Revolutionary commemoration

Proctor, Hannah (2018) Revolutionary commemoration. Radical Philosophy. pp. 48-57. ISSN 0300-211X

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On 18th March 1921 the fftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Paris Commune was marked in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Newspapers were emblazoned with headlines decrying the brutal suppression of the heroic Communards by bourgeois reactionary forces just seventy-two days after its foundation. In Petrograd, Emma Goldman awoke from an anxious night’s sleep to hear people marching through the streets singing ‘The Internationale’. She, however, experienced the city that day as a ‘ghastly corpse’ and to her mournful ears the song’s ‘strains, once jubilant … sounded like a funeral dirge for humanity’s faming hope.’2 Her bitter reaction to this celebratory occasion was not a refection on the fate of the Paris Commune itself but a response to more recent events. Just one day before, the guns of Kronstadt, the echoes of which had resounded across the streets of Petrograd for the past twelve days, abruptly stopped. Sailors from the Baltic Fleet based in the fortifed city on the island of Kotlin had mutinied in solidarity with workers’ demonstrations and strikes in the former capital. Many who had fought enthusiastically for the Revolution, and been recognised by the Bolsheviks for their loyalty, were now demanding reforms and accusing the Party of betrayal