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Republican Communists: The Travailleurs Égalitaires

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Republicanism fragmented in the 1840s into a number of small sects, many of them influenced by socialist or communist ideas; the most visible and coherent of these sectarian groups was the Travailleurs Égalitaires. The undated preamble of their written rules claimed that they had long existed by means of “oral tradition,” but the leadership and origins would remain obscure, despite two extensive investigations. Member Napoléon Mallet stated that he had been initiated before May 1839 by Quignot of the Saisons, an indication that the Egalitarian Workers were a smaller, more extremist annex to the larger body. At some point they had adopted communism; an undated memorandum titled “Profession of faith of the new direction” called for the “community of goods,” to be achieved by a popular dictatorship that would “destroy the obstacles” and “level the path” to the new equality. The memberswere warned to avoid those “pretended democrats who want only political reform without touching the foundations of society.”²

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© 2002 Jill Harsin

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Harsin, J. (2002). Republican Communists: The Travailleurs Égalitaires. In: Barricades. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-38785-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4039-7005-3

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