We should remember our own. On this day in 1883, Lousie Michel,(1830-1905) French anarchist, teacher, medical worker at the Paris barricades, was sentenced to six years in prison and 10 years monitoring, following several bakeries being looted after a large demonstration.
www.radicalglasgow.me.ukDuring the Paris Commune of 1871, she was active as an ambulance woman treating those injured on the barricades. During the Siege of Paris she untiringly preached resistance against the Prussians. On the establishment of the Commune, she joined the National Guard. She offered to shoot Thiers, and suggested the destruction of Paris by way of vengeance for its surrender.She was with the Communards who made their last stand in the cemetery of Montmartre, and was closely allied with Théophile Ferré, who was executed in November 1871. Michel dedicated a moving farewell poem to Ferré, l’œillet rouge (The Red Carnation). Upon learning of this loss, Victor Hugo dedicated his poem Viro Major to Michel. This ardent attachment was perhaps one of the sources of the exaltation which marked her career, and gave many handles to her enemies.In December 1871, she was brought before the 6th council of war, charged with offences including trying to overthrow the government, encouraging citizens to arm themselves, and herself using weapons and wearing a military uniform. Defiantly, she vowed never to renounce the Commune, and dared the judges to sentence her to death. Reportedly, Michel told the court, “Since it seems that every heart that beats for freedom has no right to anything but a little slug of lead, I demand my share. If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance.” She spent twenty months in prison and was sentenced to deportation. At this time the Versailles press gave her the name la Louve rouge, la Bonne Louise (the red she-wolf, the good Louise).
- If were to go to the black cemetery
- Brothers, throw on your sister,
- As a final hope,
- Some red 'carnations' in bloom.
- In the final days of Empire,
- When the people were awakening,
- It was your smile red carnation
- which told us that all was being reborn.
- Today, go blossom in the shadow of the black and sad prisons.
- Go, bloom near the somber captive,
- And tell him/her truly that we love him/her.
- Tell that through fleeting time
- Everything belongs to the future
- That the livid-browed conqueror
- can die more surely than the conquered.