Today, December 3, we commemorate the anniversary of the death of a great statesman and humanitarian.


Baudin at the barricade

Jean-Baptiste-Alphonse-Victor Baudin was a French deputy of the Second Republic. On December 3, 1851, during the coup d'état of Napoleon III, Baudin (who, by a curious coincidence, lived on the rue des Martyrs), went to the working-class area of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine to call on the People to rise in defense of the Constitution. Unfortunately the People had had enough of three years of savage reprisals and indifference from progressives in government; a woman shouted at Baudin, "Do you imagine our men are going to get themselves killed for your stipend? (Croyez-vous que nos hommes vont se faire tuer pour vous conserver vos 25 francs?)" "Let me show you, citizens, how we die for our stipend (Vous allez voir, citoyens, comme on meurt pour 25 francs)," Baudin cried, as he mounted a barricade with the red-white-and-blue flag in his hand and his deputy's sash across his breast. He was buried two days later. His body now lies in the Panthéon, resting-place of the great men of France.

May Baudin’s tragic fate inspire all those politicians who so fearlessly call to be rescued by the people they themselves have relentlessly screwed.