Paris Commune 1871

For a workers' united Europe!

UKIP is the opposite of what we stand for — workers’ unity across borders and international socialism.

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.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

1871: the Paris Commune

An account of the Paris Commune written by Max Shachtman for the US Communist Party in the early 1920's.

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.”

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

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.

Lenin on the Paris Commune of 1871.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The Paris Commune: Revolution, Resistance, a Model for Revolutionaries

Date: 

14 January, 2013 - 19:30 to 21:00

Location: 

The Bath Hotel, 66-68 Victoria Street, Sheffield

Description: 

The Paris Commune was a short window of time in 1871 when workers took control over Paris, and made radical demands for a programme of socialist government:

- the separation of church and state;
- the remission of rents owed for the entire period of the siege (during which, payment had been suspended);
- the abolition of night work in the hundreds of Paris bakeries;
- the granting of pensions to the unmarried companions and children of National Guards killed on active service;
- the free return, by the city pawnshops, of all workmen's tools and household items valued up to 20 francs, pledged during the siege; the Commune was concerned that skilled workers had been forced to pawn their tools during the war;
- the postponement of commercial debt obligations, and the abolition of interest on the debts; and
- the right of employees to take over and run an enterprise if it were deserted by its owner; the Commune, nonetheless, recognized the previous owner's right to compensation.

The Commune, though it lasted just a short while, formed a large part of the basis on which Marx wrote his later writings on revolution and socialist society. It has informed much of the theory and practice of both Socialist and other revolutionary schools of thought (such as Anarchism) until the present day.

Sheffield Workers Liberty will be leading a discussion about the nature and legacy of the Commune - what, who, where, how and why, and what we can learn from it today.

You don't have to know anything in advance, but if you want to read up first, here's some recommended online texts:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune
Karl Marx, The Civil War in France: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/ch05.htm
Frederick Engels, Introduction to The Civil War In France: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/intro.htm
Marxist Internet Archive: http://www.marxists.org/glossary/orgs/p/a.htm
Olivier Lissagaray, History of the Paris Commune 1871: http://www.marxists.org/history/france/archive/lissagaray/index.htm
Lenin: Lessons of the Commune: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mar/23.htm

Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Merseyside AWL - Long live the Paris Commune!

Date: 

8 June, 2011 - 20:30 to 22:30

Description: 

In 1871, the workers and poor people of Paris organised to take power and create the world’s first workers’ government – the Paris Commune. The result was an explosion of democracy, freedom and human creativity unparalleled in history up to that point.
Although the Commune lasted less than three months and was drowned in blood by the French ruling class, its example has inspired workers in revolutionary struggle across the world ever since.

Between March 18, the day the Commune began, and 28 May, the day it fell, Working men and women of Paris instituted radical democracy, abolished the police and the army and workers took control of their work places.
63 years before women in France won the vote, during the 72-day reign of the Commune, women organised, argued, theorised and fought alongside men to defend and develop the revolution. Paule Mink, Louise Michel & Nathalie LeMel and many other women organised societies, published papers demanding equal rights, the abolition of marriage and the organisation of women workers both inside and outside the home.

Elaine Jones from Workers Liberty will talk about this pivitol moment in the history of the world workers movement and the role of women in the Commune. We will also discuss what the Commune teaches us about the kind of workers government we fight for.

facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=143337145725886

directions: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

AWL event, 30 April: "The world's first Workers' Republic - the Paris Commune"

Date: 

30 April, 2011 - 17:00 to 1 May, 2011 - 01:00

Location: 

Green Shoots community centre, Besson Street, London SE14 5AS

Description: 

"The cry of 'social republic', ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express an aspiration after a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself. The Commune was the positive form of that republic." - Marx

The circus surrounding the Royal Wedding on the April bank holiday weekend will be unbearable. Don't just grind your teeth! As a contribution to protesting against this nonsense, and as part of a series of events to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, we will be holding a dayschool about the lessons of the Commune - the first time in history the working class, inspired by the revolutionary republican tradition, created a government of its own.

Sessions will include:

* The Commune, democracy and the state
* Revolution without a revolutionary party?
* Women in the Commune: lessons in workers' revolution and women's emancipation

Followed by a revolutionary/republican social to replace the wedding as the social event of the season!

Facebook event here

Marxist Theory and History: 

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.

Marx's account of the Paris Commune of 1871 when a radical democratic government of the people held power for two months.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Women in the Paris Commune

Women’s role in the Paris Commune was not limited to the morning of March 18 when a crowd of working class women put themselves between the cannons in possession of the National Guard (the citizen’s militia) and the troops of the National Assembly, led by Adolphe Thiers; the action which sparked the revolution. Throughout the 72-day reign of the Commune, women organised, argued, theorised and fought alongside men to defend and develop the revolution.


The Clubs

Women's role in the Paris Commune of 1871.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

"Storming heaven", the Paris Commune of 1871

The Paris Commune came out of the Franco-Prussian war (July 1870-January 1871).

After the defeat of the French forces by the Prussian army at Sedan on 1 September 1870 the French Emperor, Napoleon III resigned and a Republic was set up after mass demonstrations in Paris, calling for the Third Republic.

With the Prussians marching upon Paris, a newly established “Government of National Defence” was organised.

On the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, we reprint eye-witness accounts and documents written by the revolutionary workers who, as Marx put it, were "storming heaven".

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Vive la Commune! 140 years since the workers' revolution in Paris

In 1871, the workers and poor people of Paris organised to take power and create the world's first workers' government - the Paris Commune. The result was an explosion of democracy, freedom and human creativity unparalleled in history up to that point.

Although the Commune lasted less than three months and was drowned in blood by the French ruling class, its example has inspired workers in revolutionary struggle across the world ever since.

Workers' Liberty will be holding a series of events to celebrate and learn from the Paris Commune, starting with a film showing, discussion and social in London on 18 March - the 140th anniversary of its founding.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Workers film and video

“Workers Film and Video” is a new website which aims to bring together into a single site links to footage of key events in working-class history.

Material already accessible through the site, which was set up only earlier this year, includes both historical material, such as the 1905 Russian Revolution and the German Spartakist Uprising in 1919, and also more contemporary material, such as last year’s workers’ protests in Egypt.

“Workers Film and Video” is a new website which aims to bring together into a single site links to footage of key events in working-class history.

Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Lenin on the Paris Commune

Lenin

Author: 

Vladimir Lenin

On 18 March 1871 the workers of Paris took power in their city. For nine weeks, until they were crushed by the French army after 28 May, they formed the world's first workers' government.

Karl Marx wrote a pamphlet at the time about the Commune, The Civil War in France.

In it he focused on defending the Commune against its enemies. He claimed it showed, for the first time, "the political form under which to work out the economic emancipation of labour".

On 18 March 1871 the workers of Paris took power in their city. For nine weeks, until they were crushed by the French army after 28 May, they formed the world's first workers' government.

Publications: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

What is the Bolshevik-Trotskyist tradition?

Workers' Liberty

What follows is a summary of the political and ideological traditions on which Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity base ourselves.

Isaac Newton famously summed up the importance of studying, learning, and building on forerunners. “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, he wrote, referring to René Descartes, his contemporary Robert Hooke, and presumably also to his direct predecessor Isaac Barrow.

In science few people think they can neglect the “tradition” and rely on improvisation. In politics, alas, too many.

A summary of the political and ideological traditions on which we base ourselves.

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Around the world: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Publications: 

Lessons of the Commune

In 1884 Ernest Belfort Bax, one of the pioneer British Marxists, wrote a long series of articles on the Commune in Justice, the paper of the first British Marxist group, the Social Democratic Federation. In the last two issues of Solidarity we have published an abridged and adapted version of Bax’s narrative and also incorporated a few pages from a mid-1880s Socialist League pamphlet, written by Bax and William Morris. This is the final instalment.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The fall of the Commune

In 1894 Ernest Belfort Bax, one of the pioneer British Marxists, wrote a long series of articles on the Commune in Justice, the paper of the first British Marxist group, the Social Democratic Federation. We have abridged and adapted Bax’s narrative account of the Commune and also incorporated a few pages from a mid-1880s Socialist League pamphlet, written by Bax and William Morris.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The workers of Paris triumph (2)

The Commune had organised itself into nine Commissions or delegations. The Department of public or municipal services involved the general superintendence of public offices such as the Post Office, the Telegraphs, the Mint, the official printing press, the hospitals. Theisz, a workman, took the direction of the Post Office.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

The workers of Paris triumph (1)

In 1894 Ernest Belfort Bax, one of the pioneer British Marxists, wrote a long series of articles on the Commune in Justice, the paper of the first British Marxist group, the Social Democratic Federation. We have abridged and adapted Bax’s narrative account of the Commune. The second part will appear in the next issue of Solidarity.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

When the working-class first took power

For the 50 years before the October revolution of 1917, on 18 March every year the socialist movement throughout the world celebrated “Commune Day”. This was the anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871. There, for the first time, the working class seized power, and held it for nearly two months. This, as Frederick Engels said, was “the dictatorship of the proletariat”. It ended in a horrific massacre of the Parisian workers, but it pointed to the political future of the working class everywhere. Leon

Marxist Theory and History: 

Publications: 

Subscribe to RSS - Paris Commune 1871