The French Bourgeoisie: A Cut-Up Caper with a Side of Fascism

The French bourgeoisie, oh those respectable frock-coated fiends. Power was their aphrodisiac, and they weren’t picky about the bedfellows it brought. Here’s a glimpse into their sordid little boudoir of political maneuvering:

1. The July Monarchy: 1830 to 1848. A constitutional monarchy? Now that was a cut-up they could dig. A king with a leash, a system that kept the rabble at bay – pure bourgeois bliss

The French bougeoisie, those slick cats with coin in their pockets, found themselves waltzing with a constitutional king. Sure, it wasn’t the wildest jig, but at least it kept the riff-raff at bay. But revolutions, like unwanted houseguests, have a way of overstaying their welcome.

The Boulangist Bacchanal:

The Bourgeoisie, plump pigeons, cooed for stability. A constitutional charade, a game of mirrors reflecting their own wealth. But beneath the silk waistcoats, a gnawing fear – the guillotine’s grim echo.

Late 19th century. Republics? Pah! When push came to shove, the bourgeoisie craved a strongman, a leader with a handlebar mustache and a booming voice – someone to exterminate the creeping specter of socialism.

 Enter Boulanger, the nationalist hunk, a fleeting fix for their anxieties a Hussar with a handlebar moustache and a whiff of revolution. Nationalistic fervor, a heady perfume. The scent of revanche, of reclaiming lost glory, tickled the bourgeois nostrils that could tame a hurricane. Nationalism, that was the ticket! A strongman to keep the worker bees buzzing in their rightful place.A flirtation, a tango with the extreme right, a rebellion against the dull thrum of the Republic.

3. The Dreyfus Affair: Suddenly, the air grew thick with the stench of anti-Semitism. Dreyfus, a Jewish officer, wrongly accused. The bougeoisie, a house divided. Some, blinded by prejudice, sided with the mob, baying for blood. Others, a conscience flickering in the shadows, dared to speak for justice. 

virus that infected even the supposed bastions of reason. The Dreyfus Affair, a festering wound that exposed the bourgeoisie fractured over prejudice. Some, blinded by bigotry, sided with the lie. Others, a more lucid bunch, championed justice for the wrongly accused.

The Affair, a Rorschach test. Cracks appeared in the bourgeois facade. The Bourgeoisie, a fractured mirror, reflecting a nation at war with itself.

4. Action Française: 

Monarchy? Again? The bougeoisie, ever the fashionistas, dusted off their royalist threads. Action Française, a club for the nostalgic set, pined for the days of powdered wigs and absolute power. The Third Republic? Pah! A bourgeois wet dream gone sour beckoned the weary businessmen back to the divine right of kings. Monarchy, a comforting delusion, a return to a world of order, where the bourgeois could play courtiers in a gilded cage once more.

5. Vichy France: A Vichyssoise of Opportunism: : 1940 to 1944. The Nazis? 

The Nazis waltzed into France, and some in the bougeoisie, pragmatists to a fault, decided to cut a rug with the devil himself. Collaboration? It was business, as they say, a twisted tango with jackboots and swastikas. Now that was a whole new level of depravity. But hey, if the Nazis meant keeping the cockroaches (read: socialists and communists) at bay, then why not collaborate? A Faustian bargain, a descent into the abyss, all for the sake of preserving their precious status quo.

The Nazis, a brutal storm. Collaboration, a bitter pill to swallow. But some in the Bourgeoisie swallowed it whole, a desperate bid for survival. Better to be a fat cat in a Vichy government than a mangy alley dweller under the swastika, they reasoned. Moral bankruptcy, a festering wound beneath the pinstripes.

The Algiers Putsch: A Putrid Punch: Algeria, a thorn in the French side. The bougeoisie, with their pieds-noirs (black feet) chums in Algeria, got spooked by whispers of independence. So, the generals, those polyester-clad cowboys, tried a little coup d’état. A messy affair, all blood and bullets. The bougeoisie, once waltzing with kings, now found themselves in a gangster flick gone horribly wrong.

The stench of desperation hung heavy in the air. Algeria, a jewel slipping from their grasp. When push came to shove, the Parisian right and Algerian settlers, those bastions of bourgeois comfort, joined forces with some rogue generals in a desperate attempt to hold onto their illusions of empire. A death rattle, a pathetic display of power that ultimately sputtered out.

So there you have it, the French bourgeoisie – a tangled mess of self-interest, nationalism, and a sprinkle of fascism. A cut-up collage of power plays and moral compromises, all in the pursuit of that ever-elusive sense of control.