Monday, May 29, 2006

The Paris Commune

Today is Sunday, 28 May 2006.

Due to a phone company malfunction, MoB was unable to post on Sunday. Herewith is your regularly-scheduled diatribe.

In July of 1870, the buffoonish Emperor of France, Napoleon III, declared war against Prussia. His armies were soon defeated, he was captured, and Paris came under siege. The French bourgeoisie, led by the scoundrel Thiers, collaborated with the Prussians in order to seize power for themselves. Workers and professionals in Paris successfully resisted this treason, and, on 26 March 1871, established a social democracy known to history as the Paris Commune. Wikipedia has a good summary of the changes they sought to implement:

• the separation of church and state

• the remission of rents owed for the entire period of the siege (during which payment had been suspended)

• the abolition of night work in the hundreds of Paris bakeries

• the granting of pensions to the unmarried companions of National Guards killed on active service, as well as to the children if any

• the free return, by the city pawnshops, of all workmen's tools and household items up to 20 francs in value, pledged during the siege as they were concerned that skilled workers had been forced to pawn their tools during the war

• the postponement of commercial debt obligations, and abolition of interest on the debts

• the right of employees to take over and run an enterprise if it were deserted by its owner, who was to receive compensation.

The forces of Thiers, the so-called Versailles Army, lay siege to Paris, and, on this date in 1871, succeeded in forcing their way into the city. In the aftermath, they summarily butchered at least 25,000 Communards, and perhaps as many as 50,000.

The Museum of the Bourgeois salutes the vision, courage, and sacrifices of the Communards.


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