The Paris Commune of 1871 only lasted from March 18 to May 28, just 72 days, yet it is one of the most celebrated events in socialist history. It is a legend. Yet, what was it? What is it for us today? A model for socialists? A heroic failure? Negation of the state? Or the first workers’ government? Karl Marx wrote the most famous contemporary account, yet he failed to take up some of the Commune’s serious problems. Why?

This article was originally published in New Politics on August 4, 2021 (pt. 1) and in the Summer 2021 issue (pt. 2). We re-publish both parts here for this issue of CRCP.

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