Writings on Historical Radical Movements

In this section, the reflective essays I write on radical historical movements will be posted on a bi-weekly basis, with a cumulative three papers in total at the end of spring quarter.

Week 3: The Paris Commune


Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune by Kristin Ross

paris commune

Communards at the Paris Commune in 1871 (credit: LibCom).

Modern Movements and the Idea of Communal Luxury

Communal Luxury is the idea that humans who cooperate with those closest to them, as well as engaging in mutual aid with each other on a global scale, will be able to achieve equitable access to resources and the time and space to truly appreciate the beauty of living. At the Paris Commune in 1871, communities overtook the city of Paris and created a commune where religion was removed from education, workers owned the means of production and consumption, capitalism and class were eliminated, and federations were created to give the people control over their lives. A federation is a group of people, such as artists, teachers, or workers, that engages in direct democracy to make decisions and then interacts with other federations to meet goals for the broader community. The idea of a society outside of capitalism, where humans truly understand the idea of communal luxury, appeals to me as an anti-capitalist and an anti-authoritarian. Unlike the bourgeois luxury of the capitalist and dominating classes, founded on the exploitation of the masses and benefiting only a few, communal luxury benefits all and creates a new understanding of work and consumption.

To access the full essay, please follow this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_PL6mMVfxDt018dCujXcKIgC5XVq2ywa_73SxKKzWQM/edit?usp=sharing

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