Si vous voulez vous remettre à l'anglais, voici un extrait d'un article d'Engels, publié dans le journal chartiste radical The Northern Star, dont il fut un collaborateur régulier.
Après avoir présenté les "affaires" qui minent le régime de la Monarchie de Juillet française, et la campagne des Banquets ("The Réforme movement"), qui porte les revendications des classes moyennes en faveur de l'élargissement du droit de vote (censitaire), Engels envisage quelle place les travailleurs ("working men") peuvent tenir dans ce mouvement, et quelle stratégie ils peuvent adopter : les travailleurs ont depuis 1830 l'expérience de de l'insurrection et de la lutte armée, mais cette expérience les a prévenus contre les provocations d'un pouvoir qui désire susciter l'émeute afin de mieux écraser le mouvement populaire en gestation, qui, le moment venu, balaiera définitivement la domination des nantis...
Texte très intéressant au regard de ce qui va advenir quelques mois après, tout autant qu'au regard de la légende d'un Engels boute-feu inconsidéré.
En fait ce texte pose le problème, qui court de 1848 à 1871, de 1871 à 1917, de la prudence stratégique des révolutionnaires réfléchis, et de l'imprévisible qui les amène à se situer autrement devant l'événement. J'y reviendrai bientôt.
The Northern Star, November 20, 1847
" [...] The Reform movement is, however, not to be considered as the totality of the agitation now going on in France. Far from it ! At all these banquets be they Liberal or Democratic, the middle classes were predominating [claire distinction entre les "modérés" bourgeois et les républicains petits bourgeois du journal La Réforme (Ledru-Rollin) auquel Engels collabore] ; that of Orleans was the only one in which working men took part. The movement of the working people is going on, side by side, with these banquets, silently, underground, almost invisible, for every one who does not take the trouble of looking after it. But it is going on more lively than ever.
The government know this very well. They have given their permission to all these middle-class banquets ; but when the typographic working men of Paris [les typographes sont traditionnellement à la pointe du mouvement ouvrier et républicain radical], in September, asked for the permission to hold their annual banquet, which, up to the present time, they had held every year, and which was in no manner of a political character, it was refused to them.
The government are so afraid of the working people, that they do not allow them the slightest liberty. They are afraid, because the people have entirely given up all attempts at insurrection and rioting. The government desire a riot, they provoke it by every means. The police throw out small bombshells filled with incendiary papers ; which, by the explosion of the shell, are spread all over the streets. A trades’ affair in the Rue S. Honoré was profited by to make the most brutal attacks upon the people, in order to provoke them to riot and violence. Tens of thousands assembled every evening during a fortnight ; they were treated in the most infamous manner ; they were on the very brink of repelling force by force ; but they held out and no pretext for more gagging laws are to be forced from them. And think, what a tacit understanding, what a common feeling of what was to be done, at the moment, must have prevailed ; what an effort it must have cost to the people of Paris, to submit to such infamous treatment rather than try a hopeless insurrection. What an enormous progress this forbearance proves in those very same working men of Paris, who seldom went into the streets, without battering to pieces every thing before them ; who are accustomed to insurrection, and who go into a revolution just as gaily as they go to the wineshop ! But if you would draw from this the conclusion that the revolutionary ardour of the people is decreasing, you would be quite mistaken. On the contrary, the necessity of a revolution, and a revolution more thoroughgoing, more radical by far than the first one, is deeper than ever felt by the working people here. But they know from the experience of 1830, that mere fighting will not do ; that the enemy once beaten, they must establish measures that will guarantee the stability of their conquest ; that will destroy not only the political, but the social power of capital, that will guarantee their social welfare, along with their political strength. And, therefore, they very quietly await their opportunity, but, in the meantime, earnestly apply themselves to the study of those questions of social economy, the solution of which will show what measures alone can establish, upon a firm basis, the welfare of all.
Within a month or two, six thousand copies of M. Louis Blanc’s work on “The Organisation of Labour” have been sold in the workshops of Paris, and you must consider, that five editions of this book had been 10 published before. They read likewise a number of other works upon these questions ; they meet in small numbers of from ten to twenty, and discuss the different plans propounded therein. They talk not much of revolution, this being a thing admitting of no doubt, a subject upon which they one and all agree; and when the moment will have arrived, at which a collision between the people and the government will be inevitable, down they will be in the streets and squares at a moment’s notice, tearing up the pavement, laying omnibuses, carts and coaches, across the streets, barricading every alley, making every narrow lane a fortress, and advancing, in spite of all resistance, from the Bastille to the Tuileries. And then, I fear, most of the reform banquet gentry will hide themselves in the darkest corner of their houses, or be scattered like dead leaves before the popular thunderstorm. Then it will be all over with Messrs Odilon Barrot, de Beaumont and other Liberal thunderers, and then the people will judge them quite as severely as they now judge the Conservative Governments."