French Revolution

War and revolution - Amadeo Bordiga

In this 1950 article from the “Thread of Time” series Amadeo Bordiga examines the question of war and revolution in Marxist theory—characteristically emphasizing the epochal shift entailed by the Franco-Prussian War—and the role played by the ideological legacy of the French Revolution in the defeat of the Paris Commune and in the mobilization for and justification of participation in World Wars One and Two, which “were not revolutionary wars, but massacres of the slaves of Capital”.

The great anger: Ultra-revolutionary writing in France from the atheist priest to the Bonnot Gang

In this unique volume, Mitchell Abidor presents the key writings of a series of revolutionaries from the late 17th-early 18th century priest Jean Meslier and the Enlightenment radical Baron d’Holbach...

Critique’s quarrel with church and state (excerpt) - Edgar Bauer

Sketch of Edgar Bauer

The young Edgar Bauer (1820-1886) was credited by Gustav Landauer and Max Nettlau with founding the anarchist tradition in Germany. The following is a selection from his 'Der Streit der Kritik mit Kirche und Staat' (1843), pp. 260-269. After the failed 1848 revolutions Bauer renounced radicalism and embraced conservatism.

Toast to the revolution - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Barricades in 1848

An address from Proudhon to the people of Europe about the importance of the wave of Revolutions sweeping through Europe. It also outlines Proudhon's personal theory of Revolution.

The black jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo revolution - C.L.R. James

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba.

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

Cover of A Tale of Two Cities

Novel about the plight of the French peasantry in the years leading up to the French revolution, and the parallels with life in London. Arguably Dickens most sophisticated work politically speaking. Two Cities graphically describes the corruption and brutality of the French Monarchy and the plight of the peasantry.

Jean Paul Marat: A Historico-Biographical Sketch - Ernest Belfort Bax

Ernest Belfort Bax's 1882 biography of Biographical Sketch of Jean Paul Marat, A leader of the French Revolution.

Authoritarian Communism and Libertarian Communism - Max Nettlau

This brief survey of the historical and philosophical differences between authoritarian and libertarian communism, written by the anarchist historian Max Nettlau in 1928, exemplifies the “anarchism without adjectives” which, confronted by the Bolshevik experience, reacted by reasserting the particularly liberal and pluralistic roots of the anarchist tradition and denouncing the “doctrinaire rigidity” that hinders the formation of “the great union of all men of good will” that is the only force that can successfully oppose the worldwide trend towards barbarism and fascism.

The great French revolution, 1789-1793 - Peter Kropotkin

"Liberty leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix

Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin's extensive history and analysis of the French Revolution of 1789.

A political revolution for women? The case of Paris - Darline Gay Levy and Harriet B. Applewhite

Women' s March to Versailles during the French Revolution

The women's march to Versailles capped months of women's political involvement during the French Revolution - in Paris neighbourhoods, electoral assemblies, the conquest of the Bastille and in several dozen processions with the newly formed national guard. Thousands of marching women empowered themselves as citizens as they confronted and helped to abolish the monarchy - and then continued to confront the new authorities.