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Walloon Jacquerie of 1886

La Grève au pays de Charleroi (1886) by Robert Koehler

The Walloon jacquerie of 1886 was a series of strikes in Belgium, which has been likened to the Peasant Jacqueries of the Middle Ages.[1] This violent upheaval of the Belgian, especially Walloon proletariat, caused a profound psychological shock in an atmosphere of fear of an inevitable and explosive social polarisation.[2] César de Paepe wrote "the strike spread through whole Wallonia from the Prussian border as far as Tournai".[3] Other historians thought Wallonia sprang from the strike.[4]


  • The strike 1
    • In Liège and environs 1.1
    • In the province of Hainaut 1.2
  • Rupture between the social-democratic wing and the revolutionary wing 2
  • See also 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • External links 5

The strike

In Liège and environs

In the industrial city of Liège, posters were put up by the Groupe anarchiste et révolutionnaire summoning workers to a meeting and adding "Let each man bring a revolver. Then forward!"[5]

Unexpectedly many workers responded to the anarchist appeal[6] on 18 March, 15th anniversary of the Paris Commune. At Liège (Jemeppe-sur-Meuse, Seraing, Tilleur), there was open fighting between troops which had been massed there for the protection of the place and a large body of anarchists who marched on it. The fight was severe and prolonged, but finally resulted in the repulse of the Anarchists. They were not driven from the field, however, until the troops charged upon them with fixed bayonets. A large number of men on both sides were injured.

In the aftermath of the battle, 6,000 troops were despatched to the region to maintain order.[7]

In the province of Hainaut

Revolutionary anarchists in Liège and Verviers and the radical Hainaut movement led by Alfred Defuisseaux (fr) were the main agitators in the biggest and most violent strike to sweep across the industrial Wallonia. It started in March 1886 in Liège's metal sector and quickly expanded to the three Hainaut industrial areas.

Violence and destruction, including the demolition of a glass factory, unleashed the traditional repressive measure. The army intervened and killed dozens, ten in the town of

  • Several images of Riots in Wallonia

External links

  1. ^ La jacquerie ouvrière d'un printemps sanglant Joseph Franck, An Industrial Jacquerie as Para-Political Behavior, Ph.D. diss., University of Ottawa, 1970; René VanSantbergen, Une bourrasque sociale, Liège, 1886; Joseph Frank Une jacquerie industrielle comme action parapolitique; l'insurrection belge de 1886, Revue de l'institut de socologie (1975): 163-93. «1886, l’unité de la Wallonie ouvrière se manifeste, écrit R. Demoulin (Histoire de la Wallonie, 1973). Véritable jacquerie ouvrière qui a traversé toute la Wallonie, le mouvement de révolte s’est répandu comme la poudre à travers toute la Wallonie industrielle.(French)
  2. ^ Clara Eugenia Núñez, Timothy Guinnane The microeconomic analysis of the household and the labour market, 1880-1939 Sevilla, 1998, p.78, ISBN 84-472-0453-7
  3. ^ Bruno Demoulin, Jean-Louis Kupper (editors), Histoire de la Wallonie, Privat, Toulouse, 2004 Cesar de Paepe's citation, p. 263. ISBN 2-7089-4779-6
  4. ^ Bruno Demoulin, Jean-Louis Kupper (editors), Histoire de la Wallonie, p. 263. Paul Delforge, Institut Jules-Destrée (fr) La Wallonie née de la grève
  5. ^ "The New York Times, Published March 25, 1886". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  6. ^ Linda Flagothier-Musin, 1885-1985, Histoire des fédérations, Institut Emile Vandervelde, Bruxelles, 1985.
  7. ^ See The New York Times, published March 23, 1886
  8. ^ Els Witte, Jan Craeybeckx, Alain Meynen Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards, Academic and Scientific Publishers, Brussels, 2009, p. 102. ISBN 978-90-5487-517-8
  9. ^ Els Witte, Jan Craeybeckx, Alain Meynen Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards p. 103
  10. ^ Maarten Van Ginderachter, Het rode vaderland: de vergeten geschiedenis van de communautaire spanningen, Lannoo, Tielt, 2005 p.39, ISBN 90-209-6297-3
  11. ^ «1. Qui es - tu ? R. Je suis un esclave. 2. Tu n'es donc pas un homme ? R. Au point de vue de l'humanité, je suis un homme ; mais par rapport à la société, je suis un esclave. 3. Qu'est-ce qu'un esclave ? R. C'est un être auquel on ne reconnaît qu' un seul devoir, celui de travailler et de souffrir pour les autres...(French)


See also

Alfred Defuisseaux published Le catéchisme du peuple, which established the principle of universal suffrage to right social wrongs. This pamphlet had a most astonishing success. It sold in thousands, 200,000 in Wallonia and 60,000 in Flanders[10] The three first questions and answers of Catéchisme du peuple were "1. Who are You? Answer. I am a slave 2. You are not a human being? A. From the point of view of humanity, I am a human being, but in relation to the society, I am a slave. 3. What is a slave? A. It is someone which has an only duty, to work and to suffer for the others."[11]

During the strikes of 1886-1887, the social-democratic wing clearly made its abhorrence of violence known. For fear of disappearing, the newly formed Parti socialiste républicain (1887) mainly based on a strong Walloon-Hainaut grassroots support, started a militant propaganda and unleashed the local strikes of 1887 ...[9]

From Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards:

Modern depiction of the Jacquerie

Rupture between the social-democratic wing and the revolutionary wing

General Baron Alfred van der Smissen was at the head of the troops leading an "almost military campaign".


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