135 Years Ago…

Sunday Night:

Thunderstorms, torrential rains… dreams of strangeness. Dark now, with very heavy rains. Lightning all over the place. Went to a party on Saturday night, a Brazilian Party to be exact. Discovered I liked Brazilian Rum. Discovered Sunday morning that it doesn’t always agree with me. Aiyeee. A slow Sunday that proceeds into the distance now…

Rowan headed off to camp for a week of counselling 6th graders at OutDoor School, along with his friend Ryan at 11:00 in the morning. Kinda miss him already. He went in a flurry of hurry and forgotten items. He rolls and tumbles towards his future in such a funny way. Watching him move forward with his life has taken some great turns lately. If I had only known what fun this all could be. He holds up a mirror for me, like no other person ever has. The moments I spend with him are some of the best, and sometimes the hardest. I have to walk my talk with this one…

So I sit here, in the darkening night, listening to Kate Bush’s latest album. Eric Satie a bit earlier. The house is quiet, but for the rain. The fullness of the season, and the beauty of it all.

Tonights’ Entry is in memory of the Paris Commune, of 1871.

A blessing to you and yours.



On the Menu:

The Satanic Links…

The Article: 135 Years Ago, The Paris Commune

The Poetry: Rumi

The Art: Illustrations from The Paris Commune of 1871 by Eugene Schulkind


The Satanic Links:

10 Things I Hate About Commandments

Satan’s Ipod….

Church of Satan Versus Apple…



135 Years Ago…

A brief history of the world’s first socialist working class uprising. The workers of Paris, joined by mutinous National Guardsmen, seized the city and set about re-organising society in their own interests based on workers’ councils. They could not hold out, however, when more troops retook the city and massacred 30,000 workers in bloody revenge

The Paris Commune is often said to be the first example of working people taking power. For this reason it is a highly significant event, even though it is ignored in the French history curriculum. On May 18 1871, after France was defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian war, the French government sent troops into Paris to try and take back the Parisian National Guard’s cannon before the people got hold of it. Much to the dismay of the French government, the citizens of Paris had got hold of them, and wouldn’t give them up. The soldiers refused to fire on their own people and instead turned their weapons on their officers.

The PNG held free elections and the citizens of Paris elected a council made up mostly of Jacobins and Republicans (though there were a few anarchists and socialists as well). The council declared that Paris was an independent commune and that France should be a confederation of communes. Inside the Commune, all elected council members were instantly recallable, paid an average wage and had equal status to other commune members.

Contemporary anarchists were excited by these developments. The fact that the majority of Paris had organised itself without support from the state and was urging the rest of the world to do the same was pretty exciting. The Paris Commune led by example in showing that a new society, organised from the bottom up, was possible. The reforms initiated by the Commune, like turning workplaces into co-operatives, put anarchist theory into practice. By the end of May, 43 workplaces had become co-operatives and the Louvre Museum was a munitions factory run by a workers’ council.

The Mechanics Union and the Association of Metal Workers stated “our economic emancipation . . . can only be obtained through the formation of workers’ associations, which alone can transform our position from that of wage earners to that of associates.” They also advised the Commune’s Commission on Labour Organisation to support the following objectives: “The abolition of the exploitation of man by man… The organisation of labour in mutual associations and inalienable capital.” Through this, it was hoped that within the Commune, equality would not be an “empty word”. In the words of the most famous anarchist of the time, Mikhail Bakunin, the Paris Commune was a “clearly formulated negation of the state”.

However, anarchists argue that the Commune did not go far enough. Those within the Commune didn’t break with the ideas of representative government. As another famous anarchist, Peter Kropotkin said: “if no central government was needed to rule the independent Communes… then a central municipal government becomes equally useless… the same federative principal would do within the Commune”. As the Commune kept some of the old ideas of representative democracy, they stopped the people within the Commune from acting for themselves, instead trusting the governors to sort things out for them.

Anarchists argued for federations of directly democratic mass assemblies had been set up just like the people of Paris had done just over a hundred years previously (must be something in the water!).

The council became increasingly isolated from those who’d elected it. The more isolated it got, the more authoritarian it got. The council set up a “Committee of Public Safety” to “defend [by terror]” the “revolution”. This Committee was opposed by the anarchist minority on the council and was ignored by the people who, unsurprisingly, were more concerned with defending Paris from invasion by the French army. In doing so, they proved right the old revolutionary cliché of ‘no government is revolutionary’!

On May 21st, the government troops entered the city and were met with seven days of solid street fighting. The last stand of the Communards took place at the cemetary of Montmartre, and after the defeat troops and armed members of the capitalist class roamed the city, killing and maiming at will. 30,000 Communards were killed in the battles, many after they had surrendered, and their bodies dumped in mass graves.

The legacy of the Commune lived on, however, and “Vive la commune!” (“Long live the Commune!” was painted over on the walls of Paris during the 1968 uprising, and not for the last time we can be sure…


Poetry: Rumi…

If you can disentangle

yourself from your selfish self

all heavenly spirits

will stand ready to serve you

If you can finally hunt down

your own beastly self

you have the right

to claim Solomon’s Kingdom

You are that blessed soul who

belongs to the garden of paradise

is it fair to let yourself

fall apart in a shattered house

You are the bird of happiness

in the magic of existence

what a pity when you let

yourself be chained and caged

But if you can break free

from this dark prison named body

soon you will see

you are the sage and the fountain of life

Gone to the Unseen

At last you have departed and gone to the Unseen.

What marvelous route did you take from this world?

Beating your wings and feathers,

you broke free from this cage.

Rising up to the sky

you attained the world of the soul.

You were a prized falcon trapped by an Old Woman.

Then you heard the drummer’s call

and flew beyond space and time.

As a lovesick nightingale, you flew among the owls.

Then came the scent of the rosegarden

and you flew off to meet the Rose.

The wine of this fleeting world

caused your head to ache.

Finally you joined the tavern of Eternity.

Like an arrow, you sped from the bow

and went straight for the bull’s eye of bliss.

This phantom world gave you false signs

But you turned from the illusion

and journeyed to the land of truth.

You are now the Sun –

what need have you for a crown?

You have vanished from this world –

what need have you to tie your robe?

I’ve heard that you can barely see your soul.

But why look at all? –

yours is now the Soul of Souls!

O heart, what a wonderful bird you are.

Seeking divine heights,

Flapping your wings,

you smashed the pointed spears of your enemy.

The flowers flee from Autumn, but not you –

You are the fearless rose

that grows amidst the freezing wind.

Pouring down like the rain of heaven

you fell upon the rooftop of this world.

Then you ran in every direction

and escaped through the drain spout . . .

Now the words are over

and the pain they bring is gone.

Now you have gone to rest

in the arms of the Beloved.



‘Tis light makes colour visible: at night

Red, greene, and russet vanish from thy sight.

So to thee light by darness is made known:

Since God hat none, He, seeing all, denies

Himself eternally to mortal eyes.

From the dark jungle as a tiger bright,

Form from the viewless Spirit leaps to light.



I made a far journey

Earth’s fair cities to view,

but like to love’s city

City none I knew

At the first I knew not

That city’s worth,

And turned in my folly

A wanderer on earth.

From so sweet a country

I must needs pass,

And like to cattle

Grazed on every grass.

As Moses’ people

I would liefer eat

Garlic, than manna

And celestial meat.

What voice in this world

to my ear has come

Save the voice of love

Was a tapped drum.

Yet for that drum-tap

From the world of All

Into this perishing

Land I did fall.

That world a lone spirit


Like a snake I crept

Without foot or wing.

The wine that was laughter

And grace to sip

Like a rose I tasted

Without throat or lip.

‘Spirit, go a journey,’

Love’s voice said:

‘Lo, a home of travail

I have made.’

Much, much I cried:

‘I will not go’;

Yea, and rent my raiment

And made great woe.

Even as now I shrink

To be gone from here,

Even so thence

To part I did fear.

‘Spirit, go thy way,’

Love called again,

‘And I shall be ever nigh thee

As they neck’s vein.’

Much did love enchant me

And made much guile;

Love’s guile and enchantment

Capture me the while.

In ignorance and folly

When my wings I spread,

From palace unto prison

I was swiftly sped.

Now I would tell

How thither thou mayst come;

But ah, my pen is broke

And I am dumb.


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