On issues such as equality before the law, abolition of arbitrary arrest, establishment of a constitution, equalisation of taxes and liberty of the press there is general agreement.
To the great anger of those more inclined to praise the event than to discredit it, that very charged word, genocide, has been applied to the bloodshed of the Revolution, which its enemies see not as the inaugural blow of freedom but as a grim historical precedent, an ideologically motivated attempt to annihilate an entire class of people.
But to leap from that to the conclusion that there were no differences between the various elements of the exploiting classes is wrong. In reply, the semi-proletarian masses demanded more centralism, increased powers for the Convention, revolutionary terror to crush reaction and the purging of the Convention of the right The movement reached its peak with the "Journees" of 31 May to 2 June They were the party of order, of property, the restoration of the currency and the rights of the provinces against Paris.
The workers, artisans and journeymen of the Fauborg St. Tocqueville, admittedly, does not quite fit in to this pattern, but he is altogether somewhat of a freak.
As could be expected, the latter-day bourgeois critics of the Revolution have reserved all their most venomous spite for the most consistently revolutionary figures. This so-called "faction d'enrages" had the upper hand in the "sections" and supported the terror and the requisitions which they saw as a weapon against the rich.
Robespierre has been taken out of the Chamber of Horrors and put at the centre of the stage as the most consistent and important leader and spokesman of radical democracy. But in one way Babeuf's movement pointed the way, not back to but forward to the future, to the struggle of the working class for socialism.