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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

150 years since the fall of the Paris Commune

150 years ago today, May 28 1871, the Paris Commune (which had been proclaimed March 18, 1871) fell after the slaughter of what became known as the "Bloody Week" during which the forces of counter-revolution and the ruling class killed many thousands.

But the ruling classes of France, Europe and the world could not kill the inspiration that the Paris Commune -- however short-lived -- gave to the working-class and revolutionaries around the globe.

As Lenin wrote in 1911:

The memory of the fighters of the Commune is not only honoured by the workers of France but by the proletariat of the whole world, for the Commune did not fight for any local or narrow national aim, but for the freedom of toiling humanity, of all the downtrodden and oppressed. As the foremost fighter for the social revolution, the Commune has won sympathy wherever there is a proletariat struggling and suffering. The picture of its life and death, the sight of a workers’ government which seized the capital of the world and kept it in its hands for over two months, the spectacle of the heroic struggle of the proletariat and its sufferings after defeat—all this has raised the spirit of millions of workers, aroused their hopes and attracted their sympathies to the side of socialism. The thunder of the cannon in Paris awakened the most backward strata of the proletariat from deep slumber, and everywhere gave impetus to the growth of revolutionary Socialist propaganda. This is why the cause of the Commune did not die. It lives to the present day in every one of us.
The cause of the Commune is the social revolution, the cause of the complete political and economic emancipation of the toilers. It is the cause of the proletariat of the whole world. And in this sense it is immortal.


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