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The Plebeian ExperienceA Discontinuous History of Political Freedom$
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Martin Breaugh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156189

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156189.001.0001

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The Paris Commune of 1871 and the Communards

The Paris Commune of 1871 and the Communards

Chapter:
(p.173) 5 The Paris Commune of 1871 and the Communards
Source:
The Plebeian Experience
Author(s):

Martin Breaugh

, Lazer Lederhendler
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156189.003.0005

This chapter analyzes the political experience in Paris in 1871, focusing on a series of political forms that contributed to the advent or the historical deployment of the Commune. Through a host of political bodies, the Paris Commune of 1871 marked the establishment of a political form intended to put an end to state power, that is, power based on coercion, in order to institute a power constructed through the concerted action of the citizens. The Paris Commune stands as a refutation in practice of a certain line of thought whereby the state is considered desirable, or even indispensable, for the collective existence of modern individuals. However, the Communards' political action was not exempt from myth, particularly that of the Great Revolution of 1789, as evidenced by the creation of an ersatz Committee for Public Safety, which presaged the Commune's demise. The Paris Commune was a fragile undertaking; an experiment in freedom vulnerable to the desire for the One and, hence, in constant danger of turning into its opposite.

Keywords:   political experience, political form, Paris Commune, state power, Communards, political action

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