Paris Commune

Book Review: Kristin Ross Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune

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Kristin Ross has written a beautiful, inspirational account of the life and afterlife of the Paris Commune and of the everyday communards who brought it to fruition.

“Communal Luxury” takes as its subject matter the Paris Commune of 1871, one of the single greatest advances toward a free society ever attempted in human history. The Commune arose in the course of a devastating war between France and Prussia (Germany), with the French army’s defeat prompting the collapse of the imperialist, authoritarian French regime. The people of Paris organised their own defence, bought their own cannons, and refused to hand said cannons over to the new French Republic. Instead, staging a worker-led insurrection, they declared Paris to be liberated from both the French and Prussian forces and set about constructing a free society, one in which all comers participated in decision-making and all wealth was shared in common. The Commune lasted some 72 days in the spring of 1871 before being brutally crushed by the reactionary forces of Nation, Church, State and Capital. Some 25,000 men, women, and children were executed.

 

The Paris Commune

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The commune was formally installed in the Hotel de Ville two days later in the glorious spring sunshine of Tuesday, 28 March. The national Guard battalions assembled, the names of the newly elected members were read out , as, wearing red, they lined up on the steps of the Hotel de Ville under a canopy surmounted by a bust to the republic. On high the red flag was flying as it had done ever since 18 March and guns saluted the proclamation of the Paris Commune...

This is the notes for a talk given to a WSM meeting in October 1993 that was heavily based on The Communards of Paris, 1871: edited by Stewart Edwards, and published by Cornell Paperbacks; CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

As its in note form it includes sections copied from this book.

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