Ten. Whole. Weeks. Welcome back to LA COMMUNE 2021, a virtual free school experience hosted by Roxanne Panchasi (a.k.a. RP) in collaboration with UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness. If you’re just joining us this week, you might want to take a look at the content from the previous nine weeks to help get you situated. You can also dip into and out of the content as you like, in whatever order appeals to you. Free really means free!

The Paris Commune erupted in the spring of 1871 following more than a century of political, social, and economic transformation in France. After months of war and siege, the French capital’s working-class population rose up in March, holding elections, and forming their own government. The revolutionaries of the Commune attempted a complete overhaul of all aspects of life in the city. Instituting political and economic reforms, they also pursued a program of universal public education, the separation of church and state, and the promotion of a radical culture.


Our free school TIMELINE includes a number of key events that may help to situate events chronologically and within the broader history of nineteenth-century France. We’ll be adding dates to the timeline each week, following events from March through May as we go.

RADIO 1871

Each week of LA COMMUNE 2021 is anchored around an episode of radio 1871, an audio series created for a seminar in History at Simon Fraser University in 2021 with subsequent release via this free school in mind.

In this closing episode, RP discusses Karl Marx’s 1871 pamphlet, The Civil War in France, with Dr. Mark Leier, a Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. In numerous books and other publications, Mark’s research and writing has explored Marxism, anarchism and labour, historically and in connection with more contemporary issues. He’s written on the IWW, labour bureaucracy, a labour spy, and the anarchist Michael Bakunin. Moving from Marx to Bakunin to what the Commune might offer us in 2021, the conversation ends with Mark’s LIVE performance of Al Grierson’s “A Candle for Durruti.” And it’s just so damn moving!


Karl Marx, “The Paris Commune,” The Civil War in France (1871)

Mikhail Bakunin, “The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State,” (1871)

Peter Kropotkin, “The Place of the Commune in Socialist Evolution,” (1892)

C.L.R. James, “Karl Marx and the Paris Commune,” (1946)


Don’t forget to check out the HAPPENINGS & HEADS-UPs section! The section also includes information about other Paris Commune-related & Commune-spirited events taking place in various sites during the period of the Free School.