5. State Organization
The Council of the Commune, its supreme authority, was elected with 80 members. Almost half were of workers, the rest were employees and persons of intelligent professions. Among them were the Blanquists, the Jacobins, the Proudhonists, and the non-Party people. There has never been a solid majority.
This left a mark on the organization of the activities of the Council of the Commune, which sought to build its work on the basis of a broad but abstract democracy, regardless of the surrounding political situation. He did not create a permanent presidium of the Council, but elected it only for a week; did not even create a permanent secretariat, but the influx of appeals from the broad circles of working people and the very course of the work prompted the Council of the Commune to establish a general secretariat.
The great achievement of the Council of the Commune was the desire to appear as "a collection of commissions working together, and not a parliament where everyone aspires to say his word" (Minutes of the Commune, pp. 321). The Council of the Commune chose from its membership 10 commissions: labor and exchange, public services, food, education, justice, military, public security and external relations.
To unite and coordinate the work of these commissions, the Executive Commission was elected, which was to organize control over the execution of the decrees of the Commune. But the shortcomings in the organization of the commissions, the absence of responsible leaders in them, and the unsatisfactory nature of the composition of the Executive Commission, which did not cope with its functions, led to the reorganization of the commissions: at the head of each department a delegate of the Council of the Commune was put, and the commissions turned into peculiar control commissions under these delegates. All 0 delegates composed the Executive Commission of the Council of the Commune, which combined and directed their coordinated work.
The next week showed the unsatisfactory nature of such an organization of the Executive Commission: its 9 delegates, who headed the whole complex work of commissions - the ministries of the Commune - did not find almost time for joint meetings on general communal affairs in an exceptionally tense and more complicated situation. The requirements were increased both in the Council of the Commune and in the localities about the creation by the Council of the Commune of a powerful executive committee or the Committee for Public Salvation, in analogy with the same Committee of the Convent era.
On April 30, 1871, the Council of the Commune adopted the following decree of 3 articles: I. The Committee of Public Salvation is immediately organized. I. It is composed of 6 members appointed by the Commune by voting of each candidate separately. III. This committee is given the widest authority with regard to delegations and commissions. The Committee is responsible only to the Commune.
After the crossing of the Versailles advancing on Paris to the left bank of the Seine, the Council of the Commune elected the Committee of Public Salvation and declared its meetings uninterrupted.
In general, the Council of the Commune performed functions and legislative in its decrees, and the executive in the person of its commissions, which headed departments and judicial functions, as the only court for the affairs of the deputies of the Commune and as the highest instance for military court cases.
Based on the conditions of the historical situation, Marx wrote in the "Civil War" that "the Commune should be not a parliamentary but a working corporation, at the same time both legislating and executing laws."
The organization, competence, functions, the line of work of the new state apparatus of the Commune, which was headed by commissions, destroyed the old state apparatus, could not fully develop in a few weeks of work under exceptionally difficult conditions. The characteristic features of this part of the state apparatus of the Commune will be noted in the examination of individual commissions; here it is necessary to note the features common to communal departments in general.
Despite the sabotage and flight of the majority of officials organized by the Thiers government, the communards who came to power achieved the normal work of the departmental apparatus. They attracted the remaining technical staff and some other employees. They brought leading workers out of their midst. Having established higher rates of pay below the maternity maximum, they raised the rates of lower rates. States departments were reduced by an average of 75%, the structure was simplified. Departments were closely associated with their production base, from which they drew cadres, applying in some cases a competition and examinations, the knowledge for which was usually obtained by those arriving in the order of preliminary probation. But in both defense departments - the Military Commission and the Public Security Commission, where qualified specialists were needed, the working masses could not create them in a short time, and this was hard for the defense and the counter-revolution.
The situation was different in the production and economic departments, the Labor and Exchange Commission, the Public Services Commission, the Food Commission and the Finance Commission. These commissions successfully coped with their complex current tasks, serving both the defense of Paris and at the same time taking steps in the field of socialist construction.First of all, this refers to the Labor and Exchange Commission. She established close ties with trade unions and other workers' organizations, providing them with a room in one of the former ministries and involving their representatives in drafting the laws and measures necessary for the working class and for monitoring for their implementation.
Of the commission's activities, it should be noted the creation of commissions for the survey and organization of work, the subcommittee of public works, the closure of private intermediary bureaus for the hiring of labor, the organization of the labor exchange, the organization of the provision of handicapped workers, the regulation of labor of women and adolescents.
The Public Services Commission has reorganized them in the interests of workers in the field of transport, water supply, in the provision of housing especially affected by military operations, relying on the district organs of the Commune in their work.
The Finance Commission financed the work of the Commune from March 19 until the end of May. During this time, the Commission spent 46,300 thousand francs, of which 16,960 thousand were received from the National Bank that continued to function; the rest are covered by incomes, of which taxes amounted to 12 million. Of this budget of the Commune, about 40 million francs were spent on military needs.
The Commission for Education relied heavily on the 3 Learning Committee, the Federation of Artists' Federation and the Federation of Entertainers of the Entertainment Companies. The work of the commission attracted outstanding forces, including the famous scientist E. Reclus. Through the Training Committee, activities were carried out on secondary schools, on the release of the school from the influence of the church, on the organization of professional education, on improving the financial situation of teachers and teachers. A committee of delegates from teachers, students and doctors worked at the higher school, especially on the restoration of the works of the medical faculty thrown by the professors who had fled to Versailles, who was engaged in the reform of higher education. The Education Commission reorganized museums and libraries, provided free supplies of schoolchildren with teaching aids and conducted a number of other activities.
The Justice Commission carried out a radical reorganization of the judiciary and legal proceedings, a number of measures to combat the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, free performance of acts of civil status, reorganized the work of the notary, appraisers, bailiffs.
The Foreign Relations Commission was to establish, on the one hand, diplomatic relations with foreign countries and political ties with the workers of these countries, and on the other hand - the connection with the cities, departments, counties and villages of France; but in the first area of tasks the commission achieved nothing, except for the recognition of its de facto command of the PUnited States army near Paris; she did not even get in touch with parliamentarians - socialists and democrats of different countries, and inside France failed to sufficiently support and strengthen the revolutionary movement of various localities.
In the field of organization of local government, a great achievement was the setting of work in 20 districts of Paris. Here the Commune did not follow the path of formal democracy - the election of district municipalities, despite repeated requests from some circles. By decree of the Council of the Commune on March 30, the leadership of the districts was entrusted to the deputies of the Commune from this district with a commission organized by the delegation, composed by delegates from the district's assets.
This system of centralizing leadership in the decentralization of activities has fully justified itself in those difficult conditions; in the order of a lively connection with the masses and on their initiative, the Council of the Commune issued and carried out a number of decrees.
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