Tag Archives: Paris

Subversive Historian – 08/27/09

The Kellogg-Briand Pact

Back in the day on August 27th, 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in the city of Paris by fifteen nations pledging to halt wars of aggression. In the wake of the ravages of the First World War, the United States and France had originally approached the notion of the pact through a bilateral agreement. U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand discussed formally abolishing any possibility of war solely between the two nations, when Kellogg thought it best to extend the invitation to all nations. Among the initial signatories to the pact that called for the “renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy” were France, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Japan. Forty-seven nations would follow in formal adherence. Of course, wars of aggression would also soon follow, as was the case, for instance, when Italy invaded Ethiopia.

By not clearly delineating the boundaries of self-defense and having no enforcement behind it, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was practically useless in achieving its aim as evidenced most tragically by the outbreak of World War II.

Subversive Historian – 03/18/09

The Paris Uprising

Back in the day on March 18th, 1871 an uprising took hold in Paris, France that would eventually lead to the establishment of the Paris Commune. The immediate political catalyst for the insurrection in the capital city was the defeat of the French in the Franco-Prussian War. In negotiating an armistice, members of France’s National Assembly sought a return to monarchical rule and were favorable to the terms of the occupiers. Others, including sectors of the French working class, found the peace terms disagreeable. Sensing tension, provisional government leader Adolphe Thiers sought to disarm the wartime National Guard citizen militias in Paris, but they refused setting the stage for the rebellion. In time, Thiers was forced to call a widespread evacuation of the city leaving only the Central Committee of the National Guard to govern. Elections calling for the commune soon followed thereafter.

The first government of the working-class lasted through much of Spring until May 28th of that year when it was violently destroyed. But as the great Chilean poet of the 20th Century Pablo Neruda once said, “They can cut all of the flowers, but they can not detain the coming of the spring.”

Subversive Historian – 12/16/08

The Heroine of the Paris Commune

One-hundred and thirty-seven years ago on this day in people’s history, Louise Michel stood trail for her participation in the Paris Commune. On December 16th 1871, the French revolutionary schoolteacher was sentenced to deportation to New Calendonia. The condemnation followed a prison stay of twenty months on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. In that accusation, the trial of “Good Louise” or the “Red Virgin” as she became dually known, centered around Michel’s involvement in the historic commune an ambulance nurse and soldier. In exile she resumed her activities as a teacher before returning to Paris as an unrepentant Communard. Michel continued her revolutionary activities throughout Europe until her death in France in 1905.

The life of the Heroine of the Paris Commune best exemplifies the purity of the red virgin’s rebellious spirit.

Subversive Historian – 12/10/08

{La Fronde writers Durand and Severine}

The First Edition of “La Fronde”

One-hundred and one years ago on this day in people’s history, the first edition of the feminist daily newspaper “La Fronde” or the Sling was published. On December 10th, 1897, French actress and journalist Marguerite Durand founded the innovative publication in Paris. As a daily, La Fronde was not only unique for its time due to its political perspective but also for the fact that it was staffed by women editors, writers, and printers. As such, it was able to be home to politically persecuted writers such as Caroline Remy, also known as Madame Severine who in return covered the trial of Emile Zola for the newspaper. La Fronde continued with its feminist perspectives into the twentieth century becoming a monthly publication before folding in 1905.

Presently, Paris is home to the research center and library named for La Fronde’s founder and is considered to be one of the world’s most important facilities for feminism and women’s history.

Subversive Historian – 10/17/08

The Massacre of Algerians in Paris by Subversive Historian Gabriel San Roman

Forty-seven years ago on this day in people’s history, French police and Special Forces massacred hundreds of demonstrating Algerians in Paris. On October 17th, 1961, approximately thirty-thousand protestors took to the streets to demand an end to an 8:30 p.m. curfew imposed solely on them. Upon the orders of French Police Prefect Maurice Papon, 7,000 of his forces violently descended on the crowd. As bodies piled up in the streets of the city of light, thousands of Algerians were also arrested and taken into custody where there were further reports of death. Taking place in the context of the Algerian War, the media in France, for the most part, unfortunately reported the downplayed official story of the massacre as did many other Western outlets. And it was only until ten years ago that the French government acknowledged but forty of the deaths that occurred during the crackdown.

The truth itself seemingly remains yet another victim of the massacre the powerful would prefer to be forgotten.