There was misery throughout the region, and the harvest did not sell. In February a tax strike began in Baixas. It is a tax we can pay and pay again: The tax on blood.
In his village he was called "lo Cigal" the Cicada , because of his whimsical and carefree spirit. Since he had been fighting for the defense of natural wine against fake wine. He was the initiator of the revolt of winemakers that started on 11 March On 11 March the signal for the revolt was given by a group of Minervois vine growers in the village of Argeliers. They organized a march to Narbonne of 87 vine growers for an interview with a parliamentary commission.
After their testimony the committee made a tour of the city, for the first time singing La Vigneronne , which from that day became the anthem of the revolt of the paupers.
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The Argeliers committee, which included all the producers, prepared the response to the crisis. In this region, where the Socialists had a strong presence, no well-known elected representative joined the Committee at the beginning. This allowed Marcellin Albert to present only corporatist claims. He refused to engage in the debate on the divergent interests of the workers and the owners, did not question the presence of royalists who openly wanted to claim the movement, and did not appreciate that on the pretext that the Occitan language is the mother tongue of the Midi wine growers, the regionalists want to make the fight into a separatist movement.
Marcelin Albert stood out for his gifts as an orator and his charisma. For the winegrowers present he became the apostle, the king of the paupers, the redeemer. It was agreed to hold a meeting every Sunday in a different city. The movement gained momentum. Rallies were organized every Sunday. The events mobilized tens of thousands of people, and grew until 9 June On 7 April there 1, people in Ouveillan.
The meeting on 14 April mobilized more than 5, demonstrators in Coursan. It as a weekly directed by Marcelin Albert and written by Louis Blanc. The first issue contained a request to parliament to pass a law against wine fraud. In the month of May there were large gatherings in the prefectures and sub-prefectures of Languedoc-Roussillon.
The first took place at Narbonne , where on 5 May a rally mobilized between 80, and , people. He told the crowd, "For a long time you have given credit to the state.
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The time has come where your debt is to be repaid ". Anyone who, for reasons of interest, ambition or political will, would prejudice the original motion and thereby render us unable to win will be tried, convicted and executed on the spot ". The separatist speeches in the Occitan language worried the government. Slogans on the banners read in French or Occitan, "Victory or death! The event was closed by speeches on the Place de la Citadelle. Ernest Ferroul set this ultimatum to expire on 10 June and advocated a tax strike, "If by June 10, the government has not found a solution to the crisis then there will be resignation of the town halls of the South!
There will be a tax strike! There were some slight incidents between the appeal and the dispersal of the demonstrators. The sub-prefect, on the orders of Clemenceau, called for the army to restore order. The street pressure continued. The police station and the facade of the town hall were set on fire. On 19 May in Perpignan , to , people marched in the city.
The demonstration took place without serious incidents. Clemenceau counter-attacked at the political level. The text submitted to Parliament provided for an annual declaration of their harvest by wine growers, prohibition of second-cycle sweetening and control and taxation of purchases of sugar. On 26 May from , to , people demonstrated in Carcassonne. From the station avenue they passed under a triumphal arch on which was written "Solute to our brothers in misery".
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The speeches to the gathering tried to channel the revolutionary tone of slogans and claims towards the Cathar past of the Occitans, which Ferroul and Albert evoked in turn. We will do like them! Forward for the defense of our rights! The Midi wants it, the Midi will have it! When the feudal barons invaded the South and sacked it, a troubadour cried like this: 'Ah!
Toulouse and Provence, and the land of Argence, Beziers and Carcassonne, who saw you and who sees you! We do not want to support them anymore. Stand up to repel them and their accomplices. Speak up, unite your voice, your prayer will take the tone of a command. On the square, out of solidarity a famous confectioner had posted on his facade "Grapes for wine, sugar for candy! On 9 June a gigantic gathering in Montpellier marked the climax of the vineyard challenge in the Midi. In lower Languedoc had about a million inhabitants, so one of every two Languedocans was demonstrating.
The mass mobilization transcended political or ideological views, since sympathizers of the socialist left and the royalist right stood side by side. In his speech Ernest Ferroul , mayor of Narbonne , called for the resignation of all his colleagues from Languedoc-Roussillon. He openly advocated civic disobedience. Marcelin Albert delivered such a speech that the journalist for Le Figaro wrote, "It was mad, sublime, terrifying". The winegrowers' revolt received the endorsement of all political movements. From royalists to radicals, all actively supported the movement.
All of Languedoc is allied against Georges Clemenceau , president of the Council. The Catholic Church even opened the doors of its cathedral and its churches.
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A statement from Bishop Anatole de Cabrieres said that women, children and striking winemakers would be welcomed to spend the night there. The deadline for the ultimatum to the government came on 10 June While Clemenceau counted on a weak and short revolt, the parliamentary commission submitted its report to the Parliament which began to examine Caillaux's bill. Faced with deliberate delays in the legislature, Ernest Ferroul decided to announce publicly in Narbonne his resignation as mayor.
In front of 10, people he said from the balcony of the City Hall, "Citizens, citizens I hold my power from you, I return it! The municipal strike begins".
This position taken in the absence of a government solution was approved by municipalities of Languedoc Roussillon who resigned in the week. Black flags adorned the facades of town halls and civic disobedience was declared, the weapon of the elected officials. Meanwhile clashes between protesters and law enforcers were becoming commonplace.
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The two socialist deputies proposed nationalization of the wine estates. The next day, Clemenceau addressed a half-threatening, half-ironic missive to all the mayors of the wine-growing towns of Languedoc and Roussillon. This earned him a scathing reply from Ernest Ferroul: "Monsieur Clemenceau, since the beginning of our demonstrations, has considered us as big children, good boys, but unaware of our actions.
He is one of those who think that in the Midi everything ends with songs or farandoles. He is very wrong, he does not know us. The former mayor told him: "When we have three million men behind us, we do not negotiate". So far the Sunday demonstrations had been calm and disciplined, and the protesters wanted to remain peaceful. However, Clemenceau judged that the law must show strength and appealed to the army to restore order. From 17 June the Midi was occupied by 22 regiments of infantry and 12 regiments of cavalry, with 25, infantry and 8, horsemen.
Sarraut refused to endorse this policy and resigned from the government. Three other members of the viticultural defense committee gave themselves up to the gendarmes at Argeliers. News of the planned arrest of all members of the Committee of Argeliers caused an explosion. The crowd hindered the progress of the gendarmes by lying on the ground. Narbonne was in a state of siege. A spontaneous demonstration began that called for liberation of the members of the Committee and for revenge.
There were incidents throughout the day, the sub-prefecture was stormed and barricades blocked the streets. In the evening, in the general confusion, the cavalry fired on the crowd.
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There were two deaths, including a year-old. A new underground defense committee was formed immediately, with Louis Blanc as leader. The situation became more and more tense, with the furious winegrowers attacking official buildings. The next day, 20 June, tension rose further and the Midi ignited. In Perpignan the prefecture was looted and burned. The prefect David Dautresme had to take refuge on the roof. In Montpellier the crowd clashed with the armed forces.
In Narbonne the police inspector Grossot, one of those responsible for the arrest of Ferroul, was taken to task and hurt by the crowd. To clear it, the troops were ordered to fire on the demonstrators. Five were killed including a girl aged 20, Julie called Cecile Bourrel, who had come to Narbonne by chance on the market day. Nearly 33 were injured and lying on the ground. On 22 June in Narbonne 10, people attend the funeral of Cecile.