The Paris Commune 1871
Translated: from teh original for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2006.
A long train of reverses, a catastrophe that would necessarily seem to bring about the complete ruin of our country; such is the balance sheet of the situation created for France by the governments that have dominated it.
Have we lost the qualities needed to raise us up from this degradation? Have we degenerated to the point that we resignedly submit to the hypocritical despotism of those who delivered us to the foreigner and that we only have no energy except that needed to render our ruin irremediable through civil war?
The recent events have demonstrated the might of the people of Paris; we are convinced that a fraternal accord will soon demonstrate their wisdom.
The principle of authority is powerless to reestablish order in the streets, to put the shop floors back to work, and this powerlessness is its negation.
The lack of solidarity has created general ruin and engendered social war. It is from freedom, equality and solidarity that we must ask for the assurance of order on new foundations and for the recognition of labor, which is its primordial condition.
The Communal Revolution affirms its principles and casts aside all future causes of conflict. Can you hesitate to give it your definitive sanction?
The independence of the Commune is the guarantee of the contract whose clauses, freely debated, will bring an end to class antagonism and will assure social equality.
We have demanded the emancipation of the workers, and the Communal delegation is the guarantee of this, for it hall furnish each citizen with the means of defending his rights and effectively controlling the acts of its representatives charged with the managing of its interests and determining the progressive applications of social reforms.
The autonomy of each commune removes any oppressive character from its demands and affirms the republic in its highest expression.
We have fought and we have learned to suffer for our egalitarian principles; we cannot retreat now that we can assist in laying the first stone of the social edifice.
What have we asked for?
The organization of credit, exchange, and association in order to assure the worker the full value of his labor;
Free, secular, and integral education;
The right to meet and to form associations; the absolute freedom of the press and of the citizen;
The municipal organization of police services, armed forces, hygiene, statistics, etc.;
We were the dupes of those who governed us; we allowed ourselves to be caught up in their game while they alternately caressed us and repressed the factions whose antagonisms assured their existence.
Today the people of Paris sees things clearly and refuses the role of a child guided by a preceptor, and at the municipal elections – the product of a movement of which it is itself the author – it will remember that the principle that presides over the organization of a group or an association is the same as that which should govern al of society, and just as it rejects any administrator or president imposed by an external power, it will also reject any mayor or prefect imposed by a government foreign to its aspirations.
It will affirm its superior right to a vote of the Assembly to remain master of its city and to constitute as it see fit its municipal representation, without imposing it on others.
We are convinced that on Sunday March 26 the people of Paris will vote for the Commune.
The Delegates present at the session of the night of March 23, 1871
Federal Council of Parisian Sections of the International Association:
Aubry (Rouen federation)
Federal Chamber of Workers’ Societies