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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #238 - 1834: The Revolt of the silk is crushed (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 04 May 2014 14:48:38 +0300


April 9, 1834 in Lyon, begins the second revolt of the silk workers, these workers of the silk industry. This new insurrection, during which this particular industry and rebellious plays its survival on the barricades, crashed on April 15 in a bloodbath by armed gangs in the State of King Louis-Philippe. ---- In the 1830s, the silk workers had about 30,000 companions, 8,000 foremen working mostly at home, and some 750 manufacturers and traders, called "soft", which provided the raw material, passing control to the Heads of workshop they paid for the room. In general, the foreman owns looms and the price of the ways is shared almost equally with some workers it employs. Many women and children are employees in these workshops or ancillary tasks (deliveries...), so that nearly half of the Lyon silk lives. This organization into multiple small independent shops, which is nicknamed "La Fabrique" seems so archaic to the capitalists who would like to develop large factories concentrated.

The insurrectional strike of 1831

Gradually, silky, that is to say, the capitalists, trying to establish a competition between foremen to lower the piece rate. But they and their companions oppose tariffs increasingly miserable and organized. A semi secret paramilitary organization "Volunteers Rhône" is made in July and August 1831 under the direction of Jacques Lacombe, foreman. Meanwhile, canuts appeal to the prefect of the department, Louis Bouvier-Du Molard and get a joint committee sets the minimum piece rate. The refusal to apply this rate by some silky pretext of international competition and market constraints, pushes workers and workers of the silk strike on November 20. The next day, the National Guard fired on strikers at the heart of the Croix-Rousse.

November 22, nearly 350 workers neighborhoods Guillotière and Brotteaux bring relief to weavers of the Croix-Rousse, joined by a large part of the National Guard composed of citizens from working class families. In the peninsula and around Bellecour, the battle rages, armories are plundered and barricades. Everywhere the black flag of mourning, with the inscription: "Live working or die fighting" floats over the city. There are many victims, men, women, old people and many children aged 14 to 18 years. There were 69 deaths in insurgent-es for twice wounded es. Military dénombreront more than 100 dead, including 8 officers and 263 wounded-es. Lyon proletariat becomes the master of the suburbs and the city. The town hall is occupied by the rioters who constitute an insurrectionary committee. The prefect immured behind the gates of the capital. Lyon is no government!

Unnecessary victory

But without the program, weavers do not know how to exploit their victory, allowing authorities to quickly regain control of the situation. The prefect promises tariff review ways. Therefore promises a return to normal and temporary staff consisting canuts resigns prefect November 29. Marshal Soult, the Minister of War, and the Duke of Orleans, son of the king, accompanied by 10,000 men took the town without resistance from rioters. The National Guard is disbanded and the rebellion stopped.

Some vague promises were enough to give up the conquered positions and resume work. These promises are obviously not required: the piece rate is quickly forgotten, with the removal of the prefect by the Government of Casimir Perier! But it is certain that the working men and women derive quickly the conclusion that Louis Philippe is the ally of their opponents, these silky enriching themselves on the fruits of their labor. In bourgeois salons, contempt for the working class is displayed openly. Saint-Marc Girardin, state councilor, said: "The insurrection of Lyon in 1831 revealed a secret grave, that of the internal struggle that takes place in society between the class that owns and one that does not. Our commercial and industrial society has its wound like all other companies. This wound, it is the workers. Point factory without workers, and with a growing and always in need of workers population, no rest for the company (...) The barbarians who threaten society are developed in the Caucasus, they are in the suburbs of our cities manufacturing. "[1]

The lessons of defeat

If the revolt of 1831 leaves a bitter taste in Lyon workers, 28 months after the revolt of 1831, also enable them to deepen their class consciousness, linking their struggle to that of clandestine republican movement, which aspires to a social republic clearly demarcating the bourgeois republic.

Le Chapelier law of 1791 prohibiting them from forming unions, weavers were organized secretly mutual associations. Instruments of struggle and resistance to oppression, these associations provide a framework for protest movement. They spend 250 members end 1831 to 2,400 members, divided into eleven plants in 1833. At this also adds the company companions ferrandiniers[2] (400-420 members) who held both companionship and mutualism.

But the government begins to evoke a law against associations. L'Echo de la Fabrique (log canuts crossed by the ideas of Fourier, Saint-Simonian and early socialists) in his article "The right to the coalition" December 8, 1833, questioned the government menacingly: "Keep you finally pull the sword from the scabbard; for it is written, said an elder, that whoever pulled the sword shall perish by the sword. Workers are tired of suffering the fittest, the law of capital. "[3]

Echo continues to encourage workers to join associations. The mutualist conclude pacts with other business groups, "thus sealing the tacit alliance that had united the days of struggle" as Fernand tell Rude[4].

In December 1833, the Council of Presidents of the mutualist structure is considered too "soft", too "conservative" is criticized for not relaying as it must do so calls for solidarity, including a proposal for suspension of work seven manufacturers of lint that had lowered rates 25 cents per ell[5]. The Council of Presidents is removed but never replaced. This is the only executive board which, following a further decline in rates of workers plush and shawls, propose to mutualist "total arrest trades".

The general strike of 1834

February 14, 1834, approximately 60 000 workers and workers of some 25,000 businesses stopped work. We had never seen a movement of such magnitude. This is the first modern general strike of the working class in France. But the resumption of work is passed 1 545 382 votes against and 414 abstentions almost ten days later, after 162 manufacturers have accepted the claims. On Sunday, February 23, L'Echo de la Fabrique announcement: "Tomorrow all will work again! "

Following this coalition, 13 strike leaders (three and ten companions ferrandiniers foremen, including six members of the Executive Board) are stopped. In addition, in Paris, a law banning the republican associations. We discuss L'Echo de la Fabrique not cease from February 16 to March 30 to castigate the government and its unfair laws on associations. The newspaper continued to the criminal court for seven issues "dealing with political matters."

On April 5, the hotel Goatherd in the Saint-Jean district, the trial takes place 13 strike leaders. The courtroom was packed, and a lot of people waiting outside. False testimony certainly commissioned by the police cornered the accused and sow rebellion from within the court. The Chairman referred to the judgment on April 9, and adjourned the meeting.

The next day, 8 000 to 10 000 people marched at the funeral of a fellow of the society of mutual Devoir. On 8 April, the Executive Board will approve the mutual Duty general strike on April 9, the day of trial "Thirteen." It was also decided to retaliate if attacked by the army.

Bloody week

April 9, from 3:00 in the morning, the police and armed forces are on the warpath. The town hall and the prefecture, closed, are filled with infantry and dragoons. Place Bellecour, infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers gathered around the headquarters. The cannons, lighted matches around the four corners of the square. At 9 pm, the crowd gathers in front of the hotel Chevrieres to get to trial. While counsel began his argument, are heard the first shots. The frightened crowd disperses into the adjacent streets, and without warning, the soldiers having fun (that's the word) to shoot at civilians, leaving earth several men, women and children. It was then that sounds, through all the streets of the city "Citizens weapons, they kill our brothers."

On the slopes of the Croix-Rousse, the way to the rise Rouville Saint Sebastian, around the rise of the Carmelites and the Great Coast Castle and the weavers form barricades. The barracks of the Good Shepherd Street Tolozan (now Pierre-White), was stormed by the insurgents, workers and Republicans, who establish their headquarters. In working class neighborhoods of St. George in St. Paul, but the Cordeliers, the Brotteaux, insurgents fighting fire with eagerness. The troops of General Aymard, they, hold the prefecture Place Bellecour and the southern part of the peninsula.

On the night of April 9 to 10, section chiefs of the League of Human Rights, Republican neighborhood association Guillotière decide the insurgency for the next day.

Before the great organization of the insurgents, the Interior Minister Adolphe Thiers began to withdraw troops from the city center, as barricades prevent military coordination. He surrounded the city and began to pursue it, neighborhood by neighborhood.

But on April 10, the shooting resumed in the morning and the insurgency wins Saint-Just. The black flag flies over Fourvière Antiquaille Saint Nizier, and Vaise. Finally, Guillotière is in turn raises some weavers perched on rooftops are pushing two infantry companies. The town hall is taken, and St. Louis church relentlessly ringing the tocsin, meaning that the insurgents Lyon Guillotière joined them in the fight.

Crushed under the bombs

Can not fight in the streets, the army decided to crush the barricades under artillery shells. General Aymard is sweeping the High Street Guillotière with cannon. His soldiers, joined by reinforcements have just pass by weapons the insurgents or just surviving citizens. Crimes of unusual barbarity perpetrated.

Face more than 10,000 men under arms, insurgents have maybe 10 times less combatants and combatants, with perhaps 300 guns, need reinforcements and ammunition. They then organize expeditions to rally other villages. In Villeurbanne, 60-80 men with guns and pitchforks stormed the police barracks, home Verne and the municipality to recover weapons. If the villages of Villeurbanne, Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon Oullins and lend a hand to the insurgents, many villages as Venissieux, St Priest and Saint-Symphorien-d'Ozon refuse to take part in the revolt.

On April 11, the Red Cross is able to stop a new attack with fifteen workers. The last insurgents Guillotière continue to sound the alarm. It takes three military columns to permanently destroy the poorest district of Lyon. There will be nothing left of the "Guille" burnt to overcome 150 insurgents half of which was army forks.

April 12, Vaise troops encircle the rebels. The soldiers continue, killing and wounding the fugitives and the rest of the population. Sixteen people, including women and children, were murdered in one house on the street Projected. The Cordeliers, the soldiers take over the factory powder and bullets of the insurgents. Twelve workers were massacred in the nave of the church.

On April 13, it remains little more than 200 people and 70 old guns on duty on the Croix-Rousse which nevertheless able to repulse the troops. On the night of April 14 to 15, the last insurgent weavers decide to go hoping that the army and continues to take the entire population.

The most reliable records identify 131 soldiers killed approximately 200 civilians and 600 wounded. Nearly 500 people were arrested and sentenced to heavy prison sentences or deportation. Silky attempt in the following years to disperse looms in the campaign to circumvent the weavers, which does not prevent a new rebellion in 1848. During the 1850s, capitalists silk open large factories, with mechanical trades, and spend more and more independent shops. If canuts gradually disappear at the end of the nineteenth century, their struggles inspire Marxist analyzes and serve as an example to Bakunin in his book Empire Knouto Germanic and social revolution.

Marie-Line (AL Lyon)

Sources:

Fernand Rude, Canut Revolts , La Découverte, 2001.

Review Red Square, No. 44, November 2010.

Genton, and Greppo Allut: "The truth about the events of Lyon in the month of April 1834," municipal archives, April 1834.

Jacques Lost, The Revolt of the silk workers , Friends of Spartacus, 2010.


[1] Hansard , 8 December 1831.

[2] The ferrandiniers manufacture of silk and wool.

[3] The entire L'Echo de la Fabrique , and other workers Lyon newspapers of that time, is available online: echo-fabrique.ens-lyon.fr.

[4] Fernand Rude, Canut Revolts , La Découverte, 2001.

[5] The yardstick is a measure, also called "bent", equivalent to 1.188 meter.
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