The Paris Commune of 1871 and the Communards

Martin Breaugh

in The Plebeian Experience

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780231156189
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231520812 | DOI:
The Paris Commune of 1871 and the Communards

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This chapter analyzes the political experience in Paris in 1871, focusing on a series of political forms that contributed to the advent or the historical deployment of the Commune. Through a host of political bodies, the Paris Commune of 1871 marked the establishment of a political form intended to put an end to state power, that is, power based on coercion, in order to institute a power constructed through the concerted action of the citizens. The Paris Commune stands as a refutation in practice of a certain line of thought whereby the state is considered desirable, or even indispensable, for the collective existence of modern individuals. However, the Communards' political action was not exempt from myth, particularly that of the Great Revolution of 1789, as evidenced by the creation of an ersatz Committee for Public Safety, which presaged the Commune's demise. The Paris Commune was a fragile undertaking; an experiment in freedom vulnerable to the desire for the One and, hence, in constant danger of turning into its opposite.

Keywords: political experience; political form; Paris Commune; state power; Communards; political action

Chapter.  10762 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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