LAUSANNE: Action for the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune

On the 3rd of April, a graffiti action was carried out in Lausanne for the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. We reproduce documentation sent to us.

The slogan (in French) reads: “Long Live the 150th Anniversary of the Paris Commune! People’s War Until Communism!”

This action was carried out near the Lausanne casino, at the spot where the 2nd World Congress of the International Working Men’s Association, the Workers’ 1st International, was convened in September of 1867.

We were also informed that an illegal demonstration of around 1.000 people — against the violent police murder of an innocent black man in Lausanne and the closing of a ZAD — spontaneously took place at this precise spot the following day, with riots between protesters and Lausanne police taking place in front of the very location of the 2nd World Congress, with this graffiti being visible the entire time. During the riot, slogans were shouted such as “Down with the class State! The rage of the masses cannot be held back!”, “Combat police violence, for the People’s War!” and “Turkey, Philippines, India and Peru — only the People’s War will free us all!”. People shouted “Dogs of Switzerland!” at the police and tags were done at the police station, among others reading: “Reconstitute the Communist Party of Switzerland!”.

This riot took place right after a legal demonstration, which was condemned by the proletarian revolutionaries in helping to lead the riots. This is an important practical lesson for the proletariat of Lausanne today: just as the Commune taught, we must break with bourgeois legality.

An important thing to have in mind when doing politics connected to the Paris Commune is the connection of the Commune to the 1st International Working Men’s Association. The 1st International was the first international socialist workers’ organization that made it its direct task to unite the political struggle of the international proletariat around common goals of the day. Because of this, the 1st International was also the heart of two-line struggle in the International Communist Movement. The most well-known of these two-line struggles was that between the Marxists led by Marx and the Anarchists led by Bakunin. We know that in the end, the correct line, the Marxist line, proved itself to be correct and the Anarchist line was doomed to lose its support among the proletariat from then forth, and the Paris Commune served as a concrete example of this. Lenin, in his speech “The Lessons of the Commune”, emphasized precisely the damaging role played by Proudhonist illusions such as “a just exchange” and “patriotism” in the Commune; precisely therefore we should emphasize the two-line struggle in the International Working Men’s Association. Many members of the 1st International also visited the Paris Commune and spread its spirit and its lessons throughout the entire world, especially in the International Communist Movement. Despite the Proudhonist influence in the 2nd World Congress in Lausanne, then still present in many delegates, the Congress was generally red, with a resolution demanding collective ownership being passed for the first time; the demand of State ownership of transportation and exchange.

It must be emphasized that commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune isn’t just an empty act of nostalgia. The Paris Commune kicked off the first moment of the Proletarian World Revolution, the Strategic Defensive, and its red line has continued throughout the development of Marxism up until the present. This is why we must put the memory of the Paris Commune into the context of today, emphasizing the main task of the Communists of the world today: Constituting or reconstituting the Communist Parties and initiating and developing People’s Wars all over the world. A red line runs straight from the Commune of 1871 to the Soviets of 1905 and the October Revolution, the Workers’ Council of Zürich, the People’s Congresses in China and the People’s Committees in Peru and India today. We live and breathe in the combative air of the Paris Commune.

Concerning the Paris Commune, Marx stated:

Whatever the immediate results may be, a new point of departure of world-historic importance has been gained.

Letter from Karl Marx to Ludwig Kugelmann, 17.04.1871.

Later, recognizing what enormous milestones had been set, that the strategic defensive of the Proletarian World Revolution had been initiated, he said:

Working men‘s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class.

Karl Marx: “Record of a Speech on the 1st Anniversary of the Paris Commune”, 1872.

It was precisely under the Great Leadership of Karl Marx that the French contingent of the international proletariat, our class, stormed Heaven for the first time 150 years ago. The Paris Commune lasted only two months, but its lessons are transcendental. Lenin said:

The sacrifices of the Commune, heavy as they were, are made up for by its significance for the general struggle of the proletariat: it stirred the socialist movement throughout Europe, it demonstrated the strength of civil war, it dispelled patriotic illusions, and destroyed the naïve belief in any efforts of the bourgeoisie for common national aims. The Commune taught the European proletariat to pose concretely the tasks of the socialist revolution. […] And although these magnificent uprisings of the working class were crushed, there will be another uprising, in face of which the forces of the enemies of the proletariat will prove ineffective, and from which the socialist proletariat will emerge completely victorious.

V. I. Lenin: “The Lessons of the Commune”, 18.03.1908.

We have digitalized two transcendental works on this occasion: “The Civil War in France” by Karl Marx, 1871, and “The Lessons of the Commune” by V. I. Lenin, 1908. We earlier reported that “Long Live the Victory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat!” by the Communist Party of China, 1971, had also been digitalized. These will soon be made available in other languages, particularly in French.

The Commune stands defiant to all those who claim the proletariat cannot make revolution. There are revisionists of all stripes who claim to uphold the Commune but refuse to learn its lessons and struggle against its legacy in everything they do, ultimately serving the old society as part of the trifecta of imperialism, revisionism and reaction. There are also revolutionists who see the Commune generally as a great event in history, but who have never engaged with its actual substance and how it connects to the world revolution today. We must use the power of the Commune to demask any such people of the first kind and to unite with and educate any such people of the second kind — the riots which took place are a great example to follow in this regard.