Paris Commune 1871

1871: the Paris Commune (WL 3/39)

1871: The Paris Commune, by Max Shachtman In Memory Of The Commune, by V I Lenin Click here to download as a pdf. Buy online: £1.70 including postage.

The Paris Commune and the Union des Femmes

2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune; the moment that the working class seized political power for the first time, and held it for 72 days. Thousands of women took part in the events of the Commune and, against a backdrop of deep-rooted sexism, championed a revolutionary vision for the transformation of working class women’s lives. Paris under siege Life was hard for women in Paris in the mid-19th century. They worked long hours in back-breaking jobs and, with onerous domestic chores and squalid, overcrowded housing, homelife was little better. The majority of Parisian women...

The democracy of others

“No-one combats freedom; at most they combat the freedom of others”, wrote Karl Marx sarcastically, in an article defending the freedom of the press. For a long time now, in politics, “democracy” has had the same status. No-one combats democracy. At most they insist on their version of democracy. North Korea is officially the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The Iranian constitution insists on “the democratic character of the government”. On a less caricatural level, the 10 January coup in Momentum, Donald Trump’s executive orders, and the Tory government’s drive for a “hard Brexit”...

The Paris commune

The Paris commune of 1871 was the first workers' government. Tom Willis looks at it's significance 125 years on. Download PDF

Against UKIP, for a workers' united Europe!

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), the far right, anti-Europe, anti-immigrant party may top the vote in May’s European elections, according to recent opinion polls. A recent YouGov poll in put UKIP at 34%, Labour at 27% and the Tories 20%. UKIP leader Nigel Farage boosted his party’s profile in two recent TV debates with LibDem leader Nick Clegg. The party currently has 35,000, members and in the last two European elections polled over two million votes. Although the polls also suggest many fewer people would vote UKIP in a general election (about 12%, currently) UKIP is dragging the...

1871: the Paris Commune

The following account was written by Max Shachtman for the then-revolutionary US Communist Party’s “Little Red Library” in the early 1920's. “This history... is due to their children, to all the working men of the earth. The child has the right to know the reason of its paternal defeats, the Socialist party, the campaign of its flag in all countries. He who tells the people revolutionary legends, he who amuses them with sensational stories, is as criminal as the geographer who would draw up false charts for navigation.” Prosper Olivier Lissagaray, a participant in and historian of the Paris...

In memory of the Commune

Forty years have passed since the proclamation of the Paris Commune. In accordance with tradition, the French workers paid homage to the memory of the men and women of the revolution of March 18, 1871, by meetings and demonstrations. At the end of May they will again place wreaths on the graves of the Communards who were shot, the victims of the terrible “May Week”, and over their graves they will once more vow to fight untiringly until their ideas have triumphed and the cause they bequeathed has been fully achieved. Why does the proletariat, not only in France but through out the entire world...

The Paris Commune of 1871: the first workers' government

The following text is from Karl Marx’s The Civil War in France. It is an account of the events leading up to and during the Paris Commune of March-May 1871 when a radical democratic government of the people (in the main working class) held power. It is a militant defence of the Paris Commune — it caused a stir at the time — and was written for the “First International” (the International Working Men’s Association), the socialist and labour movement grouping in which Marx was a leading member. The French members of the IWMA played important roles in the Commune. In this extract, Marx develops...

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