Minasuk/ May 7, 2016/ Uncategorized

Manifesto of the Paris Commune’s Federation of Artists | Red Wedge | April 2016

The Paris Commune was in essence the first large scale experiment in
socialist governance. On March 18th of 1871, radical workers and
artisans organized in the National Guard decisively took control of the
city as the regular French army fled. Days later, the Commune was
elected, immediately declaring that workers could take over and run
workshops and businesses, as well as abolishing the death penalty and
military conscription, mandating the separation of church and state, and
the beginnings of a social safety net and pensions. Both revolutionary
and democratic, every day saw new ways of running the city advanced by
ordinary laborers.

This included a wholly and radically different
way of approaching the realm of art. On April 15th, artists, painters,
sculptors and ornamentalists from around Paris – including Gustave
Courbet, the well-known painter, and Eugène Pottier, later the author of
the lyrics to “L’Internationale” – gathered to thrash out and propose
what this approach might be.