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Today in Working Class History
March 18, 2011 9:38 AM   Subscribe

May 18th marks two significant days in the history of labor. On May 18th, 1871 the workers of Paris, joined by mutinous National Guardsmen, seized the city and set about re-organising society in their own interests based on workers' councils.

Ninety years ago, in May 1921, the largest naval base in Russia – Kronstadt - was the site of a brutal and bloody battle. Civilians and sailors at Kronstadt had risen up in open revolt against the Bolshevik state headed by Lenin and Trotsky. During the fighting that ensued, thousands died, over 10 000 rebels were arrested, many executed and buried in mass graves, others sent to concentration camps in Archangelsk, Vologda and Murmansk [1]. Indeed, the Kronstadt rebels suffered and died for a set of demands, which they had put forward on the eve of the rebellion, in the Petropavlovsk Manifesto. These demands were:

* free and fair elections to the soviets;
* freedom of speech for workers, peasants, anarchists and socialists;
* free trade union activity;
* peasants to control land without employing wage labour.

These demands were drowned in blood by the Bolsheviks and without any sense of irony they celebrated the crushing of Kronstadt on the 18th March - the 50th anniversary of the Paris Commune.
posted by Stagger Lee (23 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It appears from the article that you are about 2 months early with your anniversary story.
posted by Kokopuff at 9:41 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't tell May from March.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:42 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


If mods want to edit that, they should.
Better yet, let's skip to May.
Thanks. Apologies. Still noteworthy.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:43 AM on March 18, 2011


Number three: 2011, Judge blocks Wisconsin union-busting bill on procedural grounds

I expect this to be only temporary though, the Republicans still have the votes to get it passed legally.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:43 AM on March 18, 2011


I expect this to be only temporary though, the Republicans still have the votes to get it passed legally.

There are other procedural grounds. The Republicans claim this bill has no budget impact. If a judge says otherwise, then they need quorum. And then the circus can resume.
posted by ocschwar at 9:52 AM on March 18, 2011


[fixed the dates, carry on.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:58 AM on March 18, 2011


18th March is correct. The article is wrong.

The commune was over by late May, but it lasted for months not days.
posted by vbfg at 10:01 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


After years of lurking, I just paid my $5 to say it was 18 March.

vbfg, I want my money back.
posted by spectrevsrector at 10:03 AM on March 18, 2011 [6 favorites]




On May 18th, 1871 the workers of Paris, joined by mutinous National Guardsmen, seized the city and set about re-organising society in their own interests based on workers' councils.

Thus, the origin of the phrase "unmitigated Gaul."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:07 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, quit the fighting over which month. You're all overlooking the true significance of today.
posted by jbickers at 10:08 AM on March 18, 2011


I hate to go to Wikipedia for this stuff.
But according to Wikipedia the Paris Commune began March 18th, and ended in May 28th.

It looks like Kronstadt was indeed crushed in March.
So my original numbers stand?
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:09 AM on March 18, 2011


After years of lurking, I just paid my $5 to say it was 18 March.

vbfg, I want my money back.
posted by spectrevsrector at 1:03 PM on March 18


I'm hoping any other Fall fans out there lurking will pay up and come on in - we need you-ah.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:33 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, March 18 is the traditional date of commemorating the Paris Commune.
posted by gubo at 10:35 AM on March 18, 2011


Related: Maine Shoe Strike of 1937 Google video. National Guard call ups, police beatings, the Catholic Church threatening " Eternal Damnation", and so much more. It seems we haven't learned shit.
posted by lobstah at 10:39 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like the old saying goes: If we truly remember the Paris Commune, then March becomes May and something something something.

Of course, if we go by the book, then hours could seem like days.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:41 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


ioesf, that's one of my favorite films. At just under five hours it's rough to get through, but it challenges what I think both workers and movies are capable of achieving. The finale moves the film from historical reenactment to a powerful meditation on how we'd respond today.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 10:48 AM on March 18, 2011


spectrevsrector: "After years of lurking, I just paid my $5 to say it was 18 March."

I thought I felt eyes on the back of my neck.
posted by Bonzai at 10:55 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only form of government that will be free from corruption would be a metafilter run government.

I propose The Blue Party.
posted by Bonzai at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Although the article Stagger Lee linked to got the date wrong, elsewhere on Libcom there is an archive of the Kronstadt Izvestia, the rebel's publication, and Ida Mett's The Kronstadt Uprising of 1921.

Significant writings on the Paris Commune (again from a partisan viewpoint) include The Civil War in France by Karl Marx and the Solidarity pamphlet The Commune: Paris 1871, which also considers the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, an event which should carry a similar resonance.

The main author/editor of the Anarchist FAQ has blogged about the 2 anniversaries (spending a little too much time on his Proudhon v Marx bugbear, but worth a read).
posted by spectrevsrector at 11:37 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, The Paris Commune has always been a fascination for me, but not for the socialist workers uprising, but simply the drama and stories, great stuff. The Communards never had a chance, but you had to admire the party while it lasted.
posted by stbalbach at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I propose The Blue Party.

This will only work if there's a gray branch of government.
posted by drezdn at 12:04 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


[fixed the dates, carry on.]

Re-un-fix them!
posted by Deathalicious at 12:19 PM on March 18, 2011


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