Works of Frederick Engels 1845

The Festival of Nations in London
(To celebrate the Establishment of the French Republic, Sep 22, 1792)[1]

Source: MECW Volume 6, p. 3;
Written: at the end of 1845;
First published: in Rheinische Jahrbücher zur gesellschaftlichen Reform, 1846.

“What do the nations matter to us? What does the French Republic matter to us? Did we not long ago grasp the notion of nations and did we not determine the place of each of them; did we not assign to the Germans the sphere of theory, to the French that of politics, and to the English that of civil society? And the more so the French Republic! What is there to celebrate about a stage of development which has long been superseded, which has abolished. itself as a result of its own consequences! If you want to give us some information about England it would be better if you described the latest phase that the socialist principle has reached there; tell us if one-sided English socialism still does not recognise how far it is below our principled heights and how it can claim to be only a phase [Ein Moment] and an obsolete one at that!”

Keep calm, dear Germany. The nations and the French Republic matter a great deal to us.

The fraternisation of nations, as it is now being carried out everywhere by the extreme proletarian party in contrast to the old instinctive national egoism and to the hypocritical private-egotistical cosmopolitanism of free trade, is worth more than all the German theories of true socialism put together.

The fraternisation of nations under the banner of modern democracy, as it began from the French Revolution and developed into French communism and English Chartism, shows that the masses and their representatives know better than the German theoreticians how things stand.

“But this has nothing whatever to do with what we are discussing. Who is talking about fraternisation, as it.... etc., about democracy, as it..., etc.? We are talking about the fraternisation of nations in and for itself, about the fraternisation of nations, about Democracy, about democracy pure and simple, about democracy as such. Have you completely forgotten your Hegel?”

“We are not Romans, we smoke tobacco.” [Heinrich Heine, “Zur Beruhigung"] We are not talking about the anti-nationalist movement now developing in the world, we are talking about the abrogation of nationalities through the medium of pure thought — assisted by fantasy in the absence of facts — happening in our head. We are not talking about real democracy which the whole of Europe is hastening to embrace and which is a quite special democracy, different from all previous democracies. We are talking about a quite different democracy which represents the mean between Greek, Roman, American and French democracy, in short about the concept of democracy. We are not talking about the things which belong to the nineteenth century, and which are bad and ephemeral, but about categories which are eternal and which existed before “the mountains were brought forth”. Briefly, we are not discussing what is being talked about but something quite different.

To sum up: when English people, French people and those Germans who take part in the practical movement but are not theoreticians nowadays talk about democracy and the fraternisation of nations, this should not be understood simply in a political sense. Such fantasies still exist only among the German theoreticians and a few foreigners who don’t count. In reality these words now have a social meaning in which the political meaning is dissolved. The Revolution itself was something quite different from a struggle for this or that form of State, as people in Germany still quite frequently imagine that it was. The connection of most insurrections of that time with famine, the significance which the provisioning of the capital and the distribution of supplies assumed already from 1789 onwards, the maximum, the laws against buying up food supplies, the battle cry of the revolutionary armies — “Guerre aux palais, paix aux chaumières[War to the palaces, peace to the cottages] — the testimony of the Carmagnole[2] according to which Republicans must have du pain [Bread] as well as du fer [Arms] and du coeur [Heart, courage] — and a hundred other obvious superficialities already prove, without any more detailed investigation of the facts, how greatly democracy differed at that time from a mere political organisation. As it is it is well known that the Constitution of 1793 and the terror originated with the party which derived its support from the insurgent proletariat, that Robespierre’s overthrow signified the victory of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat, that Babeuf’s conspiracy for equality revealed the final consequences of the democracy of ‘93 — insofar as these were at all possible at that time. [3] The French Revolution was a social movement from beginning to end, and after it a purely political democracy became a complete absurdity.

Democracy nowadays is communism. Any other democracy can only still, exist in the heads of theoretical visionaries who are not concerned with real events, in whose view it is not the men and the circumstances that develop the principles but the principles develop of themselves. Democracy has become the proletarian principle, the principle of the masses. The masses may be more or less clear about this, the only correct meaning of democracy, but all have at least an obscure feeling that social equality of rights is implicit in democracy. The democratic masses can be safely included in any calculation of the strength of the communist forces. And if the proletarian parties of the different nations unite they will be quite right to inscribe the word “Democracy” on their banners, since, except for those who do not count, all European democrats in 1846 are more or less Communists at heart.

Despite the fact of the French Republic having been “superseded”, the Communists of all countries are fully justified in celebrating it. Firstly, all the nations which were stupid enough to let themselves be used to fight against the Revolution have owed the French a apology ever since they realised what a sottise [stupidity] they committed loyalty; secondly, the whole European social movement today the second act of the revolution, only the preparation for the dénouement of the drama which began in Paris in 1789, and now has the whole of Europe for its stage; thirdly, it is time, in our cowardly, selfish, beggarly, bourgeois epoch, to remember those great years en a whole people all at once threw aside all cowardice, selfishness and beggarliness, when there were men courageous enough to defy the law, who shrank from nothing and whose iron energy ensured that from May 31, 1793 to July 26, 1794 [4] not a single coward, petty shopkeeper or stockjobber, in short, not a single bourgeois dared to show his face in the whole of France. It is really necessary at a time when European peace is held together by a Rothschild, when a cousin Köchlin screams about protective tariffs, and a Cobden about free trade, and when a Diergardt preaches the salvation of sinful humanity through associations for raising up the working classes[5] — in truth it is necessary to remember Marat and Danton, Saint-Just and Babeuf, and the joy over victories at Jemappes and Fleurus.[6] If that mighty epoch, these iron characters, did not still tower over our mercenary world, then humanity must indeed despair and throw itself into the arms of a cousin Köchlin, a Cobden or a Diergardt.

Finally, fraternisation between nations has today, more than ever a purely social significance. The fantasies about a European Republic, perpetual peace under political organisation, have become just as ridiculous as the phrases about uniting the nations under the aegis of universal free trade, and while all such chimerical sentimentalities become completely irrelevant, the proletarians of all nations, without too much ceremony, are already really beginning to fraternise under the banner of communist democracy. And the proletarians are the only ones who are really able to do this; for the bourgeoisie in each country has its own special interests, and since these interests are the most important to it, it can never transcend nationality; and the few theoreticians achieve nothing with all their fine “principles” because they simply allow these contradictory interests — like everything else — to continue to exist and can do nothing but talk. But the proletarians in all countries have one and the same interest, one and the same enemy, and one and the same struggle. The great mass of proletarians are, by their very nature, free from national prejudices and their whole disposition and movement is essentially humanitarian, anti-nationalist. Only the proletarians can destroy nationality, only the awakening proletariat can bring about fraternisation between the different nations.

The following facts will confirm everything I have just said.

On August 10, 1845, a similar festival was held in London to celebrate a triple anniversary — that of the revolution of 1792, the proclamation of the Constitution of 1793, and the founding of the “Democratic Association” by the most radical wing of the English movement of 1838-39.[7]

This most radical wing consisted of Chartists, proletarians as might be expected, but people who clearly grasped the aim of the Chartist movement and strove to speed it up. While the great mass of the Chartists was still concerned at that time only with the transfer of state power to the working class, and few had the time to reflect on the use of this power, the members of this Association, which played an important role in the agitation of that time, were unanimous in this: — they were first of all republicans, and moreover, republicans who put forward as their creed the Constitution of ‘93, rejected all ties with the bourgeoisie, even with the petty bourgeoisie, and defended the principle that the oppressed have the right to use the same means against their oppressors as the latter use against them. But this was not all; they were not only republicans but Communists, and irreligious Communists at that. The Association’s collapse followed that of the revolutionary agitation of 1838-39; but its effectiveness was not wasted and it greatly contributed to stimulating the energy of the Chartist movement and to developing its latent communist elements. Communist as well as cosmopolitan[8] principles were already voiced at this festival of August 10; social as well as political equality were demanded and a toast to the democrats of all nations was taken up with enthusiasm.

Efforts to bring together the radicals of different nations had already been made earlier in London. These attempts failed, partly because of divisions among the English democrats and the foreigners’ ignorance of them, partly because of differences of principle between the party leaders of different nations. The obstacle to all unification, due to difference of nationality, is so great that even foreigners who had lived in London for years, no matter how much they sympathised with English democracy, knew little or nothing about the movement going on before their eyes, or of the real state of affairs, confused the radical bourgeois with the radical proletarians and wished to bring the most confirmed enemies together at the same meeting. The English were led to similar mistakes, partly because of this and partly because of national mistrust, mistakes all the more easily made since the success of such a discussion inevitably depended on the greater or lesser agreement amongst a few top committee members who were rarely personally acquainted. These individuals had been most unfortunately selected on the previous occasions and consequently the matter had soon lapsed again. But the need for such fraternisation was too pressing. Every attempt that faded acted as a spur to new efforts. When some of the democratic spokesmen in London grew weary of the matter others took their places. Last August new approaches were made, which this time were not fruitless,[9] and a celebration on September 22, organised by other people, was used to proclaim publicly the alliance of democrats of all nations living in London.

Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Poles and Swiss came together at this meeting. Hungary and Turkey, too, were represented by one-man contingents. The three greatest nations of civilised Europe — the English, German and French — provided the speakers and were very worthily represented. The Chairman was, of course, an Englishman, Thomas Cooper “the Chartist” who served nearly two years in prison for his part in the insurrection of 1842 [10] and while in gaol wrote an epic poem [Th. Cooper, The Purgatory of Suicides] a in the style of Childe Harold which is highly praised by the English critics. The main English speaker of the evening was George Julian Harney, co-editor of The Northern Star for the past two years. The Northern Star is the Chartist paper established in 1837 by O'Connor, which has become in every way one of the best journals in Europe since it has been under the joint editorship of J. Hobson and Harney. I only know a few small Paris workers’ papers such as the Union which can compare with it. Harney himself is a true proletarian who has been in the movement since his youth, one of the chief members of the Democratic Association of 1838-39 already mentioned (he presided at the Festival of August 10), and, with Hobson, undoubtedly one of the best English writers, a fact which I hope to demonstrate to the Germans some day. Harney is perfectly clear about the aim of the European movement and completely à la hauteur des principes [abreast of principles] although he knows nothing about the German theories of true socialism. The main credit for the organisation of this cosmopolitan festival was his; he was tireless in bringing the various nationalities together, in removing misunderstandings and in overcoming personal differences.

The toast proposed by Harney was:

“The solemn memory of the honest and virtuous French Republicans of 1792: may that equality which they desired, and for which they lived, laboured, and died, have a speedy resurrection in France, and extend its reign throughout Europe.”

Harney, who was received with cheers, again and again renewed, said:

“'Mere was a time, [Mr. Chairman,] when the holding of such a celebration as this would have subjected the parties assembled not only to the scorn, the sneers, the abuse, and the persecution of the. privileged orders, but also to the violence of the ignorant and misguided people, who were led by their rulers and priests to regard the French Revolution as something terrible and hellish, to be looked back upon with horror, and spoken of with execration. [Hear, hear.] Most present will remember that not long ago, whenever a demand was made in this country for the repeal of any bad law, or the enactment of any good one, forthwith the howl of ‘Jacobinism!’ was raised [by the opponents of all progress]. Whether it was proposed to reform the Parliament, reduce taxation, educate the people, or do anything else that at all savoured of progress, the ‘French Revolution’, ‘Reign of Terror’, and all the rest of the raw-head and bloody-bones phantasmagoria were sure to be brought out and duly exhibited to frighten the big babies in breeches, who as yet had not learned to think for themselves. (Laughter and cheers.) That time is past; still, I question whether we have yet learned to read aright the history of that great revolution. It would be very easy for me in responding to this toast to mouth a few clap-trap sentiments about liberty, equality, the rights of man, the coalition of the European kings, and the doings of Pitt and Brunswick. I might dilate on all these topics, and possibly might win applause for what would probably pass muster as an exceedingly liberal speech. I might do all this, and yet very conveniently for myself shirk the grand question. The grand question, it appears to me, the solution of which the French Revolution had for its mission, was the destruction of inequality, and the establishment of institutions which should guarantee to the French people that happiness which the masses are, and ever have been strangers to. [Cheers.] Now, tried by this test, we have comparatively little difficulty in arriving at a fair estimate of the men who figured on the stage of the revolution. Take Lafayette, for instance, as a specimen of the Constitutionalists; and be, perhaps, is the most honest and best man of the whole party. Few men have enjoyed more popularity than Lafayette. In his youth we find him leaving his country, and generously embarking in the American struggle against English tyranny. The great work of American liberation being accomplished, he returned to France, and shortly afterwards we find him one of the foremost men in the revolution which now commenced in his own country. Again, in his old age, we see him the most popular man in France, called, after the ‘three days’,[11] to the veritable dictatorship, and unmaking and making kings with a single word. Lafayette enjoyed, throughout Europe and America, a greater popularity than perhaps any other man of his time; and that popularity he would have deserved, if his conduct had been consistent with his first acts in the revolution. But Lafayette was never the friend of equality. (Hear, hear.) True, at the outset, he gave up his feudal privileges, and renounced his title — and thus far he did well. Placed at the head of the popular force, the idol of the middle class, and commanding the affection of even the working class, he was for a time regarded as the champion of the revolution. But he halted when he should have advanced. The working men soon found out that all that the destruction of the Bastille and the abolition of feudal privileges had accomplished, was the curbing of the power of the king [Louis XVI] and the aristocracy, and increasing the power of the middle class. But the people were not content with this — they demanded liberty and rights for themselves (cheers) — they wanted what we wanta veritable equality. (Loud cheers.) When Lafayette saw this, he turned Conservative, and was a revolutionise no longer. It was he who proposed the adoption of martial law, to authorise the shooting and sabring of the people, in the event of any tumult, at a time, too, when the people were suffering under absolute famine; and under this martial law, Lafayette himself superintended the butchery of the people when [they] assembled in the Champ de Mars, on the 17th of July, 1791, to petition the Assembly against the reinvestiture of the king with supreme power, after his shameful flight to Varennes. Subsequently Lafayette dared to menace Paris with his sword, and proposed to shut up the public clubs by armed violence. After the 10th of August [12] he strove to excite the soldiers under his command to march against Paris, but they, better patriots than he was, refused, and he then fled, and renounced the revolution. Yet Lafayette was perhaps the best man of all the Constitutionalists, but neither he nor his party come within the compass of our toast, for they were not even republicans in name. They professed to recognise the sovereignty of the people, at the same time that they divided the citizens into active and inactive, confining to the payers of direct taxes, whom they called active citizens, the right of the suffrage. In short, Lafayette and the Constitutionalists were mere Whigs, but little, if anything, better than the men who humbugged us with the Reform Bill. (Cheers.) Next come the Girondists; and this is the party generally upheld as the ‘honest and virtuous republicans’, but I must differ with those who hold that opinion. It is impossible to refuse them the tribute of our admiration for their talents; the eloquence which distinguished the leaders of this party, accompanied in some instances by stern integrity, as in the case of Roland; by heroic devotion, as in the case of Madame Roland; and by fiery enthusiasm, as in the case of Barbaroux [.... ] And we cannot, at least I speak for myself — I cannot read of the shocking and untimely end of a Madame Roland, or the philosopher Condorcet, without intense emotion. Still the Girondists were not the men to whom the people could look to rescue them from social slavery. That there were good men amongst the Girondists, cannot be doubted — that they were honest to their own convictions, may be admitted. That many of them were ignorant rather than guilty, may he charitably believed, though to believe this we must believe it only of those who perished; for were we to judge of the party by those who survived what is commonly called the ‘reign of terror’, we should be forced to the conclusion that a baser gang never existed. These survivors of that party aided in destroying the constitution of ‘93, established the aristocratical constitution of ‘95, conspired with the other aristocratic factions to exterminate the real Republicans, and finally helped to place France under the tyranny of the military usurper Napoleon. (Hear, hear.) The eloquence of the Girondists has been highly lauded; but we stern and uncompromising Democrats cannot consent to admire them simply because they were eloquent. Indeed, if we were to do so, we should award the highest honours to the corrupt and aristocratical Mirabeau. When the people, rising for liberty, bursting the shackles of fourteen hundred years’ slavery, abandoned their homes to combat against the domestic conspirator, and the foreign invader, they required something more than the eloquent speeches and fine woven theories of the Girondists to sustain them. ‘Bread. steel. and equality’, was the demand of the people. (Cheers.) Bread for their famishing families, steel with which to beat back the cohorts of the surrounding despots, and equality as the end of their labours and the reward of their sacrifices. (Great cheering.) The Girondists, however, regarded the people, to quote the words of Thomas Carlyle, as mere ‘explosive masses to blow up bastilles with’ [Th. Carlyle, The French Revolution: a History. Vol. III] — to be used as tools and treated as slaves. They hesitated between Royalism and Democracy, vainly hoping to cheat eternal justice by a compromise.... They fell, and their fall was merited. The men of energy trampled them down — the people swept them away. Of the several sections of the party of the Mountain, I shall only say that I find none of them but Robespierre and his friends worthy of any commendation. (Great cheering.) The greater number of the Mountainists were brigands, who, only anxious to obtain for themselves the spoils of the Revolution, cared nothing for the people by whose toil, suffering, and courage the revolution had been achieved. These desperadoes, using the language of the friends of equality, and for a time siding with them against the Constitutionalists and the Girondists, so soon as they had acquired power, exhibited themselves in their true characters, and henceforth stood the avowed and deadly enemies of equality. By this faction Robespierre was overthrown and assassinated, and Saint-Just, Couthon, and all the leading friends of that incorruptible legislator were doomed to death. Not content with destroying the friends of equality, the assassins loaded their names with the most infamous calumnies, hesitating not to charge upon their victims the very crimes which they themselves had committed. I know it is unfashionable h as yet to regard Robespierre in any other light than as a monster [hear, hear]: but I believe the day is coming when a very different view will be taken of the character of that extraordinary man. [Great cheering.] I would not deify Robespierre; I do not hold him up as having been all-perfect; but to me he appears to have been one of the very few leading characters of the Revolution who saw what were the means necessary to adopt to extirpate political and social wrong. I have no time to comment on the characters of the indomitable Marat, and that magnificent embodiment of republican chivalry St. Just. Nor have I time to speak of the excellent legislative measures that characterised the energetic rule of Robespierre. I have said the day will come when justice will be done to his name. (Cheers.) ... But, to me, the best proof of the real character of Robespierre, is to be found in the universal regret felt for his loss by the honest democrats who survived him — by those too amongst them, who, mistaking his intentions, had been seduced into favouring his destruction, but who, when too late, bitterly rued their folly. Babeuf was one of these, the originator of the famous conspiracy known by his name. That conspiracy had for its object the establishment of a veritable republic, in which the selfishness of individualism should be known no more — (cheers); in which, private property and money, the foundation and root of all wrong and evil, should cease to be (cheers); and in which the happiness of all should be based upon the common labour and equal enjoyments of all. (Great cheering.) These glorious men pursued their glorious object to the death. Babeuf and Darthé scaled their belief with their blood, and Buonarroti, through years of imprisonment, penury and old age, persevered to the last in his advocacy of the great principles which we this night dare to vindicate. Nor should I omit mention of those heroic deputies Romme, Soubrany, Duroy, Duquesnoy and their compatriots, who, condemned to death by the traitor aristocrats of the Convention, heroically slew themselves in front of, and in contempt of their assassins, performing this self-tragedy with a single blade which they passed from hand to hand. So much for the first part of our toast. The second part demands but a few words from me, as it will be best spoken by the French patriots who are present. That the principles of equality will have a glorious resurrection, I cannot doubt; indeed, that resurrection they have already had, not merely in the shape of Republicanism, but Communism, for communist societies, I believe, cover France at the present day; but that I leave to my friend Dr. Fontaine and his fellow-countrymen to speak of. I rejoice much that those worthy patriots are here. They will witness tonight proofs of the absurdity of the tirades uttered against the English people by the war-party of France.[13] (Cheers.) We repudiate these national antipathies. We loathe and scorn those barbarous clap-traps, ‘natural enemies’, ‘hereditary foe” and national glory’ (Loud cheers) We denounce all wars, except those into which nations may be forced against domestic oppressors or hostile invaders. (Applause). More than that, we repudiate the word ‘foreigner’ it shall exist not in our democratic vocabulary. (Great cheering.) We may belong to the English, or French, or Italian, or German section of the European family, but Young Europe is our common designation, and under its banner we march against tyranny and inequality.” (Long, enthusiastic applause.)

After a German Communist [Joseph Moll] had sung the Marseillaise, Wilhelm Weitling proposed the second toast :

“Young Europe. Repudiating the jealousies and national antipathies of the past, may the Democrats of all nations unite in a fraternal phalanx for the destruction of tyranny, and the universal triumph of equality.”

Weitling, who was received with great enthusiasm, read the following speech, since he does not speak fluent English:

“Friends! This meeting is a testimony of that common feeling which warms every man’s breast, the feeling of universal brotherhood. Yes! Though we are educated to differ one from the other in the use of sounds as the natural means to express and communicate this inner feeling to each other, though the exchange of this feeling is hindered by the differences of language, though thousands of prejudices are united and directed by our common adversaries rather to oppose than to promote a better understanding, an universal brotherhood; yet, notwithstanding all these obstacles, that strong, charitable, and salutary feeling cannot be extinguished. (Cheers.) That feeling that attracts the sufferer to his fellow-sufferer, the struggler for a better state of things to his fellow-struggler. (Cheers.) Those also were our fellow-strugglers whose revolution we this night commemorate; they also were animated by the same sympathies which bring us together, and which possibly may lead us to a similar, and let me hope, a more successful struggle. (Loud cheers.) In times of movement, when the privileges of our native adversaries run great risk, they cunningly try to lead our prejudices over the frontiers of our national fatherland, representing to us that the people there are opposed to our common interest. What a trick! What a fraud! But, reflecting coolly on the matter, we know very well that our nearest enemies are amongst ourselves in the midst of us. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) It is not the exterior enemy we have to fear; that poor enemy is dealt with like us; like us he is compelled to work for thousands of good-for-nothing fellows; like us he takes up arms against any human society because he is forced to do so by hunger, by law, or excited by his passions, nourished by ignorance [... ]. National rulers represent our brethren as cruel and rapacious; but who are more rapacious than they who govern us to be instructed in the art of war, who for their own privileges excite and conduct us to war? (Cheers.) Is it really our common interest that necessitates war? Is it the interest of sheep to be led by wolves to fight against sheep likewise led by wolves? (Loud cheers.) They are themselves our most rapacious enemies; they have taken from us all that is ours, to dissipate it in pleasures and debauchery. (Applause.) They take from us what is ours, since all they use is produced by us and ought to pertain to those who produce it, and to their wives and children, their aged and their sick. (Loud cheers.) But see how by their cunning manoeuvres all is stolen from us, and accumulated for a crew of idle consumers. (Cheers.) Is it possible then to be more robbed by a foreign enemy than by our own home enemies? Is it possible then that the people can be more murdered by them than by our cruel money-men, who rob us by their stock-jobbing, money dealing and speculating; by their currency and bankruptcy, by their monopolies, church and land rents, who by all these means rob us of the necessaries of life, and cause the death of millions of our working fellow brethren, to whom they leave not even potatoes enough to live upon. (Great cheering.) Is it not, therefore, clear enough that those who are all by money and nothing without it, are really the enemies of the working people in all countries, and that there are amongst men no other enemies of the human race than the enemies of the labouring and working people. (Cheers.) Is it possible then that we could be more stolen from, and murdered in a time of political war, than we are now, in a so-called state of peace? National prejudices, bloodshed, and robberies are then encouraged by us only for the sake of military glory! What has our interest to gain from such stupid glory? (Cheers.) What in fact have we to do with it, when our interest and our better feelings are opposed to it? (Cheers.) Must we not at all times pay the costs? (Applause.) Must we not work and bleed for it? (Renewed applause.) What interest can we have in all such bloodshed and land robberies, except profiting by such occasions for turning around against the robbery and murder-breeding aristocracy in all nations? (Enthusiastic cheering.) It is only this aristocracy — always this aristocracy — that systematically robs and murders. The poor people, led by them, are but their forced and ignorant instruments chosen from amongst every nation — those the most filled with national prejudices, those wishing to see all nations overpowered by their own nation. But bring them here into this meeting, and they will understand each other, and shake hands with each other.... If before a battle the advocates of liberty and love were permitted to address the ranks of their brethren, there would be no slaughter; on the contrary, there would be a friendly meeting like ours. O! could we but have in a battle-field such a meeting, we should have soon done with all those blood and marrow sucking interests who now oppress and plunder us! (Great cheering.) Such, friends, are the sentiments of that universal feeling whose warmth, concentrated in the focus of universal brotherhood, kindles a fire of enthusiasm which will soon entirely melt away the hindering ice-mountains of prejudices which have too long kept brethren asunder.” (Mr. Weitling resumed his seat amid long continued cheers.)

Dr. Berrier-Fontaine, an old Republican who during the first years of bourgeois rule played a role in the Société des droits de 1'homme in Paris, was involved in the trial of April 1834, [14] escaped with the rest of the accused from Sainte Pélagie in 1835 (see Louis Blanc’s Geschichte der 10 jahre), and later progressed with the further development of the revolutionary party in France and had friendly contact with Père Cabet, rose to speak after Weitling. He was greeted with stormy applause and said:

“Citizens! My speech must he necessarily brief, as I cannot speak very good English. It gives me pleasure I cannot express to find the English Democrats meeting to commemorate the French Republic. I respond most heartily to the noble sentiments of Mr. Julian Harney. I assure you that the French people do not look upon the English people as their enemies. If some of the French journalists write against the English Government, they do not write against the English people. The Government of England is hateful throughout Europe, because it is the government of the English aristocracy, and not the English people. (Cheers.) The French Democrats, so far from being enemies of the English people, really desire to fraternise with them. (Loud cheers.) The Republicans of France did not fight for France only, but for all mankind; they wished to establish equality, and extend its blessings throughout the world. (Great applause.) They regarded all mankind as brethren, and warred only against the aristocracies of other nations. (Cheers.) I can assure you, citizens, the principles of equality have sprung into renewed life. Communism is advancing wit giant strides throughout France. Communist associations are extending all over the country, and I hope that we shall soon see a grand confederation of the Citizen Democrats of all nations, to make Republican Communism triumphant through the whole length and breadth of Europe."(Dr. Fontaine resumed his seat amidst long-protracted cheers.)

After the toast to Young Europe had been taken with “three roof and rafter-ringing shouts” and “one cheer more”, further toasts were proposed to Thomas Paine, to the fallen Democrats of all countries, and to those of England, Scotland and Ireland, to the deported Chartists Frost, Williams, Jones and Ellis, to O'Connor, Duncombe and the other propagandists of the Charter and finally three cheers for The Northern Star. Democratic songs in all languages were sung (I can only find no mention of German songs), and the Festival was brought to an end in the most fraternal atmosphere.

Here was a meeting of more than a thousand democrats of nearly all the European nations who had united to celebrate an event seemingly completely alien to communism — the foundation of the French Republic. No special arrangements had been made to attract a particular kind of audience; there was nothing to indicate that anything would be expressed other than what the London Chartists understood by democracy. We can therefore certainly assume that the majority of the meeting represented the mass of the London Chartist proletarians fairly well. And this meeting accepted communist principles, the word communism itself, with unanimous enthusiasm. The Chartist meeting was a communist festival and, as the English themselves admit, “the kind of enthusiasm which prevailed that evening has not been seen in London for years”.

Am I right when I say that democracy nowadays is communism?