Auguste Blanqui 1880

The Army Enslaved and Oppressed

Source: L'armée esclave et opprimée. [n.p.] Paris 1880;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

Following the hideous discoveries that are currently provoking public indignation, the guilty — supported by the usual traitors — have impudently taken the offensive and cry out with all their might: “All for the insulted army!” Which should be translated as: “All against the lack of respect for the big brass.”

The army! For the last eight years these same traitors have constantly nailed it to the pillory. For the last eight years all Frenchmen have been voters, except prisoners and soldiers. This is the real insult to the army!

The republic granted suffrage to those with no criminal record. Could it refuse it to the brave men who give the fatherland their blood and their freedom? As a reward for such a sacrifice, can it cross them off the list of citizens? The republic didn’t have the beautiful idea of assimilating men under to the flag to evildoers. Soldiers can vote.

But here’s the thing. Since the “bloody week,” when the men at headquarters (who are Jesuits) had the Parisians massacred by the Chouans, most of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers have given their votes to republican candidates. Every new election was a patriotic conquest. In certain garrisons the difference in the number of votes between the two military parties was as much as ten or eleven to one. If civilian voters had done the same, in just a little while the republic would have carried off the victory. The officers were furious, and the reactionaries concerned. This meant a farewell to their hopes to erect the throne with the help of the army. This meant a farewell to the perpetual refrain of conservatives: “the only resource left to us are the troops.”

This beautiful dream was going to fade away thanks to the votes in the cartridge bags of soldiers that turned against them. But those worthies preferred bullets to this fate. And in a gesture of high treason the so-called National Assembly improvised this evil metamorphosis. The free thinker prostrated himself before slavish thought.

This so-called National Assembly will answer to future legislatures of France. It will answer for having its power usurped in order to take — with the most perverse intentions- universal suffrage from the army, though they saw it as entirely favorable to the cause of progress and liberty.

Yes, to be sure it will have to render some serious accounts, at least if the executive and the legislative don’t enter into a coalition to cap off all the lies, violence, and evil doings that have unfurled over the last ten years with a final coup d'état.

Without a doubt in this case the nation will find a way, for the crime is obvious. It dates from the month of July 1872 and was accomplished with a mixture of hypocrisy and shamelessness that is beyond all measure.

The French will remember that as soldiers and citizens they have constantly shown loyalty, patience, moderation, in painful contrast with the perfidy and the ferocity of their rulers.

The following report on the creation of a sitting national army will prove what should be and what will be the surest safeguard against external aggression and internal Machiavellianism.