Random quote of the day – France, 1894

“Gentlemen, in a few minutes you are to deal your blow, but in receiving your verdict I shall at least have the satisfaction of having injured the existing society, this cursed society in which one may see a single man uselessly spending enough to feed thousands of families; an infamous society that permits a few individuals to monopolize all social wealth, while there are hundreds of thousands of unfortunates who have not even the bread that is not refused to dogs, and while entire families are committing suicide for want of the necessities of life. Ah, gentlemen, if the governing classes could go down among the unfortunates! But no, they prefer to remain deaf to their appeals. It seems that a fatality impels them, like the royalty of the eighteenth century, toward the precipice that will engulf them, for woe on those who remain deaf to the cries of the starving, woe on those who, believing themselves of superior essence, assume the right to exploit those beneath them! There comes a time when the people no longer reason; they rise like a hurricane, and pass away like a torrent. Then we see bleeding heads impaled on pikes” – Auguste Vaillant, 1894; excerpt from the speech before the French Chamber of Deputies, prior to receiving sentence of death for a political crime. Emphasis my own.


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