On this day in 1871 French troops were dispersed to put an end to the workers control of Paris….
Brought to an end was the popular uprising known as the Paris Commune…..
The Paris Commune is often said to be the first example of working people taking power. For this reason it is a highly significant event, even though it is ignored in the French history curriculum. On March 18 1871, after France was defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian war, the French government sent troops into Paris to try and take back the Parisian National Guard’s cannon before the people got hold of it. Much to the dismay of the French government, the citizens of Paris had got hold of them, and wouldn’t give them up. The soldiers refused to fire on their own people and instead turned their weapons on their officers.
The PNG held free elections and the citizens of Paris elected a council made up mostly of Jacobins and Republicans (though there were a few anarchists and socialists as well). The council declared that Paris was an independent commune and that France should be a confederation of communes. Inside the Commune, all elected council members were instantly recallable, paid an average wage and had equal status to other commune members.
A more subdued description of the event…..
The Paris Commune was a popular-led democratic government that ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. Inspired by the Marxist politics and revolutionary goals of the International Workingmen’s Organization (also known as the First International), workers of Paris united to overthrow the existing French regime which had failed to protect the city from Prussian siege, and formed the first truly democratic government in the city and in all of France. The elected council of the Commune passed socialist policies and oversaw city functions for just over two months, until the French army retook the city for the French government, slaughtering tens of thousands of working-class Parisians in order to do so.
On May 21, 1871, the army stormed the city and slaughtered tens of thousands of Parisians, including women and children, in the name of retaking the city for the Third Republic. Members of the Commune and the National Guard fought back, but by the 28th of May, the army had defeated the National Guard and the Commune was no more.
This is a special day and a special time mostly for anarchists and socialists….it was a success and the brutal response ended the experiment.
As always I try to help all understand even those that do little reading so…..a shirt video will help explain the event…..
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”