March, the red month, is with us again.
The month of rebellion, the awakener of the down-trodden, the harbinger of hope.
The days of past grand deeds are here, their memory rousing the proletariat to a clear consciousness of their world-liberating mission, strengthening them with the fires of noblest aspirations.
And joyfully, hopefully the workers of today honor the memory of the heroes of the past, and prepare to emulate their example.
After the soldiers of liberty of 1848 had suffered defeat, the international bourgeoisie celebrated its orgies in the fond hope that the spirit of rebellion had forever been buried.
Yet but a brief space intervened between 1848 and 1871. During that time the supposedly dead Socialism circled the world, and thou-sands of hearts beat in joyful tumult as the Commune was proclaimed at Paris.
But once more the reaction triumphed. After a heroic struggle the proletariat was defeated. Again was heard the cry, the Revolution is dead, dead and buried forever! But who call doubt that the rebels have since grown a hundredfold? The Titanic struggle of Russia is giving the lie to bourgeois assertions.
In vain we seek the names of those heroes who on that memorable March 18, 1871 by their self-sacrifice ensured the triumph of the proletariat. Obscure were they; nameless men, women, and child-ren of the streets: inspired by the solemn moment, they ushered in the revolutionary tide. It overflowed Paris, arousing an enthusiasm felt far beyond the confines of France. It still lives and bursts into flames whenever the cry is heard, Vive la Commune!
The obscure, the nameless! They are the true heroes of history. We know no books they have written. Not authors, nor orators they. Yet how lifelike they tower before our mental eye in all the glory of their self-sacrifice, their noble passion and immortality. We see them, these brave unknown, in the thick of combat, their eyes aflame, their fists clenched. We hear their songs of battle, witness their inspiring devotion. We behold them dying, serenely joyous, the devoted martyrs of a noble cause.
Countless times duped, deprived of the fruits of their triumph, again we see them enter the arena. Restlessly they storm forward, ever forward!
An unbroken thread of red runs through proletarian history, from the ancient slave revolts and peasant wars of feudal days, to the uprisings of the proletariat in 1792, 1830, 1848, 1871, down to the heroic struggle of the Russian people of our own time.
It is an uninterrupted warfare; and we of this generation shall continue the fight till the victory of the downtrodden is complete.
The men and women of fame are the meteors momentarily lighting up the horizon. then fading away into the night of the past. But the nameless do not vanish. They are like the phoenix, eternally resurrected in the ashes of his fiery death. We know that we do not hope in vain when we rest in them our faith for the future.
We live in pregnant days. Dark clouds are gather-ing; all signs portend the coming struggle.
Our bourgeoisie has grown to look upon the work-ingman as its mere slave, incapable of independent thought or action. How horrified they feel when the masses evidence by demonstrations that they have awakened to self-assertion and refuse to starve.
A labor demonstration serves to remind the rulers of the misery suffered by the disinterested. It clarifies their vision to threatening danger; it points to the terrible chasm yawning before them.
That they may not be continually reminded of their crimes against the proletariat, the exploiters have exiled them into obscure alleys and barrack tenements. There poverty lives apart. It is not suffered to obtrude its misery upon the rich, to the possible detriment of their digestion. There it does not exist for the bourgeois. It is to him a strange land.
But a demonstration brings the proletariat to the palaces. The rulers and exploiters are overcome by fear and horror. They see, like Belshazzar of old, the handwriting on the wall.
History repeats itself. These are our March days.
From: Mother Earth, March 1908.
In KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 26, March 2001