XXXV. THE PARIS COMMUNE
THE Revolution of 1848 brought in its train the first attempt by the working class to take power in a single city. By the time of the Paris Commune, not quite a quarter of a century later, the workers already were able to seize control of the most important European city, although unable indefinitely to hold it. Now for the first time, too, did the intimate connection between capitalist war and proletarian revolution make itself felt. The Paris Commune came at the end of the Franco-Prussian war, just as the Russian Revolution of 1905 came on the heels of the Russo-Japanese War and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 followed the World War. Conversely, a victorious workers’ revolution must involve the country in international warfare. It is preposterous to believe that socialism can exist in one city or even in one country alone.
The Paris Commune marked at last a break with the traditions of the past. There was now an end to the nostalgic dependence upon history for inspiration. Henceforth the social revolution would draw its poetry not from the past but from the future. “Former revolutions required historic reminiscences in order to intoxicate themselves with their own issues. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to reach its issue.” (*1)
As soon as the declaration of war against Prussia had been issued by Napoleon III, the First International issued a Manifesto to arouse the workers. The Manifesto pointed out that Napoleon III had been the great enemy of the First International which constantly had warned the workers of the chauvinist and adventurist policies of this upstart. On the German side, it was a war of defense, although Prussia had provoked the war in order to crush the workers’ opposition at home and to unite the German Empire. Under the influence of the International, many of the French trade unions had protested against the war, but the workers had been prevented from demonstrating. The war meant the death knell of the Second French Empire, but, if the German workers permitted what had begun as a defensive war to become a war against the French people, then victory or defeat would be alike disastrous to them. The way out, the Manifesto concluded, was for the German workers, who also wanted peace, to unite with the French under the banner of the International and unitedly to abolish war by establishing the international rule of labor.
In the course of the war, the worst fears of the International were realized. As Friedrich Engels had brilliantly foreseen, (*2) Napoleon’s army was empty boastfulness. He was caught unprepared. He foolishly engaged in the tactics of a braggadocio and encountered one disaster after the other, culminating in his surrender at Sedan. The fall of Metz followed, and the supreme Prussian army invested Paris.
Now was the time for the French to have rallied their strength to throw back the invader. On the side of the Prussians it had become clearly a war for plunder, devoid of any connection with defense. On the other side, the French Empire was now overthrown and the republican bourgeoisie could rally the entire nation to the defense. It was one thing for the Prussians to take a city; it was another matter for them to control the entire country. Already all over the countryside the peasants were carrying on a guerrilla war against the invaders, despite the most ruthless terror launched against them by the Prussian officers who did not hesitate to burn down whole villages and slaughter the inhabitants. This could only stimulate the French to fight harder. Then there was the South of France which was entirely untouched and which could raise large armies for the fight. Finally, there was Paris which was still being besieged.
However, the bourgeoisie realized that, with the downfall of Napoleon III, not they would come to power, but the people led by the workers whom they feared most of all. “Thanks to the economic and political development of France since 1789, Paris has for fifty years been placed in such a position that no revolution could there break out without assuming a proletarian character, in such wise that the proletariat, which had bought the victory with its blood, would immediately thereafter put forward its own demands.” (*3)
With the ignominious surrender of the Emperor at Sedan, the people of Paris invade the legislature, although the supposed republicans, Gambetta and Favre, try to prevent it. The National Guards of the people push the gendarmes aside and the Republic is proclaimed September 4, 1870. Just prior to this event, the Blanquists have tried to stage a communist putsch, but the masses have not been prepared for the attempt, and the group is arrested and condemned. A committee of twelve former deputies of the government provisionally controls Paris, and Blanqui, although he has aided mightily in the overthrow of the old regime again can take no part in the actual decisive events. The new regime, however, releases him.
In the meantime, as Paris is being attacked by the Prussians, all the workers, including the Blanquists, rally to the defense of the city. The workers establish their Committee of Vigilance, made up of many trade unionists and First International members, to prevent any treachery. This committee now demands that municipal elections be held, that the police be placed in the hands of the people of Paris who are also to elect and control all the magistrates, that absolute freedom of the press and public meetings be granted, that all necessities be expropriated and carefully rationed out to the people, and that all the citizens be armed and the provinces aroused. Thus the working class, in a frenzy of patriotic fervor, takes up the defense of Paris, although nominally the head of the defense is left to Gambetta, Favre, and General Trochu.
But the Workers do not reckon with the treachery of the bourgeoisie who understand their class interests entirely too well not to prefer to make peace with the Prussian Bismarcks rather than permit their own nation to triumph. Outside of Paris, the bourgeoisie carried on the fight in a most lackadaisical fashion. They do not arouse the peasants to volunteer nor comb the South of France for new armies. Paris is left practically abandoned.
At the same time, the bourgeois defense of Paris is conducted wretchedly. General Trochu behaves like an agent of the Prussians. The capital should have been able to secure sufficient food for itself; so poor is the defense of the city, however, that Paris becomes completely surrounded and cut off. Despite the most brilliant sorties and heroic defense of the National Guard, the people of Paris are forced to witness the surrender of the city under humiliating terms.
After the fall of Sedan, the First International had put forth a second Manifesto to rouse the German workers to demand peace and to rally behind the working class of France and Paris. The Manifesto declared that if Germany won, it either would become the tool of Russia, oppressing the workers at home, or pave the way for a new war in which France would be united with Russia, and the reactionary Czarist system buttressed by the West. In either case, the outcome would be a mighty defeat for the workers of the world, leading to a new blood bath. The predictions of this Manifesto have come true in every respect, although not until forty-five years later.
The French Government has stipulated that Paris is to be disarmed The crafty Bismarck, however, far more afraid of the street fighting of the Parisian workers than all the armies of Thiers and Gambetta, refuses to disarm Paris and forces the new French Government itself to perform the job. In order to do this, the bourgeoisie and old ruling cliques quickly call a special election in which the masses understand little of the issues and, through this trick, reactionists and monarchists are elected. The rural regions are given a predominant place, while Paris has not been able to make itself heard. This new government convenes in Bordeaux and gives orders to the defenders of the country, the workmen of Paris. Thus, despite their fighting, the workers of Paris hear that the war is to result not even in a republic, but merely in a new monarchy. Further, Paris learns that its heroic National Guard is to be disarmed, that the thirty cents a day that have been given to all workmen during the siege is to be discontinued, and that all house rents and debts in arrears are to be enforced in spite of the fact that the siege of Paris has made such debts absolutely unavoidable.
Protected by the arms of Bismarck and the Prussians, the National Assembly now moves from Bordeaux to Versailles. It is absolutely necessary to crush the masses, since the sufferings due to the war are becoming unbearable, and there is bound to be resistance to the new government so hastily established. Not only are there the terrible debts previously incurred by Napoleon III to pay, but the war expenses and the huge war indemnity of five billion francs are now to be saddled upon the country. Having made his secret deal with the Prussians to prevent the republic, so as to form instead a new monarchy, Thiers is now ready to provoke the people into open resistance so that he can shoot them down.
The new government moves into action at once. All newspapers are taxed. Overdue rent bills are enforced. Republican journals are suppressed. Then the government arrests Blanqui, who, as usual, entirely underestimates his value to the proletariat and lets himself be caught; the court condemns him to be executed. Finally, the government declares its intention to disband the National Guard and to remove the cannon from the people, the cannon which the National Guard have bought and paid for from its own private subscriptions. When the National Guard discovers a clandestine attempt on the part of the regular army groups to steal this cannon, there is nothing to do but to resist.
The National Guard now elects a Central Committee to unite the resistance of the people opposed to the return of the monarchy. This Central Committee is made up of “men of the small middle-class, as well as workmen, shop keepers, commercial clerks, mechanics, sculptors, architects, caring little for systems, anxious above all to save the Republic.” (*4)
How can such a committee really understand or carry out the interests of the masses? The Committee realizes little of the fierce struggle that is to come and yields completely to the happiness of the moment, imagines all problems of easy solution. This is the “honeymoon period,” when all appears to be rosy, when the middle class, taking power for the moment, becomes intoxicated with its own phrases and believes it can put aside the class struggle and live peacefully ever after. The deep gulf existing between these committeemen and the workers soon becomes apparent. Instead of vigorously marching on Versailles and taking the initiative to disband the gang of reactionary monarchists who have gathered there, the Committee decides to stop and hold municipal elections, since it has not been elected originally by the whole people. Thus, under the pretext of more democracy, the Commune allows those at Versailles to withdraw all their forces, and to gather an immense army around them from the rural regions of France and from troops which Bismarck kindly releases from his prison camps for their benefit.
At the same time, the Committee conveniently neglects to close the gates of Paris and allows the all-important fort of Mt. Vallerian, overlooking the entire city, to be taken by the Rurals. Other forts are abandoned, the barricades are dissolved, and the generals of the reactionists are freed. At this very time, Thiers, who is plotting destruction for Paris, is doing his best to disorganize the hospitals, the markets, the finances, the lighting systems, the unemployed relief, etc., so as to throw Paris into chaos. Thus, while the instinct of the masses urges drastic and immediate action, the petty bourgeois leadership behaves in an extremely naive fashion that is to have terrible and fatal results. Everything in Paris, at a critical moment when the most decisive and determined action alone could have saved the day, is suspended while “elections” take place.
At this point, how much would one Blanqui be worth! But the bourgeoisie knows this far better than the workers and, when later the Commune offers any number of hostages in return for this one man, Thiers refuses under any circumstances to release him. Thus again, and for the last time in his frustrated life, this arch revolutionist to whom death holds no terrors is to miss the revolutionary events of France. But even greater than the loss of Blanqui was the tragedy of the proletariat.
As Paris is thrown into the turmoil of elections, for the first time in the history of revolutions in France the students attack the revolutionary movement rather than lead it. Here is an important law that is to be underlined in the future; where the revolution is merely democratic, the students play a leading and important role; where it becomes a question of communism and the abolition of private property and special privileges, the students reverse their stand and show themselves to be often the arch enemies of the workers and the revolutionists.
In the meantime, the masses, including those belonging to the First International, are moving rapidly to the Left, and even the most radical of the deputies begin to stand appalled at the initiative of the people. As the Red Flag flies over the City Hall, court martial is abolished and amnesty is given to all politicals. This further enriches the forces of the Left Wing, which now put forth demands for actual municipal liberties, for the suppression of the police prefecture, responsibility of the police to the people of the city and not to the central government, for the right of the National Guard to name its chiefs, for a republic, for the cancellation of rents and bills due and for the evacuation of Paris by the army. Thus the masses are demanding the Commune rather than communism or the abolition of private property.
On the surface, the program of the Paris populace seemed to call for a return to the decentralized condition of medieval days and for the breaking up of the nation into loosely federated Communes. In reality, what the Communal Constitution would have done was to bring the rural producers under the intellectual lead of the central towns of their districts held by the workingmen. It also would have realized that catchword of the bourgeoisie, a cheap government, by destroying the two greatest sources of expenditure, namely, the standing army and state functionaries. Thus, incidentally, there would have been guaranteed both the republic and a cheap government.
But, most important of all, if the demands of the Paris masses had been satisfied, the working men would have controlled all the important and decisive national operations. Once the workers took power they could not limit themselves to demands compatible with the system of private property. Thus the Commune also meant communism. So the bourgeoisie understood it and prepared for a struggle to the death.
Only the Liberals who are in control of the Council of Mayors, with old Louis Blanc at their head, try to reconcile the interests of Versailles and those of Paris and make hurried trips between the two cities. But the Revolution flows on. The Central Committee is forced to suspend the sale of pawned objects, overdue bills are prolonged, and evictions are forbidden. Thus the holy institution of private property is attacked. A reactionary mob then tries to storm the City Hall, but is dispersed. Paris enters into civil war without a party or a program, but with deep instincts for communism.
The “elections” are held finally on March 26, and the Paris Commune is proclaimed with immense enthusiasm. The innocent people fail to realize that they have wasted precious time for which they will pay heavily with their life blood later on. The elections produce no better results than before. Sixteen Liberals are elected, four Radicals, and sixty revolutionists. None of these candidates had been put to the test; the people vote for names rather than for programs. Of the total, only twenty-four are workers, of whom sixteen belong to the International or workingmen’s societies. (*5) The rest are petty bourgeois intellectuals. Incidentally, the Central Committee of the National Guard, in the interest of “fairness” and “democracy,” had refused to run again.
How much these elections are really worth is seen when once the fight is started. Of the total delegates to the Commune Assembly, nine are Blanquists and seventeen Proudhonist internationalists; these are practically the only ones who stand firm. Before the first shot is fired, the Moderate Republicans resign and run away, soon to be followed by the Radical Republicans. All that this election actually accomplishes is to produce several dual bodies. Sharp squabbles break out between this Commune Assembly and the still functioning Central Committee of the National Guard, and later between the Assembly and the Committee of Public Safety which is set up to control the fighting forces of the Commune.
“World history would indeed be very easy to make, if the struggle were taken up only on condition of infallibly favorable chances. It would, on the other hand, be of a very mystical nature, if ‘accidents’ played no part. These accidents themselves fall naturally into the general course of development and are compensated again by other accidents. But acceleration and delay are very dependent upon such ‘accidents,’ which include the accident of the character of those who at first stand at the head of the movement."’ (*6) Had the Parisians not taken up the struggle, the demoralization of the working class would have been a far greater misfortune than the fall of any number of leaders. Although the Parisians had not appreciated the tremendous value of the initiative in attack at the decisive moment, at least they realized the importance of a well-contested defeat. Under the impact of the fighting, Paris moved to communism.
From the very outset, the Commune had to recognize that the working class, having once attained supremacy in the State, could not work with the old machinery of government; that this working class, if it was not to lose the position which it had just conquered must, on the one hand, abolish all the old machinery, good only for bourgeois chicanery, cheating, and swindling, and set up its own. The Paris Commune showed that the workers could not transfer the bureaucratic military machine simply from one hand to another, but had to smash it completely.
The Commune Assembly furnished an extremely haphazard and muddled leadership and committed many fatal errors. Yet despite these mistakes, the number of revolutionary acts the Communards were able to accomplish is remarkable. First, conscription and the standing army, together with the police, were abolished, and all citizens who could bear arms were enrolled into the National Guard that elected its own officers and became intimately fused with the people. Death being decreed for all thieves, remarkable order prevailed in the capital. The second step was to remove entirely all the special privileges of the state functionaries. All officials received but workmen’s wages. Political functionaries were easily and directly elected and recalled, judges included. Of course, Church and State were separated. Thus an entirely new governmental set-up, unprecedented in the history of the world, was created. As the Manifesto of the Commune, April 19, declared: The Commune “… inaugurates a new era of experimental, positive, and scientific politics. It means the end of the old governmental and clerical world, the world of militarism, of functionarism, of exploitation, speculation, monopoly, and privilege, to which the proletariat owes its slavery and the fatherland its misery and disaster.” (*7)
The plan of Paris was to establish all over the country communes after its model. Instead of a national army, there was to be a national militia of very short service. Two important points were involved, first, the need of universal arming of the people as a measure of insuring peace, the army to be fused with and become part of the people; and second, the short duration of the actual term of service. The people knew that the long conscription service was decreed by the former State not in order to make better soldiers but to break the spirit of the recruits. All the important arms of warfare could be mastered by the average soldier in six months; he did not require two or four years of discipline in the barracks.
The unity of the nation was not to be broken by the communes, but only the old central state power was to be destroyed. This was insured by the decision that the decrees of the central government were to be carried out only by communal agents and never must be imposed from the top upon the locality. This important principle, as well as other points, was to be taken up by Lenin in the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Within Paris the middle class followed the lead of the workers, a usual procedure whenever workers show themselves firm and determined. The chief problem was to reach the agrarian petty proprietors. Although the victory of the Commune would have freed the peasantry of taxes, would have released it from debt, and would have imposed the cost of the war upon its true originators, although the new government would have given the peasant a cheap government and would have educated and freed him, yet the Commune’s propaganda never penetrated the countryside. The rural deputies prevented Paris from reaching the provinces, and it was the peasantry that eventually drowned the city of Paris in blood.
From the very beginning, the Commune demonstrated its internationalism. It gave foreigners full right to participate in elections. It placed a German at the head of its department of labor. It had a Pole in charge of its military forces. It pulled down Napoleon’s statue, denounced nationalism and chauvinism, and came out as champion of the workers of the world.
But it was in its social measures especially that the Commune showed itself to be a rule of the workers. (*8) Back rent of the workers due for 1870-1871, was wiped out. Pawnshops were first restricted and then abolished. Church property became national property. Capital punishment was done away with. All closed factories were turned over to the workers and workers’ control over production was established. Stoppage of wages was ended, night work for bakers prohibited, etc. (*9) Full publicity was given to all acts of the Commune and conniving and swindling in the government disappeared.
The workers had seized power easily enough. They were now face to face with the far more difficult problem, that of holding power. In this, the leaders revealed themselves as amateurs who needed long and hard experience before the common sense of morality would be remolten in the crucible of civil war into an art of insurrection and a science of revolution.
The Commune Assembly was composed of Proudhonists and Blanquists. The latter became the majority, especially after the new elections were held in April, where the workers stepped forward more boldly. In the course of the struggle, both groups violated their own principles. The Blanquists, although strong centralists, agreed to the scheme of a federation of communes, while the Proudhonists, traditionally opportunists, came out for insurrection. These men were socialists rather by instinct than as a result of scientific study. Only a few of them were clear, theoretically, and the members of the First International were in the minority.
From the first intimations of the Commune, Marx had sent urgent letters, strongly advising against the revolt as premature; within the letters, however, were also to be found instructions and advice on how to proceed should the decisive revolutionary steps be taken. Once the Commune was established, Marx did all he could to guide and support it. However, the confused leadership ignored his explicit warnings.
There was in the Bank of France at Paris, 2,180,000,000 francs, an enormous sum. This the workers should have confiscated and used for their own purposes. Instead, under the influence of the Proudhonists, especially Beslay, with their unsound ideas of a People’s Bank, the money was carefully protected; the bourgeoisie at Versailles breathed a great sigh of relief. This did not prevent the capitalists, however, from wreaking the direst punishment upon Proudhonists as upon others.
The second important error was the complete failure of the Communards to invade the Department of State in Paris and publish the documents in the files. This was a serious mistake, since the publication of the correspondence of Napoleon III and the politicians resident at Versailles clearly would have exposed their guilt in the war. To reveal to an unsuspecting world all the crimes of the French bourgeoisie for the past twenty years would have isolated and demoralized the bourgeoisie. The decent and common people of France would have been won to the side of the Commune.
The third dire mistake was the failure to centralize the government within Paris for the struggle. The Blanquists and the Jacobins wanted to set up a Committee of Public Safety with dictatorial powers. This led to prolonged bickering and only on May 1 was such a committee elected, lasting only to May 9, while twenty-three members of the Assembly resigned in protest. However, those who resigned soon returned to their posts, and a new committee was elected. In the midst of all this confusion, however, it was impossible to adopt a uniform policy for all the departments of the Commune.
For some time there existed the possibility that the Commune of Paris would reach other cities and the countryside of France. Indeed, communes were actually established at Marseilles, Narbonne, Toulouse, Lyons, St. Etienne, and Creuzot, but they were easily swept away. The fact remains that Paris did not make sufficient efforts to win the provinces to its cause.
But the chief defect of the Parisians was their good nature and naivete. They should have taken the offensive. They should have marched on Versailles, whose main support at first was the artillery and not the infantry; only later did the reactionaries obtain infantry. (*10) In the meantime, only by the grace of the Prussians was Paris even partially surrounded. Thiers had to ask the Germans to post one hundred and thirty thousand men around Paris, although the truce had called for only forty thousand, so as to surround the city and enable Thiers to act. Had it not been for the Prussians, Thiers could never have won the day. Here was eloquent proof that when the proletarian revolution breaks forth, all governments put aside their quarrels to protect international capital.
"That after the most tremendous war of modern times, the conquering and the conquered hosts should fraternize for the common massacre of the proletariat—this unparalleled event does indicate, not as Bismarck thinks, the final repression of a new society upheaving, but the crumbling into dust of bourgeois society. The highest heroic effort of which old society is still capable is national war; and this is now proved to be a mere governmental humbug, intended to defer the struggle of the classes, and to be thrown aside as soon as that class struggle bursts out in civil war. Class rule is no longer able to disguise itself in a national uniform; the national Governments are one as against the proletariat!" (*11)
The suppression of the Commune was marked with a bestial ferocity unprecedented in the annals of modern Europe. The proletariat was burned and bombed out of the city, the number of victims who perished ran into the tens of thousands, the number imprisoned and exiled reached many times that number. Altogether it was a slaughter that drenched the soil of France with the blood of its best members. The bourgeois elements who had run at the sight of the Prussians indulged in the most sadistic orgies at the expense of Frenchmen.
The Paris Commune taught the world some significant lessons. In the first place, it demonstrated that to take power is not sufficient, that, especially in an agrarian country, the real fight occurs after the workers have attained power, when they are trying to establish a new world. In the second place, it made it plain to the workers that insurrection is indeed an art, that amateurs first must graduate into professionals, and that revolutionists must wait until their number has increased from a small handful to a decisive size throughout the country before another attempt could be made. In the third place, the Commune outlined in deep grooves the inevitable channels that proletarian revolts would have to take. It furnished indelible lessons to the Russian Bolsheviks who later carried forward the whole line of the Paris Commune on an even more magnificent scale. Finally, it taught the world that no great war can exist without its aftermath of proletarian revolt.
The workers were able to maintain their Commune for two whole months because of a peculiar combination of factors operating in France. The government had been disastrously defeated in the war and had lost entirely its prestige. The new government of the bourgeoisie was provisional and extremely weak, burdened as it was with the debts of its predecessor. The workers who predominated in Paris had arms in their hands; they were the ones who had demonstrated their heroism in national defense and who had saved the honor of the country. These extraordinary circumstances impelled the workers of Paris to make their attempt even though they realized it was still premature to try to introduce the new social order.
On the other hand, these workers were defeated so easily only because of their neglect of the important rules of struggle, because they were sentimental towards their national bourgeoisie, because they refused to take the offensive and go the whole route to the end. Had they been more ruthless and practical, they inevitably would have made more headway with the peasantry. At is was, the French bourgeoisie could win only because of the enormous aid of the Prussians, who furnished them with the soldiers necessary to surround the city and who released the most backward prisoners for action against Paris. Further, the mere fact that Paris had revolted under the Red Flag caused the monarchists, who previously had been so certain of their monarchy, to flee. Thus, even in its defeat, the Commune was strong enough to compel the establishment of a democratic republic; at the same time, it was clear to the people that even a democratic republic was a product of counter-revolution. The Third French Republic was born with a congenital defect.
Speculations as to what might have happened had the Paris Commune better understood the art of insurrection are entirely out of place. It would be strange indeed were the working class, only recently arrived upon the scene of history, able, like one sprung full blown from the brain of Jupiter, to have acted in the masterly manner which can be worked out so clearly many years after the event. At the time, the workers of France were still engaged in petty industry. Their program could not be anything but vague and confused. The workers of the world were not united in any solid body; they were but beginning to grope their way. Above all, there was no international party, no scientific vanguard capable of giving to each section the lessons of every workers’ struggle throughout the world. Such an international was to be formed later on. Under these circumstances, no other result could have occurred than the defeat of the brave French proletarians.
Had the workers blasted their way through to Versailles, had they been able to win elements of the peasantry to their side, they immediately would have been faced with a world war. The Prussians were already at Paris, in the heart of France. The British and international bankers would have rallied their forces to put down this monster of iniquity, communism, which threatened to wipe out forever all private property and plunder. International pressure would have been entirely too severe even for heroic France. Eventually communism would have been overwhelmed with even greater loss.
The Paris Commune at least put flesh and blood on the spectre of communism that had haunted Europe from 1848 on. Henceforth, the great problem was to be the social problem. While the revolution from below came to an end, the revolution from the top went on ruthlessly. The capitalists could not prevent factories from being established or proletarians from increasing in number and in the understanding of their role. What the workers could not learn from the Paris Commune they were taught by the employers through the contradictions of the capitalist system. Sooner or later the conflagration was bound to burst forth again.
The first two Communist attempts had been restricted to one city; the next was to involve a whole country. In 1905, the Communists in Russia tried but failed. In 1917, they tried again, won, and began to make a bold bid for the world. Only time can reveal whether these communists will be able to dominate indefinitely the country of the Soviet Union. Certainly they have surpassed the two months’ record of the Paris Commune; they have held the fort already for close to twenty years.
1. Karl Marx: Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, p. 13. (Kerr edition.)
2. See his Notes on the War.
3. Friedrich Engels: “Preface” to Karl Marx: Paris Commune, p. 3. (Socialist Labor Party edition).
4. Lissagaray: History of the Commune of 1871, p. 88.
5. In the Paris Commune, forty-six sections of the International could be counted, according to R. W. Postgate: The Workers International, p. 113.
6. Karl Marx: Letters to Kugelmann, p. 125, Letter of April 17, 1871. (international Publishers.)
7. The Manifesto is given in E. S. Mason: The Paris Commune, p. 256.
8. Although the Commune permitted all to vote, the workers completely dominated the elections and, since the bourgeoisie had fled to Versailles, there was no need for restricting the vote specifically to toilers.
9. The trade union groups, of course, were very much broken up by many of their members being on the firing line. See Les Seances officielles de l’Internationale a Paris pendant le siege et pendant la Commune. (No English translation available.) Paris, 1872 edition.
10. It may be observed that the divisions of the regular army are sharply unequal in their responsiveness to the mass of people during civil war. The cavalry is often controlled or close to the landed aristocracy, the artillery by the bourgeoisie, as is the corps of aviators. Closest to the mass of people, workers and peasants, is the infantry and it is also this arm that tends first of all to crack and go over to the side of the people.
11. Karl Marx: Paris Commune, pp. 103-104.