The Commune: Paris, 1871
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143 years ago today, on 18 March 1871, enormous sections of the Parisian working class began a rebellion that shook the foundations of European society. Through this uprising, laborers seized direct control over their city, expelling their government and capitalist rulers. These revolutionary men and women declared Paris an independent municipality — a commune where they would directly and collectively manage their society through new institutions and voluntary associations of their own creation, providing for their own welfare and defense.
The state, of course, had other plans — and the Commune was annihilated 71 days later in one of the deadliest campaigns in French military history, La Semaine Sanglante, “The Bloody Week,” during which over 30,000 men, women, and children were murdered for their revolutionary aspirations.
Despite the brutality of its destruction, the Paris Commune uprising is remembered as a inspirational moment to radicals and revolutionaries the world over. In the near century-and-a-half that has passed since the Commune’s destruction, Anarchists and libertarian-socialists across the generations have looked to the 1871 Paris Commune, seeking to learn from its example, both its strengths and its limitations.
The Commune: Paris, 1871 is a new collection of classic anarchist and libertarian-socialist studies of the Paris Commune, compiled, edited, and introduced by Andrew Zonneveld. This concise volume includes critical reflections on the Commune from such radical authors as Louise Michel, William Morris, Mikhail Bakunin, Petr Kropotkin, Voltairine de Cleyre, Alexander Berkman and Maurice Brinton.
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