Downing Publishes Lessons of the Paris Commune

Posted on 11/27/2018 3:52:47 PM

David Downing, English Department, had his article, “The Struggle Between Communality and Hierarchy: Lessons of the Paris Commune for the Twenty-first Century,” published in both print and online versions in the international journal, Socialism and Democracy (Vol. 32, No. 2, 56-86;


Few events in the long history of capitalism have resonated with more symbolic significance than the two months from March 18 to May 21 of 1871 when the Paris Commune briefly came into being before it was brutally suppressed by the French National Army. On May 21, after weeks of artillery shelling, the Army broke through a surprisingly undefended gate at Point-du-Jour in the southwest section of the defensive wall surrounding Paris, and Adolphe Thiers, the President of the French National Assembly headquartered in Versailles, ordered his troops led by General Marshal McMahon on a savage rampage through Paris, slaughtering more than 25,000 Communards. In the course of "La Semaine Sanglante," or the "Bloody Week," the relentless terror of Thiers Army exceeded by a factor of 10 the roughly 2600 counter-revolutionaries guillotined 80 years earlier in Paris during the more infamous 1793-94 Reign of Terror. For all the self-righteous chastising of the 1794 Jacobins for their brutality, rarely do we find an acknowledgement of the far greater inhumanity of the bourgeois Thiers and the French National Army that destroyed the Commune...

Department of English