Originally published in Libération, this text by Éric Hazan and Julien Coupat is a castigation of the existing order and a call to mobilise against 'the world of lies'; the bureaucracies, parliaments, and courts, ahead of the 2017 French election.
No reason to endure a year and a half of electoral campaigning, which we already know will culminate in a blackmail of democracy. We have a year and a half to form a human network sufficiently rich and self-assured to render the prevailing stupidity obscene, to make derisory the idea that slipping a voting paper into a ballot box could be a meaningful gesture – and a political gesture at that.
Today we mark the release of Eric Hazan's A History of the Barricade by publishing his analysis of proposed selling off of 48 Rue Ramponeau, a street in the 20th arrondissement in the Belleville district of Paris. In his cultural history of the barricade, Hazan traces the barricade's use in the days of the Paris Commune: Rue Ramponeau is one of the streets of Paris that
compete for the honour of having hosted the final barricade of the Commune. For Lissagaray, ‘the last barricade of the May days was in the rue Ramponeau. For a quarter of an hour a single Federal defended it. Thrice he broke the staff of the Versaillese flag hoisted on the barricade of the rue de Paris [now de Belleville]. As a reward for his courage, this last soldier of the Commune succeeded in escaping.’ Legend has it that this soldier was Lissagaray himself.
Hazan explores the effects of embourgeoisement to the people of Belleville—this is not the first time officials have tried to sell off parts of the neighbourhood—and reflects on the history of protest up to the successful local resistance of the 1990s.
(Photograph: Barricaderamponeau, Wikimedia Commons)
226 years ago today the people of Paris stormed the gates of the Bastille and in doing so starting one of the most momentous occasions of the French Revolution. To celebrate Bastille day, we bring you this short extract from Eric Hazan's People's History of the French Revolution in which Eric discusses the events of July 14th 1789.
For Marx, the greatest achievement of the Paris Commune was its "actual working existence", and we should certainly not exclude its geographical organisation and defensive arcitecture from this category. Ahead of Kristin Ross' discussion with Alberto Toscano at Goldsmiths tonight on the political imaginary of the Paris Commune, we share a series of maps created by Leopold Lambert detailing the shifting architecture of the Commune over time. You can download a high-resolution version of the map here.
From Lambert's essay:
History tends to describe the city where events unfold themselves as a mere context, indifferent to the action that it hosts … I wanted to illustrate how the city, through its constructive, destructive and modificative logics plays a biased role in these historical events. As Karl Marx pointed out in The Civil War in France (1871), many things could have given the Commune higher chances to survive (a more organized offensive against Versailles in the beginning of its existence, the use of the Banque de France left untouched, a more comprehensive defensive strategy etc.), but the thing that the Commune has lacked the most is likely to be time itself, in an effort to transform and subvert the capitalist, imperialist and militarized logics that contextualized the urban fabric in which it was attempting to exist.