Joseph Déjacque - Life

Life

Of unknown origins, Déjacque was first heard of when arrested as part of the revolutionary upheavals in France in 1848. Imprisoned for a time for socialist agitation, he was released but rearrested in 1851, and was sentenced to two years of prison for his collection of poems Les Lazaréennes, Fables et Poésies Sociales, with an additional penalty of 2000 francs. He escaped to London around the time of the December 2, 1851 coup d'état. While in Jersey between 1852 and 1853 he published "La question révolutionnaire", an exposition of anarchism. From there he went to the USA where he spoke to workers associations in New York and was a signatory to the programme of the First International there in 1855.

Whilst staying in New Orleans from 1856 to 1858, he wrote his famous anarchist utopia L'Humanisphère, Utopie anarchique, but could not find a publisher. Returning to New York he was able to serialise his book in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement social. Published in 27 issues from June 9, 1858 to February 4, 1861, Le Libertaire was the first anarcho-communist journal published in America. This was the first anarchist journal to use the term "libertarian" As well as many articles on revolution and current political events both in France and the USA he attacked the hanging of John Brown after the raid on Harpers Ferry and propagandised for the abolitionist cause. His stay in New York ended when his work prospects ran out due to the economic slump occasioned by the outbreak of the American Civil War. He returned to London and then to Paris following the amnesty, where he died a few years later in extreme poverty.

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