Paris Commune 1871

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.

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The democracy of others

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Martin Thomas

“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.

In the turmoil around the revolutions of 1848 Engels and Marx came to understand that a formal, merely-political democracy was possible, which would preserve the rule of profiteers and of profit in economic life.

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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.

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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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