The Civil War in France: The Paris Communist Uprising of 1871


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A gripping account of the infamous and short-lived 1871 “Paris Commune,” or communist uprising, in France’s capital city, written by the founder of communism. Karl Marx’s book was one of the first written to discuss the impact of the commune, and although naturally written with a strong pro-communist bias and a visceral hatred of Napoleon III, it provides a fascinating insight into the thinking and internal machinations of the commune.

The commune briefly ruled Paris from March 18 until May 28, 1871, after being elected as the city council. Acting as a lightning rod for socialist radicals from Poland to Italy, the commune quickly dissolved into the usual “dictatorship of the proletariat” and began stripping away civil liberties and creating state enforcement agencies to implement its decrees by terror and coercion. Among its rules was a “Decree on Hostages”—in terms of which any person could be arrested, imprisoned and tried, becoming “hostages of the people of Paris.”

Thousands were murdered in this manner, including a number of prominent Christian leaders. In addition, the commune created a “Committee of Public Safety,” which was given extensive powers to hunt down and imprison its self-identified enemies. Freedom of the press was suppressed and, finally, as the communists faced military defeat, they burned down many famous buildings in the city in revenge, including priceless architectural gems. It is estimated that up to 20,000 people died during the rule of the commune. In spite of this bloody record, Marx was full of praise for the commune, calling it the prototype for a revolutionary government of the future (“the form at last discovered”) and added that the “working men’s Paris, with its commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society.” (We see the same communist tactics being used in America today to forever alter the United States and turn it into a leftist state controlled by the brainwashed masses whom the news media has agitated to no end.)

This version contains Marx’s full original text, and includes the text of the article “A Short Account of the Commune of Paris of 1871” published by the Socialist League, London, 1886, along with a selection of news reports and correspondence by Marx concerning the commune. Also contains a new introduction by scholar Arthur Kemp that provides a historical backdrop and summary of the events of this, the world’s first communist uprising. Contents: The Commune of Paris of 1871; The Civil War in France; 1891 Introduction by Friedrich Engels on the 20th Anniversary of the Paris Commune; The Beginning of the Franco-Prussian War; Prussian Occupation of France; France Capitulates and the Government of Thiers; Paris Workers’ Revolution and the Reactionary Massacres; The Paris Commune; The Fall of Paris; 1891 Postscript by Friedrich Engels; News Stories after the Defeat of the Paris Commune; Marx-Engels Correspondence 1871. Softcover, 146 pages, #849.