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