For two months in 1871, Parisian workers took control of Europe's most celebrated capital city and began running it in their own interests. When they established the world's first democracy- the Paris Commune- they found no ready-made blueprints, and no precedents to study for how to run their city. All they had was the boundless revolutionary enthusiasm of Paris's socialists, communists, anarchists, and radical Jacobins, all of whom threw their energies into creating a new society.
In his latest book, Donny Gluckstein details the communard's novel experiment in workers' democracy...a society where workers- not princes or professional politicians- called the shots. His analysis of the commune gives us a glimpse of a better world- one that is run according to human need rather than profit.
Gluckstein is a longtime activist, author, and lecturer in history in Edinburgh and is a member of the Socialist Workers' Party (UK). His previous books include The Nazies, Capitalism, and the Working Class (Bookmarks, 1999) and The Tragedy of Bukharin (Pluto, 1994). The Paris Commune: A Revolutionary Democracy has recently been released by Haymarket books. Copies will be available for sale at the meeting.