The Last Communard: Adrien Lejeune, the Unexpected Life of a Revolutionary by Gavin Bowd is 50% off until July 4th! Click here to activate the discount.
The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first experience of what a successful workers' revolution could look like, an example of what Karl Marx described as the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
In March of that year, the workers of Paris, organized into the Parisian National Guard, defeated troops sent by France's leader, Louis Thiers. The Paris Commune was elected on March 26 and remained in power for only two months. Thiers and his troops reorganized at Versailles and eventually fought their way back into Paris, where the Communards were crushed in a massive show of violence that took 30,000 workers' lives.
This editorial was first published in Libération. Translated by David Broder.
According to [French prime minister] Manuel Valls, "anti-Zionism is quite simply synonymous with anti-Semitism." This argument is no surprise coming from a politician for whom "the state of emergency is the state of the rule of law" and who wants to combat unemployment by making it easier to sack people. But seriously, now — what exactly is "anti-Zionism"?
There are two possible answers. The first one depends on two assertions, one built on the other: the state of Israel speaks in the name of all Jews worldwide; consequently, to be an "anti-Zionist," criticising Israeli policy, is to denigrate not only the Israeli government but the country’s population and indeed all Jews — and this is anti-Semitism. Such is the claim at the galas hosted by the CRIF [council of French Jewish "community leaders"]
Extract from Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London by Matthew Beaumont
In the dead of night, in spite of the electric lights and the remnants of nightlife, London is an alien city, especially if you are strolling through its lanes and thoroughfares alone.
In the more sequestered streets, once the pubs are closed, and at a distance from the twenty-four-hour convenience stores, the sodium gleam of the street lamps, or the flickering strip-light from a soporific minicab stand, offers little consolation. There are alleys and street corners and shop entrances where the darkness appears to collect in a solid, faintly palpitating mass. There are secluded squares where, to appropriate a haunting line from a poem by Shelley, night makes ‘a weird sound of its own stillness’. There are buildings, monuments and statues that, at a distance, and in the absence of people, pulsate mysteriously in the sepulchral light. There are foxes that slope and trot across the road, in a single motion, as you interrupt their half-shameful, half-defiant attempts to pillage scraps from upended bins. And, from time to time, there are the faintly sinister silhouettes of other solitary, perhaps homeless, individuals – as threatened by your presence, no doubt, as you are by theirs. ‘However efficiently artificial light annihilates the difference between night and day’, Al Alvarez has commented, ‘it never wholly eliminates the primitive suspicion that night people are up to no good.’