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Paris Commune

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Lessons of the Paris Commune (Part III)

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

The history of the Paris Commune has become a touchstone of great importance for the question: How should the revolutionary working class organize its tactics and strategy in order to achieve ultimate victory? With the fall of the Commune, the last traditions of the old revolutionary legend have likewise fallen forever; no favorable turn of circumstances, no heroic spirit, no martyrdom can take the place of the proletariat’s clear insight into … the indispensable conditions of its emancipation. What holds for the revolutions that were carried out by minorities, and in the interests of minorities, no longer holds for the proletariat revolution. … In the history of the Commune, the germs of this revolution were effectively stifled by the creeping plants that, growing out of the bourgeois revolution of the eighteenth century, overran the revolutionary workers’ movement of the nineteenth century. Missing in the Commune were the firm organization of the proletariat as a class and the fundamental clarity as to its world-historical mission; on these grounds alone it had to succumb.

— Franz Mehring1

March 22, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — In 1919 at the end of the failed January Uprising in Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg observed the following in one of her last articles:

The whole path of socialism, as far as revolutionary struggles are concerned, is paved with sheer defeats. And yet, this same history leads step by step, irresistibly, to the ultimate victory! Where would we be today without those “defeats” from which we have drawn historical experience, knowledge, power, idealism! Today, where we stand directly before the final battle of the proletarian class struggle, we are standing precisely on those defeats, not a one of which we could do without, and each of which is a part of our strength and clarity of purpose.2

The Resolution of the Communards (Part II)

 

 

 

Whereas nobody’s left who still believes
The government whatever it promises
We have resolved we’ll build ourselves good lives
By being the only ones who govern us.
Whereas you’ll listen to what the cannon say —
No other language will you listen to —
Well then, we’ll have to turn the cannon your way.
Yes, that will be the best thing we can do!

 

— Bertolt Brecht, “Resolution of the Communards”

By Doug Enaa Greene

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — On March 18, 1871, the National Guard took over all the strategic points in Paris without meeting any resistance. It was the largest revolutionary organization in Paris, but it had not planned to take power that day. Now power had practically fallen into its hands; the guard had only to decide what to do with it.

Insurgent Communards: The Road to Revolution (Part I)

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

March 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — In June 1871, the French poet Eugène Pottier wrote a poem entitled “L’Internationale” to commemorate the fallen Paris Commune. That poem contains the following lines, calling the working class to revolution:

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!

Arise, ye wretched of the earth!

For justice thunders condemnation:

A better world’s in birth! …

Bullets and barricades: On the art of insurrection

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

To my friend and comrade Francesca.

 

November 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — “What side of the barricades are you on?” This phrase expresses the poignant meaning that the term barricades has in the revolutionary lexicon. Barricades represent a line of demarcation in the class war between the exploiters and the exploited. To stand with the exploited on the barricades is to pick a side, it is an action of solidarity with one's comrades, and shows that one is read to sacrifice their life for the cause. Although barricades dominated the insurrectionary movements during the nineteenth century, as time passed the barricade was found wanting as a effective tactic to topple the state, especially as the forces of order redesigned cities to prevent uprisings and revolutionaries pursued legal channels for political advance. When revolutionary opportunities came following the Russian Revolution, the barricade was relegated to the background in favor of more sophisticated approaches to insurrection.

 

Paul Le Blanc: Explorations in plain Marxism: revolutionary theory, practical action

"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of Marxist theory, click HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.

The will to act: The life and thought of Louis-Auguste Blanqui

Doug Enaa Greene presented a talk on the life and thought of Louis-Auguste Blanqui to the Center for Marxist Education in February 2014.

By Doug Enaa Greene

Dedicated to my father

October 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “I am accused of having said to thirty million French people, proletarians like me, that they had the right to live”.[1] These words are the opening remarks of then 27-year-old revolutionary, Louis-Auguste Blanqui's defence speech when he was tried for treason by the French state in 1832. Blanqui's words were nothing less than a declaration of war upon the rule of the bourgeoisie on behalf of a mercilessly exploited proletariat.

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