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Posts Tagged ‘class war’

“Charge of Complicity In Breaking ‘Padlock’,” Ottawa Citizen. July 25, 1938. Page 03.

Two Men Who Tried to Wire Constables Inside Their Own Car Escape But Man Who Helped Them Charged With ‘Complicity After the Fact.’

Canadian Press.
QUEBEC, July 25. – F. X. Lessard, self-styled ‘only living Communist to break open a Duplessis padlock for Communists.’ remained in the cells today while friends considered means of raising bail of $1,200 set Saturday by Judge Hugues Fortier when the 40-yer-old carpenter appeared before him on a charge of ‘willfully breaking a provincial law.’

Behind bars also was Henri Beaulieu, the man police charged with ‘complicity after the fact’ in the escape of two men who tried to imprison guards in their automobile Friday while Lessard entered the home authorities padlocked two days before because of the carpenters alleged Communistic activities.

When police went to the six-room Lessard dwelling last Tuesday to advise the family the flat would be locked up for a year under the special law aimed at halting the spread of Communism, it was the authorities’ third visit to homes occupied by the carpenter. Twice before they had seized literature from Lessard’s dwellings.

Away at work when police told Mrs. Lessard the family would have to evacuate the premises ‘within 24 hours,’ the carpenter again was absent when two detectives arrived the following day to execute the withdrawal order. His blue-eyed, middle aged wife and two children were marched from their home singing the ‘Internationale’ and the ‘Young Guard’ after refusing to remove their furniture. 

Two policemen immediately were detailed to guard the abandoned flat, located in to the top of a tall building below steep St. Sauveur cliff.

Curious lookers-on frequently engaged the two guarding officers in casual conversation and the police saw nothing to arouse their suspicions when two men approached their parked car Friday ostensibly for a chat.

But the officers were startled suddenly to notice their ‘callers’ slyly were binding the car’s doors with strong wire and when the guards attempted to seize the men the pair fled – just as Lessard walked along the sidewalk, pulled open a street door, and ran up three flights of stairs to his former home.

Drawing revolvers, the policemen followed and on reaching the top of the stairs they found the ‘padlocks’ (official seals of Quebec province) had been smashed. Lessard, calmly walking about the kitchen, made no resistance to arrest.

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“The public prosecutor has, so to speak, conjured up in your minds a slave revolt in order to stir up your hatred through fear. ‘You see,’ he says, ‘this is the war of the poor against the rich; it is in the interest of all those who own property to repel the invasion. We bring your enemies before you. Strike them now, before they become any more fearsome!’

Yes, gentlemen, this is the war between rich and poor: the rich wanted it so, for they are the aggressors. And yet they think it wrong that the poor resist. They would readily say, in speaking of the people: ‘This animal is so ferocious that it defends itself when attacked.’ The prosecuting lawyer’s entire diatribe can be summed up in this one sentence.

Proletarians are constantly denounced as thieves prepared to launch themselves on the propertied [propriétés]. Why? Because they complain of being crushed by taxes for the benefit of the privileged few. As for the privileged few, who live comfortably off the backs of the proletariat, they are the legal proprietors who are threatened with pillaging by a greedy rabble. This is not the first time that the executioners act as if they are the victims. So who are these thieves worthy of such anathemas and torment? Thirty million French people who pay a billion and half to the tax department and about an equal amount to the privileged few. Meanwhile the proprietors, whose power must be protected by the whole of society, comprise two or three hundred thousand idlers who calmly devour the billions paid them by the ‘thieves’. It seems to me that is it here, in a new form and between different adversaries, that we discover the war of the feudal barons against the merchants they robbed on the highways.

Indeed, the present government has no base other than this iniquitous distribution of benefits and burdens. It was established in 1814 by the Restoration and in keeping with the demands of the foreign powers, with the aim of enriching an imperceptible minority from the nation’s spoils. One hundred thousand bourgeois form what is called, by a bitter irony, its ‘democratic element’. What, good God, is to become of the other elements?

Paul-Louis Courier has already provided posterity with an immortal picture of the way our representative government operates, and has evoked the force of that suction pump that crushes the matter called the people, so as to suck the billions out of them and then pour them continuously into the coffers of a few idlers – a pitiless machine that grinds down twenty-five million peasants and five million workers, one by one, in order to extract their purest blood and transfuse it into the veins of the privileged. The workings of this machine, whose cogs are assembled with amazing artistry, affect the poor every minute of the day, pursuing them in the most basic necessities of their humble lives, taking half of the most meagre of their earnings and the most miserable of their pleasures. And yet it is not enough that so much money travels, through the depths of the tax department, from the pockets of the proletarians to those of the rich; even greater sums are levied directly on the masses by the privileged, by means of the laws that govern industrial and commercial transactions, laws that the privileged have the exclusive right to make.”

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Auguste Blanqui’s defence speech at the ‘Trial of the Fifteen’ (12 January 1832), published first in Défense d’Auguste Blanqui au procès des Quinze (Paris: La Société des Amis du Peuple, 1832).

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