Zo d’Axa, the Belle Epoque rebel who wanted to present a donkey for the presidential election

It was a hell of a sword, Zo d’Axa. In this Belle Époque, not as beautiful as that, he wielded his pen like a musketeer under amphetamines, booed the bourgeois who were part of “These people”he became angry with the bosses, the officials, the seagulls, the wardens, the hard-collar workers, the watch dogs, the galetteux, the de-la-haute, the Prud’hommes, the pognonists, the rentiers, the ecocroquards and, under the Third Republic of jackets and melons, it was “pure metal rebel”. So go or almost. Editor-in-chief of a beating newspaper, “L’En-dehors”, then another, “La Feuille”, Zo d’Axa wielded the flamethrower, got angry, hit, assaulted, sang of subversion and … disappeared, worn out. In 2010, a “best of” of his writings, entitled “You are just pears!”, Was published by Clandestine Passenger editions (available on AbeBooks for a few euros).

Adultery, gigolos and opoponax: we knew how to have fun in 1900

According to the “Little Simonin illustrated by example”, a basic work for any consistent plumitif, an “apple” (there is no “pear” entry, but we stick to the style of the fruit) is applied to “a character of incurable stupidity”. Good start. Zo d’Axa, the spiky knob, the sloping felt hat, the wide gesture and the imperial style, come out: he doesn’t want to be. “more grouped in anarchy than in socialism”profess “Disgust with society” who encourages him to fight “out of all laws, all rules, all theories”a “let go of our rages, with the pride of being ourselves”. Evokes Ernestine Diot, the 17-year-old girl killed by soldiers during the Fourmies strike, reluctantly supports Dreyfus (“If this gentleman was not a traitor, he was a captain; let’s get started “), Crush “Robins, Rabbis and Priests, Officers, Officers, Officers”characters “the big words: law, duty, honor, public safety”and emet “Easy bookings” on the right to vote. Abstaining, writing, is “Never submit, resist, live in revolt. By not voting, we continue to be ourselves. We live like a man that no Tartempion should boast of representing. One is a master of one’s own thought, aware of direct action..

The sequel after the announcement

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“We’re collecting your votes, and that’s it”

Of which, indeed. Zo d’Axa proposes to present an unpublished candidate for the presidency of the Republic: a donkey. But a donkey “Not too erudite, a wise man who only drinks water and shrinks in the face of a bribe”. Because “You’re cheating, good voters, they’re cheating on you, they’re flattering you when they tell you you’re pretty … We’ve got your votes, and that’s it. You’re just fruit … pears “. Result: Zo d’Axa is imprisoned. Several times, even. But he is a difficult man to keep under lock and key: in 1882, he was a hunter in Africa (and struck his steward’s wife before he set out), a deserter in Brussels, a poet in Rome. Back in Paris in 1889, he befriended the beautiful flower of angry people: Georges Darien (“The Thief”), Félix Fénéon (“Three-Line News”), Errico Malatesta (who needs no introduction), Louise Michel (the passion of the Commune), Jehan Rictus (“The Soliloquies of the Poor”) and Octave Mirbeau (“The Garden of Torture”). He will also be a traveling musician in London, a lumberjack in Baden-Baden, will defend Ravachol who will be guillotined (“In the kennel, on hunting evenings, we throw the bread soaked in the blood of the quarry”), and will walk from Mazas (the prison in front of the Gare de Lyon) to Jerusalem, making a detour around Jaffa. He also visited the United States, South America, China, and campaigned tirelessly for Master Aliboron, an asshole named “Null,” whom he saw well on the Elysée. Ace it! It will be Felix Faure, then Loubet, the republic of the stomach and digestion.

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1900 arrives: the century promises to be terribly stupid. Zo d’Axa left his real name some time ago – Alphonse Gallaud de la Pérouse (descended from the explorer) – and discourages, discouraged, that the spirit of revolt has begun to escape. He lowered his arms, moved to a barge in Marseilles, languished, and was shot in the head in 1930 at the age of 66. But where did he get his pseudonym? Among the Greeks, well. He stated that it meant ” who lives biting “.

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You’re just pears! Zo d’Axa, presented by Bernard Langlois, Le Passager Clandestin, 2010.The Musketeer: Zo d’Axa (1864-1930)Alexandre Najjar, Balland, 2004.

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