Anniversary of Bloody Week at the Paris Commune
May 21-28, 1871
The Paris Commune, whose 150th anniversary we celebrate this year, was brutally crushed by the Versailles government during the last week of May 1781, in what is now known as la Sémaine sanglante (Bloody Week).
By May 1871, the Versailles government had co-opted the Prussians to help it crush the revolt of the workers.
When after eight days of heroic resistance the Communards fell to the all-out assault of the Versailles troops with cooperation by the Prussians, the slaughter of the defenceless men, women and children, which had been raging all through the week on an increasing scale, reached unprecedented proportions. Thousands upon thousands of unarmed workers were massacred en masse and many were deported to the French territory of New Caledonia or found themselves in exile elsewhere. Due in part to the many who fled retribution or were forced into exile after the Commune was crushed, its ideas spread far and wide in the decades that followed.
While the bourgeoisie presents itself as “humanitarian,” “reasonable,” “just” and “civilized,” the Paris Commune showed the extent of frenzied barbarism to which the bourgeoisie will go to crush the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat, thereby highlighting the importance for the working class to create a state of its own which vests sovereignty in the people so as to deprive the exploiters of their power on the basis of which they maintain the system of exploitation of persons by persons and block the emancipation of the working class itself and all the oppressed.
The Paris Commune will forever remain the harbinger of a new society.