‘History of the Paris Commune of 1871’ – Oliver Lissagaray’s classic eyewitness account

A barricade in the Paris Commune, March 18, 1871 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“It is time people understood the true meaning of this Revolution, and this can be summed up in a few words. It meant the government of the people by the people. It was the first attempt of the proletariat to govern itself. The workers of Paris expressed this when in their first manifesto they declared they ‘understood it was their imperious duty and their absolute right to render themselves masters of their own destinies by seizing upon governmental power’. The establishment of the Commune meant not the replacing of one form of class rule by another, but the abolishing of all class rule. It meant the substitution of true co-operative, i.e., communist, for capitalistic production, and the participation in this Revolution of workers of all countries meant the internationalizing, not only the nationalising, of the, land and of private property”  – Eleanor Marx, from her introduction to ‘History of the Paris Commune of 1871’ by Oliver Lissagaray.

Continuing our commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, we post a link to Prosper Olivier Lissagaray’s famous participant account: https://www.marxists.org/history/france/archive/lissagaray/index.htm.

Lissagaray’s eye-witness account was published in French in 1876. Eleanor Marx translated the work into English and the manuscript was revised and checked by Karl Marx.