When the real lessons of the Commune are missed…

The Communards

The recognition of the need to seize power and the decision to get on with that task. That was what gave content to the political declaration made by the people of Paris. That was what made their political declaration real. Minus it and there is no Commune. Conversely, singling out the proletariat’s reliance on its own resources as the political act that mattered most dislodges the act of seizing power from its prime position. It guts revolution of … revolution. The promised disincorporation remains as false as that of the fake left.

In a piece on the Paris Commune recently published in the Monthly Review (May 2021), Alain Badiou concludes thus, “Today, the Commune’s political visibility must be restored by a process of disincorporation: born of rupture with the left, it must be extracted from the leftist hermeneutics that have overwhelmed it for so long.” The ‘left’ indicated by Badiou is the parliamentary left. The one that acts as a buffer, softening or swallowing up the revolutionary energy of the masses. It is the fake left.

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