What Made the Communards' Attempt Heroic?
What is to Replace the Smashed State Machine?
Abolition of Parliamentarism
Organisation of National Unity
Aboloition of the Parasite State
1. What Made the Communards' Attempt Heroic?
It is well known that in the autumn of 1870, a few months before the Commune, Marx warned
the Paris workers that any attempt to overthrow the government would be the folly of despair.
But when, in March 1871, a decisive battle was forced upon the workers and they accepted it,
when the uprising had become a fact, Marx greeted the proletarian revolution with the greatest
enthusiasm, in spite of unfavorable auguries. Marx did not persist in the pedantic attitude of
condemning an “untimely” movement as did the ill-famed Russian renegade from marxism,
Plekhanov, who in November 1905 wrote encouragingly about the workers' and peasants'
struggle, but after December 1905 cried, liberal fashion: "They should not have taken up arms."
Marx, however, was not only enthusiastic about the heroism of the Communards, who, as he
expressed it, "stormed heaven". Although the mass revolutionary movement did not achieve its
aim, he regarded it as a historic experience of enormous importance, as a certain advance of the
world proletarian revolution, as a practical step that was more important than hundreds of
programmes and arguments. Marx endeavored to analyze this experiment, to draw tactical
lessons from it and re-examine his theory in the light of it.
The only “correction” Marx thought it necessary to make to the
on the basis of the revolutionary experience of the Paris Commune.
to the new German edition of the
, signed by both its
authors, is dated June 24, 1872. In this preface the authors, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, say
that the programme of the
"has in some details become out-of-date", and
the go on to say:
"... One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that 'the working class cannot simply
lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes'.