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FRANCE, 1830-48
Also by Paul E. Corcoran


FRANCE, 1830-48

Edited by
Paul E. Corcoran
Senior Lecturer in Politics
University of Adelaide
Adelaide, South Australia
© Paul E. Corcoran 1983
Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition 1983 978-0-333-31498-2
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
without permission

First published 1983 by

London and Basingstoke
Companies and representatives
throughout the world

ISBN 978-1-349-17148-4 ISBN 978-1-349-17146-0 (eBook)

DOI 10.1007/978-1-349-17146-0
To the memory of
Annie Barlow Corcoran
Preface IX

Introduction 1.
1. Louis-Auguste Blanqui: Oath of Membership into the
Societe des Saisons ( 1830) 33
Defence before the Court of Assizes ( 1832) 36
2. Richard Lahautiere: A Brief Catechism of Social Reform
(1839) 48
3. Theodore Dezamy: Philosophy of the Current Crisis
(1840) 61
4. Jean-Jacques Pillot: The People (1840) 68
5. The First Communist Banquet (1840) 72
6. Etienne Cabet: Communist Propaganda (1842) 80


7. Emile Varin: To All (1839) 93
8. L. J. Vannostal: To the Workers (1840) 98
9. Lenoir: What Progress Is and What It Is Not (1840) 101
10. Flora Tristan: To Working Men and Working
Women (1843) 112


11. Jules Leroux: Political Economy Considered as a Science
(1833) 129
12. J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi: Of Landed Wealth
(1834) 137
13. Victor Considerant: The New Feudalism ( 1843) 153
14. Constantin Pecqueur: Free Trade (1846) 159

viii Contents


15. Jules Lechevalier: Of Association ( 1834) 17 5
16. Victor Considerant: Pre-requisite for the Legitimacy of
a Social Doctrine (1836) 181
17. Theodore Dezamy: Laws of the Community (1842) 188


18. Prosper Enfantin: To Saint-Simonians Far Away From
Paris (1830) 199
19. Pierre Leroux: Of Philosophy and Christianity (1832) 206
20. Alphonse Esquiros: The Gospel of the People (1840) 213
21. Alphonse Constant: The Bible of Liberty (1841) 220

Bibliography 224

Index 232
The central aim of this book is to bring for the first time to the
English reader an original documentation of socialism and com-
munism in France when the movement was in its creative stage and
earliest phase of popular propaganda. This is to rule out, from the
outset, socialist thought of a later period, when it had developed
into an international political movement and the writings and
organisational efforts of Karl Marx had been stamped indelibly
upon the tradition. This documentation is comprised of selected
texts from a wide range of radical political literature in France
between 1830 and 1848. The authors of these articles, tracts, defence
briefs, workers' writings and other rare items are largely unknown
to modern English, indeed even French, scholarship. The texts have
never been translated into English, and very few of them are
available in French apart from their original publication.
The guiding interest of this collection is the presentation of the
ideas, as well as the rhetorical style, of early French socialism. The
materials presented here are intended to provide answers to questions
that have been largely overlooked by the literature which has focused
on Marxist thought and the socialist movement so closely associated
with his works. What were the central ideas, themes and issues of
the original socialist movement? Upon what intellectual and political
sources did it draw? How did the movement articulate itself, and
to whom? Who were the leading figures, and what kind of men and
women were they? What did it mean to be a 'socialist' or a
'communist' in the original sense before the establishment of political
parties? What literary and political strategies were undertaken?
Part of the interest of this study must inevitably be the context
it provides for the development of Marx's thought. He arrived in
Paris in 1843, at the age of 25, having only begun to read socialist
writings (from France) the year before. During his stay in France,
and then later in Belgium, his growing familiarity with socialism
derived from his encounter with the very literature represented in

X Preface

this book. Marx's first book, La Misere de la philosophie (1847)

was written in French, and composed in reply to one of the leading
figures of the French socialist movement, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
The coincidence of Marx's entry upon an already active socialist
movement is interesting in several obvious respects, although that
coincidence has been very badly explored. The claim by both Marx
and Friederich Engels that French socialism was a utopian move-
ment led by petty bourgeois intellectuals, dreamers, third-rate
thinkers and madmen with no understanding of economics or class
struggle has gone largely unchallenged by Marxist and non-Marxist
scholars alike. It is hoped that the present study will demonstrate
that the 'scientific' and German philosophical expression which
Marx and Engels managed to give to socialism has not only distorted
the work of earlier socialists, but has also obscured the radical aims
and the innovative critical methods developed by the French thinkers.
Several other preconceptions will also be shaken. For example, the
early French thinkers regarded socialism as a peculiarly French
tradition, dating from the Revolution and originally inspired by
Rousseau. Marx's view that the French socialists were, at least from
his own time forward, an intellectual nullity because of their lack
of neo-Hegelian historicism and materialism left the French cold,
and Marx snubbed. The few foreign influences the French socialists
recognised were exclusively British in origin, and this influence was
specifically economic and empirical in character. These supposed
'utopians' were oblivious or scornful of Hegelian philosophy, and
were only aware of it in the later propaganda of the Saint-Simonian
society, which sank because of its penchant for metaphysical escha-
tology. Finally, the reader of early French socialist literature will
discover that it was far more profoundly romantic in character than
it was utopian. Indeed, socialism and romanticism were widely
understood to be a single intellectual and political movement in the
1830s and 1840s - a fact which accounts for the commitment to
communicate directly to the masses in their own language. This
also explains the movement's devotion to the people and revulsion
at capitalist industrialism, while celebrating the commune, the
recovery of an organically harmonious community and the role that
science must play in revolutionising the economy.
The texts presented here will also provide a documentation of the
ideas for which Marx and Engels, as well as later historians, give
passing credit to French socialists and communists. These transla-
tions show, for example, that the ideas of social class and class
Preface Xl

struggle were common currency by the early 1840s. Such terms as

proletariat and capitalist were in use, and were understood to refer
to classes which were forming in inexorable opposition as the result
of laisser-faire government policy and ruthless free enterprise. The
working class was understood to embody the revolutionary strength
necessary to uproot the established order and build a new society.
Private property was the essence of the old order, and it must be
destroyed, along with the institutions it supported. Religion, edu-
cation and the family must all be refashioned in order to promote
a population both capable and desirous of socialist community. The
liberal political regime of their own day was an empty superfice of
an underlying rule of capitalist wealth; government in the socialist
community would simply become irrelevant and eventually
It has become the fate of the early socialist thinkers to become
'precursors' or 'pre-Marxist' thinkers. The major thinkers in this
category- Saint-Simon, Fourier and Proudhon- have been denom-
inated the 'French utopian socialists', the 'true utopians' as Engels
called them, and the rest have by and large been forgotten altogether,
or relegated to footnotes. These minor figures, and still others who
have been entirely unknown, have been restored to a moment's
notice in this book in the hope that the reader today may perceive
some of that early character of socialism that has been forgotten
and, perhaps unfortunately, lost.
My translations from the French endeavour to render the original
meanings and rhetorical style of each author as carefully as possible.
I have been conservative in the introduction of contemporary political
and economic idioms, resorting to these only when clarity would
otherwise be lost. I have not tried to be faithful to the variety of
emphases originally achieved by the use of upper case lettering and
contrasting typefaces. It has been my impression that rendering
many of these texts from the French has required a lowering of
tone and a cooling of ardour, although these qualities have been
retained to a degree which I trust will be conducive to the sympathy
and understanding of the English reader.

* * *
My interest in this subject grew out of a period of study in Paris
at the Bibliotheque nationale, where the original documents are held
by virtue of the continuous tradition of that institution as the legal
depository of all French publications. I also benefited from a period
Xll Preface

of study at the Firestone Library of Princeton University, where

my efforts were encouraged by Stanley Kelley and Wilbur Samuel
Howell. My acknowledgements should also be extended to the
University of Adelaide for granting me a generous period of study
leave to undertake the research, and for the encouragement of my
colleagues there. A special word of appreciation is due to Christine
Hill for typing the manuscript in several drafts with efficiency and
good cheer.

Paul E. Corcoran
South Australia
Early French socialism was already a richly elaborated political,
intellectual and literary movement when Karl Marx was still a
student at the University of Berlin. With its roots in the Revolution
of 1789, the movement took itself to be a uniquely French contri-
bution to political science. Its moral precepts were those of the
Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. Its organisational prin-
ciples were association and community. Its method was science.
These general characteristics were coloured by many other ideas,
not all of which were shared by different elements of the larger
movement. Yet the central tenets of socialism and communism were
widely agreed. The impoverished masses were the primary object
of moral concern. The laisser-faire economy, with its inevitable
social degradation ensuing from competitive and disorganised indus-
trialism, was to be replaced by centralised management of production
and distribution. All manifestations of privilege, individualism and
inequality must be abolished. Education, marriage, the family and
religion were to be appropriated as social institutions devoted to
communal aims. These early socialists also noted the division of
society into antagonistic social classes, with an urban proletariat
arising from industrial expansion. It was generally appreciated that
a new capitalist class had established itself as an oppressive aris-
tocracy of wealth, and it followed that a socialist transformation
implied the destruction of private property.
The proposed means by which this transformation was to take
place ranged across the spectrum of political action. A number of
socialists belonged to secret societies which plotted the violent
overthrow of the State. Others saw the organisation of international
labour unions as the crucial first step. Some, but not many, hoped
for socialist legislation, administrative reforms and a restructured
economy. Others anticipated a spontaneous transformation by the
propagation of a new social 'system' with victory being assured by
the success of practical experiments and the demonstrability of the

2 Introduction

science on which the system was based. Whatever the tactics, the
common assumption was that the new age of socialist community
was at hand and its victory was assured by the inexorable progress
of humanity.
The documents which have been collected here are representative
of the early French socialist movement. The leading names -
Saint-Simon, Fourier and Proudhon - are absent. Their works are
more readily accessible in English, and their ideas are widely
discussed in the literature. The present collection, therefore, endea-
vours to reveal the breadth and depth of the movement, illustrating
how Saint-Simon's and Fourier's ideas had penetrated so many
minds and in turn stimulated a remarkable theoretical creativity.
At the same time, the diversity of this material - inflammatory
pamphlets, learned articles, hurried screeds, 'catechisms', banquet
toasts, secret oaths, etc. - conveys an impression of the rhetorical
style of the movement, at once a continuation of the Revolutionary
tradition and a conscious participation in what was taken to be a
new science of society, a science which assured the accomplishment
of socialist community irrespective of the vagaries of the 'old politics'.
It is not generally appreciated that socialism was this clearly
elaborated as a social theory in France prior to the publicity and
organisational efforts so closely identified with Marx and Engels. 1
What is even less understood is that socialist ideas had gained a
wide currency in France by 1840. A common and identifiable
vocabulary pervaded the 'advanced' intellectual press and workers'
publications, and served as a commmon theme in numerous literary
and artistic manifestos. It is probably true to say that socialism is
now unduly regarded as 'Germanic' in origin because of the impact
of Marx and Engels, and particularly their translation of socialism
into a neo-Hegelian and German scholastic idiom of idealist and
materialist historicism. It was this translation, after all, that effec-
tively enabled Marx and Engels to relegate the French tradition to
the inconsiderable categories of 'utopian' and 'bourgeois' socialism.
In fact, French socialism emerged as a singularly French intel-
lectual movement. Its only important foreign influence came not
from Germany, but from England and Scotland. It was the reaction
to British classical economics and the advance of urban capitalist
industrialism which provided the socialist movement with its the-
oretical rigour and moral fervour. Far from being a collection of
eccentric and romantic copies of Robert Owen's communal exper-
iments, French socialism at its very inception was a methodical
Introduction 3

refutation of the economic doctrines of David Ricardo, Thomas

Malthus and Adam Smith and the economic realities of large-scale
manufacturing. Far from being the musings of sentimental dreamers,
French socialism was a systematic response to the actual imple-
mentation of laisser-faire doctrines by a liberal government under
the July Monarchy.
Socialism was originally an English term, and although its
introduction into French literature is easily traced, 2 its earliest usage
presents us with some unsuspected difficulties. Pierre Leroux, a
largely forgotten but very important publicist and philosopher of
early socialism, is credited with introducing the term in France in
1832, although this innovation only incorporated the meanings
already widely associated with le social, the complex of social
concerns focused upon by several schools of 'social science' and an
increasingly politically oriented literary and artistic romanticism. 3
The standard French history of socialism edited by Jean Juares
claimed that, before Leroux, 'in the first quarter of the century,
Owen's disciples in England had opposed "socialism" to "capital-
ism". Pierre Leroux opposed it to "individualism".' 4 For Leroux,
socialisme was the point of view which took society as a 'creature'
- cet etre societe. 5 Human society is a being which lives and dies,
and has life only in the unity of the reciprocal relations of all the
parts of the social body: 'Thus a beautiful animal, the masterpiece
of creation.' 6 The unity which gives life 'to this creature which is
now dying' must be restored by science and art. 7 Society, then, is
the necessary focus of any moral, scientific, artistic or political
inquiry. By contrast, individualism is not a moral principle at all,
but simply a disease, a form of social disorder. For Leroux, as for
all the other socialist writers, this disorder was exemplified in the
programme of laisser-faire economics instituted after the Restoration
in 1814, imported from that 'land of aristocracy and mercantilism'
under the name of economie politique, which Leroux characterised
as 'a sort of empty and subtle science which has dared to take the
name of the most beautiful of sciences, and which, without heart,
eyes or ears, nevertheless pretends to rectify society' .8
This early in the movement of socialist propaganda, with cen-
sorship strictly enforced,9 socialisme was a critique of the established
order disguised as a theoretical debate over principles of political
economy and a defence of Christian morality. Thus political econ-
omy's unique principle of liberty and competition was equated with
selfish egoism. It was a principle of licence, each for himself, nothing
4 Introduction

for the poor, 'liberal in appearance, murderous in reality'. 10 Free

enterprise meant isolation, struggle and individualism, ideas directly
contrary to the idea of society. With respect to the people, 'their
role consists in doing nothing, to "laisser-faire" '.

The egoism of each, war between all, privilege for the rich,
eternal misery for the poor. This is what [political economy]
proclaims as the normal state of society. Competition, which it
celebrates as the very law of justice, is nothing other, indeed, than
a game of cards where on one side are a few privileged idlers, on
the other the great population of workers. 11

Under the regime of such a principle, all efforts at progress in

science, technology and the standard of living are self-defeating.
The ocean of new material wealth flows away from the workers,
who are further crushed by having to compete with machines. Thus,
in 1832, when Marx was still in secondary school, Leroux counted
out his indictments. 'To recognise no other aim than individualism
is to deliver the lower classes to brutal exploitation.' The proletariat
is no more than a revival of antique slavery: 'Is it with his salary
of ten sous a day that the proletarian, belonging to the twenty
million Frenchmen reduced to this average pittance, is to emancipate
himself?' 'Land on its own produces nothing.' 'Labour alone pro-
duces.' 'Therefore those who possess the land, or the means of
production, and who live without working, exploit the labour of
others.' 'In its essence, property, far from being a right, is directly
contrary to right ... Property is an historical fact, mutable by its
nature. It is not a right. The right is the human personality, the
dignity of being human .. .' 12
Leroux's criticisms of bourgeois liberal capitalism were enor-
mously inAuentiaP 3 and were generally representative of other
socialist, communist and romantic critiques of the period. 14 But
these views did not constitute 'socialism' as a body of doctrine. In
fact, le social and le socialisme had a broader significance within a
radical moral and intellectual viewpoint. This larger meaning must
be appreciated if one is to perceive how socialisme contrasts with
later conceptions of socialism as an organised political movement,
a critical methodology or a doctrinaire programme of economic and
social transformation. 15
Socialisme and socialiste did not originally refer to a system of
thought, a party platform, or a set of agreed tenets, but rather to
Introduction 5

a belief that society is the fundamental object of moral and economic

inquiry. Similarly, communisme and communiste 16 referred to rad-
ical egalitarian principles. In the tradition of Gracchus Babeuf,
communisme was a devotion to fundamental and absolute equality
between all men, a condition which must necessarily evolve into
communaute- the community of equality, liberty and fraternity. 17
However simplistic this socialist perspective may now appear, in
the 1830s and 1840s it was a common assumption that any analysis
of moral and economic life must transpire to le social. Of course this
was a radical point of view, and in most senses revolutionary. Being
a socialiste meant accepting that the tribulations of life - crime,
ignorance, hunger, disease, poverty, unemployment, public and
domestic immorality - were social phenomena. These problems of
life were, in fact, problems of society. They were structural problems,
ailments of a social organism. Such views ran against the grain of
the juste milieu of the July monarchy. Except among the most
avance, this perspective was regarded as atheistic, materialistic,
communistic, amoral and destructively egalitarian.
Accepting La question sociale, i.e., that a social predicament existed
at all, was tantamount to a spiritual conversion at this time/ 8 and
the 'socialist' papers saw it as their duty to propagate this point of
view. Amongst the Saint-Simonian and Fourierist propagandists, 19
as well as more radical publicists such as Auguste Blanqui and
Theodore Dezamy, the 'social question' amounted to an indictment
of virtually every established value and institution. Such a perspec-
tive meant that one must reject the idea that crime, violence,
unemployment, poverty, broken homes, prostitution and high infant
mortality resulted from sin and individual moral culpability. It
meant rejecting an economic system based upon private property,
unlimited competition, avarice and a laisser-faire attitude towards
unemployment, starvation wages and crushing work-conditions for
women and children. It meant rejecting a Church which taught
inequality, submission and quiescence while granting a seal of
legitimacy to tyrannical governments. It meant rejecting a political
regime based upon inherited or bought privilege and corrupt
administration, a regime which was unable to represent the people
and unwilling to undertake responsibility for their moral, intellectual
and physical well-being. All of this was implied by accepting La
question sociale as the ordering principle for political inquiry. To
think this way meant you were 'socialiste'.
Socialisme clearly entailed the obligation of subscribing to a new
6 Introduction

social system. The thorough radicalism of this perspective explains

why the movements of this period seized, as it may now appear,
fanatically upon a new system, and why even the word systeme was
incessantly invoked with reverent devotion in socialist publications. 20
The Saint-Simonians, Fourier and his phalansteriens, Cabet and
his Icarians, Dezamy and his communistes are all cases in point.
It has not been appreciated by those in the Marxian tradition, or
by other critics, that the early French socialist affinity for a com-
prehensive new system derived from the profoundly radical nature
of its position. 21 The tendency, even in that day between rival
socialist movements, and later by Marx and Engels, 22 was to label
this focus upon a new system as a kind of hopelessly naive utopian-
ism, and as evidence of the thinker's inability to confront political
reality. In fact, the effort to develop a comprehensive new system
was the logical consequence of a radical social critique. The present
system was beyond reform, and could only be replaced with one
founded on entirely new, and moreover scientific, principles. Not-
withstanding the legal risks in making such sweeping criticisms, 23
the 'new system' enabled the publicists to reach a large and socially
diverse readership, anticipating criticisms with imaginative ideas as
well as persuasive rebuttals. Not only bishops and government
ministers, but ordinary merchants, shopkeepers, artisans and house-
wives wanted to know how a newly structured society would account
for security of employment, education, religion and family life. A
'model' of this new system - Fourier's Phalanstere, Dezamy's
Communaute, Proudhon's Exchange Bank, Saint-Simon's Systeme
industrielle, Cabet's Icaria - could be elaborated to meet these
questions. Appealing to the imagination in their simplicity, the
models could also be rendered in the minutest detail to answer the
sophisticated critic. The mode of a future society also enabled the
propagandist to draw upon the compelling imagery of a new age
to enliven the longings and encourage the beliefs of those who were
most disillusioned and oppressed.
The socialist perspective was so radical that most publicists
considered the existing political system to be of negligible interest.
The politiques - a typical reference to all parties, elected officials
and bureaucrats- were a constant object of scorn. 24 With surprising
unanimity, socialist and communist thinkers held that the project
of social reconstruction could take place unaided by existing gov-
ernmental institutions. Thus a political revolution was unnecessary.
Politics itself was a symptom of the old systeme morcele - the
Introduction 7

fragmented, individualist, egoistic system of capitalist society - and

government as an institutionalised form of competition and corrup-
tion would be simply irrelevant in the new community of scientif-
ically organised social and economic harmony.
Therefore socialisme, as a radical critical perspective, was not
itself a programme, but it implied and accompanied the emergence
of a great number of new systems in the period from 1830 to 1842.
All these proposals - the Phalanstere, the egalitarian communists'
Babeuvist Communaute, Cabet's Icarian communities, Proudhon's
Exchange- were 'socialiste', although each went, naturally enough,
by a different name. If the inventor's disciples often seemed dedicated
to the system to the point of fanaticism, this was in itself evidence
of a hunger for a new social order.

* * *
The socialist perspective was universally understood by its advocates
to be the product of scientific inquiry, la science sociale. This too
was virtually a fanatical viewpoint. Socialism, for its French orig-
inators, was a movement of ideas, a triumph of the human mind.
But they did not understand it to be, as Marx and Engels argued, 25
a revival of discredited idealism or the sheer invention of genius cut
off from material life and historical forces. The French socialists
saw their 'scientific systems' as being based upon an understanding
of quite specific stages of historical development. The scientific ideas
themselves were seen as the product of man's naturally inventive
mind coming to grips with the experiences of real life, such as, for
example, a thwarted Revolution and the depredations of competitive
The leading thinkers shared this faith in science with lesser-
known ouvrier writers such as Jean-Jacques Pillot and Achille
Roche. 26 Even the most popular and aggressively radical communist
literature expressed its obeisance to the leading lights of la science
sociale. 27 Communal organisation, a new industrial and agricultural
economy, the principles of education and a reformed domestic life
were all accepted as scientific propositions or demonstrable truths
of an emerging social science.
The poetic and artistic expression of this scientific evolution did
not seem at all contradictory to the early French socialists. 28 The
scientific character of a system was in no way seen as diminished
or vulgarised by poetic expression, which enhanced its propaganda.
Since an entirely new system was being advanced, poetry and song
8 Introduction

were seen as particularly useful in establishing powerful forms of

symbolic expression and in fashioning new images of truth, beauty,
affection and social harmony. For these early socialists, there was
certainly no reason to inhibit or delimit emotional response and
spiritual proclivities. Unlike the science pretendue of political econ-
omy, which offered empty, neutral, mechanical principles of indi-
vidualistic action, French socialism, as a genuine science, must use
every natural resource available for the building of the new age.
This meant calling forth the affections of real men and women, and
what they, without excuse, assumed to be man's natural attraction
to truth, beauty and the spiritual elevation of harmonious social
Even to those socialists who were most passionately committed
to an elaborate system, la science sociale was not a closed system or
a rigid social blueprint. Rather, they assumed that it was a genuine
experimental science,29 and that its findings must be achieved by
piecemeal empirical trials combined with the fortuitous powers of
inventive genius, just as any science achieves theoretical and practical
breakthroughs. Social science was the key, but the doors remained
to be opened and the rooms searched. An historical Weltanschauung
was possessed by most of these thinkers - the thought of Saint-
Simon, Comte, Fourier and Proudhon assumed inexorable stages
of historical development- but la science sociale was not coincidental
with it. Trial and error, social engineering, geographical and cultural
differences and the necessary uncertainties of post-capitalist eco-
nomic cooperation were regularly emphasised by the most 'utopian'
of thinkers - for example, Fourier, 3°Cabet and Dezamy.
As with Marx and Engels, many critics have expressed scepticism
at the shallow, inconsistent, or dialectically immature (or 'bour-
geois') early socialist ideas which identified powerful forces of
inequality, class division and social conflict, only to invent a way
to divert or cancel them. Many have found the idea unappealing
that 'inevitable' revolution will lead to no good or final end, or that
such fortuitous things as inventions of social science, an effiorescence
of good will or the courageous resolve of a few minds might
determine the creation of a new age of social harmony. We may not
like these denouements, nor the free play of thought which would
provide for such unpredictable outcomes, but we ought to bear in
mind that it is usually they who are condemned for being utopian.
Such a free play of genius seemed perfectly reasonable and eminently
historical to these Frenchmen, who had seen a great Revolution
In traduction 9

and a copious intensity of violence go disastrously awry, and who

themselves had little faith in any system of thought that left creative
genius out of account, along with the courage and virtue of a people
and the necessity of moral progress.
Most of the influential system-builders of the period - Saint-
Simon, Fourier, Proudhon, Cabet - unabashedly thought that the
publication of their theoretical system was itself a great landmark
separating two historical epochs. Whether the system was the fruit
of genius or of a finally ripened historical circumstance31 was
unimportant in the face of the sheer fact that the new system existed.
Saint-Simon and Fourier, more than their followers, certainly
believed that the eventual implementation of the system, and even
the specific details of adoption, were of secondary importance in
comparison with the publication of the system. 32 This viewpoint is
not entirely naive. If one considers that the major obstacle to
achieving socialist community is a moral and intellectual problem
at its most fundamental level - as virtually all of these thinkers did
- it is not inconsistent to think that the first practical step should
be to gain wider adherence to enlightened reason and the truths of
abstract theory. Thus a popular appeal to reason and moral sen-
sitivity is a practical political act. Forming political parties, intro-
ducing new legislation and reforming institutions are either
secondary or irrelevant. Such changes will inevitably flow from
moral conviction, but they cannot be made to precede it.
Clear across the political spectrum in 1840, extending back in
time to the Revolution and forward to the present day, the most
frequently decried social problem in French politics has been
egoisme. This charge was especially common from socialists in
reference to the gamut of social evils associated with individualism,
commercial competition and the whole fabric of laisser-faire political
economy. The bourgeoisie were seen as the essential embodiment
of egoism, but the evil affected everyone: shop owners just struggling
out of the working classes were the most punishing masters, 33 the
nobility were tied to their perquisites and opulent living and the
politicians were worst of all. So it seemed a logical step to begin by
chipping away at egoism directly by exposing the corrosive
laisser-faire principles to the light of day and proclaiming a new
economic system of harmony and association to replace the one
based on greed and cut-throat competition, a new moral system to
supplant the old one based on property and a new religion to replace
Christianity in the perverted form it had assumed as the bulwark
10 Introduction

of tyranny, inequality and property. All of these tasks required,

first of all, propaganda. People could not be expected to heal a
disease of which they were not painfully aware, nor would they
adopt an unknown or dubious regimen.
As we look back, it is easy to be sceptical about this, but one must
not forget that publishing such ideas, given the control and censor-
ship of the press, 34 was a political act. It is also worth pointing out
that the several writers who devoted themselves to setting up
experimental communities have had this side of their efforts dis-
missed as idealistic, bourgeois and even comical, while their abstract
ideas and systems have been powerful influences on successive
generations of socialist thinkers, beginning notably with Marx. The
early socialists were propagandists for a new organisation of society,
and it is entirely plausible that the communication of that idea
required a moral and symbolic reorganisation as the first step. This
is why socialist writers virtually ignored institutions of government
and devoted more attention to the press, religion, education, science
and social morality. As with so many later socialist thinkers, the
early socialists were convinced that the commencement of a new
journal or newspaper, or the publication of a book or manifesto,
was actually the beginning of a new age, or at least the point of
departure for ushering in the new age. This explains the heroic and
proclamatory tone of these writers. It was with a profound appre-
ciation of their socialist and communitarian ideals that so many
writers regarded 'public opinion as the queen of the world' ,35 but
they were no less certain that she must be courted by a greater
sovereign, social science.

* * *
Marx and Engels, of course, denied that their French predecessors
had a valid claim to science, 36 and Engels argued that this was due
to their ignorance of the concept of surplus value, their failure to
see the materialist basis of class antagonism and their lack of a
scientific understanding of the dialectical development of material
historical forces. 37 Marx and Engels concluded that the French
thinkers were 'utopian' because they were, in effect, attempting to
stop and reverse history when they proposed to mitigate or overcome
class divisions. They were guilty of thinking that the material
contradictions of historical development would be healed by charity,
fanciful ideas of perfect communal organisation and the good will
of a few minds susceptible of moral suasion. They were, in short,
Introduction 11

idealists with no proper understanding of real history who thus

deceived themselves into thinking that a new system of ideas could
be set down amidst the swirling material forces which had not
produced it.
The early French socialists not infrequently attacked each other
for being 'utopian',38 and the phrase 'French utopian socialism'
became a commonplace in Marxist and non-Marxist literature to
refer to Saint-Simon, Fourier, Proudhon and a few other obscure
writers, largely by way of acknowledging them as 'precursors' of
Marxism before dismissing them. 39 The views of Marx and Engels
are especially deserving of examination because they were near
contemporaries, and because their critique of French socialism has
been so influential.
Although Marx first came to an awareness of 'the social question'
while he edited the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne in 1842,40 Marx
himself acknowledged41 that it was not until his stay in Paris in
1843-44 that he began to read socialist and communist literature
seriously, and begin his study of the English economists. Indeed,
both Marx and Engels on several occasions expressed their indebt-
edness to the French socialist and communist tradition. The classic
cases of this are in The Manifesto of the Communist Partl2 and
Engels' Socialism: Utopian and Scientijic, 43 but their works are
laced with passing (and usually backhanded) compliments to French
socialism for having a 'critical element', for rejecting all political
institutions, for pointing out class antagonisms, for sympathising
with the proletariat and for 'searching after a new social science'. 44
Engels credited Fourier with effectively using an Hegelian 'dialectic
method' when he explained things in terms of contradictions, 45 and
pointed out that both Fourier and Owen 'correctly recognised' that
the 'contrast between town and country no longer exists' in their
intended restructuring of capitalist society. Marx lauded Blanqui
for his 'declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class
dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the
abolition of class divisions generally .. .' 46 Constantin Pecqueur was
several times cited for his insight into the nature of social
production. 47
Nevertheless, it is true that Marx and Engels felt more conde-
scension than indebtedness to the early French socialist thinkers. At
large they regarded the movement as doctrinaire, petty-bourgeois,
obsessed with systems derived from the 'brainwork of individual
pedants' who rely on conjurers' tricks and sentimentality to make
12 Introduction

the revolutionary class struggle disappear. 48 They failed to see the

'historical initiative' of the proletariat, expecting material forces to
give way to their inventions and fantasies. As the class struggle
intensified, the early socialists became increasingly irrelevant. 49
Marx ridiculed 'socialistic day-dreams' and 'utopian, mutton-headed
socialism.' 50 Engels pointed out that Saint-Simon, Fourier and Owen
had one thing in common: 'Not one of them appears as the
representative of the interests of the proletariat which historical
development had ... produced.' They erred in wanting to emanci-
pate all of humanity at once, rather than a 'particular class to begin
with.' 51 He summed up his critique of these 'crude theories' in this

The solution of the social problems, which as yet lay hidden in

undeveloped economic conditions, the Utopians attempted to
evolve out of the human brain. 52 Society presented nothing but
wrongs; to remove these was the task of reason. It was necessary,
then, to discover a new and more perfect system of social order
and to impose this upon society from without by propaganda,
and, wherever possible, by the example of model experiments.
These new systems were foredoomed as Utopian; the more
completely they were worked out in detail, the more they could
not avoid drifting off into pure phantasies.
These facts once established, we need not dwell a moment
longer upon this side of the question, now wholly belonging to
the past. We can leave it to the literary small fry to solemnly
quibble over these phantasies, which today only make us smile ...
For ourselves, we delight in the stupendously grand thoughts and
germs of thought that everywhere break out through their phan-
tiastic covering, and to which these Philistines are blind. 53

There is considerable room to doubt that this relegation is fair.

Quite apart from their acknowledged indebtedness to Saint-Simon,
Fourier, Proudhon, Blanqui, Dezamy and Pecqueur, 54 and the
revolutionary and materialist communist tradition stemming from
Babeuf, Marx and Engels seem to have undervalued or distorted
a number of important points with which they could have expressed
sympathy. French communism, especially that of Cabet, Dezamy
and Pillot, had in fact seized upon the critical role of the proletariat
as the historical pressure for revolutionary change. The historical
character of French thought also seems to be depreciated. In 1833,
Introduction 13

Achille Roche placed himself amongst those who have 'a lively faith
in the future and the development of humanity'.

This is the study of history under a new face, which makes us

conceive of humanity as a vast ensemble; which shows all gen-
erations tied together by the progress that they have by turns
attempted, and which views each social crisis as a single act of
grand drama, a single step on the path to happiness, equality and
justice ... So it is our task to prepare the future! ... Supported
by the law of progress, strengthened by a sincere sympathy for
humanity, we must spend our lives working for the interests of
the masses. 55

Speaking of the 'advances of Communism', Cabet claimed: 'Nothing

is therefore able to stop its march, no more than that of truth ...
We repeat, nothing henceforth can cause Communism to lose
ground ... ' 56 Leroux even argued, in one of the very rare surveys
of German philosophy in the French socialist literature, 'that the
Doctrine of Perfectability is exclusively a French' contribution to
thought. 57 'Hegel's system was, in our view, a heavy cloud which
stood over Germany obscuring the light,' and had only darkened
the understanding of Cousin, Enfantin and the Saint-Simonian
school. 58
Far from socialism and communism being conceived as bourgeois
charitable movements or the fortuitous inventions of individual
minds, there was a widespread understanding that 'European society
marches toward the realisation of that equality so proclaimed and
so inevitably necessary'. 59 It was also generally accepted that social-
ism and communism were transitional phases in a larger historical
movement. Pillot argued that the movement toward absolute equal-
ity, the constant effort of humanity, was 'like water seeking its own
level.' 60 Lechevalier had used this same expression in 1834 to express
the natural and historical inevitability of 'le mouvement social: and
added that 'the progress of the future is often accomplished by
negation of the past.'61 Jacques Dupre, not a communist himself,
nevertheless placed himself among those who regarded a 'great
religious and political destruction' to be an 'immense ruin necessary
for a more grandiose construction.' 62

Yes, Communism is useful, as a transition, to destroy, but not to

build ... Therefore let Communism do its work, without fear for
14 Introduction

the future. Let it attack the Harlequin's robe and wig. And, in
spite of us, it will spread widely amongst the people. We know
that the play has its denouement, and that a new drama will
succeed the old. Let us understand, from this day forward, what
must be accomplished beyond Communism. Beyond the rums,
there lies reconstruction. 63

It can be widely demonstrated that early French socialist thinkers

developed ideas later claimed as original with Marxian historical
materialism. Both Saint-Simon and Comte had analysed the role
of religion and other 'systems of ideas' for their powers of ideological
control - 'capable of surmounting the opposition of individual
tendencies' - and mystification. 64 Comte saw it as necessary and
inevitable that the epoch of theological and metaphysical thought
must give way to positive philosophy. 65

It is only by means of an abstraction, however necessary, that one

can examine the spiritual development of man separately from
his temporal development, or, that of the mind without that of
society. Because these two developments, although distinct, are
not independent. On the contrary, they exercise the one over the
other a continuous influence indispensable to both.
It is not enough to feel, in a general way, that the cultivation
of our minds is only possible in society and through society. We
must recognise that nature66 and the full extent of social relations
determine, in each epoch, the character and speed of our spiritual
progress, and vice versa. Today everyone knows, for example,
that it is impossible to conceive any real and durable progress for
the spirit of man in the present state of society where each
individual is ceaselessly obliged to provide for his own
subsistence ... 67

Pillot's critique of religion draws upon a thinker from the

Revolutionary period, Constantin-Fran9ois Volney (17 57 -1820),
whose contribution to the people's emancipation stems from his
attacking the Church's symbolic, psychological and political oppres-
sions and making 'the heavens and the earth change places' 68 in his
call for the day when rational men will conquer their liberty and
declare the principles of justice.
Although it is undeniable that early French socialist thinkers did
express a charitable and often condescending sympathy for the
Introduction 15

masses, it is far from true to say, as Marx did, that only 'from the
point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat
exist for them.' 69 No one reading the works of Blanqui, Dezamy,
Pillot, Roche and any number of working class socialists and
communists could agree that the urban proletariat and the whole
working class were viewed as a passive, suffering mass to whom
sentiment is extended but from whom nothing was expected. When
Cabet wrote The Social Cataclysm, or Conjuring up the Tempest,
he predicted 'one of the grand crises of humanity', in which 'we
will see the outburst of a great storm which will make Europe in
its entirety tremble'. 70 When Pillot introduced his new journal, La
Tribune du peuple, in a most inflammatory style, the revolutionary
implications were clear. In La Communaute n 'est plus une utopie!,
his description of the rightfully destructive power of the will of the
people is frightening. Speaking of the people's right to 'destroy all
the works of generations' - tradition, culture and even language -
Pillot says 'their tribunal is raised up in the midst of ruins, the
imperishable monument of their sovereign power'. 71 In 1840, Pillot
declared the people 'king of kings' and offered them this advice:
'The parasitic species which devours you is cowardly and few in
number. You are more than two hundred against one!' 72 Flora
Tristan appealed directly to the poor for their own redemption. 73
On the other hand, the disciples of Fourier explicitly intended his
science to address 'our miserable and criminal societies', and the
object was not a charitable amelioration of the masses. Rather, their
social science was intended 'to introduce a major amelioration in
the constitution of the social mechanism'. 74 Most early socialists had
a heroic view of individual roles in the progress of humanity, 75 and
virtually all of them romanticised 'the people'.
However, for some French socialists, the poor masses, or any
urban proletarian part of them, were not assumed to be a necessary
or even probable direct political force in shaping and applying
revolutionary ideas, systems or practices, although exceptions to this
were numerous. 76 For these socialists, la plus nombreuse were more
likely to be just the opposite. They would act as a mass, hysterically,
irrationally and counter-revolutionarily, as in fact they had done
after the Revolution, in support of Napoleon, and would again in
support of re-establishing the Second Empire after 1848. The
inevitability and necessity of human progress was a general assump-
tion of early French socialism - as it had been an assumption of
progressivist theory before the Revolution - but it was understood
16 Introduction

primarily as an historical and spiritual movement, as a growth of

the mind, of morals and the general level of physical existence. Far
from being conceived as a rigid, mechanical process - a materialist
dialectical geometry - or a programme of organised revolt, it was
thought to be a tendance as likely to be impeded by political action
as it was catalysed by scientific ideas.
In the France of the 1840s, there was simply no familiarity with
political parties or confidence in parliamentary institutions. Labour
unions would not be legalised for decades. Political parties in the
modern sense (with central organisation, a stable ideological frame-
work and regular electoral activity) were virtually unknown due to
the succession of republican, royal and imperial regimes during the
previous half-century. Prejudice against 'party spirit' dated to Rous-
seau, and the electoral system caused local constituencies to divide
according to parochial identities and personalities. It is true that
many of the socialist thinkers had been involved in radical secret
societies which endeavoured to expand their membership, but it
could hardly be expected that these organisations, or workers'
beneficial societies,77 would appeal for reforms within the framework
of a regime they intended to overthrow, particularly since any such
activity was legally prohibited.
The early French socialists were by no means all idealists, either
philosophically or sentimentally, and it can be argued that the
Marxian critique severely misrepresents the French understanding
of historical development and the inexorability of material forces on
social organisation. The important point, however, is that the early
French socialists did not share the neat and absolute distinction
between idealism and materialism that was the mother's milk of the
Young Hegelian movement. The French socialists, even those who
were in fact or tried to be strictly materialist, considered that the
only possible articulation of historical necessity was in ideas, and
not in any social class or 'collective consciousness' of a social class.
Social science and, more broadly, philosophy, were the tools of
human intelligence. Although the progress of truth and_the enlight-
ened human spirit were necessitous and inexorable as to their
tendance, that progress was always the victory of la genie. 78 Despite
the natural periodicity or historical stages according to which this
progress occurred, there was no guarantee that it would come now,
or be lodged in this social class, or that it would not be momentarily
diverted by that mistaken idea or political debacle.
It is easy to see how this account of 'inevitable human progress'
Introduction 17

could be mistaken by an inspired young German philosopher, and

it is even easier to appreciate how he would not like it. Be that as
it may, the French socialist thinkers considered that their view of
necessary social progress was essentially philosophical and scientific:
a progress of ideas, accumulated knowledge and refined methods to
be tested and improved. The view of historical progress espoused
by most French socialists in this period can be put in sharper focus
by remembering that the distinction between materialism and ide-
alism was hardly clear amongst French intellectuals. They were
not 'schooled' in a single university or academic tradition, and
inevitably these philosophical categories were mingled with various
strains of Christianity, spiritualism, atheism, anti-clericalism,
empiricism and political economy. Among the writers presented
here, Dezamy developed the clearest philosophical materialism. 79
Adopting a materialist philosophical framework came to be iden-
tified as 'communist' because of its radical implications regarding
religion, property and domestic morality. Most writers, including
the avowedly materialist, saw nothing contradictory in holding that
social reform must be a reform of moral, intellectual and physical
amelioration. The critique of Hegel's idealism and spiritualism
being carried out at this time by Feuerbach and Marx would hardly
have been sensical and comprehensible to the French socialists. The
idea that historical inevitability was a material process, literally a
force of matter and independent of human thought, will or agency
(leaving God out of it, as some would and others would not) would
have seemed utterly strange, quite literally foreign. 'Inevitability',
yes; but not without ideas, the mind and Ia science.
However unfashionable their view of human progress and dubious
their fusion of idealism and materialism may be today, it was in
fact their position. This renders considerable coherence to their
views on elite leadership, science, education, the special importance
of disseminating knowledge and extra-political reform. Without the
progress of /'esprit, there could be no genuine progress. Indeed,
most socialists were convinced that all the post-Revolutionary
regimes were obstacles to progress. But this constituted no reason
to launch a revolutionary mass movement or seize upon the cleansing
powers of violent class warfare, both of which could be expected to
be equally inhibiting to progress. Such a concern lies behind the
criticism of communism in the socialist press as negative, destructive
and reactionary: something that could destroy, but could not build. 80
What we read between the lines of such internecine attacks, despite
18 Introduction

the undoubted sympathy with the communist social objectives, is

the fear and condescension regarding movements and appeals based
upon the masses. Popular revolt, in the socialist view, is likely to
be violent, short-sighted and given over to selfish goals. 81 Even the
most radical of the communist publicists - Blanqui, Dezamy and
Pillot - ostensibly disavowed violence on the grounds that violent
upheaval would be counterproductive to the main task of establishing
a new social system.
There is another important reason why the early French socialists
need not be condemned as 'idealists'. They were, above all else,
concerned with scientific knowledge, empirical data, actual exper-
imentation, the real life and physical tribulations of the masses.
They also desired to satisfy the material needs of bread, shelter and
physical liberty. A case might be made that they were all materialists
in the Hobbesian tradition, society being the supreme material
artifice. Indeed, it could be argued that all democratic movements
are materialist in their basic assumptions of liberty and equality.
That argument was certainly made by the Catholic critics of
socialism. 82 Thus the distinction between idealist and materialist is
really misleading, as it has always been for French thinkers. 83
The French socialists placed their trust in science and what they
called scientific laws. They thought that history was a movement
toward a new age of moral and material perfection. But they did
not believe that there were historical laws to compel this to take
place in a certain way, or place, or time, or pattern- although most
argued quite explicitly that France would be the first nation to
achieve it, and would be the beacon to the rest of the world for its
realisation. 84 The force of historical tradition was to them, if
anything, more material, actual and historical than it could ever be
to a German thinker such as Hegel or Marx. France had had its
Revolution. The morals of the new age - reason, liberty, equality,
fraternity, the rights of man - had been proclaimed and paid for
with French blood. The historical tradition was real, populated
with real heroes and enemies, real revolutions, real victories and
defeats. The Revolution existed, was alive, but desperately feeble
and threatened. It merely remained to rescue it from the new class
which had seized it at the moment of liberation from the dying
aristocracy, and now reigned in a new feudalism more devastating
than ever before.
This major difference between French and German intellectual
perspectives was appreciated by Marx and Engels, and it caused
Introduction 19

them to write at great length in order to comprehend the French

Revolutionary tradition within a German scholastic idiom, the
absence of which in their view prevented French thinkers - whom
they castigated as romantic, bourgeois, or even mutton-headed -
from understanding the meaning of their own heritage. 85 In fact, it
might be observed that Marx and Engels were more prone to see
revolution as an abstract idea, even if an idea concerning the clash
of material forces. In the Marxian perspective, revolution is a future
culmination, rather than an historical reality that is hard to shape
and subject to so many disappointments.
For the French socialists the major question was not the organ-
isation of the revolutionary masses, but the reorganisation of the
economy86 as so not to lose and make a laughing stock of the moral
ideals and political victories of the Revolution. Transforming the
economy could only be accomplished by the application of sophis-
ticated economic, social and psychological principles and the effective
use of power in carrying out their administration. They had no
excuses to make for their conviction that no meaningful political
change could come to France through the use of violence or even
in other, more peaceful, forms of political action. Yet they were the
first to write and agitate in favour of movements to organise labour,
regulate child and female working conditions, establish public
education and make taxation more equitable. These were practices
which would make the present system less unbearable, but it was
acknowledged that such reforms could contribute little to the adop-
tion of the new system. The socialists believed that a new system
was the fundamental objective. These systems, it could not be denied,
were the creation of an intellectual elite, the practitioners of a new
science of society. 87 The working class socialists did not despair, but
rejoiced at this. The new ground of moral progress thus broken, it
remained for the scientists and technicians to propagate socialism
as the largest project of scientific engineering ever undertaken by
man. So far as the early socialists were concerned, this did not leave
the masses out of account. It included them as the very substance
of the new community.


1. M. Dommanget, L 'Introduction de Marxisme en France (Lausanne, 1969)

pp. 17-21, shows that Marx remained virtually unknown in France until
1872. His name appeared in the Fourierist Democratie pacifique in 1843 when
20 Introduction

Marx sent a letter to that journal, but in February 1844, an article in La

Revue independante on the Hegelian school in Paris never mentioned Marx's
name. In 1865, Saint-Beuve, writing about Proudhon, referred to 'this unknown
German' who was 'a writer from the school of young Hegelians who distin-
guishes himself in the struggle against the Berlin school'. Dommanget's work
replaces A. Zevaes, De !'introduction du Marxisme en France (Paris, 1947).
2. Robert Owen first used the term in an article in Cooperative Magazine (Nov.
1827), p. 509, which distinguished between 'political economists' such as
Malthus and Mill and 'communionists and socialists' on the issue of the
individual or the common ownership of capital. J. Gans, 'L'Origine du mot
"socialiste" et ses emplois les plus anciens', Revue d'histoire economique et
sociale, XXX (1957), pp. 79-83.
3. Pierre Leroux claimed to have used the word in print first in France in 1832.
P. Leroux, La Greve de Samarez, 2 vols (Paris, 1863-64), I, p. 255. The essay
he had in mind did not in fact use the word; 'De Ia philosophie et du
christianisme', Revue encyclopedique (Aug. 1832), pp. 281-340. D. 0. Evans,
Le Socialisme romantique, Pierre Leroux et ses contemporains (Paris, 1948)
recounts the controversy over the early use of socialisme, pp. 223-4, and
reprints the article, 'De l'individualisme et du socialisme' (1834), in which
Leroux set forth his ideas in detail, pp. 224-38. J. H. Billington, Fire in the
Minds of Men (New York, 1980), pp. 243-52, discusses the larger context of
French socialism. Billington's analysis of the modern revolutionary tradition
is far broader than early French socialism, but it is the only study in English
which gives a documented analysis of several of the writers presented in
translation in this collection. His interesting examination of Freemasonry, the
Illuminati and other occult or secret societies as an important influence on
French socialism unfortunately underestimates the importance of the British
classical economists and English industrialism. The standard account of early
socialism in French is R. Garaudy, Les Sources francaises de socialisme
scientifique (Paris, 1949).
4. Jean J uares (ed.), Histoire socialiste (1789-1900), 8 vols (Paris, 1901-08 ?)
vol. VIII, Eugene Fourniere, Le Regne de Louis-Philippe ( 1908 ?) p. 482.
5. This figure of speech, as in so many of the French socialist ideas, is strongly
reminiscent of Rousseau's language to express the corporal and organic
character of community.
6. Leroux, 'De Ia philosophic', p. 340.
7. Ibid., p. 335. ,
8. Ibid., p. 303. Economie politique was commonly understood at this time to
refer to the writings of the English liberal economists Adam Smith, David
Ricardo and Thomas Malthus, whose laisser-faire doctrines had been popu-
larised in France by Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832). Smith's Wealth of
Nations (1776) was the basis of Say's influential Traite d'economie politique
(1803). Malthus's Principles of Political Economy was written in 1820 and
translated into French the same year. A second edition, with Say's annotations,
was published in 1846. Perhaps the most original and penetrating critique of
liberal economics was provided by Constantin Pecqueur (1801-87), arguably
an important influence on Marx. See A. Zouaoui, Socialisme et international-
isme: Constantin Pecqueur (Geneva, 1964); also D. Desanti, Les Socialistes
de l'utopie (Paris, 1970), pp. 223-30.
Introduction 21
9. G. Weill, Le Journal: Origines, evolution et role de la presse periodique (Paris,
1934), pp. 175-6. A comprehensive summary of the restrictions on the press
in this period is Bellanger et al., Histoire generate de la presse francaise, 5 vols
(Paris, 1969-76), vol. II, De 1815 a 1871, pt. III. The subject is also surveyed
in H. J. Hunt, Le Socialisme et le romantisme en France, Etude de la presse
socialiste de 1830 a 1848 (Oxford, 1935), and J. Godechot (ed.), La Presse
ouvriere, 1819-1850 (Paris, 1966), vol. XXIII. A contemporary critique of
censorship is M. Cormenin, Defense de la presse populaire (Paris, 1834). A
good account of the problems facing radical and working class publications in
this period is G. Weill, 'Les Journaux ouvriers a Paris (1830-1870)', Revue
d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, IX (Nov. 1907), pp. 89-103.
10. Leroux, 'De Ia philosophie', p. 303.
11. Ibid., p. 304.
12. Ibid., p. 304-08.
13. For an account of Leroux's career as an editor and political publicist see J.
Bakunin, Leroux and the Birth of Democratic Socialism (New York, 1976),
pp. 27-46. Leroux's writings are now available in Oeuvres (Geneva, 1978).
George Sand declared herself to be 'only a pale shadow' of her lover, and
wrote to a friend, 'I am certain that one day people will read Pierre Leroux
as they do the Social Contract. M. de Lamartine has said so himself.' E.
Fourniere, Histoire socialiste, vol. VIII, p. 483.
14. English studies of the literary and romantic context of early French socialism
are rare, as is evidenced by J. H. Billington's passing reference in Fire in the
Minds of Men, p. 244. The main reference is D. 0. Evans, Social Romanticism
in France (Oxford, 1951). See Evans, Le Socialisme romantique (1948), for
Leroux's role in the socialist movement, and H. J. Hunt, Le Socialisme et le
romantisme, pp. 94-107. Up to the early years of this century, the French
literature took for granted the intimate connection between socialism and
romanticism. See A. Jay, Oeuvres litteraire, 4 vols, t. I, Conversion d'un
romantique (Paris 1831), pp. 7-8; Lerminier, 'De Ia litterature des ouvriers',
Revue des deux mondes, XXVIII, 4th ser. (Dec. 1841), pp. 955-76, esp. at
p. 966; L. Reybaud, 'Des idees et des sectes communistes', Revue des deux
mondes, XXXI, 4th ser. (July 1842), pp. 3-47, esp. at pp. 28-40. Also see
numerous later works: C. Benoist, 'L'Homme de 1848', Revue des deux
mondes, XIX (1 Feb. 1914), P..P· 648-9; H. Louvancour, De Henri de
Saint-Simon a Charles Fourier, Etude sur le socialisme romantique franqais
de 1830 (Chartres, 1913), a typical polemic against the ill effects of political
and literary romanticism. Baron Ernest Seilliere made a literary career out of
his attacks upon social romanticism: Le Mal romantique, Essai sur
l'imperialisme irrationnel (Paris, 1908); Les Mystiques du neo-romantisme,
Evolution contemporaine de l'appetit mystique (Paris, 1911), pp. 207-14 for
the influences of Proudhon, Fourier and Saint-Simon on Marx, the latter
treated at length in pt III, Du Quietisme au socialisme romantique (Paris,
1925 ); and Romantisme et democratie romantique (Paris, 1930), esp. pt II.
15. Emile Durkheim's influential course of lectures, Le Socialisme (Paris, 1928),
pp. 61, 81-2, 85 and 221, distinguishes between the utopian, egalitarian and
sentimental basis of communism and the scientific, economic and programmatic
character of socialism, which he traces to Saint-Simon. The communist
tradition, inspired by Babeuf, is seen by Durkheim as a levelling, ascetic,
22 Introduction

negative radicalism of scarcity, concerned primarily with distribution. Socialism

is a theory of production and large-scale organisation. M. Leroy, Histoire des
idees sociales en France, 2 vols (Paris, 1950), II, pp. 314-15, agrees with
Durkheim, adding Simonde de Sismondi as one of the two great originators
of socialist economics.
16. The earliest documented usage of 'communist' is in the Augsburger Allgemeine
Zeitung ( 11 Mar. 1840) in an article on French communism, although variants
of the term were in earlier common usage as terms of description rather than
as an expression of group affiliation. For contemporary, unsympathetic accounts
of the communist movement see L. Reybaud, 'Des idees et des sectes com-
muniste', and J. Dupre, 'Du Communisme', La Revue independante, I (Dec.
1841), pp. 337-47. For Engels's distinction between the terms communism
and socialism see his Preface to the German edition (1890) of the Communist
Manifesto, K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, 3 vols (Moscow, 1969),
vol. I, p. 103. Works by Marx and Engels, unless otherwise specified, will be
cited from this collection, by original title, volume and page.
17. Fran~ois-Noel ('Gracchus') Babeuf (1760-97) was the great martyr and saint
of the post-Revolutionary egalitarian and communist tradition. Executed with
other conspirators for his leading role in plotting against those who had 'stolen'
the Revolution, the ideas Babeuf set down in his Manifeste des plebeiens
(1795) were propagated with great success by one of his co-conspirators,
Philippe Buonarroti, who escaped imprisonment and execution because of his
Italian citizenship. Originally published in 1828 and available in English by
1836, Buonarroti's Babeufs Conspiracy for Equality (New York: A.M. Kelley
Reprints, 1966), appeared in numerous editions and served as a virtual sacred
text for communists devoted to social, political and material equality. For a
discussion of Babeuf and Buonarroti, and brief texts of Babeufs last works,
see D. Desanti, Les Socialistes de l'utopie, pp. 23-47.
18. Accepting society as 'la base' of political inquiry was a dogma of the early
socialist movement, especially amongst the Saint-Simonians and Fourierists.
See La Phalanstere, I, no. 61 (12 July 1832) and Revue du progres social,
Nouveau Prospectus ( 1 Jan. 1834 ), p. 1, for articles by Jules Lechevalier. Also
see Victor Considerant, 'De Premiere condition de legitimite d'une doctrine
sociale', La Phalange, I ( 1 Oct. 1836), p. 27 4; and La Phalange (2 Sept. 1840),
pp. 11-12. In the early 1830s, these papers regarded it as an enormous victory
to see the republican and monarchist press gradually begin to use the term
'le social'.
19. The terms propagande and propagation had no negative connotations for the
publicists of the period in question, and frequently appeared in the sub-titles
of pamphlets, on the mast-heads of journals, and in the names of editorial
sub-committees. The 'Prospectus General' of Le Phalanstere (1 June 1832)
was signed by 'Membres de Ia commission de propagation', including Con-
siderant and Lechevalier. Another example is Le Travail, Organe de Ia
renovation sociale, where in its 'Prospectus' (early 1841) and first issue (no.
1, June 1841) the communist editors set forth the aims of their propaganda.
Without reading these documents, it is difficult to appreciate the fervour and
high moral purpose of these editors, who evidently thought that hope for the
future rested squarely on their shoulders. The assumption that the revolution
was to be achieved by courageous publication must, of course, be placed in the
Introduction 23
context of mass illiteracy and a severely restricted franchise, as well as the
illegality of labour unions or the public assembly of more than twenty people.
20. This tendency dates to Saint-Simon's writings, e.g., Catechisme politique des
industriels (Paris, 1824 ), p. 54, where he gives a typical exposition of society
as a system. Fourierist writings give the strongest case of devotion to a system;
see Le Phalanstere (1 June 1832) and La Phalange (5 and 12 July 1832).
The devotion of his disciples is both touching and courageous for its constancy
and willingness to submit to practical experimentation; see La Phalange (2
Sept. 1840), pp. 11-12 and 22-3. Cabet's first issue of Le Populaire, no. 1
(14 March 1841), p. 5, declared that it would be 'a journal of system', and
most of his occasional writings heatedly defended his Icarian system. Dezamy
emphasised the central importance and political worth of a systeme in Organ-
isation de la liberte et du bien-etre universe! (Paris, 1846), pp. v-vi, as he had
earlier affirmed in his Dialogue sur la reforme electorate entre un communiste,
un reformiste, un doctrinaire, un legitimiste (Paris, 1842), p. 14n: 'far from
putting one to sleep or enervating one, on the contrary nothing is more capable
of breaking the chains of scepticism and political indifference than demon-
strating ceaselessly, to each and every one, that there exists an infallible
solution to the problem of humanity, and that there is a calm port against
political shipwreck.'
21. La Phalange (2 Sept. 1840), pp. 11-12 declared: 'we present ourselves to
society with the pretension of reforming it radically ... in its most intimate
foundation ... in the commune, not in the State. So we are much too radical
to be revolutionaries.'
22. F. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880), III, p. 119.
23. Clothing radical social criticism in utopian writings was known to be a
venerable means of avoiding censorship and persecution. The infamous 'Laws
of September', 1835, established a large deposit (cautionnement) to be paid to
the authorities before any publication could be undertaken, and this deposit
was forfeited by any judicial prosecution. The laws prohibited any 'offence'
to the King and all express newspapers and periodicals had to engage in
self-censorship. However, about thirty publications were terminated by legal
action and their editors fined and imprisoned. Many of the publicists whose
works are discussed and translated in this collection were among them.
24. The Fourierist press constantly ridiculed politicians and their parties, and
Dezamy strikes a typical tone in dismissing 'les tartuffes politiques' when he
appeals to the proletariat 'that only one hour comes in a century' for real
social change. Unlike earlier Frenchmen, the socialists regarded England's
electoral system as a 'corrupt spectacle' in which 'capital' is at fault. Dialogue
sur la reforme, p. 12.
25. Marx, The Communist Manifesto, I, pp. 134-5; Engels, Socialism: Utopian
and Scientific, III, pp. 119, 133.
26. Roche's Manuel du proletaire (1833) and Pillot's Ni Chateaux ni chaumieres
(1840) were 'little books' intended for artisan and working class consumption,
and reflected a touching enthusiasm for the promise of 'Ia science sociale'.
27. Pillot's firebrand rhetoric in his short-lived journal, La Tribune du peuple
(1839) is noteworthy in this regard. Dezamy's Almanach de la communaute
(1842) and La Ruche populaire (1840-45 ), published sporadically by artisans,
24 Introduction

are examples of ouvrier publications which counselled respect for the great
figures of social science such as Saint-Simon, Fourier and Proudhon.
28. See the introduction to T. Edmond, Voix d'en bas: La Poesie ouvriere du
X!Xi"eme siecle (Paris, 1979). Also, C.-A. Fusil, La Poesie scientifique de 1750
a nos jours (Paris, 1917), esp. pp. 97-125, 'La Preparation de Ia poesie
scientifique, !'ecole romantique (1820-1850)'; and Victor Hugo's Vingtieme
siecle, a poem in his Ugende des siecles (Paris, 1859). It is instructive in this
regard to read L. Vitet's definition of romanticism, 'De l'independance en
matiere dugout: du romantisme', Le Globe, I, no. 89 (2 April 1825), p. 443:
'romanticism, obviously, is neither a party nor a literary doctrine. It is the law
of necessity, the law of all things which occur, change and exist in this world.'
Poetry and song played an important part in the meetings of the Saint-
Simonian society.
29. 'Any doctrine of reform ... must be submitted to experiment and verified. ...
We intend to make it triumph by the very fact of its superiority, of its
excellence ... Also, we declare quite frankly that if our system of reform, once
it has been well and truly tested, does not lead to imitation, does not come into
being spontaneously and freely, this will be peremptory proof that it is not
preferable to the present system.' La Phalange (2 Sept. 1840), pp. 11-12.
30. Fourier was very reluctant to move forward with establishing a phalanstere
or even propagandise on behalf of his ideas, which had been published some
years earlier: La Theorie des quatres mouvements et des destinees generales
(1808), Traite de /'association domestique-agricole (1822) and Le Nouveau
monde industriel (1829). Lechevalier and Considerant, after their disillusion-
ment with the Saint-Simonian society, were the major forces in organising the
first 'Colonie Societiare' in 1834, but it was not until several years after
Fourier's death (1837) that the major experimental efforts took place. For an
account of their transition to Fourier's doctrines and the concerted effort to
undertake active propagation, see H. Louvancour, De Saint-Simon a Fourier,
pp. 294-310.
31. It is argued below that these thinkers would regard this as a false dichotomy.
32. Saint-Simon wrote, 'It is evident that the regime industriel, being impossible
to introduce by hazard or routine, must be conceived a priori, and that in
consequence it must be invented as a whole before being put in operation. It
is moreover evident, by the very fact of the production of this Catechism, that
the human mind is elevated to the conception of the entity that is the regime
industriel.' Catechisme politique des industriels (1824), Oeuvres completes de
Saint-Simon (Paris, 1832), pp. 71-2.
33. This point is made in a pamphlet written by a genuine working-class publicist,
Adolphe Boyer, Les Conseils de prud'hommes au point de vue de /'interet des
ouvriers et de l'egalite des droits (Paris, 1841), p. 5. His larger work, De l'etat
des ouvriers et de son amelioration par /'organisation du travail (Paris, 1841 ),
was an impressive analysis of the effect of free enterprise on working conditions,
unemployment and the fall of wages. His death in 1841 by suicide caused
considerable disappointment amongst socialists, who had seen in Boyer a
promising example of a person emerging from the sufferings of proletarian life
to make an impressive contribution. See the notice 'Adolphe Boyer' by Gustave
Bonin in La Revue independante (Nov. 1841), pp. 262-7.
34. While the September Laws only partly succeeded in inhibiting socialist
Introduction 25

publicity, the requirement of a large deposit was itself an inhibiting factor on

working class and radical journalism. Editorial boards which managed to raise
sufficient capital to commence publication then found that seizures, closures
and costly trials made it impossible to stay in print. See Billington, Fire in the
Minds of Men, pp. 309-14, for a brief account of the press in this period, and
J. Godechot, La Presse ouvriere, pp. 123-88.
35. La Ruche populaire, II (Jan. 1840), p. 5.
36. K. Marx, Misere de laphilosophie (Paris and Brussels, 1847), pp. 118-19.
37. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, III, p. 133. An official Soviet version
of the unscientific 'forerunners' of scientific socialism is V. Afansayev et a/.,
Fundamentals of Scientific Socialism (Moscow, 1969), pp. 13-21.
38. Fourier distinguished his 'new industrial world' from utopian thought in
'Revue des utopies du XIXieme siecle,' La Phalanstere (5 and 12 July 1832),
where he discusses the Freemasons, Saint-Simonianism and Owen. Cabet
treated utopianism and communist thought in Proces du communisme a
Toulouse (Paris, Sept. 1843), the text of his testimony during the trial of his
co-publisher of Le Populaire; Le Democrate devenu communiste malgre lui
(Paris, 1842); and in A Bas les communistes! (Paris, 1848 ?) A disciple of
Fourier responded to the charge of utopianism in these words: ' ... we are not
dreamers and utopians. The dreamers and utopians are those who search after
results without having means of achieving them, who want effects without
causes . .. But all of you who call us utopians, just take note that you are not
even so much as utopians because, finally, the utopians at least have something
which resembles a system, and even this shadow of reality is lacking to you
unfortunates.' La Phalange (2 Sept. 1842), pp. 22-3.
39. The tendency to dismiss early French socialists as precursors, rom~ntics and
utopians is reflected in A. Lichtenberger, Le Socialisme utopique: Etudes sur
quelques precurseurs inconnus du socialisme (Paris, 1898); G. Lichtheim, The
Origins of Socialism (London, 1969), esp. pp. vii, 27ff; J. Russ, La Pensee des
precurseurs de Marx (Paris, 197 3), p .. 8, discusses 'premarxisme' as 'immature',
a 'metamorphosis', as if early socialism were a conscious striving to achieve
Marxism. Lichtheim actually lays claim to this historiographical fallacy, p.
vii, describing the origins of Marxist socialism as a kind of mystical experience:
'It is in part a story of a movement which had to emancipate itself from
inherited illusions before it could attain a self-consciousness of its true nature.'
The French 'forerunners' of Marx have never had a good English press. J.
L. Talmon, Romanticism and Revolt (London, 1967), finds that Saint-Simon
'stumbled upon socialism', while Fourier was a 'half-crazy old bachelor sunk
in dreams', and Cabet was a 'gentle communist bore'.
40. D. Fernbach (ed.), Karl Marx: The Revolutions of 1848 (Harmondsworth,
1973), pp. 12-13.
41. Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy, I, p. 503.
42. Esp. at I, pp. 133-36.
43. Excerpted in Selected Works, III, esp. at p. 117. Originally published m
French in 1880.
44. Communist Manifesto, I, p. 134.
45. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, III, p. 122.
46. Marx, The Class Struggles in France, I, p. 282, written in 1848-49.
47. E.g., Capital, pt. VIII, ch. XXXII, in II, p. 143. For an examination of
26 Introduction

Pecqueur's influence on Marx, see A. Zouaoui, Constantin Pecqueur (Geneva,

1964), pp. 171-4.
48. Marx, Class Struggles in France, I, pp. 282-3.
49. Communist Manifesto, I, pp. 134-6.
50. Marx's letter to P. V. Annenkov, 28 Dec. 1846, I, p. 526. At large, Marx
castigated the French socialists, after 1847, as 'the romantics belonging to our
epoch', who are 'humanitarian', 'philanthropic', 'bourgeois', 'doctrinaire',
'blase' and 'naive', contrasting them with the English economic 'classicists' as
'economic fatalists'. Marx, Misere de la philosophie, pp. 116-19.
51. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, III, p. 117.
52. Engels scorns the great thinkers of French socialism for their unhistorical
inventions, pointing out that on their terms they might have been 'born 500
years earlier, and might then have spared humanity 500 years of error, strife
and suffering'. Ibid. Later Engels attributed virtually the same importance to
Marx's genius: 'These two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of
history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through
surplus value, we owe to Marx. With these discoveries socialism became a
science'. Ibid., p. 133.
53. Ibid., pp. 119-20.
54. The extent to which serious scholars of Marxist thought have undervalued the
French influence can be measured by the near absence of mention of French
socialist thinkers in such works as D. McLellan, Marx Before Marxism
(London, 1970), except at pp. 180-4; and R. C. Tucker, The Marxian
Revolutionary Idea (London, 1970), and Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx
(Cambridge, 1965), where Tucker reaches, at p. 123, for an aphorism to sum
up his German philosophical focus: 'Marx founded Marxism in an outburst
of Hegelizing.'
55. A. Roche, 'Sur les pretendues doctrines de 93', Revue encyclopedique, LX
(Oct. 1833), pp. 6-7, 27.
56. E. Cabet, Le Cataclysme social (Paris, 2 May 1845 ), pp. 20-1.
57. Leroux had argued this in 'Aux Politiques', Revue independante, I (Nov.
1841) p. 327. ].-]. Pillot traced the popular revolutionary tradition as a
peculiarly French contribution in La Tribune du peuple, I (1839), p. 37 and
II (1839), pp. 93-9, 174. Also, A. Roche, Manuel du proletaire, p. 190.
58. Leroux, 'Du cours de philosophie de Schelling', Revue independante, III
(May, 1842), pp. 332 and 342. Leroux summarises the extent of Hegelian
influence in France at p. 332n.
59. Leroux, 'Aux Politiques', p. 336.
60. J.-J. Pillot, La Communaute n 'est plus une utopie! (Paris, 1841 ), p. 11.
61. 'De Ia presse periodique', Revue du progres social, IV (April 1834 ), pp. 337-8.
62. 'Du communisme', Revue independante, I (Dec. 1841), p. 348.
63. Ibid., pp. 342-3. Cabet also spoke about 'transitional regimes' in Voyage en
lcarie, 2nd edn (Paris, 1842), Preface, p. vi, and in the first edition of Le
Populaire, I (14 March 1841 ), p. 5.
64. A. Comte, Opuscule de philosophie sociale, 1819-1828 (Paris, 1883), 'Qua-
trieme opuscule' (Nov. 1825), p. 125.
65. Ibid., p. 185.
66. I.e., La nature, the natural world.
67. Comte, 'Quatrieme opuscule', p. 189.
Introduction 27

68. La Tribune du peuple, I (1839), p. 37. This phrase is nearly identical to many
of Marx's in Theses on Feuerbach and The German Ideology.
69. Marx, Communist Manifesto, I, p. 134. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men,
p. 266, argues that the 'constitution of the proletariat into a class' of which
Flora Tristan spoke in 1843 of her Union ouvriere was an influence on Marx's
'discovery' of the German proletariat as a revolutionary force. Both M.
Dommanget, La Revolution de 1848 et le drapeau rouge (Paris, n.d.), pp.
20-22, and D. Desanti, Les Socialistes de l'utopie, pp. 307-8, argue that the
Communist Manifesto was influenced by V. Considerant's Manifeste societaire
(1841) and Manifest de la democratie (1847), although Dommanget shows
that Marx's work had no impact upon the revolutionary workers in Paris in
the 1848 revolution, p. 20.
70. Le Cataclysme sociale, ou Conjurons la tempete (Paris, 1845), p. 3.
71. Subtitled Consequences de proces des communistes (Paris, 1841), p. 4. La
Tribune du peuple first appeared in 1839.
72. Ni Chateaux ni chaumieres, p. 24.
73. F. Tristan, Union ouvriere, 3rd edn (Paris, 1844), pp. 3-4, calls for a universal
union of working men and women.
7 4. La Phalange, I (2 Sept. 1840), pp. 8-10. The article goes on to say that any
doctrine of social reform must be specific, experimental and verifiable. Its
reform is in 'Ia base', in the 'commune' and not in 'I'Etat'. Ibid., pp. 11-12.
75. This was true for both worker publicists and such figures as Blanqui, Cabet
and Dezamy. Proudhon boasted that his ideas were unprecedented in science
or philosophy, but it would be fair to say that he had a heroic notion of his
own importance. P.-J. Proudhon, Qu'est-ce que la propriete? (Paris, 1840),
PP· 1-4.
76. Tristan, Boyer, Cabet and others were active in organising workers and
propagandising for national and even international worker unions. Working
class writers also emphasised the common interests and common enemies of
the working classes across national boundaries. La Ruche populaire (Nov.
1840), p. 15. An article probably written by V. Considerant was intensely
aware of 'an intestine war of the classes', between 'capitalists and wage
labourers. Now between these two classes, there remains a flagrant hostility
of interests.' La Phalange, I (1 Oct. 1836), p. 277. But a later Fourierist paper
rejected the idea of the inevitability of class struggle: 'The desperate struggles
of capital against capital, of capital against labour and talent. .. of workers
against the bosses, of each against all and all against each are in no way
conditions fatally attached to life and humanity. They are only related to the
current structure of industry and the system of anarchic and disordered
competition.' La Democratie pacifique, I (1 Aug. 1843), 'Manifeste sociale',
p. 3.
77. For detailed accounts of secret societies under the July Monarchy, see L. de
Ia Hodde, Histoire des societes secretes (Paris, 1850), pp. 11-17 and passim
for a contemporary, and very entertainingly unsympathetic account; and G.
Morange, Les Idees communistes dans les societes secretes et dans la presse
(Paris, 1905), pp. 3-16. For a survey of compagnonnage and workers'
mutualist societies, see J. Bron, Histoire du mouvement ouvrier francais, t. I
(Paris, 1968), pp. 46-52. Boyer and Tristan's propaganda for legal recognition
28 Introduction

of workers' organisations to rationalise labour-management relations and form

workers into a powerful interest group was of no immediate effect.
78. It is ironic that Engels frequently attributed great discoveries, 'solutions' and
'keys' to Marx's genius. E.g., 'Preface to the Third German Edition of The
Eighteenth Brumaire,' I, 396-7; 'Preface to the Second Volume of Capital',
II, pp. 154-5; and in Engels's 'Karl Marx', III, p. 86: 'Both the bourgeois
economists and the Socialists exerted themselves to give a scientifically valid
answer to this question [of surplus value], but in vain, until at last Marx came
forward with the solution.'
79. The most elaborate and systematic statement of philosophical materialism is
Dezamy's 'Quelques verites primordiales' in Code de la communaute (Paris,
1842), pp. 257-61, in which a kind of Hobbesian materialism is accompanied
by an explicit rejection of any religious faith in a supreme being or an afterlife.
These laws were reprinted in Dezamy's Almanach de la communaute, pp.
27-34. In the discourse of the period, those criticised for being 'communiste'
were often called atheists and materialists as terms of abuse.
80. ]. Dupre, 'Du communisme,' pp. 338, 342-3.
81. This is precisely the attack Marx made against French communist thought in
his 1844 manuscript, 'Private Property and Communism,' in R. C. Tucker
(ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader (New York, 1972), p. 68.
82. H. Richelot, 'De l'avenir du monde selon M. de Chateaubriand', Revue du
progres social, VI (June 1834), pp. 676-82, is a young defender of 'Ia cause
sociale' against the 'old athlete of Christianity' who laments the decay, levelling,
and stultification of democracy. Cabet published a R£futation (Sept. 1842)
against L. Reybaud's 'Idees et sectes communistes', which mercilessly ridiculed
Cabet along with Leroux and Proudhon for their 'hymns in honour of material
felicity', p. 27. Dezamy issued a 'Refutation' in L'Egalitaire, I (June 1840),
pp. 48-58, defending Babeuf against what he argued were false charges of
being a materialist by M. Thorc~ in the Journal du peuple.
83. E.g., Descartes's rationalism and empiricism, or Sartre's final inability to
reconcile existentialist subjectivism and freedom with Marxist historical
84. A common idea in the socialist movement, it is most explicitly stated by Leroux:
'It seems to us that the French School, summing up in that term the great
movement of destruction of the religious and political Middle Ages, [has) taken
the largest part in overthrowing the past and renewing the human spirit.'
Revue independante, III (May 1842), p. 345. L. Reybaud, the scornful critic
of socialism and communism, agreed that these movements had French roots,
'Des idees et des sectes communistes', pp. 29-31.
85. Proudhon always seemed to bring out Marx's harshest invective, even when
he was agreeing with the former's dislike for 'sentimental socialistic day-
dreams'. Marx toP. V. Annenkov (28 Dec. 1846), I, p. 526. Marx's scorn for
French socialism in general and Proudhon in particular is carried to remarkable
extremes later in this letter, pp. 526-7. Marx's Misere de la philosophie (1847)
is written largely in the same tone and idiom. P. A. F. Gerard, Le Socialisme
gaulois et l'individualisme germanique (Brussels, 1850), offers an interesting,
but very dubious, contemporary argument that Belgians cannot be socialists
because they are not French. Germans he condemns to being individualists.
86. The socialist movement generally regarded these as inextricable parts of their
Introduction 29
goal. The Fourierists, in some ways the most devoted to small-scale experi-
mentation and appealing to middle class professionals, nevertheless stated in
their 'Manifeste sociale' that the restructuring of industry must be accompanied
by an organisation of classes on an international basis. Democratie pacifique,
I (1 Aug. 1843), p. 3.
87. It will be noted, in reviewing the backgrounds of the publicists collected in this
book, that French socialists were far from being a social or educational elite.
Part I

Radical Socialists and

1. Louis-Auguste Blanqui
LOUIS-AUGUSTE BLANQUI (1805-81) was born in Puget-
Theniers, north of Nice. His father had been a member of the
revolutionary Convention and the Girondin party, supported the
Empire and became sub-prefect in his home town. Blanqui went to
Paris at the age of thirteen for his secondary education, first at a
school where his brother taught and then the lycee Charlemagne,
where he was a distinguished student. He became a private tutor,
then an instructor at his brother's school, and was by this time
already politically active. In 1824 he joined the secret society, the
Carbonari, and in 1827 was wounded three times in student dem-
onstrations. As a stenographer for Le Globe in 1829, Blanqui
familiarised himself with the works of Saint-Simon and Fourier. In
july 1830 he took to the barricades with rifle and tricolour hat to
fight against Charles X. With the july Monarchy established under
Louis-Philippe, Blanqui joined the secret Societe des Amis du
peuple. Later he founded the Societe des Families and Societe des
Saisons, conspiracies which earned him several terms in prison.
The initiation oath to the Saisons is followed by Blanqui's defence
at the trial of January 1832, in which Blanqui and fourteen other
members of Amis du peuple were charged with violations of press
laws and conspiracy against the state, but acquitted, although
Blanqui was fined 200 francs and sentenced to a year in prison for
contempt. An activist throughout his life, Blanqui spent a total of
thirty-three years in prison, and another ten years under house
arrest, exile or heavy police surveillance. In 1850, Marx wrote that
the very name Blanqui stood for permanent revolt, revolutionary
socialism and communism.

34 Radical Socialists and Communists

Oath of Membership into the

Societe des Saisons*
The new member is brought in blindfolded.
The President to the Presenter. What is the name of the new
brother you bring to us? . . To the new member. Citizen, what is
your age, profession, place of birth and place of residence? How do
you make your living?
Have you reflected upon the step that you now take, and the
engagement that you have just entered into? Are you well aware
that traitors are put to death?
Therefore swear, citizen, not to reveal to anyone what takes place
The President asks the following questions.
1. What do you think of royalty and kings? -That they are as
dangerous to mankind as the tiger is to other animals.
2. Who are now the aristocrats? -The aristocracy of birth was
abolished in July 1830. It has been replaced by the aristocracy of
money, which is as voracious as the former.
3. Must we be content with overthrowing the monarchy? -All
aristocrats must be overthrown, all privileges abolished.
4. What should we put in its place? -The government of the
people themselves, that is, the republic.
5. Are those who have rights without duties, as is true of
aristocrats, part of the people? -They should never be made a part.
They are to the social body what a cancer is to the human body.
The first condition of the social body's return to justice is the
annihilation of aristocracy.
6. Will the people be able to govern themselves immediately after
the revolution? -The social state being gangrenous, heroic remedies
are needed to return to a state of health. For a period of time the
people will need a revolutionary power.
7. In short, what then are your principles?-We must exterminate
the monarchy and all aristocrats, and replace them with a republic,
*Anonymous, but probably written by Blanqui: Source: V. P. Volguine, Auguste
Blanqui: Textes choisis (Paris, 1971), pp. 105-7, taken from Rapport ala Cour,
Affaire du 12 et 13 mai, M. F. Carre, procureur general.
Louis-August Blanqui 35

that is, a government of equality. But, in order to bring about this

government, we must employ a revolutionary power to assure that
the people exercise their rights.
Citizen, the principles that you have just enunciated are the only
just and effective principles to enable humanity to march towards
its definitive goal. But their realisation is not easy. Our enemies are
numerous and powerful. They have all the forces of society at their
disposal, while we republicans even have our name outlawed. We
have only our courage and righteousness. There is still time to
reflect on all the dangers to which you dedicate yourself in entering
our ranks. Are you resolved to brave a sacrifice of fortune, the loss
of liberty and perhaps even death?
Your reply is the proof of your strength. Arise, citizen, and swear
the following oath:
'In the name of the republic, I swear eternal hatred to all kings,
all aristocrats and all oppressors of humanity. I devoutly and
absolutely swear to the people my fraternity with all men, except
for aristocrats, whom I swear to punish as traitors. I promise to
give my life, even to climb the scaffold, if this sacrifice is necessary
to bring the reign of equality and the sovereignty of the people.'
The president places a dagger in his hand.
'May I be punished with a traitor's death, may I be slain with
this blade if I break this oath. I consent to be treated as a traitor
if I reveal the least thing to anyone, even my closest relative, if he
is not a member of this association.'
The President. Citizen, be seated. The Society receives your oath.
Now that you are a part of this association, work with us for the
emancipation of the people.
Citizen, your name will no longer be spoken amongst us. Here
is your membership number. You should provide yourself with
arms and ammunition. The Committee which leads the Society will
remain unknown up to the moment when we take up arms. Citizen,
one of your duties is to spread the association's principles. If you
know citizens who are devout and discreet, you must present them
to us.
The new member is taken outside.
36 Radical Socialists and Communists

Defence Before the Court of

President of the Court to the accused: What is your name, age, place
of birth and residence?
Blanqui: Louis-Auguste Blanqui, 26 years of age, born in Nice,
living in Paris, 96 rue de Montreuil faubourg Saint-Antoine.
President: What is your profession?
Blanqui: Proletarian.
President: That is not a profession.
Blanqui: What do you mean it is not a profession? It is the profession
of thirty million Frenchmen who live by their work and who are
deprived of political rights!
President: Well, so be it! Clerk, record that the accused is a

Blanqui: Gentlemen of the jury:

I am accused of having said to thirty million French men and
women, proletarians as I am, that they have the right to live. If that
is a crime, it seems to me that at least I should only answer for it
to men who were in no way at the same time both judges and
interested parties to the question. Now, Gentlemen, mark well that
the public prosecutor has not at all addressed himself to your sense
of equity and reason, but to your passions and interests. He does
not call for your severity towards an act contrary to morality and
the laws. He only seeks to unchain your vengeance against what he
represents as a menace to your life and possessions.
I am not, therefore, before judges, but in the presence of enemies.
It would seem quite useless in that case to defend myself. I am
resigned to all the verdicts which must bear upon me, vigorously
protesting nevertheless against this substitution of violence for
justice, and placing myself in the hands of the future to give force
to what is right. All the same, if it is my duty to myself, a proletarian
deprived of all my citizen rights, to decline the competence of a
tribunal composed only of the privileged, who are in no respect my
*Defense du citoyen Louis-Auguste Blanqui devant la cour d'assises (Paris, 1832).
Louis-August Blanqui 37

peers, I am convinced that you have sufficiently noble hearts to

appreciate the worthy role that honour imposes upon you in a
circumstance in which, as it were, unarmed adversaries are surren-
dered to you for immolation. As for our role it is mapped out in
advance. The role of the accuser is the only one befitting the
Do not imagine that those invested with authority by surprise
and fraud will be able at will to drag patriots before their courts
and force us, by brandishing the sword, to ask for mercy for our
patriotism. Do not think that we came here to acquit ourselves of
the offences imputed to us! Far from that, we are honoured by the
charge. It is from this very bench of criminals, where it is an honour
to be seated today, that we hurl our accusations at the misfortunates
who have ruined and dishonoured France, all the while awaiting
the natural order to be re-established in the roles for which the
opposing benches of this chamber were made, and accuser and
accused be returned to their true places.
What I am going to say will explain why we have written the
lines the king's retainers found incriminating, and why we will
write them again. The public prosecutor has, so to speak, placed in
perspective for your imagination a slave revolt, in order to excite
your hatred with fear. 'You see', he said, 'it is a war of the poor
against the rich. All who are owners have an interest in repelling
the invasion. We will take you to your enemies. Strike them now
before they become more formidable.' .
Yes, Gentlemen, this is a war between the rich and the poor: the
rich wanted it this way, because they are the aggressors. 1 But they
are upset that the poor resist. They would gladly say, in speaking
of the people: 'This animal is so ferocious that it defends itself when
attacked'. The prosecutor-general's entire philippic boils down to
that phrase.
There is no end to the denunciations of the proletariat as thieves
ready to throw themselves onto property owners. Why? Because
they complain of being crushed with taxes, to the profit of the
privileged. As for the privileged, they grow fat on the sweat of the
proletarian, such are the legitimate owners threatened with pillage
by an avid populace. It is not the first time executioners have given
themselves the airs of victims. Who, then, are these thieves worthy
of so many anathemas and torments? Thirty million French men
and women who pay a billion and a half to the tax collector and
a sum almost equal to that to the titled landowners. And the
38 Radical Socialists and Communists

property owners whom the entire society must clothe with its power,
they are two or three thousand idlers who calmly devour the billions
paid by these thieves. It seems to me that we have here, in another
form and between other adversaries, that earlier war of the feudal
barons against merchants, who were destroyed right on the main
roads. Indeed, the present government has no other foundation than
this iniquitous distribution of charges and benefits. The Restoration
instituted it in 1814 at the pleasure of the foreigner, 2 with the aim
of enriching an imperceptible minority of the leftovers of the nation.
A hundred-thousand bourgeois formed what they called, with a
bitter irony, the democratic element. 3 What is to be said, for God's
sake, of the other elements? Paul Courier4 has already immortalised
the typical stock pot, that steam engine which crushes the material
called people, in order to suck up the billions incessantly poured
into the coffers of a few idlers. It is a pitiless machine which
pulverises, one by one, twenty-five million peasants and five million
workers to extract their purest blood and transfuse it into the veins
of the privileged. 5
The cogs of this machine, assembled with an astonishing art,
touch the poor man at every instant of the day, hounding him in
the least necessity of his humble life, and the most miserable of his
pleasures, taking away half of his smallest gain. It is not enough
that so much money travels from the pockets of the proletariat to
those of the rich, arriving via the abysses of the tax collector. Still
larger sums are raised directly from the masses by the privileged,
by means of the laws they have the exclusive right to fabricate which
regulate industrial and commercial transactions.
So that the landowner may withdraw a huge rent from his fields,
foreign grains are hit with an import duty which raises the price
of bread. Now you know that a few centimes more or less on a loaf
of bread is life or death to several million workers. This legislation
on cereal crops is especially crushing to the maritime population in
the South. To enrich several large manufacturers and proprietors
of forests, we are burdened with enormous duties on German and
Swedish metals, to the extent that peasants are forced to pay dearly
for inferior tools when they should be able to buy good ones cheaply.
Foreigners in turn take revenge on our prohibitions by banning
French wines from their markets, which, combined with the tax
placed on this commodity at home, reduces the richest regions of
France to poverty. It kills viniculture, our country's most natural
product, a truly indigenous culture, the very one conducive to the
Louis-August Blanqui 39

greatest use of the land and favourable to the smallholder. I will not
even speak of the tax on salt, the lottery, the monopoly of tobacco
- in a word, this inextricable network of taxes, monopolie~, pro-
hibitions, customs duties and tolls which envelop the proletariat,
shackling and withering its members. Suffice it to say that this mass
of taxes is always apportioned in a manner to spare the rich and
exclusively burden the poor. In other words, the idlers exercise a
base plundering of the working masses. 6 This pillaging is, indeed,
Isn't there an enormous civil list for defraying the royalty, to
console them for the sublime sacrifice they make in their repose for
the happiness of the land? And, since one of the principal distinctions
of the younger Bourbons of the royal line consists in their huge
families, it will not do for the State to be stingy with things by
refusing life estates to the princes and dowries to the princesses.
There is also the immense army of sinecures, diplomats and func-
tionaries which France must furnish in a large way, so that their
luxury can in turn enrich a privileged bourgeoisie, since all the
money taken from the budget is spent in the cities. It would not do
to return to the peasant a single sou of the billion and a half francs,
of which they pay five-sixths.
Isn't it also necessary that this new financial wizard, this
nineteenth-century Gil Bias, courtesan and apologist for all the
ministers, favourite of Count d'Olivaris and the Duke de Lerme,
must sell the top jobs for a tidy sum of cash? It is indispensable to
grease the big wheels of the political machinery, richly endowing
sons, nephews, nieces and cousins. And courtiers, courtesans, intri-
guers, the brokers who give quotes at the stock exchange on the
honour and future of the country, the go-betweens; mistresses, the
government contractors, the intelligence officers who speculate about
the fall of Poland, all this vermin of the palaces and salons, shouldn't
we stuff all of them with gold? Shouldn't we help along the
fermentation of this dung-hill which so happily fertilises public
There is your government which the golden-mouthed ministry
offers us as the masterpiece of social organisation, the last word of
all that is good and perfect amongst the many administrative
mechanisms since the Flood. There you have what they vaunt as
the nee plus ultra of human perfectibility in matters of government!
It is all too plainly the theory of corruption pushed to its outer
limits. The strongest proof that this order of things is instituted
40 Radical Socialists and Communists

only with a view to the exploitation of the poor by the rich - in

which one can find no other basis than an ignoble and brutal
materialism - is that intelligence is beaten by helotry. Indeed, that
is a guarantee of morality, and any other morality introduced by
an oversight into such a system could only be regarded as an
infallible element of destruction.
I ask you, Gentlemen, how men of heart and intelligence, relegated
to the rank of pariah by a tasteless aristocracy of money, could fail
to resent such an outrage profoundly? How could they live, indif-
ferent to the shame of their country, to the suffering of the proletariat,
their brothers in misfortune? Their duty is to call upon the masses
to break this yoke of misery and ignominy. This duty I have fulfilled
despite prisons. We will fulfil it to the end in the face of our enemies.
When behind us we have a great people marching toward the
conquest of their freedom and well-being, one must throw himself
in the trenches, set up bridgework and make one's own way.
The organs of state complacently repeat that there are paths open
to the complaints of the proletariat, that laws offer them regular
channels through which their interests will receive a hearing. It is
a mockery. The tax collector, with his gaping mouth, awaits them
at the other end. One must work night and day only to be flung
from nourishment to the starvation incessantly emerging from that
chasm of taxation. Lucky ones have a few remaining scraps to fend
off their children's hunger. The people do not write letters to the
editor. They do not send petitions to the Chamber of Deputies. This
would be wasted time. What is worse, all the voices which get a
hearing in the political arena, voices from the salon, the boutiques,
the cafes - in a word from all the quarters where what is called
public opinion is formed - these voices are those of the privileged.
Not one belongs to the people. They are mute. They vegetate far
from the lofty regions where their destinies are shaped.
When, by chance, the public forum or the press allows a few
words of pity over their misery to escape, silence is hastily imposed
in the name of public security, thus prohibiting these burning
questions from being broached. Otherwise we hear cries of anarchy.
If a few men persist, prison does justice to those vociferations which
trouble the ministerial digestion. And then, in the face of a heavy
silence, people say: 'See, France is happy and calm. Order reigns!'
But when in spite of these precautions the cry of hunger, uttered
by the unhappy thousands, reaches the ears of the privileged, they
blush. 'The law must be strong', they cry. 'A nation must be no less
Louis-August Blanqui 41

than devoted to the law!' Gentlemen, would you agree that all of
our laws are good? Don't you know of a one that is ridiculous,
odious or immoral? Is it possible to hide behind so abstract a word
when applied to a chaos of forty-thousand laws, referring equally
to the best and worst of them? They reply, 'If there are bad laws,
ask for legal reform. In the meantime, obey ... ' Here is an even
more bitter mockery.
The laws are made by one-hundred thousand electors, applied
by one-hundred thousand jurors, enforced by one-hundred thousand
urban national guardsmen. The rural national guards have been
scrupulously disbursed, because they too closely resemble the people.
Now these electors, jurors and national guards are the same indi-
viduals. They have collected the most dissimilar functions, finding
themselves at the same time legislators, judges and soldiers, in such
a fashion that the same man spends the morning as a deputy making
the law, applies this law in the afternoon in the guise of a judge,
and executes it of an evening, in the streets, in the costume of the
national guard. What are the thirty millions of the proletariat to
make of these evolutions? They pay.
The apologists of representative government have principally
based their praise on what this system has consecrated as the
separation of three powers -legislative, judicial and executive. They
simply haven't enough admiring phrases for this marvellous equi-
librium which was to have resolved the long-standing problem of
reconciling order with liberty, of motion with stability. But it so
happens that it is precisely the representative system, such as the
apologists apply it, which concentrates the three powers within the
hands of that small number of the privileged, who are united by the
same interests. Isn't this a confusion which constitutes the most
monstrous tyranny, even by the admission of the apologists?
And so what happens? The proletariat is shut out. The Cham-
bers,7 elected by these hoarders of power, imperturbably carry out
their fabrication of fiscal, penal and administrative laws, all aimed
at the single goal of robbery. Now should the people begin crying
out in hunger, asking the privileged to abdicate their privileges, the
monopolists to renounce their monopolies, and all of them to abjure
their idleness, they laugh in their faces. What would the nobles
have done in 1789 if they had been humbly petitioned to set aside
their feudal rights? They would have chastened such insolence. One
goes about such things in another fashion.
The most cunning of this gutless aristocracy, sensing the menace
42 Radical Socialists and Communists

for themselves in the despair of a multitude deprived of bread,

propose to lighten their load a little, not by humanity, God knows,
but to save themselves from peril. As for political rights, that is
unmentionable. They only want to throw the proletariat a bone to
Other men, with the best intentions, pretend that the people are
weary of liberty and ask only to live. I can hardly comprehend what
whim of despotism leads them to vaunt the example of Napoleon,
who managed to rally the masses by giving them bread in exchange
for their liberty. It is true that this levelling despot sustained himself
for some time, and this was especially due to his flattering the
passion for equality. He would have had the thieving food merchants
shot, whereas today they would be elected deputies. He is no less
dead for having killed freedom. Those who would bring his heirs
back to power should profit from this lesson.
It is futile to counter the cries of distress from a famished
population, only to repeat the insolent word of imperial Rome:
Bread and circuses! They know very well that the people are no
longer begging! It is not a question of letting a few crumbs fall from
a splendid table in order to amuse them. The people do not need
alms. They want to gain their well-being on their own. They want
to make and they will make laws that will manage just that. Then
laws will no longer be devised against them; they will be made by
them. We recognise in no one the right to bestow a kind of largesse
that might be simply rescinded by a contrary whim.
We ask for the thirty-three million French to choose their form
of government, and name, by universal suffrage, representatives
who will make these laws. This reform accomplished, the taxes
which rob the poor to the profit of the rich will be promptly
suppressed and replaced by others established on opposite grounds.
Instead of taking from the labouring proletariat to give to the rich,
taxes should seize the idlers' superfluity and apportion it to the
masses of indigent men now condemned to inactivity by the lack of
money. Taxes should hit the unproductive consumers in order to
nourish the sources of production and gradually ease the suppression
of public credit, that running sore of the nation. And finally to
substitute for the fatal intrigues of the stock market, there should
be a national banking system where active men will find the means
of investment. Then and only then will taxes become a blessing.
That, Gentlemen, is how we understand the Republic, and not any
other way. Seventeen-ninety-three8 was a healthy scare for the
Louis-August Blanqui 43

doorkeepers and domino players. Take note, Gentlemen, that it is

by design that we utter the words universal suffrage, to show our
distrust of certain rapprochements. We know too well how a
government with its back to the wall invents lies, calumnies, ridic-
ulous and perfidious tales in order to restore some credibility to that
old story, so long exploited, of an alliance between the republicans
and the Carlists ... 9
Indeed, the word Carlist is a nonsense. There are and there can
be in France only royalists and republicans. The question is each
day divided more sharply between these two principles. The good
people who once believed in a third principle - those neutered
creatures one calls the juste milieu - now abandon, little by little,
this absurdity and flow back toward one or the other flag according
to their passion and interest. Now you men of the monarchy, who
use the monarchy as you please, we know to what banners your
doctrines call you. You never waited eighteen months to decide. On
28 July 1830, 10 at ten o'clock in the morning ... as I was going to
get my gun and tricolour cockade, one of today's eminent personnages
cried out in indignation: 'Sir, the tricolour may very well be your
colours, but they will never be mine. The white flag is the flag of
France.' In such a way do these gentlemen try to serve up France
on a canape.
Well, we have conspired for fifteen years against the white flag,
and we had to grit our teeth when seeing it flying over the Tuileries
and the Hotel de Ville, where the foreigner had raised it. The most
beautiful day of our lives was when we dragged it through the mire
of the gutters and trod upon the white cockade, that prostitute of
the enemy camps. It takes a rare dose of impudence to throw the
accusation of connivance with royalism in our faces. And on the
other hand it is a very awkward hypocrisy to commiserate with our
supposed credulity, our simple-minded goodwill, which makes us,
they say, dupes of the Carlists ...
For the rest, I repeat, it will soon be necessary to choose between
a monarchical monarchy and a republican republic. We shall see
what the majority favours. Already, if the Opposition in the Cham-
ber of Deputies, as national as it is, cannot completely rally the
country; if the Government is justified in accusing it of ineptitude
and weakness, it is because, while plainly rebuffing the royalty, the
Opposition has not dared to declare itself with the same frankness
for the Republic. In saying what it does not want, it has expressed
what it wants. They do not. hesitate to distort the term republic,
44 Radical Socialists and Communists

with which these men of the Corruption 11 strive to make the nation
fearful, knowing well that the nation desires it almost unanimously.
They have disfigured history for forty years with an unbelievable
success, with a view to causing alarm. But the past eighteen months
have exposed them in so many errors, dissipated by so many lies,
that the people will no longer stand for it. They want both liberty
and well-being. It is a slander to represent them as prepared to give
up all their liberties for a morsel of bread. We must fling this
imputation back at the faithless politicians who have uttered it.
Haven't the people, in every crisis, shown themselves ready to
sacrifice their welfare and lives for moral concerns? Wasn't it the
people who, in 1814, asked to die rather than see the foreigner in
Paris ?12 What material desire pushed them to this act of devotion?
They had as much bread on the first of April as they had on the
thirtieth of March.
The privileged, by contrast, one would have supposed so easy to
move with the great ideas of patriotism and honour, thanks to the
exquisite sensibilities they owe to their opulence. They should at
least have been able to calculate better than others the disastrous
consequences of the foreign invasion. After all, they were the ones
who donned white hats in the presence of the enemy and embraced
the cossack's bootsY The classes who applauded their country's
dishonour, who loudly profess a disgusting materialism, who sac-
rificed a thousand years of liberty, prosperity and glory to three
days of repose/ 4 purchased by infamy: these classes would have the
exclusive custody of national dignity in their hands! Because they
have been brutalised by corruption, they can only recognise the
appetites of a brute in the people, thus arrogating to themselves the
right of dispensing the food required to maintain the animated
vegetation which they exploit!

Liberty! Well-being! National honour! Such were the legends

inscribed on the plebeian flag of 1830. But the doctrinaires 15 read
in their place: Maintenance of all privilege! The Charter of 1814!
Quasi-legitimacy! As a consequence, they have delivered the people
into servitude and misery at home, and infamy abroad. Were the
proletariat therefore crushed only for a change in the image on coins
that they so rarely see? . . . That is the opinion of a ministerial
publicise 6 who insists that in July we persisted in wishing for a
constitutional monarchy, with the variant of Louis- Philippe in place
Louis-August Blanqui 45

of Charles X. The people, according to him, only took part in the

struggle as instruments of the middle classes, that is to say, the
proletariat were gladiators to kill and be killed for the amusement
and profit of the privileged, who applaud from their windows ...
No wonder the battle is over. The pamphlet which contains these
lovely theories of representative government appeared on 20 Novem-
ber [1831]. Lyon replied on the 21 st. 17 This reply by the Lyonnais
seemed so abrupt that no one had another word to say about the
publicists' work.
What an abyss the events in Lyon revealed to our eyes! The entire
country was moved to pity at the sight of this army of spectres, half
consumed by hunger, running toward the fusillade in order to die,
at least, from gunfire.
This happened not only in Lyons. Everywhere workers die,
crushed by taxes. It would take all of Europe to redeem these men,
so recently proud of a victory in which their arrival on the political
scene coincided with the triumph of liberty. They now fight against
hunger, which no longer leaves them enough strength to be indignant
about still more dishonour added to the dishonour of the
Restoration ...
There is the France of July such as the doctrinaires would have
us believe it. Who could have imagined it? In those heady days,
rifles on our shoulders, we instinctively roved the streets, across the
torn-up pavement and the barricades, completely filled with our
triumph, chests swollen with happiness, dreaming of the pallor of
kings and the joy of the people upon hearing the distant roar of our
Marseillaise. Who could have known that so much joy and glory
would be transformed into such grief? Who would have thought,
in seeing these six-feet tall workers, whom the bourgeois embraced
in envy of their tatters and rags, repeating their disinterestedness
and courage with sobs of admiration; who would have thought they
would die in misery on the streets, their own conquered territory,
and that their admirers 18 would call them the plague of society.
Oh magnanimous shades, glorious workers - whose very hands
I have clenched to express a dying farewell, whose agonised visage
I have veiled with rags - you died happy in the bosom of a victory
which atoned for your race. And, six months later, I have come
across your children on the floor of prisons. Every evening I go to
sleep on my pallet to the sounds of them cursing their gaolers, and
to their groans and the whistle of the whip intended to silence their
46 Radical Socialists and Communists

Gentlemen, isn't there a certain imprudence in these prodigious

outrages toward men who have given their all and who find
themselves in a worse condition than those who have pushed them
into combat? Is it wise to teach so bitter a lesson to the people: that
in triumph they have been duped by their moderation. Can one be
so very certain of never having need of clemency from the proletariat
that one may, fully secure, expose oneself to finding them pitiless?
It seems to me that some take no other precaution against popular
vengeance than premature exaggeration, as if exaggerating the
imaginary tableaux of murder and pillage were the only means of
conjuring up reality. It is easy to place the bayonets on the breasts
of men who have surrendered their arms after victory.
What will be less easy is to efface the memory of this victory.
Now almost eighteen months have been spent in reconstructing,
piece by piece, what was overthrown in forty-eight hours, and these
eighteen months of reaction haven't even disturbed the work of three
days. No human power can reduce to non-existence what was in
fact accomplished. Ask of those who complain about an effect
without a cause if they flatter themselves to think that there might
be causes without effects. France was conceived in the bloody
embrace of six thousand heroes. The childbirth must perhaps be
long and painful, but her loins are robust, and the doctrinaire
poisoners will not be able to abort it.
You have confiscated the weapons of July. But the shots were
fired. Each one of these bullets from the Parisian workers is en
route to circle the globe. They strike incessantly. They will continue
to strike until there is no longer a single enemy of liberty and the
people's welfare standing. 19


1. Blanqui's emphasis of passages found in contempt of Court.

2. A derogatory reference to Louis XVIII, the Bourbon king (1814-24), who
had lived in England since 1789. ·
3. There were approximately 100,000 electors by the Constitutional Charter
acceded to by Louis XVIII on 4 June 1814, the franchise being determined
by wealth, with a bias in favour of land. By 1830, the electorate had grown
to about 166,000 due to liberalisations introduced after the July Revolution,
and it continued to expand until 1848, when the electorate numbered a quarter
of a million.
4. Paul-Louis Courier (1772-1825) wrote numerous tracts and political satires
defaming the Church and the nobility.
Louis-August Blanqui 47

5. This passage was altered by the Court, and held in contempt. (L.-A. B.)
Original notes by the authors will be denoted with their initials.
6. Passage condemned by the Court. (L.-A. B.) No emphasis in text.
7. The Charter provided for a Chamber of Peers, appointed by the king, and a
Chamber of Deputies. Those eligible to run for the latter, due to qualifications
based on wealth, numbered only about a tenth of the electorate, so that often
more than half of the Deputies were noblemen.
8. The year began with the beheading of Louis XVI, the moderate Girondins
were overthrown (2 June), and the newly formed Committee of Public Safety
under Robespierre, with the revolutionary tribunal, intensified the Terror,
closed the churches and began official dechristianisation.
9. The term refers to Carolingians, i.e., the partisans of 'legitimacy' of the
Bourbon line of the dynasty dating to Charlemagne (reigning 768-814) and
opposed to the Orleanist line then reigning in the person of Louis-Philippe,
due d'Orleans, invited to the throne after the July Revolution of 1830.
10. This was the day when the insurgents in Paris took over the Hotel de Ville.
11. A play on the world 'Restoration'.
12. Louis XVIII returned to restore the Carolingian dynasty after Napoleon's
abdication in 1814.
13. With Napoleon's armies in total collapse and the British occupying Bordeaux,
Russian and Prussian troops, led respectively by their Tsar and King, entered
Paris on 31 March 1814. A provisional government, headed by Talleyrand,
was formed, Napoleon abdicated on 5 April and Louis XVIII was proclaimed
king the following day.
14. The reference is to 27-29 July 1830, the 'trois glorieuses' days of the July
Revolution, when a provisional government invited the Due d'Orleans first to
be Lieutenant-Governor then, when Charles X abdicated on 2 August, to be
15. A group of moderate partisans in the Chamber of Deputies led by Francois
16. This is a probable reference to Guizot.
17. On this date the textile workers in Lyon revolted, but it was sharply suppressed
by 3 December.
18. The moderate republicans and liberals.
19. The jury deliberated for three hours, and returned a unanimous verdict of not
guilty on behalf of all defendants. The chief prosecutor, M. Delapalme,
requested a prison sentence for the inflammatory nature of several parts of
Blanqui's defence. Found guilty of two articles of the Criminal Code, Blanqui
was fined 200 francs and sentenced to a year in prison.
2. Richard Lahautiere
RICHARD LAHAUTI:ERE (1813-82), born Auguste Richard de
la Hautiere, was a Paris lawyer. A follower of Babeufand Buonarroti,
he contributed to neo-Babeuvist journals such as Dezamy's Egalitaire
and Albert Laponneraye's l'Intelligence. He retired from political
journalism after the revolutionary events of 1848-9. The 'catechism'
format was used by nearly all socialist and communist writers of the
period. 1

A Brief Catechism of Social


I. Of society

What is society?- The reconciliation of all men scattered over the

face of the earth.
Why do men gather together? -Because individually they are too
weak to fight against the evils which beset humanity.
How is this union to be defined? -As an assurance against
What is the foundation of society? -Equality.
What is its aim? -The general welfare.
Do we presently constitute a society? -No. The minority prospers
while the majority suffers.
*Petit catechisme de la reforme sociale (Paris, June 1839)

Richard Lahautiere 49

What is the source of this anomaly? -Men, by departing from

their original condition, have lost sight of the very point of associ-
ation: 'The principle of equality.' From the struggle between
strength and weakness, slavery is born. The competition between
wealth and poverty produces the proletariat. Bondage and poverty:
such are the end results of all social fictions, ancient and modern.
How do we close these two wounds of humanity? -By submitting
power and wealth to the level of equality.
You claim that mankind constitutes a single society, but aren't
they divided into nations? -Differences in climate produce differ-
ences in customs. Those whom a like climate and similar habits
bring together make up a people. But different peoples are merely
subdivisions of the greater family, just as the provinces are only
subdivisions of France.
Why did the various nations split apart? -Because tyrants saw
the need to divide in order to conquer. Put a Russian and a
Frenchman, who are today regarded as national enemies, together
in a desert, and you will see them unite to repel dangers and to
provide for their survival.
When will international wars ever cease? -When tyrannies are
If force creates slavery, if tyranny causes war, what is it that
individuals and peoples lack in achieving happiness? -Liberty.
But will freedom alone bring about equality on earth? -No.
Free men, divided against each other, allow the strong to devour the
weak if a bond does not unite them.
What is this bond? -Fraternity.
What, then, based on your careful reasoning, are the principles
of social regeneration? -Equality, Liberty, Fraternity.

II. Rights and duties

What do you mean by equality? -1 mean by this the attainment

of equal duties and of equal rights for all.
What are each person's rights? -They may be divided into natural
rights and social rights.
What are natural rights? -The satisfaction of life's needs: food,
shelter and clothing. The fundamental article of the social contract,
certainly, has been the assurance given by society to each of its
members of bread, shelter and clothing sufficient to protect one from
heaven's inclemency. All other rights are only corollaries of this
50 Radical Socialists and Communists

vital principle. All duties, all arts, all crafts converge on this
imperious need of nature. To the extent that, in the entire world,
a single man cries out: 'I am hungry! I am cold!', society is to that
extent not organised.
Once society has assured the satisfaction of natural needs to all,
won't it, according to a hierarchy of wealth or nobility, give hardtack
and a thatched hut to some, and a gleaming palace and fine delicacies
to others?- This inequality of rights can only result in an inequality
of duties, and yet we will see below that all duties are equal.
What are social rights? -Equal distribution of the light of reason
and the opportunity for anyone to elect and be elected to public
What are the duties? -They may be summed up in one word:
Work. All members of society must work together, through indi-
vidual labour, for the general well-being. While a single idler
vegetates in this world, society will be in peril. While there exists
a single worker acting only for himself and not with a view to the
masses, monopoly and poverty will threaten us. If the baker only
kneaded bread for his daily needs, if the tailor sewed only his own
vestments, if the scientist were only studying for his own personal
satisfaction, the baker would have neither clothes to wear nor the
knowledge necessary to perfect his own industry, the tailor would
be sunk in ignorance and cry out in famine, the scientist would die
cold and hungry. If on the other hand the baker, tailor and scientist
were to sell their day's product or the fruits of their past labours,
our gnawing poverty would still deprive most men of bread, clothes
and education. In a well organised society, which assures life in
body and mind to each of its members, all individuals must, in
return, work freely for society and cooperate, each in his own
sphere, in satisfying the needs of all.
Will each person's share in the public wealth be equal? -Abso-
lutely. Nature has given men hands and a mind. Such are the
instruments that they place in common. Society uses these instru-
ments according to its needs, assigns to each his task. The investment
is the same for all; the benefits ought to be equal.
But don't those with powerful arms or superior minds make up
a stronger contingent than those who are weak in mind or body?
-Yes, if one were to speak of absolute equality, but we are suggesting
a proportional equality. The contribution of each should be meas-
ured according to his ability, and his share in the common store
shall be determined in proportion [fixee au prorata] to his needs.
Richard Lahautiere 51

What is freedom? -The vested right of every man to develop his

faculties as he sees fit.
Is this right unlimited? -In a well constituted State, it would not
have to be. Unlimited freedom for some produces tyranny. Napoleon
was the only free man of his day and Europe became enslaved.
Unlimited for all, it degenerates into licence and anarchy. Liberty
for industry and free competition - of which our businessmen are
so proud - kills the people. Everyone is free today to choose his
career, but the goal is reached only by the strong and the clever.
The weak and the simple-minded die along the way, broken or
robbed by their rivals. We are certainly justified in saying: 'Life is
Regenerated society would assign to each of its members his limit
and his task. Through the alienation of a portion of his liberty one
would purchase a peaceful existence, and in this fashion we would
not see the countryside widowed of its labourers and the city glutted
by industrial workers devouring each other.
How are we taught our rights and duties? -By religion and the

III. Of religion

What is religion? -A common belief which binds men together

and, with a common effort, thrusts them toward a common goal.
To this day has there been a true religion on earth? -No. The
earth has been tyrannised, divided and steeped in blood by a hundred
different cults. No common tie has brought men together: thus
religion can never have existed. Jupiter was unthroned by Jesus;
the crescene fought the cross; Luther revealed the pope's lies. All
of these superstitions have torn open the very entrails of humanity.
If God exists, one must still curse and damn all these pretended
representatives who preach of heaven and pillage the earth.
So what is the religion of society? -Equality.
What is its goal? -The well-being of all.
Its bond? -Fraternity.
Its precepts? -Devotion.
Its sanctions? -Contempt for egoism.
52 Radical Socialists and Communists

IV. Of the law

What is law? -The rule of social and private conduct mapped

out by the general will. 3
What do you mean by social conduct?- The relations of the social
body with its individual members, and of individuals with society.
What do you mean by private conduct? -Relations between
citizens alone.
What is the general will? -The wish of the majority. 4
Is man able to make the law? -Never. He may only propose
drafts. The nation approves, modifies or rejects them.
But if this man is a legislator? -No one may be elected the sole
legislator. In grave circumstances, one might temporarily authorise
a single citizen to execute the law, but one must never submit the
entire society to the caprice of one person. Who among us can boast
a perfect knowledge of the thoughts, wishes and needs of his
neighbour? Where is the human being who is able to soar with
total confidence above humanity, alone to embrace and express the
will of all?
Who should edit5 the law? -An assembly of citizens elected from
each locality by general suffrage and meeting at the governmental
What is the basis of law? -Equality.
Isn't this the basis of present legislation? -We have what is called
equality before the law, which allows every citizen to subpoena his
peer before a court of law. And yet in how many ways is this narrow
equality transgressed and evaded? What I have in mind is a level
at which all citizens are equal in their mutual and private relations.
From the moment it is decreed that villager and city-dweller,
bricklayer and architect are equal, the architect and the townsman
will no longer disdainfully call the mason or the villager: 'My good
man, my friend!' And the latter will no longer respectfully take off
his hat to the former. One must only uncover before the Tables of
the Law or before the white hair of the elderly.
What should be the purpose of the law? -To prevent struggles
and misfortune.
Isn't that the case already? -Present law punishes the crime
without destroying its causes. There are articles of the penal code
which condemn theft. I see no section which prohibits hunger, the
mother of theft. The law as I understand it, assuring to everyone
Richard Lahautiere 53

the satisfaction of his needs and forbidding idleness, will kill crime.
Today, we kill the criminal.
What is the difference between law and religion? -Law rules
external conduct, while religion inspires internal and moral senti-
ments, the guides of our actions. Religion persuades, law commands.
How are they related? -Both law and religion are built upon
equality and tend to social well-being. What law decrees, religion
already preaches. Religion, leaving behind its imagined loftiness
and descending to earth,6 will join hands with law. As sisters, they
will guide humanity in the same path. And so the struggle between
the spiritual and the temporal, which has torn the world asunder
since the beginning of time, will cease.
Who will preach religion and execute the law? -Government.

V. Of government

What is government? -The executive power of the general will.

To whom is this power entrusted? -To men elected by the
What is the sovereign? -The nation.
Are these men permanently invested with such power? -Irre-
movable power is contrary to all notions of prudence and reason.
Officials exercise their powers in virtue of a mandate, and all
mandates are revocable. If I gave my proxy to an unfaithful friend,
who then loots my savings, or incompetently muddles up my affairs,
common sense tells me that I needn't be bound by my first choice.
I placed my confidence in him because I believed him worthy of it;
finding him unworthy, I cast him aside.
Don't all men, indeed all peoples, reason this way? -It is a fact
that certain men, certain peoples, reason badly, or not at all. In
certain lands, people rely upon legitimacy and divine right ...
Then usurpers, who rise up against divine right and break the
electoral urn in order to install themselves, destroy the prestige of
the office and are hard put to invoke later, on their own account,
a legitimacy which they mocked in others. The history of kings is
a perpetual programme of usurpations. So much for the nations
who reason badly. Those who do not reason at all still sleep the
sleep of infancy, and a few boyars or janissaries7 make and unmake
kings by the right of the dagger and noose. The people take little
notice of dagger and noose. The people take little notice of the man.
Their king is the scourge or the club.
54 Radical Socialists and Communists

How do we reason in France? -A balance has been invented

whereby one side, the Chamber of Peers, represents the nobility
and the other, the Chamber of Deputies, represents the people. The
beam of the scales is the king, charged with maintaining a perfect
equilibrium between two sides. This would be a good system if the
noble order had not been destroyed in August 1789, and if the
people in fact consisted of only two-hundred thousand electors
instead of thirty-two million men. It would still be necessary for the
king to content himself with maintaining an equilibrium between
the two governing powers, and not govern himself, according to the
lofty pretensions of some miserable official journals. The government
I have just portrayed is called representative.
Are there other governmental arrangements? -Certainly, but it
would be dangerous to explain them here. Let us move on to the
government's duties.
What are they? -To take care that no member of the human
family lacks for bread, shelter and clothing. The duty of society is
to protect men from the horrors of hunger and cold, the governors
being merely the agents of society for this task. This first duty
fulfilled, the government will then take care that all citizens con-
tribute through their labour to the general welfare.
How will the government watch out for each person's life and
work? -By setting itself up as the central agent of resources and
What do you mean by resources? -The earth and the raw
materials provided by nature, and the machines which men have
created. I imagine a national ownership of land and a mandated
government leasing the land to the nation's farmers and vignerons,
and depending upon them to make it yield and to send their harvests
and vintages to public storehouses, without setting aside or mono-
polising a seed or a grape. I imagine the nation as the proprietor
of industries to transform the fruits of the earth, making them
suitable to satisfy a variety of need!>, and a mandated government
of the nation rearing men of industry in these factories, and
depending upon them to fill the State's emporiums with the products
of their labour, all calculated according to general utility. The same
will be true of libraries and professors, jurists and publicists; the
same for churches and ministers of egalitarian religion. The govern-
ment must, besides, take care that no portion of public works be
neglected or overburdened. There must be many farmers, but not
too many writers.
Richard Lahautiere 55

Are members of government greater than other men? -Not at all.

My agent is not above me. He carries out a duty in the same way
as any citizen. Each person is in his sphere a public functionary,
contributing to the common good. What we pay respect to in
governments is the national character in which they are clothed and
the law which they execute.
Are these ideas being realised today? -Today people prefer what
is ostentatious. A man gleaming of gold is admired as the sun once
was. But shouldn't the poor, whose suffering indicts society's injus-
tice, be even more honoured? Today the mission of government is
to levy taxes of gold and blood. These taxes are of no profit to the
unfortunate beggar: conscription steals away his son, or he sells him
for a crust of bread. Obviously, 'Working to live', that foundation
of society, is turned upside down. Some are idlers and grow fat.
The others, and the great number, groan under their burden, and
finally die. Let us return quickly to that maxim of governmental
wisdom: Distribute the bread and the work to all.
If social government oversees every person's work, must it train
citizens and make them willing to do their share of public activity?
-Yes, the government must take charge of education.
In this genera/ising of work and production, what becomes of
property? -We will explain that later, and likewise for the family,
whose fundamentals must be returned to their original nature.

VI. Of education

What is education? -Preparation given to the minds of children

and young men 8 to make them good and useful citizens.
Up to now, has education been understood in this way? -No. The
step-sons of high society were taught proper address, to speak well,
and this often succeeded in making a pliant automaton and an
accomplished parrot of him. The obscure proletarian, put out to
apprenticeship, becomes a carpenter or wheelwright, etc. Neither
the one nor the other is a citizen. Both are ignorant, the rich of his
duties, the poor of his rights. Or perchance if a few - be they poor
or, especially, rich- by some good fortune are seriously instructed,
their intelligence, more developed than their peers', renders them
disdainful and proud. This distinction of learning produces a more
dangerous aristocracy than those of title and fortune. The ignorance
of the masses and the enlightenment of the minority are the principal
causes of the people's social inferiority.
56 Radical Socialists and Communists

How do we extirpate this vice?- Through public, common edu-

cation. Secondary schools must be open. The law must require all
citizens, without exception, to send their children to them. National
professors must cultivate their students' minds, not with a vain,
high-flown literature but with principles from the moral science
which is summed up in three words: equality, liberty, fraternity!
They must learn history, not of kings but of peoples. They must
trace the map of accomplished progress, and of the steps remaining
to be taken. They must inculcate in their young and tender hearts
a love of humanity. That will suffice for religion. The law and
practical justice make up the second branch of common education.
Finally, special study rooms and workshops will be provided for
students according to their tastes and capabilities, and the needs of
the State. Examinations will appraise their progress. Having left
these schools9 the children, now become men, will be first and
foremost citizens, then good farmers, industrial workers, jurists or
writers. Nourished by the same milk, they will regard themselves
as brothers, contributing to social harmony with neither envy nor
pride, each in his own speciality. In the same way that the farmer
who sows the earth then has a right to its fruits, the State will justly
lay claim to the products of common education, and will effortlessly
inculcate the idea of governmental centralisation into their hearts. 10
Today the artisan, subjected to licensing taxes/ 1 says indignantly
to the nation: 'It is I who paid to learn my craft. I practise and reap
the fruits for my trouble and the interest from my money. Why do
you levy a tax on what belongs to me?'
In taking possession of men from an early age and rearing them
up in that earliest education which today they derive from their
paternal training, will the State not destroy the family spirit? -We
will speak of the family later. For the moment let us say that man
first belongs to the State, and the family must have only secondary
affections. In the past, people reasoned: 'Myself, my family, my
country!' This pretended spirit of family and of nationality was only
the mask of a narrow egoism. The man was all, humanity nothing.
Each for himself. One protected the family better to defend and
support himself. One flew to the aid of the fatherland to keep the
enemy from overrunning the field and burning the house owned by
the family. Antagonism of people to people, caste to caste, man to
man: such was the consequence of this reasoning. Looking at
everything in terms of himself, the strongest self-servingly buttressed
himself on his kinsmen. On this was built hereditary aristocracy,
Richard Lahautiere 57

partriarchy and feudalism; and on this, as a consequence, the

proletariat, slavery and poverty. If the first effect of public education
is to confound the ranks and level them, to remove the sons of the
mighty as the pride of their fathers, to accustom the child to consider
all of humanity as a single, powerful family, the benefit will be
immense. Servitude and poverty will disappear forever, ideas of
rivalry and struggle will give place to the sweet sentiments of charity
and fraternity, and we will all take delight in the extinction of
family spirit.

VII. Of property

What is property? -The right given by nature to each living

creature to things necessary for its needs.
Doesn't property therefore extend, according to your definition,
to possessing all goods which one might enjoy? -No. Possession is
not always justified. In the world economy each living creature has
limited and calculable needs for survival. To take more than one's
needs is to trespass on one's neighbour. The luxury of one becomes
the want of the other. It is for fending off the unfortunate invasions
of the weak by the strong that men have united together.
So Jar haven't they achieved their purpose? -No, because up to
now the strong have formed coalitions against the weak.
By what means will each person be confined to the limits of his
right? -By assigning to the nation, a collectivity of individuals, the
centralisation of all things necessary for life.
lsn 't this centralisation somewhat destructive of property?
-Quite the contrary, it strengthens property. To centralise in the
name of the State is to declare that each person has a right over
others proportional to his needs. This right is exercised by govern-
ments, acting as agents for their citizens, equitably sharing out all
goods. When this happens, luxury will no longer be an insult to
poverty, nor will poverty lash out at wealth. Envy and avarice give
way to impartiality and concord. Each, secure in life, makes no
attempt on the life of his equal.
However if all products, be they from nature or industry, redound
to the State, will it not exercise a monopoly? -No. Monopoly is a
right that a few arrogate to themselves, but here the State is a
central savings bank. All products are returned to it, but only to be
distributed carefully and orderly to all the members of the associ-
ation. If, in a nation, one individual works and is hungry while
58 Radical Socialists and Communists

others are fed and are at leisure, one may cry out against monopoly.
In society as I conceive it, where general ownership replaces
individual monopoly, everyone living and working will have an
equal share of rights and duties.

VIII. Of the family

What is the family? -The union of man and woman, and of the
race issuing from their blood.
What is its foundation? -The attraction between the two sexes
and the instinctive and natural fondness which unites parents to
their progeny.
Is this parental tenderness for their children real? -It cannot be
denied. As others have said, to desire an end to the family would
be to show oneself deaf to the voice of nature. Anyone who claims
that mutual and reciprocal love between fathers and children is a
paradox is clearly not a father. If we often see discord seated at the
paternal hearth, one must still take note of the divergent opinions,
the despotic ideas that the old society has planted in fathers' hearts
and the desire for freedom which animates the coming generation.
One must emphasise cupidity on the one hand and avarice on the
other. Once the vital part of the family is no longer money, but the
heart; once the voice of nature alone is heard, peace and love will
resume their places in the father's home. Say to the savage in
Canada that he does not love his son and he will call you a
blasphemer. His religion, to him, is observed under the branches
from which dangles the corpse of his dead son. The family, among
primitive men, is so respected that the cemetery where their parents
are buried is better defended and guarded than the lodges of the
What is the family's bond? -Marriage.
Is this bond indispensable? -No. To engage oneself for life is to
violate human freedom. I bind myself through love. A difference of
mood or the impact of different personalities may one day bring on
hatred and antipathy. Marriage without divorce to temper its
constraints would be a yoke as heavy for individuals as a government
established in perpetuity would be for society. Why prescribe for
members individually what one rejects with regard to the social
Nlay we permit the temporary union of man and woman outside
the bonds of marriage? -This would be to fall from one excess to
Richard Lahautiere 59

another. The two sexes are fulfilled only by their alliance. If instead
of that holy and solemn bond one were to admit a passing embrace,
a brutal coupling, one would reduce man to the level of the beasts.
What distinguishes us from other animals is the constancy of our
affections and wills. And then if one is convinced, as I am, that the
mutual love of children and parents is natural, can you not see what
perturbations these sacred instincts would suffer from the negation
of marriage? Marriage is a second birth, the birth of a family, a
new citizen come to life and proclaimed to the nation. Spouses must
therefore declare their union, maintaining it so long as peace and
concord may reign between them. Divorce is a violent remedy only
to be employed in the last extremity, because divorce kills the family.
You will never have a more powerful ally than the family in your
views on social well-being. Public education teaches children, but
the family's caresses refine their character and make them fit for
social life. Fathers animated by sentiments of liberty, fraternity and
equality, as they were themselves inspired from youth, will com-
plement the professors at school and the ministers of religion.
Having reached the age of twenty-one, strong in the patriotic and
paternal nourishment of mind and heart, the new man will in turn
be suitable to rear a race of wise and devout citizens.
In this brief catechism we have only managed to skim the surface
of the vital questions. So it is very incomplete. On another occasion
we will speak, as openly as is possible today, on morality and justice
such as we conceive them. We draw our convictions from the needs
of the suffering class. May they forgive our imperfections!


1. Engels' Principles of Communism (1847), composed as the draft programme

of the Communist League, was written in a question and answer format. In
a letter to Marx (23-4 November), Engels suggested that the catechistal form
should be abandoned and the League's programme drawn up as a 'Communist
Manifesto', an idea that was adopted by the second congress of the League,
where Marx and Engels were commissioned to write the Manifesto of the
Communist Party.
2. An allusion to the symbol of Islam and the Turkish Empire, the crescent moon.
3. The phrase used here, la volonte generate, is identical to Rousseau's.
4. The term is voue, carrying the meaning of an express wish or vow. Both the
strength and the limitations of a catechism are revealed in the way this
simplistic exchange ignores the subtleties and dilemmas of majoritarianism
faced by Rousseau and other democratic theorists.
60 Radical Socialists and Communists

5. The verb editer is not often used, and can have the sense of 'editing a text' or
'publishing a book'. The present context is ambiguous, providing little indi-
cation of which sense is intended.
6. See Introduction, note 68.
7. Boyars is a reference to the ancient Russian nobility. janissaries were the elite
guards of the Turkish infantry serving as bodyguards for the sultan.
8. The masculine orientation of this catechism is striking.
9. The term used is gymnase.
10. Not with such poor analogies as this. The farmer's personal right to the fruits
of his labour stated here directly contradicts the earlier case against private
possession in favour of common wealth, p. 50 supra.
11. Under the July Monarchy, tradesmen, manufacturers and professionals were
required to have an official patente in nearly all fields of endeavour.
3. Theodore Dezamy
THEODORE DEZAMY (1808-50) was born in Luqon, the
Vendee, the son of a wine merchant. He taught in a local college
before going to Paris around 7835, where he became headmaster of
a free school. His first work responded to the 7838 theme of the
Academie des sciences morales et politiques, in which he expressed
admiration for Owen, Buonarroti and Fourier. His communist ideas
led to his becoming secretary to Etienne Cabet and a period of close
collaboration with him, until they parted over Cabet's lcarian
utopianism. Dezamy's own communaute resembled Fourier's phal-
anstere, but was distinctly materialist and egalitarian in the tradition
of Babeuf Dezamy was a principal organiser of the first Communist
Banquet in Belleville (7840) and a member of Nouvelles Saisons,
the secret society. Dezamy's pamphlets and 'little books', notably the
Almanach de la Communaute par divers ecrivains communistes
(7 843), which led to a prison sentence, were among the most
effective works in disseminating materialist communism among the
working masses in faris. His propaganda efforts included editing
his own journal, L'Egalitaire,Jrom which the following article was
taken. His clandestine political activities culminated in his active
role in the February 7848 Revolution in league with Blanqui's
Societe republicaine. Soon after, he disappeared and was not heard
from again until the announcement of his death.

62 Radical Socialists and Communists

Philosophy of the Current

A profound sickness torments our epoch. As we have had occasion
to say before, each day more facts emerge to give witness to the
incompetence of authority and the impotence of the government's
maxims, which with such effrontery it associates with the words
liberty and public order.
Every moment the telegraph makes us aware that in the provinces
tranquillity is disturbed. Yesterday it was Nevers and Beaulieu,
where barges filled with grain were sunk by the peasants. Today
it is in Mirande, where the people fear for tomorrow, because
inflation knows no bounds, and the price of wheat has already risen
to twenty-six francs per hectolitre. One day soon, in our leading
ports and manufacturing cities, the tempest will burst forth. In
Bordeaux, the workers are abandoning the construction begun in
Calle aux Pierres. In Le Havre, the carpenters and roofers have
done the same thing. They are fed up with spending their entire
lives for the ridiculous salary of two or two-and-a-half francs a day,
and they protest against any further reduction. The Journal du
peuple has even cited the case of a factory worker whose salary was
lowered to one franc a day. At Rive de Gier, the workers are no
longer willing to continue asphyxiating themselves in the deadly
mines if people persist in reducing still further the already token
wage for their day's labour, and this incessant and cruel work does
no~ at least pay them enough to restore their energies. Alarming
symptoms manifest themse!ves on every hand. Lillebonne, Valogues,
Doron, Bourges, Saint-Etienne, Auch and virtually all the
departements of Gers, Marciac, Plaisance, Vic-Fezenzac and Ger-
vais (where already nine people have been sentenced to death) have
also had their riots. Scarcely any departement has not observed
several days of mourning. Angouleme, Rochefort, Surgeres, Saintes,
La Rochelle, Foix (of bloody memory) all attest to the intensity of
the sickness and serve as warnings to us that the crisis didn't begin
yesterday. We will not even speak of the sugar industry. Colonial
produce and domestic produce are a constant reminder that the
*L'Egalitaire, Journal de /'organisation sociale, I, no. 1 (May 1840).
Theodore Dezamy 63

struggle is only postponed: the success of one necessarily means the

ruin of the other. A definitive adoption or rejection of a tariff will
undoubtedly signal the commencement of hostilities, because there-
too our officials are driven to an impasse. For them, the problem
has become insoluble.
But let us return to the present. Especially in Lignieres and
Lons-le-Saulnier, says the Moniteur, the disorders have been serious.
'Vengeance and Devastation' is how the riots have been described.
In Lignieres, the deputy mayor was roughed up and knifed.
Although the mayor himself, M. Taillandier, was able to escape
harm, his home was destroyed; nothing was left of it but four walls.
The events in Lons-le-Saulnier were even more resounding. All the
papers speak of it. We also feel a duty to devote a moment to it.
Here are the facts.
On the morning of 2 April, a carnival day in Lons-le-Saulnier,
every sack and basket of potatoes had been bought, in the streets as
well as in the marketplace. Several carts had already been loaded
before the hour prescribed by police regulations. This fact consti-
tuted, beyond any possible doubt, the offence of hoarding, 1 and
should have led to the confiscation of the commodities for the benefit
of the poor-house. But, once again, the laws were no sturdier than
cobwebs. The authorities regarded themselves as bound to protect
the offenders. The carts set off amidst the jeers and clamourings of
the indignant crowd. Between Saline and Montmorot the tumult
began. Several soldiers, functionaries and the captain of the gen-
darmerie were seriously wounded, but it was at the Chateau de
Courlans that the main action took place. Just as at Lignieres, the
place was sacked; nothing remained but four walls. The armed
forces never showed themselves. The prefect himself, seized by the
throat, was obliged to use his sword in self-defence. The victim, or
the hero, of the drama was a certain M. de Vannoy. Here is how
the Patriote Jurassien sketched the portrait of this person, an elderly
notary clerk in Cambray, whose steadily growing wealth was a
public scandal, and who, on his own authority, brought ridicule on
himself by adding the noble de to his name.

M. de Vannoy found not one voice amongst the most ardent

defenders of order to come to his personal defence. The hate
which he had inspired in all who had any business with him
brought only energetic reproaches for the vexations he had
burdened them with. Both near and far, his autocratic despotism
64 Radical Socialists and Communists

and his intractable character were a plague in the land, which

he exploited by means of his immense fortune, and with an
industry which the courts could scarcely contain within the limits
of the law. A judicial indictment, if it were possible, would alone
be able to enumerate the list of his misdeeds.

Let us also note the judicious reflections of the Censeur de Lyons

on this subject:

The right to life is a primordial right. The duty of any government,

therefore, is to assure to the people the means of existence and
to remove all their anxieties for the future. Bayonets give way
before starved bodies. Death sentences are no more than calamity,
and remedy nothing. The prefect might have gunned down his
underlings, but the Haute-Vienne and the Puy-de-Dome would
still have had their riots, because a population is instantly agitated
when they fear for their subsistence. What good will threats do?
What matter to them regarding the means of repression? Why
should they worry about that? What matters to the poor mother
of a family, at the end of her tether, are pathetic children on the
verge of starvation. What excites a young man, ordinarily so calm
and gentle, is the thought of returning home with no bread to
restore the weakened powers of his elderly father and his poor

In such a vein the opposition press is unanimous in denouncing

a social order which engenders such disasters. This is all very well,
but as several journals self-styled as the firmest supporters of
democracy have asked, where will it lead? Indeed, where will it
lead, we ask, if it be necessary to confuse in a single rebuke the
provoked actions of the unhappy worker and the deliberate conduct
of officialdom, more or less inept? Should liberty be brought into
question, just because hoarders need to be restrained? To those who
might be influenced by this egotistical maxim, we would refer them
to the opinion of our fathers at the Convention: 2 'Liberty is limited
by the rights of others.' Now what right is more legitimate than the
right to life? We would add here the authority of the illustrious
Mably: 'Well-being is the supreme law; the hard working and
thrifty man does not acquire thereby the right to starve or poison
his country, any more than a soldier may use his pay to acquire
someone else to serve for him.' 3
Theodore Dezamy 65

But are we to think, with the Patriote jurassien, that it is always

easy to foresee the effects of a tumultuous conflict, when the causes
are too numerous to count? Under the present regime, don't many
of our official retainers hanker for a reputation in the manner of
those ancient Chinese or Muslim customs which imposed fines or
sent to the scaffold any public official who had not managed to
anticipate a riot?
Must we make a common cry with the National 4 that the citizens
of the Jura have acted like a band of savages because they were
lacking in respect for the soldiers who were doing their duty? Must
we exalt, like our austere and inflexible logician, 5 the mighty self-
sacrifice through which our France has gained its place in the
world? Let us hasten to pay our comrade his due. We do not
ordinarily agree with him on the extremity of passive obedience,
and we limit ourselves, for the moment, to referring him to the
revolutionary school of M. Thiers for lessons on the dignity of
citizenship. 6
Of course, far be it from our thoughts to want to excite the
masses. Several more sufferings added to so many past sufferings,
without for that fact being resigned to them, constitutes a magnan-
imity of which the people alone are capable. No one deplores these
regrettable events7 more than we do. But, in truth, we do not have
the courage to condemn, offhand, these unfortunate countrymen or
poor workers who, placed before the arbitrary descretion of the
public prosecutor, are already subjected to a harsh confinement.
There is no land more peaceful than the Jura. Instead of dreaming
up ways to treat them severely, wouldn't it be more rational for the
authorities to investigate the causes which have pushed these good
mountain folk to deviate in such a way from their long habit of
patience. Isn't it after all time to look at things on a higher plane?
Because it is a fact worthy of remark and serious meditation that
the struggle is becoming organised, and that a new type of force is
attempting to counterbalance the legal force. Could it be that the
population has come to be persuaded that the law of reprisal is a
necessary law? Has experience demonstrated that a blind and
apathetic submission is often more disastrous than a vigorous,
intelligent persistence? To what else can we impute so much disorder
and confusion?
For all of that, why do the privileged themselves not deduce this
salutary moral: That he who wishes to support himself by constraint
alone is in peril? All the power of repressive laws is not enough to
66 Radical Socialists and Communists

comfort anyone against the force of circumstances, nor to give to

happy egoism a reasonable security in its extravagant and barbaric
Any motive of hate or vengeance will always be foreign to my
writing. 8 In sounding all the depths of evil, we are concerned with
the interest of all, even of those whose errors we condemn most
energetically. In this, we have the conviction of acting as good
citizens. Therefore we will not cease repeating to our monopolists
of every sort: 'You had better think it over, strive to bolster your
courage with a thousand false rationales. You would do well to cry
out in your delirium: May they perish, especially the people, whom
I relegate to the least of my whims!'
No, your well understood interests and your perfect security are
not at all independent of the public good. Yes, bayonets and
executioners are powerless against nature, because the cry of our
entrails speaks louder than fear! And if yet again hoarders should
dream of a new pact of famine, our voices would cry aloud to them:
'Oh misfortunate ones, where are you running? What's that? Might
several more orgies distract you for a time from your mortal trances?
Do you not see this popular rock suspended over your guilty heads,
and that your barbarity loosens it each day.' And showing them the
Chateau Courlons: 'Contemplate, let us search through these sad
ruins. Only yesterday order reigned in this superb home. There,
one day ago, was sheltered an opulent family, whose head, perhaps,
in his stupid illusion, believed himself surrounded with consideration
and respect, because his immense wealth and insatiable greed
inspired in everyone a factitious deference or a mute constraint!
'If it isn't a love of duty, at least let a salutary fright return you
to more humane sentiments. The tiger devours its prey and sleeps
peacefully, but man can find no repose in crime, and this is above
all what distinguishes him from the brute. Of all his rights to
pre-eminence, that is the most sacred!'
Ministers of power, no, it is not at all to the sad conflicts that one
must go to search for the source of evil. The virus is elsewhere.
Death sentences will heal nothing. Severity can only trouble our
souls. And never doubt that it is with an extreme harshness that the
real force manifests itself. No, dignity of power does not consist in
inspiring in everyone a dreary terror. The shepherd who reigns
despotically over his flock is the most despised of men.
Therefore it is not peaceful farmers or unhappy workers that our
laws should strike down. No, it is against themselves that the
Theodore Dezamy 67

ministers should turn their barbarous sword! To repeat, order can

only arise from the liberty and well-being of all. Moreover, in
several instances, especially in the last one we have just examined,
didn't the magistrate himself commit the first wrongs? Didn't he,
in the first instance, violate the law, and provoke the disorder by
protecting, in defiance of his own decrees, the powerful monopoleur
to the detriment of the poor whom he was starving?


1. The term is accaparer, referring to buying up food, creating a scarcity, and

subsequently selling at exorbitant prices to realise a profit. This was a recurrent
inflammatory issue in French revolutionary politics, and hoarding was pro-
hibited by law.
2. This is a reference to the revolutionary Convention of 1789.
3. Gabriel Bonnot de Mably (1709-85), Principes des lois, Reflexions contre le
droit de propriete individuelle. Mably was one of the most active philosophers
advocating political and social reform.
4. A liberal republican newspaper in Paris.
5. An allusion to the editor of the National.
6. Here Dezamy uses a footnote to quote passages from the 1793 Declaration of
Rights relating to human equality, the right to security, the right to resist
oppression, and the right of rebellion against tyranny.
7. That is, the riots aforementioned.
8. This is a typical disclaimer in Dezamy's works, in which he moves from heated
rhetoric to an apparently benign and objective curiosity.
4. Jean-Jacques Pillot
JEAN-JACQUES PILLOT (1808-77) was born in Charente, edu-
cated in a seminary and studied medicine. He served as a priest until
his advanced political views led to a prison sentence in Versailles in
1836 for illicit associations, breaking his vows and usurping priestly
robes. By 1839, Pillot had begun neo-Babeuvist propaganda with La
Tribune du Peuple, a radical communist journal which he edited. The
little book, Ni Chateaux ni chaumieres, a portion of which is presented
here, appeared in the same year, 1840, in which he worked with
Dezamy in organising the first Communist Banquet and also spent
another six months in prison. In 1841 he served another six-month
sentence for belonging to a communist group advocating the destruc-
tion of property rights and building a 'systeme de communaute egali-
taire'. An unsuccessful candidate for the National Assembly in 1848,
he was deported after the Second Empire was declared in 1851. His
political life resumed upon the proclamation of the new Republic in
1870. He worked with Blanqui, became an elected member of the
Commune, and gained a reputation for being one of its most radical
members. Arrested again after the fall of the Commune, he was con-
demned to prison for life. His three petitions for mercy were ignored,
and he died in prison.

The People*
The people! They are the king of kings, the sovereign dispenser of
sceptres and empires, the producer and the master of all the riches
on earth. It is they who die of hunger, from the cold, or from
*Excerpted from Ni Chateaux ni chaumieres, ou, Etat de Ia question sociale (Paris,
1840), 'Quatre definitions', pp. 22-8.

jean-jacques Pillot 69

despair. It is they who are enslaved in every corner of the earth!

There is not a single word in any language which has been so much
abused as this one. Let us therefore try to determine its true
meaning. To do so would be a great advance toward the solution
to the social question.
The word peuple, as a term of history or geography, signifies an
assembly [reunion] of men, occupying a determined expanse of land,
speaking the same language, abiding by the same morals and
customs and bearing a name common to all, as in: the French, the
English, the Spanish, etc.
In political language the word peuple has a totally different
meaning. It stands for all those who possess nothing or practically
nothing. The peuple are to modern society what slaves were to
ancient society; they can exact nothing from their employer when
they have spent their lives in his service, or when it pleases his
whim that he no longer requires their services. Then they must go
begging to him for their paltry existence. If he should refuse them,
which he remains free to do, nothing is left, finally, except dishonour
or death. These are the elements which constitute what is called the
people or the populace. 1 Since the rise of Christianity has, so some
say, abolished slavery, it is no longer sufficient for our good and
virtuous masters, their hearts formed and spirits illumined by that
divine morality, to devour the fruits of our labour in tranquillity,
as their predecessors used to do, who knew only the monstrous and
infamous morality of paganism. Now, to increase their delights, they
must have the pleasure of making beggars of us, taunting and
degrading us!
So be it! Neither Christians nor heathens, nor anything else of
the kind, we neither wish to live off the sweat of the populace nor
to make them beg. To those whom we refuse to flout or degrade,
we say: the earth belongs to no one, its fruits belong only to those
who cultivate it.
Should these creatures, destitute and despised to this very day,
ever doubt their power, we remind you: the kind of parasite which
devours you is cowardly and few in number. You outnumber him
two hundred to one!
70 Radical Socialists and Communists

The primary question

There is a fundamental question on which it is necessary to fix the

conscience of a nation before calling it forth to secure a different
system from the one now ruling it. Here are the terms of this
Do the people have the right to change their social organisation
when they please? It is of the utmost certainty that liberty or slavery
is at the bottom of this question. It is equally clear that the henchmen
of tyranny always do their best to cloud the issue, trying to obscure
its admirable simplicity and the obvious reply.
Supported by the authority of the most distinguished men, known
for their profound genius and their love of humanity, socialists at
once the most conscientious and courageous, we respond: Yes, the
people may and ought to change their social organisation as soon
as a change seems necessary, or even useful. How strange! Even
after the abolition of divine right the idea is still invoked to try to
stay in power. No one has willingly abandoned power without
being forced out by war! Isn't this one of those contradictions, one
of those political infamies, which it is impossible to label or describe
due to the very inadequacy of words?
What! You are willing to agree that you have come to power not
because you call yourselves this or that nor because such blood flows
in your veins rather than some other kind, but even more uniquely
because the nation has chosen you. And scarcely being vested with
the authority confided in you so freely, you have the effrontery to
declare to the nation that this authority is your own property and
that of your descendants in perpetuity. 2 And then forbid the nation,
under the most extreme penalties, from ever thinking of taking it
back from you, or even examining the use you make of it, under the
pretext that you are inviolable! But you know very well that this
is the height of impudence and cunning!
What! In admitting that the nation has actually chosen you, that
it actually had confidence in you for a single instant - which I
strictly deny - it must follow that you are then permitted to despoil
it, abase, torture and kill it, without the nation having a solitary
word to say? Is there, really, on the face of the earth, a single man
so ignorant as not to feel indignant at such a pretension as that?
Let us state, therefore, as a general thesis: when a nation finds
itself under the yoke of a man who pretends to have the right to
govern it in spite of itself, that nation has a right, of its own, at any
jean-jacques Pillot 71

moment, to attack him, surprise him and annihilate him without

due process, because his crime is patent. He cannot find an excuse,
either in natural right or social right. If on the contrary the head
of state has obtained sovereignty only by virtue of the formal or
tacit consent of the nation, public opinion must be continuously in
a position to make its wishes freely known, to appreciate the
sovereign's actions, to applaud or blame him openly so that they
can tell him, when it pleases them: Stay longer, or go away. But,
if he imposes silence on public opinion, by corrupting it, intimidating
it or suppressing it, he falls into the condition of absolutism. He
ought to suffer all the consequences. Therefore absolute royalty and
limited royalty have no other authority than that which the people
allow or give to them. When the people wish to resume their rights,
those of royalty vanish. The people are the only sovereign. May
they strongly uphold this view. It is of the utmost importance.


1. The term populace is a deprecatory term roughly equivalent to 'the rabble' or

2. This passage is directed at Louis-Philippe, invited to the throne upon the
abdication of Charles X by the provisional government established during the
July 1830 Revolution.
5. The First Communist
ville, Paris, was the beginning of a tradition that is observed to this
day. It brought together 1,000 communists in a show of numbers
which impressed the participants as much as it did the police, who
had prohibited the occasion but were ignored. The organising
committee- Pillot, Dezamy, Dutilloy and Hombert- took pains to
restrict attendance to communists. 'Socialists' were denied admission.
With no one willing to chair the committee, Pillot and Hombert
served as temporary presidents. The vaunted spontaneity of the
evening was stretching a point, as the committee took great care in
organising the 'modest and frugal' banquet and requiring that all
toasts be submitted in writing in advance for the committee's
approval. 1

* * *
jean-jacques Pillot declared the meeting open with the following
We have come here with the aim of raising a flag which will
soon seize the attention of the entire world. Together we shall
contemplate and announce to the world the all-embracing thoughts.
which have occupied our minds each in silent isolation these many
years. The principles which we proclaim here promise to humanity
a happiness it no longer confidently dared to pretend - a humanity
which has long been accustomed to the spectacle of so much
degradation, and has known for so many centuries only the variety
of its sufferings and the anguish of its despair.
*Excerpted from J.-J. Pillot, Th. Dezamy, L. C. Dutilloy and Hombert (eds),
Premier banquet communiste, le 7ere juillet 7840 (Paris, 1840)

The First Communist Banquet 73

Citizens, the grandeur of our enterprise, the immense conse-

quences it must have for all, the uplifting lessons it must give to the
world: these dictate a path to which we must now remain true. The
dignity of a man able to enjoy his rights and the sweet candour
inspiring sentiments of fraternal sincerity are the primary qualities
which must unfailingly shine among us ...

Citizen Auguste Louis Historical Painter and

Professor of Design

To Concord among true democrats.

After ten years of steadfastness, persecution and struggle which
often separated us, we see ourselves gathered today at the proletar-
ian's table. All companions of misfortune, all having added to the
motto, Equality and Fraternity!, a new word: Community!
More democratic then ever, our mission is a beautiful one,
Citizens, a glorious one to fulfil. We must not be frightened of the
obstacles we shall have to overcome to implant our sublime principles
and ideas in the bosom of an egoistic and corrupt society. So let us
work unstintingly and with every degree of energy at our command
in this civilising mission, taking special care to preach by our own
example, so that no one may doubt the purity of our intentions and
faith in our own principles. Our enemies are wicked, veterans of
the art of deception. Like the chameleon, they know how to change
colour. They rarely fight head on, and their weapons are two-edged
swords. Certain ones will slip in among you, proclaiming principles
never before held. Let us take care to know who they are, and if we
are unable to lead them to a better path, we should abandon them
to the fatality of their incurable egoism.
No, citizens, we should never forget that harmony among all men
of good faith is the foundation of the social edifice. Our brothers
must not, in false zeal, presume to set themselves up as petty and
moralistic censors, because there are many vices (we know them
all) which pertain more to society than to individuals. Therefore let
us leave to men of false equality these intrigues which are unworthy
of true democrats.
This caveat, citizens, smothering egoism and corruption, will set
society at large onto that ascending path which leads us to the
desired goal, and establishes forever the sublime principles of THE
74 Radical Socialists and Communists

So let the short-sighted call us utopians and dreamers! It 1s

consoling to be confused with the greatest philosophers!

Citizen Thedore Dezamy Editor of L'Egalitaire

To the Worker's Emancipation!
To Egalitarian Education!
Three words sum up the ideas which arouse the present day and
draw the future into question: Capital, labour, talent.
Let us hasten to reject the capitalist aristocracy, because all
private ownership favours and reconfirms the exploitation of the
worker by the man of leisure.
Let us therefore repulse with all our strength the aristocracy of
certification. 4 In whatever manner it is disguised, inequality is an
inexhaustible source of misery and discord, an eternal ferment of
hatred and revolution. To admit the least privilege in the foundation
of the social edifice is to prepare an inevitable catastrophe for the
And why does the capitalist or the capacitaire devour the common
sustenance? Why this doubly revolting iniquity by means of which
the weak and the infirm are at the mercy of power, intrigue and the
slothful? Why this impure leprosy which poisons our most legitimate
joys, indeed our entire existence?
No more monopolists, no more privileged, no more men of leisure!
No more slaves, no more masters! Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!
These are what constitute perfect happiness! They are the real goals
of humanity! We all ardently desire to reach this goal. What then
is the shortest path? That is the question which each of us must
Citizens, the shortest path to reach common happiness is egali-
tarian education. This is our firm and sincere conviction. So let us
never stop repeating the combination of these two powerful phrases:
To egalitarian education! To the worker's emancipation!

Citizen Antoine-Marie Vellicus Tailor

To Real and Perfect Social Equality - without which political
equality is only an absurd deception. What does it matter to working
people if political rights are bestowed upon them, if they are not
assured in advance of the radical means of power to exercise them?
The First Communist Banquet 75

Deeply imbued with the incontestable truth that the people cannot
enjoy their political rights without having obtained complete satis-
faction in their social rights, I repeat in a firm voice and an
unshakable conviction:
To real and perfect social equality!

Citizen Pierre-Fran<;oise Villy Bootmaker

To the abolition of the death penalty!
To the complete destruction of criminal hangings!
To real equality, gift of nature, proclaimed by nature herself!
To universal fraternity!
To forgiveness for injuries!
To the proletarian victims of the exploiters!
May the day of equality soon come to console them for all their
past suffering ...

Citizen Duval Hairdresser

To the abolition of free competition!
It is this terrible plague which excites so much cruel disharmony
among the workers. Like ravenous harpies, it soils, squanders and
poisons all the products of industry and science! May this monster
breathe its last under the sword of equality - a monster which is
the enemy of all repose, and which tyrannises even its very favourites!
To the emancipation of industry! 3
It is only under the regime of the egalitarian community that a
beneficent industry can lavish all of its treasures on us. Peaceful
toward the morrow, men will lend themselves to the task with
enthusiasm, and the future will work such magnificent victories over
ignorance as to change this world from disorder and suffering to a
resort of marvels and delectation! ...

Citizen Rozier Hairdresser

To the equal sharing of rights and duties, that is, to the community
of work and pleasure!
Some exploiters of revolutions call themselves our supporters in
order to drag us along into purely political reforms. Now, isolated
from social reform, political reform is an odious lie, because it
conserves the old society, and with it the exploitation of man by
76 Radical Socialists and Communists

man. It does not relieve moral tortures and the physical suffering
of the people, because if the exploited try to exercise their political
rights, the cruel and jealous exploiters will cast them into the streets,
where they will be prey to poverty. In consequence, workers will
sacrifice their right to existence or, more likely, if they cannot
renounce all human dignity, take up arms ...

Citizen Jean Lionne

To courage for propagating our opinions!
Let us say to all what we accept and what we reject, in order to
have a faithful following among those who pay homage to our goal
by walking in our footsteps. Then we will know whom we must
persuade, whom to fight and how valuable our unity is. If we do
not work in this way, we must give up hope of ever finding an
energetic will, sufficiently resolute to bring about a radical social
transformation ...

Citizen Simard Watchmaker

To Egalitarian Community!
In 1789, popular indignation buried fourteen centuries of mon-
archy and privilege under the ruins of the Bastille. But, alas, it was
the bourgeoisie who, in the final analysis, took the reins of power
in hand. And instead of bringing about real equality, they made off
with the spoils of the vanquished aristocracy ... The Constitution
of the year II [1793-4] had left behind a voracious disease in the
State: private property. From this were born all the evil passions
which caused our ruin.

Citizen Jules Rozier Professor of Literature

To Study!
To the study of the proper means of bringing about, the sooner
the better, a social system founded on equality and fraternity for
the common good. But already, citizens, the study of social questions
which I am invoking has been taken up by the people. They have
made it more profound. Already the noble audacity of their intel-
ligence, in the form of revolutionary agitation, is the terror of the
whole aristocracy and the prelude to their ruin ...
The First Communist Banquet 77

Citizen Grosse! Bookbinder

Divide and conquer, such has been the motto of all tyrannies.
How many subtle and perfidious detours have the oppressors not
employed in arming the sons of the people against themselves? They
know full well that a single moment of perfect union among us
would consummate their ruin forever. Indeed, what are they vis-
a-vis the nation? One against a thousand. Why then must the people
themselves make up for their native weakness? Who mans their
armies? The sons of the people. Who dares to undertake spying on
one's fellow-citizens? Isn't it again the sons of the people? May
they finally come to comprehend that, in the guise of a degrading
privilege, they are forging their own chains. Each shot fired against
the people must necessarily pierce even the heart of him who, with
wayward hand, has managed to forget the ranks from which he
came. May we all be penetrated by these wise maxims, and the
light of equality will soon shine upon us.
To workers' fraternity! To the social community!

Citizen Courmont Typographer

To Freedom!
I address my vows to freedom, but a general and inclusive freedom
that will no longer permit man to exploit his brother, that will work
only with the aid of its sister and companion, equality.
To a freedom which demands a social community as guarantor
of the emancipation of all, for the proletarians as well as the
American Negroes and the serfs of all nations.
To a freedom which gives an equal education to all, teaching
everyone his rights and duties, because true happiness can never
exist for man without the enjoyments of some and the accomplish-
ments of others.
To the government of equals!

At ten o'clock, p.m .. .Citizen Pillot took the floor to pronounce the
meeting closed.
Despite the ill will which has tried to cast doubt, fear, disunity
and, in turn, disorder in our midst, the most admirable order, the
78 Radical Socialists and Communists

most exquisite decency, the most perfect fraternity have unfailingly

reigned in our ranks. Your commission demanded no less of you.
We may be thankful for that, and thankful especially, a thousand
times thankful, for our principles!
During these few hours we have just spent together, we have
accomplished an immense task, the consequences of which are
incalculable. Even yesterday, when each one of us talked about
community, working out the means and ends, any man who listened
might well have asked himself if our opinions were merely personal.
I can now remove that from all doubt. Such a thought must now
be considered the figment of a sick mind. At this very moment, no
one can be permitted such a thought.
France will soon appreciate that one day twelve-hundred citizens,4
taken in a sense at random, were called to a rendezvous to which
each was faithful, without knowing precisely what awaited them
there. France will realise that community was proclaimed aloud,
without artfulness or preparation, in that great assembly, and that
it was instantaneously understood, unanimously accepted by our
applause and our vows. What a powerful arm we have found here
today for fighting our adversaries in the future!
Citizens, if time permitted, we should be able to demonstrate by
the necessity of logic that the community, the sole remedy for healing
humanity of all the ills which torture and destroy it, is not only
comprehensible and desirable, but moreover realisable in essence,
not in a thousand years, not in a hundred years, but today, at this
very instant. If we were to demonstrate before you this incontestable
truth, the outcome of our meeting would have been greater still.
But let us make up for what we have not been able to do with our
ardour to profit from what we have done. ·If each one of us
communicates abroad the impressions we have just received here,
our ranks will promptly swell. And before long, to be sure, yes-
terday's beautiful utopia will be the morning's refreshing truth.
Citizens, our programme is at an end, our work is accomplished,
our future is assured. The meeting is adjourned.


1. Most of the speakers at the banquet are obscure or entirely unknown. For a
complete text of the toasts, and brief biographical information on several
speakers, see Gian Mario Bravo, Les Socialistes avant Marx, 3 vols (Paris,
The First Communist Banquet 79

1970), Vol. II, pp. 210-32. This is the only published edition of original texts
for several of the early socialists presented in this book. Bravo includes English,
Italian and German writers, and his selections tend to be excerpts from books
rather than from pamphlets and periodicals. The standard reference for
biographical information on early socialists and communists is ]. Maitron
(ed), Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement ouvrier francais, 15 vols. (Paris,
1964-6), Vol. 1-3, 1789-1864.
2. The term used is capacitaire, meaning someone who has obtained lawful
recognition or a certificate of attainment, such as a professional licence to
practise law or medicine or an academic degree.
3. This phrase was understood in socialist and communist circles to mean the
legalisation of labour unions.
4. ]. H. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men (New York, 1980), p. 584, note
32, notes a downward revision of this figure to one thousand.
6. Etienne Cabet

ETIENNE CABET (1788-1856) was born in Di.Jon, the son of a

master cooper. He studied law with steady success and obtained a
doctorate in 1812, but did not move to Paris until after the second
Restoration following Napoleon's return and defeat in 1815. Cabet
joined the secret Carbonari in 1822, and rose to a position of
leadership, then withdrew in opposition to the society's tendency to
impatience and rash behaviour. From his law firm, he was appointed
as secretary to Louis-Philippe's first justice Minister, but was sacked
in May 1831 for blatant republicanism in launching an appeal to
support the revolutionary movement in Poland. In july of 1831 he
was elected to the Chamber of Deputies from Cote-d'Or. In 1834 he
became editor of Le Populaire, issuing a year later in a prison
sentence, which he avoided by accepting a five-year period of exile
in England, after a month in Belgium where the French king's
influence made him persona non grata. Reading Thomas More and
meeting Robert Owen led to Cabet's Voyage en Icarie (1839),
which in its second (1840) and subsequent editions had a great
impact in propagating communist ideas among the French working
classes, some of whom actually believed in the existence of the utopian
land. With Dezamy, Cabet used the Icarian ideals to form workers'
organisations in Paris, all the while di.ffusing his ideas in numerous
screeds, tracts and pamphlets. His Vrai Christianisme suivant
Jesus-Christ (1846) led to the formation of a virtual Icarian religion,
and Cabet was arrested for religious fraud. Cabet's answer was 'Let
us go to lea rial' This impetus was reinforced by Cabet's imprisonment
for his part in the 1848 Revolution. Late that year Cabet sailed for
America to join the Icarian colony already languishing in Texas.
Rallying the colonists, Cabet resettled them in a former Mormon
settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois. After a trip to London in 1851, to
join Pierre Leroux and Louis Blanc in forming the Socialist Union,
he was recalled to Nauvoo to settle new outbreaks of dissidence. He

Etienne Cabet 81

died in Saint Louis, Missouri, four years later. Cabet's breathless

enthusiasm permeated all of his work.

Communist Propaganda:
Debating Points to Support
or Avoid*
Everyone understands that an idea, principle, theory, doctrine,
system, science or belief does not depend upon our will, nor impose
itself by force and violence. Everyone understands that the Com-
munity/ as with Christianity in an earlier day, can only be estab-
lished by debate, persuasion, conviction, the power of public opinion,
by propaganda. For this reason all Communists invoke propaganda.
But there is propaganda and propaganda: good propaganda and
bad propaganda; reasonable, enlightened, prudent, adroit and clever
propaganda and unreasonable, imprudent, awkward, blind, foolish
and insensitive propaganda. There is useful, engaging, persuasive,
pleasant, winning propaganda, which multiplies followers. There
is fatal propaganda which repels, disgusts, frightens and furnishes
pretexts and weapons to enemies and slanderers, or which sows the
seeds of confusion and division, and hinders and retards conversion
instead of making it easier and faster.
Determining the most suitable method of propaganda and the
errors which must be avoided is therefore a most useful, necessary
and worthy subject to give a moment's attention. Let us make an
The Community suppresses egoism, individualism, privilege,
domination, opulence, idleness and domesticity, transforming
divided personal property into indivisible and social or common
property. It modifies all commerce and industry. Therefore the
establishment of the community is the greatest reform or revolution
*Propagande communiste au, Questions a discuter eta soutenir au a ecarter (Paris,
82 Radical Socialists and Communists

that humanity has ever attempted, from its birth to the present day.
This is the change most wounding to egoistic interests, blind passions
and deeply rooted prejudices. It is the transformation which encoun-
ters the most adversaries, the most ardent and powerful enemies,
resolved to use such means as slander and persecution in order to
protect their iniquitous privileges. The Community has as its
adversaries and enemies the countless army of the privileged and
the exploiters, governors, public functionaries, priests, the sick,
idlers, property owners, the capitalists, the whole army of busi-
nessmen and manufacturers. Even those who should most desire its
coming- the mass of small holders, workers, proletarians, domestics,
soldiers, all who are blinded by ignorance and prejudice, wronged
by lies and slanders - are in their blindness perhaps the most
ardently opposed to a system which has no other aim than to assure
their happiness. This system encounters so many obstacles that
humanity has not yet been able to include it among so many other
great revolutions that have come to pass. Its establishment is so
difficult that people have become used to calling it impossible,
repeating, as if it were an incontestable axiom, that the Community
is a chimera, a dream, a utopia, a thing both impracticable and
unrealisable. In a word, prejudice, opposition, hositility and power
against the Community are such that one must have vigour, energy
and courage in order to take up its defence and hope for its triumph.
We are among those who are animated by a profound belief in
the possibility of the Community. We underestimate neither the
prejudices, obstacles nor dangers, but still cling to an ardent faith
in Progress and the Future. In our eyes the Community shines like
the light, truth and destiny of humankind. But all the confidence
of the most ardent Communists will not prevent the Community's
foundation from being an enterprise of gigantic, colossal and difficult
proportions requiring the most prudence, application and capacity.
We also believe that clumsy propaganda can badly delay the
What we must never forget for a single instant is that Communist
propaganda is a question of conduct, savoirJaire, prudence, approach
and skill.
Well, in this situation, how should we make propaganda? Must
we minimise obstacles and difficulties as much as possible, or make
them worse? Simplify and reduce questions, or complicate and
multiply them? Avoid everything which might lead to confusion and
disputes, or wantonly seek them out? To concentrate all our efforts
Etienne Cabet 83

and resources, or divide, fragment and scatter them? Sacrifice all

for union and unity, or fall prey to competition and rivalry? In the
first case, don't we have reason and common sense, and in the
second, extravagance and folly
For our part, we are of the opinion that it is fitting to adopt two
principal rules: simplify and centralise: simplify a difficulty to make
it easier to overcome, and concentrate our resources and efforts to
overcome them more easily still. Let us examine the matter quickly.

I. To simplify

It is well established that propaganda is much easier when it

embraces only a small number of simple, clear issues concerning
which everyone is in agreement. Hence, no confused minds; no
disputes or division between already committed Communists; easier
conversions for non-Communists; easier conversions for converting
others; and no more pretexts for the calumnies of our enemies.
If we multiply the issues, minds necessarily become confused
among those who have very little leisure and who are not used to
discussion. Objections and disputes appear in droves. All action is
absorbed and paralysed. Propaganda languishes, and our enemies
have still more pretexts to hinder and stop us. Prudence therefore
counsels a reduction of issues to the fewest possible, to absolutely
essential questions without which the Community would not be able
to exist, adjourning all secondary issues until the moment when
Communists will be numerous and the discussion of these secondary
issues will no longer be inconvenient. Prudence also counsels making
the least possible changes, proposing only those which are absolutely
indispensable to the constitution of the Community, and postponing
all those which are not necessary and which needlessly raise objec-
tions and opposing points of view.
It is impossible not to debate the question of property, because
with individual property such as presently constituted it is not
possible to have Community. The modification or transformation
of property is the essential condition without which the Commu-
nitarian Society cannot exist. The same is true on the issues of
equality, fraternity, centralisation, a new organisation of labour and
a new monetary system.
But the question of the Family, for example, is a secondary
question which must not be debated. All kinds of reasons reinforce
a prohibition of this discussion. It is a secondary, not an essential
84 Radical Socialists and Communists

issue, because even though it might be true that Community without

the family is more perfect than Community with the family, it is
no less true and incontestable that the Community can exist in both
cases, with as well as without the family. So the issue is only a
question of greater or lesser perfection in the Community.
There is not the least necessity to abolish the family, because
none of the reproaches directed at it in the badly organised society
of today will continue to exist in the Community. Today, all the
vices of the family come not from the family itself but from the
badly organised society which dominates it. All the evil stems from
the inequality of wealth, individual property, money, opulence side
by side with poverty, dowries, the absence of education, the large
number of unmarried persons, and the indissolubility of marriage.
But in the Community, when there is no longer opulence, nor
poverty, nor private property, nor dowries; when the choice of a
husband or wife is perfectly free; when marriage is determined only
by the person's qualities of mind and heart; when education is as
perfect as possible and gives every opportunity for harmony, concord
and happiness to the conjugal union, when divorce is permitted and
easy; when all who desire to be are married; when the existence of
children is assured, without resort to an excess of paternal or
maternal love in seeking to find one privileged position while
sacrificing the prospects of their other children; then marriage and
the family will not be in the least inconvenient.
But now, in today's vicious society, one is often grieved to see
poverty and cupidity push a pretty but poor young girl to marry an
old capitalist, ugly and disgusting, or a handsome young man to
marry an abundant old woman, who could not have inspired his
love. Today, generally, one only marries a dowry, a coat of arms,
a strong box. Today one can see youth and beauty attached and
bound by marriage to a cadaver. Today these hideous unions,
cemented by gold and silver, counselled by ambition, can only give
birth to disorders, scandals and crimes. One must consider the
idleness and libertine behaviour of a mass of moneyed people, the
forced celibacy of a mass of proletarians, the disgust of so many
young married to the old, the thousands of public houses and the
chaos which provides debauchery with both sanctuary and mystery.
Today society facilitates corruption, seduction, prostitution, con-
cubinage and adultery, and necessarily, inevitably casts households
and families into disorder. But not one of these vices will continue
to exist in the Community's social organisation. Consequently, none
Etienne Cabet 85

of the accusations that may be lodged against the family of today

will apply to the family in the Community.
The present social system of inequality vitiates and poisons
everything. The future system of equality purifies and perfects
everything. In the family within the Community, we will no longer
see any inconvenience, none, absolutely none. We believe, on the
contrary, that the family, thus purified and continually perfected by
the generations to come, is the combination and institution which
most conforms to order, harmony and concord, to fraternity in
society, and to the dignity and happiness of women no less than the
happiness of men and children. We believe that the moral benefits
which result from conjugal union, when it is as perfect as possible,
are much more numerous, more noble, more necessary to felicity
and more durable than all the other joys which one can imagine.
And since order and peace in society, and the happiness of both
sexes of all ages, are the two principal aims of social organisation,
we consider the family as the foundation and constituent element
of the Community. Far from desiring Community to suppress the
family, on the contrary it is to bring the family to its complete
perfection that we desire Community. 2
If it were necessary to vote today on the establishment of the
Community and the conservation or abolition of the family, we
should not hesitate a moment to give our vote for the Community
and the ameliorated family. All anti-Communists would also vote
for the family. Among Communists, all mothers and all fathers -
we have no doubt of this and know it to be positively true - would
not want to hear a word about Community without the family.
Perhaps, even probably, after persuasive discussion, you would find
no one in favour of demanding the suppression of the family.
Because among those few who attack the Family and Marriage,
almost all would do it only because of an equivocation and a
confusion over terms, for lack of a more careful definition of what
they mean and signify. When the family conveys no privileges,
when there is no longer either succession or inheritance, when
marriage will no longer need either oath or forced perpetuity,
marriage and the family will have almost no more adversaries. 3
One finds, however, several young Communists4 who write that,
in the Community, the individual Family must be abolished because
it establishes the fragmentation of affections; that Marriage must be
abolished; that man must travel continually and encircle the globe
four or five times (without women being able to budge) with the
86 Radical Socialists and Communists

aim of bringing about the most intimate mixing of the race, thus
protecting man from permanent contact with the same creatures,
which would engender individual attachment and so rupture the
harmony of universal fraternity.
One finds Communists who publish, as a law of the Community,
that each man will spend the greatest portion of his time in public
meetings; that he will only need a private lodging for the night and
a few hours in the day; that a little bedroom, a small study and
laboratory with a little fireplace will suffice (as a cell sufficed for
a monk); that women and children will be housed separately (how
they do not tell); that each citizen will tend to his own housework
(as if he had nothing more useful to do for society), and that, for
those who choose otherwise, there will be other citizens whose job
it is to make the beds, sweep, do the washing, etc., etc. (as if this
would not be to establish personal servants, domestics and valets
while, in the family, all these household chores may be given to the
children). In a word, one finds a few Communists who publish, as
a law of the Community, the abolition of marriage, the family, and
the household, and the separation of men, women and children.
Well! Is that reasonable, prudent, useful propaganda? What
necessity is there, today, to propose the abolition of marriage and
the family. For what good? Where is the point in doing so? Might
one not begin the Community with the family? Would retaining
(provisionally, if you like) marriage and the family prevent either
the generation that establishes the Community or the following
generations from doing anything they wish to do? Must we, every
one of us, have the pretension of being more knowledgeable, more
enlightened and more experienced than our descendants and impose
specific laws on them? Should the future not want the family, will
we embarrass the future by keeping it now? If the future wants the
family, wouldn't it be a great hindrance and perhaps cause irre-
mediable prejudice by starting out with its abolition? Is it really
possible to think that the present generations will consent to its
abolition? Would any sensible person allow himself to believe there
is an urgency in demanding this right now? Isn't it evident, palpable,
indubitable that the contemporary world wants the family, and that
there will always be time to debate the matter after the Community
is established?
Taking the point further, isn't it of the greatest impudence to
raise this question today? Aren't there already enough difficulties
for our propaganda in the centralisation of property and industry,
Etienne Cabet 87

in the suppression of commerce, household servants and money?

When we ask a village's property owners, for example, to place all
their goods in common voluntarily, to exploit them more efficiently
in common, to take common fraternal benefit, how could anti-
Communists be indignant at such a desire? But when it is a question
of marriage and the family, isn't that the most delicate and burning
issue, the one which offers the most pretexts for slander and attack
by the anti-Communists? Isn't it true that the great mass of moral,
honest, pious, weak, easily misled and frightened persons only cry
out when one appears to lay a finger on the family? Doesn't this
give the hypocrites, peck-sniffs, wealthy libertines and rich old
profligates an opportunity to attack the Community with cries of
immorality, endlessly and hypocritically invoking the holiness of the
family? Hasn't the attack on the family led to the most violent
indictments and the most vigorous condemnations? Didn't the
Femme libre 5 kill the Saint-Simonians? Isn't it true that the enemies
of Community have avidly seized upon several lines written against
the family in a single issue of a Communist journal to anathematise
Communism in its entirety? Haven't these few lines done more
damage than all other communitarian doctrine?
Going further still, haven't these attacks against the Family
thrown the ranks of Communists into confusion and division, exactly
as it did among the Saint-Simonians? Haven't these attacks been
repudiated by a Protestation signed by more than 1,600 Communist
workers? Wouldn't the renewal of these attacks inevitably revive
this confusion and division? For our part, our conviction in favour
of the family, for the future as for the present, definitively as well
as provisionally, is so well considered (because almost all of us have
read about the issue), so profound and energetic, that we will fight
with all our strength against any hostility toward the family. We
want the Community only with the family; we would not want it
without the family. And as it is incontestable that the mass of
Communists equally desire the family, to attack the family would
necessarily be to want to bring division.
We understand that one might secretly write for posterity by
bequeathing them his manuscript, if one takes himself to be a genuis
whose ideas are necessary to guide the future, ... but that sensible
and devoted men today could launch amongst the workers attacks
against the family, with the certainty of sowing confusion and
division and of creating harmful diversions, we can no longer
understand that, not at all!
88 Radical Socialists and Communists

Deeply convinced of the damage which such propaganda can do,

must we tolerate it, suffer it, remain indifferent and silent? ... No,
no. However painful it might be for us to combat other Communists,
we will oppose our conviction to theirs, we will accomplish what
we regard as a duty. We will defend the family against those who
attack it. And if the several earlier Communists writings which
allow for the family are not a powerful enough consideration to
prevent attacks on the family, at the risk of exciting new divisions,
nothing must prevent us from repelling these attacks in order to
defend the family and forestall new divisions.
We therefore believe in the imperious necessity of declaring our
opinion: 1. that one must neither attack nor even draw into question
or debate the retention of the family in the Community; 2. that to
attack and debate it would be to paralyse propaganda and indefi-
nitely retard the coming of Community, consequently to commit the
most essentially anti-Communist and unpopular act, and to do
precisely what gives most pleasure to enemies of the people and the
Community; 3. that if these enemies provoke us on the issue of the
family, we must respond without hesitation that the Communists
will preserve the family; 4. that if some Communists absolutely
wish to attack the family, we must decisively combat them and
protest. Without this, there is nothing to be done, nothing to hope
for! Ah, if it were only possible to bring together all Communists
to debate both sides of the question! The adversaries of the family
could put forth all of their reasons; we would respond; the assembly
would pronounce its finding; and the issue would be decided as to
the matter of propaganda (although each person would keep to his
own opinion and have the right to publish it), because the mass of
Communists who embrace the family would reject all publications
attacking it without even reading them. 6
So much for the family. We could say as much for the questions
of religion, materialism or spiritualism, and of regional capitals and
cities. All of these are only secondary questions. Since they are not
essential and indispensable, but nevertheless engender interminable
disputes, raising such issues can only be folly in popular propaganda.
Yet one finds some young Communists who have published that the
cities ought to be destroyed, because they are centres of oppression
and corruption. And today we find someone who proclaims, as a
law of the Community that, in the Community there can only be
Communes, each having about 10,000 people, in the form of
phalans(eres7 of such a kind that it would be absolutely indispensable
Etienne Cabet 89

for the existence of the Community to destroy every city in France

and in the whole world, and to destroy them as promptly as possible.
And the author finds this gigantic destruction so simple, so easy, so
seductive to the hundreds of millions of non-Communists, that he
declares that there is no room for deliberation on the point. For him,
Community is impossible with capitals and cities. One must, without
hesitating, weighing the odds or reflecting on the matter, immediately
resolve to destroy Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and all the other cities.
Well! We ask, as propaganda, is this necessary, useful or clever?
Is it? We don't wish to enter into any details ... We will just simply
say that, in every respect, such propaganda and doctrine seems to
be a nonsense. In the first place, none of the reproaches addressed
to cities in the present system is applicable to cities in the Com-
munity. In the second place, we are prepared to argue that large
cities are more in conformity than small ones to the nature and
essence of Community, because the larger and more populous a city,
the larger are its resources of light, warmth and strength with
regard to thought, general sentiments, industry, science and the arts.
However, the author pretends that we have abandoned our
opinion expressed in favour of cities in the first edition of Voyage
en lcarie and that, in the second edition, making short work of our
original conviction, we sacrificed the cities. 8 But where did the
author see this change? Why did he not cite passages to prove so
grave an assertion? So let him cite them! In fact, the second edition,
just like the first, contains a Capital, Provincial Cities and Com-
munal Cities, without our having said a single word against the
system of cities - and yet he affirms that we seem to take cities
lightly! We protest vehemently. As a doctrine, we vote for cities. As
propaganda, we do not conceive how anyone can possibly believe
he serves the Community by announcing the destruction of cities!

II. To centralise

Without union, harmony and concord, nothing is possible. With

competition and rivalry, it is still true that nothing is possible.
Centralisation is the principle, the foundation, the soul, the strength
and the life of the Community. For Communists especially, this
must be the ABC of all social doctrine and all propaganda. But
here we must reflect carefully! If centralisation is necessary after
the establishment of Community, it is perhaps still more necessary
90 Radical Socialists and Communists

before. Because, without centralisation of resources and efforts, we

will never see Community achieved.
Let us apply this truth to our propaganda and newspapers. The
People are poor, absorbed by their poverty and toil. All of their
pecuniary resources taken together are scarcely sufficient to supply
and sustain a single Communist newspaper, 9 just as their efforts
are scarcely sufficient to defend and propagate Communitarian
doctrine. To divide, fragment and scatter these resources and efforts
among several papers and several propagandas is to do nothing,
indeed to wish to do nothing. It is a triviality, a contradiction of the
principle of Community. So think carefully about it, Communists,
and you will be convinced, with us, that it is a veritable


1. Cabet used Ia communaute to refer to the reformed community based upon

principles set forth in his utopian novel.
2. In comparison with the earlier point about the ideal case in which the family
would not exist, this passage suggests a note of irony and sophism. Cabet's
main intention, however, is to provide a model for propaganda on this sensitive
3. Cabet's strategy here is clever, if not subtle. His 'ameliorated marriage', despite
his many qualifications, is nearly identical to the most radical critiques of
marriage. What those communists who do not want to hear a word about the
abolition of the family will think of Cabet's reforms is a matter for speculation,
but it should be remembered that Cabet's first point in this section is to avoid
the entire issue.
4. The reference here is to Dezamy's Code de Ia communaute (1842).
5. La Femme fibre, apostolat des femmes commenced publication in 1832, founded
by Jeanne- Desiree Veret and co-edited by Marie-Reine Guindorf and Suzanne
Voilquin. It ceased publication in 1834.
6. This point seems to contradict Cabet's earlier point that the publication of
such material has had harmful effects.
7. The name of Fourier's model community is here adopted as a general term,
indicating the wide currency of Fourier's programme.
8. Cabet refers to Dezamy's Code, p. 36, where Cabet is mildly praised for his
ability to change his mind easily.
9. The reference is probably to !'Atelier, a workers' publication edited by Philippe
Buchez (1842-5).
Part II

Working Class Socialists and

7. Emile Varin
LA RUCHE POPULAIRE appeared sporadically in Paris,
1839-45, a 'journal of workers, edited and published by themselves',
as the sub-title announces, having 'no other banner than union and
peace'. Its founding editor was Jules Vinr;ard, a textile worker, poet
and protege of George Sand. In the March 1845 issue which
announced its suspension of publication, the editors published a list
of 169 sponsors whose contributions had kept the journal in print.
The list included many of the leading socialist publicists in Paris
and such literary figures as Eugene Sue, Sand, Beranger, Chateau-
briand, Lamartine, Lammenais, Mme Recamier and Alexis de
Tocqueville. Franz Liszt was listed as an 'artiste', and there was an
impressive collection of Polish, Russian and French princes, dukes
f.!nd counts, including the banker, Baron fames de Rothschild.
EMILE VARIN (born in 1814 in Paris) was a foreman in a
chemicals workshop, and later arrested during battle in the 1848

To All*
When we other folk, the people - the vulgar class, to speak in the
received idiom - read a typical publication, we are generally well
aware of who it is that writes, what end the author has in view, and
by what means he pretends to reach it. So we should satisfy you on
these same three points. You have undoubtedly read the title of our
*'A Tous', La Ruche populaire, I (Dec. 1839), pp. 3-7.

94 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

work. This title will serve, in a pinch, as preface and commentary.

These lines are no more than a kind of minute-taking of simple
conversation - or what you will.
Your author here is basically the class of plebeians: proletarians
or workers, and a class they are. Your author is the echo of the
workshops under a lean-to or in the open air. He is, if you wish to
know our chief editor, a lens grinder in the alley Saucede. He might
be my neighbour Simon, the carpenter; he might be you, if you
possess only your bare hands and no income. You do not know how
to write? Recount your ideas to a friend who handles both a sledge
hammer and a pen: he will be your public scribe. The author will
also be the majority of our fellow citizens, who will sympathise
with our work and respond to our public appeal. May they therefore
contribute by every honourable means to our fraternal collaboration,
a product that each labourer - with absolutely no hierarchy,
apparent or disguised - brings to the common hive. 1 May they
dedicate whatever time they have at their disposal, hours snatched
away from sleep in most cases or for some a substitute for the sad
pleasures of the cafe. - So now you know the author, much more
than he would reveal by signing his name, profession, his address,
if you require it, and if need be, showing you his papers and identity
Our publication, one in its principle, its means and its ends, is
nevertheless many. It is a true rhapsody, reflections of thoughts
here, emotions there, without connection or literary polish, a modest
album of the poor, a simple review of the needs and facts of the
workshop, as well as its manner, in its own language, of envisaging
men and things. Sometimes the publication will make use of
criticism, but with reserve: prudently and not without distrusting
itself. Sometimes it will limit itself to the exposition of its ideas,
well or badly phrased, without disdaining any form, no matter how
trivial it might appear. At times we will resort to song, the powerful
weapon of the divine Beranger, 2 our very own poet who first
conceived and put into practice the thoughts that we today now
understand, feeble as it might be in inexpert hands, deprived as we
all are of his unique genius. 3 You see, then, that the end which we
have proposed is to elevate the People in the minds of those who
ignore them; to reveal the interiors of their naked hearts; to prove,
with facts, that they are worthy of being admitted to the banquet
of society, where they have up to now been rejected as political
outcasts, even while being proclaimed sovereign ...
Emile Varin 95

Shameful of the brutalisation into which he has been plunged,

used as a mere physical tool, the worker now wants to prove that
he is an intelligent machine, accessible - perhaps more than the
civilised - to noble and generous sentiments. The people want to
continue in this way to make known to all the true idea formed of
themselves in only three days. 4
Our goal is first and foremost to secure for ourselves, as workers,
not a forum to quibble and give vent to hatred and cursing, but a
mutual school for ameliorating our common understanding and
learning how to gain control over our work. In helping ourselves,
we find mutual encouragement and we can pool our experiences.
Thus we compensate for our lack of education and add to our
understanding of our social rights and duties: rights which are
refused and duties which are imposed upon us.
Only yesterday slaves, simple freedmen that we now are, we want
to conquer, peacefully, our citizen rights [droit de cite]. So trust me,
you defiant bourgeoisie. Struggle and war are weapons which we
openly spurn, as much as we repudiate any brutal force which robs
the rich of their goods, whether justly or unjustly gained. So together,
good friends, comrades and workers, union! Let us all gather
together for our true rights and make a truce over the quarrels
between trades, those cruel brawls which, in adding to the unique
repression which already victimises us, postpone the era of general
In our position as poor, unnoticed creatures, we have greater need
than anyone else to fortify ourselves constantly with the principles
of sane justice and virtue. These will triumph sooner or later in
spite of the wretches who blaspheme against Providence.
To egoism, that hideous plague against humanity, let us oppose
self-sacrifice and devotion, the only true and great active powers.
And if we must die, withered by the disdain of the earth's fortunates,
ascribe it to the will of God! But let us not leave to our children a
heritage as fatal as our own abasement and general privation. Hope
is certainly a beautiful thing, which enables us to support with
resignation bodily illness in the expectation of recovery and painful
afflictions of the spirit with a view to a happy future. But hope is
depleted by disillusionment if it isn't reinforced by two instruments
against which everything gives way: intelligence and the will. The
will depends upon us; intelligence purchases it for us! Didn't the
Emperor [Napoleon] say the word impossible is not French? So
96 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

action favours hope because, on her own, lady luck perpetuates

servitude of the exploited to the benefit of the privileged.
May sane reason and the innate righteousness of the human heart
- however perverted, misled and sadly compromised by the men-
dacious language and the defects of our masters and governors -
may this reason and righteousness be reinvigorated by a return to
ourselves in the pure well-springs of truth. We thereby show the
path that we must follow to attain our goal of common interest.
May reason and truth be both our saviours and guides!
Only then will the rags fall from our bodies and our eyes, so
often brimming with bitter tears, see with ecstasy that affluence
reigns in our families. Then our desires will be satisfied beyond
measure. We will serve as a vanguard exhorting electoral reform,
which will in turn bring all the others, our genuine participation
being a witness to our trust in the people. We will take pride in it
and hasten to show ourselves worthy of it.
And so, as everyone can see, ours is a sacred work: a change for
the better, a coalition for the general good.
Distinguished gentlemen, elegant ladies, you who know workers
only through hearsay from the false reports of certain filthy scrib-
blers, you may find it impossible to believe us capable of under-
standing and feeling. This hypocritical sensibility would deny us
qualities of heart and mind which are nevertheless, we believe, the
possession of anyone who has not been turned into a knave by
affectation and pedantry. And so we enter the arena, not as athletes
seeking to vanquish an adversary by barehanded strength but as
Daniel in the lion's den, with faith in a guardian angel. Yes, we
have faith that good intentions, rather than savoir-jaire, will secure
our triumph, aided as they will be, we have no doubt, by the wisdom
of the patrons of the People.
If the celebrated naturalist 5 was right in saying that style is the
man, our cause is won. Our style betrays, underneath the coarseness
of our shapes and manners, the simplicity of our morals, our open
demeanor and the steady purity of our views. Our style is also
revealed in our prayers. We want to portray ourselves; this is a bit
of vanity on our part. After all, conceit as well as probity are hidden
under a wagon driver's overalls. Until now, our portrait has been
very unflattering. We no longer wish to be seen as poorly trained
bears. So take up a paint brush! It is pitiful to read so many
infamous parodies and to see how we are so ignobly caricatured in
the Gazette des Tribunaux. Instead of coming to the aid of the
Emile Varin 97

worker and protecting him from the fatal consequences of a poor

education, people are pleased to ridicule and caricature him, even
the unfortunate wretch on the brink of disaster. What shame!
Children, our place shall no longer be the kneeling bench, nor
our lives a humiliation. It is up to us to succour ourselves since we
are refused assistance by others. The fellowship of hearts will bring
a partnership of arms, and an idea will revolutionise the world.
Although calling forth a crusade against vice and prejudice, we
are in no way setting ourselves up as dogmatists and reformers.
Rather, we reiterate our call for a common school. Cut off from the
susceptibilities of authors, unknown apprentices that we are, we
will scarcely be troubled by the criticisms and mockery attracted by
our small acquaintance of elegant language and our poorly connected
sentences. But we will most happily and appreciatively accept the
wise counsels of morality and fatherly precautions which true
philanthropists, enlightening us with their wisdom, should deign to
accord us. Such is the hope which sustains us in our task.


1. La ruche is the term for bee hive, and was the figure of speech chosen for the
title to symbolise communal effort.
2. Pierre-Jean Beranger (1780-1875), a poet and song-writer of very humble
origins, achieved fame in established society as well as great popularity amongst
the working class. His subject matter tended to celebrate, romanticise and even
ennoble the life of peasant and worker. He served as a model to which many
ouvrieres poetes aspired.
3. This unctuously subservient tone is revealed to be part of a rhetorical strategy
in the following article by L. ]. Vannostal.
4. The 'three glorious days' of the Revolution of 27-9 July 1830.
5. An apparent reference to George-Louis de Buffon ( 1707 -88), Discours sur le
style: 'Le style est l'homme meme.'
8. L. J. Vannostal
L. ]. V ANNOSTAL, otherwise unknown, was a typesetter.

To the Workers*
The French Revolution, which had the double mission of destroying
ancient feudal privileges and establishing the welfare of the people
on an unshakable foundation, began fifty years ago. If we examine
its results, we see that the Revolution has still only fulfilled the first
part of the task which it had undertaken. The second, which is the
more important, still remains to be accomplished. No doubt the
bourgeoisie have only to rejoice in this first result, because the
greater part of the wealth formerly possessed by the nobility and
the clergy has passed into their hands! They dispose of power as
they will, but the condition of the people who work becomes each
day more intolerable. In order to remedy these evils, the most
generous party of the new aristocracy wants to give them political
rights. But for these rights to be useful to them, it does not suffice
merely to grant them. It is also necessary to teach people what may
be done with these rights in order to bring about their enfranchise-
ment. Otherwise these rights would end, as has already happened
so many times, only in delivering them to the doorstep of political
Recognising that there exists today no publication in which their
needs are really enunciated and, moreover, that almost all current
*'Aux Travailleurs', La Ruche populaire, II (Jan. 1840), pp. 3-6.

L. ]. Vannostal 99

newspapers have as their special aim to speculate on existing

opinions rather than to enlighten their readers, about one hundred
workers have formed a kind of congress. The Ruche populaire will
be its organ, in order to examine conscientiously the many social
theories produced up to the present day, and, if possible, to attempt
the formulation of a system capable of genuinely ameliorating the
condition of the poor class, to have done with the old and vague
politics, and finally to constitute the Socialist Workers Party. 1
One should not be surprised to find among us several persons,
whose convictions I am honoured to share, who believe that the
only means of ending the crisis in which the civilised world is
engaged is the foundation of a new social order in which government
will have as its mission to form a hierarchy of workers in industry,
science and the arts; to ascertain the general needs; to regulate the
production and distribution of goods in proportion to these needs;
to make education available to each citizen according to his aptitude;
to achieve a ranking on the basis of ability ,2 reward according to
work, and a pension after retirement. We will especially demonstrate
that all of this may be done without shock or revolution, even
without disturbing the right of property (which the legislator may
however modify according to the needs of society) while relying
upon existing laws.
If workers of devotion and intelligence feel these principles
strongly enough to rally themselves together, in a few years we
should be powerful enough to enforce their peaceful realisation.
Because opinion is the queen of the world, and it is only by putting
these principles into practice that order and peace will be re-
established in society. Then France would once again serve as a
great example to the world! And this example would be followed
by others, since harmonising their interests would result in the
reconciliation of men. In these articles we attach less importance to
the elegance of style than to the firmness of our reasoning. For us
workers, who have hardly spent our entire lives turning and
polishing phrases, to think well means everything, to speak well is
only secondary.
Faithful to the principle which we have adopted, our group will
broach every important question relating to the social order. We
will show how this century, which claims to be enlightened and
civilised, remains ignorant and barbarous, since society is still
capable of using its immense resources of production only to plunge
the workers into more and more profound distress, which leads
100 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

them unfailingly to immorality, crime or suicide, instead of increas-

ing their well-being.
We will demonstrate to the rich how they have an interest in
solving the social problem, because the more unhappy the people
are, the less security they have.
Honest people of all classes and parties, who sincerely desire the
amelioration of the plight of that poorest and most numerous class,
which produces all and often lacks everything: the eager sympathy
with which a great many of you have received our first edition
proves to us that you deem our undertaking worthy of encourage-
ment, and that you are prepared to support it morally, intellectually
and even, if necessary, financially.


1. In the original, 'le parti socialiste des Travailleurs'.
2. The phrase is: 'de realiser le classement suivant Ia capacite'.
9. Lenoir
LENOIR, otherwise unknown, was a cabinet-maker who had been
active in the Saint-Simonian society in 1832.

What Progress Is and What

It Is Not*
There are a few words which express the highest of human
aspirations. One hears them every day, on every occasion, on
everyone's lips. These words generally create a good effect, but what
they express is so vague, so ill-defined - each party or school having
such different and even contradictory ideas about them - that it
would be good to come to terms with the worth and the meaning
of several of these words, so as not to be too incoherent. Among all
of these words (of which I have no intention of making an exhaustive
list) one might especially note liberty, association, progress, etc.
With such terms some would wish to put society in jeopardy, while
others claim that society accomplishes immense progress on their
behalf. Does it, or doesn't it? Let us examine this important problem
with the finest method at our command. The examination should
not be undertaken from a general point of view only, society taken,
as it commonly is, in the mass. It is clear that this manner of
envisaging situations produces confusion. It is moreover clear that
one cannot adequately understand the whole of a situation if one
*'Ce qui est ou ce qui n'est pas progres,' La Ruche populaire, IV (Feb. 1840), pp.
22-31 and (March 1840), pp. 7-13.

102 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

does not perfectly understand all of the details. Let us therefore

begin with a detailed examination, in so doing ascending to the
whole. Let us inspect the march of society under the triple aspect
of activity/ legislation and mores. First, activity, an inherent feature
of human existence, presents three great directions: industry, science
and the arts. Let us analyse industry, which itself divides into three
branches: production, or agricultural and manufacturing labour;
distribution, or commerce; and consumption, or participation.


Let us be clear, first of all, as to the end or final aim of productive

labour, vulgarly called industry. The end is both direct and indirect,
material and spiritual.
The material or direct end of production is to enrich humankind,
and to provide it with the double satisfaction of internal luxury, or
health, and external luxury, or wealth. Secondly, the aim is to put
man to work, while ridding him, by use of machines, etc., of the
repugnances which accompany it today; at the same time remuner-
ating him in proportion to the increase of wealth.
The indirect spiritual end of production is, first, to enliven
individual affections. This places man in the most favourable
conditions for peace of mind, providing him with security for the
future for both his family and friends. Secondly, it enlivens collective
or social passions, involving man in the social order and the
maintenance of the society which assures well-being to himself and
The radical aim of productive labour is twofold: to destroy the
material cause of crime by destroying poverty, and to elevate man
to a love of his equals and of God. Production, in order to reach this
goal, must be active, intelligent and stable.
It is incontestable that, with regard to methods and mechanical
operations, our means are superior to any previous era, and con-
sequently products are more numerous. But this result alone in no
way constitutes progress in production, because it is counterbalanced
by the poor quality of products, which everyone does his best to
adulterate, carried along by the double necessity of keeping up with
the competition and frequently cheapening the products on which
little profit is made. If it were merely a question of increasing the
quantity of products without improving, but not lowering, the
quality, this would at least be a simple type of progress. But since
Lenoir 103

interests are opposed to each other in our society, it follows that

small producers can only remain competitive against the richer
producers who use machines, and thus forestall their ruin, by the
use of mediocre materials and careless manufacture, or, in technical
terms, by making junk.
We should add that many machines can only make products of
inferior quality because those who operate them, not having the
same interests of those who buy their products, make a simple
calculation, that is, in their own self-interest, rather than a compound
calculation which would regard their interest as combined with the
consumers' interests.
This is the larger tendency of manufacturing today. It is a
tendency which has therefore not as yet attained even simple
progress, since to the extent that products increase in quantity, they
diminish in quality. Still less do we have compound progress, which
would consist of an increase in quantity and a refinement of quality.
Assuredly some effects of this kind occur from time to time. It is
due to men who, truly endowed with inventive genius and an
appreciation of what is beautiful and good, advance the two kinds
of perfection. But these are fragmentary effects and cannot attain
to that generality which would give them a social character. We
should note that each time a new product appears in commerce, it
always seems to be a uniting of quality and beauty, but at a high
price. This is fair, since the inventor certainly ought to be paid for
his talent, and the merchant first selling the product must recover
from the price of the successful item the losses sustained by another
which fails.
But what happens when a fabric or some other product comes
into vogue? Producers of mediocre ability- those who are primarily
moved by interest, without a love for their art, veritable pirates of
talent and always on the scent of novelties - seize onto the successful
ones and inundate the stores with products of the same name, with
the same general appearance as the original product, but with
neither the quality nor the beauty. They are typically only a pale
caricature. Now these new products, which make up the class of
things which I described earlier as junk, offer economies on materials
and manufacture to the imitators, and still greater savings on the
expense of invention. They offer to the merchant, because of the
appeal of an article carrying a fashionable label, the opportunity
of considerable sales, allowing him to offer the merchandise at a
price which the original manufacturer cannot match. When the
104 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

original product remains on the market it is priced such that it

cannot be widely distributed, and never reaches beyond the wealthy.
Machines seem destined to eliminate (as is now taking place)
that part of work which is brutalising to mankind. They are destined
to render this effect in a double sense: to diminish fatigue and the
duration of work, thereby leaving the worker time to cultivate his
intellect. Provided with this larger portion of total production and
wealth, he may perfect his sensibilities. But do machines yield this
result today? In a minority, yes; for the majority, it leads to the
opposite result. A fact known by everyone is that the more workers
there are in competition to obtain the available work, the more
wages go down. The fewer the workers, the more wages rise. The
problem is the same for handcrafted goods. Today each worker,
kept alive by his earnings, contrives to find means to speed up his
work. Each new method is soon imitated by competitors, each
innovation thus leading to more work and a loss of repose in order
to maintain, so far as possible, an equilibrium of income and
expenditure. This tendency toward rivalry, caused by the superfluity
of workers, can only aggravate the evil, because the same number
of workers producing a greater total of work is exactly as if this
number, already too large, became larger still. So much for the
workers doing piece work.
Now, if a machine introduced in one workshop replaces one
portion of the personnel in the manufacturing process, these workers
of necessity turn up at other establishments, and augment the
superfluous workforce. What is to become of them? The manufac-
turer2 often finds himself placed in analogous circumstances and
shares this penury. He must offer less advantageous wages which
they will be forced to accept, and for the same daily amount he will
obtain the labour of several more men. As this penury steadily
grows, work becomes less and less secure. As his work pays less, the
daily wage-earner begins to find himself in greater and greater
dependence. He yields for fear of starvation to the most vexing
exigencies. He falls into the most degrading servility. On top of
this, a large portion of men working in the manufacturing trades,
after the introduction of a machine, do a job that is more tedious
or longer than the one they previously had. You will observe that,
at the present time, machines lead only to results contrary to the
ones they are destined to give us.
It would be good at this point to focus our attention on a radical
misconception about our social order, that is, when the workforce
Lenoir 105

is numerous in comparison to the available work; when manufac-

turing is short of workers; when production is greater than con-
sumption; when stores overflow with products of all kinds; one must
logically conclude that the nation is rich, since there are more
products than it can consume, that it has need of nothing more.
How is it, then, that the most numerous segment, the vigorous
part of the nation, is in danger of starvation, if the nation abounds
with everything? You who pretend that machines today are working
for the common good by multiplying so many products, tell us then
how it is that when products are as plentiful as can be the men
whose hands have made these goods are reduced to dying in poverty?
And what if, on the contrary, some kind of accident should suddenly
wipe out all the contents of the stores, and as a consequence
impoverish the nation? Would the well-being of the workers grow
in proportion to the nation's poverty? Are we to associate abundance
of goods with poverty for the worker, dearth of goods with wealth
for the worker? You may easily see that when you lull us with
theories of equilibrium between production and consumption, you
are dreaming of effects which ought to exist, which should exist,
but which in no way do exist - and could not exist in the present
state of social relationships. You dream of effects which are incom-
patible with wage labour. In order for the worker's prosperity to
increase with the growth of production, he must be co-sharer in the
general wealth based on his labour, his talent and even his capital,
if he has any, instead of being subjected to the arbitrary wages of
the boss who employs him. Many other things are also necessary,
which I will point out below. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.
It will be easier to keep things straight by reviewing what has so
far been stated.
Those who actually profit from the introduction of machines are
the classes living on their capital earnings and those employees
having a fixed and certain salary in no way influenced by the
commercial fluctuations which always weigh heavily on the working
classes. Wage labourers are especially subject to changes and inter-
ruptions, be it due to the instability of work or to illness.
For these classes - the wealthy and the salaried employees - the
trends of prosperity or distress take on inverse meanings as compared
with workers. The prosperity of the former grows as a function of
the mass of goods which impoverish the worker, and diminishes as
a function of the dearth of manufactured products, which is a source
of prosperity for the worker. 3 Necessarily, results so contrary to the
106 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

designs of justice are the product of a vicious principle, and this

principle is the universal lack of solidarity in industrial matters. It
is industrial fragmentation which places each establishment in a
struggle with all the others, each producer in opposition to factory
bosses as well as other workers. In a word, the fortune of each is
built on the ruin of others.
Now these are undoubtedly fine arguments, but the facts are
more eloquent, and you cannot deny that the worker wears on his
legs, head and back finer clothes than he previously wore, the
introduction of machines facilitating the introduction of luxury to
the working classes ... To be sure, in the cities a segment of young
people are now dressed in a manner which approximates luxury
This situation even extends in a limited way to the countryside. But
independently of the fact that this does not apply to workers who
marry and are subsequently blessed with several children, it does
not even apply to the generality of single workers, with whom the
introduction of the frock coat and suit is still not as common as the
worker's tunic, and still less to the generality of countryfolk who,
in most areas, travel barefooted, weather permitting, carrying their
sabots or shoes in hand, which they put on to enter the town and
take off when leaving for the sake of economy or sheer poverty. In
the winter they warm their feet with a layer of straw or hay in the
bottom of their sabots or, if they are lucky, shoes.
The tendency towards luxury on the part of some workers is less
the result of the low price of clothing than of the refinement of
tastes, very noticeable among a large part of the working class. This,
I believe, is more owing to reading, the theatre and dancing than
to machinery, because, ultimately, a worker who wants a somewhat
fashionable frock coat or suit will in no way profit from the lower
price of cloth. It is the tailor who profits. If a worker decides to buy
his own cloth, he will only find a tailor with no talent who will
botch it up in a ridiculous way. Good tailors will not make clothes
without supplying the cloth. Still another reason is that most workers
pay for their clothes in instalments. In one way or another, a suit
or coat, or trousers and waistcoat, will still cost a hundred-twenty
to a hundred-thirty francs. While admitting that a worker today
might save fifty or sixty francs a year on his clothes and linen
compared to what he would have spent thirty years ago, this is little
to compensate for the steady lowering of wages. I repeat that these
advantages do not apply to a married man, because his gain is not
as great as the bachelor's. The husband's needs are greater, especially
Lenoir 107

if he has a family. And, notwithstanding the lower quality of goods,

if one saves a little in the purchase of manufactured goods, this
economy only applies to objects of least importance to poor families,
such as clothing, furniture, etc., while the main articles of con-
sumption, food and lodging, continue to increase in price.
Some economists have extolled the prosperity of several northern
countries, without mentioning that this prosperity only exists to the
extent that the industry which has provided it has not yet exhausted
its fecundity. They do not mention that apart from this new industry,
the making of beet sugar (absurdity if ever one existed for those
who speculate on the world economy), there are other industries,
the spinning of cotton and flax, in which workers labour in the
most miserable conditions. Wages will drop quickly when domestic
sugar is subjected to tax, which must inevitably happen, along with
other consequences of the fragmented system, 4 when competition
multiplies manufacturing of this kind. The nascent prosperity of
the sugar workers will soon match that of the spinners in Lyon,
Mulhouse, Liverpool and Manchester.
As regards Liverpool and Manchester, these English workers
must be blind, or demon possessed. What! In the richest and most
mechanised land, to expect us to believe that they are poor, where
machines inundate the land with products? To fancy that they die
of hunger? To extend delusion to the point of refusing to work on
the conditions offered, building up ill feelings to the very point of
explosion! But in truth these people have no clear notions at all of
the wealth of nations!!! 5 As for the English government, it must be
very inept to send troops against people who have so deceived
themselves as to the truth of things. In their place, I would send
them an economist to teach them that they should rejoice that the
stores are full everywhere, and that in consequence everyone is rich.
Then send a good, fat Milord to make them understand that they
are happy to be hungry!!! And then a moralist to teach them that
it is beautiful to die for one's country, and that, be it by cannon or
starvation, it matters little, so long as one dies for the country ...
After that, I believe they would be able to live in tranquillity (those
in government, that is) or I am mistaken.
Following this examination, I leave you to draw your own
conclusion on the plight of workers. Now let us speak for a moment
on the subject of working women.
Women of the people are certainly, on the subject of lower prices
for attire, placed in more advantageous conditions than men. Each
108 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

woman who buys herself a dress deals with a merchant, and does
not have to go directly to a dressmaker, at least in most cases. But
as women's wages are also going down, to say the least, the question
of women gives us an opportunity to view progress from a different
Up to the present time, people have only envisaged certain human
developments in a very vicious manner - that is to say they have
only been considered under a single aspect. Let us therefore examine
the facts as we have so far done in this article, from two aspects,
direct and inverse, material and spiritual, etc. From this point of
view, it will no longer suffice to say that working women are better
dressed than heretofore, as it is said, which is true in the minority
of cases and false in the majority, when one takes into account the
inhabitants of the small towns and in the country. It would still be
necessary to prove that the introduction of luxury amongst working
women has reached a point high enough to satisfy desires created
by shop window displays of luxury items, and that the means by
which these delights are obtained are noble and good.
Now what happens here, I ask you? This: a country girl from
time to time sees elegant ladies pass by, richly clothed, and a sigh
escapes her lips. An ephemeral desire sparked by these fleeting
apparitions will not be a torment. The rarity of this view of luxury,
the nature of her education, and most important of all the absence
of seducers, which swarm about big cities, will allow these desires,
which few things could satisfy, to remain asleep in her imagination
... But in the city! Look at these poor girls, employed in the making
of these objects of luxury, continually excited into coveting these
things by the privations they endure and by the incessant aspect of
this luxury ... See them stop in front of a novelty or jewellery store
and look through the glass at the items placed on display. Ask them
what is passing through their minds, and if they do not tell you,
address yourself to this well-dressed man approaching them, and
ask him which objects they contemplate. Coveting their youth and
innocence with the same eye that girls covet the finery, the innu-
merable roues who infest the big cities might be asked how poor
girls, separated from their paternal home by the need of work, and
thus deprived of the safekeeping of their parents, find themselves
introduced to luxury. Ask such men if it is their amiability which
brings them such success, and on this point they would be able to
tell you something. Or more likely they would not, so accustomed
as they are to lying. I will reply for them. Just as the poverty of
Lenoir 109

workers assures products at a lower price for the rich, the poverty
of working women and the overexcitement of needs for luxuries
assures them less costly objects of prostitution. Yes, prostitution, and
in fact of all social matters making gains today, the latter comes at
the top of the list. Progress here is certainly greater than it is in the
spread of luxuries in the working classes.
Because, don't you see, women do not become prostitutes only to
purchase finery. They also prostitute themselves in order to eat
when work is unavailable or insufficient. I myself know women
who are prostitutes in order to provide food for their fathers and
mothers, and it is not rare to see women become prostitutes to feed
their children. Will you object that they ought to have restraint? If
we make a law of restraint for poor girls, why don't we make a law
for merchants to show their wares only to persons who are able to
buy them? Why not find occupations for poor girls which are
completely foreign to luxuries - a position which would protect
them from the advances of seducers? It is not enough to say that
working women dress with elegance, therefore they do not suffer
in matters of luxury. One must go further and inquire as to where
their desires lead. A savage who goes about completely naked, who
is badly nourished, poorly sheltered, but who desires nothing more
than this, because he knows nothing better, suffers less misery than
a woman or man amongst a people who are passably housed,
nourished and dressed, but consumed with desires ceaselessly excited
by the entrancement of familiar luxuries. It is still worse if they
should lack amidst plenty because unlike the savage, they do not
have the skill to fish, hunt, or gather fruit ... As for the children,
could anyone believe that they profit from the introduction of
machines? Have you seen the poor children condemned by their
poverty to work in factories? How they are tattered, wan, emaciated,
rude and vicious! How poverty and brutalisation belabour these
children of progress! What progress they make, indeed! Men before
puberty, old before virility, for them there is a single step from
birth to premature death. For the brief moment they spend on earth,
they drag themselves through a degraded, abject, ignorant and
miserable existence.

I have just examined in detail, although in an incomplete manner,

the results of our conquests in industry. Here we have unmistakably
found more evil than good for the immense majority who have the
110 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

greatest need of good. Now if I return to some political considerations

and examine the workings of societies, I find (and for this there is
no need to demonstrate in detail) that the most advanced nations in
Europe and America, with regard to industry, are the most heavily
in debt. In these nations the people's poverty leads to the most crime
and rebellious dispositions - dispositions which cannot endure
without some effect.
These are unquestionably the results obtaining to us by the
introduction of machines, the improvement of technology and the
greater and greater toil demanded of each worker. May those who
remain unconvinced be impressed by this: what is good for the rich,
that is to say the increase in production, is precisely what is bad for
the worker; the worker can earn a living wage only on the condition
of being able to sell himself, thereby profiting from the scarcity of
goods. It can be seen that in the current state of things, all techniques
which encroach upon labour are fatal to the worker. As each person
is, with very rare exceptions, severely constrained to build the
foundations of his fortune on the ruins of others, it follows that in
this struggle, where money is the lifeblood of war, the benefits go
to the small number who possess capital, or at least share in a
goodly portion of intrigues.
One might object that it is nonetheless necessary that this mass
of machine-made goods be consumed by someone, and that the
plight which I have just attributed to workers has nothing at all to
do with the growth of production. I reply that, independently of the
fact that production has not yet reached a sufficient abundance to
feed and clothe every member of society adequately, a large portion
is taken away by exports to increase the delectations of the wealthy
in other parts of the earth. Goods are exchanged for products which
are of very little or no use at all to the people, such as porcelain
from Japan, foulards from India, cocoa, coffee, sugar, etc ...
I have quickly passed over agriculture and housekeeping, because
in this genre of work there are only a few inventions ... Nevertheless
it is worth noting that the affluence of domestics has made them
singularly callous. The bourgeoisie and even the nobility, with
whom the mercantile spirit (which is today dignified by the name
of economics or the spirit of order) makes such great progress that
they haggle over the articles they buy like second-hand clothiers,
and are no longer so generous as before towards their servants, to
whom they ordinarily used to pass on their wardrobe castoffs, but
today sell, pure and simple. And as the evil works its way into our
Lenoir 111

society in a complex fashion, there is not only a diminution in

generosity and gratuities. There is also an increase in work: women
have been elevated to the level of men, and now in many homes it
is the woman who scrubs the apartment. Let us therefore end with
a definition of what is or what is not progress.
Social progress is the accomplishment of any fact which places
a society in happier circumstances than previously existed and
advances it towards an ulterior, defined destiny. When one speaks
of a society, it must of necessity mean everyone without exception,
because in our societies, there are only two classes, completely cut
off from each other, 6 the rich minority and the poor majority. Now,
a benefit, if it does not redound to all, will not reach the majority,
which is the most destitute of resources. It will be limited to only
the minority with money. This is not social progress, but an element
of progress which, unless it is well employed, will work more evil
than good.
From this perspective, all the achievements we have made in
industry are forms of technical progress, and have nothing at all to
do with social progress. From all the above, it logically follows that
fragmentation and incoherence in industrial matters turn industrial
improvements into the detriment of the labouring classes. In order
to obtain the opposite results, one must undertake to create a
combination of interests, a reality which can only come to pass
through association.


1. The term activite suggests motion, work in progress, an operation taking its
intended course.
2. The term is fabricant, a general reference to an artisan-proprietor of a
small-scale manufactory.
3. The argument becomes particularly strained here. The point would seem to
be that a scarcity of goods would lead to an increase in employment, in turn
improving the general lot of the working class.
4. The 'systeme morcele' was a favourite term of the Fourierist school, referring
to the disorganised and competitive character of capitalism.
5. This is a mocking allusion to the book by Adam Smith.
6. Or 'two well-defined classes': il n'y a que deux classes bien tranchees.
10. Flora Tristan
FLORA TRISTAN (Flore Tristan-Moscoso, 1803-44) was born
in Paris to a Peruvian nobleman, Mariano de Tristan, descended
from Montezuma, and a Frenchwoman, Therese Laine. After her
father's death when she was a child of four or five, Tristan lived in
severe poverty since her mother, having had an improperly registered
marriage in Spain, was disinherited from her husband's estate in
Peru. In 1820 she worked in an engraving studio, colouring perfume
labels by hand, then married her boss, and had three children. The
violent marriage broke up in 1825, and a legal separation was
obtained in 1828. In 1834, after an obscure period, when she perhaps
lived as a 'dame de compagnie' on ocean voyages, she went to Peru
in an attempt to reclaim her patrimony. This ended in failure. In
1835, she met Fourier; her youngest child, Aline Chazal- Tristan,
who would be the mother of the painter Gauguin, was kidnapped
by the father; and Tristan began her career as a writer with
Peregrinations d'une paria, 1833-1834, in which she recounted her
travels and the dilemmas of an independent woman. Her Union
ouvriere appeared in 1843 and 1844, financed by an appeal to
socialist circles as well as juste milieu liberals, and its publication
was followed by a tour of France in which she was enthusiastically
received by working class audiences who responded to her call for
a national and international union of workers.

Flora Tristan 113

To Working Men and

Working Women*
Listen to me. For twenty-five years, the most intelligent and devoted
of men have dedicated their lives to the defence of our holy cause. 1
In their writings, speeches, reports, memoirs, investigations and
statistics, they have pointed out, affirmed and demonstrated to the
Government and to the wealthy that the working class is, in the
present state of things, materially and morally placed in an intol-
erable condition of poverty and suffering. They have shown that,
from this state of abandonment and neglect, it necessarily follows
that the greater part of workers, embittered by misfortune, brutalised
by ignorance and exhausting work, were becoming dangerous to
society. They have proved to the Government and to the wealthy
that not only justice and humanity imposed the duty of coming to
the aid of the working classes by a law permitting the organisation
of labour, but that even general interest and security imperiously
recommended this measure. But even so, for twenty-five years, many
eloquent voices have been unable to awaken the solicitude of the
Government concerning the dangers courted by society in the face
of seven to eight million workers exasperated by neglect and despair,
among whom a great number find themselves torn between suicide
... or theft!
Workers, what remains to be said in defence of your cause? For
twenty-five years, hasn't everything been said and said again, to the
saturation point, about all these forms? There is nothing more to
say, nothing more to write, because your unhappy condition is well
known to all. Only one thing remains to be done: to act in pursuance
of the rights inscribed in the Charter.
Now, the day has come when it is necessary to act. It is to you,
to you alone, that it falls to act in the interest of your own cause.
That way lies your life ... or your death from that horrible end
which kills at every instant: poverty and hunger!
Worker, wait no longer for the intervention promised to you for
twenty-five years. Experience and the facts tell you well enough
that the Government cannot and does not want to be bothered with
*Union ouvriere (Paris, 1843).
114 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

your kind in the matter of amelioration. On you alone it depends,

if you firmly desire it, to get out of the labyrinth of miseries, injuries
and abasement in which you languish. Do you want to assure your
children the benefit of a good vocational education and for yourselves
the assurance of repose in your old age? You can do so.
Your action, on your own behalf, is not armed revolt, a riot in
public places, arson or pillage. No. Because destruction, instead of
remedying your ills, would only make them worse. The riots in
Lyon and Paris have attested to that. Your action, on your own
behalf, must only be legal, legitimate and avowed before God and
men. It is the Universal Union of Working Men and Women.
Workers, your condition in present society is miserable and
distressing. In good health, you do not have a right to work. Sick,
infirm, wounded or old, you do not have a right to hospital. Lacking
everything, you do not even have a right to beg, because mendicancy
is prohibited by law. This precarious position plunges you into that
savage state where man, living in the forest, is obliged each morning
to dream up means by which he might procure his nourishment for
the day. Such an existence is veritable torture. The plight of an
animal which feeds in a sty is a thousand times preferable to yours.
It is sure of eating tomorrow. Its master keeps straw and hay in the
barn, just for an animal, for the winter. The lot of the bee, in a tree
trunk, is a thousand times preferable to yours. The life of the ant,
which works in summer in order to live tranquilly in the winter,
is a thousand times preferable to yours. Workers, you are unhappy,
yes, undoubtedly. But from whence comes the principal cause of
your ills? If a bee and an ant, instead of working in concert with
other bees and ants to furnish the common abode for the winter,
decided to separate themselves and work alone, they too would die
of cold and hunger in their solitary corner. So why do you remain
in isolation? Divided, you are weak and fall, crushed underfoot by
all sorts of misery! Union makes power. You have numbers in your
favour, and numbers mean a great deal.
I come now to propose to you a general union irrespective of
trade among working men and women living in the same kingdom
- a union which would have as its goal to constitute the working
class and to build several Palaces of the Workers' Union distributed
equally throughout all of France. There children of both sexes
would be raised, from six to eighteen years of age, and infirm or
injured workers and the elderly would be admitted. Listen to the
Flora Tristan 115

numbers speak, and you will have an idea of what can be done with
the Union.
There are about five million working men and two million
working women in France. 2 If only these seven million workers
would unite in thought and deed, with a view to a great common
task, to the profit of all men and all women, and each contributed
two francs a year to it, at the end of a single year the Workers'
Union would possess the enormous sum of fourteen million francs.
You might well say: How are we to unite for this great task? By
location and the rivalry between trades we are dispersed, often even
enemies at war one against another. And a two franc annual fee is
a great deal for poor daily labourers!
To these two objections I reply: To unite for the realisation of
a great task is not necessarily to associate. Footsoldiers and seamen
who, through a deduction from their pay, contribute an equal share
to a common fund to care for 3,000 soldiers and seamen at the
Hotel des Invalides are not by that fact associated amongst them-
selves. They have no need of knowing each other or of being
sympathetic in opinions, tastes, and character. It is enough to know
that the whole military, from one end of France to the other, pay
the same subscription, assuring to the wounded, the infirm and the
aged their entry by right to the Hotel des Invalides.
As for the amount, I ask you, what worker, even among the
poorest, would not be able, by economising a little, to come up with
a two franc annual subscription, so as to assure him of a retirement
in his old age. Why consider your neighbours, the unhappy Irish,
the poorest people in all the world, the people who eat only potatoes,
and then only every other day! 3 And such a people (they number
only seven million souls) have found the means to pay nearly two
million in rents to a single man (O'Connell), 4 and for twelve years
running at that! And you French people, the richest in all the world,
cannot find the means to build large, healthy, comfortable palaces
to care for your children, your wounded and your aged? Oh, this
would be a veritable shame, an eternal shame indicting your egoism,
carelessness and lack of intelligence! Yes, yes, if the Irish workers,
going barefoot and hollow bellied, have given, for twelve years, a
two-million franc honorarium to their defender, O'Connell, you are
much more able to give fourteen million a year to house and nourish
your brave veterans of labour, and to train apprentices.
Two francs a year! Who amongst you does not pay, for your
little individual associations such as trade-guilds, mutual benefits
116 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

and others, or even your little bad habits, such as tobacco, coffee,
brandy, etc., ten to twenty times this amount? Two francs apiece
is a small sum to scrape together and each, in giving this pittance,
produces a total of fourteen million. See what wealth you possess
solely through your numbers? But, to enjoy this wealth, the numbers
must unite, form a whole, a unity.
Workers, put aside all your petty rivalries of trade and, outside
of your particular associations, form one compact, solid, indissoluble
Union. Tomorrow, immediately, may all hearts be lifted up spon-
taneously in a single, unique idea: Union! May the cry of union
resound throughout France, and in one year, if you steadfastly
desire it, the Workers' Union will be established. In two years you
will have fourteen million francs of your own in the bank to build
a palace worthy of the great labouring people.

Yes, it falls to you champions of labour to raise the first voice to

honour the only truly honourable thing, Labour. It is to the
producers, still despised by those who exploit you, that the task falls
of building the first palace for the retirement of your aged workers.
It remains to you workers, who built the palaces of kings and the
rich, the temples of God, the homes and sanctuaries where all
humanity finds shelter, finally to construct a refuge where you may
die in peace - never having had a place to rest your head except in
hospital, if there was room. To work then! To work! Workers,
reflect carefully upon the efforts I have made to tempt you in order
to wrest you away from poverty. Oh, if you do not respond to this
call for Union, if, through egoism or carelessness, you refuse to
Unite yourselves, what else can be done to save you?
Brothers, a distressing thought wounds the heart of all those who
write for the poor people, who are so forsaken, so overburdened
with labour from childhood, that three-quarters of them do not
know how to read and the other quarter haven't the time to read.
Thus, to write a book for the people is to throw a drop of water in
the ocean. So I know that if I were limiting myself to putting my
proposal for a Universal Union on paper, as magnificent as it is,
the proposal would be a dead letter, as it has been with so many
other plans already proposed. I understand that, my book published,
I have another work to accomplish, which is to go myself, proposal
for union in hand, from city to city, from one end of France to
another, to speak to the workers who do not know how to read and
Flora Tristan 117

to those who haven't the time to read. I tell myself that the moment
has come to act. And for those who really love the workers, who
want to devote themselves, body and soul, to their cause, a wonderful
mission is there to fulfil. Such a person must follow the example of
the first apostles of Christ. These men, braving persecution and
fatigue, took up a beggar's sack and staff and went from country
to country preaching the New Law- brotherhood in God, union in
God. And so why, as a woman who has faith and strength, should
I not go, the same as the apostles, from city to city, announcing the
Good News to the workers and preaching to them brotherhood in
humanity, union in humanity?
In the legislative assembly, in the Christian pulpit, in the assem-
blies of the world, in theatres and especially in the courts of law,
people often speak about workers; but no one as yet has tried to
speak to the workers. It is a direction that must be explored. God
tells me that it will succeed. That is why I set upon this new path
with confidence. - Yes, I will go find them in their workshops, in
their garrets and even in their cabarets, if necessary, and there, face
to face with their misery, I will move them to tears about their
plights and force them, in spite of themselves, to leave this horrible
poverty which degrades them and kills them.

Why I mention women

Workers, my brothers, I work for you with love because you

represent the hardiest, most numerous and the most useful part of
humanity. With this in mind I find my own satisfaction in serving
your cause. I earnestly beg you to read this chapter carefully and
with the greatest attention. You must be persuaded by it, because
it is in your own material interests to understand fully why I always
mention women by using the feminine ouvieres and toutes.
For anyone whose intelligence is illumined by the rays of divine
love and the love of humanity it is easy to grasp the logical sequence
of the relations which exist between causes and effects. For such a
person, all philosophy, all religion comes down to two questions.
The first: How may and how ought we to love God and serve him
with a view to the universal well-being of all men and women
making up humanity? The second: How may and how ought we
118 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

to love and treat woman with a view to the universal well-being of

all men and women making up humanity?
I do not believe this is the place to respond to these two questions.
Later, if workers show any interest in it, I will gladly discuss with
them, metaphysically and philosophically, questions of the highest
order. But, for the moment, it suffices here to adopt these two
questions, as the formal declaration of an absolute principle ...
To the present time, woman has counted for nothing in human
societies. And what is the result? That the priest, the legislator and
the philosopher have treated her as the true pariah. Woman (that
is, half of humanity) has been placed outside the Church, outside
the law, outside of society. 5
For her there can be no office in the Church, no representation
before the law, no position in the State. The priest says to her:
'Woman, you 6 are temptation, sin, evil. You represent the flesh,
which is to say corruption and decay. Weep for your condition,
throw ashes upon yourself, close yourself up in a cloister and there
mortify your heart, which is made for love, and your womb, which
is made for motherhood. And when you have mutilated your heart
and body offer them, all bloody and dessicated, to your God for the
remission of original sin committed by your mother, Eve.' Then the
lawmaker says to her: 'Woman, by yourself you are nothing as an
active member of the body of humanity. You may not hope to find
a seat at the banquet of society. If you wish to live, you must serve
as an annex to your lord and master, man. Therefore, young girl,
you will obey your father. Wife, you will obey your husband.
Widow and old woman, you will not even be taken into account.'
Finally, the wise philosopher says to her: 'Woman, it has been
confirmed by science that, due to your makeup, you are inferior to
man. 7 Now, you have no intelligence, no comprehension of higher
questions, no grasp of ideas, no capacity at all for the so-called exact
science, no aptitude for serious works. Finally, you are weak in
body and spirit, cowardly and superstitious. In a word, you are
only a capricious child, wilful and frivolous. During the first ten or
fifteen years of your life you are sweet little doll, but full of defects
and vices. This is why, woman, that man must be your master and
have complete authority over you.' 8
For the six thousand years the world has existed, this is how the
wisest of sages have judged the female race.
Such a terrible condemnation, repeated for six-thousand years,
would naturally influence the masses, because the sanction of time
Flora Tristan 119

carries much authority with the common people. However, what

ought to make us hope that this judgement might be appealed is
that in the same way, for six thousand years, the wisest of sages
have delivered a judgement no less terrible upon another race of
humanity: the Proletarians. Prior to 1789, what was the proletarian
in French society? - A villain, a churl, to be treated as a beast
sentenced to hard labour. Then came the 1789 Revolution and all
of a sudden the wisest of sages were proclaiming that the plebians
be named people, that villains and churls be called citizens. Finally,
they openly proclaimed in the National Assembly the rights of man.
The proletarian, that self-same poor worker regarded heretofore
as a brute, was quite surprised to learn that the contemptuous
treatment and loss of his rights had caused the misfortunes of the
world. Oh, he was well and truly surprised to learn that he was
now going to enjoy his civil, political and social rights, and that
finally he was to become the equal of his ancient lord and master!
His surprise grew when he was informed that he possessed an
intellect of absolutely the same quality as that of a crown prince.
What a change! Meanwhile no time was lost in realising that this
second judgement handed down upon the proletarian race was much
more exact than the first. Scarcely had it been proclaimed that the
proletarians were capable of all kinds of civil, military and social
offices, than generals such as Charlemagne were said to have come
from their ranks, and neither Henry IV or Louis XIV were able
to recruit officers from the ranks of their own proud and brilliant
nobility. 9 Then, as if by magic, intellectuals, artists, poets, writers,
men of State and financiers cropped up by the dozen from the ranks
of the proletarians, bringing to France a lustre she had never known.
Military glory crowned them with a halo; scientific discoveries
enriched them; the arts embellished them. Their commerce grew in
immense proportions, and in less than thirty years the wealth of the
land tripled. A demonstration with facts is unanswerable. Indeed
the world today concedes that men are born alike, with faculties
more or less equal, and that the only thing which should concern
us is to seek to develop all the faculties of the individual with a view
to the general welfare.
What happened for the proletarians, it must be agreed, augurs
well for women when their 1789 is sounded. Following simple logic,
it is evident that wealth will indefinitely hasten the day when
women (one-half of humankind) are called upon to bring their store
of intelligence, strength and talents to bear upon social progress.
120 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

This is as simple to comprehend as two being the double of one.

But, alas, we are not there yet, and while awaiting this happy 89,
let us take note of what is happening in 1843.
The Church claims that woman is evil. The lawmaker finds that
by herself, she is nothing, and should enjoy no rights. The wise
philosopher suggests that by her makeup she lacks intelligence. One
would conclude that here is a poor creature disinherited by God;
men and society in consequence have treated her precisely in that
way. I know nothing so powerful as the compelling, inevitable logic
which flows from a received principle or an hypothesis representing
it. The inferiority of woman, once proclaimed and postulated as a
principle, leads to disastrous consequences for the universal well-
being of all humanity, both men and women.

In the life of workers, the woman is all-important. She is their

unique providence. Lacking her, they lack everything. You hear it
said that 'it is the woman who makes or destroys a home', and that
the exactness of that truth is why it has become a proverb. However,
what education, training, direction and moral or physical develop-
ment do these women of the people receive? None. As a child, she
is left to the mercy of a mother and grandmother, who themselves
received no education. The former, as is only natural/ 0 will be
brutal and mean, beating and mistreating her for no reason, the
latter weak and careless, giving in to a girl's every whim. (In this,
as in all of my arguments, I speak in general terms. Of course, I
admit to numerous exceptions.) The poor child will be raised amidst
the most shocking contradictions: one day irritated by abuse and
injustice, the next day cossetted and spoiled by no less pernicious
Instead of sending her to school, 11 they are kept at home in
preference to their brothers, because better use can be made of
daughters around the house: minding the children, running errands,
tending the soup, etc. At twelve, they are placed in an apprenticeship,
where they continue to be exploited by their master and often
mistreated as badly as by her parents. Nothing sours the character,
hardens the heart and renders one mean-spirited so much as the
continual suffering endured during an unjust and brutal upbringing.
From the start, injustice wounds, afflicts and makes us desperate.
Then, as it continues, we become irritated, exasperated and, dream-
ing only of a means of avenging ourselves, we end up becoming,
Flora Tristan 121

ourselves, hard, unjust and mean. Such is the normal state of a poor
twenty year-old girl. Then she will marry, without love, simply
because one must marry to escape the tyranny of one's parents.
What happens then? I suppose she has children, and in her turn
she will become incapable of raising her own children properly,
being as brutal to them as her mother and grandmother were toward
her. 12
Working class wives, I beg you to pay close attention. In pointing
out here the realities of your ignorance and inability to raise your
children, I have no intention at all of making the least accusation
against you and your nature. No, it is society that I accuse for
allowing you to be so uncultivated - you, wives and mothers, who
have so much need, on the contrary, of being trained and developed
so that in turn you may train and develop men, as children, confided
to your care.
Working class wives are, in general, brutal, mean and hard. This
is true, but what is the source of this state of affairs which so badly
conforms to the gentle, good, sensitive and generous nature of
Poor working women! They have so many subjects of vexation.
First the husband. (One must confess that few working class
households are happy.) Having received more instruction, being the
head by law and also by money, which they bring home/ 3 the
husband believes himself to be (as he is in fact) superior to his wife
who brings home a small wage for her day's work and in the home
is no more than a very humble servant.
It follows that the husband treats his wife, at the very least, with
much disdain. The poor wife, who finds herself humiliated by every
word and glance from her husband, secretly or overtly rebels,
depending upon her personality. Here is the origin of violent,
wounding scenes which end up leading to a state of constant
irritation between the master and the servant (or one might even
say slave, because the wife is, as it were, the husband's property).
The condition becomes so painful that the husband, instead of
staying home to talk with his wife, cannot wait to get away. Because
he has nowhere else to go, he goes to the cabaret to drink cheap
wine with other husbands who are just as miserable as he is, in the
hope of drowning their sorrows. 14
This means of distraction compounds the problem. The wife who
waits for pay-day on Sunday to keep her family alive for the next
week despairs in seeing her husband spend the greater part of it at
122 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

the cabaret. Then her irritation is carried to the limit, her brutality
and meanness redoubled. One must see these working class house-
holds close at hand (especially the worst) to form an idea of the
unhappiness experienced by the husband, and the suffering of the
wife. From reproaches and insults, they pass to blows, and finally
to tears, discouragement and despair. 15
The burning disappointments caused by her husband are followed
in turn by pregnancies, sickness, the lack of work and poverty - a
poverty which is always there at the door like the head of Medusa.

Amongst the misfortunes which populate the houses of prosti-

tution ... and the unfortunates who groan in prisons, how many
there are who can say: 'If only we had a mother capable of raising
us properly, certainly we should not be here.'
I repeat, a woman is everything in the life of a worker. As a
mother, she influences him during his childhood. It is from her, and
uniquely from her, that he draws his first notion of that science
which is so important to acquire, the science of life which teaches
us to live befittingly to ourselves and others, according to the
condition in which our fate has placed us. 16 As a lover, she has
influence over him during his youth, and what a powerful influence
may be exercised by a pretty and beloved girl! As wife, she has an
influence over him for three-quarters of his life. Finally, as a
daughter, she has an influence over him in his old age.
It is noteworthy that the position of a worker is very different
from that of an idler. If a child of the rich has a mother incapable
of raising him, he can be pensioned elsewhere, or given a governess.
If a rich young man hasn't a mistress, he may busy his heart and
imagination in the study of the arts or sciences. If a rich man has
no spouse, he never lacks for contact with the world's distractions.
When old, and he has no daughter, he finds several old friends or
young nephews who gladly consent to play cards with him, while
the worker, to whom all these pleasures are forbidden, has for all
joys and consolation only the society of women in the family, his
companions in misfortune.
It follows from this situation that it is of the greatest importance,
for the intellectual, moral and material, amelioration of the working
class that working class women receive, from infancy, a rational,
solid and proper education in order to develop all of their good
propensities. Then they can become skilful workers in their trade,
Flora Tristan 123

good mothers to their families, capable of raising and guiding their

children, becoming, as La Presse put it, their natural and free tutors
for school lessons. They can also serve as moralising agents for men
over whom they have an influence from birth till death.
Do you begin to understand - you men who cry scandal before
deigning to examine the question - why I lay claim to woman's
rights? Why I want to see her placed on a footing of absolute
equality with man, so that she might benefit from the legal right
obtaining to every creature at birth?
I protest for women's rights because I am convinced that all the
world's misfortunes derive from this scornful ignorance shown to
this very day toward the natural and imprescriptible rights of the
female person. I speak out for the rights of women because I am
convinced that it is the unique means by which she can take charge
of her own education. And upon the woman's education depends
that of man in general, and particularly the man of the people. I
claim certain rights for woman because there lies the sole means of
obtaining her rehabilitation before the Church, the law and society.
This prior rehabilitation must occur so that the workers themselves
may be rehabilitated.
Workers, as things now stand you know what takes place in your
homes. You, man, having the right of master over your wife, do you
and she live with a contented heart? Are you happy? No, no. It is
easy to see that despite your right, you are neither content nor
happy. Between the master and the slave, one can only be fatigued
by the weight of the chain that ties them together. Where this
absence of liberty is felt so keenly, happiness could never exist.

The husband, knowing that his wife had rights equal to his,
would no longer treat her with disdain, the contempt one shows to
inferiors. On the contrary, he would treat her with that respect and
deference that one accords to equals. As his contempt is no longer
a constant irritation and, once the cause of the problem is destroyed,
his wife will no longer show herself to be brutal, wily, crabby, hot
tempered, exasperating or mean. Being no longer regarded in the
home as the husband's servant, but rather the associate, friend and
companion of the man, naturally she will take an interest in the
association and will do all that she can to make the little household
124 Working Class Socialists and Unionists

In the conditions I have just outlined, the household, instead of

being a cause of ruin for the worker, would be on the contrary a
cause of well-being. Who knows but that love and a contented heart
might triple or quadruple the strength of a man? We have already
seen this in rare examples. It has happened that a worker, adoring
his family and taking the lead in giving an education to his children,
to attain this noble aim, did the work that three unmarried men
could not have done ...
Workers, this hastily sketched picture of the position the prole-
tarian class would enjoy if women were recognised as the equal of
men ought to make you reflect on the evil which exists and the good
which might be. This should provide you with great determination.
Workers, if you do not have the power to abrogate ancient laws
and make new ones - and without a doubt you cannot - you do
have the power to protest against the injustice and absurdity of laws
which hinder the progress of humanity and make you suffer - you,
most of all. It is even your sacred duty to protest energetically in
thought, speech and writing against all the laws which oppress you.
Thus it is important that you endeavour to understand this point:
the law which enslaves the woman and deprives her of education
oppresses you proletarian men.


1. Saint-Simon, Owen, Fourier and their schools. Parent-du-Chatelet, Eugene
Buret, Villerme, Pierre Leroux, Louis Blanc, Gustave de Baumont, Proudhon,
Cabet; - and among the workers, Adolphe Boyer, Agricol Perdiguier, Pierre
Moreau, etc. (F. T.).
2. For the accuracy of these figures, see the writings of statisticians, and the
remarkable work of M. Pierre Leroux, De la ploutocratie. (F. T.)
3. The Irish eat meat only once a year, at Christmas. (F. T.)
4. O'Connell addressed the following response to Lord Shrewsbury, who had
reproached him for the annual voluntary subvention of 7 5,000 (Frs. 1,875,000)
paid to him by Ireland. O'Connell's reply, which was very elegant, ended with
these words: 'I am proud to proclaim it, that I am the hired servant of Ireland,
and that is a livery which I take pride in wearing.' Minutes of the House of
Commons, October 1842. (F. T.)
5. Aristotle, less generous than Plato, posed without resolving this question: Do
women have a soul? - a question which the Council of Macon disdained to
find in their favour by a majority of three (La Phalange, 21 Aug. 1842). (F.
T.) Tristan's footnote goes on for more than a page documenting how history's
sages - Moses, the author of Ecclesiastes, Mohammed, Rousseau, etc. - with
the exception of Jesus have regarded women as inferior and even sub-human.
Flora Tristan 125

6. The condescending 'tu' is used throughout the passage.

7. Most savants, being naturalists, physicians or philosophers, have concluded
that women are intellectually inferior. (F. T.)
8. 'Woman was made for man.' St. Paul. (F. T.)
9. All the famous generals of the Empire came from the working class. Before
1789, noblemen alone were officers. (F. T.) The first of these points is
unreliable. (Ed.)
10. This point is argued below.
11. Tristan adds a footnote here discussing the discrimination facing females who
do attend school, where teachers are under orders to demand more from the
male pupils.
12. Wives of the people show themselves to be very tender mothers toward their
infants up to the age of two or three years. Their instinct as a woman enables
them to understand that the child during these first two years needs constant
care. But after this, she brutalises them (with some exceptions). (F. T.)
13. Here Tristan gives a long footnote about the relative dexterity of female
workers, compared to men, and points out that women are generally paid only
one-half the wage men receive for the same work.
14. Here Tristan, in a very long and interesting footnote, gives a description of
working class drinking habits and a kind of sociological analysis of the working
class cabaret.
15. Here the author relates, in a footnote, a poignant story of a wife being tried
and convicted of killing her husband with a kitchen knife, and her subsequent
death from despair and self-imposed starvation. It is not unlikely that Tristan
is being autobiographical in her descriptions of domestic violence. She was
repeatedly beaten by her husband, and after her separation, once shot by him.
16. Tristan gives another long footnote, quoting at length from the Fourierist
Phalange (11 Sept. 1842) on the lack of adequate primary schools. It is noted
that 4,196 communes in France have no schools at all.
Part III

Political Economists
11. Jules Leroux
JULES LEROUX (1805-83), a younger brother of Pierre Leroux,
was a printer and a 'working class' member of the Saint-Simonian
society in Paris. A long-time organiser and activist in the printers'
trade, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1849. Following
Louis-NapoU:on 's declaration of the Second Empire in December
1851, Leroux was arrested for signing a letter protesting the coup
d'etat. After serving his sentence he spent the remainder of his life
in exile, first in Britain and then America, where he contributed to
several French-language socialist journals and lived in the dissident
lcarian community in Kansas, where he died.

Political Economy Considered

as a Science*
We have made progress since the eighteenth century. This is a
striking and palpable truth if we simply look at that portion of
knowledge designated as the natural sciences. But if we cast a glance
at the political and moral sciences, the certainty of progress is less
evident. A fleeting and superficial look does not suffice; we must
penetrate more deeply into each, and have resort to the facts which
they embrace. Political economy, the science of society's material
interests, offers us a remarkable example of the truth of this
*Revue encyclopedique (March 1833), pp. 329-43.

130 Political Economists

According to what principles, indeed, on what general laws, does

this science rest today? Since Smith and Quesnay, 1 what has it
contributed that is new and useful? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Descending from the heights of political science at that time
completely dominated by the philosophical principles of Voltaire
and Rousseau, Quesnay and his disciples created in mid-eighteenth
century France an economic doctrine in which everything is bound,
chained and subordinated from the very outset. Man is free. He is
the equal of any man. Society is a state which he voluntarily and
freely accepts only on the condition that he will find a greater
resource there to satisfy his needs. Here are the axioms which guide
the progress of theoreticians in the study of economic phenomena.
At that time wealth, in their view, took no other form than
agricultural production. Outside of that, they saw only sterile labour,
in the sense that it could return no more than what it originally
cost. And this conclusion, reminiscent of the Romans, with whom
agriculture was so much a matter of honour, they took as absolute
truth, since their teachers in political science had no dreams for
man other than the virtues of these same Romans, and for society
the republican institutions of ancient cities.
In England, on the contrary, where industry was powerful and
promised so much for the future, social science was still asleep
under the covers of constitutionalism. Toward the end of this same
eighteenth century, Smith appeared. 2 His point of departure had
nothing to do with the philosophical or the social. He stood outside
of all systems or theories of society. He isolated the economic reality
from all outside influence in his materialist viewpoint. He denatured
it, and sought in this denatured and vitiated reality his law, his
cause and his life. However it was necessary to extract from this
study of a cadaver a law applicable to the living reality of science.
One had, after having completely isolated it, to restore the economic
reality to the environment which gives it life, without which it
ceases to exist. One had to explain these strange influences which
social institutions and moral and intellectual phenomena exert upon
it. This was to return to the rival school's point of departure. And
on this point, as on many others, disagreement could be no less
great. Smith and Malthus, subordinating the principles of political
science, proclaimed to high heaven the most unjust and immoral
There are the two doctrines, opposed in every respect, which this
jules Leroux 131

eighteenth century saw blossom forth. 3

Political economy is therefore in disgrace. It no longer offers, as

in the eighteenth century, that scientific character it once seemed to
have. It is deprived of everything, including life itself. It loses, in
the eyes of many people, its title and rank as a science; for them it
is only a secondary appendage of social science. Error, error!
Political economy lives, and as with everything else has made
progress over the eighteenth century: because henceforth it has left,
never to return, the paths which were opened by Smith and Quesnay;
because the phenomena still concealing political economy appear
more clear and more precise to us; because its crucial importance
is now more deeply felt ...
So let us arise and be on our way. Otherwise we sit in silence on
the vital questions we should raise:
Why, in material things, is there such an inequality of wealth
among men?
Why are those who work so poor?
Why is there this struggle between machines and workers?
Why are our hearts aroused at the sight of these things?
Certainly a science - a positive, exact, rigorous, mathematical
science - is what is needed to find a solution to these enormous
questions, because the facts which give rise to them are in no way
isolated or discordant. Nor have they come to attention by mere
The new science must not follow Smith's method, reducing its
chosen subject of study to an incomplete and false expression on the
pretext of reducing it to its simplest terms, detaching it from the
unique milieu in which it can survive, making of it, finally, a
cadaver which can then be dissected at one's leisure. No more should
the new science adopt Quesnay's procedure. In either case, there is
a complete absence of any principle of certainty, without which
there can be no science ...
What, then, is the new method which is to give to political
economy the certitude and power it has lacked up to this time?
Who will emancipate it from the despotism of political science?
Who will likewise emancipate political science from the deleterious
influence of economic laws? Finally, who will proffer to these two
sciences the genuine role which they are destined to fulfil in the
132 Political Economists

works of mankind?

By its nature, the human mind cannot all of a sudden embrace

so vast an ensemble. The illumination of its understanding spreads
out unevenly, leaving some points obscure, with enormous gaps and
profound chasms which destroy all harmony and unity. Thus are
the various phenomena distributed here and there according to more
or less obvious groupings, and human science, reflecting this imper-
fect and incoherent state in its very makeup, divides itself equally
into specialised and diverse sciences.

But there is no conflict or disharmony among the human faculties.

All is regulated, ordered, continuous. Otherwise it would be impos-
sible for us to establish a science. We would have only confused and
ephemeral perceptions, with never a profound feeling. Because of
this order, we may hope for knowledge of this concord and harmony.
Knowing any particular part of a human reality, we should be able
to deduce the other unknown parts mathematically. Finally, when
we come to a true awareness of this reality, we shall understand its
actual and positive value, and its proper place in the larger scale
of things. There is its base, its elementary character. To know this
side of it and its inherent properties is a science unto itself. Its
speculative theory is in every way as exact and rigorously true as
mathematical theory and science.
This new definition of economic reality is fundamental. Economics
becomes subsumed as a science and receives the certainty and rigour
it previously lacked. It exposes the radical vice of past and present
theories. Let us take an example.
Statistics tosses Malthus a few ratios: some are arithmetical,
others geometric. The former express the expansion of foodstuffs,
the latter the growth of population. There, he cries, is a fact, an
economic fact that cannot be challenged. What is the consequence?
Short of a contravening series of events, or a higher law, the time
will come when humanity will die of starvation on its fruitlessly
fertile planet. Happily, one fact overrides this, and humanity will
not perish. A new economic phenomenon is revealed, a higher law
heartens us: at all times and places, an equilibrium is established
between production and consumption, between food supplies and
population. Poverty, hunger and sickness are the precious agents of
Jules Leroux 133

order and justice which overturn everything tending to destroy this

immutable and divine equilibrium. The social consequence of this
incontestable economic law is that it is just, natural and necessary
that the children of the poor, the worker and the proletarian -
deeply undermined in their very existence - should disappear from
this world, where there is no room for them: 'They show up for the
banquet of life without having been invited', says M. Say, 'so may
they go away, because nature has not set a place for them, and they
can only blame the harshness of their lot on their parents' lack of
Therefore listen, proletarians, listen! You are our equals. You
are free, but you are poor and we are rich: to us the enjoyment of
the goods of this world, to you the hard and rude work which alone
creates them. This order of things is eternal, immutable. It rests
upon property, and property is to the heart of man what life is
itself. Your efforts to change it would be in vain. Resign yourselves
to accept it. You complain of your plight: Well, what is so cruel
about it if there is something you can do to remedy it? Poverty, the
escort of illness and death, there is the scourge which incessantly
strikes among you. But, take careful note. Poverty, that terrible
agent of divine laws which protects the species and sacrifices the
individual; poverty, which rests at the depths of your being and
which you transmit to your unhappy offspring, is by its nature
entirely dependent upon your will. There are too many of you. That
is what makes you so miserable. You can never, as we can, double
the fields which you cultivate. The sublime mechanical discoveries,
the creation of powerful machines, come, on the contrary, to rob
you forever of the fountainhead of fertility from which you draw:
so have a bit of foresight; stop multiplying like you do; abstain from
marriage and parenthood.
Such are the philosophical, social and moral consequences which
flow naturally from the economic law given to us by Malthus.
These consequences, one must hasten to add, have been revolting
to many generous souls. But what have they managed to put in
their place? Nothing. Sismondi returns to the Middle Ages to find
a remedy. Enfantin would have his priest intervene, who must find
inspiration in statistical data before consecrating marriages. Others
have quibbled with Malthus's numbers. But no one has taken it
upon himself to examine the nature of the sources from which
Malthus had drawn.
It is not in statistical relationships that the economic phenomenon
134 Political Economists

is to be found. It is beyond that. It resides m the conditions of

existence of these same relationships.
Oh Malthus, the economic phenomenon is what gives you your
numerical ratios. It is not at all the case that the ratios are the
economic phenomenon, as you would have it. The circumstances of
this phenomenon are such today that your arithmetic and geometrical
ratios stand up without question. But what is the nature of these
circumstances? Are they immutable or changeable? If they are
inconstant, how could they possibly have an immutably eternal
It is there that we must go deeper. These are the questions it is
necessary to resolve.
In order to know the law of production, one must study its first
principles, not mistake them, and then proclaim one's findings when
it is convenient. In order to know the law of population, it is equally
necessary to study its first principles, and not present as a law what
are only effects.
You have not done this at all, and you have fallen into error. You
have proclaimed as immutable, eternal law an effect which is by its
nature changing and variable.
Social institutions and the life of peoples up to the present day
you rigorously treated as paltry arithmetical ratios in order to
express the law of production. These social institutions were diverse
and changing; the life of peoples is progessive. Have they had,
would they still have, the same traits or an identical effect?
Slavery and servitude have passed, according to [Malthus], with
no influence whatsoever on the law of production. The proletariat
could expire with an equal powerlessness!
Will the moral development of the human faculties be equally
powerless to modify what you call the law of population? Never-
theless you have pointed out fewer births and deaths in the ranks
of society's upper classes. You have remarked upon that law of the
nature of things in virtue of which the greater the probability of
destructive opportunities for a species, the greater is its fertility.
And you have affirmed, on the one hand, that given a world which
becomes less and less hostile to man, his procreative faculty would
remain immutably the same. It is thus suggested that the civilising
tendency which animates humanity is an unharmonious movement
placing mankind in flagrant discord with everything else. On the
other hand, you have attributed to the foresight of the upper classes
what is, perhaps, on their part only the consequence of the natural
jules Leroux 135

development of their faculties. This example doubtlessly suffices to

indicate the new path which economic science must take up. By
depending directly on complete knowledge of reality - exact and no
longer fragmented or altered - economic science can thus have a
speculative theory as exact and rigorously true as that of mathe-
matical science.

In vain does our breast swell at the spectacle of the proletariat's

suffering, vainly do you moan over the sad condition of women and
children. In vain do you raise your voice in their defence, if you
completely ignore the economic conditions of their emancipation.
To know them, there is no need to descend to their level by means
of political theories. It is a tortuous path on which one can easily
go astray. One must study them for what they are.
How many errors, indeed, have occurred as the result of this
unrecognised truth. His eyes fixed on the political life of his
contemporaries - a life stamped with so much grandeur, nobility
and power - was Aristotle, despite his genius and heartfelt sym-
pathies, not forced to combat the nascent idea that a slave was a
man? Did he not try to prove by science and logic that the right of
slavery, on which the whole social edifice then reposed, had its
foundation in the very nature of things?
We will not speak here of Quesnay and his strange errors, but
we will cite as further support the aberrations of Enfantin and
Enfantin's social thought has given birth in political economy to
an opinion at least analogous with, if not the same as, that of
Aristotle. In his view, men are separated into intellectuals, indus-
trials and artists, much as in the eyes of the Greek philosopher they
were separated into slaves and free men. Where then is the unity
of the race? Of what good is a belief in the heart of humanity? Of
what good is an immense expansion of natural and mechanical
forces residing outside of his body, which by his genius it is given
to him to know?
In his turn, Fourier vainly attempts to make his economic theory
hold sway. His system is only a consequence of his philosophical
and social ideas. For him, industry is the point around which the
world turns. Humanity must live for it and by it, and the regulating
principle which must lead him to his goal is the system of passions.
The same is true for the sympathies and morals. The surest and
136 Political Economists

most direct route is to study them in themselves, and not by

determining them solely with the powers of economic science. Will
the human mind ever be able to do it? Logic tell us no. But this
conclusion is in no way the one drawn by Archimedes, who asked
only for a place to stand in order to move the world.
Smith and his disciples have not taken account of this truth, and
look what the result has been: the promulgation of false and immoral
What, indeed, is Malthus's theory and its consequences, the
famous pretended law of nature which, among many others, estab-
lished that species are everything and individuals nothing, if not the
formal negation of the social and moral ideas that men are equal
and free, and that they ought not give aid and comfort amongst
Let us sum up. Economic science is a separate and distinct
instrument from political science. These two sciences contribute,
each in its own manner, but harmoniously, to the solution of the
common problems of human science. Up to now, political economy
has trodden upon false paths: Quesnay, Turgot, Saint-Simon,
Enfantin and Fourier on one side, have completely deduced it from
their social thought; while, on the other hand, Smith, Malthus,
Ricardo, Say and Sismondi have exhumed it from the private
phenomena of life. This is why political economy has neither force
nor certitude. This is why, by its strange and contradictory decisions,
it has only managed to obstruct the progress, already so painful, of
humanity ... The simultaneous groans and murmurs of the people,
the philosophers and poets make up no less than the precursory
cries of the common deliverance, to which political economy must
contribute its share.


1. The reference is to Adam Smith and Franc;ois Quesnay ( 1694-177 4 ), a founder

of the physiocrat school of French economists, and an early exponent of the
maxim, Laissez faire, laissez passer.
2. Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was
published in 1776.
3. The two doctrines in question are the physiocratic idea of land as the basis of
wealth, and the principles of a free market equilibrium in rents, wages and
prices combined with a labour theory of value, developed by Smith, Ricardo
and Malthus.
12. J. C. L. Simonde de
J. C. L. SIMONDE de SISMONDI (1773-1842) was born and
died in Geneva, where his Protestant family had moved from Pisa
to avoid religious persecution. Originally a political liberal and an
adherent of the classical economic doctrines of Adam Smith and
Jean-Baptiste Say, Sismondi eventually became a critic of the fun-
damental ideas of that school, a position set forth in the important
Nouveaux principes d'economie politique (1819). Although Sis-
mondi could not be considered a socialist, his critique of laisser-faire
economics was influential in socialist circles. The article excerpted
here reflects how broad the attack was against both the liberal
establishment of the july Monarchy and the dominant ideas of
economic liberalism.

Of Landed Wealth*
According to most of the philosophers working in the social sciences,
political economy is a new science whose origin dates back fifty or
sixty years. One traces it back to this period, they say, due to the
discovery for the first time of the theory of the creation of wealth
and its distribution, and they promise that when this theory is
eventually adopted by men of state, when it has served to illuminate
legislation and administration, human society, guided by this new
*'De Ia richesse territoriale', Revue mensuelle d'economie politique (February,

138 Political Economists

light, will be seen to make rapid progress in strength and happiness.

Societies will multiply their wealth, the source of all material
well-being for mankind. And from that moment on, poverty and its
hideous consequences - contagious diseases born of poor nutrition,
excessive work, overcrowding in filthy dwellings, cold and lack of
clothing - will all disappear. Ignorance, the necessary consequence
for the working class of never-ending toil, which consumes the body
and permits no freedom for the mind, will be overcome. The various
ranks of society will be reconciled one with another, because so
much happiness and understanding will be secured for all that
internal peace and governmental stability will be assured. More
will be accomplished, virtue and the moral progress of the human
race will be powerfully served, because hateful passions will be
extinguished and the most formidable temptations will be thrust
aside. Such gleaming promises are needed, promises of regeneration
and of happiness bestowed upon everyone, so that no one will be
upset by preaching, in the name of philosophy, the importance of
wealth, and celebrating the public spiritedness of those who ardently
seek it.
Unfortunately, the same fifty or sixty years which have been
dedicated to the development of this new system of political economy
have brought the most alarming disturbances in the relationships
and conditions of society's members. The collective wealth of nations
which economists have considered the most advanced has indeed
increased, sometimes at a rapid rate, but at the same time the
number of rich people has diminished rather than grown. The
intermediary ranks have disappeared. Minor landowners and small
farmers in the countryside, small-scale artisans, small manufacturers
and owners of little shops in the cities have not been able to hold
out against the competition of those who direct vast enterprises.
There is no room any more in society for anyone except the big
capitalist and the hired servant, and we have seen a formerly almost
imperceptible class of men, having absolutely no property, grow in
an astonishing way. In effect, all common labourers, all those who
by their toil create, with their own hands, all the wealth spread
across society, have ceased to have any direct interest or right in the
industries they have caused to flourish. They now keep going only
by a daily wage or a contract renewed between themselves and their
masters each week. Unaware of the commercial interests they serve,
or the needs of far away markets for which they labour, they are
hired or fired according to business cycles that they can neither
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 139

calculate nor foresee. Moreover they are victims of every reversal,

mistake and extravagance of their bosses, toward whom their
prudence and good conduct is no longer a guarantee. Their condition
has become precarious and dependent; it is no longer within their
own control.
At the same time they have been called into a never ending war
between themselves, and with their bosses, in setting their wage-
rates. Need presses upon them constantly, and they must submit to
the reductions offered them. Competition ruins them, forcing them
to be content with what is absolutely necessary to their daily
subsistence. If a momentary prosperity or an unusual demand for
work for which they are suited protects them today from the pressure
of need, it will still threaten them tomorrow. The worker's life has
no future.
All the moral consequences of the growth of poverty have followed
this expansion of social wealth, which has only augmented the
disproportion between rich and poor. In those places where the eye
is most forcibly struck with the opulence of the few, in England
most of all, and later in the great capital cities on the Continent, the
number of crimes, especially those against property, has increased
in a frightening manner. The number of illegitimate births and
foundlings attests to the breakdown in morals and the loosening of
family ties. The growing consumption of cheap brandy reveals
secretive drunkenness, not so noisy as the kind which used to fill up
the cabarets, but sadder, more brutalising, more fatal to health, and
also common to women as well as men. Finally in manufacturing,
especially in England, the struggle among the poor, who offer more
work for the lowest possible wage, has compelled them to involve
their children from a very early age in producing more and more
of the riches from which they are allowed a wage scarcely sufficient
to stay alive. Recent inquiries on the factory bills have established
that children of eight and ten years of age typically work twelve
and fourteen hours a day; that at sixteen or eighteen years of age
they are often made to work long hours a day for two days running,
then a night's rest. In the workshops the heat is commonly oppressive,
the air filled with noxious fumes, or frequently with the deleterious
particles of cotton, wool or sheet metal. Children, sometimes stand-
ing, sometimes crawling amidst the gearwheels of machinery, are
often affected by a swelling or a weakening of their joints. When
they stoop, their limbs become deformed and they can no longer
walk without pain. To keep those children awake and industrious
140 Political Economists

who could not otherwise keep up their interest in their work, it is

necessary to resort to blows. A court of law has just confirmed the
death, within a few hours, of an unfortunate child which had been,
as is customary, too severely struck on the head to keep him awake.
So sickness and infirmity seize these feeble workers from their
infancy, and grow with them, turning them into old men at the age
of twenty. Or, if their ills permit them to languish longer, it is to
live, for a life-time, in the care of public charity, because they no
longer have enough strength to earn a living. Who had any right
to steal from these beings, who have only known a life of suffering,
that portion of happiness which a benevolent God has reserved for
each creature as a condition of his creation? Who will return it to
them? Who had the right to deprive them of the joys of childhood,
of free exercise and repose, of air and sunshine, all necessary for the
development of their bodies; of the charms of nature, hope, recog-
nition, and all affection, more necessary still for their health of
mind? Who had the right to arrange for this sacrifice of infants,
more horrible than those which bloodied the altars of Moloch/
because intelligence and virtue, those sparks of divinity, are snuffed
out before the body?
Some have looked to remedy these terrible evils through generous
attempts to bring about popular instruction in order to extend to
all classes the benefits of education. But these efforts, no doubt
laudable, are often badly directed and always futile. It is not enough
to teach the people's children how to read and write if they are
given neither the energy to want to learn, nor the wisdom to choose,
nor especially the leisure to reflect upon and profit from it. It does
little good to give them instruction in the trades and several general
notions about the laws of nature, since this only turns them into
more effective machines of production with greater power in their
mutual struggle, one against another, to offer their labour more
cheaply. It is even of little use to teach them a few religious dogmas
and precepts. What good is it to speak to them of a bountiful God,
of a charity which unites all creatures, of duties which inspire us
to desire the divine presence, to model ourselves in his image, if at
the same time one places before their eyes only suffering and acts
of hardship; if their fathers and bosses, the chief representatives of
God on earth that they will ever get to know, always show themselves
to be greedy and menacing, vigilant in depriving them of all their
joys, pitiless toward the suffering which undermines their health?
The school of life, a more powerful one than that of the peda-
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 141

gogues, takes hold of them. It destroys all veneration, all affection,

all esteem. It breaks the resilience of their spirit, leaving them
nothing more than sensuality and egoism. The father and mother
who have sold their child, and see him wither away before their
eyes, the hopeless young man, the aged without memories, need to
benumb their sorrows. They seek in the agitation of the senses a
momentary joy which the mind and heart refuse them. They strive,
by dissolute ways and drunkenness, to be relieved for a few moments
of the odious burden of a life of toil and privation.
What an account to render to God, by those who require only
animated machines in order to produce wealth: so many intelligent
souls, created for a virtue that greed has driven to inevitable
degradation! And if we dare arrest our eyes on this essential aspect
of human destiny, what an accounting the nation must demand of
these same men for the citizens confided to them. 2 Every nation,
indeed, needs above all to be strong, to defend its independence
against outsiders. But it will find no strength in these rickety,
decrepit, degraded creatures who have never acquired a civil demean-
our, who have never been instilled with courage, who have never
had the time to develop thoughts or sentiments, who love nothing,
respect nothing, and have nothing to defend but their misery.
Every nation needs internal peace, confidence and amity amongst
fellow citizens. But how will this peace be maintained if the
production of wealth is based upon an opposition of interests of
each against all? If the owner tries to undersell every other owner
in order to steal away customers? If he seeks to reduce the wages
of his workers, or to replace them with machines in order to save
on their wages? A universal contention has been established between
all ranks and within each rank. Each has been called to fight for
all the joys of existence, for all the necessities, and for life itself. To
be sure, it is possible to admire human nature, when in the midst
of such a situation one can still find in all ranks, and especially with
the poor, much charity and much sympathy. But peace and the
security of society: every single guarantee of these has been snatched
If this society is free, and has been warned that it is organised
for its own good, and not that of its masters, what a strange neglect
of the aim of its own existence is shown when the health, joys,
hopes, security, intelligence, morality, even the immortal life itself
of the greater part of its members is sacrificed to the production of
wealth. It is the sovereign, the sovereign people that it thus despoils,
142 Political Economists

piece by piece, of all that gives value, not to sovereignty alone, but
to life itself. So we say, Et propter vitam, or better still, Et propter
lucrum lucrandi perdere causas. 3
In England, the country which has moved more rapidly than all
others toward the goal of this new science, which has outstripped
all others in the creation of wealth, which exists only to produce,
and maintains itself only by supplanting every other country in all
types of production, the disproportion between the opulence of a
few and the poverty of the great majority; the growth, as rapid as
it is frightening, of a dispossessed class, even of its hopes; the
increasingly precarious condition to which they who do the work
in society have been reduced; the suffering of children, and the
destruction of their minds and their very lives; the rupture, for the
poor assisted by the parish, of all sympathy, of all ties of blood, of
all social duties; finally the spirit of revolt against oppressive laws,
humiliating distinctions, against even the very existence of property,
has reached an extreme which shakes the entire social order.
The fright that one feels here is all the more profound in
considering that if humanity so offended finds its avengers, they
will be neither sufficiently enlightened nor virtuous to be, in turn,
legislators and benefactors. But if England in its entirety today
seems troubled by the fires of a subterranean volcano, other countries
which have adopted the same system, which have followed its path
from afar, are also feeling the first tremors of that convulsive state
it has now reached. These symptoms are the more especially
frequent, and all the more frightening, as the primary aspect of
prosperity in these countries becomes greater, their total wealth
grows more rapidly, everyone's activity is more excited, and finally
as their government more closely approximates what have been
called the good principles of political economy. Coalitions of workers,
which are multiplying today, are a clear enough manifestation of
the suffering and disquiet of the poor classes, ruined by competition.
They are attempting to form a league to overcome the poverty which
menaces them, but time and again they succumb in weakness, or
lose out by their excesses. They nevertheless warn France that it is
time to be wary of them.
Have these new philosophers, then, really taught us political
economy, or in the original meaning of these words, Greek in origin,
the true domestic law of the city, the arrangement of society, when
in showing how to create wealth they have forgotten to demonstrate
how it is distributed for the general good? Have they truly reflected
f. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 143

upon this home, Oikia, for which they pretend to make laws, of this
republic, Politeia, whose administration they aim to teach? In both
they have forgotten independence, happiness and virtue. They have
paused to notice only the theory of the creation of wealth, a quite
limited science in other respects, which Aristotle, with a very
appropriate term, called chrematistique. 4 But the Greeks, if they
are judged by what remains of the legislation of their republics,
were acquainted with a more elevated political economy. They did
not overlook the advantages of expanding wealth, but they merely
desired it to contribute to the material welfare of all. The happiness
produced by increasing fortune was in their eyes subordinate to
moral well-being and the improvement of all.
The existence of civilisation and the welfare of humankind in
ancient Europe were intimately tied to the triumph of this true
political economy in both public opinion and legislation; to the
development of that science whose goal was man, and not wealth;
which inquired how this wealth might be employed for the happiness
and virtue of all, and not how it might be increased indefinitely.
But to return to his higher moral science, one must entirely reject
the prejudices of the vulgar herd and the philosophers, the illusions
which language has created and sanctioned, and the difficulties
posed by the subject itself, the most difficult to grasp, perhaps, of
all branches of the social sciences.
To try to understand what remains to be done, and to frame our
own clear and practical ideas concerning the economy of societies,
we will focus upon that aspect of the human condition which the
new science has least altered from its prior organisation, that of
farmers. We will see how the science of wealth considers them, and
we will then inquire what the true political economy has to say
about it. However much this might be the clearest and simplest of
all the questions addressed in either science, we will soon see how
their goals are different, how their recommendations are opposed,
and we will present in the case of agriculture how all the problems
of the social order are aggravated when only wealth is considered,
and can only be solved by fixing our regard on man rather than
To the Apostles of Wealth, agriculture is the manufacture of
rural products. Therefore they consider it, much as they would any
other kind of manufacturing, 'as an exchange of all costs of pro-
duction incurred against all the produce obtained, an exchange
which is advantageous in proportion as one spends less and produces
144 Political Economists

more ... A gain is made each time one obtains greater production
for the same expenditure, or the same production for lower costs.' 5
Thus, according to M. Say - and his doctrine is the same as that
of the entire English school - the prosperity of agriculture must be
measured in terms of its net product: it gains in producing more,
or by costing less; by selling more produce, or at a higher price
which takes more from the consumer; or by doing less work, or by
paying lower wages for the same work, thus withholding any gains
from the workers. The landowners in the County of Sutherland
have merely conformed to these principles when, after realising that
the land in this Scottish province was only bringing them a net
product of a shilling an acre, they took no notice of the subsistence
it supplied to the several thousand families of the farmers. They
evicted all these families, destroyed their houses and restored the
fields to fallow in order to make pastures for sheep. Since they no
longer had to deduct the costs of cultivation, these natural products
yielded them a shilling and a half an acre, and they had increased
their return by fifty per cent. Of the thousands of labourers expelled
from their ancient homes, some became fishermen on the shores of
County Sutherland, others left for America, and still others went
to beg for work in the cities of Scotland, there to die in poverty. 6
This is only one example in a thousand of progressive agriculture
according to the Apostles of Wealth.
The English economists, Ricardo and Malthus, are engaged in
a terribly abstract discussion on the origin of tenant farming, or
rent. According to the former, it is the price of monopoly; according
to the latter, it is a levy on working the soil. Neither one, nor
MacCulloch (sic), 7 nor any of their disciples has reached a conclusion
applicable to the plight of the man who cultivates that soil. After
remarking that by the nature of working the fields there are rather
narrow limits to the extent of exploitation or to the amount of
capital that can be put to use, Say renounces, with a certain regret,
the possibility of any other conclusion on landed wealth, since the
progress of political economy, such as he conceives it, has so little
to contribute to its development.
Legislators who concern themselves with men and not things,
who calculate the mass of happiness that a nation might attain, and
not the mass of wealth it can produce, bestow quite a different
importance on agriculture. These alone deserve to be called econ-
omists. They see that no other industry is so intimately tied to
human happiness, nor more directly affects the mass of citizens. As
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 145

consumers, all without exception stand in need of agriculture,

because without the soil there is no food. As workers, the great
majority live by it, especially if we include among agriculturalists,
as it is common to do, hunters, fishermen and shepherds, as those
who reap the spontaneous fruits of the earth. Work on the land
commonly pertains to four-fifths of a nation. And as landowners,
possessing the entire native soil, they sometimes assume the right
of dismissing the nation from its own home. Let us take a closer
look at these three classes, or, if you prefer, these three aspects of
In general the Disciples of Wealth have taken for granted that
one need only pay attention to the consumer. Whatever prejudice
the working producer experiences, society must be satisfied if it can
be supplied with everything at cheaper prices. But, on the contrary,
an economist who refuses to make an abstraction of man by consid-
ering only wealth will reply that we must first of all be concerned
with the producer. Labour is, indeed, the creator of all the goods
which man enjoys, the source of all his income. Daily labour
constitutes the sole income of the poor. The fruits of accumulated
labour yield an income to the rich. The share received by each is
not always equitable, but if the balance must lean unequally, it is
to be preferred that it be in favour of the poor. This is in the interest
of the greatest number, and at the same time in the interest of the
weak. The more labour is amply repaid, the more the great majority
of the nation will be assured of the necessities of life and blessed
with its basic comforts. The greatest advantage of the producer is
therefore the most desirable situation, because he distributes to as
many citizens as possible the largest portion of their income, that
is, the most material well-being.
When it is affirmed, in the Science of Wealth, that each person
being a consumer, the interest of the consumer is the interest of all,
we are offered an illusion emanating from an abstraction. Every-
thing, in effect, is offered to all, but for the vast majority of products,
the buyers are very few in number. As for the consumption of the
needy, and still more of those who work in the fields, the sole object
of major importance is enough food to survive. Of the income
brought by labour, he exchanges only a minimal portion with all
the other arts, while he exchanges nearly everything with nature.
In his language, eating represents his every expenditure. He eats
to work and at the same time produces the sustenance of all. Progress
in manufacturing may well offer him cheaper clothing, but this low
146 Political Economists

price is not an advantage for every worker, since his wage is not
reduced in exactly the same proportion. If he sells his own products,
the lowered price is a symptom of a decline in overall income, which
he suffers in turn. Even for the highest ranks of society, the cheap
prices for all goods is more an illusory than a real advantage. After
the primary needs of life have been satisfied, all the expenditures
for luxuries hardly ever succeed in giving direct satisfaction, but
only relative enjoyment. What the rich seek in clothing, furniture
and servants is an elegance which will impress the public and convey
an idea of their wealth and good taste. It is the appearance more
than the reality; it is, finally, a mark of distinction of their place in
the world. But before all the improvements which the arts have
brought to manufactured goods, there was every bit as much
difference as there is today between what cost an ounce of silver
and what only cost a penny. The rich, in choosing between less
perfect goods, were just as able to show their elegance and good
taste. The ranks were just as well distinguished by their apparel,
or even more so, and each station spent precisely the same proportion
of its income for this clothing as it does today. It is very difficult to
discover what cheaper silks have contributed to the happiness of
those who buy them.
The rule adopted in the Science of Wealth - being concerned
only with the consumer, and regarding his interest as the national
interest - comes nearer the truth, to be sure, when one considers
rural production. Every member of society is indeed a consumer of
these products, and since food takes a larger portion of a man's
income the poorer he is, lower prices for these goods brings more
to the poor than to the rich. But so long as payment for work is
given to the poor in foodstuffs, the price of such commodities is of
no importance to them. Now this payment is still the most equitable,
because there is a proportion between the quantity or the goodness
of the foods and the physical exertion required to produce them
which does not vary with their price. The worker, in order to give
all his might to the task, needs a constant amount of wheat. The
industrial worker in the city would gain in security and in health
by being fed by his boss, or by receiving as part of his annual wage
a set amount of grain, because the whims of the market always turn
against the poor. This payment in kind is almost a universal basis
of farming in the countryside. The farmer is nearly always fed with
the produce which he has raised, with the exception of the small
number of unmarried day labourers. Day labourers, therefore, have
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 147

interests which conflict with the producers. All the others, owners
as well as farmers, have a common interest in good prices. Now
there is a danger for society so long as different classes have
conflicting interests, so long as the poor are struggling against
producers. By contrast, there is security so long as the poor and the
rich are united in a common interest.
Despite the rule in the Science of Wealth to be concerned only
with the consumer, despite the public clamour for cheap bread,
farmers compose such a considerable party in each nation that they
have succeeded in England and France in getting the legislature to
be responsible for sustaining high prices. While approving of the
general aims of these measures, and being careful not to ignore so
universal an interest as that of the consumers of foodstuffs, we
believe we must place the interest of Society even higher, which
insists that the agricultural producer be amply repaid. He who
brings forth the fruits of the earth should retain a goodly portion.
Without this, one cannot count on regularity of production, stability
of prices or independence from other countries in time of war. This
perfect certainty of subsistence is, for the consumer himself, much
more important than low prices.
The Disciples of Wealth have considered the lot of the workers
who bring forth the fruits of the earth only as a means to reach an
end, the creation of agricultural wealth. On the contrary, in our
eyes the happiness of the workers is the principal goal of science,
because they compose the great majority of the nation. The legislator
must therefore think of how to retain for them, from the wealth
which they produce, the largest portion consistent with the contin-
uation of their labours; how to keep the greatest possible number
of citizens in the fields, because, incomes aside, the poor enjoy better
health and a happier life there than in the city; how to improve
their understanding as much as is possible considering their hard
physical labour; finally, and above all, how to cultivate and
strengthen their morality. To achieve this, the legislator must give
stability to the farmer's life, and support contracts which give him
a permanent right to his land, rejecting those which render his
existence precarious and leave him in doubt for his future. Morality
is intimately bound up with our memories and hopes, it is strength-
ened by time and nullified for those who consider only the present
moment. An ample reward, the participation of the vast majority
in farming, and this stability in the condition of country folk will
seem much more important to our legislator than faster creation of
148 Political Economists

wealth. We should perhaps attach more importance still in not

multiplying motives for struggle and rivalry for this, the nation's
most numerous, class. The system of farming most favourable to
peace and the happiness of all, the one which will most closely unite
the interests of the owners with those of the farm workers is
preferable to the one which merely yields the greatest revenue to
the landowner.
We must never forget that in order to produce the goods which
we all need to live, the country life demands hard and enduring
manual labour. This work can only be done by men who renounce
the comforts and elegancies of life. The Saint-Simonians, and all
those who wish to regenerate society through a cooperative system,
fall into a great absurdity when they desire to give to the same men
both the delights of luxury and the chores which are often harsh
and sometimes disgusting. He who has been awakened in the
morning to empty the night soil will be very little concerned with
a carriage ride at midday, or the ball in the evening, dressed in
velvet and lace. But the Disciples of Wealth fall into an absurdity
of nearly the same kind when they say: 'The more you produce,
the more delights for all.' In effect, they reduce the worker to the
bare necessities, at the same time expecting all the middle
ranks to disappear. They gather colossal wealth into the hands
of a few landowners, manufacturers and merchants. Then they
multiply, without limits, industrial production appropriate
only for the affluent. What good does it do to offer more luxuries
to the nation if in the process you destroy those who might enjoy
It is therefore a happiness and sufficiency of life compatible with
manual labour that must be assured to the farm worker. 8 He must
have, in his home, clothing and tools, everything which contributes
to healthiness and the comfortable, 9 but nothing which pretends to
elegance or that which encourages delicacy. He must have this,
above all, so that he will be happy; so that he will be a profitable
consumer for other producers; so that he will easily contribute to
the tax collector; and finally so that he may work for society at
large. No one would dream of suddenly elevating all farmers above
their estate; but a few have often been raised. And that is the system
the Disciples of Wealth favour most. Some have desired to have
rich farmers overseeing vast cultivation, contributing to production
only by the use of their capital and intelligence. They no longer
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 149

work with their hands, but simply supervise the crops. They oversee
and push the workers. They buy, sell, and keep their accounts.
Ultimately they correspond to merchants and manufacturing super-
visors in industrial enterprises. In Rome, indeed, they were called
mercanti di tenute, in England, gentlemen farmers. But to the extent
that their station is elevated, that of their companions in labour is
lowered. When they reserve to themselves the exercise of will, choice
and intelligence, they refuse it to their workers and servants. They
ask only of these the use of their muscular energy, while trying as
much as possible to reduce them to the status of machines. It is
always a misfortune to place the interests of wealth and intelligence
in opposition to the interest of those who have only their hands.
The former, to assure profit, stability and the future force the latter
into an ever more precarious situation. According to the times and
their degree of power, they reduce them to slavery, serfdom, day
labourers or domestic servants. The time will finally come when
they will seek to make them disappear altogether for reasons of

To make a true accounting of the profit that society receives from

any mechanical invention, a deduction must always be made for the
losses sustained by all the workers from the time they are out of a
job until they have found employment equivalent to what they
originally had. If we calculate the productive force of a society, their
unemployment amounts to a deduction against the productivity of
the new machine. If we calculate its revenue, their lost wages must
be balanced against the profit derived for the fixed capital.
The Disciples of Wealth have represented as a noteworthy
advance in agriculture the newly acquired capacity of having the
same amount of work done with increasingly fewer farm hands.
This progress has been carried to its extreme in England, where
they have succeeded in removing more than a half of the population
from the fields to the cities. Economists of humanity and not
of riches cannot but regard such progress with a profound sad-

Society should desire that the population be as numerous as is

consistent with living honourably, morally and happily, never
exceeding this limit. Since work will be amply rewarded, the poor
150 Political Economists

will be able to retain this honour, virtue and happiness. If the

demand for labour grows, the population will be sure to increase
too. But society finds itself in peril if population outstrips the need
for labour, if children are born before their means of living have
been assured. Society is in peril from the moment it includes a class
which possesses nothing and, having no fear of falling lower, is not
discouraged from marriage by any motive of pride, prudence or
paternal love. The Romans were aware of this danger when they
gave the name proletarian to those who owned nothing. From the
time that this class made up more than three-quarters of the nation
in England and more than nine-tenths in Ireland, the population
in these two countries, because of them, has grown with as fright-
ening a speed as poverty.
The Disciples of Wealth, in order to measure the growth of
wealth, have pointed out how rent, profit and wages work together
to establish the price of every article, in compensation for the
contribution of land, capital and labour. The analysis is nicely done,
and these three forces have in effect contributed to this growth. But
it does not follow that land, capital and labour must be furnished
by three different persons, nor that there is any advantage in putting
these three interests in opposition to each other. Quite the contrary,
almost all the difficulties which society experiences today proceed
from the fact that these three interests, instead of being in combi-
nation, are struggling against each other. The result is that the
equilibrium between production and consumption is upset. The
capitalist does not wait for the demand to produce his merchandise.
If he cannot profit at the expense of the consumer, he hopes to
profit at the expense of some other capitalist whose methods he
steals, and at the expense of his workers by cutting their wages. In
agriculture, at least, this struggle can be avoided between the
interests contributing to production. The land is never better tilled
than when these three capacities are joined together, and the same
man is at once owner, farmer and labourer. The social order is even
adequately vouchsafed when the latter two capacities are joined
together- when the same man, farmer or share-cropper, works for
his own account, and not for a master. But the social order is
endangered when the greater part of agricultural work is done by
day labourers. The precarious and unhappy status of so numerous
a portion of the population, its secret hostility against landowners
and the entire social order, its lack of interest in the work it does,
and finally its tendency to early marriages ought to induce the
]. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi 151

legislator, by all indirect means in his power, to prevail upon

landowners and farmers to renounce the use of day labourers.

Manufacturing labourers have been regarded as mere numbers

by the Science of Wealth, who have no more scruples in displacing
and eliminating whole classes of men which are believed to be
obsolete in the production of wealth than in transposing unknowns
in an algebraic equation with the final intention of cancelling them
out. We shall never forget that producers are men. Moreover, they
make up the greater part of the nation, and so in distributing the
surplus of agricultural production we call upon the supervision of
sovereign authority. 10 Indeed, this surplus represents for the farm
labourer all the material blessings of life: good food, good housing,
good clothing, and the good health flowing from these physical

As in the struggle between the rich and the poor, it is the [Disciples
of Wealth and not the true economists] who make the law. If public
authority does not intervene, the rich keep all the surplus of
production, all the luxuries and all the leisure for themselves. The
wealthy class, in effect, as the most educated, is in a position to
control and insure itself: the nature of property in land, invariably
limited whatever the demand of producers or consumers, gives this
class the power of a monopoly. The small number of landowners
and their rank in the state permits them to gather and work in
concert. Their wealth, finally, gives them the means to wait without
inconvenience until those with whom they are dealing submit to the
conditions they wish to impose. Thus in every country the position
allotted to the worker is most often just what is necessary to maintain
his existence. 11
Several English economists have, nevertheless, demanded that the
legislator abstain from placing any restriction on the right of the
wealthy over their property, or regulating wills and heirs by law,
or by constraining entailed land in favour of the public, for fear
that men will get sick of accumulating, and will fritter it away as
soon as they have acquired it. There will be time, we believe, to put
ourselves on guard against this calamity when the history of human
society has furnished us with at least a single example.
152 Political Economists


1. Moloch was the fire god of the Canaanites to whom children were sacrificed.
2. This passage offers an interesting, and in some respects typical, contrast in
style to Hegelian and Marxist historicism. The historicist elements of inevit-
ability, divisive struggle, moral outrage and eventual judgement and redemption
are all present, but they are expressed in a clear prose of traditional references.
3. 'And thus by avarice do riches lose their meaning.'
4. No equivalent English term exists for the meaning: that which concerns, or
the science of, wealth, from the Greek khrema, wealth.
5. Jean-Baptiste Say, Cours complet d'economie politique, 2 vols (Paris, 1840),
vol. 1, p. 24.
6. Sismondi cites James Loch, Esq., Lord Stafford's Improvements (London,
7. John Ramsay McCulloch (1789-1864), a Scottish political economist, was a
vigorous exponent of the principles of Ricardo and Smith. He occupied the
founding chair in political economy at the University of London (1828-32).
8. The term used is paysan, which does not have quite the derogatory tone of
peasant which that term has developed in English.
9. Sismondi uses the English word in his text to emphasise his meaning.
10. Here and in the following paragraph is a faint outline of an argument for
welfare state intervention.
11. This is precisely the effect predicted by the wage and rent theories of one
'disciple of wealth', David Ricardo.
13. Victor Considerant
VICTOR CONSID:ERANT (1808-93) was the son of a school
teacher in Satins, near Besanqon, where he attended lycee and the
Polytechnique. He Joined a Fourierist group while still in school.
In 1832 he founded La Reforme independante with jules Lechevalier
and tried unsuccessfully to establish a phalanstere in Conde-sur-
Vesgre. In 1836 he founded the important Fourierist Journal, La
Phalange. An indefatigible propagandist of the school he led after
Fourier's death (1837), Considerant disseminated the master's ideas
in lectures, popular pamphlets and multi-volume tomes. A brief
period of elective office as a Deputy ended in his indictment and
subsequent exile for publishing a call to arms leading to the 13 June
1849 riots. A hardy enthusiast of Fourier's 'commune societaire',
Considerant's rhetorical style sums up his approach: 'It is too
beautiful not to be truth itself, the destiny of man, the will of God
on earth!' Unlike Fourier, he emphasised the importance of class
antagonism, and especially the proletariatisation of the middle class,
as argued in 'The New Feudalism'.

The New Feudalism*

Rapid growth of a New Feudalism by anarchic competition:
collective serfdom of workers.

The gravest reality now unmistakably reveals itself, even to the least
attentive eyes. This phenomenon is the rapid and powerful devel-
*Principes du socialisme, Manifeste de la democratie au XIX siecle (August 1843),
(rep. Paris, 1847), pp. 6-13.

154 Political Economists

opment of a New Feudalism- an industrial and financial Feudalism

- routinely replacing the nobiliary and military Aristocracy of the
ancien regime and annihilating or impoverishing the intermediary
After the great explosion of 1789, with its destruction of the old
political order, feudal property, the industrial system of artisans
and guild-masters and the proclamation of industrial and commer-
cial freedom, society considered itself forever disencumbered of an
exclusive and oppressive aristocracy.
People were badly mistaken to calculate in that way. The results
prove it, and moreover it is easy to see the reason why.
Once the great agitation had calmed, with new positions taken
and society returned to normal on the industrial and social level, all
that remained were mutually opposed individuals, now given over
to total freedom with regard to each other, and to their respective
powers. But some were provided with capital, talents and learning
and occupied high and powerful positions. Others, including the
members of the most numerous classes, had neither capital, learning
nor talents developed by an earlier education. So they stagnated,
relegated to the bottom rungs of the social ladder.
What could possibly be the outcome of this vaunted industrial
freedom, and the famous principle of free competition which some
believe to be so strongly endowed with the character of democratic
organisation? Nothing could come of it but a collective feudalisation
of the masses, deprived of capital, tools of labour, education and
industrial skills, and general bondage to the well armed and
equipped industrial class. 'Enlistments are open; every individual
is called to battle; the conditions are equal for all combatants.' Just
so! Only one thing has been overlooked: on this great battlefield,
one side is trained, battle-hardened, equipped and armed to the
teeth. They possess an abundance of provisions, materiel, ammu-
nition and weapons. They occupy all the strategic positions. And
the others - destitute, naked, ignorant and famished - are obliged
just to survive from day to day and keep their wives and children
alive, to entreat their very adversaries for any sort of work and a
meagre wage!
Absolute freedom, without organisation, is nothing more than
absolute abandonment of the defenceless and deprived to the dis-
cretion of armed and supplied troops.
Civilisation, beginning with Nobiliary Feudalism, whose growth
led to the emancipation of the industrious from personal or direct
Victor Considerant 155

servitude, therefore ends up today in Industrial Feudalism and the

collective or indirect servitude of workers.

Growing poverty of workers by the lowering of wages, the

effect of free competition

What is true in a general sense of any great class - from a proletarian

class deprived of everything to the possessors of capital and the
means of production - is equally true of the strong and the weak
in each class.
In such a way mutual competition and the necessities of life drive
the proletarian every morning to find, under the harshest of con-
ditions, a job and a master. This necessarily leads him to sell his
labour at a discount. When workers are too numerous, which is
generally the case, free competition between these unfortunate men
forces them to offer their labour at the lowest possible price. Thus
the daily wage tends to fall everywhere to the bare minimum
required for subsistence, which especially aggravates the position
of a worker responsible for a family.
Competition between bosses forces them, however humane anyone
of them might be, to pay only the scantiest wages, because a
shopowner cannot, without running into certain debt, pay his
workers higher wages than his competitors. Thus the odious machin-
ery of free competition, without guarantees, breaks every law of
justice and humanity. It suffices that workers' wages fall in one
plant for the owners to be soon forced to impose the same cut in all
the other plants in that industry. With wages decreasing, prices
decrease to equalise the situation. And the owners soon find them-
selves in the same mutual relationship, without making any more
profits than before. Only the plight of the masses has grown worse.
Free competition, that is, anarchic and disorganised competition,
therefore has this inhumane, execrable character: it always lowers
wages. After having plunged the working classes, en masse, into the
abyss of poverty, it crushes them there under an ever heavier weight!
In Ireland, England, Belgium, France and wherever free competition
reigns - where nothing stops the disorderly rise of unbridled
industrialism - the lot of the working classes necessarily becomes
more miserable and abject. And it is not only against themselves
that these classes must struggle, but also against machines which
do the work of a man for no more than a few centimes!
156 Political Economists

Reduction of the middle classes: dangers which threaten them

by the supremacy of the aristocracy of money

What is more, analogous phenomena occur amongst the owners of

capital and the means of production. The mighty hold sway over
the middle class just as fatally, cutting their throats just as pitilessly
as they do the weak. The first result of this struggle, under the
monstrously unequal conditions which some embellish with the
name of industrial freedom, is the immediate reduction of the
proletarian masses to collective servitude. The second outcome, just
as violent as the former, is the gradual crushing of the small and
the medium-sized landowners, the small and the middling industries,
and the small and middling merchants under the weight of the great
landowners and the colossal wheels of giant industry and commerce.
In whatever industry, indeed, big capital and the great enterprises
make the law for the little ones. Steam power, mechanisation and
the large manufacturers, wherever they are, easily have their way
with small and medium-size workshops. As they steadily grow, the
ancient trades and artisans have disappeared, so that there are now
only factories and proletarians. What is more, almost by the minute
unexpected inventions appear which, quickly revolutionising a
whole sector of production, are attended by dislocations throughout
an industry. Having broken the arms of the workers, who are cast
onto the streets en masse when suddenly replaced by machines, the
process crushes their masters in turn. From one end of France to
the other, small and medium-sized farmers, encumbered with ruin-
ous mortgages, devoured by usury, groan under the oppression of
Capital. Big Capital exploits both groups and milks them by means
of loans in the most opportunistic manner, without lifting a finger
to work the land or even accepting the risk of renting. The arduous
labour of twenty-five million Frenchmen annually wrest from the
soil Capital's purest revenue. Finally, then, who is unhurt by the
crises, who profits? Who buys up establishments painstakingly built
up by enduring effort for a pittance? Who gains in both feast and
famine? Who makes the big killings in the midst of the worst
disasters? Who lays hold of every location, every strategic line and
all bases of operation for commerce and industry? Who takes over
and becomes master of all, if not the big speculators, the top banks
and, in every sector, giant Capital?
Yes, it is time for the middle classes, already grievously wounded,
to be on guard. Money overruns everyone. The power of the big
Victor Considerant 157

capitalists grows incessantly. They take over and absorb, at every

level, those with little capital and middling fortunes.

Division of society into two classes: the few owning everything,

the many robbed of everything.

And so, in spite of the abstractly democratic principle of industrial

freedom, or rather because of this freedom, false and illusory as
with all simple and unorganised freedom, capital gravitates unres-
trainedly to capital in proportion to its relative size, and comes to
be concentrated in the hands of the strongest holders. And society
tends to become divided more and more distinctly into great classes:
the few possessing everything, or nearly everything, absolute masters
of all in the domain of property, commerce and industry; and the
many owning nothing, living in an absolute collective dependence
upon the owners of capital and the means of production, obliged to
hire out their hands, talents and strength for a precarious and
ever-decreasing wage to the Feudal Lords of modern society. This
picture of the current social situation, this description of the move-
ment which rapidly carries us toward the actual constitution of a
new feudalism, is not mere prophecy. It is contemporary history.
Should anyone want to quibble over such and such a term of
expression, of a general and necessarily summary kind, it remains
no less true that society moves in giant steps toward the establishment
of an Aristocracy just as clumsy as it is ignoble; that we have already
reached this state of affairs; that they encircle and choke us; that
they oppress the people; and that each day they subdue, reduce and
enslave even the intermediary classes, individual by individual,
business by business.
And this phenomenon is not peculiar to France. It is a social
phenomenon which characterises modern civilisation. It grows
energetically in each country to the degree that modern industrialism
has reached an advanced stage of development. It follows, step by
step, the march of the commercial and manufacturing system, and
the invasion of machines. Our free competition industrialism is a
colossal mechanism of enormous power which incessantly pumps
up the national wealth in order to concentrate it in the huge
reservoirs of the new aristocracy while manufacturing legions of
half-starved indigents and proletarians. Great Britain offers in its
most advanced form the concentration of capital in the hands of a
tiny aristocracy, the diminution of the middle classes, the near
158 Political Economists

political and social annihilation of the bourgeoisie, a proletariat and

a rampant pauperism. France and Belgium, the two countries most
closely following England along the path of false industrialism, are
also the countries in which the new feudal system is most rapidly
forming. Finally, profoundly frightened of the spectacle presented
by England and France, Germany hesitates for the moment to
stimulate at home those forms of material progress whose social
consequences are so deadly.

The feudalisation of the government by the new aristocracy

Would you like to know to what point this baneful feudalism has
already taken root in the soil, and how overpowering it is politically
and socially? Without being reminded of its involvement in a grand
scheme of hoarding, which postponed the Russian campaign for six
weeks and led to defeat and the fall of the Empire, haven't we seen,
this very year, the Government introduce the feudalistic Companies
Act for canals, establishing companies which hold in their hand the
keys of trade in our richest provinces. These companies are to
administer, at will, the tolls on our lines of communication, like the
Seigneurs of those crenellated manors of the Middle Ages in the
counties and baronies, laughing at the impotent laments of the
central Government. Haven't we seen this same Government, which
used to deplore this domination by feudal companies ... now let
them have their way and, to the profit of the all-powerful Vassals
of the Bank, shamefully accept the Government's pretended inca-
pacity with respect to the building and operation of the railways.
In the meantime the tiny Belgian government has in a few years
covered the land with railways, which they administer very well
and quite democratically right under our noses. Finally, and this
is the last straw, when the King of the French, animated by a noble
idea, wanted to bring about a Franco-Belgian union, didn't we see
the two Governments, the two Nations, the two Kings submit to the
will of those all-powerful Vassals. Did they need more than eight
days to impose the suzeraine will of these new-style Seigneurs upon
the national Sovereignty? After such an example, isn't it obvious
that government is no longer a function of the King, his Ministers
or the Nation but of the industrial and financial Feudality?
14. Constantin Pecqueur
CONSTANTIN PECQUEUR (1801-87) was born in the north
of France, near Litle, into a solid bourgeois home. Pecqueur was a
brilliant student at the lycee in Douai until his father's death
interrupted his education in 1818. His first book, published at the
age of twenty-six, was awarded a prize by the Academie des Sciences
in Arras. He went to Paris in 1829 to begin a career in journalism,
and immediately became a Saint-Simonian. Three articles in Le
Globe, the Saint-Simonian organ then edited by Pierre Leroux,
brought him to prominence in that movement in 1831, although by
the end of that year the movement's bizarre tendencies led to his
departure. Then he took up Fourierist ideas for three years, until he
denounced this doctrine too ,for its tendency to 'anarchy and licence'.
From 1837 to 1844, Pecqueur concentrated on writing eight books,
the first of which won the 1838 prize of the Academie des sciences
morale et politique and established his reputation as a political
economist. His Theorie nouvelle d'economie et politique (1842),
among other works, is known to have influenced Marx. He resumed
his journalistic career in 1844 for the socialist journal, La RHorme,
in which he published a series of attacks on classical economics. In
1846, he began a series of articles in La Revue independante, edited
by Pierre Leroux and George Sand, on the same theme. This
selection is one of those articles.

160 Political Economists

Free Trade*
Today two political economies are in evidence: the one in law and
the one in fact. One aims to introduce distributive justice, order,
foresight and joint responsibility in the production, distribution and
consumption of wealth. The other pretends to maintain inequality,
anarchy, wastefulness, individualism and isolation. Which will

The subject broached here, as with most matters treated by the

moral and political sciences, is rather complex. It should be envisaged
at the same time in its relation to production and material economy;
to distributive justice, natural right and equality before the law; to
politics and national security; and finally to the exigencies of
civilisation and the fortunes of universal brotherhood ...

I. The economic point of view

It is obvious that free trade jmplies laisser-faire or unlimited

competition. Competition is no less than the application, form or
means of realising free trade. Therefore anything which has been
said of one ought to be said of the other, and the two issues taken
together. Today free trade has a special meaning. It signifies
universal freedom of trade. This is simply competition extended
beyond the confines of one country to all countries, and to the entire
world. It is synonymous with the instantaneous or gradual abolition
of all systems of tariffs, all prohibitions or protections and all
barriers between industries from nation to nation. Now considering
that nothing else is assumed to be involved in this universalisation
than the extension of free trade - we ignore, for the moment, the
important interests of nationality - it follows that international free
trade is only the extension of the goods and evils inherent in the
competitive system within a single country. The dilemma is clear:
either free trade is good individual to individual at home, and thus
one cannot perceive any essential economic constant intervening to
*'Le Libre echange', La Revue independante, VI (Nov. 1846), excerpted from pp.
Constantin Pecqueur 161

prevent it being equally good abroad, or it is evil between fellow

citizens, and in this case, in strict reasoning, it will be fatal to
carrying it over to the larger cosmopolitan scale. If the character of
unlimited competition at home is to enrich everyone, capitalists and
workers, and to tend toward the realisation of a certain equality of
circumstances of well-being, independence and concord, the char-
acter of international competition will be similarly to enrich all
nations, and to bring harmony and a desired equality between
We will not dwell here on the fractious and antisocial properties
of the principle of competition. Readers of this Review know with
what passion and superiority the socialists' critique has dismantled,
for the past fifteen years, the magic laisser-faire of the classical and
official economists. They now know what competition means, on
what foundation it rests and what hides behind it. They are able
to tell whether it is more licence than liberty - do the rivals have
a fair chance from the start, or is it a struggle between vanquishers
and vanquished, between armed men and men deprived of all means
of defence? - or whether it is a commendable striving for the good
between members of the same family ... Therefore if we must sum
up the great indictment against liberal quackery, we should have
to say that competition is an eternal obstacle to economy, simplicity,
precaution, morality and human dignity; to the intellectual growth
of the working classes, and to their health and longevity; to the
possibility of living by one's work, much less for the progress of
civilisation and the true freedom of individuals and peoples. A large
group of enlightened men in France today are concerned to dem-
onstrate that to universalise and perpetuate competition is to wish
the same for pauperism, considering that the inevitable and ever
present effect of competition is to impoverish some in order to enrich
others, be it at home or abroad. Ultimately, it deprives everyone,
in thoughtless wastefulness, of the best part of a vital force which
should be available to all. It remains for us to examine, especially
with regard to the question of world-wide trade, if they are wrong.
We know only too well that great economic principle, invoked
generally in the name of competition, formulated by the masters of
that science: 'One does not sell without buying. Products are only
bought with other products.' Therefore, we are to infer, the two
contracting parties always and equally share a common interest in
free trade, and universal competition is most assuredly in everyone's
interest. This maxim vanishes like a puerility before the facts, no
162 Political Economists

matter how little one reflects upon it and steers clear of abstractions.
'One does not sell without buying; one does not buy without selling',
you say? No doubt, but one can produce without being able to sell
one's product. One can sell badly or buy badly, sell well or buy well,
being ruined or enriched by selling or buying, without merit or
cleverness counting for anything in any of these results. One need
only have rivals and competitors at hand; arrive too early or too
late, before or after someone else; be too honest or too needy. It
suffices that the clientele, by sheer whim, go elsewhere, and take
their custom, even in the case of similar prices and quality, to one
merchant rather than another. The odds are longer than at the
lottery. To fail one need only be less favoured by the type of soil
or climate, or have to buy raw materials at a slightly higher cost,
or achieve a bit less style or finish. Now this is precisely what we
are concerned with in this difficult problem.
The famous maxim of liberal economists notwithstanding is
irreproachable to the extent that it is applied to two individuals or
two families in which each member is responsible and equal. In
any other case it is false, or true only in a contingent and uncertain
sense. Already, then, it is no longer of precise applicability. The
same is true for three persons or three families, because one of them
might be ousted from the market because of similar products from
either of the other two. All the more reason, then, that the principle
is not irreproachably applied to one-hundred or one-thousand
persons, much less any probable application to millions. Therefore,
just as with an entire industry or class in the same country, an
entire nation in the world certainly can accumulate bad fortune to
its account under the reign of universal free trade, while one or
several other industries or classes or nations can accrue good fortune.
And this is independent of skill, toil, moderation, vigilance and good
faith. Thus, as an economic method, free trade is in a radical sense
a path of iniquity, waste, discouragement, disorder and corruption
for both individuals and peoples. Who can deny that in reality
competition, at all times and places, leads to numerous victims, and
that great disasters and monstrous inequalities are engendered and
perpetuated within and because of this very system? Otherwise,
how is one to explain the widespread prosperity or pauperism
wherever unbridled competition occurs and simultaneously feudal
privileges and monopolies are suppressed? We shall soon see that
these inequalities and disasters would be infinitely more intense and
Constantin Pecqueur 163

widespread if, in each nation, over and above the sphere of com-
petition the foresight of the State did not soar like a guardian angel.
'But naturally', one might say, 'trade is advantageous to both
parties involved.' One doesn't say always advantageous, but natu-
rally, because there are always numerous exceptions in reality and
in detail. Now this is what unpardonably condemns arbitrary trade.
It is suggested that, once free trade is inaugurated across the face
of the earth, wise harmony, mutual responsibility and ultimately
justice and wisdom will come to live among our greedy merchants
and second-hand dealers, and improvise an earthly paradise. Haven't
we been told that disorder, anarchy, blind production, the ignorance
of markets, the uncertainty of needs and resources, the incoherence
and hurly-burly of the mercantile arena will give way to a universal
and happily resolved calculus of infallible precision which will
assign the proper role for everyone in the apparatus of the common
market? Yes, the deed is done, a great man has said: the Golden
Age awaits us, and thanks to Richard Cobden/ we are now reaching
it, let no one be mistaken! Monopolists, hoarders, the low and high
born and illusory market prices are things of the past. As with
kings, charlatanism is disappearing. The arena has been purified
and blessed by the Anglo-French league. 2 Wages will be abundant,
sustained and always favourable. There will be no more unem-
ployment. No industry will be endangered; no place of business will
be displaced; no special skill will be abandoned; inventors will cease
to imagine economical new machines; cupidity and subversive efforts
will die out. How could one doubt, then, since everyone will be able
to exchange his products freely and do battle with his rival through-
out the world. And so many good things have been promised,
because they were once affirmed by the venerable men of science
whose strong enthusiasm inspired laisser-faire: 'What does it matter
if there are displacements', they said, 'or a succession of various
abandoned industries and the improvement of machines? If you
abandon one industry, another will replace it, because, having the
production done elsewhere, Chinese or Hottentot, others will in
turn require you to produce. Everywhere, you see, man works only
in order to consume and sells only in order to buy. So buy in
complete freedom, and everything will work out for the best!'
Now the radical vice of this thesis is that it makes an abstraction
of time, and discounts the suffering which results for the day
labourer from the lack of work and the never ending accumulations
of breakdowns, disorder and ruination that are engendered by
164 Political Economists

competition. It ignores the improvements in machines, the sudden

and whimsical changes in fashion and the caprice of consumers.
People do not want to admit that what passes before their eyes,
such as the decline of a failing industry while another prospers, is
filled with pain, privations and anxiety for those who are affected
by it. Unemployment, interrupted work and wages resulting from
every imaginable cause in such a system, as in the displacement or
transformation of industries: some would insist they are only fleeting.
- Yes, the displacements taken one by one, but taken as a whole
they are incessant, permanent and promise to last forever, consid-
ering the progress in the natural sciences and technology, the eternal
conflict of desires and the perpetual changes in fashion.

What neither Smith nor those who invoke ideas similar to his are
able to understand when they recommend gentle and easily managed
transitions is that the same possibilities, the same motives, the same
dangers would exist, after as well as before the solemn transition.
When, hypothetically, free trade becomes a universal reality it is
more likely than ever, considering the inevitable effects of compe-
tition, that the domestic economy of each nation, systematically
opened up, will be suddenly inundated with products of better value
than those of this nation, and that, not thousands, but millions of
workers will find themselves deprived of their occupations. Expended
capital will perhaps find- but also will perhaps not find, without
great difficulty - a new application. A more economical technique,
invented by one nation, or a wiser combination of activities or a
favourable local climate to that time unknown or not yet exploited
will eternally and amply suffice to render, in an indefinite and
unequal manner, a superiority of price or quality to one or the

Let us take a look at the evidence. Freedom, in the strict sense,

is neither healthy nor fully possible, much less in economics than
elsewhere. Freedom alone is lack of foresight, an iniquity. It is the
triumph of hazard systematically substituted for reason. In any case
it is never more than a means, and it must therefore be subordinated
to the end. If the end suffers, or if the means itself is radically
adverse to it, the means must be rejected. Simple common sense
Constantin Pecqueur 165

tells us that. A freedom of trade whose result is the sudden or

gradual ruin of an individual or nation is worth nothing ...
What, indeed, should people want as individuals? Nothing less
than material and moral guarantees of their personal health and
the conditions of common well-being, independence and happiness
for all. What research should be undertaken by the social and
political sciences? What should governments endeavour to achieve
and guarantee? Precisely the progressive equalisation of conditions
between the different segments of the population everywhere in the
world. Now it is a truth arising from common sense that foresight,
institutions, laws- that is, the social organism- are the indispensable
means to that end. So it must be insane to entrust the equilibrium
of interests, the harmony of wills, the restraint upon passions, the
timely satisfaction of needs, the equitable sharing of public goods
and services, the safety of the nation and the future of civilisation
to blind chance, of which free trade is the expression in its economic
form in the grossest and most frankly audacious sense ...
We will not invoke the authority of statistics here. They would
be superfluous, even if they were authentic. What use is there in
looking with a microscope at facts which leave their mark across
contemporary reality and the entire past - facts which are so
numerous and prominent that one must see them from some distance
to distinguish them? Why use statistics when the evidence cries out
for a simple exposition of the terms needing proof? Why use
statistics with data which are always dubious or riddled with
contingencies and uncertainties, especially when we have a complete
grasp of the problem already? What? You want to have order by
sanctioning chaos, equality by carefully establishing inequality?
You want to achieve economies by squandering, harmony by antag-
onism and struggle? You need figures to demonstrate to impartial
and attentive minds that such an undertaking is vain, chimerical,
absurd and culpable? - Reflect upon this, I beg of you: fatally
amongst men, at every moment of their collective life, there exist
inequalities of intelligence, strength, facility and morality. This is
a natural fact of the providential order. Now if to this singular fact
you come along to add artificial inequalities and flagrant injustice
from the very beginning, by delivering up the means of production
to the pillage of those first to arrive, one day, centuries later, by
allowing everyone the legal right to transmit his plunder to his
children, you establish monopoly and authorise robbery. If, I say,
you still proclaim struggle, rivalry and war between all; if you
166 Political Economists

surrender the weak to the strong, the ignorant to the learned, the
honest to the rogue, the good to the wicked, the needy to the sick,
you thereby offer an irresistible premium to the subversive passions
and call forth oppression and defeat. So it is inevitable that this
triple cause of abuse and iniquity will first manifest itself in economic
relations, in trade, in money-lending and the fixing of wages. And
soon, as an equally infallible consequence, it will occur in civil and
political relations: from which necessarily and invariably will follow
the greatest inequalities of wealth, servitude, poverty, ignorance and
abasement for the multitude.
One is simply not an economist if he does not understand that to
reduce all of science and political economy to free trade is nothing
more than the art of perpetuating poverty, sanctioning the causes
and effects of iniquity, starving and indefinitely arresting mankind
in languor and privations. One is equally incompetent concerning
physical organisation to the extent that one ignores that all the evils
inherent in competition result from the independence and instability
obtaining in the different centres of production in relation to each
other. Finally, one is neither a statesman nor a legislator if one fails
to consider the inevitable conflict arising from passions left to
themselves, the result of which is never equilibrium but, on the
contrary, always a victory and fortune for some, defeat and ruin for
another. One is no more a statesman or legislator in failing to
consider shortages, privations, imbecility or the cowardice of wage
labourers in the presence of superfluity, cupidity and the bosses'

II. The viewpoint of distributive justice, or equality before the


Exchange is an inseparable corollary of production. If production

is free and individual, exchange should also be free. If production
is organised, collective and interdependent under the sovereign
direction of society, exchange ought to be altered to conform with
this foundation. - There are two hypotheses:
If we accept that an individual has the right to produce in
complete freedom, it follows that he will equally have the right to
exchange his products throughout the world in complete freedom.
Or, on the contrary, if we assume that the right to produce belongs
Constantin Pecqueur 167

to all, indivisibly, with the state as intermediary or under its control,

it follows that the right of exchange pertains to society as a whole,
just as a conclusion follows from its premises. Today, the first
hypothesis is the accepted one, at least as a legal fact, a heritage of
the centuries of feudalism. 3 As long as this situation lasts and is
sanctioned by positive law, free trade is more than an interest or a
necessity. It is a relative right, an act of indefeasible distributive
justice. How could it be otherwise? Isn't each person left to his own
devices? Abandoned to the hazards of chance which beset him,
mustn't he provide for his needs and those of his family by producing
what he can, or whatever he wishes? If he is refused the freedom
to get rid of his produce wherever he finds an opportunity; if his
outlets are prescribed for him; if his prices are fixed, or the prices
of the things he needs; if he is forbidden to import raw materials
or export his goods at whatever price suits him ... who will take
care of him and his family in the almost inevitable case of his
ruination under these conditions ... ?
All protection and prohibition are therefore privileges: a singular
favour for some to the prejudice of others in the same nation. How
can this inequality between equals be justified? It cannot be justified.
Who then in society has the right to grant or exact privileges? What
do I care about the interests of ironmasters, abattoir workers, or the
makers of oil, sugar and linen, or the producers of coal and wool,
etc.? Why should I be forced to buy their products here for twice
what they cost in other markets ... -Obviously, society goes against
its own ends if, at the same time as it keeps the production of wealth
free, it decrees limitations, obstacles or prohibitions upon trade. The
iniquity is flagrant and repulsive. To be just and logical with respect
to the hypothesis of free production, the whole of society must also
be dedicated to free trade.
Now we must examine the second hypothesis to see if it harbours
the truth and is the sole means of guaranteeing right and justice
and, in consequence, the true interests of all. Now it is well known
today that socialists deny that the right of individual production,
isolated or arbitrary, is a natural right. Rather, they consider its
supposed existence to be a positive obstacle to the economy and the
just distribution of labour and its rewards, and one of the causes of
poverty and extreme inequality which mortify all societies. The
latest progress made in the study of philosophical rights seems to
give added support to these modern schools. If all men, before God
or their consciences, have the right to live and to improve themselves,
168 Political Economists

they have this same right before men and society. Now he who
wishes the end wishes the means, from which follows the conclusion
concerning natural right that each man has a right on behalf of
society, on the ground of equality with all his fellow creatures, to
all the means or conditions, not only of his survival but of his
indefinite moral, intellectual and physical improvement. The fore-
most rights, by virtue of that sovereign formula of distributive
justice, being life and the right to live'by working, each person has
a right to the means of production which will permit him to live,
so that he can fulfil his destiny on earth.
Therefore, precisely by virtue of the universal right to life, the
interdependence which binds together all work and special trades,
the nature of wealth and the conditions and limits of its formation,
no one can have the right to produce - arbitrarily, blindly and in
isolation- whatever, whenever and however he wishes. No one has
the right to use and abuse the tools of wealth or to dispose of land
and other kinds of capital at whim without regard to the needs and
rights of others and the future of the human community. From this
it follows, still more forcibly, that no one has the natural right of
trading his produce freely, doing it however he pleases or selling at
whatever price he thinks he can get. Certainly everyone has an
imprescriptible right to produce, and to live on the condition that
he does so, but it does not at all follow that anyone has the right
to profit from the weakness, necessity or ignorance of others ...
Thus do we understand how each part - production, exchange and
distribution - must be determined with a view to the whole, the
balance of justice in hand, with foresight, unity, order and harmony,
with thoroughness, proportion and restraint. Association then, of
labour and interests, becomes an absolute duty, being the precon-
dition for the happiness, strength and prosperity of all. This is the
thing that has not been understood by those who make a natural
right of free trade. They believe that each person must think only
of himself, seizing the most he can of the means of production, and
then producing, or having produce in his stead and for his profit
those whom he would directly or indirectly rob of any land or
capital. They have not seen that the problem is complex, that the
right of each is necessarily limited by the equal and simultaneous
right of all; that in consequence, we have a question of balance, of
distributive justice, which ought to be respected and deserves to have
the hand of justice for dispensing the means of production, produc-
tion itself, and distribution. They have not seen that the act of
Constantin Pecqueur 169

producing and trading being eminently a social act, society must

intervene to assure work, production and consumption for all accord-
ing to the law of equality or proportionality in tasks and rewards. 4

Obviously if anyone is seeing ghosts, it is the economists who

dream about the equilibrium of distribution and well-being through
the licence of laisser-faire. What is lacking in that idea is today
urged on every hand: interdependence and unity; equality of material
comforts and liberty; equal participation for all in the availability
of the tools of wealth and the enjoyment of the necessities of life,
on the sole condition, that work be equally instrumental to associ-
ation. This, finally, is the right and the just!
Today people place their hopes in solidarity and the tacit or
actual association of workers. They believe in a permanent, fully
conscious league of labour against capital, of wages against profit.
One assumes it to be among the inevitable events of the near future,
across the entire extent of the liberal world, and one cannot doubt
that this league will result in forcing the capitalists to compromise
to the profit of wage labourers. One must accept this omen, although
one fears it to be an illusory outlook, or a reality that can be resolved
and sustained only in the midst of bloody conflicts.
But let us assume that, even without violence, without legislative
intervention or the presence of the State, workers wrote the laws for
the capitalists: that by their demands, resistance or voluntary, tacitly
agreed work stoppages, a compromise resulted between capital and
labour. The very nature of things dictates that this agreement would
only be momentary, and that some workers sufficiently educated
and clever enough to take up, collectively, a similar struggle and
achieve a new victory over privileges would go even further. They
would see in the monopoly of land, the existence of individual
capital ownership and the reproductive character of capital an
antiquated tradition, an acquired right incompatible with equality
and liberty for all. They would move, you may be sure, from
pretension to pretension, until reality and the law coincide, and the
law of justice be enforced: All for labour, nothing for idleness; all
for public, national and free credit, nothing for burdensome, usurious
private credit. We wish to demonstrate by this reasoning that it is
useless to anticipate that the proletarians - the final Third Estate
- will bring a halt to the movement which carries the old peasant
and feudal economy toward a radical transformation of the present
170 Political Economists

day composition of the means of production, or of property, as it is

vulgarly called.

One can easily understand the situation of anyone who wishes

to be a patriot and at the same time remain a citizen of the world;
to reconcile religious and civic duty; at all costs to make equality
before the law a reality; to deliver man from the direct or indirect
exploitation of man; and finally, in the case where a choice is
inevitable, to sacrifice the lower to the higher duty. For such a
person the problem has two solutions: either do away with com-
petition through a systematic organisation of social action, returning
the workers and the means of production to an economic unity by
converting various industries, offices and persons into a public
service; or give up everything - men and interests - to a complete
freedom around the world. Either organise, or laisser-faire. There
is no possible middle ground that is just or, in any case, profitable.
Whatever might befall, we are not solely patriots. We are also
citizens of the world. Our destiny will not always be national;
ultimately it is religious or humanitarian. The various nationalities
are not an end, but a means. The end is universal brotherhood, the
unity or association of mankind, because we are all the people of
God, and our constant aim must be to reconcile ourselves to a fusion,
which is the express and unquestionable will of Providence. There-
fore, since we must follow Providence wherever she leads us, let us
look upwards, and forget the partial sacrifices amongst the possible
alternatives. Yes! May the barriers fall, may work be unhampered,
may the working classes fraternally spill over their mutual frontiers;
may they without discrimination pour into the workshops from
nation to nation, according to their inclinations, needs and demand.
May the poor consumer finally find it easy to provide for himself
wherever he can earn the most, find the best market and sell his
labour or profit from his industry wherever work or a more generous
profit is available. May a great European, cosmopolitan stir take
place between industries, and each people, each soil and each climate
produce unique fruits - produce what can be produced there with
an incontestable superiority. And, if necessary, for the health of the
masses making up this renewed humanity, may the nationalities
Constantin Pecqueur 171

Thus freedom of trade throughout the world is the relative ideal.

We must move toward it on two parallel paths: propaganda for
sentiments of peace and fraternity on the one hand, and the gradual
abolition of the system of tariffs on the other. But obviously this
must be seen as a tendency, not a reality that one might hope to
attain in the near future. It is a question of an intelligent succession
of liberating measures, less to take over positions and rights acquired
in the shadow of privileges than to avoid creating new embarrass-
ments. The right of indemnity cannot exist when so many of the
plundered population suffer without compensation the harsh plight
imposed upon them by the monopolists. If the future is on the side
of organisation, organisation will be all the better for international
free trade, since it is incompatible with both privilege and the
isolation of peoples. If the future is on the side of the liberal order,
this future will be only the same realisation, accomplished in fact,
of universal free trade ...


1. Cobden (1804-65) was a British economist who, with John Bright, led the
Anti-Corn Law League (1836-46) which in 1846 persuaded Peel's Tory
government to repeal the Corn Laws.
2. Pecqueur's irony is extended here to the classical economists in Britain and
to their French counterparts, such as A.-R.-J. Turgot (1727-81), who wrote
Refiexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (c. 1770), and J .-B.
Say, who introduced and publicised the works of Smith and Malthus in
3. This is a curious error of historical interpretation. The complex feudal
relationships, such as entrustments of land and office, chartered trades and
artisan guilds, can hardly be seen as 'complete freedom' of production.
4. The introduction of 'proportionality' is an interesting, but logically weakening,
equivocation by Pecqueur, although absolute equality was a principle espoused
by only the most radical Babeuvists.
Part IV

Utopian Publicists
15. Jules Lechevalier
JULES LECHEV ALlER (born c. 1800) was a graduate of the
Ecole polytechnique and an artillery officer. An ardent propagandist
for the Saint-Simonian society until converting to Fourierism in
1832, he edited several publications for the Fourierist school. In
1834, he founded the Revue de progres social while also establishing,
with two other polytechnicians, a popular school in which Lechev-
alier expounded his social ideas. He co-authored Introduction au
Phalanstere with Victor Considerant, and in 1843 was secretary of
the colonial committee of La Phalange. In 1846, Lechevalier went
to Germany to attend a conference on socialism. His period of study
(1826-28) in Germany, when he learned at least the rudiments of
Hegelian philosophy, is one of the few contacts between French
socialists and the German philosophical tradition. He was listed as
the vice-president of Proudhon 's Exchange Bank when its statutes
were published, and edited Proudhon's La Voix du peuple in 1849,
although in the same year he was deported to London to avoid
imprisonment for his political activities.

Of Association*
Ordinarily one understands by Association any grouping of
individuals accidentally linked together for a common aim. This
aim might be at one time an industrial or commercial interest, at
another a quest for an idea, and at still another the work of a
*'De )'association', Revue du progres social (March 1834), pp. 302-19.

176 Utopian Publicists

political movement in the sense of such and such a party or opinion.

Thus we have commercial Companies1 in the form of sleeping
partnerships, joint ventures and limited partnerships; we have
learned Societies, political Societies and religious Societies. Espe-
cially in recent times, attempts to form associations have multiplied
and the idea itself has been elaborated to such an extent that today
there exists a science whose efforts are devoted to the discovery and
application of laws of association.
Viewed in its widest and deepest sense, the idea of association
expresses the regular coordination of several different forces,
unequal or even divergent in kind, and the direction of these forces
toward the same goal. On this accounting, the elementary formula
of association is a theorem of statics; but nevertheless it is common
to use the word association only when it is a question of human
forces. These human forces are will and labour. The character and
aptitude of every individual - such are the integral parts of human
society. Using all the different and opposed personalities for the
maintenance of order and harmony; guiding the isolated efforts of
each individual toward an end useful to all; directing the labours
of the mass toward the individual's good: these are, for human
society, the true conditions of stability and progress.
One sees here that the idea of association is related, in perfect
analogy, to all the deeds and every aspect of social life. Specialised
societies (scientific, industrial, moral, political or religious) are thus
particular cases of the work of society at large which is made up
of the ensemble of individual and collective efforts. Further, society
as a whole, the State, is only a special form. And this special form
is more or less good, more or less bad, according to its conformity
or discordance with the principles which establish, in the abstract,
the laws of the division and combination of forces.
It is especially in this connection that association is envisaged
here. The recent labours of man's intellect on the science of asso-
ciation2 have placed it in the ranks of the most useful studies. It is
no longer acceptable for enlightened men to remain strangers to
this kind of research.
Must we regard association and society as identical? Must we
confuse all the partial advances brought about by Man's labours
with the progress of association itself? No. This distinction is
extremely important, because there is a complete difference between
the development of productive forces and the mutual combination
of the diverse elements of social progress. This difference is such
jules Lechevalier 177

that, most often, special parts of social life develop in isolation,

without it being possible to establish order, harmony and equilib-
rium between them all. This fact reminds us of the profound motives
of all the great political or religious revolutions we encounter, either
historically or in our own contemporary period.
In truth, the development of a social force can only take place
through the division of a single job amongst several workers, and
by the collaboration of these partial efforts toward the same end.
So from the outset it is natural that we do not separate this
development from the idea of association. To divide and combine
forces is to associate. In this manner, many economists have equated
the progress of association with the progress of the division of labour
and commerce.
It is, indeed, by virtue of the division of labour that man and his
society have been able to produce so much, in great quantity and
good quality, with dexterity and a minimum of effort. Through the
division of labour, each individual concentrates all his attention and
talent on one special branch of an occupation. Each occupation
concentrates its activity and interest on one particular sphere of
society's labours. And the sum of all these partial activities consti-
tutes, in a given territory, the general system of the production of
wealth, the improvement of knowledge and the development of
material comforts. On the other hand, if, in order to work and
produce, man is able to separate himself entirely from an object,
even a trifling one, and limit himself to being, in society as a whole,
only an integral part, 3 the same is not true for consumption and
enjoyment. As a producer, man can restrict himself to a single
function, but as a consumer, he has need of all products and, in
consequence, of all occupations. Without commerce, the agency of
all value exchanges - of labour and products - taking place between
individuals, cities and nations, the growth of human society would
not be possible even within the narrowest limits. The division of
labour, the extension of communications and exchanges: these are
the essential conditions for the existence and the progress of society.
As for association, it is constituted to the extent that productive
labour is dedicated to order, harmony and precision; that exchanges
take place regularly and without hindrance either to the producer
or the consumer; and that low prices for commodities make them
available to the masses.
In brief, the division of labour and the expansion of trade do not
presuppose interdependence and participation, whereas association
178 Utopian Publicists

necessarily rests on these two conditions. Wherever there is neither

interdependence nor participation, partial efforts contribute only
indirectly to the common goal; individual interest accords only
indirectly with the interest of society. Wherever joint responsibility
for the losses and sharing in the profits are established in any
sphere, association exists with its immense advantages for the
increase of production and the economy of costs, and thus all partial
efforts contribute directly to the common goal, and the individual
interest is identified as completely as possible with the social interest.
There is, therefore, an important distinction to be made between
direct association and indirect association. The greatest possible
progress for society would result if it were to be organised according
to the mathematical principles of direct association.
Association requires a steady combination of all forces. This can
only be realised on the condition of incorporating all the facts of
social life, all interests of the individual, all labours necessary for
the conservation and growth of human society. This is what we call
integral association.
From this it follows that most assemblages, formed in the name
of association, are, at best, only work centres. Commercial companies
in the form of a joint venture (cooperatives) most closely approach
true association. But it is clear that this never happens unless it is
in the interest of several individuals, having no other end in view
than one particular branch of work.
It is also well understood that community is diametrically opposed
to the idea of association as we have just analysed it. 4 Because
community is the absorption of individual interests into the pre-
tended social interest, 5 which at bottom is only the interest of the
community's leaders. Association, on the contrary, is the cooperation
and participation of each individual, including the risks of inequality
which are to be found in the different natures and individual
situations of each associate.

It is obvious that association thus understood has never been

realised in a society so far established on earth. It is therefore still
only a grand theoretical conception whose execution will not be
easy. Nevertheless, one must not think, as is the case with many
men of prejudice and little learning, that this conception need be
relegated forever to the realms of utopia, and that it has no ties to
the historical traditions of mankind. Experience shows us, on the
jules Lechevalier 179

contrary, that men have had recourse to association every time they
have been compelled to organise any kind of a system of work,
especially whenever they have set themselves the task of planning
and directing the life of individuals in relation to a goal. One need
only think of such examples as the organisation of armies or
Monasteries and barracks are, in effect, the first seeds of direct
association which we find in history. These are undoubtedly rough
examples, but they suffice to affirm two important effects of asso-
ciation: the increase of production and precision of execution, and
savings in manual work and costs. Yet how far monastic or military
life is from the regime of true association! The end of war is not
production or ease, as is true of industry. War is an affair of violence
and brute force. Now that which has violence as its end can only
be maintained by despotism. Military organisation gives to man
only the smallest part of social blessings: family life, as well as civil
and industrial interests, must be abandoned for the regiment. Only
in exceptional cases do we find private property and the consequent
guarantees of independence in the military. One's share is a wage,
an emolument, a payment. An insurance fund or one's savings end
up being a retirement or invalid pension. In a military organisation,
finally, individual liberty is not assured. The work involved is in
no way intended for happiness and the satisfaction of needs. The
domestic arrangement of a regiment is a simple administration of
subsistence, rather than a domestic association. It is therefore entirely
natural that the example of a military association is as frequently
used to deny the benefits of association as it is to vouch for them.
However, it bears repeating that military life, for all its being
incomplete and even contrary to man's natural end, is a much
superior condition to that of the wage labourers in agriculture and
manufacturing industries.
The same is true of the monastic life. Its aim is almost as foreign
to man's earthly happiness as that of war. Nevertheless, allowances
being made for the time wasted in mystic contemplation, the works
of science, art and industry carried out in monasteries render them
much superior to militarism. As for subsistence, the satisfaction of
domestic needs, remuneration and property, all that was blame-
worthy in the military reoccurs in monastic life. The repression of
individual liberty is pushed to the limit, and the generative principle
of human society, marriage, is completely excluded. One finds here
only a few collective advantages: order, thrift, careful use of time
180 Utopian Publicists

and an assurance of relief against sickness and poverty. Now it must

not be forgotten that all these benefits do not accrue to workers in
our fragmented and unstable societies.
Man's constant efforts in search of the true laws governing his
own labour, the immense growth of all aspects of social life (arts,
science, industry, great nautical and mechanical discoveries) and the
complications introduced into modern society by population growth
and industrial anarchy all demand of man's genius to provide a
new conception of social relations, either in the reorganisation of
labour or in the ordering of interests, individual to individual,
commune to commune. 6 And, in view of current opinion and a new
social sentiment born of Christian doctrines, this conception can be
nothing other than association, because this idea implies peace and
progress, order and liberty. Now, obviously, these are the highest
desires which individuals and societies can possibly create for their
own happiness.
But to move from desire to reality, there must be means of
execution, that is, scientific solutions and practical applications. And
it is precisely here, in the science of association, that a completely
new task has begun. 7


1. The term used is societe, meaning in this context the equivalent of association
or company in English.
2. This is a reference to the writings of Charles Fourier and his 'communaute
3. Because of the importance of Marx's concept of the worker's alienation in the
process of production, both from himself and his product, it is worthwhile to
give Lechevalier's original passage: 'l'homme peut s'abstraire tout entiere sur
un objet, meme minime, et se horner a n'etre, dans le tout social, qu'une
molecule integrante ... '
4. The term 'communaute' used here implies 'community of interests' or a
'community of goods' and is an obvious reference to the programme of
communal life envisioned by 'communistes'.
5. It is interesting that this term, 'interet social', is here called a pretended one,
when this same term is used in a complimentary sense on the previous page.
6. The term commune as used here refers to the administrative subdivision,
roughly equivalent to 'parish' or 'town', dating back to the medieval period.
7. The article continues with a brief review of the systems proposed by Robert
Owen and Saint-Simon, and concludes with an argument that Fourier's
phalanstere avoids the shortcomings of these other thinkers.
16. Victor Considerant
CONSIDERANT wrote the following front-page article while he
was editor-in-chief of La Phalange, the organ of Fourier's doctrine.

Pre-requisite for the

Legitimacy of a Social
In France, for more than a century, society has been burdened by
chaotic ideas, misleading abstractions, and errors both vain and
terrible in their implications. A disordered mind has in a sense
become the normal state of affairs and manifests itself on every
hand. This malady has so completely and for so long worked upon
our faculties of reason that it has now become a chronic rather than
an acute illness, and the result is that the world of ideas lives in a
state of flagrant and permanent anarchy.
In this tumult of contradictory ideas, this furore of actions and
reactions, if it happens that certain types of men take up a common
banner and group themselves around it as partisans, in the manner
of a party or coterie, such an alliance is little more than a transitory
and deceitful convenience. These men, united for a moment to fight
their common enemies, are even in alliance wracked by internal
*'Premiere condition de legitimite d'une doctrine sociale', La Phalange, journal
de la science sociale, I, no. 9 (1 Oct. 1836), 274-80.

182 Utopian Publicists

divisions. Conflicts often break out before victory, and never fail to
rage after victory ...
How is it therefore possible that some men are still so insensitive,
so narrow, so naive as to proclaim themselves members of a party,
to believe in a party, to be devoted to a party? How can there be
men so deprived of all sense of logic, so deaf to the lessons of events,
so uncomprehending of the experiences and facts surrounding them?
How can they continue to prostitute to worn out commonplaces and
old vacuities, hollow and echoing of faction, that lovely power of
faith which is the highest and the most distinctive mark of man in
all creation? But surely, if this high faculty was given to man, it
was not intended for the use we see at present. It was not meant
to enable individuals to assemble into splinter groups over ideological
stupidities, empty words and theories so ephemeral and narrow that
they cannot crop up without exciting the hostility of other such
theories on every side. However it is fortunate that human genius
is capable of soaring into the social and religious sphere to reach
a large and comprehensive point of view embracing all interests, all
human desires, all the soul's aspirations. In this way the individual
may be united freely and piously in a higher unity with all
individuals of his species.
The party doctrines which fragment society today (if it be granted
that such declamations, struggles and partisan intrigues, based upon
several mixed-up assumptions, merit the name of doctrine) are all
stamped with a spurious character. The obvious and palpable proof
is that each of these so-called doctrines essentially corresponds with
a fraction of social interests and brings against other interests a more
or less complete negation. This is illustrated by the sometimes
violent struggles which each of these parties carries on incessantly
against all the others. The society in which we live is shaped by the
blind accidents of earlier times, and modified each day by accidental
and unforeseen events. Our society is governed not by a superior
and intelligent foresight, but by hazard. Its essential trait, deriving
from its very constitution, predisposes it to placing all the interests
developing within it in bellicose opposition. Many political sophists
sing the praises of modern society, mingling in their constant, but
unreasoning, lucubrations, the terms perfectibility, association, prog-
ress, etc. This trait which repudiates them nevertheless manifests
itself by facts which stare us in the face. Let us examine several of
If we consider the trend of social wealth, it is in the present order
Victor Considerant 183

of things subjected to three opposing interests: production, distri-

bution and consumption. Production creates wealth, commerce dis-
tributes it, and commodities are eventually consumed. To appreciate
the interrelationship of these three interests in the current state of
affairs, one must examine the relation of the intermediate term with
each of the two extremes. In fact, this relationship is one of double
opposition! The merchant attempts, by the very nature of present
combinations, to realise the maximum profit over the producer by
buying his products as cheaply as possible, and the maximum profit
from the consumer by selling to him the very same products at the
highest possible price. Commerce profits to the extent that it suc-
cessfully extorts and plunders both the producer and consumer!
Consequently, in the present state of industrial relations, the three
great terms of the progress of social wealth- production, distribution
and consumption - bear a false and hostile relationship one to the
others. Now let us examine each of these terms individually.
The transactions of production and distribution, that is, of com-
merce, are executed by capitalists and by wage labourers. Now,
between these two classes, again there is a flagrant hostility of
interests which expresses itself in the efforts of the one to reduce
and the other to augment wages.
Look closer, and you will find the same war in the midst of each
of these classes. It is that relentless war which feeds upon compe-
tition, both within the ranks of production and commerce, or between
them, amongst the capitalists, and between the wage earners them-
selves. This is so common that our industrial regime is composed
of nothing more than divergent elements: enterprises which recip-
rocate by seeking to destroy each other, of warring interests, of
operations which do mutual injury, pillage and ruination. The state
of permanent war is so much an essential part of the very organi-
sation of our industrial relations that its warlike character is to be
found on every level, from the relations of individuals right up to
the typical relations of entire industries, upper management and
social classes.
You will find this hostility of interests, so visible in our industrial
relations, throughout society under different names. The army has
a vested interest in war, while industries can only prosper in
peacetime. The judiciary and the whole army of law enforcement
can only exist because of the presence of crime in society. Moreover
you have the mutual struggles of the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy
and the general public, the clergy, governments, and the ambitions
184 Utopian Publicists

of every kind which live on these disputes. Above all, the press
serves as the organ of these struggles, opposed interests and divergent
ambitions, serving its own interests by animating, inflaming and
exploiting them. So there you have a brief description of the situation
in our society. It is evident to any man of common sense and good
faith that these parties which argue over authority, power and
government are nothing more than coalitions of specific interests
joined together against other interests, helping each other with a
degree of solidarity until the seeds of intestine division begin to
grow, as a result of victory or other causes. Then the parties split
up into new groups as hostile to each other as the old ones were.
To dream of the definitive and permanent triumph of a party is
thus an absurdity. It is to suppose that one social interest could
succeed in extinguishing all the others, which fortunately is impos-
sible. The achievements of parties are nothing more than miserable
accomplishments of war. One must have given very little reflection
on the state of things and be completely deaf to the harsh lessons
of experience to prostitute one's intelligence, abilities, devotion and
faith to the service of any one of these miserable coalitions which
call themselves parties.
Is it not time at last to recognise as the agenda for human
intelligence a larger and more generous programme than all of these
manifestos of war incessantly launched by each coalition against its
neighbouring coalitions, merely posing the interests of one against
the interests of others? Were men after all placed on earth and
created social beings only to tear themselves apart and devour each
other like ferocious beasts which inhabit the forests and deserts?
And this excellent faculty which naturally impels us to come
together, must it only be used to escalate hostility and war from the
individual level to the level of the powers that be, rallying institutions
and individuals respectively so that they might more effectively
make war as a mass, in parties and in great conglomerations armed
one against another? Are we only able to unite with our fellow men
on the condition that each union be led against other unions?
Shouldn't we rather believe that, if we can unite fractiously and
temporarily in groups and parties for the labours of war, we are
called, one and all, to unite in a permanent union for the great
accomplishment of peace, work and happiness! If slaves and pro-
letarians are men, are not the bourgeois, the aristocrats and kings
also men? Instead of continuing the intestine war of classes, shouldn't
Victor Considerant 185

we consider finally bringing about a fusion, winning them over in

general accord?
If this noble rallying of classes, parties and men is the truly social
and religious goal for which elevated minds ought to strive, isn't it
obvious that whoever joins a party, whoever enlists himself in a
faction in order to struggle against other factions, lends himself to
an effort unworthy of humane intelligence, an anti-social and
impious work of division and war?
In the face of these warring interests in society, of these senseless
parties which rend it asunder, of these fragmenting and contradictory
doctrines colliding with each other, in the midst of an anarchy at
once industrial and political, material and intellectual, it is necessary
to consider as our goal the realisation of the harmony of interests,
the fusion of classes, the rallying of all human powers. This goal
cannot be attained by any one party, since none of the parties
genuinely considers such an aim. On the contrary, each of them is
occupied solely in combatting the interests of the others, while a
higher accord - a fusion and rallying together - could only result
from the simultaneous satisfaction of all the struggling interests.
The parties and their doctrines are not the means of reaching
agreement between these divergent and hostile interests, since they
are themselves only the expression of the divergence and the hostility
of the interests to which they correspond.
This appreciation of the actual worth of parties is an incontestable
truth. Moreover, most official publications of the parties have taken
care to reveal themselves in bold print, for fear of anyone failing to
notice the disgraceful meanness and antisocial character of their
respective points of view. So the party organs show their colours in
their titles, one a journal of 'monarchic interests', another the journal
of 'democratic interests', this one a journal of 'new interests', that
one a journal of 'ancient interests', etc. And when they do not take
the trouble to announce their inferior and narrow viewpoint in bold
print, when they take on a disguise under some charlatan title, such
as the 'journal of progress' for example, who is really fooled? Don't
we know what class of interests and individuals, what 'fraction' or
(what amounts to the same type of hostility) 'faction' is addressed
in the nation by the Gazette or the Debats, the Quotidienne or the
National, the Paix or the Bon sens, the Chronique de Paris, or the
Courrier, the Constitutionnel, the Journal du commerce, the Presse,
the Temps, etc.? What are all of these voices doing, if not pleading
their own more or less contradictory causes, to the great misfortune
186 Utopian Publicists

of the society in which they incessantly excite intestine hatreds? And

thus what a work of peace, concord and unity there is to be formed
out of this miserable concert of reciprocal negations, endless disputes
- disputes so unintelligent, so base, so brutal, so ignoble that its
extremity of degradation of the mind and heart of man has never
been equalled. Let us at last see that all this is error, lies and
exploitation! Let us understand that the interests and parties who
fight each other with so much animosity do not know the key to
their own accord, nor do they understand that agreement between
all of these elements, who now join in a deplorable fellowship of
combat, is the very goal that intelligence would put forward if it
were not diverted and prostituted. To repeat, it is not a question of
the victory of capital over labour, nor of labour over talent, of master
over worker, nor of the worker over the master. It is not a question
of a war between industries and the workforce, or of popular
interests against bourgeois interests, or of the latter against the
interests of the highest classes in the social ladder. It is not a
wretched war of opposition, of doctrine, of splinter parties, or of
legitimacy and quasi-legitimacy. It is not a combat to the death
between all such elements, parties or classes. The real issue is to
satisfy all these elements, to satisfy all parties, to bring about the
fusion and rallying together of all classes.
Now it is evident that the doctrines of all parties are nothing
more than the manifestation of fractional interests and an expression
of their mutual hostility, all of them dolled up in narrow, contra-
dictory and false ideological theories, complete with several grand
but empty words, such as liberty, republic, legitimacy, sovereignty
of the people, order, etc., to which the credulous fools of all parties
take resort, because these words address themselves to the sympathies
which the party doctrines excite and exploit, but which they are
incapable of satisfying.
To sum up, society, belaboured by war, needs unity. The goal to
which men of foresight will direct themselves is the realisation of
the harmony of the diverse social elements in the whole. Doctrines
which lend themselves to fomenting war, as these elements now do
one to another, are by that very fact shown to be false. They do not
lead to the good, to unity. They excite evil and division. They do
not point to a goal, they prevent us from reaching it. Ultimately
they take their place among the first rank of calamities which today
desolates humanity. All of these doctrines deserve to be and will be
swept away by human reason.
Victor Considerant 187

Any doctrine which does not offer itself as accepting and embrac-
ing all the interests of mankind; whose realisation requires some to
be sacrificed; which sees some raised up only by abasing others;
which takes from many, or only from certain ones, instead of giving
to all, is a false doctrine. It has no right to request that just minds
and hearts, devoted to the interests of humanity, listen to it.
For ourselves, we announce- and one has never before announced
its like on earth - we announce a social organisation which pretends
to serve every existing interest and shows itself favourable to all
men. It accepts, recognises and satisfies the rights and privileges of
all classes, from one end of the social ladder to the other. Far from
offending or compromising any position, kings as well as mendicants
will be participants in its benefits.
This universal character gives a doctrine the right to be called
social. A doctrine which enjoys this character may be understood
as true if it satisfies its programme. Those which do not enjoy this
character, as is true of all the exclusive doctrines of the various
parties, are necessarily false, the more so if they were in fact capable
of realising their programmes. But intellectual anarchy is so wide-
spread, the current of ideas is so troubled, and so many minds err
in their daring in this unhappily disordered society. Thus it is that
so many lively minds are misled and ruined, so many hearts are
filled with generosity and nobility, believing themselves to be rallying
under the banner of humanity, because they have with ardour and
devotion taken up the banner of one of these parties!
17. Theodore Dezamy
DEZAMY broke with Cabet in the same year as he published his
Code, which he intended as a legal charter for the new community.
The book contained a plan of the 'palais communal' and its sur-
rounding gardens, orchards and industrial parks.

Laws of the Community*

My criterion, I repeat, my rule of certitude, is the science of the
human organism, that is, the knowledge of the needs, faculties and
passions of man. From this point of departure, I pose the following
principles as the basis of all social organisation:
1. Happiness. - This is a goal, a final end to which all desires,
all actions of men, incline. This goal, this final end, is the free,
orderly and complete development of our being, the full and entire
satisfaction of all our physical, intellectual and moral needs. It is,
in a word, a life most fully in conformity with our nature. Such is
the state that we call happiness, the elements of which exist on
earth ...
2. Freedom. 1 - Man's liberty consists in the exercise of his power.
I speak of a man's powers, because it would be ridiculous, following
Helvetius, to take as unfreedom our powerlessness to pierce the
clouds like an eagle, to swim underwater like a whale, or to make
ourselves king, pope or emperor.
Freedom therefore has nothing in common with extravagance or
*Excerpted from Code de La communaute (Paris, 1842).

Theodore Dezamy 189

caprice. In society as it is properly organised, liberty will always

turn out to the greatest advantage of the individual and the republic.
The freer the individual, the more the State will flourish. Recip-
rocally, the freer the State, the happier the individual will be.
Because freedom is nothing other than man himself in the full
possession of what is most vital and sacred: it is the most powerful
inciter of all sociability.
However there are some men who, judging the future from the
point of view of the present, argue that it is always necessary to be
on guard against the fanciful pretensions of freedom because, despite
the legislator's wisdom, liberty always tends, so they object, to
degenerate into egoism and anarchy. What folly! The best restraints,
in our view, that one can impose on liberty are science and reason,
which constantly cry out to us:
Injure not, that you be not injured.
Do good, that it be done unto you.
One finds his individual felicity only in the common good.
Equality. - Equality is a harmony, a perfect equilibrium, which
rules all things, from the most immense heavenly bodies to the
smallest insect. This is a law as necessary for our social existence
as for our individual life. This primordial law underlies all social
principles, even in those institutions most in defiance of it. Without
equality, no society is possible: one sees only confusion and con-
straint, discord and war!
Fraternity. - Fraternity is that sublime sentiment which enables
men to live as members of the same family, to combine in a single
interest each different desire, and every individual strength. Frater-
nity is the natural conclusion, the only true safeguard of liberty and
Unity. - Aristocrats especially use the word unity to denominate
monarchical government. This is a strange abuse of language. Unity,
monarchy: between these two words lies an abyss! The one represents
the harmonious union of all parties in the social body, the other
signifies only a single one of these parties holding the others under
a yoke. Our fathers, in 1793, had an instinct for unity, but they had
only a confused and very incomplete idea of it. It is precisely for
that reason that they could not finish their task. Unity is the
indissoluble identification of all interests and all wills, the full and
entire community of all goods and of all misfortunes.
Community. - Community is of all forms of association the most
natural, the simplest and the most perfect. It is the unique and
190 Utopian Publicists

infallible means of removing all kinds of obstacles to the development

of the social principle, because it gives satisfaction to all needs and
legitimate release to all passions.
Community is nothing other than the realisation of unity and
fraternity as we have just defined these terms. It is the most real
and fully complete unity, a unity in everything: in education,
language, work, property, housing, in life, legislation and political
activity, etc. Thus one can see that community encompasses, in
itself, and necessarily implies to the fullest, every term in our
glorious revolutionary motto: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Unity.
But what gives an incontestable superiority to community over
all other social systems is that it comprises, among other things, all
the characteristics of service, truth and reason. The community is
perfectly amenable to rigorous and exact demonstration, and is
entirely in conformity with the criterion of certitude that I have
adopted: the human organism!
These are the principal questions I will address in this book:
Basic Laws. Distributive Laws: diagram and organisation of the
commune; communal meals and work. Industrial and rural laws.
Laws concerning education and teaching. Scientific congresses.
Health laws. Laws for public order. Wonders performed by unitary
labour. Industrial armies. Restoration of climatic conditions.
Political Laws: Communal assemblies. Provincial assemblies.
National assemblies. Humanitarian Congress.
Transitional System. Social and political transformation. Imme-
diate community of goods. Manner of reimbursing almost everyone. 2
Infallible means of weakening, overcoming and crushing all anti-
communist governments, without being obliged to send more than
300,000 to 400,000 soldiers beyond our borders. Progressive and
general emancipation of peoples, after less than ten years of war.
Complete and humanitarian community.

Basic laws

Basic laws are those which serve as the primary foundation on

which the entire social edifice rests. They are the central pivot to
which and around which all other laws are attached and revolve.
Basic laws must not be confused with constitutional laws. Con-
Theodore Dezamy 191

stitutional laws, or constitutions, are the work of politics. They are

variable and temporary. Basic laws, on the contrary, are invariable,
eternal and immutable. They are both prior and superior to all
political orders, because they spring from nature. The legislator's
whole mission consists in exploring, recognising and then promul-
gating them.

All production is based upon work. All who partake of social

production therefore must take part in the work. Since society is,
as we have stated, a joint union against all accidents and every
inferiority, an exchange of mutual aid, a fusion of all wills, interests
talents and effort, it follows that, in order to obey the laws of nature
and to realise the principle of association in its entirety, we must
begin by making the earth and all its produce one great and single
social domain.

Art. 1. All men will live as brothers, of whatever race, colour and
climate they might be or might have been.
Art. 2. Nothing belongs individually to anyone, other than the
things which he actually uses.
Art. 3. In the community there is only a single and unique
dominion. The domain is formed of the entirety of goods of all
Art. 4. The central administration of the domain, with the greatest
care, will keep watch that all communes exist in a constant state of
equal abundance. 3
Art. 5. All products and all the community's riches will constantly,
without interruption, be at the disposition of everyone. - Each
person, with complete freedom throughout the extent of the domain,
may draw amply upon everything he needs, that is to say, what is
necessary, useful and pleasant.
Art. 6. All works which have public utility as their aim are social
activities. The community proclaims them all equally honourable.
Art. 7. Every able-bodied person (man, woman and child) is
invited to take part freely in several jobs in order to bring to the
community the contributions of his efforts and talents, that is, his
physical and intellectual powers, according to tastes, needs and
individual aptitudes ...
Art. 8. The community recognises no one but equals. In all of its
192 Utopian Publicists

institutions, regulations, pursuits and especially in education, the

community will never lose sight of this principle: to keep every mind
and heart from the least temptation, the slightest desire for domi-
nation, privilege, pre-eminence, precedence, preponderance - in a
word, of any prerogative whatsoever.

Distributive and economic laws

Art. 1. All people are divided into communes whose territory

should be the most equal, orderly and harmonious possible. All
communes are bound together so as to form at the outset a primary
centre of administration called the national community, and a second
one called the humanitarian community.
Art. 2. When a commune is located in an infertile area, all the
arts will be applied to its improvement. Neighbouring communes
will furnish its subsistence, as mandated by the fundamental laws.
Such a case will eventually be infinitely rare.
Art. 3. All the communes will communicate and fraternise con-
stantly, transporting produce and other public activities, by the
frequency and variety of festivals and, alternatively, by the theatre.
Art. 4. The fragmented household will be replaced by the com-
munitarian household. Each commune will have only a single
kitchen. Meals, work, schooling and sport will be on a communal
basis. Each adult (man or woman) will have an individual lodging.
Young children will sleep in communal dormitories. 4

Industrial and rural laws

Art. 1. Work will take place in communal workshops, following

the piecework method.
Art. 2. The spirit of community will unfailingly tend toward
perfecting machines and inventing new ones with the effect of
reducing toil and steadily rendering work easier, healthier and more
Art. 3. All workshops will be laid out and maintained in a
luxurious manner with regard to hygiene, comfort, beauty and
Art. 4. Similar measures will be taken relative to farm labour.
Steam-driven transport and mobile waterproof tents will figure
among the improvements.
Art. 5. Industrial armies will be organised around the globe to
Theodore Dezamy 193

carry out immense work projects of culture, afforestation, irrigation,

canals, railroads, embankment of rivers and streams, etc.

Laws on the union of the sexes with a view to preventing all

discord and debauchery

Art. 1. Mutual love, intimate sympathy and the likeness of hearts

of two persons create and legitimise their union.
Art. 2. Perfect equality will exist between the two sexes.
Art. 3. No other tie than mutual love will link man and woman
to each other.
Art. 4. Nothing will prevent lovers who have separated from
uniting anew and as often as they aspire one to another. 5
Art. 5. The community will be made up of one and only one
family, 6 a single and unique household. It will watch over all of its
members alike with an unceasing solicitude.

Laws concerning education

Art. 1. Education will be communal, equal, seriaire,7 industrial

and agricultural.
Art. 2. Each commune will have, for each sex, a special apartment,
divided into as many rooms as there are different ages. Each of
these apartments will provide all the desirable amenities of salubrity,
comfort, amusement, etc.
Art. 3. The three principal objectives of education are: strength
and agility of body; development of the mind; goodness and vigour
of the heart.
Art. 4. In order to make all apprenticeships and courses of study
available, each school will be divided into several classes or streams.
Art. 5. In the same way as for adults, no constraints will ever be
used in dealing with children. The charms of egalitarian study and
education alone will suffice to impel them toward the welfare and
strength of the communitarian regime.
Art. 6. Teaching will be encyclopedic, both theoretical and
Art. 7. The wisdom and insight of the human mind will enjoy
complete freedom with regard to the speculative and experimental
sciences, whether in research into the secrets of nature or in the
perfection of the fine and practical arts.
194 Utopian Publicists

Hygienic laws

Art. 1. All communes will be situated in locations most favourable

to health. They will be designed and laid out in a manner that will
take every advantage of ventilation, heating, air, light, cleanliness,
Art. 2. Stables, barns, abattoirs, tanneries, factories, glassworks,
blast-furnaces; workshops for metalworking, dyeing and chemical
laboratories; indeed all things which by their very nature affect our
health will be spread out in the countryside.
Art. 3. Industrial armies will be expected to join forces in
purifying climatological conditions for the general improvement of
the globe.
Art. 4. The most experienced persons will take care that nutrition,
clothing, thermal baths, etc., are perfect in quality and are satis-
factory to everyone.
Art. 5. The most ingenious care will be taken to assure everyone's
sleep and repose, and to secure the minds and hearts of all from the
least seeds of disquiet, worry and grief.

Laws for public order, intended to avoid all confusion, conges-

tion and accident of every kind

Art. 1. The transport of produce and manufactured goods will

take place at the time of day when only those involved in such work
are in the streets.
Art. 2. Inside the palace, pedestrians will keep to the right or
left, according to a determined pattern.
Art. 3. No dangerous animals will be allowed to enter or roam
about the interior of the palace.
Art. 4. Every measure of precaution and security will be taken
to avoid anyone being killed or injured, either by falling objects or
an explosion of a boat's engine or other steam locomotive.
Art. 5. Ingenious workers will take every precaution in preventing
the consequences of storms, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.
They will apply themselves to achieving this by the embankment
of rivers and streams, constructing impregnable dikes, building
floodgates and aqueducts wherever they are needed, and by exca-
vating underground canals, etc.
Theodore Dezamy 195

Political laws

Art. 1. The foundation of every political constitution is unity. To

establish, coordinate, sanction, stimulate, enliven and enrich indus-
try, arts and sciences: such are the goals of political laws.
Art. 2. Political equality can never be separated from equality in
education and welfare.
Art. 3. Every political law must proceed, rigorously and reli-
giously, from the fundamental laws of equality and community,
apart from which a law is rendered powerless and radically void.
Art. 4. Whoever has reached a certain age shall be free to take
part in public deliberations. The aged, adult men and women and
adolescents are declared - by the same right, although in different
degrees - apt and capable of manifesting their opinions, either by
voice or ballot.
Art. 5. Any proposition or plan will be promulgated as law when
it has acquired adherence, or at least general consent. 8
Art. 6. In each commune there will be a political assembly
intended to direct operations within the scope of the commune.
Each nation will have an assembly responsible for directing oper-
ations within the scope of that nation. Finally, there will be a great
humanitarian congress, intended to direct the general operations of
the entire globe. 9
Art. 7. Each year the national congress will designate one centrally
located commune to be the seat of congress the following year. The
humanitarian congress will do the same thing.
Art. 8. There will be no special delegates sent either to the
national congress or to the humanitarian congress. The servants of
the law will naturally be the people who live, either temporarily or
otherwise, in the communes where the assemblies are sitting.


1. The term 'liberte' is most often translated as 'freedom' or, depending upon a
context in which physical action is implied, 'liberty'.
2. Chapter 19 is a 'Dialogue sur Ia regime transitoire', in which a communist,
a reformer, a conservative and an 'lcarian' debate the introduction of the new
'communaute'. Dezamy's 'Communiste-Unitaire' refutes the lcarian's pro-
posed transitional period of fifty years, during which time property will be
respected. The communist proposal is unclear, but appears to involve the
immediate abolition of money and property and the immediate distribution of
196 Utopian Publicists

all wealth and goods from a centralised authority. To the contrary of Cabet's
charge, supra, Chapter 6, Dezamy specifically rules out the immediate destruc-
tion of cities, although this does seem to be a long-range policy.
3. Dezamy outlines how this will be accomplished in Ch. 3, 'Distributive and
Economic Laws'. See excerpt below.
4. This law and the 'Laws on the Union of Sexes', below, are the proposals
which Cabet found so destructive of communist propaganda, at pp. 85-6,
5. It is important to note that, far from despising and hating one another, in the
Community corporal separation will not at all lead to a rupture in relations
of esteem, friendship and fraternity. (T. D.)
6. Then this word Family will merely recover its original signification: it will be
a truth. Naturalists have never spoken of 'family' as the particular union of
two beings. It is to the entirety of each species that they have given, and still
give, this name. (T. D.).
7. This term defies exact translation. Perhaps the intended meaning is 'sequential'.
8. This article, as is the case with several of the Political Laws, is extremely
9. It is taken for granted that these divisions will in no way restrain the equality
of rights and the identity of interests. They have no other aim than contributing
to a more efficient execution of work projects and management of the com-
munity's economy. (T. D.).
Part V

Religious and Philosophical

18. Prosper Enfantin
Paris the son of a Jailed banker, had his education interrupted at the
Ecole polytechnique by military service in 1814. From 1815 to 1821
he travelled around Europe with his cousin as a wine merchant,
then he became employed by a bank and was sent to its branch in
St. Petersburg, Russia. There he joined an intellectual circle of
emigre Frenchmen who were studying the eighteenth century.
Enfantin concentrated on Bentham and the classical political econ-
omy of Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say. Returning to Paris in
1823, he met Saint-Simon after reading his Catechisme des indus-
triels (1823). Enfantin joined the organ of Saint-Simon's thought,
Le Producteur, then headed by Olindes Rodrigues. Saint-Simon
died in 1825, and the 'apostolic' phase of Saint-Simonianism began
in 1828. Enfantin played a leading role in shaping the master's
doctrine into a mystical religion aiming to lead mankind to a new
industrial order, but retained Saint-Simon's proposals to abolish all
rights of inheritance and redefine the rights of property while
socialising and centralising the means of production. By the end of
1829, the society distinguished between a 'college' of old members,
many of them polytechnicians, and working class initiates accorded
the 'degre des ouvriers'. Enfantin and Saint-Armand Bazard were
each given the title of Supreme Father. The selection below is from
this period, published only two days after the july Revolution. From
November 1831, Bazard and Enfantin came into conflict over
Enfantin 's proclamation of the prophetic role of women, his research
for 'the Mother', and the sexual licence surrounding this search in
the 'Family' home of the Society. The attempts to resolve this conflict
led to Bazard's resignation, soon followed by his death from a stroke.
The revelation of these events within the Family led to the resig-
nations of Leroux, Lechevalier and other leading members. Enfan-
tin 's leadership in the next several months became still more mystical,
bizarre and sexual; he declared himself the direct descendant of Saint

200 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

Paul. In April 1832, Enfantin and his remaining disciples estab-

lished a monastery, complete with habits, in Menilmontant on the
edge of Paris. With continued desertions, Enfantin decided in 1833
upon a mission to Egypt in search of the Mother and returned in
183 7, but by 1835 the society in Paris was virtually dispersed.

To Saint-Simonians Far
Away From Paris*
Dear Children,
Since you were so far away from that spectacle for which the
capital of the civilised world has served as a theatre and the veritable
personality of this brief [27 -9 July] revolution, we must teach you
the role our doctrine has played and the new hopes this revolution
imparts to us.

Dear Children, when this crisis began, the last consequence of

the French Revolution, we wrote to you that our intention was to
see you calm in the midst of this new disorder, the unmistakable
portent of a new order, the Saint-Simonian future. We told you to
be prepared to profit from this new and dazzling manifestation of
divine will, and keep yourselves ready, whatever the outcome of the
struggle, to develop the seeds of the future which will eventually
spring up. This was not a timid postponement we requested. We
knew, because we felt it ourselves, that it required a great act of
courage from you, to prevent you from uniting your efforts with
those of your ancient comrades in arms, and thereby being exposed
to their misunderstanding ...

All constitutions have up to the present time been transactions

*'Aux saint-simoniens e!oignes de Paris', L'Organisateur (1 Aug. 1830).
Prosper Enfantin 201

between classes which have never allowed the people to debate or

sign them. That is not the particular flaw of such constitutions,
because the people have never made their own laws. Not a single
constitution has ever aimed at the amelioration of the moral, physical
and intellectual conditions of the most numerous and poorest class.
Every one of them has been overthrown after a short period of time.
All of these charters, constantly torn down and reprinted with
corrections and additions, as you very well know, are powerless to
give us order and liberty. The day will come, however, when the
people, rebelling against their old masters, will be ready to accept
a Saint-Simonian regime directly, or at least to make ready for it
under the indirect influence of the doctrine. This day will come,
and we will be alerted to it, when we see, on the one hand, these
old leaders disconcerted - ready to quit the party, fearful, lacking
in will-power, incapable of inventing a new version of imprescrip-
tible rights, as they call them; and on the other hand, the people,
ready to abuse an emancipation whose purpose they do not under-
stand, if we do not then make our appearance.
No doubt we must believe that the great and final evolution
which Saint-Simon will work upon humanity shall come to pass.
It will take some time yet, through unconscious assimilation of our
own ideas of association. Doubtless our political role can only begin
when the doctrine has penetrated the superior classes of society and
their observance of it will be apparent to the eyes of the lower
classes. Thus the taking of power will occur all at once, high and
low, as it were. Nevertheless, the Saint-Simonians might well be
destined to appear earlier on the political scene, especially if society,
deprived of all its leaders and given over to chaos, abandons itself
to the ever bloody hands of anarchy.
The latter supposition seems less probable than the other, but it
is still possible. Therefore we must be prepared. We must do
everything to assure ourselves of realistic opportunities for success,
because we alone are capable, when the people truly seek their
leaders, and when their deputies, electors, bourgeoisie, journalists,
philosophers and landowners stay in the background, trembling.
We alone have faith in authority and command obedience. We alone
can discover the presently existing elements of order, uniting them
and making them productive, calling together everything which is
truly progressive. Because the Future is ours. We alone can thrust
off all that is used up and antiquated, reject the decrepit tools of a
202 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

useless struggle, and anticipate and calm any retrograde opposition.

Because we know the Past and have no fear of it.
That is why we have relied upon our schools and our studious
and enthusiastic youth, who are not yet aware that they will be
truly free only when the sources of science and of enthusiasm are
widespread among the people whom they must love, even more for
what they will accomplish one day than for the bravery and
humanity they have just displayed. This is why we were seeking
to discover, by mingling with the men who have triumphed - that
is, the workers - if the reign of idleness is finished or, in other
words, if the revolution has been completed.
Children, we have told you what we have done. Now here is
what we still have to do.
The saintly revolt which has just occurred does not deserve the
name of revolution. Nothing fundamental changed in the existing
social structure. Several names, some colours, the national emblem,
titles, a few legislative changes which will reduce the prerogatives
of the authorities more nearly to the role of a very benign adminis-
tration: such are the conquests of these days of sorrow and glory.
At the same time, for us, here is the most important outcome. There
is not a single generous soul, among your old comrades in arms or
among the liberals, whose constitutional faith is not shaken, at the
same time as his love for the people has increased from the glory
they have just won. Weakness, disunion, digressions, irrationality
and poverty of all sorts: nothing has been spared in their sounding
the still unseen depths. Let us profit from this happy state of affairs.
Let us generously show them the treasures of the future revealed
by Saint-Simon, completing their disillusionment. As we have done,
may they smash their idols, which together we have worshipped.
Let us, whom they call dreamers and accuse of returning to the past
because we left them in favour of the future, let us show them that
they alone are dreaming, that we are in touch with reality. Far
from abandoning this sacred cause to which they know we have
never feared to devote ourselves - more than ever friends of the
poor classes, friends of the people, certain of their happy destiny
- we make them ready, more surely than with their weapons and
constitutions, by our prophecies, at first incomprehensible but which
are today becoming perceptible even to the least elevated of minds
and the hardest of hearts.
Tell them that the entire past has just suffered its last defeat.
The fruits of the Revolution are finally bestowed upon us. The tools
Prosper Enfantin 203

we used to make war and bring it to completion are now in the

hands of the people, who appear to be transcendent over the military,
the jurists and the bourgeois and are finally worthy of having their
well-being directly considered.
Strengthened then, against the reactionary tendencies they have
fought for fifteen years, when only a wave of the hand or a breath
of air might have made them disappear, can [former Saint-Simonians
and the liberals] still reproach us for having abandoned an arena
in which no one was fighting on the side of the future? No, like
ourselves, they will let these few lawyers keep talking, and forever
debating an insoluble question which the people have resolved in
an instant, namely, the guarantees against an immoral, ignorant,
impotent power. They will consider, with us, a larger question.
Fatigued from this endlessly renewed war, they want to see at last
a living, intelligent and strong power raised up, on behalf of which
obedience and not insurrection would be the holiest of duties. The
noble ambition, have no doubt, will bring to us the men it is our
mission to enlighten for the first time, that is, those who, burning
to consecrate their life to improving the plight of their brothers, are
the only religious men, the only true priests of our age. Others, less
dedicated, more deeply engaged in present political movements,
casting their eyes less far in the future, nevertheless also need your
attentions. Saint-Simon must be placed at the threshold of their
minds to guide the sentiments thus brought to life. Through your
counsels, may the people ceaselessly and more actively than ever lay
claim to:
Complete freedom of worship, with no clergy receiving a salary
from the State;
Freedom of the press; the abolition of privileges for booksellers,
printers, and formidable copyrights which inhibit the dissemination
of ideas;
Freedom of education and the cancelling of university fees;
Destruction of commercial monopolies of all kinds, and complete
freedom of commerce and industry;
Abolition of article 291 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the
assembly of more than twenty persons, because this article on its
own is as potent as all the other legal arms of power;
Finally, the destruction of the hereditary peerage, that too evident
debris of feudalism and sole support which the privileged by birth
can still find today within our governmental institutions.
204 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

So much for those whose position gives them influence over the
liberal movement. But do not forget that here more than ever your
words must carry the Saint-Simonian imprint. All these freedoms,
as you know, will be sooner or later claimed and ardently solicited
by men who conscientiously believe they see means of order in them.
But for you they have no other effect than to render less painful,
dangerous and slow the inevitable dissolution toward which we
march with an accelerated speed that would be frightening if we
did not know that this disorder is the necessary condition of the new
social order. It would be still more frightening if we did not know
that its progress will increasingly enable progressively minded men
to detach themselves from the anarchic movement, and rally to the
new hierarchy.
Dear children, remind the liberals what they ought to do as
liberals, but take care that your voice not be confused with the cries
of demagogy. We demand at this moment freedom of religions so
that one single religion may more easily be built on all these ruins
of humanity's religious past. We want freedom of the press because
it is the indispensable condition for the next creation of a truly
legitimate direction of thought, that of morality and science. We lay
claim to freedom of education so that our doctrine may be propagated
more easily, with no obstructions, and be one day the sole affection,
followed and practised by all. We call most heartily for the destruc-
tion of commercial monopolies and every privileged corporation
remaining in existence, but only as a means of arriving at a final
organisation of the industrial body.
Such is our aim in favouring and even exciting the liberals'
demands. Proclaim it loudly, and do not fear that this avowal will
frighten them today, or that they will judge us as they did before
these three great days. Once they saw us as ultras, Jesuits, priests
of Thebes and Memphis, partisans of despotism. Today we are
more likely to be called elitists and demagogues. Yet we remain the
same. We knew well enough how we should appear now to their
frightened eyes. We knew that after having for so long excited
people to revolt, they would shrink back in terror at their deeds and
that, when they feared demagogy as much as they formerly dreaded
despotism, the Saint-Simonians would no longer appear to them to
be ambitious theocrats, but furious demagogues. Didn't one of our
dear sons tell them, when he cried: Glory to him who proclaims the
sole reign of God and the ever faithful happiness of the People! He
was the most human of theocrats, the most divine of democrats.
Prosper Enfantin 205

Children, and all who hear our voice, know that the Man-God
of the Christians has become, in Saint-Simon, the Man-People.
Under this divine name, at once one and many, the sovereigns of
the future, the popes of the new church will finally bring about this
sovereignty of the people - that impracticable dream for those who
see in the people only a leaderless multitude, but the very truth for
the Saint-Simonian pope, because the people are, in him, beloved,
wise and strong, marching as one man towards that future ordained
by God.
19. Pierre Leroux
PIERRE LEROUX (1797-1871) was born in Paris and educated
at th'} lycee Charlemagne and lycee de Renne. His hopes of attending
the Ecole polytechnique ended as a result of his father's death and
having to work, first in an exchange bank, which he detested, then
as a mason and finally as a typographer in his cousin's printing
shop. In 1824, he founded Le Globe, a thrice-weekly liberal literary
paper which eventually became known and respected throughout
Europe. In 1830, Le Globe, now a daily with a new staff of editors,
became the official organ of the Saint-Simon ian society, announcing
'No more impotent liberalism!' Leroux remained a Saint-Simonian
propagandist for a little over a year, then left the society to form the
Revue encyclopedique. His publishing efforts found new outlets in
Encyclopedie nouvelle (1836-43) and Revue independante
(1841-48) with George Sand, who proclaimed herself a devotee of
Leroux's philosophical religion of progress. The excerpt presented
here is from the earliest journal, and illustrates the inclination to
spiritualism in his social thought, which was scorned by some but
nevertheless extremely influential in the socialist movement even
after the decline of the Saint-Simonians. Leroux is credited with
having first used the term individualisme as a counter-distinction
to socialisme, and his voluminous writings provided wide currency
and philosophical strength to the socialist attack on liberal economic

Pierre Leroux 207

Of Philosophy and
The idea of society implies a priori and a posteriori the idea of
religion. Look at history and see what society meant in Greece and
Rome or medieval Christendom: society, in fact, wherever there was
society. Everywhere you will find a living unity, realised in politics,
science and art, which taken in its entirety is a religion.
Should you complain of being forced by logic to return to religion
and to broach such problems, then abandon politics altogether.
Everyone who concerned himself with politics on a grand scale
before you came along has addressed himself to what you do not
wish to confront ... You wish to ignore the social problem in its
full extent at the very time the final crisis threatens, when European
society, peacefully or in violent tremors, marches toward the real-
isation of that heralded and so inevitably necessary equality. All
questions have now been posed. The social order has lost every
foundation and point of support. The entire body of legislation must
be remade, and the point of departure for this new society, rather
than individualism, will be association! ...
It is a pity to hear it said that eighteenth-century philosophy
overthrew all religion. The philosophers of the eighteenth century,
in order to destroy Christianity - which had monopolised, in their
view, the name and idea of religion - were plainly forced to take
up another banner, attacking Christianity in the name of religion.
Most of the irreligious things they wrote merely applied to the
religion of the past. But what was the source of their genius,
enthusiasm and influence over people if they did not have the seeds
of a new religion of humanity in their hearts?
And their sons and successors, the revolutionaries, the men of the
Constituent Assembly and the Convention, those who formulated
the rights of man in the name of the Immortal Legislator, were
their souls, burning with the future, deprived of the germ of religion?
The Convention recognised the idea of society, rejected individu-
alism, and decreed that society's duty was to apply itself to the
*'De Ia philosophie et du christianisme', Revue encyclopedique, LV, no. 1 (Aug.
208 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

progress and perfection of public reason, that is, striving to frame

a religious unity ... The fragility of what the survivors of the
eighteenth century attempted to build 1 thus proves that the era had
only set forth a critique of the Christian-feudal order rather than
discovered solutions to a new religious and social order of the future.
But nothing more is proved. The time had not come. It was necessary
for politics, science and art to make new progress on the road to
destruction. Individualism had to be carried to its ultimate limits,
so that its fruits could be tasted. The rudiments of society needed
to be stripped completely naked, giving people a better sense of the
void. The philosophy of history, unknown in the eighteenth century,
had to begin. Even the natural sciences needed further development:
having drawn out the details, they could return their attention to
the great problems. It was necessary for the final defenders of
Christianity to appear, to give Christianity an ideal capable of
comprehending a social and religious unity. An epoch of poetry was
needed to paint the profound poverty of the moral anarchy in which
we live, reviving in the new generations the sentiment of God and
charity for other men. But it is no less true that the philosophy of
the eighteenth century had the seed of creativeness which the
nineteenth century must nurture. The eighteenth century saw its
idea of an encyclopedia miscarry, because it wanted to establish
things more on reason than sentiment, and because it did not
understand that the goal of the Encyclopedia 2 was the organisation
of social life. The nineteenth century now moves toward an ency-
clopedia filled with the sentiment of God and quickened by charity,
that is, toward genuine religion.
We take it as demonstrated in this essay that politics, on its own,
and detached from the framework of human knowledge, is not only
impotent but can easily become deadly; is necessarily blind and
directionless. Political writers who aspire to lead public opinion
should not, as they generally do today, abstract politics from all
other spheres of knowledge, to consider it as a thing apart, believing
that they have no interest in moral, scientific, historical and literary
questions. Nor should they disdainfully set aside the great word
religion. Such a manner of considering politics is a painful
narrow-mindedness, or rather it is a nonsense. The goal of politics
today is association, as the evidence plainly illustrates. Association
being susceptible of realisation to the extent that moral, scientific
and historical beliefs are definitively established, to neglect every-
thing called science or virtue as foreign to politics is to go directly
Pierre Leroux 209

against the aim of politics. It is to condemn oneself to impotency

... Finally, far from contemptuously rejecting religious questions
as unworthy of attention, they should know that religion and society
are synonyms, and that the aim of the eighteenth century and the
Revolution was to destroy the Christian-feudal order, and to sub-
stitute a new order, founded on liberty, equality and science.

It follows that politics, science and art are now all converging
toward the same end. Politics strives for association, which is only
realisable to the extent that art can excite minds in favour of this
goal and science can provide solutions in giving its foundation a
general certitude. Science and art, for their part, tend to furnish
politics with beliefs, that eternal cement out of which society is made
and without which it cannot exist. Our hearts thus afflicted with
the evils of our time, we nevertheless conceive a great hope, and we
have a presentiment of the moment when humanity will recover its
life by restoring its unity.
It is the same for society as it is for all creatures, all works of
human genius, all works of art and all machines. Life manifests
itself only in unity, and disappears when unity ceases. 'In Life',
said Hippocrates, 'everything works together and everything con-
sents.' This is the most profound definition ever given to life, and
it applies equally to collective or social life as it does to the organic
life of the individual. It is as true of that metaphysical creature,
society, as it is of the physiological creatures called animals. It is
true of this secondary creation given to man, whose masterpiece,
incontestably, is society, no less than divine creation, taken either
as a whole or in its details. It is true, in a word, whether you
consider a plant, an animal, a work of art, a machine, a society or
the universe.
Now there are epochs when unity reigns over the human under-
standing, and others when there are discord and anarchy. 3 In the
first case, there is society. In the second, there is a simple agglom-
eration of men and a painful crisis similar to those crises of the
body in which the principles of two different ages struggle in
confusion throughout the whole organism, putting its existence in
danger ...
What life does a member have when separated from its body,
having lost its relationship to the general life of the body? It will
only decay, become decomposed, finally passing, in its elements, into
210 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

a new body. These phenomena which we call death are yet phe-
nomena of life: death is a pure conception of the mind, it does not
exist! And in the same way, separated and having lost the ties
which constitute the social body, what is the life of politics, art,
science and industry?
Industry produces wealth, but wealth badly distributed engenders
every kind of vice and misery. Science amasses an immense erudition
in facts, and uncovers important truths. But absorbed in details and
deprived of a view of the whole, science becomes the blindest of the
blind; without charity it produces every kind of doubt and moral
impoverishment. Art, that is to say feeling, seeing nothing in its
presence but this decomposition of the social body, succumbs to
gloom and atheism, or returns to conceptions of the past, producing
a multitude of monsters similar to those in the nightmares of the
sick who are consumed by fever in a terrible crisis which may
eventually save them.
As for politics, it is obviously worthless, since its function is to
preside over that nonexistent unity and establish in living reality
those mutual ties and cooperation which are no longer present. In
such times, for men who are still called governors, but who have no
feeling for the restoration of society, politics is therefore reduced to
any old kind of egoistic agitation directed to no other purpose than
personal interest and vanity. Nevertheless, however much politics
is veritably empty and completely exhausted, to such an extent that
its essence is negated and its meaning totally obscured, it turns out
that every pain experienced by society almost exclusively turns one's
attention to politics. What is astonishing, but in the circumstances
unavoidable, is that never are people so much occupied with politics
as when politics has become meaningless.
This deathly but life-engendering ferment, this restless and
sombre agitation which occurs in these haggard and insensate times,
especially in the spheres of art and political thought, can mislead
anyone who fails to look beyond his nose, but rather sees things
close at hand as all of life, this era identical to those in the past. But
he who looks with a keen eye will see that this ferment is no less
than the death of the social body, knowing at the same time that
these phenomena are necessary for the formation of the new unity.
It is repeated daily that societies do not die, or at least do so no
longer, in contrast to the small states of antiquity. One could as
well say that nothing dies, since indeed the elements do not die.
Certainly each generation is not extinguished without reproducing
Pierre Leroux 211

itself. The error comes from not considering what one means by
society. Society is not simply so many men, so many individuals
who comprise a people. Society is the general relation of these
people amongst themselves. Society is that metaphysical being, that
harmonious unity formed by science, art and politics. And although
certainly society in this sense has its source in God and rests upon
God, nevertheless society is not a pure abstraction. In the periods
when that general relation of which we spoke does exist, there are
some men, actually a great number of minds, who understand this
relationship and who are, so to speak, the representatives of the
social idea. Not only are there men who especially represent this
idea, but one might say that through them, and society's very
existence, the spirit of society passes down to all people. If we look
at history, we should find a multitude of social geniuses, in all ages,
who embody and who, as it were, sum up in themselves the social
idea. They understand better than all the others the relation between
politics, science and art, and the mutual rapport between every part
of the social body.
Now, to return and complete our thought: it is this social being,
formed, as we were saying earlier, out of the harmony of politics,
science and art, it is this creature which dies. Then all that was a
function of life - all that contributed and consented - becomes a
function of decomposition and death.
Thus a lovely animal, the masterpiece of creation: it walks, leaps
and climbs tall mountains; it breathes, feels, has a memory, loves
and engenders new life. Consider it now under the scalpel of the
anatomist: there are its heart and arteries, but they no longer throb;
its nerves, muscles and bones, but there is no longer any movement
or life. In place of that unitary life in the ensemble, a life of
decomposition - a life of death, so to speak - has commenced
everywhere. Its unity of being is destroyed. 5


1. This is apparently a reference to the post-Revolutionary attempt to found a

Republic based on the revolutionary ideals, only to be followed by the
Napoleonic Empire and the Restoration.
2. L'Encyclopedie, largely edited by Diderot and d'Alembert, was the archetypal
effort of the French Enlightenment, an attempt to publish a compendium of
the whole of human knowledge. Rousseau, Voltaire, and all the leading literary
and scientific figures of the period contributed to the 35-volume work.
212 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

3. This sentence indicates how the idea of historical stages alternating between
order (intellectual consensus) and disorder (analytical criticism and dissent)
was broadly accepted, conceived within a larger progression of spiritual and
social evolution. This idea was expounded upon by Saint-Simon, Comte and
Fourier, and had become an accepted view for socialists.
4. Leroux was condemned by later socialists for his idealism and spiritual
mysticism, and yet this argument is a complete adoption of Epicurus's atomist
and materialist account of death.
5. This passage is an excellent example of how the organic metaphor of social
life, traditionally used as a conservative defence of hierarchical society, can be
used to mount a radical criticism of the established order. The organic
metaphor, as expressed here, also illustrates a coincidence between literary
romanticism and early French socialism with respect to the nature of gener-
ational evolution and the priority of communal over individual values.
20. Alphonse Esquiros
ALPHONSE ESQUIROS (1812-76), born in Paris, was initially
known for his poetry ,and novels (1834-40). His first radical
democratic writing, L'Evangile du peuple (1840), excerpted here,
written in the form of a biblical gospel, earned him eight months in
prison and a fine of Frs 500 as 'an offense to religion and public
morality'. In this work, Christ is portrayed as the first sans-culotte
revolutionary. In 1848, Esquiros collaborated on four evanescent
radical newspapers, and his sympathies with the insurgents led to
his move to Marseille in june, where he continued to publish on
behalf of workers' rights. In 1850, he was twice elected to the
National Assembly (the first election of six Montagnard candidates
was invalidated), and his strong polling impressed him as 'the sign
of populations ripe for socialism'. After Louis-Napoleon's coup in
1851, Esquiros went to England in exile, where he remained until

The Gospel of the People*

People, this book is for you!
Heads bowed to your labour and suffering from hunger, desti-
tution and oppression, the Gospel of the God-man who was born
in a stable and died on a cross is for you!
For ages, men accustomed to keeping you under the yoke inter-
preted the book of the Liberator for their use and according to their
*L'Evangile du peuple (Paris, 1840).

214 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

interests. Today we bring it to you in spirit and letter in all its

forceful simplicity. Take and read.

The proof that the doctrine of Jesus Christ was completely

democratic is that only the people, especially the common people,
were receptive to it.
'Was there anyone among the elders or Pharisees who believed
in him?' said the authorities to the guards sent to arrest Jesus.
'Because everyone knows that the sort of people who listen to him
are the accursed of God.'
Indeed, who were those who followed Jesus? Fishermen on the
sea of Galilee, workmen, the poor, a whole multitude of starving
people without bread or money to whom the Saviour himself said:
'Not because of my miracles do you seek me, but because you have
eaten of my bread and have been satisfied.' There were also lunatics,
the sick and demented, the afflicted whom Jesus Christ healed of
all their languors. He associated in public with tax collectors, men
of bad reputation, sinners, the debauched, the drunken and people
of notorious ill repute.

Now Jesus, the Gospel tells us, went to Matthew's home, where
several tax collectors and sinners came to eat with him and his
disciples. The Pharisees being advised of this said to his disciples:
'Why does your master eat with publicans anQ. sinners?' Jesus
replied: 'I have not come to preach to the just, but to the sinner.
Because I have come to save those who have perished.' Before Christ
came, a great portion of humanity were indeed dead. The slave, the
poor, the publican and the prostitute had nothing from life but its
miseries and affronts. They had perished with all the others in
esteem, fortune, honour - to all that, in a word, makes life worth
living. One might say that a great majority of society did not exist,
had perished. The poor and the prostitute are still with us in this
state of civil death and decay.
Now Jesus Christ has come to resurrect those who were dead
and call forth the sinners, the banished and anathematised to enter
into communion with the righteous. It is for this reason that he
drew to his following that whole family of cripples, beggars,
profligates, lepers and publicans. He wanted this whole band of
Alphonse Esquiros 215

followers to enter into the new kingdom.

Indeed, nothing could be more scandalous to the ears of the rich

than Christ's teaching. That is why they never failed, on hearing
him, to have a curse on their lips or a stone in their hands.
The Gospel tells us, however2. that several even amongst the
leading Jews believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees, they
would not confess it for fear of being driven from the synagogue.
They had a greater love for the glory of men than the Glory of God.
From which it follows that they were ashamed, in the eyes of the
Jews, to declare themselves for this champion of the rabble who
intended to destroy the prerogatives of the high and mighty.
Who, then, did confess Jesus Christ openly? A beggar in the
streets, a poor blind man whose eyes the Saviour opened, a J ewess
named Magdalene who had sold her body, a debauched Samaritan,
lepers, those possessed by demons, the infirm, the poor, vagabonds:
in a word all those who suffered and were rejected by the old world
like the old woman at the well, waiting with an anguished heart.
'When the Christ comes', they said, 'he will restore all things.'
And Jesus replied, 'He is come!' The kingdom of which Jesus
Christ spoke is not for the rich, because property will no longer be
allowed. We have already recounted the story of the rich man who
wanted to follow Jesus, and who departed in sadness because the
Saviour told him to sell his possessions and give the money to the
Several men, in our day, impelled by the voice of conscience,
approach revolutions in this manner, but soon retire, sad and
intimidated because of their wealth. 'It is harder', Christ said in
this regard, 'for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.' 1
The kingdom of which Jesus Christ speaks is not for the great,
because pride and ancient distinctions of rank will not be accepted.
Those who are now first in rank will then become the last of all.
This kingdom is not for the scribes, doctors and priests, who want
to impose their opinions on the multitude, because slavery of the
mind will be abolished. 'If your justice', Christ says, 'is not greater
than that of these scribes and doctors of law, you will not enter into
the kingdom of God.'
Who then will enter first into this kingdom, into this social
promised land which Jesus came to announce to the world? They
216 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

will be the sinners, the publicans, the poor, the women of ill repute:
all those men and women who have traversed the arid desert of our
society these many centuries, in toil and with sweat on their brows.

Jesus did not hide from his disciples that the struggle against the
ancient society would be long and laborious ... Jesus declared that
men will only develop a taste slowly and bit by bit for the revolu-
tionary principles of the Gospel. 'Hewho drinks old wine will not
soon ask for the new', he tells us, 'because the old is better.'
Building the new society is like a new house built on sand. Often
the waves will come in from the sea, the winds will blow and carry
away the walls. Because they were built on sand. We have already
tried, indeed, to found a just and humane society, but the waves of
foreign armies have come, the great winds of despotism have blown,
and they have carried away the work of our fathers. The same will
happen until the new society is founded on rock, that is, on the
opinion and belief of the people. Then the great north winds will
come and the waves will rise up, but they will not overturn it.
Not only will the struggle against the ancient constitution of the
world be long, it will be terrible ... 2

Jesus Christ consecrates that holy and fraternal unity through

the palpable sign of the communion. He has vowed that all men
partake of the same bread and drink the same wine, that they may
all be of one blood and one flesh. It is in this human oneness that
life exists, in this mutual communion that fertility abounds: 'He
who eateth my flesh', says Jesus, 'hath eternal life .. .' Jesus was
... the figure incarnate of human unity. In exhorting us to partake
of him and live in him, he requires us to nourish ourselves upon
and live in humanity. And as human unity is the link between man
and God, it follows that, being united together, we join together in
society with the 'Father'. Partaking of the same bread, we all
partake of the same God ...
'Eat, this is my body', Christ tells us while breaking the bread,
that is, the body of humanity. 'Drink, this is my blood', Christ tells
us while pouring the wine, that is, the blood of humanity ... To
commune with humanity is to commune with Christ, and to com-
mune with Christ is to commune with God ...
Alphonse Esquiros 217

'I am the bread of life', said Jesus. 'If anyone eat of this loaf he
will have eternal life, and the bread which I give is my flesh for the
freedom of the world.' Now, though this speech was repulsive to
those who were listening, Jesus stood firm and persistent, saying,
'In truth, in truth, I repeat that if you do not eat of the flesh of the
Son of Man, and do not drink his blood, you will have no life in you
... He who partakes of my flesh and drinks of my blood dwells
within me, and I in him.'
... This law of humanitarian anthropophagy by which we drink
the blood and eat the flesh of one another, such that we assimilate
ourselves one to another as bodily nourishment, and live with
another ... is in effect the transcendent side and the last word of
socialist Christianity.

Unity leads, by a gentle but inevitable incline, to community. All

men are one, and must reach out and join together, to live together,
eating the same bread and drinking the same wine. As community
property follows naturally from the act of marriage, so the sharing
in the same privileges should follow the great wedding of humanity.

'Seek first', Jesus says, 'the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all the things of life shall be given to you in abundance.' In
effect he promises us, in this new society, the vigilant administration
of a just and liberal father who distributes each according to his
needs3 and shines like the sun equally upon all men.
A society in which there are members who suffer from hunger,
thirst and the cold is not a Christian society, because Jesus willed
that drink, food and clothing be common to all like the air and light
of the heavens.

Property being no longer immobilized by a few men who bury

it in the earth, 4 where the rust and the worms will devour it, it will
spread out to all and multiply by circulation. Then riches will shine
down upon all men. Then usury, and its counterparts, personal
fortune and the hoarding of gold, will disappear from the family
and the citizenry. In that day the stock exchange and the bank will
be demolished, because the kingdom of God forbids temples to
Mammon. The words of Christ are clear: 'No man may serve two
218 Religiouo and Philosophical Socialists

masters. He will either hate the one and love the other, or he will
honour the one and despise the other.' You cannot serve God and
money! You cannot be at once Christians and landowners.

Fraternity flows still more naturally from the sacred law of unity.
'You have only one father', says Christ; 'you are all brothers!' The
people of Christ will look around and say of all neighbouring
peoples and all bordering nations, 'These are my sisters and broth-
ers!' All men are brothers because they are all children of God.
Let us not degrade ourselves in the doctrines of a disgusting
materialism which reduces all men to an abject brotherhood, like
all pigs of the same litter. We should remember that, though we
freely oppress swine because they are swine, herding them with a
stick, we do not lightly take on the gods, because, being gods, they
are armed with thunderbolts. This is why Christ named us all, in
James and John, children of thunder. 5

Revolutionaries, children of God, my brothers, you who are

humiliated, outraged, despoiled and cast into prison with prostitutes
and criminals. You who are called into court as malefactors, ... in
the name of Jesus Christ, my master, I bring good news to you on
his behalf: 'You are the salt of the earth! ... You are the light of
the world!' Do not put your light under a bushel, but on a
candlestick, so that it might light up the eyes of men. Do not allow
yourselves to be extinguished or suffocated by the repression of
governments. Shine your candlestick despite them, and in defiance
of them all ... Be firm and tenacious, because in the end victory
will dwell by your side. And above all hear the counsel the great
agitator, Jesus, has told me to communicate to you: Seek out the
lost sheep of the nation; everywhere you go, preach that the new
society is near. Restore health to the sick at heart, revive the
martyred citizens, heal those who are in moral decay, chase out the
spirit of servitude. As you have freely received, freely give.
Possess neither gold nor silver; carry no money in your belt. Your
poverty protests against the abuses of property. When you take to
the road, take neither bag, overcoat, shoes nor staff, because he who
travels deserves to be cared for. You are more likely to be aided by
your brothers than by the State.
In whatever town or village you visit, inquire if there is someone
Alphonse Esquiros 219

who is worthy of receiving and accommodating you during your

stay. Entering his house, greet him by saying, May there be peace
in this home! ...
I send you as a lamb to the wolves, because you have no other
weapons than the word and the truth, while you will be treating
with men who are armed and strong. So be prudent as a serpent
and simple as a dove. Avoid those who will deliver you up to judges
and take you before authorities. When they prosecute you in one
city, flee to the next. I promise you, in truth, that the people's
deliverance will come before you have visited all the cities of the
realm ...
Proclaim to all who will listen what you have learned in the
shadows, and preach to the house tops what the Gospel has confided
to your ears. Have no fear of them who may put you to death. Such
people can only kill your body, but they have no power over your
soul. The spirit remains to entreat, protest, and cry out for revenge!
Fear most of all that spirit of servitude which can kill the mind and
the body, casting them both into the hell of ignorance and
This I sincerely believe, is the counsel of Christ, which he gave
to the apostles. Those first revolutionaries commenced, with prop-
aganda and sermons, a great mission of deliverance which we are
called to complete. Let us therefore do as they did, setting out
barefoot, without staff or money, as missionaries of liberty. Let us
proclaim to the people, in speech, the printed word, and deed, that
the great day is near, and we must make ourselves ready. It will
shine forth suddenly, like the day, it will come at the moment one
least expects it, like a thief.


1. Here Esquiros misquotes Matthew 19: 24, 'It is easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle .... '
2. The passage continues with a loose paraphrase of Mark 13: 7-23, which
warns of 'wars and rumours of war ... For nation shall rise against nation
. . . these are the beginnings of sorrows ... '
3. Emphasis in original.
4. An allusion to the parable of the servant who buried his talents in the earth,
Matthew 25: 14-30.
5. The reference here is unclear, but the contrast between pigs and gods is an
analogy in which the violent implications are only barely veiled. The passage
is also a critical reply to materialist socialism.
21. Alphonse Louis
ALPHONSE LOUIS CONSTANT (born c. 1820), of whom little
is known, was from a working class family and served as a deacon
in the Diocese of Paris before leaving the Church. He became an
adherent of theosophy and published theosophical works under the
name of Eliaphas Levi. La Bible de la liberte (1841), excerpted
here, illustrates a youthful conversion to communist views reconciled
with his religious perspective. His work, The Voice of Famine
(1846), led to his having to answer charges in court for 'exciting
hatred and distrust of the King's government, seeking to break the
peace by exciting hatred between different classes in society and
exciting hatred toward one class of people'. The closing passage from
Constant's Bible of Liberty reflects the romantic tone and Gallic
character of his thought: 'France is no longer a Nation, but a great
national idea; no longer a people, but a glory; no longer a republic,
but the freedom of the world; no longer a patch of ground, but the
future of the entire universe ... To say France is to say freedom,
and this name will one day apply to all of humanity.'

The Bible of Liberty*

The Martyrs

Martyrs are men of intelligence and love who protest, unto death,
*La Bible de la liberte (Paris, 1841 ).

Alphonse Louis Constant 221

against the brutal tyranny of ordinary men. They are the sublime
protestors who disobey men in order to obey God.
It was Christ who preached a new law and perished for sedition
and blasphemy. It was the apostles who preached the resurrected
Christ, in spite of the high priests, who accused the synagogue of
deicide, insulted Caesar's gods, and died like the worst criminals.
The recluses in the desert were the ones who protested, by their
extraordinary austerity, against the indolent luxury nourishing
worldly egoism.
Many of these servants of God were mad in the eyes of the world,
because God's wisdom, overwhelming them with too much vehem-
ence, had shattered their reason. Such a one was St. Francis of
Assisi, who became a beggar and placed his alms on the altar as a
divine reproach to the evil rich. Such were and still are so many
martyrs to charity who happily go to breathe the infected air of
hospitals and prisons, condemning, by their life and their death, the
severity of the world in human suffering. Such as these are comforted,
in death, by the angels of peace. But contemptuous love also has its
angels of anger, and the unjust laws of the world arouse in nature
and in oppressed righteousness those terrible protestations which
the world calls crimes.
The man to whom egotistical and murderous society refuses the
bread which will nourish him as others are nourished, repulsed in
all his attempts to be seated at God's great banquet, is outraged in
his heart, and says to those who reject him: You are assassins! But,
he says, I have as much right as you to live, and if I can defend
myself against you, I will not die! You assault me with hunger: I
will take up less cowardly and less cruel arms, and I will save my
life with a dagger! ... and he eats a crust of bread stained with
blood, that others would have him pay for with his head. Another
slips furtively through the shadows, and amidst a thousand dangers,
he rips from the stingy hands of the rich a little of that gold which
opens and closes men's hearts like a key. Then he goes out and,
with a blush, buys the bread which society owes him. If he is
discovered, his live body is chained and he is worked to death like
a discarded animal. Meanwhile his wife and daughter are aban-
doned, and to live, they sell their bodies into debauchery.
Do you believe God will not bring justice to these abominations?
Would you say that, after such a life, hell will be the reward for
these unfortunates, whose blood is drunk and flesh is eaten by an
evil society? I tell you that they will be the judges of this world, and
222 Religious and Philosophical Socialists

they will condemn it. Their souls cry out for revenge before the
altar of God, but their God tells them to wait yet a while, until the
cup of blood is full. To console them, he gives them each a robe,
white as innocence.
So I tell you in all truth that those whom you call criminals are
the martyrs of a living God! Their actions have been culpable, it is
true, but it is you who have committed them with their hands. And
you dare to judge them! And you ceremonially assassinate them for
the sake of justice and a good example!


If a rich man asks me: Does this religion of the spirit which you
preach absolve brigands and thieves? I reply, No, it condemns you.
And this is why I beseech you, in the name of this religion, to return
to the poor the bread which you and your fathers have stolen from
them. Nothing on this earth belongs to this man or that man.
Everything belongs to God, that is to say, to us all. The spirit of
usurpation is the spirit of murder, the cause of the very first
What, because you have piled up stones around the countryside,
you alone may reap the fruits while I die of hunger at the foot of
your walls! But if I wish to heap up still more stones around your
enclosure, and say it is now mine, who is to prevent me? Nothing
but the sword of thieves and murders such as you, who have banded
together to keep peace while enjoying your plunder. And if, seeking
to defend myself against you, I am weaker, you will call me a robber
and murderer! In just such a way the strong have partitioned the
earth, while the weak die of starvation, homeless. But if the weak
unite and struggle courageously, they will be strong.
Christ protested against property with spiritual power. He hadn't
a stone to rest his head on. He died between two thieves. But his
last sigh convulsed the world. Christ's disciples voluntarily divested
themselves of everything to protest property, and their austere and
languishing life was a sublime cry, demanding justice to the high
heavens. So, if through love of God and men one might give up even
the necessities of life, how should those be judged who fatten
themselves on the blood of their brothers.
Everyone who has understood the law of Christ has sought the
realisation of his singular idea: community ... And the usurpers
... have laughed, drunk and eaten. God has withdrawn from them
Alphonse Louis Constant 223
in disgust. This is why, after loving protests, there must be protes-
tations of anger. They ignored the angels of peace; may they now
tremble before the angels of extermination! You poor and starving,
how many are there of you, and how many are they? Your life is
a slow and shameful death. Exchange it for a swift and glorious
death, or the victory that may be won. That is the cry of the angel
of destruction.
As for me, I weep and cover my head with ashes, and cry out to
God and the people: Grace! And they answer me: There is no more
Stop, honest people, fattened upon the rapine you imagine to be
virtuous. Stop, you hypocrites, who divide the spoils like thieves
while preaching resignation to those who are pillaged. Allow God's
justice to enter in. Because I say to you, in truth, those whom you
kill are not murderers, they are executioners of a higher justice
... Since you are no longer men, we will chase you like ferocious
beasts. If you managed to devour our fathers, perhaps you will not
devour our children. This is what the people cry with the voice of
a hurricane. And I hide my face in my tattered clothing, and I
shudder at the odour of fire and blood.
(Place of publication is Paris unless otherwise noted.)

Primary Works
I. Selected Works of Authors in Translation

BLANQUI, Louis-Auguste
Defense du citoyen Blanqui devant Lacour d'assises (1832)
Propagande democratique (n.d.)
Reponse du citoyen Auguste Blanqui (1848)
La Patrie en danger ( 1871)
Critique,sociale, 2 vols (1885)
CABET, Etienne
Histoire populaire de La Revolutionfrancaise, 1789 a 1830, 4 vols (1839-40)
Le Populaire (1841-51)
Mon Credo communiste (1824?)
Voyage en lcarie, rev edn (1842)
Propagande communiste ou Questions a discuter eta soutenir ou a ecarter (Sept.
Proc'i!s du communisme a Toulouse (Sept. 1843)
La Femme, son malheureux sort dans Ia societe actuelle, son bonheur dans La
communaute (1844)
Le Cataclysme social, ou Conjurons Ia tempete (May 1845)
L'Ouvrier, ses miseres actuelles, leur cause et leur remede (1845)
Le Vrai Christianisme suivant jesus-Christ (1846)
Realisation de la communaute d'lcarie (1847)
A Bas les communistes! (1848?)
Dejense,du citoyen Cabet, accuse d'escroquerie (1850)
La Phalanstere Oune 1832-Feb. 1834)
La Phalange (July 1836-Dec. 1849)
Democratie pacifique (Aug. 1843-Nov. 1850)
Books and Pamphlets:
Destinees sociales, 3 vols (1834-44)
Debacle de Ia politique en France (1836)
Description du phalanstere et considerations sociales sur l'architectonique (1848)
Exposition du systeme phalansterien de Fourier (1845)

Bibliography 225
Principles du socialisme, Manifeste de la democratie au XIX siecle (1847)
Theorie du droit du propriete et du droit au travail (1848)
Le Socialisme devant le vieux monde, ou le vivant devant les morts (1848)
Messieurs Considerant et Proudhon juges par eux-memes, 'Pour en finir avec
M. Proudhon' (1849)
CONSTANT, Alphonse
La Bible de la liberte ( 1841)
Doctrines religieuses et sociales ( 1841)
La Voix de !a famine (1846)
Le Deuil de la Pologne, protestation de la democratie franc;aise et du socialisme
universe!, with F. Lamennais (1847)
La Marseillaise du peuple (Feb. 1848)
Le Tribun du peuple, organe des travailleurs (16-26 March 1848)
Le Testament de la liberte (1848)
DEZAMY, Theodore
Question proposee par l'Academie des sciences morales et politique. Les nations
avancent plus en connaissances ou lumieres qu'en morale pratique.
Rechercher la cause de cette difference dans leur progres et indiquer le remede
Consequences de l'embastillement et de la paix a tout prix. Depopulation de la
capita/e. Trahison du pouvoir (1840)
L'Egalitaire, Journal de !'organisation sociale (May-June 1840)
M. Lamennais refute par lui-meme (1841)
Code de la communaute (1842)
Dialogue sur la reforme electorale, entre un communiste, un reformiste, un
doctrinaire, un legitimiste (1842)
Almanach de la communaute (1843), par divers ecrivains communistes (1842)
[Anonymous] Examen critique des huit discours sur le catholicisme et la philo-
sophie ... par !'Abbe Lacordaire (1845)
Organisation de la liberte et du bien-etre universe! ( 1846)
ENF ANTIN, Prosper
Saint-Simonian Journals:
Le Producteur (1 Oct. 1825-12 Dec. 1826)
L 'Organisateur ( 15 Aug. 1829-1831)
Le Globe (11 Nov. 1830-1832)
Books and Collected Works:
Exposition de la doctrine saint-simonienne, 2 vols ( 1830)
Economie et politique ( 1831)
Oeuvres de Saint-Simon et d'Enfantin, Arthur Enfantin (ed.), 47 vols (1865-74)
ESQUIROS, Alphonse
L'Evangile du peuple (1840)
Chants d'un prisonnier (1841)
Histoire des montagnards, 2 vols (1847)
De Droit au travail. De son organisation par la reforme des institutions de credit
( 1849)
De la Vie future au point de vue socialiste (1860)
Petit catechisme de la reforme sociale (1839)
226 Bibliography

Reponse philosophique a un article sur le babouvisme, publie par M. Thore

dans le Journal du peuple (Nov. 1839)
De la loi sociale (1841)
La Fraternite (1841-3)
La Reforme industrielle, ou La Phalanstere (co-ed. with V. Considerant),
'Prospectus servant d'introduction', I (] une 1832), p. 1, and numerous other
articles 1832-4.
Le~ons sur l'art d'associer (1832)
L'Europe litteraire (co-ed.), (Mar.-Dec. 1833)
Revue du progres social, recueil mensuel, politique, philosophie et litteraire
(Jan.-Dec. 1834)
LEROUX, Pierre
Le Globe (ed.), (15 Aug. 1830-13 Sept. 1831)
Revue encyclopedique nouvelle, 8 vols (ed. with]. Reynaud,) (1834-41)
Revue independante (ed. with George Sand and L. Viardot), (1841-2)
Revue sociale (ed.), (1845-50)
Books and Articles:
'Religion. Aux Philosophes. De la poesie de notre epoque.' Rev. encyc., (Sept.,
Nov. and Dec. 1831)
'De Ia philosophie et du Christianisme', Rev. encyc., (Aug. 1832)
'Du progres legislatif', Rev. encyc. (Nov. 1832)
'Cours d'economie politique fait a I'Athenee de Marseille par M. Jules Leroux'
[sic], Rev. encyc. (no. 60, Oct. 1833, actually published mid-1834); reprinted
as 'De Ia recherche des biens materiels, ou de l'individualisme et du socialisme',
Rev. soc. (Nov. 1845)
'Aux Philosophes', Rev. ind. (1 Nov. 1841)
Discours sur la situation actuelle de la societe et de ['esprit humain, 2 vols (1841)
'Aux Politiques. De Ia politique sociale et religieuse qui convient a notre epoque',
Rev. ind. (]an.-July 1842), a major revision of his Aug. 1832 article in Rev.
'De Ia Ploutocratie', Rev. ind. (Sept.-Oct. 1842), repub. as De la Ploutcratie,
ou du gouvernement des riches (1848)
Projet d'une constitution democratique et sociale, jon dee ~ur la loi meme de la
vie, et donnant, par une organisation veritable de l'Etat, la possibilite de
detruire ajamais la Monarchie, l'Anarchie, et le moyen infaillible d'organiser
le Travail National sans blesser la liberte, 'Prt!sente a I' Assemblee nationale
par un de ses membres, le citoyen P. Leroux' (1848)
'Qu'est-ce que le gouvernement? Qu'est-ce que Dieu?' La vrai Republique (11
Nov. 1849)
Union socialiste. Acte de societe, with L. Blanc and E. Cabet, 10 May 1852
(London, 1852)
Oeuvres de Pierre Leroux (7825-7850), 2 vols (1850-1) and 1 vol. (Geneva:
Slatkine Reprints, 1978)
PECQUEUR, Constantin
'La Centralisation', Le Globe (21 July 1831)
Economie sociale: Des interets du commerce, de l'industrie et de !'agriculture
sous l'injiuence des applications de la vapeur, 2 vols (1837)
Bibliography 227
Des ameliorations materielles dans leur rapports avec la liberte (1839)
Appel aux 240,000 (1840)
De la paix, de son principe et de sa realisation (1842)
Des armees dans leur rapports avec l'individu, la morale et la liberte (1842)
Theorie nouvelle d'economie sociale et politique ou etude sur ['organisation ( 1842)
De la Republique de Dieu (1844)
'Statistique de Ia misere', L'Avenir (23 and 30 Jan. 1845)
'Perpetuite de Ia misere sous !'influence du monopole actuel des instruments de
travail', L'Avenir (27 Feb. 1845)
'Le Libre echange', Revue independante (10 Nov. 1846)
PILLOT, Jean-Jacques
La Tribune du peuple (1839) ,
Ni Chateaux ni chaumieres, ou Etat de la question sociale en 1840 (1840)
Histoire des egaux, ou Moyens d'etablir l'egalite absolue parmi les hommes
La Communaute n'est plus une utopie! Consequence du proces des communistes
SISMONDI, J. C. L. Simonde de
Les nouveaux principes d'economie politique, ou la richesse dans sa rapport avec
la population (1819)
'De Ia richesse territoriale', Revue mensuelle d'economie politique (Feb. 1834)
Political Economy and the Philosophy of Government (London, 1847), reprinted
(New York, 1966)
Peregrinations d'une paria (1833-1834) (1838)
Memphis ou le proletaire, 'roman philosophique et social' (1838)
Promenades dans Londres (1840)
Union ouvriere (1843, reprinted 1967)
Le Tour de France: Etat actuel de la classe ouvriere sous ['aspect moral,
intellectuel, materiel. Journal inedit, 1843-4, M. Collinet and J. L. Puech
(eds) (1973)
'Aux Travailleux', La Ruche populaire (Jan. 1840)
L'Union. Bulletin des ouvriers redige et publie par eux-memes (1843)

II. Seminal Works

BABEUF, Francais-Noel (Gracchus)

Nouveau calendrier de la Republique francaise, conforme au decret de Ia
Convention nationale (1793)
'Manifeste des plebeiens', Tribun du peuple (30 Nov. 1795)
journal de Ia liberte de Ia presse, nos. 1-22 (1795-6)
Philippe Buonarroti, Conspiration pour l'egalite, dite de Babeuf(Brusse!s, 1828),
and 2 vols G. Lefebvre (ed.) (1957)
Sylvain Marechal, Manifeste des egaux (1795)
COMTE, Auguste
'Considerations philosophique sur les sciences et les savants', (Nov. 1825),
Opuscules de philosophie sociale 1819- 1828 ( 1883)
228 Bibliography

Cours de philosophie positive (1830)

Rapport aIa Societe positiviste, par Ia commission charge d'examiner Ia question
du travail (1848)
Calendrier positiviste (1849)
Bibliotheque du proletaire au dix-neuvieme siecle (1851)
Catechisme positiviste (1852)
FOURIER, Charles
Theorie des quatre mouvements et des destinees generales (Lyon, 1808)
Traite de /'association domestique et agricole (1822)
Le Nouveau monde industriel et societaire, ou Invention du procede d'industrie
attrayante et naturelle distribuee en series passionnees (1829)
Pieges et charlatanisme des deux sectes de Saint-Simon et d'Owen, qui promettent
/'association et le progres (1831)
Oeuvres completes de Charles Fourier, 2nd edn, 6 vols (1841-5)
LAMENNAIS, Felicite Robert de
Paroles d'un croyant, 1833 (1834)
Le Livre du peuple (1838)
De l'esclavage moderne (1839)
Du passe et de l'avenir du peuple (1841)
L'lndividualisme et le communisme, 'par les citoyens Lefuel, Lamennais, Duval,
Lamartine et Cabet' (1848)
PROUDHON, Pierre-Joseph
Qu'est-ce que Ia propriete? (1840)
De Ia creation de l'ordre dans l'humanite, ou Principes d'organisation politique
Systeme des contradictions economiques, ou Philosophie de Ia misere ( 1846)
Organisation du credit et de Ia circulation, et solution du probleme social sans
impot, sans emprunt (1848)
SAINT-SIMON, Claude-Henri de
Lettres d'un habitant de Geneve a ses contemporains (Geneva, 1803)
De Ia reorganisation de Ia societe europeenne, ou De Ia necessite de rassembler
les peuples de /'Europe en un seul corps politique, en conservant a chacun
son independance nationale ( 1814)
Vues sur Ia propriete et Ia legislation ( 1818)
L'Organisateur, nos. I-II (1819-20)
Du systeme industriel, parts I and II ( 1821)
Catechisme politique des industriels (1824)
Nouveau christianisme, dialogues entre un conservateur et un novateur (post-
humous, 1825)

III. Other Primary Works

Louis Blanc, Organisation du travail (1839)

Adolphe Boyer, De l'etat des ouvriers (1841)
Adolphe Boyer, Les Conseils de Prud'homme, au point de vue de /'interet des
ouvriers, et de l'egalite des droits (1841)
Antoine Jay, La Conversion d'un romantique (1831)
Albert Laponneraye, Declaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen (1832)
Bibliography 229
Albert Laponneraye, Defense du citoyen Laponneraye prononcee aux Assises de
departement de la Seine (1832)
Albert Laponneraye (ed.), L'lntelligence (Orleans, 1834-40)
Karl Marx, Misere de la philosophie, Reponse a la Philosophie de la misere de
M. Proudhon (Paris and Brussels, 1847)
Jean Reynaud, 'De Ia necessite d'une representation speciale pour les proletaires',
Revue encyclopedique (April 1832)
H. Richelot, 'De l'avenir du monde selon M. de Chateaubriand', Revue du
progres social (June 1834)
Achille Roche, Manuel du proletaire (1833)
Achille Roche, 'De Ia magistrature et des lois penales', Revue independante
(Feb. 1833)
Olindes Rodrigues, Poesies sociales des ouvriers (1843)
Jean-Baptiste Say, Traite d'economie politique (1803)
C. Tillier, Lettres au systeme sur la reforme electorate (Nevers, 1841 ), in Claude
Tillier, Pamphlets, J. J. Pauvert (ed.) (Utrecht, 1967)
C. F. C. de Volney, Les Ruines, ou Meditation sur les revolutions des empires,
2nd. edn (1792)

Contemporaneous Secondary Literature

M. Cormenin, Defense de la presse populaire (1834)

E. Deschamps, La Preface des etudes francaises et etrangeres (1828)
H. A. Fregier, Des classes dangereuses de la population dans les grandes villes,
et des moyens de les rendres meilleures, 2 vols (n.d. c. 1830)
L. de Ia Hodde, Histoire des societes secretes et du parti republicain de 1830 a
1848 (1850)
J.-L.-E. Lerminier, 'De Ia litterature des ouvriers', Revue des deux mondes,
XXVIII, 4th ser. (Dec. 1841)
A. N ettement, Ruines philosophiques et morales ( 1836)
C. Nisard, Histoire des livres populaires, 2 vols (1864)
A.-J.-B. Parent-du-Chatelet, De la prostitution dans la ville de Paris, 2 vols
(1836; 3rd edn 1857)
A.-J.-B. Parent-du-Chatelet, Hygiene publique, 2 vols (1836)
L. Reybaud, 'Des idees et des sectes communistes', Revue des deux mondes,
XXXI, 4th_ ser. (July 1842)
L. Reybaud, Etudes sur les reformateurs, ou socialistes modernes, Saint-Simon,
Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, 6th edn, 2 vols (Brussels, 1850)
W. L. Sargant, Social Innovators and their Schemes (London, 1858)
L. Vitet, 'De l'independance en matiere de gout: Du romantisme', Le Globe (2
April 1825)

IV. Later Critical and Historical Works

V. Afansayev et al., Fundamentals of Scientific Socialism (Moscow, 1969)

'Alexandrian', Le Socialisme romantique (1979)
P. Ansart, Marx et l'anarchisme, Essai sur les sociologies de Saint-Simon,
Proudhon et Marx (1969)
230 Bibliography

J. Bakunin, Pierre Leroux and the Birth of Democratic Socialism (New York,
P. Barberis, 'Mal du siecle, ou d'un romantisme de droite a un romantisme de
gauche', Colloque d'histoire litteraire (1966), Ecole normale superieure de
Saint-Cloud, Romantisme et politique, 1815-1851 (1969)
C. Bellanger et al., Histoire generate de Ia presse francaise, 5 vols ( 1969-7 6)
J. H. Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith
(New York, 1980)
C. Benoist, 'L'Homme de 1848', Revue des deux mondes, XIX (1 Feb. 1914)
C. Bougie, Socialisme franc;ais, du 'Socialisme utopique' ii. Ia 'Democratie indus-
trielle' ( 1932)
G. M. Bravo, Les Socialistes avant Marx, 3 vols (1970)
L. Chevalier, Les Classes labourieuses et les classes dangereuses ii. Paris pendant
Ia premiere moitie du X/Xe siecle (1958)
G. D. H. Cole, A History of Socialist Thought, 5 vols (London, 1953), vol. I,
Socialist Thought: The Forerunners, 1789-1850
T. Dietrich, La Pedagogie socialiste (1973)
M. Dommanget et al., Colloque international de Stockholm, Babeuf et les
problemes de babouvisme ( 1963)
M. Dommanget, L'Introduction de Marxisme en France (Lausanne, 1969)
M. Dommanget, La Revolution de 1848 et le drapeau rouge (n.d.)
J.-C. Drouin, 'Les Mentalites utopique dans Ia presse royaliste du XIXe siecle'
Centre d'etudes de presse (Univ. de Bourdeaux III, 1970-1)
E. Durkheim, Le Socialisme, preface by P. Birnbaum ( 1971)
F. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (New York, 1969)
D. 0. Evans, Le Socialisme romantique: Pierre Leroux et ses contemporains
D. 0. Evans, Social Romanticism in France, 1830-1848 (Oxford, 1951)
D. Fernbach (ed.), Karl Marx: The Revolutions of 1848, Political Writings
(Harmondsworth, 1973)
C.-A. Fusil, La Poesie scientifique de 1750 ii. nos jours (1917)
R. Garaudy, Les Sources Jranc;aises de socialisme scientifique (1949)
J. Godechot (ed.), La Presse ouvriere, 1819-1850, Bibliotheque de Ia Revolution,
vol. 23 (1966)
A. Gray, The Socialist Tradition, Moses to Lenin (London, 1946)
W. B. Guthrie, Socialism before the French Revolution, A History (New York,
P. Haubtmann, Marx et Proudhon, Leurs rapports personnels 1844-1847 (1947)
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A. Zouaoui, Socialisme et internationalisme, Constantin Pecqueur (Geneva,
alienation on representative government, 41-2,
of liberty, 51 45
overcome, 95 trial of, 33, 36-47
and objects of production, 177, 180 bourgeoisie, 9, 39, 76, 95, 98, 110, 156,
n.3 158, 183-4, 201, 203
America, 80, 110, 129, 144 Boyer, Adolphe, 24 n.33, 27, 124
American Negroes, 77 British classical economics, 2-3
Archimedes, 136 and French socialism, 2-4, 8-9
aristocracy, 34, 39, 41, 76, 154, 157, P. Leroux's critique of, 3-4
183-4, 189, 203 see also Malthus, Ricardo and Smith
Blanquion, 34-5,41-2 Buonarroti, Philippe, 22 n.17, 48, 61
of capital, 74, 98, 157
capitalist, 74, 157 Cabet, Etienne, 6, 8-9, 12-13, 23 n.20,
Aristotle, 124, 135, 143 25 n.38, 26, 28 n.82, 61, 80-90,
association, 115-16, 175, 182,207-9 188, 196
and community, natural, 189 and Icarian community, 6-7
direct and indirect, 178 in America, 80
laws of, 175-80 on communist propaganda, 81-90
rejected, 182 defends cities, 89
and science of, 176, 208 on marriage, ameliorated, 90 n.3
universal, of all classes, 187 Carbonari, 33, 80
catechisms, socialist, 48
and Marx and Engels, 59 n.1
Babeuf, Francois Noel (Gracchus), 5, centralisation, 83, 89-90
7, 12, 21 n.15, 22 n.17, 28 n.82, Charles X, 33, 45, 47 n.14
48, 61 Charter of 1814, 44, 46 n.3, 47 n.7, 113
banking system, 42, 57, 158, 217 child labour, 19,109, 120, 139-40, 142
Bazard, Saint-Armand, 199 cities, 142, 147, 177,219
Belgium, 80, 155, and French com- and communist views, 88-9
pared, 28 n.85, 158 citizen rights, 36, 52, 86, 95
Bentham, Jeremy, 199 class division, 111, 113, 138, 145, 148,
Beranger, Pierre-Jean de, 93, 94 155, 183
Blanc, Louis, 80 and wage labour, 105
Blanqui, Louis-Auguste, 5, 15, 18 effect of technology on, 110
and Marx, 11-12 and capital, 157
and Marx, 33 a false doctrine, 187
and Dezamy, 61 parties intensify, 182-7
and class warfare, 34-5, 37, 43-4 strive to overcome, 184-5

Index 233

class warfare, 27 n.76, 76, 166, 183-4 egoism, 3-4, 7, 9, 66, 73,81-2,95, 115,
in England, 107 116, 189, 221
repudicated, 95, 114 overcome by education, 56-7
Cobden, Richard, 163, 171 and family spirit, 56
communion, 216-17 and revolution, 18
communism, 5, 13-14, 22 n.16, 180 Encyclopedia, 208, 211
criticism of, 17, 28 n.84 Enfantin, Prosper, 133, 135, 199-205
inheritance opposed, 85 Engels, Friedrich, 2, 8, 10-12, 18-19,
journals advocating, 48, 61, 68 26 n.52, 28 n.72, 59 n.1
transition to, 190, 195-6 England, 2, 80, 129-30, 139, 142, 147,
and utopia, 78, 82 150,213
Communist Banquet, Belleville, 72-9 capital, concentration of, in, 157-8
and Dezamy, 61 a corrupt spectacle, 23 n.24, 158
and Pillot, 68, 72-3, 77-8 working class in, 107, 155
communists, divisions among, 87-8 Epicurus, 212
community, communist, 73, 78, 82, Esquiros, Alphonse, 213-19
89-90, 180 equality, 48-9, 85, 119, 161, 167, 171
in Dezamy, 188-96 n.4, 191-2
propaganda for, 84-90 absolute, of sexes, 123, 193
science of, 188, 190 and fraternity, 73, 83, 189, 218
Comte, Auguste, 8, 14, 212 and freedom, 77, 130
Considerant, Victor, 22 n.18, 24 n.30, before law, 166-7, 170
27 n.69, 153-8, 175, 181-7 and natural inequality, 165
Constant, Alphonse Louis, 220-3 negated, by Malthus, 136
Cousin, Victor, 13 a primordial law, 189
crime, 5, 52-3, 66, 100, 102, 110, 113, proportional to need, 50
125 n.15, 183, 218, 221-3 real, and political, 74-5
as religion of society, 51, 53
death penalty, 64, 66, 75 of rights and duties, 49, 58, 123-4,
Dezamy, Theodore, 5-6, 8, 12, 15, 18, 168, 196
48, 61-7, 68, 188-96 in society: aim of, 165; foundation of,
and Babeuf, 61 49; and law, 52, 195
banquet toast, 74 equilibrium, theories of, 105, 132, 177
and Cabet, 61, 80, 90 nn.4 and 8, 188 criticised, 166, 169
inflammatory style, 65-6; and dis- production and consumption, 150
claimer, 67 n.8
and materialism, 17, 28 n.79, 61
divorce, 58-9, 84
drinking, 121-2, 125 n.14, 141 family
Dupre, Jacques, 13-14 Cabet on, 83-8
Duval, Citizen, 75 and children, 58, 192
and clothing, 106-7
education, 55-7,114, 125 nn.ll and 16, in communist community, 84-5,
203-4 192-3
and community, 190, 193 and community one, 193
egalitarian, 74, 77 and divorce, 58-9
futility of, for workers, 140 and marriage, 58-9, 196
and patriotism, 59 one only, in community, 193
a public function, 56-7 and primitive society, 58
of women, 120,122-4,125 n.11 and public education, 59
234 Index

secondary to state, 56 historicism, 212

supported by Cabet, 87 Marxian and French views, 16-18,
workers' views, 87 152
working class, 120-4 opposed, 182
February Revolution (1848) Saint-Simonian, 204
Dezamy's role in, 61 hoarding food, 63-4, 66, 67 n.1, 163
feudalism, 41, 57, 98, 154, 167, 203, housework, 86, 110-11, 192
industrial, 155
lcarian community, 6, 80-1, 89, 129,
new, 153-8
Feuerbach, Ludwig, 17
idealism, 7
Fourier, Charles, 2, 6, 8-9, 11-12, 15,
and historical progress, 16, 211-12
21 n.14, 23 n.20, 24 n.30, 25 n.38,
and French socialists, 18, 212
33, 61, 90 n.7, 112, 135-6, 153,
illiteracy, 116
159, 175, 180, 181, 212
individualism, 3, 9, 81, 207
criticised by J. Leroux, 135
inheritance, 151, 166
free competition,
abolished, 85
anarchic, 153-5
internationalism, 49, 170-1, 19 5-6
as antisocial, 161
and anti-communists, 190
criticised, 3-5, 7 5, 111 n.4, 154-5,
Ireland, 115, 124, 150, 155
157, 161-6
and egoism, 3-4, 7, 9
and free trade, 160-1 Jaures, Jean, 3
as permanent war, 183 July Monarchy, 3, 5, 27 n.77, 33, 60,
effect on quality, 103 137
ruin caused by, 138-9, 162, 164, 166 July Revolution (1830), 33-4, 43, 44-5,
effect on wages, 107, 155 46,47 n.14, 95, 97 n.4, 199-202
free trade, 160-71 Saint-Simonian view of, 202-3
benefits claimed for, 163 justice, distributive, 166, 168, 192
perpetuates poverty, 166
freedom, 195 n.1, 203-4, 220 Lahautiere, Richard, 48-60
of individual and state, 188-9 laisser-faire, 1, 4-5, 9, 136, 160-1,
a means, not an end, 164-5 169-70
French Revolution (1789), 8, 18-19,41, Laponneraye, Albert, 48
46, 54, 67, 76, 119, 154, 200, 202 laws of community, 188-96
and irrational masses, 15 hygiene and safety, 194
and 1793, 47 n.S, 67, 98, 189 political, 195
Lechevalier, Jules, 13, 24 n.30, 153,
general will, 52 175-80, 199
and government, 53 Lenoir, 101-11
German philosophy, 2, 17-19, 175 Leroux, Jules, 129-36
and Marxism, 26 n.54 Leroux, Pierre, 3-4, 13, 20 n.3, 124,
Germany, 2, 38, 158, 175 129, 159, 199, 206-12
and individualism 28 n.85 Levi, Eliaphas, see Constant, Alphonse
Hegel, Friedrich, 2, 17-18, 26 n.54, 58, Louis, Auguste, 73-4
152, 175 Louis XVIII, 38, 44, 46-7
Leroux's criticism of, 13 Louis-Philippe, due d'Orleans, 33, 44,
Hippocrates, 209 47 n.9, 14, 80
Index 235

Malthus, Thomas, 3, 130, 132-6, 144, people, the, 44, 77, 95, 157, 201, 204,
171 213-19
on population, 133-4 defined, 69
marriage, 58-9, 121, 133, 150, 179 elevation of, 94
abolition of, 85-6 emancipation of, 190, 201
Cabet on, 84-7 and monarchy, 71
prohibited, 193 and sovereignty, 68, 70-1, 142, 186,
of working class women, 121 205
Marx, Karl, 1-2, 4, 6, 10-12, 17-19, wives of, 120-3, 125 n.12
159, 180 n.3 physiocrats, 136
and Communist Manifesto, 59 n.l Pillot, Jean-Jacques, 7, 12-15, 18, 23
'precursors' of, 11, 25 n.39 n.27, 68-71, 72-3, 77-8
materialism, 5, 16-17,28 n.79, 88,212, and First Communist Banquet, 68,
218, 219 n.5 72-3, 77-8
and historical inevitability, 16-18, 28 Poland, 39, 80
n.53, 152 political economy, 3-4, 8-9, 129-36,
McCulloch,JohnRamse y, 144, 152n.7 137, 142, 159, 166
monarchy,hereditary,3 9,43, 119,189 classical, as liberal quackery, 161
rejected, 53, 70-1 in disgrace, 131
monasteries, 179 in England, 142, 144, 151
monetary system, 83 and free trade, 160-71
monopoly, 41, 57,66-7, 151, 157,163, and French government, 3, 5, 19, 20
166, 169' 203-4 n.8: influence on, 137-9
capital tends to, 157 laws variable, not immutable, 134
More, Thomas, 80 and political science, 130, 160
vital questions of, 131, 165
Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor, 15, 42, redefined as true science, 131-2, 135,
47, 51, 80, 95 144
national guard, 41 not a science, 131, 142-3
nationalisation political reform, 6, 9, 42, 75, 95, 151,210
of banks, 42, 57 population, 149-50, 180
of property, 57 press censorship, 3, 10, 21 n.9, 23 n.23,
of industry, 54, 86-7 24 n.34
of land, 54 production, laws of, 134, 151, 180, 183,
natural rights, 168 191
of production and trade, denied, in agriculture, 150
166-9 and distributive justice, 166, 167-8,
Nouvelle Saisons, 61 192
and division of labour, 177
Owen, Robert, 2, 3, 12, 20 n.2, 61, 80, opposing interests in, 183
180 mistaken by Malthus, 133-4
right to, denied, 167-8
parties, 6, 16 and social wealth, 183
as warring interest, 182-7 progress, 16-17, 19, 101-11, 124,
patriotism, 59 176-7, 18~ 182, 201
Pecqueur, Constantin, 11, 159-71 and child labour, 109
influence on Marx, 12, 20 n.8, 25 obstructed by political economy, 136,
n.47, 159 161
236 Index

in production, analysed, 102-4 Roche, Achille, 13, 15, 23 n.26, 26 n.55

social, and women, 119 Rodrigues, Olindes, 199
technical vs. social, 111, 129 romanticism and socialism, 3-4, 15, 19,
proletariat, 12, 15, 94, 124, 133-5,150, 21 n.14, 24 n.28, 212
155, 158, 184 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 16, 20 n.5, 59
Blanqui on, 36-7 nn.1 and 4, 124, 130
celibacy among, 84 Rozier, Citizen, 75
and class dictatorship, 11 Ruche populaire, La, 93-111
collective servitude of, 156 editorial aims of, 94
and education, 55 and Socialist Workers Party, 99
and middle class, 153, 156-7
political economy dismisses, 133
as revolutionary force, 27 n.69, Saint-Simon, Henri de, 2, 9, 11, 14, 21
119-20, 170 n.14, 15, 23 n.20, 24 n.32, 25 n.39,
and women, 119-20 33, 124, 180, 199-205, 212
propaganda, 5, 171, 219 Saint-Simonians, 5-6, 24 n.30, 87, 129,
communist, 22 n.19, 76, 80: and 148, 159, 175, 199, 200-5,206
anti-communists, 85, 87-8; Cabet feminist publication, 87, 90 n.5
on, 81-90 liberal regime criticised, 202-4
enthusiasm for, 22 n.19 Sand, George, 21 n.13, 93, 159, 206
property, 5, 69, 74, 76, 142, 151, 157, Say, Jean-Baptiste, 20 n.8, 133, 136,
179, 190, 222 137, 144, 152, 171, 199
communal, 81, 86-7, 189-91, 217 Scotland, 2, 144
and communism, 81, 83-4 secret societies, 1, 27 n. 77
defined, 57 oath of membership, 34-5
feudal, destroyed, 154 sex, extramarital
nationalisation of, 57 disapproved, 58-9
right of: denied, 4, 69; questioned, sexual union, 85-6, 193, 196
151; upheld, 99 Sismondi, J.C.L. Simonde de, 22 n.15,
prostitution, 5, 84, 109, 122, 214, 218, 133, 136, 137-52
221 Smith, Adam, 3, 20 n.8, 107, 111 n.5,
Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph, 2, 6-7, 9, 20 130-1, 136, 137, 164, 171, 199
n.1, 21 n.14, 27 n.75, 175 false and immoral laws of, 130, 136
and Marx's criticism, 11-12, 28 n.85 socialism
public opinion, 71, 99, 143, 208 and communism, defined, 3-5
as experimental science, 8, 17-19, 24
Quesnay, Fran~ois, 130-1, 136 nn.29-30
in Germany, 175
radical socialists, 33-90 and historical materialism, 2, 5,
representative government, 41-54 12-14, 16-18, 28 n.79: in
revenge, 35, 46, 65-6, 70-1, 221-3 Dezamy's communism, 28 n.79,
revolution, 34-5, 74, 202, 215, 219 61, 188-9; Marxist critique of, 7,
and communism, 81-2 10-12, 16, 18
in provinces, 45, 62-5 on laisser-faire, 161, 167
right of, 70-1 organic metaphor in, 211-12
Revolution of 1848, 80, 93, 213 and poetry, 7-8, 24 n.28
Ricardo, David, 3, 136, 144, 152 and propaganda, 5-7, 10, 12, 22 n.19,
riots, 63, 65, 114 27n.77,61
Index 237

and religion, 5, 9, 14, 51, 53, 56, 58, wage reductions, 62, 107, 141, 150, 155
69,88, 118,140,170,180,203-5, and mechanization, 104-5
207-11,213-19,220-3 women
and romanticism, 2-4, 15, 19, 21 as inferior, 118, 120, 124 n.5
n.14, 24 n.28, 212, 220 rights of, claimed, 123-4
as a science, 7-8, 10, 17-19,21 n.15 Tristan on, 117-24
as transitional phase, 13-14, 16, 18, in working class homes, 120-4: bru-
26 n.63, 190 tality of, 120-22
utopianism in, 6-7, 15, 18, 24 n.32, work, 55, 104, 145, 177-8
25 n.38, 74: and association, 178; communal, 192
Considerant, 185-7; Marxist cri- in community, 50, 54-5, 86, 190
tique of, 2, 8, 10-12, 25 n.39; rhe- as a duty, 50, 191
torical importance of, 9-10, 23 honourable, 116
n.23, 218-19, 220-3 effect of, on morals, 108-9
Socialist Union, 80 workers, 37, 45, 50, 62, 66, 69, 74-5,
Societe des Amis du peuple, 33 94,96,113-24,133,138,146,151,
Societe des Families, 33 202
Societe des Saisons, 33 agricultural, 130, 138, 144-51, 192
oath of membership, 34-5 alienation of, 180 n.3
Societe republicaine, 61 and capitalists, 169: opposed, 183,
suicide, 100, 113 186
clothing and luxuries, 106: for
technology, effect of, 104-5, 110, 149, women, 108-9
155: in community, 192 in England, 107, 139
Tristan, Flora, 15, 112-25 exploitation of, 74, 95, 135: by com-
influence on Marx, 27 n.69 petition, 155, 161, 213
Turgot, A.-R.-J. 136, 171 female, 19, 107-9
unemployment, 122, 164 fraternity of, 77, 170
caused by machines, 104, 149 as husbands, 121-2
union of workers, 75, 79 n.3, 95, 112, in Ireland, 115
114-16, 142 life of, compared to military and mon-
advocates of, 27 n.76 asteries, 179
inevitable, 169 effect of machines on, 104-5, 110,
international, 170 131, 133, 139-40, 149, 155-7: in
lack of, 106 community, 192
Universal Union, 114 misery of, 114: and economic 'law',
and association, contrasted, 115-16 133
utopia, see socialism, utopianism in publications, 24 n.33, 61, 68, 90 n.9,
93, 213, 220: Ruche populaire,
Vannostal, L.J., 98-100 93-111
Varin, Emile, 93-7 self-help, 95, 113
Vellicus, Antoine-Marie, 74 and Tristan, 112: mission to preach
Villy, Pierre-Fran~oise, 75 to, 117
Vin~ard, Jules, 93 and wage competition, 104
Volney, Constantin-Fran~is, 14 compared with wealthy and salaried,
Voltaire, F.-M. Arouet, 130 105-6, 133, 148