The Commune After 150 Years

Suren Moodliar

March 18, 2021, marked the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. Given the seismic nature of the events, laying bare underlying class antagonisms, S&D writing has frequently revisited the topic. In 2016, we published Joe Cleffie's review of Kristin Ross's Communal Luxury: The Poltical Imagionary of the Paris Commune. Cleffie summarizes the lessons that "can be taken from those short months" of the Commune. These range from "the nature of the capitalist state, to the lengths the ruling class will go to in order to crush a workers’ revolution, to the role of the peasantry, to solidarity across divisions of gender and race." In a similar vein, David B. Downing's (2018) analysis, in "The Struggle Between Communality and Hierarchy: Lessons of the Paris Commune for the Twenty-first Century," is very relevant to our moment as suggested by in the framework he uses to explore the Commune: " is possible to see outlined in this event the fundamental, dialectical tensions between communality and hierarchy, grand narratives and local policies, as they affect the geopolitical economy." Also of interest is Doug Greene's "The Historical Memory and Legacy of Louis-Auguste Blanqui." In 2014, Michael Löwy, in his article, "A Common Banner: Marxists and Anarchists in the First International," explored the period in general, one of collaboration between the historical strands of socialism, noting that "it is highly relevant to us, at the beginning of the 21st century, when again Marxists and Anarchists – or Autonomists, Libertaires, etc. – join forces and act together, as individuals, as networks, or as political organizations (whose existence is not an obstacle to cooperation), in support of the Zapatistas of Chiapas, in the Global Justice movement, in radical ecological struggles, in the mass mobilizations of the Indignados (Spain, Greece), or in Occupy Wall Street." (Note, if you do not have access to the Taylor and Francis website through your institution, you can also look the articles on this website using the search function.)