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2 Comments | Vintage
Jaurès’ brand of socialism was curious and very unique. He believed in both Social Democracy and Marxism. He despised Capitalism and Imperialism, believing the former will always lead the latter, but he also denounced Marx’s ideas of a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" and believed that Socialism must exist in the framework of a Democratic Republic. He didn’t think Private Property should be abolished, but rather Democratised, and believed that the Collectivisation many Socialists argued for must be voluntary.
Jaurès spent his entire life advocating peace and compromise over armed conflict, and desperately tried to organise a rapprochement between France and Germany. Following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Jaurès travelled between Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, meeting with his counterparts in those nations and encouraging them to try to prevent the outbreak of war just as he was in France. If war came, he said, the workers must not. He believed that the threat of an international general strike against war might be able to prevent war.
The last and greatest hope to prevent the war disappeared with Jaurès when he was shot on the 31st of July.
The Nationalistic fever that gripped France and Europe was so strong that despite confessing to the crime his assassin was acquitted and Jaurès’ widow was ordered to pay the legal fees for "wasting the courts time"
Much like John F. Kennedy, Jaurès was highly controversial while alive, but his assassination made him a martyr and a hero. He and de Gaulle each have over two-thousand streets named after them in France.
He sounds like quite the inspiring figure. The photo itself is also really striking, especially with the flag juxtaposed against Juarés and the crowd. I always found these ‘person-on-pedestal’ type pictures quite moving.