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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #225 - 1883: The first show trial of anarchism (fr) [machine translation]
Sun, 07 Apr 2013 09:32:19 +0300
From 8 to 28 January 1883 takes place in Lyon on trial 66 anarchists. Their crime? " have
(...) been or is affiliated act of affiliation to an international company, aiming to
cause the suspension of work, the abolition of the right of property, family, country,
religion, and did thereby commit an attack against the public peace. "This is one of the
first" show trials "of bourgeois justice against anarchism, announcing a judicial
repression unparalleled. ---- The city of Lyon knows very early through different
movements, social effervescence dense, either during the famous revolt of the silk
industry in the 1830s or the City of Lyon in 1870, making the city one pioneer workers'
revolts in France. In early 1881, as the Revolutionary Federation Eastern Region,
comprising the revolutionary militants in the region.
Anarchists largely dominate the Federation, which attempts to participate in the
reconstruction of an International weakened as a result of the first division of the
international labor movement [ 1 ].
In the Lyon region, the nascent anarchist movement has a very important development.
Groups are created and multiple periodic anarchists emerge in the early 1880s: The Social
Law , The Revolutionary Flag , Fight , etc. [ 2 ]].
In the same period, in the mining region of Montceau-les-Mines, labor movements very hard
burst, leading to a general uprising in mid-August 1882. These riots and violent actions
carried out in part by the anarchist group Black Band, have a considerable impact in the
Lyons anarchists take up the cause of this movement through their press and support
meetings. Censorship of newspapers, very hard, fails to silence solidarity. Also, the
bourgeois government, a moderate Republican, will adopt a new tactic to address the
libertarian movement. Montceau events have indeed left the government perceive that the
"plot" of the International called "anti-authoritarian" was not extinguished with the law
of 1872 prohibiting membership in an international organization and the need to end with
activists and the "doctrine" and internationalist anarchists.
Searches, arrests in
Early October 1882, the repression against anarchists is initiated. Searches were held at
the headquarters of various newspapers. Activists were arrested in Paris and Lyon course.
This is particularly the case Bordat Toussaint and Emile Gautier. But far from harming
anarchist propaganda, imprisoning these speakers and muzzling its expression, repression
only strengthens the convictions of activists. And even beyond. On the night of 22 to 23
October a bomb explodes in the restaurant where Assommoir " rubber meets the high
bourgeoisie, to wallow in the dirtiest orgies "[ 3 ]. The next dynamite sticks were made
ââagainst a recruitment office. Panic in the ranks of the bourgeoisie arises. This wave of
attacks does accentuate the police repression and the anarchist Cyvoct is who will pay the
most expensive use of propaganda by the deed. While claiming his innocence he was
sentenced to death in December 1882, his sentence was commuted in 1884 forced labor in
prison where he was released in 1898.
The arrests are increasing in anarchist circles in the Lyon region. A total of 52
anarchists who are arrested, the theorist of anarchism, communism, the "Prince" Peter
Kropotkin, Thonon installed since 1881 and has increased the number of conferences in the
East of France during this period.
Stirring is becoming stronger in the region. Louise Michel runs to multiply conferences
for activists arrested, tried in vain to even start an uprising, it will eventually
expelled from the city of Lyon. Reclus, which is not part of the accused, made an official
request to be pursued because it also belongs International.
The trial finally begins January 8, 1883, involving 66 defendants, including 14 in flight.
A trial platform
Early anarchists have considered it possible to take advantage of such a trial using it as
a means of propaganda and advertising. A large audience and many journalists rush to
attend the hearing. The defendants will even send a statement to the presiding judge
protesting against the number of policemen around the court, prevent the public can listen
to the speeches of the accused. They even write that " when a power decides to pursue
many defendants at once, it takes at least he manages so that the development of local
does not remove the most necessary defense of his assurances: the absolute public hearing
"[ 4 ].
Reading the account of the trial demonstrates the eloquence of the leaders of the
"anarchist party". The interrogation " picturesque Prince Kropotkin "[ 5 ] which pushes
the prosecutor and the president into a corner. But more than Kropotkin, the activist
Emile Gautier impresses the audience and observers by his eloquence. One of the
prosecutors reported to the Minister of Justice that " advocacy of Emile Gaultier, has
been remarkable in many respects, and with the prestige of talent, he almost grabbed the
audience "[ 6 ].
Enclose the anarchist peril
Despite an eloquent defense even brilliant, harsh sentences will be pronounced against the
defendants: four years in prison for "leaders" such as Peter Kropotkin, Emile Gautier,
Joseph Bernard, Pierre Martin, Toussaint Bordat ... and six months to three years for 39
companions. On appeal, the convictions were upheld. In addition to the convictions of
anarchists, the trial can shed light on the role played by an agent provocateur, George
Garraud, in events such as exciter. This "cookie" has also played an important role in the
conviction of Cyvoct [ 7 ].
The trial of Lyon is one of the first major trial against the nascent anarchist movement,
except for the trial of the Communards who can not all be identified as anarchists. He
inaugurated a series of arrests and judgments highly publicized at the time, Emile Pouget,
Louise Michel are accused of instigating looting carried out by "unemployed" in Paris in
March 1883. They are found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison for eight years and
Louise Michel Pouget for. It is only thanks to the recent amnesty prisoners Lyon,
Kropotkin and Brossat in 1886, they will achieve their freedom.
Severe repression suffered by the anarchist movement, particularly those leading theorists
and propagandists brand undoubtedly bourgeois government's commitment not to allow the
development of a growing movement. But it would be wrong to believe that the imprisonment
of activists put an end to their commitment. Except for the notable turnaround Emile
Gautier, who became a journalist in the bourgeois press, all militants will not give more
invested in their revolutionary struggle for the emancipation of the workers'.
Guillermo (AL Angers)
March 14, 1872: Dufaure law which prohibits membership in an international organization.
1882-1884: wave of attacks Strip black organization "anarchist union" mining
February 1882: first issue of Social Law in Lyon, one of the first anarchist periodical in
14 March, 1882: beginning of a wave of raids and arrests in the anarchist milieu Lyon.
14-15 August 1882 popular uprising in the city of Montceau-les-Mines.
September 27, 1882: climax of repression with the arrest of 30 activists anarchists.
22-23 October 1882: in the night attack against Assommoir restaurant in Lyon.
October 23, 1882: explosion near a recruiting office.
December 12, 1882: sentenced to death for the anarchist bombing Cyvoct Assommoir.
January 8, 1883: start of the trial of "66".
January 19, 1883: Declaration of "66".
January 28, 1883: defendants are convicted and sentenced. Sentences ranging from three
months to four years in prison.
February-March 1883: the appeal trial of "66" confirmed the sentences.
January 1886: release of Kropotkin and Bordat the prison of Clairvaux.
Declaration of the 66 defendants in the January 19, 1883
Among the many statements of the accused, which we reproduce here has probably the best
state of mind in which the protagonists find themselves at trial.
"What is anarchy, that the anarchists, we'll say the anarchists, gentlemen, are citizens
who, in an age when we preach everywhere the freedom of opinion, thought it their duty to
to recommend the unlimited freedom.
Yes, gentlemen, we are in the world, thousands, perhaps millions - because we have no
other merit than to say aloud what the crowd thinks everything down - we few thousand
workers demand the absolute freedom, only freedom, the freedom! We want freedom, that is
to say that we claim for every human being the right and the means to do whatever he
wants, and do what pleases him; fully meet all its needs, without further limit the
natural impossibilities and the needs of its neighbors also respectable.
We want freedom, and we believe its existence is incompatible with the existence of any
power, whatever its origin and form, whether elected or imposed, monarchical or
republican, it draws the right divine right or popular, or the Holy Ampulla of universal
Is that the story is there to teach us that all governments are alike and equal. The best
ones are the worst. More cynicism in some, more hypocrisy in others! Basically, the same
processes always, always the same intolerance. It is not until the appearance that
liberals have in reserve, beneath the dust of legislative arsenals, some good little law
on International opposition to the use of annoying.
Evil, in other words, in the eyes of anarchists, is not in such a form of government
rather than another. It is the idea government itself, it is the principle of authority.
Substitution, in a word, human relations, contract free, perpetual revisable and solvable
in the administrative and legal discipline imposed, such is our ideal.
Anarchists therefore propose to teach the people to government spending as he begins to
learn to do without God.
He will also learn to live without owners. The worst tyrants, indeed, it is not one that
embastille is one that starves, and it is not one that snares, this is the one that takes
us in the stomach. No freedom without equality! No freedom in a society where capital is
monopolized in the hands of a minority that will reduce every day and nothing is broken,
not even public education, however, paid all monies.
We believe we, the capital, the common heritage of mankind, because it is the fruit of the
collaboration of generations past and present generations, must be available to all, so
that no one can be excluded and that person, however, can capture a share at the expense
of the rest.
We want, in a word, equality, equality in fact, as a corollary, or rather as a key
condition of freedom. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his
needs, that's what we want to sincerely energetically is what will be, because there is no
limitation that can prevail against the claims of both legitimate and necessary. That's
why they want us to devote all blemishes.
We are villains! We demand bread for all, work for all, also for all the independence and
[ 1 ] See " birthplace of Saint-Imier anarchism? "in AL No. 220, September 2012.
[ 2 ] Some of these digitized newspapers is available on the website
[ 3 ] The trial of anarchists to the police court and the Court of Appeal of Lyon , Ulan
[ 4 ] The trial of anarchists to the police court and the Court of Appeal of Lyon , Ulan
[ 5 ] The trial of anarchists to the police court and the Court of Appeal of Lyon , Ulan
[ 6 ] The Courier Tourcoing, Saturday, Jan. 13, 1883
[ 7 ] Jean Maitron, the anarchist movement. Volume 1. Origins to 1914 , Gallimard, 1992
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