige, ja endog borgerlige krav, som det ville tvinge februarrepublikken til at give efter for, trådte den dristige revolutionære kampparole. Bourgeoisiets fald! Arbejderklassens diktatur!

Idet proletariatet gjorde sit lighus til den borgerlige republiks vugge, tvang det straks denne republik til at træde frem i sin rene form som den stat, hvis åbent udtalte formål er at forevige kapitalens herredømme, arbejdets slaveri. Med blikket ufravendt heftet på den arrede, uforsonlige og uovervindelige fjende – uovervindelige, fordi dens eksisens er forudsætning for dets eget liv – måtte bourgeoisterrorisme. Efter at proletariatet indtil videre var fjernet fra skuepladsen og bourgeoisdiktaturet officielt anerkendt, måtte mellemlagene i det borgerlige samfund, småborgerskab og bondeklasse, i samme forhold som deres stilling blev mere uudholdelig og deres modsætning til bourgeoisiet skarpere, mere og mere tilslutte sig proletariatet. Som de tidligere havde set grunden til deres egen elendighed i dets opsving, måtte de nu se den i dets nederlag.

Når juniopstanden overalt på fastlandet styrkede bourgeoisiets selvfølelse og åbent lod det slutte forbund med det feudale kongedømme mod folket, hvem var da det første offer for dette forbund? Bourgeoisiet på fastlandet. Juninederlaget forhindrede det i at befæste sit herredømme og at få folket til, halvt tilfredsstillet, halvt forstemt, at blive stående på det mest underordnede trin af den borgerlige revolution.

Endelig røbede juninederlaget den hemmelighed for Europas despotiske magter, at Frankrig for enhver pris måtte opretholde freden udadtil for at kunne føre borgerkrigen indadtil. Derved blev de folk, som var begyndt på kampen for deres nationale uafhængighed, prisgivet Ruslands, Østrigs og Preussens overmagt, men samtidig blev disse nationale revolutioners skæbne underkastet den proletariske revolutions skæbne, berøvet deres tilsyneladende selvstændighed, deres uafhængighed af den store sociale omvæltning. Ungareren vil ikke blive fri, ej heller polakken, ej heller italieneren, så længe arbejderen stadig er slave.

Endelig antog Europa på grund af den hellige alliances sejre en form, som lader enhver ny proletarisk rejsning i Frankrig umiddelbart trække en verdenskrig efter sig. Den kommende franske revolution er tvunget til straks at forlade den nationale grund og erobre det europæiske terræn, på hvilket det nittende århundredes sociale revolution alene lader sig gennemføre.

Først gennem juninederlaget blev altså alle de forudsætninger skabt, under hvilke Frankrig kan tage initiativet til den europæiske revolution. Først efter at være dyppet i junioprørernes blod blev den trefarvede fane den europæiske revolutions fane – den røde fane.

Og vi råber: Revolutionen er død! Revolutionen leve!

[1] Overskrifterne til 1., 2. og 3. kapitel er her som i Marx’ offentliggørelse af skriftet i marts 1850. I 1895-udgaven, som Engels redigerede, var overskrifterne ændrede.
[2] I originalen bruges det franske ord »comperee, som betyder dels fadder, dels staldbroder.
[3] Hertugen af Orleans besteg den franske trone under navnet Louis Philippe.
[4] pays legal – ordret: det legale land, her: de stemmeberettigedes kreds.
[5] Robert Macaire, typen på en dreven spekulant, fremstillet af den berømte franske skuespiller Frederic Lemaitre og foreviget i Honore Daumiers karika¬turer. Figuren Robert Macaire var en bidende satire over finansaristokratiets herredømme under julimonarkiet.
[6] Cafe Borgne, betegnelsen for berygtede knejper i Paris.
[7] Østrigs anneksion af Krakow i forståelse med Rusland og Preussen den 11. november 1846; den schweiziske særforbundskrig 4.-28. november 1847; opstanden i Palermo den 12. januar 1848, i slutningen af januar blev Palermo i ni dage bombarderet af neapolitanerne. (Note af Engels til udgaven af 1895).
[8] »National«, organ for det bourgeoisrepublikanske parti, udkom i Paris 1830/51.
[9] »Gazette de France«, et af de ældste monarkistiske blade i Frankrig, udkom i Paris allerede i det 17. århundrede.
[10] »Afoniteur Universel«, officielt organ for den franske regering.
[11] Øgenavn, som den franske landadel brugte over for bønderne.
[12] En sum, der i 1825 bevilgedes som erstatning til aristokraterne, hvis ejendom var blevet konfiskeret under den borgerlige revolution i slutningen af det 18. århundrede.
[13] Efter den engelske fattiglov af 1834 skulle der i stedet for pengehjælp eller naturalydelser opføres arbejdshuse for de fattige. Disse huse blev kaldt »De fattiges bastille« og var en rædsel for de fattige.
[14] Efter begivenhederne den 15. maj 1848 blev Barbés, Alber, Raspail, Sobrier og nogle dage senere også Blanqui arresteret og kastet i fængsel i Vincennes.

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