In the last installment in this series, we examined the problems in Cuba caused by Fidel Castro and Che Guevera. For our full analysis, CLICK HERE.
On May 26th, 1871, in Paris, France, a group of prisoners was taken from their prison and forced to march to an unknown destination. There were 50 men in total; all of them were priests.
The group of 50 clergymen was forced to march to the heights of Belleville that overlook the French capital. That area was the last stronghold of a group of socialist rebels known as the Communards. The Communards were fighting to take control of the city from the French army.
The priests were marched through the streets and subjected to humiliation by a mob of the socialist rabble. When they reached an enclosure called the cite Vincennes on the heights of Belleville, the group was hacked to pieces by the socialists. The massacre lasted for over an hour. The victims were completely dismembered and what remained of them were left in the streets.
There were no charges ever brought against the priests, and they had committed no crimes; their only wrongdoing was being a Christian. Communists despise religion, and these French rebels were no different. In their eyes, the state must play the role of God.
A few hours later, the French Army defeated the Communards and put an end to what became known as the “Paris Commune.”
The Paris Commune lasted for only two months but would have a profound impact on future socialist revolutionaries, most notably Vladimir Lenin.
Lenin would study Marx’s writings on the failure of the commune of 1871 and come to the conclusion that professional revolutionaries were needed to make a future revolution successful.
Lenin learned how to design the communes of the Soviet Union based on the councils established by the French Communards.
At the time of the French Commune, the French Army was at war with the Prussians. While the Army was fighting the Prussians the defense of the city of Paris was under the control of the local militia, which was organized along neighborhood lines.
The militia, known as the National Guard, took control of the city and established communism. This is the earliest large-scale version of socialism in practice.
The power was entrusted to the local committees. The communists were anti-religion and demanded the abolition of all private property.
The French Army eventually brutally suppressed the communist rebels and regained control of the city.
It was a bloody affair in which 18,000 were killed and 25,000 were wounded in a short period of time.
The French Army was brutal in their methods, but the rebels were just as bad. The rebels didn’t go down without taking many prisoners and hostages with them.
They killed the Archbishop of Paris and burned the Tuileries Palace and other national monuments that were symbols of the old regime.
Marx would later write that the Commune served as “a lever for uprooting the economical foundations upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule.”
He went on to write that “the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes the labor of the many wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual property a truth by transforming the means of production, land, and capital, now chiefly the means of enslaving and exploiting labor, into mere instruments of free and associated labor—but this is Communism, impossible communism!”
Many people don’t know that the Paris Commune ever existed. But that event would lay the groundwork for the future Russian Revolution and the socialist revolutions that would follow.
That is why the Paris Commune is an event worth studying.
The next edition of the Socialism series will take us to the Killing Fields of Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
Check back next week for the next part of FreedomWire’s “History of Socialism” series.