The Legacy of the Paris Commune: 1871-2021


Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 2 PM EDT – 3:30 PM EDT

Price: Free · Duration: 1 hr 30 min

In March 1871, in the aftermath of France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, ordinary Parisians rose up and took control of their city for themselves. The Paris Commune only lasted for a little over two months, but during that time the Communards enacted a remarkable number of far-reaching democratic measures.

The Commune was eventually drowned in blood by the old regime, but it had an enormous impact on the international socialist and working-class movement. Marx wrote The Civil War in France praising the Commune’s achievements, which remained inspirational for generations of later socialists. On its 150th anniversary, join us for a discussion of the Commune’s accomplishments and weaknesses, and the lessons it holds for the radical left today.


Gilbert Achcar teaches at SOAS, University of London. He is the author of many books and a contributor to many publications. He wrote the chapter on the Paris Commune in Revolutions (Haymarket, 2020).

Carolyn J. Eichner is a feminist historian at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and author of the forthcoming The Paris Commune: A Brief History (Rutgers, 2021) and Feminism’s Empire (Cornell, 2022). Her book, Surmounting the Barricades: Women in the Paris Commune (Indiana, 2004), has been translated as Franchir les barricades: les femmes dans la Commune de Paris (Editions de la Sorbonne, 2020).

Phil Gasper is co-editor of New Politics and a member of the Tempest Collective. He is the editor of an annotated edition of The Communist Manifesto (Haymarket, 2005) and of Imperialism and War: Classic Writings by V.I. Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin (Haymarket, 2017).

Sponsored by Tempest, Haymarket Books, New Politics, and the Havens Wright Center for Social Justice (UW-Madison).



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