Prospectus of “L’Artisan, un journal de la classe ouvrière”, from 1830
Since I stumbled across this prospectus while researching my fic The Artisan and then getting so excited by it that I ended up writing the entire story around it, I’ve been meaning to post a full translation, because it is the best thing.
This is the prospectus for a newspaper/journal that only ever published four issues between September and October 1830. I wish I could give you more detail about the content but the only existing copies that I can find are all in the bit of the Bibliothèque Nationale that’s only ‘for researchers’, and I have not yet worked out how I would convince the BN that I, with my shoddy slow schoolchild’s French and patchy historical knowledge, was a genuine researcher. I so, so want to read it though, for like a squillion reasons. From bits and pieces in other books it looks like it contained several reports on the state of the printing industry(!!!!!!) in 1830, including some quantitative stuff the editors did themselves? I mean, gosh.
Anyway, it was published anonymously but it’s fairly clear even just from the prospectus that it was run by a group of printers. And, look, it makes so much sense for Enjolras to be involved with this, in so many ways aaah.
Almost everything about this excites me but one of the things I particularly love is how proto-Marxist it is. This was published 37 years before Capital, 18 years before The Communist Manifesto. But look at what’s already there. A labour theory of value, which isn’t new, but one that’s then elaborated into a theory of exploitation - this goes beyond Ricardo. Alienation! A view of history as driven by the increases in class-consciousness brought about by technology. A fierce materialist argument for the necessity of working-class leadership of any emancipatory movement. This is a million miles away from the utopian visions of St Simon and Fourier. I love it.
Anyway, I could gush for ages, but here it is. There are a couple of places where I’ve had to rephrase things to generate approximately readable English, but I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum. Please let me know of any errors in my translation! I believe when I first started translating this I got a bit of help regarding some particularly tricksy phrases from @vapaus-ystavyys-tasaarvo and @amelancholycharm, but they have not looked through the whole thing and are not to be held responsible for any terrible mistakes.
The Artisan: A Working-Class Newspaper*
The most numerous and most productive class in society is, undeniably, the class of workers. Without them capital has no value; without them there would exist no machines, no industry, no commerce. All the classes which lean upon them, which profit from their labour, know this well; only the workers themselves seem either not to know this or not to care. They live in misery, and in slavery to the monopolies, without noticing it; experience all sorts of humiliations from those whose fortunes they have made, without complaint; and see themselves easily decimated by the ordinary police without being the least surprised. Is this where they ought to be? And don’t they have the right to complain about the limbs, as in Menenius Agrippa’s ingenious fable** — since they are truly the stomach of society?
The revolution of the 29th of July gave them a glimpse of all of these realities and, because they are experiencing still more of that violent agitation which just took place, they are conscious of their misery and search for its causes. They begin to understand what their role in the 19th Century should be, and are instructed by the sight of the past as to their present duties.
[I’m putting the remainder, plus footnotes and the original French, under a cut.]
“I have to warn you that I’m not going to change.” “What, you’re planning on going to the meeting naked?” “You know what I mean.” “No, I don’t. Please explain.” “I am going to continue on being disruptive, saying everything I think, and on occasion being a real downer. I am not going to change because of…~this~.” “Alright. Well, good. I am glad.” “You’re not..” “Well, I am not here with you because I want to you to change.
I am here because I…you because of who you are.
” “Oh.” “I hope you’re not surprised because you expected me to change. Because I am not going to. I am going to continue on being authoritative, unyielding and on occasion a real buzzkill.” “Well, good. I am glad. “ “Though.. I might become less distant. To be completely honest, I might become the opposite of distant.” “I can accept that, if you can accept the fact that I am not going to treat my compliments to you as jokes anymore. I might even start to treat them seriously.” “Alright, I could accept that. Come closer, now.” “Wow, that’s really bossy of you. But sure, gladly. Your skin is very soft, you know.”
victor hugo at some point: LISTEN im gonna take this character and relate him to gay greeks as much as possible while also adding character traits, then im gonna take this other character and talk abt how gay he is for that one, while also comparing him to gay greeks, and the second one is gonna tell him that he only believes in that character while he is cynical about everything else,,,, then to top it all off,,,,, theyre gonna DIE while HOLDING HANDS.
some literature fuck: so,,, what your saying is,,, Theyre Straight