paris commune

Today, March 18, is a red letter day for the working class and all true friends of the workers in the country and throughout the world. For, on this day, one hundred forty-six years ago, in the municipality of Paris, in France, the Parisian workers garnered a historic greatest achievement. Their proletarian revolution triumphed and established the first working class government in history: the first dictatorship of the proletariat!

Many were asking Marx and Engels: is the dictatorship of the proletariat possible? What does it look like? How is it differentiated from the capitalist and landlord governments? And they answered them, “Look at the Paris Commune! That is the dictatorship of the proletariat!”

The rich and powerful ruling classes in history such as the masters class during the Ancient Period (3,500 BC-500AD), the landlord class during the Middle Ages (500 – 1500) and the capitalist class during the Modern Period (1500 – the present) have always emphasized that they are the sources, owners, holders and users of power, and, of course, the beneficiaries of power. And not the people in the middle and especially not the people whom they exploit, oppress, repress, discriminate, abuse, exterminate, etc.. Theirs are the states, they control, exercise and enjoy their economic, political, military, even ideological and all other powers on earth. They are the representatives of the Supreme Being. And no one is above them!

Even when they say that power resides in or emanates or comes from the people, they always clarify that the people, first and foremost, include them and, among the people, the same thing is the situation, they are the sources, owners, holders, users and beneficiaries of power . Thus, throughout all the democratic countries in the world whose constitutions underline that sovereignty resides among the people, the capitalist class is always on top not only of the people but also of the whole society. For they have the wealth, the government, the church, the culture and education, etc..

On March 18, 1871, the whole world of the capitalist class was shocked when a proletarian revolution exploded in Paris and the workers established their first working class government in history – the first dictatorship of the proletariat. The working class by way of their concrete experience told the whole people that it has indeed not only the interest and determination but also the capability to bring down the bourgeois rule and establish their class rule.

Thus, the raging capitalists did not waste any time in responding to the historical challenge. After two months and ten days, their military invaded the Commune and carried out a most ruthless massacre of 30,000 to 60,000 workers in less than a week and caused the flooding of workers’ blood in all the streets of Paris on May 28 and the following days. But the historical experience and its lessons can no longer be undone.

In November 7, 1917, the 1871 Paris Commune served as the inspiration of the Russian workers, agricultural workers and poor peasants in unleashing the Great October Revolution in Russia that established the second dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of the government of the Soviets of the Workers, Agricultural Workers and Poor Peasants Deputies. This another greatest achievement lasted for not just a number of months but more than 6 years. The capitalists’ political and military power had no match against it; their local counterrevolution and civil war and the intervention of the fourteen imperialist powers failed to destroy the greatest achievement of the working class during the 20th century.

Indeed, the Paris Commune is really meaningful to us, the workers, and all the exploited and oppressed peoples throughout the world because it was a working class state, a dictatorship of the proletariat.

And, as Marx and Engels taught us, genuine, total, structural, transformative, qualitative and most meaningful change is possible only under the dictatorship of the proletariat! For the dictatorship of the proletariat constitutes the transition to the realization of a classless society, a truly just and human world, Communism!

Long live the Revolutionary Movements of the Proletariat and other Toiling Masses

18 March 2017

Ish Mishra, Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Hindu College, University of Delhi


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  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    This day should inspire present working class to march towards true egalitarian society and establish communism