International

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.

Leninism and the failure of the Russian revolution

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The Russian revolutions of 1917 demonstrate that a revolution is possible but they also warn against authoritarian methods of introducing socialism.

1968 - When France Rebelled

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Paris 1968

 


THESE DAYS you are more likely to hear the word 'revolution' on the soundtrack of a film or on the latest pop release than you are to hear someone talking about bringing one about. It is partly for this reason that people think of revolutions as buried deep in history. Yet, as little as 25 years ago France was on the verge of a total revolt with 12 million workers on strike, 122 factories occupied, and students fighting against the old moribund system in which they found themselves.

In the late sixties in France real wages were on the rise, but large sections of the working class were still suffering from low pay. This was despite foreign trade having tripled. 25% of all workers were receiving less than 500 francs (£46) per month. Some unskilled workers were only getting 400 francs per month. Unemployment was at half a million, in a period which was considered a post-war boom. Trade union membership had dropped to around 3 million, as opposed to 7 million in 1945. Not many victories had been won in the preceding years. Michelin boasted that they had only talked to trade unions three times in thirty years. So how did everything change so quickly in the France of 1968?

 

Will the state that waged war against Nicaragua save Somalia?

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"Liberal Interventionism" is the new buzzword for 1993. In every newspaper  they are baying for blood. "US intervene in Bosnia", "America sort out Somalia" scream the headlines. People who might have questioned American intervention in Nicaragua, Panama or the Middle East are raging that the marines didn't go into Somalia sooner. Aid agencies who condemned America's role in Central America are begging them to extend their mission in Somalia. It is time to look at how the crisis in that country is being used to justify America's 'big brother' role in the New World Order.

World Bank - Leaked Memo - dump in poor countires

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LAWRENCE SUMMERS, Vice-President and chief economist of the World Bank is just the man to explain "free market" values to any of us who may have illusions about fairness or human rights.

Vampires in America

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PART OF THE old Eastern European legend says that a vampire must be willingly invited into the house of its victim, and once invited in has its victim in its power. Members of the Teamsters Union (America's largest general trade union) might well ponder this legend.

The Teamsters invited government intervention in the 1980s to help ensure free elections and oust corrupt Mafia controlled officials who had held power for decades. In 1989 a "mutual consent decree" was put in place creating an Independent Review Board to facilitate the democratisation process. The Board was made up of one union representative, one government representative and one 'impartial' outside person, who was to be agreed by both sides. The Board was to be disbanded once free elections took place inside the Teamsters.

Anarchism and leadership

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A CYNICAL EYE is directed at anarchists whenever they speak of organisation. Is not anarchism the opposite to organisation? The simple answer is NO. Is it then the opposite of large or complicated organisation. The answer is equally simple, NO. So where do such mistaken ideas come from?

Review of ANARCHISM AND ANARCHISTS by George Woodcock. (Quarry Press)

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THE YEAR 1992 saw a lot of changes. There was the dissappearance of Czechoslovakia into two separate countries, the infamous Maastricht treaty, the war in Yugoslavia, the limited victory for women's rights in Ireland and our gold medal for boxing in the Olympics. However an event which you may have missed was the eightieth birthday of George Woodcock. To celebrate this, a book was published of Mr Woodcock's collected essays, entitled "Anarchism and Anarchists".

Everything you wanted to know.....(Review of Anarchism by Daniel Guerin)

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Alternatively this book could be called "All you ever wanted to know about Anarchism but were afraid to ask".

After reading Guerin's "Anarchism" you'll be a convinced anarchist, armed with lots of arguments and examples to throw at the Leninists. This book is an easy reading introduction to the main ideas in anarchist thought and the events that have helped to form them. It is divided into three sections, Anarchist theory, Anarchist economy and Anarchists in revolutionary practice.

Yugoslavia: Whose bloody war?

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THE WAR in what was Yugoslavia continues to drag on, with an ever increasing toll of people terrorized from their homes, killed or imprisoned. Most ordinary people are disgusted at the failure of the EC to do anything about it. Yet is EC or UN involvement any sort of answer or would it just make the situation worse.

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