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Radical Commemoration, the Politics of the Street, and the 150th Anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871

Forster, Laura C (2021) 'Radical Commemoration, the Politics of the Street, and the 150th Anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871.', History Workshop Journal, 92 (Autumn 2021). 83 - 105.


The memory of the Paris Commune of 1871 has long been summoned as an example of urban revolutionary struggle. In 2011 a Parisian street art collective, RaspouTeam, produced a series of commemorative installations across Paris to mark the 140th anniversary of the Commune. They intended the project to make an explicit link between the politics of the Paris Commune of 1871, and the politics of public space in the twenty-first century city. 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Commune. In the last decade the struggle to halt the encroachment of capital upon community and the demand for democratic public spaces (as called for by the Communards of Paris) have remained at the forefront of urban political projects. As pseudo-public open spaces and corporate-owned urban areas present new battlegrounds for economic and social justice protests in cities across the globe, the anniversary of the Paris Commune offers an opportunity to reflect on how and why we remember radical urban resistance of the past, and to ask whether doing so has the potential to arm us for the struggles of today.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:29 September 2022
Date of first online publication:2021
Date first made open access:29 September 2022

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