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A Short Account of the Commune of Paris

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"Let Fate or Insuffciency provide
Mean ends for men who are what they would be:
Penned in their narrow day, no change they see
Save one which strikes the blow to brutes and pride.
Cur faith is ours and comes not on a tide:
And whether earth's great offspring, by decree,
Must rot if they abjure rapacity,
Not argument but effort shall decide.

They number many heads in that hard flock:
Trim swordsmen they push forth: yet try thy steel.
Thou, fighting for poor humankind, wilt feel
The strength of Roland in thy wrist, to hew
A chasm sheer into the barrier rock
And bring the army of the faithful through."

George Merrdith
Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth

A Short Account of the Commune of Paris

The Socialist Platform — No.4

By E. Belfort Bax, Victor Dave and William Morris

A Short Account of the Commune of Paris of 1871

   The series of great events which is known under the above name is a remarkable instance of the tendency of history to pass speedily into fable. When it happened it produced the most profound impression on the civilized world; it is but fifteen years since it happened, and yet in the time in which we are writing, it has become to most people a mere myth, at best a symbol or token of things which some fear most, others hate most, and from which some hope most.

     And, especially in this country, is the ignorance dense concerning these wonderful events; it is not too much to say that in England the Commune of Paris is looked upon, even by most of those who would shrink from being branded as reactionaries, by those even who consider themselves in sympathy with the popular cause, Democrats, Radicals, and such–like, as a piece of mad and murderous folly, excusable, perhaps, after the suffering and shame of the German invasion and the siege of Paris, but at the best causeless, aimless, and the most disastrous to the progress of humanity.

     The middle-class historians, that is to say historians in general, who see nothing in history but a chance medley of events, devoid of meaning or logical sequence, have treated the Commune as they treat all history. They have failed to understand that, from the Political point of view, the Revolution of Paris established in France a new form of administration — Federalist Administration, — which is entirely opposed to French tradition since the time of Richelieu. They have equally failed


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