Tuesday, February 14, 2006
April In Paris
Paris in April 2006 will be under a pall of smoke from burning cars, burning buildings, burning passions; and the City of Lights, on fire from a thousand vantage points, will erupt into madness.
Below we have a brief history of France over the past 200 odd years, beginning with Sarkosy's pledge to bring order and peace to the cities under seige by Muslim criminals.
We'll work our way back in time to the May Riots of 1968.
We'll look at the Paris Commune of April, 1871.
We'll see some of the Paris Commune of 1848 in June.
We'll see the beginnings of the French Revolution in May of 1789.
The riots that began in Paris last October and that ended in more or less in November are germinating for the coming Spring. We can see this pattern in France of civil stife in the autumn and its fermentation over the cold months until it erupts in the warm.
France will burn.
April in Paris. And May. And June. And July. And August. And Sept. And then it just might well continue on till Novemeber like it did last year.
Two months. What will start the riots this time? And will there be a curfew to calm down the scum? Will youths and men of Middle Eastern appearance be confined to their sweaty and stinking little hovels in the ghettos from sundown till morning?
Muslims know they can burn and rape and kill with impunity. They did so last Autumn. They burnt 10,000 automobiles and shot policemen.
April in Paris. And May. And June. And July. And August. And Sept. And then it just might well continue on till November like it did last year, but this time things will be different because this time there will be a clear winner and a clear loser.
Hundreds of riot police sent to crime hotspots
Tuesday October 25, 2005
The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has announced plans to deploy hundreds of riot police in tough neighbourhoods to crack down on crime.
"Some thugs act like they own their neighborhoods. We have to change our methods," Mr Sarkozy told the newspaper Le Monde, saying that about 9,000 police cars had been hit with stones this year.
Seventeen companies of riot police plus seven squadrons of mobile gendarme units will "intervene in small, specialised groups", he said. A spokesman said the changes would take effect today in the Parisian district of Argenteuil.
December 5, 2005 Issue
Copyright © 2005 The American Conservative
The Battle for France
The riots aren’t about social justice but who will rule.
by Paul Belien
On Thursday night, Oct. 27, two teenagers, Ziad Benna (17) and Banou Traoré (15), fled into an electrical power substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. They were hiding from police who had entered the suburb to investigate a robbery. Why the boys fled and climbed over the three-meter fence of the power station is unclear. The result, however, was something every moderately intelligent schoolboy could have foreseen: they got electrocuted.
When the fire brigade arrived to retrieve their bodies, something happened that every moderately intelligent French politician could have foreseen. Neighborhood gangs attacked the firemen and police officers and went on a rampage, setting fire to dozens of cars. The same thing happened during the following nights, when schools, shops, and restaurants were also set ablaze. At first the media did not devote much attention to the rioting. These things happen every day in the predominantly immigrant and largely Muslim neighborhoods surrounding every major French city.
Only one week earlier Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy had declared in Le Monde: “Violence in French suburbs is a daily fact of life. Since the beginning of the year stones were thrown at 9,000 police cars and each night 20 to 40 cars are torched.” For some years, vehicle burning has been a favorite way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If only 30 cars are set ablaze on an ordinary night and just 300 on New Year’s, the French police consider the situation to be “stable.” http://www.amconmag.com/2005/2005_12_05/cover.html
Paris, April, 1968
Paris:- Sunday, 3. May 1998:-
This informal chronology of the 'Events of May 1968' in France begins in November 1996 with students who were demanding the 'internationale situationniste,' taking control of the leadership of the association of students in Strasbourg.
22. March - At Nanterre University, the administrative tower is occupied by 150 students, who say they are anarchists. Courses are suspended until 1. April.
12. April - The attack on student leader Rudi Dutschke in Germany results in riots there and supporting demonstrations in France.
27. April - Daniel Cohn-Bendit, 23, student leader at the University of Nanterre, is arrested.
2. May - Prime Minister Georges Pompidou leaves for official visits to Iran and Afghanistan. Courses at the faculty of letters are suspended at Nanterre after incidents there.
3. May - Police clear the courtyard at the Sorbonne. Violence in the Quartier Latin results in more than 100 injured and 596 arrested.
4. May - Courses at the Sorbonne are suspended. The UNEF and the Snesup call for unlimited strikes.
5. May - Courts convict 13 demonstrators; give four jail terms.
6. May - Battles in the Quartier Latin: 422 arrests; 345 police and about 600 students are hurt. Students at universities throughout France pledge support.
7. May - At the tomb of the unknown soldier at Etoile: 30,000 students sing the 'Marseillaise.'
9. May - The Minister of Education forbids the re-opening of the faculties.
10. May - Night of riot in the Quartier Latin: police assault 60 barricades. 367 are hospitalized of which 251 are police; 720 others hurt and 468 arrested. Cars burned were 60 and 188 others were damaged. The Minister of Education says of the protestors, "Ni doctrine, ni foi, ni loi."
11. May - The major unions, the CGT, the CFDT and the FEN, call for a general strike on 13. May. Back in Paris, George Pompidou, announces the re-opening of the Sorbonne, also for the 13. May.
13. May - The general strike puts hundreds of thousands of students and workers in the streets of Paris; the Sorbonne is occupied by students.
14. May - The National Assembly discusses the university crises and the battles of the Quartier Latin. President Charles de Gaulle leaves for Romania. Workers occupy Sud-Aviation in Nantes.
15. May - The theatre de l'Odéon is occupied by 2,500 students and the Renault factory at Cléon is occupied by workers.
16. May - Strikes hit other factories throughout France, plus air transport, the RATP and the SNCF. Newspapers fail to be distributed.
18. May - President de Gaulle arrives back from Romania, 12 hours earlier than expected. Cinema professionals occupy the Cannes Film Festival. Major French directors withdraw their films from competition and the jury resigns, closing the festival.
19. May - At the Elysée palace, President de Gaulle says, "La réforme, oui; la chienlit, non"
20. May - An estimated 10 million workers are on strike; France is practically paralysed.
Paris, April, 1871
The term "Paris Commune" originally referred to the government of Paris during the French Revolution. However, the term more commonly refers to the socialist government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 (more formally from March 26) to May 28, 1871.
The Paris Commune 1871
April 12, 1871
This morning, April 11 at 7:00, the cannons still rumbled, but the defenders of the Commune, solidly set up in their positions, have nothing to fear from the enemy.
The damages they caused have been repaired.
The well-commanded National Guard is full of confidence,
All worry has ceased.
Formidable barricades are going up from the Porte de Neuilly to the Champs Elysées.
All is calm at our forward positions.
Our lines are stronger than ever and ready to support an attack by the Versaillais, if one dared to occur.
When on March 18 the people of Paris made a revolution to the cry of "Long Live the Commune" it was in order to re-conquer all civil, political and economic rights, to preserve its weapons, its rifles and cannons that had served to defend Paris against the foreigner and which must, by remaining in its hands, ensure all the conquests of the Revolution.
So let the men of Versailles not come here talking of granting us a municipality of Paris, for that is not what it's a question of.
We want, we'll have, we have proclaimed and founded the great Paris Commune. We will maintain it, we know how to defend it, to se it triumph, or to die for it.
This morning the royalists began again the attack on Clamart. The fighting is rapidly spreading. Like yesterday, it is the fort of Issy that appears to be the objective of their movements.
MacMahon commands the Versaillais, the movement was foreseen yesterday by general Dombrowski. He is carrying out strategic movements that will make the enemy dearly pay for his brazen aggression.
The word had spread in Paris that General Eudes had been wounded. We are in a position to formally deny this information.
Genral Eudes paid with his person in yesterday's combat, but happily he is safe and sound.
The gendarmes, the police, and the Chouans of Charette and Cathelinau were less vigorous in this morning's attack. Yesterday's defeat demoralized them a bit.
We are actively working at transforming the Place de la Concorde into an entrenched camp. We have already begun digging deep entrenchments at the entries of the main streets, at the Quai Cours-de-la-reine, the Rue Royale, and the Rue de Rivoli, which will be blocked by high and solid barricades.
Other works will be executed around the Champs Elysées.
April 14, 1871
Since last night we are in complete possession of Neuilly, where General Dombrowski yesterday began a full-fledged siege. The chouans have been dislodged from all their positions, and our columns, ready to go on the offensive, at the hour we go to press occupy the bridgehead.
The Paris Commune,
Considering that the imperial column is a barbaric monument, a symbol of brute force and false glory, an affirmation of militarism, a negation of international law, a permanent insult on the part of the victors to the vanquished, a perpetual attack on one of the three great principles of the French republic, Fraternity,
Sole article: The Column of the Place Vendome shall be demolished
The Paris Commune
Since yesterday Artillery Captain Caillau has taken command at the Porte de Maillot.
He has excited to the highest degree the zeal of the soldiers in charge of the pieces.
But in another area he is poorly seconded, for having asked for workers to repair during the night the damages caused by the enemy batteries, he didn't obtain what he asked for.
A few engineering officers came, but they established a barricade at the rear of the Porte de Maillot that is ridiculous as a form of defense, and at the same time very dangerous for the besieged, for it is entirely made of stone, so when a shell falls on it many pieces of stone are thrown out in all directions.
April 15, 1871
At midnight the enemy attacked the fort of Vanves and was pushed back. At the current time all is calm
— G. Cluseret
The Commune authorizes Citizen Gustave Courbet, president of the Painters, named in General Assembly, to as quickly as possible reestablish the museums of the city of Paris in their normal state, to open the galleries to the public, and to encourage the work usually done there.
To this effect the Commune authorizes 46 delegates, who shall be named tomorrow Thursday, April 13, at a public session at the school of Medicine (Great Amphitheatre) at exactly 2:00.
In addition, it authorizes Citizen Courbet, as well as the assembly, to reestablish, with the same urgency, the annual exhibit on the Champs Elysées.
Paris April 12, 1871
The Executive Commission
Avrial, F. Cournet, Celescluze, Felix Pyat, G. Tridon, E. Vaillaint, Vermorel
April 16, 1871
April 15 7:30 am: The commandant of the fort of Grand Montrouge and General Eudes announce that they successfully fought all night, that they pushed back five enemy attacks.
A large artillery detachment will be joining the garrison of the fort.
Yesterday at 1:00 pm a Company of Vengeurs de Paris passed on the Boulevard Monmartre, escorting a hearse decorated with red flags transporting to Pére Lachaise Cemetery the mortal remains of a young man of 17, Duval, who signed up to fight against the government of Versailles and killed in combat the day before yesterday at the forward positions of Moulin-de-Pierre, before Issy.
Mortally struck by two bullets to the head, this courageous and valiant child of Paris fell while crying out: Vive la France, Vive la Commune!
The construction has begun on the scaffolding that will be used in dismantling the Vendome Column.
April 17, 1871
Theatre directors went yesterday to the Commune asking for authorization to open their theatres to organize benefit performances for the widows and orphans of those who have died for the Republic.
The request was favorably received. The Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin will open the march and in a few days will put on a brilliant show with the participation of the principal artists of the capital.
April 18, 1871
Letter from General Dombrowski: April 16, 1871
The siege of Neuilly advances little by little.
We have occupied the whole of a new quarter, taken three barricades.
At one of them we took a flag of the Pontifical Zouaves and from another one that seems to be American.
The parquets of houses taken, covered with large pools of blood, bear witness to the fact that the enemy suffered great losses.
In order to more vigorously carry out the operations I need more men, artillery and munitions.
The troops' sprits are good. The National Guard is making progress, and is getting used to fire, privations, and shows a remarkable enthusiasm.
Salut et Fraternité
In order to avoid accidents on the streets of Paris the former rule on horsemen is once again in effect.
It is forbidden to all horsemen, military staff officer or civilian, to circulate at a gallop on the streets of Paris.
The National Guard, the civil police, and the population are charged with execution of the present order and the arrest of delinquents.
The commanding general of the place: P-O.
April 19, 1871
Three small attacks on Vanves and Issy
All is well
Very calm night
The Versaillais were pushed back yesterday at 2:00 in the morning.
They had attempted an attack on the fédérés who still occupy Asnières. We had the sorrow of losing a Mexican general who had spontaneously put his sword at the service of the Commune.
April 20, 1871
The Citizen Delegate for War learns that barricades are being constructed the plans of which haven't been submitted to him, and that promises of high salaries are being made for this work. These high salaries will not be paid.
At Neuilly yesterday the affair was lively. But General Dombrowski arrived, and soon everyone was in place, the National Guard assembled, the officers led their men and the positions were retaken.
The Professional Chamber of Tailors:
In order to respond to the decree of the Paris Commune of April 16, the chamber believes itself obliged to make a fraternal appeal to the professional chambers of workers, as well as all the existing workers' societies, in order to immediately convoke a meeting to name delegates charged with carrying out an inquiry on the organization of labor, which is called for by said decree.
Never has a more favorable occasion been offered by a government to the laboring class. To abstain would be to betray the cause of the emancipation of labor.
April 21, 1871
Yesterday was extremely satisfactory.
The attacks by the Versaillais were pushed back at all points.
The National Guard took a magazine of military equipment and provisions at Asnières.
The losses of the Versaillais were out of all proportion to ours.
Versaillais dress as National Guards and fire from houses.
April 22, 1871
8:00 a.m. — Firing begins again with a new fury.
100 shots are fired precipitously. The barricade of the Rue Peronnet, behind which the Versaillais are sheltered with machine guns, has just been penetrated.
The boutique of Citizen Claise, dairyman, was set on fire by a cannon ball.
The artillerymen are heroic.
The Commune has just published its program, which the reactionary journals have been calling for in the hope that it will be embarrassed to formulate it.
This program, as simple as it is practical, reasonable, and moderate, will remain in history as the most beautiful moment of good sense and practical capacity that the working class has ever demonstrated.
It would have been impossible to more clearly formulate, with greater precision and clarity, the demands of the Parisian populace, and we are convinced that this program will have the marvelous effect of rallying to the Commune the great majority of the population of Paris... From this point on, the cause defended so courageously by Paris has been won in public opinion. And since it is after all this latter that triumphs, we have no doubt in the definitive success of the Commune.
April 23, 1871
The enemy is losing ground with every passing minute. His fire has been extinguished at several points.
We become aware of the retreat of the Versaillais by the aim of their projectiles.
The projectiles land further and further from our ramparts.
April 24, 1871
Neuilly: Calm night. 7:30- a strong fusillade opens the engagement.
The fighting is lively and the melee is about to become general when the 1st Belleville Battery arrived at the theatre of action and fired at a short distance.
The Versaillais disperse and flee in all directions.
April 25, 1871
The newspapers have published that the Central Committee, having fulfilled its mission, has dissolved itself. This story is completely false. Like the National Guard, of which it is emanation, can only disappear along with liberty. It hopes that this response will suffice for its detractors.
April 26, 1871
It is said in the newspaper of Citizen Jules Vallès:
In the garden of the Legion of Honor more than 500 kilos of silverware were found buried that General Eudes had sent to the mint.
April 27, 1871
7:30:The fusillade begins, the cannon roars and the machineguns crackle.
The fight is engaged from the Porte Maillot to Asnières.
8:00 - The firing becomes more intense, the machine guns play a more active role.
The fédérés advance, causing great losses to the enemy.
All is well.
Project for a decree:
The Paris Commune:
Considering that the calumnies that are circulating among a certain public are of a nature to hinder defense and to raise the provinces up against Paris;
Given that the defenders of Paris are accused of pillage by agents provocateurs;
Given that in a well-constituted government police work should be done by the people themselves;
Art. 1 - Any citizen spreading word of pillage without immediately denouncing it to the authorities will be arrested, and if the fact is false, punished as a slanderer.
Art. 2 - Any citizen suspected of knowing of a true case of pillage and who will not have made this known to the competent authorities, shall be arrested as an accomplice and condemned to the same penalty as those truly guilty.
Art. 3 - The National Guard is charged with the execution of the present decree.
April 28, 1871
The Commune was proclaimed at Le Mans.
The garrison fraternized with the people.
Two regiments that were called for from Rennes in order to suppress the people of Le Mans did the same.
Cuirassiers arrived. Surrounded by the people they were forced to lay down their arms.
April 29, 1871
The bombardments from the forts in the south continue.
We respond vigorously and keep at a distance the Versaillais who are sheltered behind the woods of Clamart and Chatillon.
All night the detonations from both camps rivaled each other in intensity.
April 30, 1871
War to the Executive:
I return from visiting Issy and Vanves. The defense of the fort d'Issy is heroic. The fort is literally covered in projectiles. While at the fort of Vanves I witnessed a ferocious musket combat between Versaillais. It lasted three quarters of an hour. Meudon is in flames.
The executive commission,
In execution of a decree relative to night work in the bakeries.
After having consulted the bakers, owners and workers,
Art. 1 — Night work is forbidden in bakeries effective Wednesday May 3;
Art. 2 — Work cannot start before 5:00 am.
Art. 3 — The Delegate for Public services is charged with the execution of the present decree.
Paris April 28, 1871.
The fight continues across the entire line.
Yesterday a lively affair took place at the bridge of Ansières, from which the Versaillais were forced to abandon by retreating to the station.
The Freemasons from the suburban communes, banners at their head, passed through the gates to go to the demonstration which is to take place at 10:00 in the courtyard of the Louvre.
Everywhere their passing is saluted.
Their arrival produces an indescribable enthusiasm.
So compact is the crowd that circulation on the Rue de Rivoli is completely stopped.
100,000 men are there.
We shall see if Thiers will stay say that this is a handful of dissidents.
Paris, June, 1848
The Republican Government got time to mature its plans against republicanism, and to organise its military force against labour. Thousands of workers were taken on in the workshops, and middle class poets talked enthusiastically and sang ecstatically about the Era of Labour. But all the time the government was quietly drafting its forces into Paris, removing from Paris all the city regiments and replacing them with battalions from remote country districts, perfecting its artillery, and calmly preparing to crush the workers should they persist in their idea that the Republic ought to regard them as its children, not as its slaves. Eventually when all was ready the government began to dismiss men in thousands from the National Workshops, and to form brigades of workers to be removed from Paris ostensibly to work at canal construction in the provinces.
One of these brigades was formed of 14,000 men, almost all of whom were Parisians, and members of various local Labour clubs. In addition to this wholesale removal of workers to unfamiliar provinces, the government on the 22nd June, 1848, summarily dismissed 3,000 more on the pretence that they were not born in Paris, and ordered them to leave the city at once. Money and tickets were supplied to them to pay their lodgings along the road to their birthplaces.
Out of this deportation sprung the Insurrection of June, 1848.
About 400 of the deported workmen returned to the city that evening and paraded the streets, calling upon their comrades to resist the plot of the government to destroy the Labour forces. In the morning the sound of the generale, the popular drum beat to arms, was sounded, and barricades began to be erected in the streets. All the working class districts rapidly rose, and the insurgents fortified their quarters so rapidly and skilfully that it was quite evident that astute minds had been busy amongst them preparing to meet the schemes of the government.
At the Porte St. Denis the fighting began. The barricade here was stormed alter the soldiers had been twice beaten off. At the Porte St. Martin and at several other points similar fights took place, at each of them the soldiery stormed the barricade. But at each of them it was found that after the barricade had become untenable the insurgents were able to fall back behind others that had been prepared for the purpose, and when the troops sought to pursue them they were met by a galling and terrible fire from all the side streets and houses. The insurgents had seized houses which commanded the passage of the streets, but were still so retired that they could not be swept from the front, and had prepared their house in the most scientific manner. The front walls were loopholed, the entrances were barricaded with furniture, boxes, trunks, and obstacles of all kinds, the party walls were cut through so that only one man at a time could pass, and as fast as one house was taken in desperate hand-to-hand fighting they retired through this passage to the next.
Some of the houses were compared to rabbit warrens, full of holes and galleries, and in every corner death was waiting for the soldiers. Windows were blocked with mattresses and sandbags, and marksmen fired from behind them, and women were busy casting bullets, raining slates and stones on the heads of the troops, carrying arms, and tending the wounded.
Before nightfall the troops had been driven back at numerous points, and the roar of artillery was heard all over the city.
Next morning it was found that most of the barricades destroyed during the day had been erected again during the night. To enumerate here the places and districts fortified would be a useless display of names, but sufficient to say that the insurgents had drawn a huge semi-circle around a vast portion of Paris, had erected barricades in a practically continuous line all along their front, had carefully prepared the houses and buildings at tactically strong points, arid were now applying to their service everything within their lines that foresight or prudence could suggest.
Two great buildings served as headquarters in the various districts. The headquarters of the North were in the Temple, those of the South in the Pantheon, and in the centre the Hospital of the Hotel Dicu had been seized and held as the strategical bureau of the whole insurrection.
Meanwhile the soldiers in overwhelming numbers were being rushed to Paris from all the provincial centres, and as France was then at peace with all foreign powers the whole force of the army was available. General Cavaignac issued a proclamation that
“if at noon the barricades are not removed, mortars and howitzers will be brought by which shells will be thrown, which will explode behind the barricades and in the apartments of the houses occupied by the insurgents.”
No one heeded his threat, and on the next day the fighting re-commenced. But the shortage of ammunition on the part of the insurgents told heavily against them, and in addition, as the government had all along planned, the soldiers brought to Paris outnumbered the armed men in revolt, as well as being possessed of all the advantage of a secure source of supplies.
The first fighting at the Clos St. Lazare was typical of the whole and therefore the following description from the pen of an eye-witness is worth reproducing. He says:–
“The barricades in advance of the harriers were as formidable as regular engineers would have constructed, and were built of paving stones of a hundredweight each, and blocks of building stone cut for building a hospital, and weighing tons. The houses covering them were occupied. The tall houses at the barriers were occupied and the windows removed. The houses on the opposite side of the Boulevard were, moreover, in the possession of the rebels and manned with marksmen. What formed, however, the strength of their position was the perforation of the wall of the city which is twelve or fourteen feet high, at intervals of eight or ten yards for a mile in length, with several hundred loopholes of about six inches in diameter. During all Saturday and Sunday a constant and deadly fine was kept up from these loopholes on troops who could hardly see their opponents.
“The defenders ran from loophole to loophole with the agility of monkeys. They only left the cover of the high wall to seek ammunition, of which they had only a scanty and precarious supply.”
It was only when the insurgents’ ammunition gave out that the artillery became formidable. Then it was able to pound to ruins the building in which the insurgents were awaiting their attack, and to gradually occupy the district so cleared of its defenders.
By the 25th June all fighting had ceased in Paris. The isolation of that city from all provincial support, combined with the overwhelming number of the soldiery had won the day.
Paris, May 1789
05-05-1789 The French Estates-General meets at Versaille, the first such meeting since 1614.(*)
06-17-1789 The Third Estate (commoners) of the Estates-General meets separately and declares itself to be a National Assembly. King Louis XVI closed their meeting place, so they repair to the tennis court at the Louvre (Jeu de Paume). (*)
06-20-1789 Members of the National Assembly take oath not to disband until a constitution is established.
06-27-1789 Louis XVI legalizes the National Assembly, permitting all three estates to meet together and vote per capita.(*)
07-14-1789 Parisian mob storms Bastille Castle, then functioning as a royal prison, hoping to find arms. The mob kills its governor, the Marquis de Launey, and releases its seven prisoners (none of whom are political prisoners). (*)
08-04-1789 During the night, equality of rights throughout France is proclaimed. (*)
08-14-1789 Nobles and clergy in the National Assembly, out of fear, renounce their privileges, thus ending feudalism in France.(*)
August, 1789 Adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen. (*)
10-05-1789 Parisian mob marches on Versailles. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are relocated to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, where they are confined.
06-20-1791 to 06-21-1791 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempt to flee in disguise from France, but are apprehended at Varennes, and are brought back to Paris.(*)
Will France endure a period of madness and riot? Will the French pay off the Muslims? What about April of 2007? And April, 2008? And April, 2009?