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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #221 - Classic subversion: The Great Revolution of Peter Kropotkin, ed Sextant (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 09 Dec 2012 09:57:51 +0200


In this book, published in 1909, Peter Kropotkin gives us his reading of the French Revolution of 1789. Analyzing the events, it reveals the role of the people truly revolutionary. Indeed, the histories of the Revolution until the early twentieth century were most often highlighted the great historical figures, the Robespierre, Danton's the Desmoulins. ---- On one hand, the reactionary historians vilified Jacobins and organized fractions while the other socialists saw references or models for avant-garde. For them, the people had its place, but in the background, intervening to support organized fractions. For some writers such as Jules Michelet, it was only seen as the embodiment of the nation and then only when popular movements corresponded to his own political views!

The only exception is the popular movement in Paris. The latter, represented by the Sans-culottes (revolutionary workers and artisans), organized within the insurrectionary Commune of Paris, has been the attention of a number of historians.

However, they are seen only as auxiliaries of the Jacobins, or Hébertists Mountain (various bourgeois political fractions).

As qu'anarcho-communist opposition Kropotkin lies a vision of the story based on great men, party leaders and struggles in the National Assembly.

For him, the Revolution is a social process that involves all layers of society. The actors are not a minority, but the people as a whole. It is organized in popular companies on a geographical basis in the smallest villages in the medium-sized cities as well as in large cities.

Addresses if the popular movement in Paris, and the most innovative aspect of the book is interesting that focuses primarily on what happens outside Paris. In fact, most of the population is rural, and social changes of scale are involved. Farmers often get rid of the domination of nobles who exercised a series of taxes and royalties chores. Some noble lands are seized by force and sold in small batches so much areas of the Church was then the largest owner of France.

This movement, which presents interesting prospects will not go so far as to sharing the land. It is going to experience a setback during the Thermidorian reaction from 1794 ...

Overall, the book makes a shallow angle studied the French Revolution, giving priority to the people of rural and urban. Reading a refreshing down the fetishism of the Jacobins and the great men developed by historians Leninists. It may also be noted that foreshadows the great bare arms and Bourgeois Daniel Guérin.

Matthijs (AL Montpellier)

Peter Kropotkin, The Great French Revolution (1789-1793): An original reading of the French Revolution , Sextant Publishing, 2011, 544 p., 26 euros.
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