Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Record of a Memorable Visit
Paris July 1947 Bastille Day
Communist Party of Great Britain
July 14th, Bastille Day, besides being a national holiday is a day of special significance for the people of France.
Many historic dates stand out in the chronicle of the great French Revolution, but Republican France chooses to celebrate the anniversary of July 14th, 1789.
On that day the people of Paris, impatient at the fruitless debates in the Estates General, rose in mass and stormed the fortress-prison of the Bastille, in whose dungeons were chained the heroes of their struggle for freedom.
The people, having struck the first decisive blow of the Revolution, carried it forward to victory. Thus began a revolutionary tradition which has been the motive force of French history in the past 150 years.
The spirit of the Bastille lived in the citizens who marched to battle singing the "Marseillaise" to defend their Revolution against foreign armies.
This was the spirit of 1830 and 1848, of the Paris Communards who "stormed heaven" in 1871 and of the heroic men and women of the Resistance.
This is the France we saw in the Place de la Republique on.that memorable Monday afternoon, the France of the Communist Party with its 75,000 martyrs.
Our British Communist Party is proud, to send 750 of its members to take part in this revolution anniversary,
Those of us who had the honour to be there should be keenly aware of the importance of visit
Here is the spirit of our trip caught in a moment. (Photo Left)
The frontier are down, language problems are forgotten. British and French unite in common understanding
The vast crowds who greeted our slogans saw in us, the living symbol of the forces in our country which will ensure that Britain's influence in the world will be used on the side of democratic advances for all nations.
We were the ambassadors of the real Britain to which they look with confidence and hope.
The value of such visits was well expressed "by the Secretary of the Party Committee of the 18th Arrondisseraent in his speech to us: "Friendly understanding between the common people of all lands will tear down the frontiers which the capitalist rulers erect in order to divide us, to create ill-feeling between us as part of their preparations for war."
Now that we are home again, we must make use of the lessons we learned in France. To bring into every aspect of our work here that enthusiasm and devotion which we felt there
To work to bring about that understanding and solidarity with the working class of mother lands which will help us to advance with them to happiness, prosperity' and lasting peace
(Photo Right) Friday's crossing. The English summer escorted us over the channel, but a sing song is a great tonic for sea sickness
(Photo Left) What's the first thing you look for in France ? why, L'Humanite of course
The Communist Deputy of Dieppe, Lucie Guerin, greets the British visitors with a handshake for John Gollen of our Executive Committee
"Friendship with our Allies but no submission to Dollar Imperialism" A slogan which was greeted with all along the route (Photo Right)
(Photo Above Left) The big day - July 14th
The march to the Assembly point near the Bastille
(Photo Right) The delegates of the Executive Committee and members of District Committees lead the march past the tribune. A storm of cheers: "Vive le peuple anglais", "Vive L'Angletere democratique". People reach out to shake our hands. Some of our comrades are so filled with emotion that tears are streaming down their cheeks.
(Photo Left) The contingent of the Union of French girls carry a picture of Danielle Casanova, martyr of the Resistance. Here is a symbol of great hope of France's future. "No more tears. Unite and fight for a better future. We shall build happy homes in a lasting peace"
(Photo Right) Men in little skirts, as the French called them serenade the statue of the Republic. "The Daily Worker greets L'Humanite, France's greatest newspaper"
(Photo Left) Perhaps you can see yourself here........
(Photo Below Right) or here......
(Photo Left) The ceremony of laying the wreath. Next to John Gollan stands the President of the "Committee of the Flame", French ex servicemen who maintain a permanent guard of honour at the tomb.
(Missing Photo) The wreath "From the British Communists to their brothers-in-arms", which we placed on the tomb of France's unknown warrior