The Paris Commune 1871

Against the Mania for Braids

First Published: April 7 1871;
Translated: from the original for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

To the National Guard


I have observed with sorrow that, forgetting our modest origins, the ridiculous mania for braids, embroidery, and ribbons has begun to make its appearance among us.

Workers, for the first time you have carried out the revolution of labor, by labor, and for labor.

Let us not deny our origins, and especially let us not blush because of them. Workers we were, workers we are, workers we will always be.

Never forget; we triumphed in the name of virtue against vice, duty against abuse, and austerity against corruption.

Let us remain virtuous and men of duty. We will then found the austere Republic, the only one that has the right to exist.

Before cracking down I am recalling all my follow citizens to themselves: no more ribbons, no more baubles, no more braids that cost so little to display and so dear to our responsibility.

In the future any officer who is not justified by right to wear the insignia of his rank, or who adds braids or other vain distinctions to the regulation uniform of the National Guard, shall be subject to disciplinary measures.

I profit from this circumstance to recall all to the sentiment of hierarchical obedience in the service. In obeying those you elected, you are obeying yourselves.

Paris April 7, 1871
The Delegate for War