This splendid, poignant story from Anna Louise Strong tells of French Communists, including veterans of the Commune, that traveled to Soviet Moscow to present the bullet-ridden, scarred and blood-red banner of the immortal Commuards to Moscow’s revolutionary workers for safe-keeping. The considered act was a sign of respect for Lenin and for Soviet survival; a symbol of our long, potent, revolutionary traditions; the modified continuity of those traditions among new forces; and fundamentally the internationalism of our movement and its goal of an international revolutionary transformation. Originally displayed at the mausoleum of Lenin then under construction. The banner is now held in storage in the State Historical Museum.
‘Tattered Red Flag of Paris Commune Flung to Breeze in Moscow as Workers Cheer’ by Anna Louise Strong from the Daily Worker. Vol. 2 No. 112. July 29, 1924.
MOSCOW. Four hundred thousand Moscow workers poured into the great October Field outside Moscow on July 6 to celebrate three holidays at once. It was the International Day of Co-operation. It was also the first anniversary of the signing of the new soviet constitution. It is also the day chosen to receive the flag of the Paris Commune.
This flag was one of the small red banners borne by the workers on the barricades of Paris in 1871. Saved by the workmen who bore it, it was carried for a time to London during his escape from the reactionary terror which closed the Commune. He gave it at last to Edouard Vaillant, Socialist and veteran of the Commune days. From Vaillant it passed to the socialist party, under the protection of the 20 section in Paris. This section decided to give the flag to the workers of Moscow. Paris to Moscow. A procession of 100,000 workers held a farewell parade in Paris May 25. More than 400,000 workers welcomed it in Moscow July 6.
For nearly five hours they were marching 10 abreast into Hodinka field now named the Field of October. A great tribune 70 ft. square, with a pyramid of platforms one above the other, held the delegates of the Communist International, the central executive of Russia and the Moscow city government. Massed around the tribune were hundreds of encircling factory delegates bearing their factory banners of embroidered red silk or velvet topped with metal stars or sickles. Around these was a wide aisle and then came the hundreds of thousands of spectators with eight wide aisles formed through their midst by single lines of soldiers.
Cheer Worn Red Banner.
A festival spirit pervaded the assembly. Men and girls were raised aloft on the arms and shoulders of their friends, and balanced above the throngs. They led the cheers and salutations and even made speeches.
The worn red banner was borne down one of the aisles by the delegation of French Communists. It was lifted aloft to the highest platform of the tribune, where it was visible for half a mile away. President Kalinin received it.
In friendly exchange, the workers of Moscow presented their French comrades with a fine new banner with their greetings embroidered upon it. The Moscow newspapers for the day contained these significant words, across the face of a waving banner “We will give it back to France when we have carried it throughout the world.”
After the official ceremonies, the workers scattered across the vast October Field to one entertainment after another. Ten great tribunes separated by wide distances, displayed programs of song, drama, symbolic demonstration, to great throngs of onlookers. Four thousand workers participated as actors in these performances, which were arranged by the educational committees of the various unions. Between the tribunes were husky athletes reclining in the grass, or groups of gay young people dancing the Carmagnole, or troops of Young Pioneers in red shirts and bloomers, marching to some demonstration of their own.
Carnival spirit reigned supreme. In all my time in Moscow I do not remember such a vast holiday demonstration as this.
The Daily Worker began in 1924 and was published in New York City by the Communist Party US and its predecessor organizations. Among the most long-lasting and important left publications in US history, it had a circulation of 35,000 at its peak. The Daily Worker came from The Ohio Socialist, published by the Left Wing-dominated Socialist Party of Ohio in Cleveland from 1917 to November 1919, when it became became The Toiler, paper of the Communist Labor Party. In December 1921 the above-ground Workers Party of America merged the Toiler with the paper Workers Council to found The Worker, which became The Daily Worker beginning January 13, 1924.
Access to PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/dailyworker/1924/v2n112-jul-29-1924-TDW.pdf