Paris Commune 1871

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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%.

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1871: the Paris Commune

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Max Shachtman

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.”

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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".

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