The first socialist revolution in history. In 1871, at the end of the war against the Germans, the people of Paris revolted and brought down the government. During a few months the city lived under an ideal socialist democracy. Government troops then took back the city, resulting in the most terrible slaughter of civilians ever seen. More than 20000 dead, 40 000 prisoners.

The revolt was a great source of inspiration for Lenin. Its crushing probably inspired Franco.

While Marx claimed to influence the Paris Commune, the real theorist behind it was the anarchist Proudhon.

The first time workers took state power into their own hands. They established in the Commune a form of government more democratic than ever seen before. Representatives were mandated on
policy questions by their electors, they were recallable at any time and were paid wages that reflected those of their constituents. The Commune was a working body, not a talk shop. The distinction between
legislative and executive arms of government was abolished. Marx's Civil War in France is a suberb account of the history and significance of the Commune. The Commune was drowned in blood by the
conservative French government in Versailles, cheered on by the ruling classes of the world.

Wyclef: I'm not sure that one can be said to be the theorist behind the Commune because it defied all theories. The Paris Commune was the example of creativity, inventiveness and audacity (if you like) of the people. True though, Marx wasn't the one behind it either. Vice versa, the Commune can be said to behind Marx -- Marx added the line: "The old governmental order has to be crushed." (or something like that) in the Communist Manifesto after the experiences of the Paris Commune.

The situationists had something very interesting opinions about the Commune and albeit stated early sixties they haven't still been consider as seriously as they should.
Some quotes:

The apparent successes of this workers are actually its fundamental failures (reformism or the establishment of a state bureaucracy), while its failures (the Paris Commune) are its most promising successes so far, for us and for the future.

The Commune was the biggest festival of the nineteenth century. Underlying the events of that spring of 1871 one can see the insurgents’ feeling that they had become the masters of their own history, not so much on the level of “governmental” politics as on the level of their everyday life.

The Commune represents the only implementation of a revolutionary urbanism to date — attacking on the spot the petrified signs of the dominant organization of life, understanding social space in political terms, refusing to accept the innocence of any monument. Anyone who disparages this attack as some “lumpenproletarian nihilism,” some “irresponsibility of the pétroleuses,” should specify what he believes to be of positive value in the present society and worth preserving (it will turn out to be almost everything).

Theoreticians who examine the history of this movement from a divinely omniscient viewpoint (like that found in classical novels) can easily prove that the Commune was objectively doomed to failure and could not have been successfully consummated. They forget that for those who really lived it, the consummation was already there.

Whereas Marx said: "The most important social measure of the Commune was its own existence in acts."

And Engels: "Look at the Paris Commune — that was the dictatorship of the proletariat."

The Paris Commune was the name of the state set up to run Paris during civilian uprising in the spring of 1871. At the time, France was a plutocratic psuedo-democracy ruled by the National Assembly, a nominally elective body dominated by the wealthy classes. That March several radical socialist workers' groups, growing desperate because of faltering economic conditions and humiliated by national failure in the Franco-Prussian War, banded together to rise up and and expel the Assembly, which fled to Versailles.

For three months the "Communards" controlled Paris, attempting to remake the city into an idealized communal society in which all people were equal and all property was collectively owned. Meanwhile, smaller copycat uprisings developed in other French cities and the governments of Europe held their collective breath, fearing uprisings in their own territories.

But in May the National Assembly struck back brutally, invading Paris with an army of 130,000, utterly crushing the Commune in a week of bloody, block-by-block fighting. Almost 20,000 people were executed in the ensuing reprisals.

The Paris Commune cannot be considered a success, but it served as a powerful inspiration to the worldwide socialist movement. Its leaders were remembered as heroes and martyrs and its symbol - a plain red banner - became, via the bolsheviks, the enduring color of the communist movement that is still found in the present-day Chinese and North Korean flags.

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