Karl Marx:[The Paris Commune]
Paris, the central seat of the old governmental power, and, at the same time, the social stronghold of the French working class, had risen in arms against the attempt of Thiers and the Rurals to restore and perpetuate that old governmental power bequeathed to them by the empire. Paris could resist only because, in consequence of the siege, it had got rid of the army, and replaced it by a National Guard, the bulk of which consisted of working men. This fact was now to be transformed into an institution. The first decree of the Commune, therefore, was the suppression of the standing army, and the substitution for it of the armed people. The Commune was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary body, executive and legislative at the same time. Instead of continuing to be the agent of the Central Government, the police was at once stripped of its political attributes, and turned into the responsible, and at all times revocable, agent of the Commune. So were the officials of all other branches of the administration. From the members of the Commune downwards, the public service had to be done at workman’s wage. The vested interests and the representation allowances of the high dignitaries of state disappeared along with the high dignitaries themselves. Public functions ceased to be the private property of the tools of the Central Government. Not only municipal administration, but the whole initiative hitherto exercised by the state was laid into the hands of the Commune.
The Paris Commune Taught the Bolsheviks How to Win a Revolution
To quote Walter Benjamin, this was “a past charged with the time of the now.” By 1917, fearful that his fellow revolutionaries were missing a golden opportunity, Lenin used the example of the Paris Commune to urge the immediate seizure of power. He also started to refer to the direct, self-governing initiatives of the Commune as the practical basis for “a new type of state.” He presented the “Commune-type state” as a ready model for the Soviet state. Famously, in State and Revolution, written during 1917, Lenin claimed that Commune policies such as wage equalization, housing expropriation, and the reconstituting of state and bureaucratic mechanisms could be immediately enacted upon achieving power. The lure of a ready-made “Commune-type state” distinguished Lenin and the Bolsheviks from those socialists that were willing to work with the liberal parliamentarism of the Provisional Government in 1917.
WSJ Rage at ‘Woke’ China Foreshadows New Redbaiting of Social Justice Activists
The Wall Street Journal editorial board (3/7/21) has accused a major Chinese newspaper, and by extension the People’s Republic of China, of exploiting progressive rhetoric around racial justice to create division in the United States. The Journal‘s target was an editorial in the Communist Party–owned newspaper Global Times (2/23/21), which complained that the US, Britain and Canada were pressuring China on human rights. The Journal editorial board accused the party paper of using “woke” language: "Note the use of “white supremacy” and “diversity” and “civilization superiority,” which come straight from the progressive critique of America as a country that is “systemically” racist and oppressive. The Global Times editors may be crude, but they’ve obviously been reading the New York Times. Their dismissal of [Sen. Tom] Cotton as racist is what you see on progressive Twitter." The Journal suggested that the Chinese government was following the playbook of the Soviet Union, which reminded the world of the “social and antiwar turmoil of the 1960s” to turn world opinion against Washington. While implying that concerns of US racial injustice are overstated, the Murdoch-owned broadsheet said the Global Times’ “invocation of woke ideology shows they realize its threat to American confidence and purposes.”