Lenin is referring to the attack by the bourgeois counter-revolution against the working class and the democratic petty bourgeoisie in France, after the latter's defeat in June 1849.
The reference to 1871 is about the rising of the Paris workers on March 18, 1871, as a result of which a government of the proletarian dictatorship -- the Paris Commune -- was created for the first time in history. The Commune was defeated. "The entire bourgeoisie of France all the landlords, stockbrokers, factory owners, all the robbers great and small all the exploiters -- united against it in savage fury. (See present edition, Vol. 17, pp. 140-41. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "In Memory of the Commune". -- DJR]) With active aid from Bismarck, this coalition started military operations against insurgent Paris, and, on winning victory, flooded the streets of the city with the blood of the people. No less than 30,000 Communards were killed and 50,000 arrested. Many of these were executed and thousands were condemned to penal servitude or exile.
The Paris Commune is dealt with in Lenin's articles: "Plan of a Lecture on the Commune", "Lessons of the Commune", "In Memory of the Commune", The State and Revolution, Ch. III. (See present edition, Vols. 8, 13, 17, 25.)
See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1952, pp. 54-64.
The Peasant Union (The All-Russia Peasant Union) -- a revolutionary-democratic organisation, which arose in 1905. Influenced by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and liberals, the Peasant Union
displayed a half-way policy, vacillations and indecision typical of the petty-bourgeoisie. While demanding the abolition of landlordism, the Union agreed to partial compensation for the landlords. In the words of Lenin, this was "organisation, sharing, of course, in a number of peasant prejudices, and susceptible to the petty-bourgeois illusions of the peasants (just like our Socialist Revolutionaries); but it was undoubtedly a real organisation of the masses, of 'men of the soil', unquestionably revolutionary at bottom, capable of employing genuinely revolutionary methods of struggle." (See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 258-59. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The Victory of the Cadets and the Tasks of the Workers' Party". -- DJR]) From the very outset of its activities the Peasant Union was subject to police repression and discontinued its activities early in 1907.
L'Humanité -- a daily newspaper founded in 1904 by Jean Jaurès as the organ of the French Socialist Party. The newspaper hailed the beginning of the revolution in Russia in 1905 and expressed the sympathy of the French people "with the Russian nation, which was effecting its 1789". The newspaper organised collections in support of the Russian revolution. During the First World War (1914-18) the paper was controlled by the extreme Right wing of the French Socialist Party and took a chauvinist stand.
In 1918, Marcel Cachin, a prominent leader of the French and international labour movement, became political director and head of the newspaper. In 1918-20, the paper came out against the imperialist policy of the French Government and its sending of armed forces against the Soviet Republic. In December 1920, after the split in the French Socialist Party and the formation of the Communist Party of France, the newspaper became the latter's Central Organ.
At the beginning of World War II, in August 1939, the newspaper was banned by the French authorities and went underground. During the Nazi occupation of France (1940-44) the newspaper appeared illegally, and played a tremendous role in the liberation of France.
In the-post-war period the newspaper has been waging a ceaseless struggle for the country's national independence, for unity of working-class action, for strengthening peace and friendship among the nations, and for democracy and social progress.
Lenin's telegram demanding that Martov and Dan should make a signed and open accusation and not engage in spreading dark rumours was published in the newspaper Rabochy No. 4, May 25, 1914.
Lenin, with slight modifications, is quoting from the poem The Man of the Forties by the Russian poet Nekrasov.
Following the slanderous anti-Bolshevik attacks by the liquidationist Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta, a group of Marxists asked Plekhanov to make a statement to the International Socialist Bureau
condemning the newspaper's behaviour. Though he strongly disapproved of this behaviour, Plekhanov refused to make the required statement, thereby justifying the slanderers. Thereupon, the "Group of Marxists" published a "Statement" in the newspaper Trudovaya Pravda on June 5 (18), 1914, in which Plekhanov's conduct was characterised as "an act of high diplomacy".
See Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, p. 121.