PARIS — On a recent chilly morning, a hundred people flocked to a tiny square near the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, at the top of the hill in Montmartre. They were not the usual tourists drawn by the breathtaking panoramic views over Paris, but left-wing demonstrators celebrating the 150th anniversary of a revolution that started right where they stood.
“We’re here, we’re here!” a guitarist sang, playing a tune popularized by the Yellow Vest protesters who have in recent years faced off against the government of President Emmanuel Macron, as red flags and banners fluttered around him.
Mr. Macron, the guitarist sang, was equivalent to his 19th-century predecessor, Patrice de Mac Mahon, who crushed the revolution they had come to commemorate, the Paris Commune of 1871 — a cataclysm that still consumes many on the French far left.
“All the just causes of today were initiated by the Commune, by our forefathers,” said Frédéric Jamet, 61, who proudly described himself as a “Yellow Vest veteran.” Around him were other protesters wearing yellow vests, communist militants wrapped in red scarves and a handful of amused students and curious retirees.
series of social movements in recent years, the story of the Paris Commune has made a comeback, with protesters making connections between today’s struggles and those of a century and a half ago. “The Commune” has inspired calls for greater political representation for people across France, been used to highlight contemporary economic inequalities and even emerged as a reference for some feminist activists.
Dozens of commemorations of the revolution’s 150th anniversary have been organized since mid-March — they will continue until late May — revealing the old beating heart of revolutionary Paris, with debates raging in newspaper columns and at City Hall over the legacy of an event marked by violence.
bloody week,” while Commune fighters executed dozens of hostages and set fire to several historic buildings.
But it is perhaps the tragic and ephemeral nature of the Commune that has most fueled the fascination with this revolution today, its existence too brief to have led to disillusionment.
Mr. Deluermoz said that because the Commune involved so many different elements of revolutionary movements, it had fueled a wide variety of analyses.