145 years ago, 18 March 1871, a revolutionary government was created in Paris - the Paris Commune. The internal crisis in France and the defeat in the Franco-Prussian war led to the fact that unrest began in the capital, which turned into a revolution. As a result of the revolution, self-government was established, which lasted from March 18 to May 28 of 1871. At the head of the Paris Commune were neo-Jacobins, socialists and anarchists united in a coalition. Since 1872, by the decision of the General Council of the First International, in honor of the workers' first successful attempt to seize the political power, March 18 began to be celebrated as the Paris Commune Day.
Development of the Second Empire
1850-1860-ies were a time of rapid industrial growth in Europe. France was one of the leaders of the capitalist world. In France, over the two decades that coincided with the time of the Second Empire, the total volume of industrial output has almost doubled. More than three increased turnover of French foreign trade. During the Second Empire in France, the industrial revolution was largely completed. Factory production covered almost all branches of French industry. The number of steam engines, not counting locomotives and steam vessels, increased by more than 4 times.
Major successes were in heavy industry. From 1851 to 1869, France more than tripled the extraction of coal and brown coal, tripled the production of pig iron, increased the production of iron more than three times, and almost eight times increased the production of steel. The development of heavy industry was largely ensured by the wide construction of railways and shipbuilding. The length of railways in two decades has increased by almost five times. The production of railway rails increased tenfold, the number of locomotives increased almost fivefold (973 in 1850, 4822 in 1869). The total tonnage of steam vessels increased by more than 10 times (from 13 to 925 tons). The river fleet more than doubled (142 ships in 942, 252 in 1850). However, the heavy industry of France, ahead of light industry in terms of growth, was still inferior in its specific gravity. It was due to historical the development of France, where the industrial revolution began with light industry.
Enhanced large industry. Large enterprises are widely used in textile, mining, metallurgical, chemical and some other industries. The concentration of production led to the concentration of workers. There were enterprises where hundreds and thousands of workers worked. Thus, more than 10,5 thousand people were employed at the Creozo metallurgical plant, about 5,5 thousand people at the Japy brothers' iron products factory, 1,4 thousand people in the silk-weaving factory, etc.
However, despite the successes of large-scale industry, small and medium-sized enterprises were still typical for France. The most common type of industrial enterprise was small-scale production with one or more workers — at the end of the 60s, about 60% of French workers were engaged in small-scale production. Particularly large role small production, due to historical development, played in Paris.
There has been a significant increase in French trade. The turnover of “general trade” increased from 2615 million francs in 1851 to 8003 million in 1869. “General trade” covered all types of imports of goods intended for domestic consumption and re-exports to other countries, as well as all types of exports of goods; there was also a "special trade" - the import of goods only for the consumption of France and the export of only French goods. Trade with England ranked first in French foreign trade. France exported mainly silks, wines, ready-made dresses, high-grade woolen fabrics, luxury goods, etc. For France from England (to a lesser extent from Belgium, Sweden and Germany), they mainly supplied textiles, metallurgy and coal.
A feature of France was the domination of financial capital. “Capital surplus” grew from about 2 billion francs in 1850 to 10 billion in 1869. It was not the development of the French economy that was used (especially the development of agriculture lagging behind industry), but for export to less developed countries of Europe. in the colony for the big, industrial and banking bourgeoisie to gain super-profits. That is, capital was not the development of France, but to increase the wealth of a small handful of "financial aristocracy."
Exchange speculation in France took large sizes. Paris Exchange operations have tripled over 18 over the years: in 1851, 118 of securities varieties worth 11 billion francs were quoted on it; in 1869, 307 paper types worth 33 billion francs. The Paris Stock Exchange has become a money market of a European scale, successfully competing with the English one. In 1868, 14 governments borrowed from French stockbrokers for 2127 million francs. Foreign securities accounted for about one-third of the French portfolio in 1869. More than five times (from 1592 million francs in 1851, to 8325 million in 1869), operations of the French bank increased. On securities courses, speculators made fortunes, fraudulent joint-stock companies, who floated their shares with impunity among the population they fooled, robbed numerous holders of securities, mainly from townspeople and middle peasants in the villages.
The operations of a number of credit institutions, such as the Land Loan Society, which provided its shareholders, mainly large financiers, with enormous usury profits, also grew on a huge scale. This society, whose purpose was formally to finance French agriculture by providing mortgage loans and without mortgage security, in fact, pumped large sums from the villages. The General Society of Movable Credit, before it collapsed in 1867, provided loans to the railways, the government to finance the Crimean, Italian and Mexican wars, for the treasury purchase of the Austrian railways, to build railways in Russia and in Spain, and dd
As a result, the largest credit institutions in France controlled the country's economy. A small group of "financial aristocracy" was robbing the French people, as well as colonies and other states.
J. Duchene wrote in 1869 g.: “Banks, credit societies, steamboats, railways, large metallurgical and gas plants, all any significant societies are concentrated in the hands of 183 entities. These 183 entities own the huge capital they manage. These capitals represent in shares and bonds over 20 billion francs. ”
Government loans, subsidies, and concessions provided by the government of the Second Empire, as well as adventurous colonial expeditions and wars that did not meet national interests, contributed to the enormous enrichment of the banking oligarchy and the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie associated with it. As a result, the national debt of France during the years of the Second Empire has grown greatly: by 1 in January of 1852 it amounted to 5516 million francs, by 1 in January of 1871 G. 12 454 million francs.
Growth of social problems
It is clear that all this led to the development of social problems. The ruin of small peasants and agricultural workers led to their escape to the cities, especially sharply this phenomenon intensified in the 50-60-s of the XIX century. The size of the working class has grown considerably. The living conditions of the workers were harsh. The delegates of the Paris workers at the 1867 World Fair complained that “machines that are an element of progress are causing poverty for workers” lead to lower wages and increased unemployment. This was also indicated by the workers' delegates of Lyon. The use of steam engines in industry and transport development, they noted, "benefited only capital owners who widely used these major innovations."
The position of the workers in France was no better than in England. The growth of factories and plants did not lead to an improvement in the life of the working class. In a number of industries, wages have declined. But those workers whose nominal wages grew, skillfully robbed. There were a number of hidden methods to reduce fees. Here and numerous monetary fines, which imposed on workers under all sorts of pretexts, and forced remuneration in kind, that is, goods, the margin on which reached 80% of their value. There were also compulsory deductions from wages to pension funds, which were often in the hands of entrepreneurs. Such deductions reached the 4% patch. Meanwhile, workers who were deprived of work due to injury at work, due to illness or old age could not always receive benefits or it was insignificant and could not feed a person, let alone a family. In addition, the average salary of women was 2-3 times lower than that of men.
The working day lasted 10-12 hours (at 12 hours a working day, workers had a two-hour break for food and rest). However, in many of the enterprises in which he was officially listed as ten o'clock, he was in fact much longer. Entrepreneurs forced workers to work much more 10 hours to ensure their minimum living standards. For example, working delegates from Parisian cartwrights at the 1862 World Fair in London complained that although their working day was officially ten hours, they were actually forced to work 12 and 13 hours a day due to lower prices . The saddles of Paris, according to official data, had an 10-hour day. But their delegates at the World Exhibition said: “Almost all of us work on piecework wages, however, in view of the lower prices, our working day should be calculated by 12 — 13 for hours. Even under these conditions, the average daily wage is still far from sufficient. ” They demanded shorter working hours to 10 hours. The tins of Paris were even worse: officially, their working day lasted 10 hours, but in reality, due to lower prices, 14 and 16 hours lasted.
In the provinces, the situation was even worse. The working day, according to official 1860 data, was 11 hours of actual labor. However, in fact, in many cases, it reached the 13 — 18 hours. Former railway worker Antoine Roche, the author of the booklet "The Manslaughters", published in 1871. in Geneva, reported that the working day of excavators and handlers rail on the railway Paris-Lyon-Marseille was at the end of 60-s 17 hours, while in official documents it was 10-hour. The businessmen, threatening workers with dismissal, forced them to give in writing false testimony that their working day did not exceed 10 hours. In the silk production of the outskirts of Lyon Croix-Russ, the length of the working day was also 17 hours. Lyon weavers worked 16 — 18 hours a day. Lyon's ribbons worked 14 — 16 hours, not counting the breaks, silk silk bitches — 13 and more hours, decoiler — 13 — 14 hours, etc.
Cruelly exploited children. According to the reports of the prefects of the departments of Somme, Nor, Sart, the working day of children aged from 8 to 12 years was 15 hours; in the cotton mill production departments of Seine and Oise, Marne, Aube, Meuse - 12 and more hours; in silk and silk twisting production of the departments of Drome, Ardeche, etc. — 14-15 watches; in wool spinning production departments Manche, Loire and Cher - 16 hours; in the match production departments of the Lower Rhine, Sart, Lund - from 12 to 16 — 17 hours.
The rights of workers were narrowed. By decree of 9, September 1848, the revolutionary 2 law of March 1848 of 10 — 11-hour working day was annulled and the working day equal to 12 hours of actual labor was set for all plants and manufactures . By decree of 17 in May 1851 and by the January decree of 1866, the number of enterprises and industries that were exempted from the restriction of the working day was consistently expanded.
Many workers and their families lived on the verge of starvation and were starving. The growth of nominal wages lagged significantly behind the rise in prices for foodstuffs and other basic necessities, especially the rise in prices for apartments. The price of a hectoliter of wheat from 17,23 franc to 1852 has risen in 1868 to 26,64 franc; the price of a kilogram of white wheat bread from 30 centimes in 1849 - to 37 centimes in 1869. The prices of meat and other products increased significantly. A cubic meter of firewood, which cost 1850 francs in 1,6, increased in price to 1870 francs in 1,94, and the lighting oil increased in price from 1,16 to 1,60 francs per kilogram over the same period.
Even more than the price of food and consumer goods, the price of apartments has risen, especially in large cities, primarily in Paris. Authorities and businessmen sought to pass on the shoulders of ordinary people the costs of reconstruction of the capital and a number of major cities in France (Lyon, Marseille, Le Havre, Lille, etc.). Workers' representatives at the 1867 World Fair complained of an extreme increase in rents in Paris. “The room and the storage room on Gregoire de Tours,” they said, “cost 1846 francs in 100, in 1866 cost 250 francs (an increase of 160%); a room on Rue Saint-Martin, which cost 1846 francs in 160, increased in price in 1866 to 400 francs (by 150%); a room without a window on Grand Tuanderi Street, which cost 80 francs, rose in price to 260 francs (by 325%); a room on Polivo street, which cost 1846 francs in 90, cost 1866 francs (in 180%) in 100 ”.
During the 50-60-ies the government of the Second Empire spent over a billion francs on the restructuring and decoration of Paris, in the interests of the rich. As a result of the reconstruction, 57 streets and driveways were destroyed, 2227 houses were destroyed, more than 25 thousand people, almost exclusively workers, were forcibly evicted from their homes. Thousands of ordinary people were forced to leave their homes, located in the city center, near enterprises and large central markets, where they could buy food at a relatively cheap price. At the same time, new houses built on the site of the destroyed ones were extremely expensive and, therefore, inaccessible for workers and other commoners. They were taken mainly by representatives of the propertied classes.
Simple people had to move to the suburbs. But even there, due to the massive influx of people from the center, as well as from the village, the price of apartments sharply increased. When the outskirts were overpopulated, the workers and artisans were forced to move to the suburbs, located outside the old Paris. That is, workers have lost the benefits of life in Paris itself - lower prices for food and essential items.
In addition, the reconstruction of Paris clearly divided the world of the rich and the poor. Previously, while all layers of its population lived in territorial proximity, these contrasts outwardly somewhat erased in the maelstrom of life in the capital. Now everything became obvious. This was also noted by some representatives of the bourgeoisie, who accused the authorities of Paris of frivolous hindsight: “All the wonders of art, all the seductions of luxury, all the variety of pleasures are concentrated in Paris. But all this luxury, all wealth, all wonders are locked, squeezed like a hoop, blocked in a huge anthill. Around the city of the possessing classes the city of workers rampantly towers. One dressed up in lace, silk, velvet, diamonds; the other has nothing but a blouse to cover his nakedness. ”
At the end of the 60s, the position of the Paris workers deteriorated further. According to various testimonies, the total annual consumption of a working family of four, as a result of the further appreciation of the basic necessities, was about 1700 francs. But even relatively well-paid workers, whose daily wages were around 6 francs, could barely fit into their budget, since their annual wages, minus non-working hours, were about 1500 francs. At the same time, even according to the embellished data of the Paris Chamber of Commerce, in 1860 only 19 thousand from 416 thousand Paris workers received such wages. That is, in the capital of France a powerful charge of hatred has accumulated, and only a reason for a social explosion was needed.
In France, there was a whole army of partially unemployed people who were not busy with 4-6 months in a year, and completely unemployed. A terrible phenomenon of France was a huge number of beggars. Only in Paris at the beginning of 1860 were there 90 thous. Registered beggars. In 1866, there were already more than 120 thousand people.
Outwardly, there were successes in agriculture: in increasing the area of grain crops while reducing the area under the wastelands; in increasing the number of cattle and pigs in connection with the significant development of dairy and beef cattle breeding; in the expansion of food supply; in increasing the area of sugar beet crops and land allocated for vineyards. Large landowners and the urban bourgeoisie, who bought or rented land, as well as the rich upper crust of the village, had the opportunity to switch to intensive, specialized agricultural production using machinery. At the same time, large landowners who did not adapt for one reason or another to the new conditions lost their lands. But the remaining large landowners expanded their holdings at the expense of the ruined ones. That is, there was a process of concentration of land ownership.
A large mass of the peasantry did not have the capital to carry out such a restructuring. There was a massive deprivation of the peasantry with the outflow of peasants to the cities, where they joined the ranks of workers with temporary jobs or beggars. Another part of the peasantry, as well as landless farm laborers and rural workers, was heavily dependent on large landowners and "kulaks." One form of enslavement was mortgage debt. The peasant who mortgage the mortgage remains only its nominal owner. For the sake of preserving his fictitious property, he is obliged to pay huge interest to the usurer annually. The actual owner of the land becomes usury. It was only through mortgages that French banks, large landowners, usurers and kulaks took more than 1 billion francs from the peasants each year.
Thus, in the 50-60- XIX years. From the policy of the government and the inordinate greed of the "financial aristocracy" and other wealthy classes, the social and economic position of the majority of the French population has deteriorated sharply. This was one of the main prerequisites of the revolutionary explosion.
To be continued ...