The Paris Commune 1871
First published: Paris, May 15, 1871;
Translated: from the original for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2005.
After two months of constant battle Paris is neither worn out nor has it been breached.
Paris is still fighting, without pause or rest. Tireless, heroic, undefeated,
Paris has made a pact with death. Behind its forts it has its walls; behind its walls its barricades; behind its barricades its houses that must be taken from it one by one, and these it will blow up if need be, rather than surrender.
Big cities of France, will you, immobile and impassable, be spectators to this duel of the future with the past, of the Republic against monarchy?
Or will you finally see that Paris is the champion of France and the world, and that failing to aid it would mean betraying it.
You want the republic, or else your votes make no sense. You want the commune, for rejecting it means abdicating your part of national sovereignty. You want political freedom and social equality, since you write it into your programs. You clearly see that the army of Versailles is the army of Bonapartism, of monarchical centralism, of despotism and privilege, for you know its chiefs and you recall their past.
What then are you waiting for to rise up! What then are you waiting for to chase from among you the infamous agents of this government of capitulation and shame that at this very hour begs and buys from the Prussian army the means to bombard Paris from all sides?
Are you waiting till the last soldier of right has fallen before the poisoned bullets of Versailles?
Are you waiting for Paris to be transformed into a cemetery and for each of its houses into a tomb?
Great cities, you sent it your fraternal adherence; you said to it: “In our hearts we are with you.”
Great cities, it is no longer the moment for manifestoes. It is the time for acts, when the cannon has the word.
Enough of Platonic sympathy. You have rifles and ammunition: to arms! Arise, cities of France!
Paris looks to you. Paris waits for your circle to surround the cowardly bombers and to prevent them the punishment it holds in reserve for them.
Paris will do its duty up to the bitter end.
But don’t forget this, Lyons, Marseilles, Lille, Toulouse, Nantes, Bordeaux, and the others...
If Paris were to succumb fighting for the freedom of the world, avenging history would have the right to say that Paris was slaughtered because you let the murder occur.
Paris, May 15, 1871