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Expert Meeting: The Paris Commune and the Council Movement

May 26, 2023 - May 27, 2023

On 9 November 1918, when the German Revolution arrived in the German capital Berlin, the newspaper Rote Fahne, run by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg declared that the red flag waving over Berlin was “die rote Fahne der Kommune von 1871.” Recently, authors like Mark Lause (2022) and Mark Jones (2018) have also hinted at links between the German Revolution and the Paris Commune in terms of the experiences of soldiers and the devastation of war (Lause) or the extreme violent repression of radical experiments by the authorities (Jones). Others (Gluckstein, 2011; Popp-Madsen and Kets, 2020) have pointed at some institutional ties between 1871 and 1918. However, the exact influence of the Commune on the German Revolution and Council movement remains obscured in contemporary political and historical work.

This expert meeting brings together a number of key authors on the history and theory of the German Revolution and its possible relation to the events of 1871. Key themes and questions to be discussed are:
• the relation between commune and councils;
• the role of ‘the Commune’ in the development of Marxisms, socialisms, communisms;
• the role of workers’ councils in the Commune;
• the relation between democratization of the economy and society;
• how did the council movement rearticulate the communalist repertoire?;
• what, if anything, is the meaning of workers’ councils or workplace democracy for contemporary communalism?

This meeting is part of the project Vive la Commune! Communalism as a Democratic Repertoire. More info on the project can be found here. The research project and this meeting are funded by the Funding Initiative Democracy of the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

Dario Azzellini (Cornell)
Dennis Bos (Leiden)
Jean-Numa Ducange (Rouen)
Anne Heyer (Leiden)
Gaard Kets (Radboud, organiser)
James Muldoon (Exeter)

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May 26 @ 12:30
May 27 @ 13:30


Elleboogstraat 2
Deursen-Dennenburg, 5352LP Netherlands
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Gaard Kets (Radboud University)