Communism is a term which in the course of time has acquired a variety of meanings. In the 1840’s it was associated with the conspiratorial Société Communiste in which old Montagnards and youthful plotters came together on a common platform. 1 In the 1870’s it signified the Paris Commune of 1871. There is irony in the fact that the Commune’s leadership did not include a single communist in the modern sense of the term, and at best one delegate who could be called a Marxist: not untypically he was a refugee from Hungary. 2 After its fall Marx was to impose the heritage of the Commune upon the Social-Democratic movement. This was a remarkable tour de force even in France, where the massacre perpetrated by the forces of ‘order’ in May 1871 blended easily with memories of the slaughter of Parisian workers by the Army and the National Guard in the June 1848 insurrection. 3 Beyond the borders of France it was scarcely possible to see in the Commune anything but the final catastrophe of the old romantic French socialism. This was how Marx himself came to view the matter a decade later, when passions had cooled. But by then a myth had been established.