A look back at how artists captured those few revolutionary months.
Tag Archives: Paris Commune
“This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871 – the biggest urban insurrection of the nineteenth century, that led to the setting up of a grass roots based popular government in Paris, albeit for only about two months, before it was crushed by the Versailles troops at the end of May that year. But during that brief period of popular sovereignty, that government – known as the `Commune’, meaning the smallest unit of local governance – laid the foundations of a model of decentralization of power, that has continued to inspire generations all over the world.”
“Between March and May 1871 the workers of Paris ran their city as a collective, democratic government of the workers known as the Paris Commune.”
Crimethinc: “Against the Logic of the Guillotine: Why the Paris Commune Burned the Guillotine—and we should too”
“Even when we are engaged in pitched physical struggle with our adversaries, we ought to maintain a profound faith in their potential, for we hope to live in different relations with them one day. As aspiring revolutionaries, this hope is our most precious resource, the foundation of everything we do. If revolutionary change is to spread throughout society and across the world, those we fight today will have to be fighting alongside us tomorrow.”
Owen Holland: “‘What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents’: The Paris Commune and the Poetics of Martyrdom in the Fin de Siècle Socialist Print Culture”
“The problem of how to relate to, and retrospectively valorise, the Commune’s failure created a tension in the socialist periodical press between the motivational need to celebrate such a heroic defeat, in order to justify sacrifices both past and present, and the evaluative need critically to assess the reasons that underlay the defeat.”
“The near-mythical pétroleuse was one of the principal figures to emerge from the short-lived, yet radical Paris Commune (1871). The pétroleuse represented those women accused of setting devastating fires that gutted government and cultural institutions during the Semaine Sanglant (The Bloody Week). … Damaging ideologies coalesced around the pétroleuse and as such, a study of these symbols of female destruction reveals the fears and tensions that surrounded French women’s political power and agency by way of the proletariat’s civil war and revolution.”
Coghlan’s book Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century (2016) recovers the now largely forgotten story of the Paris Commune’s spectacular afterlife as specter and spectacle in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American culture.