From one war to another

The Dreyfus affair was the moment that redefined the French Left between the two wars against Germany

Anarchism, Socialism, Paris Exhibition, Dreyfus, Revolutionary syndicalism – in progress

Quai d’Orléans

Arrondissement 4

Number 6

The Polish Library at No 6 Quai d’Orleans was used by Rosa Luxemburg.

This is the Polish Library on the Île  du Cité where between 1893 and 1897 Rosa Luxemburg spent time researching her doctoral thesis on the ‘Industrial Development of Poland’. 

Visiting it in 2018 I couldn’t find any references to Luxemburg’s presence, and none to the relevance of Poland and international solidarity for France in 1848. It has a small Chopin exhibition includes some images of his French lover, George Sand. It also contains an historical exhibition with an account of key 19th century Polish nationalist figures.



Women ready to fight at a barricade in the Rochechouart district in May 1871

From 1791 French feminists argued for their natural rights. In the 1830s and 1840s many women campaigned for equality and the vote. Many saw the 1871 Commune as a route to equality and fought on the barricades. In 1909 a French women’s suffrage movement was established. France’s senate rejects giving women the vote in 1922 , 1935 and 1936. The vote was finally given by the 1945 Fourth Republic constitution. In 1975 women win the right to have an abortion. In 2017 French women’s average wage was still 24% less than men’s, and their pensions are 42% lower.

Marthe Bigot

1878-1962, Montargis (Loiret)

Teacher, feminist, and anti-war activist during World War I. Founder member of the Communist Party, which she left in 1926. A campaigner for female suffrage, she organised women’s candidacies at elections, taking up a pre-war tradition, and in March 1922 presented her own “symbolic candidacy” in the Paris municipal elections; unable to hold her own meetings she demanded speaking rights at those of other candidates, and despite being ineligible as a woman came third in the vote.