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(en) France, UCL AL #312 - Special file Paris 1871, When the libertarians took their distance (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 13 Mar 2021 11:02:57 +0200


Born out of the desire to avenge the Paris Commune, anarchism then became more critical of the event. Until abandoning it. Today it is less a question of commemorating it than of understanding it. ---- In the memory of French anarchism, the Commune went through several stages. Initially a supreme reference, sanctified by the blood of martyrs - which did not prevent lively debates between exiles - a distancing took place from the end of the 1870s. At the congress of 1880 which, in Switzerland, launched the anarchist movement [1], the former Communard Élisée Reclus broke the myth: "the Paris Commune, insurrectionary from below, was governmental from above, maintained the entire hierarchy of civil servants and employees." The communalism, 'added the Swiss Herzig was a "decentralization of authority" .The congress approved them, displeasing some, like Gustave Lefrançais.

While paying homage to him, Kropotkin criticized the lack of revolutionary daring of the Commune in 1885 (see page 16), at a time of generational renewal, when the former Communards were gradually fading away. The patriotic dimension specific to 1870-1871, in particular, disturbed more and more, whereas the libertarians, in 1886, founded the League of antipatriots to oppose revenge nationalism. In a meeting in March 1887, a furious Louise Michel was even forced to defend the Commune against young anarchists who shouted "the communalist cesspool and its old ganaches with stripes" [2].

The following years were those of rifts between survivors and heirs of the Commune: for or against Boulanger, "General Revanche", in 1888-1889 ? For or against Dreyfus, ten years later ? Some were accused of betraying the revolution, others of betraying "France". In the following years, people jostled in front of the federated wall where, every March 18, the event was commemorated. In 1888, a Blanquist-Boulangist was thus shot and wounded by an anarchist. It was not until 1903 that the weakened extreme right gave up the "goingup to the wall" [3].

The socialist movement then established its hegemony on this memory, while in its turn distancing itself from ideals that it no longer assumed. "It is not a question of knowing if the Municipality did this or not that, if it was right to do it differently, then evaded the veteran Édouard Vaillant. She fought and that is enough." [4].

For the following decades, the "rise to the wall", on March 18, became a real show of force for the PS, then for the PCF when the latter supplanted it. Tide of red flags, special cover of L'Humanité ... A strong contrast with the almost indifference of the anarchist press: hardly anything in 1891, in 1901, in 1911, a large article quite agreed upon in Le Libertaire in 1921, another without much interest in 1951 ...

The centenary of 1971 which, three years after May 68, strongly mobilized the left and the extreme left, marked a renewed interest and the Revolutionary Anarchist Organization published, in Front libertaire , a political analysis of the event. In 2021, it is the same approach to understanding that drives Alternative Libertaire .

Guillaume Davranche (UCL Montreuil)

Illustration: Élisée Reclus, by Nadar.

Validate

[1] "1880: the communist anarchist 'party' asserts its existence", Alternative libertaire , November 2020.

[2] Le Temps , March 19, 1887.

[3] Éric Fournier, La Commune is not dead. Political uses of the past, from 1871 to the present day , Libertalia, 2013.

[4] Danielle Tartakowsky, We will go singing on your tombs , Flammarion, 1999, quoted by Eric Fournier, op. Cit.

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Quand-les-libertaires-prenaient-leurs-distances
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