Today, Monday 18th March, is the 142nd anniversary of the founding of the Paris Commune, whose brief flame (it was crushed after a week of intense street fighting on May 28th, 1871) lit the way for many instances of revolutionary self-organising in the century that followed.
Pluto has recently published a book, edited by Mike Gonzalez and Houman Barekat, which covers the relationship between mass movements and military institutions. Arms and the People (Pluto, 2012) includes a chapter on the Paris Commune, and the role of the National Guard.
For a brief overview of the Paris Commune, check out this Libcom article from a few years ago.
Popular Movements and the Military from the Paris Commune to the Arab Spring
Edited by Mike Gonzalez and Houman Barekat
Draws on a range of global historical experiences to examine the relationship between mass movements and military institutions.
“These engaged case studies from some 150 years represent a very welcome review of both the popular armed struggle and the institutions of state violence.” – James Dunkerley, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London, and former Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas
“A most revealing study of some of the most dramatic moments of modern history, from the people in arms in the Paris Commune to today’s headlines. Often beaten back but even then leaving a legacy of achievement and understanding to carry the struggle forward.” – Noam Chomsky