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Anarchism in France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anarchism in France can trace its roots to thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who grew up during the Restoration and was the first self-described anarchist. French anarchists fought in the Spanish Civil War as volunteers in the International Brigades. According to journalist Brian Doherty, "The number of people who subscribed to the anarchist movement's many publications was in the tens of thousands in France alone."[1]

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Professor John Merriman: I'm going to talk about anarchism today, and especially I'm going to talk about the life and death of one guy, somebody I don't admire, Émile Henry; but, in a way he represents some aspects of the origin of modern terrorism in late nineteenth-century Paris. And, I guess if you're going to write a book about somebody it's not a bad idea to pick someone who only lived to be age twenty-one, because it makes for a shorter book; because he was guillotined, as you'll see, in 1894. So, there we go. First of all, anarchists, unlike socialists, did not want to capture the State, seize control of the State. They wanted to destroy the State, they wanted to abolish the State. They viewed political participation--and in this way they were rather like the syndicalists--as for propping up capitalism and its army, defending the interests of wealthy people. The first anarchist was a man called Proudhon, whose influence really is in the 1850s and 1860s. And Proudhon is from the east of France, he was from Besançon, in the east. And he once wrote a pamphlet called "Property is Theft," in 1841--he meant too much property or unearned property was theft--but it was a provocative kind of title, and he once wrote the following: "To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censored, commanded by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished, and on the pretext of public utility and in the name of the general interest to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; and then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint could be repressed, fired upon, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, checked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government, that is its justice, that is its morality." Now, Proudhon was followed by two important Russian anarchists, both of whom I won't talk about, but who are extremely interesting, and both of whom were nobles, one the guy called Peter Kropotkin and the other the terrifying, quite terrifying Mikhail Bakunin, and they become quite important. Kropotkin, who was a gentleman geographer and once toasted by the King of England, and in the end was horrified by the Bolshevik Revolution, he was among those who came up with the term "propaganda by the deed"; that is, the belief that the masses were potentially revolutionary, and it took a single spark, a single assassination, a single bomb to start revolution rolling. Anarchists assassinated, depending on how you count it, five, or six, or seven heads of state in the late decades of the nineteenth century, including President McKinley of the United States, who was shot or stabbed, I can't remember which, in Buffalo, New York in 1901. That number included, as we'll see in awhile, Sadi Carnot, c-a-r-n-o-t, who was the president of France. So, I want to begin with a bomb. And I've had, because of this bomb, years and years afterward--I've had the rather odd feeling of twice having eaten in the café restaurant that my book subject blew up, the Café Terminus--and it is the turning point in the origins of modern terrorism. On February 12th,^( )1894, a pale, thin young man called Émile Henry prepared a bomb in his room in Paris. He hid it in his clothing along with a loaded pistol and a knife, and he headed toward the elegant boulevards near the Paris Opera, which had been completed twenty years earlier. He wanted to throw the bomb and kill as many people as possible. Henry stopped before the Opera itself, which, as you can see, resembles a giant gilded wedding cake. There was a fancy ball going on, and he knew he could not get past the guards to get close enough to claim any victims. He then checked out the Restaurant Bignon, followed by the Café American, and then the most chic of them all, the Café de la Paix in the Grand Hotel, which is still there. He was in some way a flâneur, an intellectual who had briefly in his life been something of a dandy, but if so he was an impoverished flâneur who lived on the margins of urban life and who now came to the Grand Boulevard not just to observe with detached distance, as the flâneur did, but to hate, and now to kill. He moved on, finding each place was not crowded enough. At eight p.m. he reached the Café Terminus, right next to the Gare Saint-Lazare, around the corner from the Gare Saint-Lazare and, as the café was slowly filling up, he ordered a beer, and soon another, and then a cigar, and in a rather un-anarchist-like gesture he paid for them, as the small orchestra played on. About an hour later he walked to the doorway, turned, lit the fuse with a cigar. He threw the bomb back into the café, which was now very crowded. Already famous for its great expositions, Paris, more than ever identified with leisure and with consumerism, had become a permanent exposition in itself, its boulevards the staging ground, as you shall see later in the course, for the Belle Époque. Department stores welcomed clients with dazzling electric lights and arranged shop windows inspiring Zola to call them 'the cathedrals of modernity." The aisles of the department stores were, as has been argued, a continuation of the great boulevards themselves. In contrast, the poor workers lived along the narrow grey streets of the quartiers populaires--this is not a quartier populaire, this is the Terminus--the plebeian neighborhoods of eastern Paris, where cholera had killed as late as 1884. The rebuilding of Paris by Haussmann in the fifties and sixties had chased thousands of ordinary people, by higher rents, to the exterior neighborhoods of northern Paris, northeastern Paris, and to the working class suburbs. But the capital of the world, that is, Paris, was no longer the capital of revolution. Soldiers in Paris seemed to be--police and soldiers seemed to be everywhere, and there were indeed many more of them. For that matter, Haussmann's boulevards were too wide for barricades. To Auguste Renoir, the Impressionist painting, the buildings that lined the boulevards were, "cold and lined up like soldiers at review," a nice description of the consolidation of State power in nineteenth-century France. On May Day 1891, troops fired on demonstrators, killing women and children in the small industrial town in the north of Fourmies, a woolens town. France may not then have had strong executive authority because of the fear of Caesarism, after two Napoleons, but no other state was so centralized. And, so, in the early 1890s did anarchists begin to create small organizations, along La Mouffe, which is the Rue Mouffetard, between the Pantheon where a guy called Jean Grave published one of the anarchist newspapers at number 140, here and there in the Latin Quarter, but above all in Montmartre and in these northern industrial regions, and beyond in suburbs. Now, the 1880s and '90s will, as you may already know, will be remembered as a time of scandal--the sleazy Panama Canal scandal and lots of other ones; the president's son-in-law selling the Légion d'Honneur, et cetera. And the memory of the Paris Commune loomed large for anarchists. More than 25,000 people had been gunned down, and now from the heights of Montmartr, e and from Belleville, another peripheral neighborhood, anarchists looked down on the flashing lights of the capital, and they hate it. Many admired the Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin for whom destruction was "a creative passion that would bring about the end of the State, capitalism, and private property." "The modern state," Bakunin wrote, "with all its terrible means of action given to them by modern centralization, was becoming an immense, crushing, threatening reality," as those slaughtered communards saw up close in May of 1871. And, so, a wave of anarchist bombings swept the capital between 1892 and 1894. They ended with the assassination of Sadi Carnot in June of that year in Lyon. After two attempts on his life, King Humberto I of Italy noted that assassination was "a professional risk," and, indeed, he was later assassinated himself. Yet, many of the anarchists were people of peace, indeed, and women of peace in the case of Louise Michel, about whom you can read. For Kropotkin and before him Proudhon, the goal was the primitive, the goal was sort of communities that would exist without the state. Kropotkin had lived in the French Jura mountains, in the east, and also in Switzerland, and their watchmakers seemed to get along fine without the intrusion of the state. But yet, as I said before, it was Kropotkin who accepted and may have created the phrase, "propaganda by the deed," sometimes attributed to the Italian anarchist Malatesta who had lots of influence in Spain, in Italy and in Argentina; who doesn't look like such a terrifying guy himself, when you see him there, but again the belief that a single act of violence would be the spark that would bring social revolution. Now, Kropotkin later had doubts about this, and he said, "personally I hate these explosions, but I cannot stand as a judge to condemn those who are driven to despair." He had, after all, in 1880, described the importance of permanent revolt by oral and written propaganda, by the knife, the rifle and dynamite. "Everything that is not legal is good for us." Now, dynamite was invented by that man of the Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel, in 1868. And what it seemed to do was level the playing field. It seemed to represent a modern revolutionary alchemy, and as a compensation for many evils, for humiliation and weakness, for discrimination and frustration, anger at social exploitation and injustice. The German anarchist, Johan Most, who came to the United States, he had written in his newspaper Freedom that it was within the power of dynamite to destroy capitalism, just as it had been within the power of gunpowder and the rifle to wipe feudalism from the face of the earth. And American anarchists crowed, before being hung in Chicago, Haymarket, 1886, "in giving dynamite to the downtrodden millions of the globe, science has truly done its best work." The famous Ravachol, Francois Claudius Ravachol, took this to heart. He had been born in gnawing poverty near Saint-Etienne in '59, his father a Dutch mill hand who abandoned his wife and four children. In primary school and at Mass he was embarrassed by having clothes so shabby that they resembled those worn by beggars. He worked here and there, but periods of unemployment became longer. He turned toward anarchism, also to grave robbing, counterfeiting, and finally murder, strangling a strange old hermit who had a lot of money stashed away in his house in the hills, near Saint-Etienne. He was arrested, managed to escape the police wagon, and went to Paris living under an assumed name. In 1891 police fired on demonstrators on the Boulevard Clichy in Paris, on the edge of Paris. Three were hauled to the Police Station and they were beaten up, put on trial and two condemned to long prison sentences. Ravachol's two deeds followed. He bombed the houses of two of the magistrates on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, a very elegant neighborhood, and on the Rue du Clichy, voilà. On the way home he stopped in a restaurant called Le Véry, v-e-r-y, with an accent, on the Boulevard Magenta. A waiter remembered a scar he had on his left hand. Three days later he went back to the same place to eat, because he'd eaten well. It took ten policemen to subdue him. "See this hand," he told judge and jurors, "it has killed as many bourgeois as it has fingers." He was guillotined on the 11th of July 1892 in the Loire, in Montbrison. Several days later a bomb destroyed the restaurant, Le Véry, killing the patron, the owner, leading to the ghoulish pun that served as an anarchist signature, vérification. Ravachol so terrified contemporaries that for a time his name became a French verb; to ravacholiser quelqu'un, somebody, was to dynamite them. And after his death the anarchists of Paris and their exiled friends in London, from all over the continent, debated long into the night the wisdom of such attacks. A wood print--here you can see it--by the artist Charlotte Morin, reproduced in a widely read anarchist newspaper, portrayed Ravachol as a martyr, his defiant, heroic face set within the frame of the guillotine. Some sympathizers began to compare their martyr, Ravachol, to sort of a violent Jesus Christ. Both Christ and Ravachol were thirty-three when they were executed. And anarchists sang a song called La Ravachol, that is, The Song of Ravachol, to the tune of Ça Ira, a song from the French Revolution: "In the great city of Paris live the well-fed bourgeois and the destitute who have empty stomachs, but they have long teeth. Long live Ravachol, let's dance the Ravachol; long live the sound of explosions. So it will be, so it will be, ça ira." In his eulogy for Ravachol, an anarchist critic, art critic, and literary critic, Paul Adam, warned that the murder of Ravachol will open an era; and it did. An anarchist writer outraged public opinion by provocatively stating, "what do the victims matter if the gesture is beautiful?"-- the beau geste. A veritable psychosis took hold of Paris with people of means afraid to go to good restaurants or the theater and in nice neighborhoods people fearing to rent to magistrates for fear of les dynamiteurs, the dynamiters. Nearly twenty Parisian dailies carried each installment of anarchist attack-- this is a bomb, this is called a marmite, it's a pan, it's a casserole, but it's a bomb. Hundreds of scrawled--and here's the first, they invented at this time the wagons that'd come to detonate, and to make safe as best they can these objects, and they kept finding joke bombs in sardine cans, and stuff like that. And, so, here's the municipal chemist, a guy called Girard, who's checking this out. Hundreds of scrawled threats, which I read, they're in the Archives there, arrived to property owners and to concierges, to people of means, signed by the Avengers of Ravachol; or an anarchist from the neighborhood addressed to an exploiter of the proletarian, "finally the day when social justice will arrive; next Sunday, the First of May, you'll be blown up; signed, La Dynamite." And in Montmartre, a benefit dance for anarchists played the dynamite polka, as one of the dances. The well-known next act. On the ninth of December, 1893, Auguste Vaillant, an unemployed worker distraught at being unable to feed his family, tossed a small bomb filled with tacks, thumb tacks, into the Chamber of Deputies. His goal was not to kill--there were several scratches on the deputies--but to call attention to the plight of the poor whose situation seemed to be getting worse and worse. He was captured on the spot. The guillotine immediately, instantaneously, after a brief trial, severed his head as he defiantly shouted the obligatory, "long live anarchy." Émile Henry's father, a militant republican, who wrote poetry, had been elected to the Commune from the tenth arrondissement, and was a member of the Central Committee of the Federated National Guard in the Paris Commune. He fled under a sentence of death to Spain. And in Catalonia he worked in the mines, turning from socialism to anarchism; because the anarchists were terribly influential in Spain, right through the Spanish Civil War, particularly in Barcelona and also in Andalusia, in the south. Émile was born in 1872 in a suburb of Barcelona, dominated by the textile factories. He had two brothers, Fortuné, who was older, who had the same name as his father, and Jules, who was fifteen in 1894. Following his father's death in 1882, from what appeared to be mercury poisoning, Madame Henry returned to Paris with her children, or to the region. Émile became a pupil of the City of Paris, receiving the equivalent of a scholarship to a school outside of Paris. His mother bought or had a little bit of land that had been in the family and found--started up an auberge, right down the street from this, it was actually an inn. I was actually able to find it, to go out to this place called Brévon, which now, sort of strangely enough, is not all that far from Euro Disney, but then was truly in the countryside. So, Émile Henry becomes a scholarship student. He's very smart, he gets certificates of merit in all the schools he goes to, and he gets his bac, his baccalaureate exam; he passes it at age sixteen, which was pretty tough to do. He was examined in physics, math and chemistry, and he would put some of the latter to use, as we shall see. The last report on his scholarship read, "he will begin studies next year at the école polytechnique," which is one of the grands écoles, the big military engineering school, extraordinarily hard to get in. He was classified as admissible, that is, he could be admitted. But after passing one part of the exam he failed the oral exam, but he could have taken it again. He claimed that one of his friends threw a stink bomb into the room when he was taking the exam. And it was said later that he vowed vengeance on bourgeois society, blah-blah-blah. That wasn't the case. He took a position with an uncle, an engineer working on a water project in Venice, but he precipitously returned to France. He dabbled in spiritism, trying to contact the soul of his dead father--that's where you try to move tables around and all of that. His anarchist friend Charles Malato claimed that he lost his footing, and fell into the abyss of spiritism, even becoming a medium of incarnation, and wasted his health in such exhausting experiments because he longed for knowledge. But he left it all behind and, in Paris, he worked here and there while living on the margins of urban life. His brother, Fortuné, became an anarchist and was a prominent orator at the meetings and debates held in smoky halls and cafés on the edge of Paris, principally Montmartre, and the Faubourg du Temple, and in the Latin Quarter, and he went to jail in 1894 for things that he'd written. Émile, now twenty years of age--et vous voilà, pas mal, parmi vous--he was called microbe by his classmates because of his relatively small size. He was pale, deep-set black eyes, as you saw, and sported the beginnings of a blonde beard on his chin, to go with chestnut hair. He was devoted to his mother and would walk, or take the train out to not a really nearby station, to go and visit her. And there was a bar, several tables with workers drinking wine, the inevitable checkered tablecloths, green shutters and a red brick roof, and chickens poking around and laundry hanging out to dry. As I said, it was a village. And of the 120 francs that Émile Henry earned a month, he gave about a third to his mother. Here she is down below, and there she is up above, on the left--prematurely aged. And that is one of the places that he lived that we'll see later, and where I--I've been to everywhere that he lived. I've managed to get into the buildings of everywhere he lived; sort of, you kind of walk around and follow him. I don't admire him, but it's interesting to try to see what he saw, and that's what I really love about history. Anyway, so he began meeting with some of the anarchist groups. He read Kropotkin's great book, The Conquest of Bread, as well as works by Malatesta and various French counterparts. His two targets were private property and authority, "two vicious germs," as he called them, that formed the base of contemporary societies that, he wrote, "have to be destroyed, eradicated from social life." He remained an intellectual, somewhat detached, arguably, from those people who crowded into these anarchist meetings, or who came to get, for once, a bite to eat in the various lectures where soup was served to the poor afterward. In contrast to Vaillant, who loved the people--Vaillant was the guy executed for throwing the tack bomb--Malato remembered Émile only loved the idea; he felt a marked estrangement from the ignorant and servile plebs, plebeians, a feeling distinctive, also, of a number of literary and artistic anarchists, by whom he met no less a painter than Camille Pissarro, who was an anarchist. And Montmartre also was the center of this sort of literary and cultural anarchism, the anarchism of this sort of the intellectual elite who lived in Montmartre because it was cheaper, and they're the next generation removed down to Montparnasse--and then Montmartre would already become the sort of the tourist trap it is now, though it still has its charms. Émile Henry was a loner. He never spoke in public, as far as we know, though he did shout out some things at a meeting once. He was described later, after his death, as the Saint-Just of anarchy. Saint-Just was one of the--was a cold, steely guy who had ripped off his mother's silver during--before the French Revolution, who became a member of the Committee of Public Safety, and he and Robespierre were the sort of main men of the Committee of Public Safety. So, he didn't speak like Fortuné, who was a really gifted orator. And in March 1893, Fortuné gave a speech at this one place where they met over and over again, denouncing the government class and the bourgeoisie, and he appeared to pull a dynamite cartridge from--he said, "this is our arms, these are our arms," and he appeared to pull a dynamite cartridge from his pocket. It actually was nothing but a pen, or a pen case, but he was arrested, and so was Émile. And Émile lost his job, at that point he worked in the garment industry. I love this because here's the Rue du Sentier in the center of Paris and that's still--the sign is so beautiful from the 1890s that they left it there; that company hasn't been there since World War I. But that's where Émile worked, but he lost his job after he was arrested and then released. He bounced between bad jobs, once working as an apprentice and unpaid watchmaker in order to perhaps work on timing mechanisms for bombs. In 1892--and he always got very good--employers loved him because he was very smart. He served as an accountant, he penned letters and that kind of stuff. But in 1892 he briefly served as the manager for the Anarchist Literary, a newspaper. In the meantime he was gathering materials to make bombs and learning how to prepare them. That July he and his brother may have gone to Saint-Etienne and Montbrison with the intention of blowing up the house of the magistrate in Ravachol's trial down there but--and I went to Saint-Etienne to try to find if he actually went there, and the police think he did but I have no positive proof of that. Anyway, he--the police informants, and the police were everywhere. If you want to see this, Joseph Conrad has a wonderful novel called The Secret Agent, and G.K. Chesterton has another one called The Man Who Would be Thursday, in which all seven anarchists in this anarchist group turn out to be police spies; and London was just riddled with police spies, watching the Dutch, and Spanish, and French, and Russian, and Czech anarchists, and all of the others. But, anyway, he was overheard telling somebody, "I didn't put enough nitroglycerin into this one and it didn't work, but I'm going to put a little more acid next time and we'll see what happens." And the police report, which I've seen, assigned him the number 318,532, and so he had a police existence, which was good for me. The police, as I said, had infiltrated these groups. One of the police spies, who was known as X number 4, reported that the old ways of the anarchists no longer seemed to be in play, that where anarchists had used to go to these big halls where the police were scribbling notes, and identifying everybody who was there, that the ones you had to worry about were not the ones who were in the hall giving speeches but the ones who were lurking in the shadows, looking for other people, with evil deeds, as it were, in mind. They were the ones who would show up and then leave quickly. These were the most violent ones, the ones who were capable of carrying out propaganda by the deed. They were not the halbeurs, the posers, or the boasters; they were off by themselves. And they reflected a debate within anarchist circles between the associationalists, who would end up being syndicalists, and those who believed in individual autonomy, the single anarchist making his decision to go out and kill--individual autonomy. And, thus, I use the description of this lecture, for better or for worse, as dynamite club; but dynamite club was the perception of, not the police because they knew better, but of the public, that imagined that behind every incident, every sardine can, was a nefarious plot to destroy organized society. There was no club, but there were some violent individuals capable of--minorities within the anarchist movement--of doing deeds. On the eleventh--backing up one year, for reasons we'll see--the eleventh of November, 1892, an employee of the mine company of Carmaux, those mining strikes that had catapulted Jaurès to fame, found a suspicious looking package on the floor outside the company door at eleven Avenue de L'Opéra--there, eleven, up on the left. This is 1900, this picture. I've gotten in that building too, my son and I did, and I showed him where he put the bomb; it's still a very elegant building. And they carried it downstairs rather stupidly, placed it on the sidewalk at the back entrance, and a policeman came along and said, "well you better take it to the police station," not noticing that there were little powders that seemed to be coming out of this machine, as they used to call them in those days. It was a reversible bomb, it was a bomb not made by a fuse but by chemicals and when they came together would blow up. And so these poor policemen are carrying it to the nearest police station, which is there--no, that's the building now; you can get into it, it's on the first floor. I love stuff like that, just love it. That's the police station, which is still there also. And, so, they carry it through the first courtyard. One guy says, "hurry up, it's heavy." It was a heavy thing. They put it in, put it down on the table and boom, arms, legs everywhere, gone, five people killed in the most horrible way. The bomb had been wrapped in a newspaper, the issue of Le Temps, from June first, 1892, which related the story of the arrest of Émile Henry and his brother. Émile Henry left Paris the next day for London, sending along his apologies. He was on a list of one hundred and thirty suspects. He hangs around Fitzroy Square--which now is so expensive, so, with Charlotte Street, just full of one fancy unaffordable restaurant after another--he hangs around with the anarchists there. A friend of Oscar Wilde's remembered meeting him there. He spoke some English, but not terribly well. Once he told people, "today is the anniversary of the dancing lesson," by which he meant bodies jumping up and down, in their last final agony, in the police station. He was proud, he had exterminated six enemies. Malato said, "he grew in his own eyes. He said to himself that his role as a destroying angel had just begun." But, why didn't they think he was a serious suspect? Well, because a policeman that particular day, that day, November 8th, 1892, he'd gone to work near the Gare du Nord, the Station of the North. He had two errands to do; one was near the Church of the Madeline, the second was way up by--near the Arc d'Triomphe. His boss gave him some money to do these errands. And a policeman tried to do the same thing, and said that he could not have gone back to his house in Montmartre, to the fifth floor, Rue Veron--it doesn't matter, I love this stuff--and got the bomb, gone all the way back down to the Avenue de l'Opèra, and then finished his errands and got back in two hours and fifteen minutes--pas possible. So, I did it. I replaced tramway and omnibus with buses and metros, and I replaced a carriage--I never take cabs--with a cab, and my cab couldn't turn left on the Avenue de l'Opèra, so I subtracted 11 minutes. I paused--I couldn't get that day into one of his houses where he put the bomb. And I came back in about two hours and fifteen or sixteen minutes. Somebody did the same thing in 1894, and said he certainly could have done it. Anyway, old Émile is off in London. Now, I'm just trying now to imagine what he imagined. What converts him to anarchism was the appalling gap between the wealthy and the poor in Paris, and other places. The heritage of the father, of course, had something to do with it. Never had people lived it up in such flamboyant, one could even say egregious ways, as in Paris in the Belle Époque, the so-called Gay ‘90s. Now, the nostalgia for that is a creation, really, of how horrible things would be later with World War I, but still--and the Belle Époque was not belle for very many people. But what leads him to anarchism is that. Everywhere he lived--that was the only place, the exception a minute ago, which was near the Bastille--everywhere he lived was on the edge of Paris, and everywhere he lived, the facades of the buildings are still the same. This is one that's near Montmartre--and they're building Sacré-Coeur, this is from that same time. It hadn't been completed yet but--and its big bell drowning out the whole city, hadn't been put in there, but this--Sacré-Coeur was built where the Commune had started, and it was seen as a monument of penance for the Government of the Moral Order. And, so, they hated this and they refer constantly to this. They have fantasies. Zola wrote a novel called Paris in 1898, which is modeled after Émile Henry and some of these other people. And the brother of this priest who, like the REM record, is losing his religion, he has these fantasies about blowing up Sacré-Coeur. And Émile Henry lived near there, he lived on the Rue Véron, which is now fairly chic. He lived on the top floor up there. That's where he went to get the bomb. And then he moves into this place. It says Villa Faucheur, and that's not fancy at all. And this is the same façade. He lived on the inside there in 1894. And I went up there because I got to see, I got to see. And this is a pretty sketchy neighborhood and there are a lot of dealers, drug deals going on here, and I didn't want to look like a flic en civil, a plain- clothes cop, and I don't want--I don't want to look like I'm a wealthy tourist, either. And, so, I kind of hid behind a truck and took pictures and then I walked in and said something like, "salut les gars." And I had to see. But, when you walk out of this-- that's how you got in, that's 1894-- when you walk out of this, you turn right and there is the Park of Belleville, and down below the Place de la Roquette where he would lose his head, and he looked out--he was lucky, he couldn't see the Tour Montparnasse, which didn't then exist, but he could see symbols that he hated. There was the Tour Eiffel that had only been there--the Eiffel Tower had been there for five years. There was the Pantheon, where the State commemorated its heroes, and there was Notre Dame, which he hated as well. And, so, he once wrote that love can lead you to hate--he wrote that before he was guillotined, and he hated; he loved humanity in the abstract. He loved his mom too. But he loved humanity and he hated the State, and so he set out to kill. So, these are sort of visual signifiers, I guess in the new cultural history they would call them, these buildings upon which--or these monuments that he looked down and hated. If you've read Balzac's Old Goriot ever in your reading career, at the very end of the story Rastignac is up at Père Lachaise Cemetery, and he--and poor--Père Lachaise is not poor, but the area around it is--and he gestures down to western Paris, the fancy Paris, and he says the equivalent of, "it's war between you and me now, baby." But he wanted to make the big time, he wanted to sleep with the right people, he wanted to just do better and better, for himself. And Émile Henry says, points down in those neighborhoods, and he says, "it's war between you and me now, baby." And he meant it. And he built bombs and he went out to kill, at a time when anarchist deeds were being celebrated by some anarchists. The explosive device that he threw into the Café Terminus, February 1894, hit a chandelier, then a marble table, and fell to the ground exploding. Twenty people were wounded, of whom one later died. Broken glass, pieces of tables and chairs, blood and injured people, fear was everywhere. An architect had five wounds, a draftsman seventeen. Henry had seen--had been seen, he'd after all sipped his second beer, first also, and at one point, not so he wouldn't be caught--so we can rule out indirect suicide, which I'll talk about just briefly in a minute--he said, "oh, where's the scoundrel that did this?" and runs away. And he's chased by policemen, by an apprentice barber, by a contrôleur from the tramway, and they finally catch him around the corner from the Gare Saint-Lazare, and he fires point blank with his pistol. He also had--his knife had poison on it, as well. One policeman called Poisson was very lucky to have escaped with his life, because his big wallet was hit by one of these shots. And, so, he's put in prison here, in the Conciergerie--and that cell no longer exists, that he was in. Danton, and Robespierre, and Marie Antoinette, and Louis XVI were also in this prison. And one of the great sources about this guy's life was the prison guards, because they're trying to get information out of him, and he tries to convert them to anarchism, and they have a very interesting kind of relationship. The first night he was in prison, friends of his broke into his room and took out enough dynamite to make fourteen or fifteen other bombs, and so Paris is, to say the least, on high alert. And, so, Émile Henry was put on trial and, in a flourish, he saluted anarchism, and gave a declaration for anarchism that was read, and is still read today, where he says, "you have garroted us in Spain, you have hung us in Germany, you have shot us here and there, you have guillotined us in France, but what you can never do is extinguish anarchy, because its roots are too deep." Not surprisingly, he was condemned to be executed, and he was, on the^( )21st of May, 1894. And it's in early morning, at four in the morning, and the executioners all come from the same family, and this guy called Diebler was the executioner. I got to go back to that woman in a minute. This is Dibler, who was called Monsieur Paris, who was the chief executioner and, for him, one more execution was just one more execution. The last public execution in France was 1936. The last execution in France using a guillotine, of course, comme d'habitude, was 1972 or 1973; I can't remember what date. And the chill of that morning, where people paid for seats on the roof, and there were little children whose parents bought them seats as if they were--on the roof as if they were outside Wrigley Field watching the Cubs from a roof far away. Executions were festive events for those people, also, finishing their nights. And there was always sort of some speculation about, "when this is going to happen, when is he finally going to be executed?" And the scene, which I've tried to recreate in this book, of Dibler, of the wagons with the wood of justice showing up, and with the apprentices doing their work and putting up this guillotine, as if you're putting together this basically perfect toy that didn't need any nails, because everything fit together so well. Really, these guillotine scenes were so important for anarchists, also, because it's part of the idea of martyrdom, of revolutionary immortality. This comes from a Christian religion also, doesn't it, the execution scenes. Again, you see what I'm saying in that, but these scenes of the martyrdom and the use the anarchists put to this are still rather important. Now, was this a form of indirect suicide? He'd fallen in love with the wife of an anarchist; and her building is still there too, ironically not far away from the place where he was executed. And he hit on her, and they would go out with the husband to his auberge, and he would proclaim his love, and she kind of blew him off. Was it indirect suicide? No, obviously not, because he tries to escape at the end, and then she, in a real anticipation of the modern life, she is out giving interviews to the journalists after his execution. She's saying, "oh he loved me so much, and one could well understand why." And the whole thing was just incredible. But it was not any kind of indirect suicide at all. But, what do I mean about the origins of modern terrorism? What was new about it? Well, a couple of things. Ravachol, Vaillant were very poor. Ravachol was a pauvre type, a sad sack; Vaillant was not, he was a very honorable person. Most of the people in Western Europe--there were some exceptions in the Russian case, but these weren't anarchists, it's a group called People's Will--were ordinary workers. Émile Henry was an intellectual; he was an intellectual. That's new, but that's not as important as what else was new. Instead of targeting a head of state, or a uniformed person, as other anarchists had done, he just picked people who were having a beer, petty bourgeois that he hated because they propped up capitalism, and threw the bomb at them, knowing he was going to kill a lot of them. He sat there and looked at them--there's a very amazing scene in The Battle of Algiers, in the movie The Battle of Algiers, where this woman's going to place a bomb, and she's looking at people that are going to die because of what she is doing there--and he looked at these people and he said, "I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you, because I love--I hate." And that's really new about it. Is it worth at all musing about what this has to do with modern terrorism? I don't know, just a few reflections; there's no doubt about that, that there are some connections. If you take Osama bin Laden, for example, he announced, as everybody knows, in the late nineties that he'll attack civilians, American civilians, just like American military people-- that's perfectly obvious. Another connection is within modern terrorism you have this sort of alliance between intellectuals, students, and people who are simply down and out. There are big differences also. The suicide bomber is something--no, it's very different. But, still, there are things that are worth thinking about. Third, the whole idea of revolutionary immortality, that you kill people, you die, and you have revolutionary immortality. For many fundamentalist terrorists you pass immediately into this nirvana. Fourth, both sets of terrorists target a powerful enemy, a structure they set out to destroy and try to--"kill one, warn a thousand," goes an old Chinese proverb. And they want to attack the State and capitalism, in the case of the anarchists, and the targets are perfectly obvious in the case of contemporary terrorists as well. Fifth, dynamite, like roadside bombs, are seen as leveling the playing field. You attack, you can prove that you are strong when, in reality, you are weak. They demonstrate that powerful states are vulnerable even to small groups of determined anarchists. Next, also these groups, as I said, their tendency is always to try to find one person running the whole show. That's absolutely not the case in the case of the anarchists, as I already said, nor is it the case now as well. So, the French government then, and officials now, have a tendency to look for centrally organized, massive conspiracy, instead of acknowledging the role of small groups, or even isolated individuals undertaking locally organized or freelance operations. Anarchists, to repeat, always emphasize the full autonomy of the individual; indeed, the potentially murderous individual as the case, as I've said. And I obviously detest everything that Émile Henry stood for, but I've tried to understand his hatred. Yet, there's one more thing that could be added too, is that when you think of the word terrorism, the word terrorism was originally applied to actions taken by the State to terrorize. "The Terror" was terrorizing opponents in the French Revolution. And it's often forgotten that the vast majority of victims of terror are victims of State terrorism. And the anarchists hated the State because they'd seen up close what State terrorism did in the wake of the Commune, and the beating of the police at Clichy, the massacre of the innocents, of these women, young women gunned down during the strike in the north, or demonstrations in the north in 1891, must be remembered. During the 1890s the anarchist attacks, which were terrible, killed a maximum of sixty people--tragic--wounding more than two hundred. But, if you look at State terrorism, the ratio somebody has figured out stands at approximately 260:1; two hundred and sixty victims of State terrorism as opposed to one victim of this horrible thing. Terrorism has thus become part of the political process, but it's been called a danse macabre, or sort of a macabre dance between states and their fiercest opponents. The two interact dynamically and need each other. The hatred of dissidents is only further stoked by the over-reaction of authorities; it simply encourages attack. And, certainly, this is not a course in political science, but the reaction of the United States government and other governments to the horrible, horrible attacks on September^( )11th are a pretty good example of that. When states take tactics that swell the hatred of their opponents by abusing prisoners, by torturing prisoners and by that sort of thing, that line between that goes all the way back to Spain of the 1890s, the first decade of the twentieth century, back to the Paris Commune before that and, unfortunately, to our very day. That is the story of Émile Henry. See you on Wednesday.


From the Second Republic to the Jura Federation

Proto-anarchist thinkers appeared during the French Revolution, Sylvain Maréchal, in his Manifesto of the Equals (1796), demanded "the communal enjoyment of the fruits of the earth" and looked forward to the disappearance of "the revolting distinction of rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed."[2]

An early anarchist communist was Joseph Déjacque, the first person to describe himself as "libertaire".[3] Unlike Proudhon, he argued that, "it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature."[2][4] According to the anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term libertarian communism was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[5] The French anarchist journalist Sébastien Faure, later founder and editor of the four-volume Anarchist Encyclopedia, started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[6]

Déjacque "rejected Blanquism, which was based on a division between the ‘disciples of the great people’s Architect’ and ‘the people, or vulgar herd,’ and was equally opposed to all the variants of social republicanism, to the dictatorship of one man and to ‘the dictatorship of the little prodigies of the proletariat.’ With regard to the last of these, he wrote that: ‘a dictatorial committee composed of workers is certainly the most conceited and incompetent, and hence the most anti-revolutionary, thing that can be found...(It is better to have doubtful enemies in power than dubious friends)’. He saw ‘anarchic initiative,’ ‘reasoned will’ and ‘the autonomy of each’ as the conditions for the social revolution of the proletariat, the first expression of which had been the barricades of June 1848. In Déjacque's view, a government resulting from an insurrection remains a reactionary fetter on the free initiative of the proletariat. Or rather, such free initiative can only arise and develop by the masses ridding themselves of the ‘authoritarian prejudices’ by means of which the state reproduces itself in its primary function of representation and delegation. Déjacque wrote that: ‘By government I understand all delegation, all power outside the people,’ for which must be substituted, in a process whereby politics is transcended, the ‘people in direct possession of their sovereignty,’ or the ‘organised commune.’ For Déjacque, the communist anarchist utopia would fulfil the function of inciting each proletarian to explore his or her own human potentialities, in addition to correcting the ignorance of the proletarians concerning ‘social science.’"[7]

Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social. Libertarian Communist publication edited by Joseph Déjacque. This copy is of the August 17, 1860, edition in New York City
Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social. Libertarian Communist publication edited by Joseph Déjacque. This copy is of the August 17, 1860, edition in New York City

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) was the first philosopher to label himself an "anarchist."[8] Proudhon opposed government privilege that protects capitalist, banking and land interests, and the accumulation or acquisition of property (and any form of coercion that led to it) which he believed hampers competition and keeps wealth in the hands of the few. Proudhon favoured a right of individuals to retain the product of their labor as their own property, but believed that any property beyond that which an individual produced and could possess was illegitimate. Thus, he saw private property as both essential to liberty and a road to tyranny, the former when it resulted from labor and was required for labor and the latter when it resulted in exploitation (profit, interest, rent, tax). He generally called the former "possession" and the latter "property." For large-scale industry, he supported workers associations to replace wage labour and opposed the ownership of land.

Proudhon maintained that those who labor should retain the entirety of what they produce, and that monopolies on credit and land are the forces that prohibit such. He advocated an economic system that included private property as possession and exchange market but without profit, which he called mutualism. It is Proudhon's philosophy that was explicitly rejected by Joseph Dejacque in the inception of anarchist-communism, with the latter asserting directly to Proudhon in a letter that "it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature."

Joseph Dejacque was a major critic of Proudhon. Dejacque thought that "the Proudhonist version of Ricardian socialism, centred on the reward of labour power and the problem of exchange value. In his polemic with Proudhon on women’s emancipation, Déjacque urged Proudhon to push on ‘as far as the abolition of the contract, the abolition not only of the sword and of capital, but of property and authority in all their forms,’ and refuted the commercial and wages logic of the demand for a ‘fair reward’ for ‘labour’ (labour power). Déjacque asked: ‘Am I thus... right to want, as with the system of contracts, to measure out to each — according to their accidental capacity to produce — what they are entitled to?’ The answer given by Déjacque to this question is unambiguous: ‘it is not the product of his or her labour that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature.’"...For Déjacque, on the other hand, the communal state of affairs — the phalanstery ‘without any hierarchy, without any authority’ except that of the ‘statistics book’ — corresponded to ‘natural exchange,’ i.e. to the ‘unlimited freedom of all production and consumption; the abolition of any sign of agricultural, individual, artistic or scientific property; the destruction of any individual holding of the products of work; the demonarchisation and the demonetarisation of manual and intellectual capital as well as capital in instruments, commerce and buildings.[7]

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first self-identified anarchist.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first self-identified anarchist.

After the creation of the First International, or International Workingmen's Association (IWA) in London in 1864, Mikhail Bakunin made his first tentative of creation an anti-authoritarian revolutionary organization, the "International Revolutionary Brotherhood" ("Fraternité internationale révolutionnaire") or the Alliance ("l'Alliance"). He renewed this in 1868, creating the "International Brothers" ("Frères internationaux") or "Alliance for Democratic Socialism".

Bakunin and other federalists were excluded by Karl Marx from the IWA at the Hague Congress of 1872, and formed the Jura federation, which met the next year at the 1873 Saint-Imier Congress, where was created the Anarchist St. Imier International (1872–1877).

Anarchist participation in the Paris Commune

In 1870 Mikhail Bakunin led a failed uprising in Lyon on the principles later exemplified by the Paris Commune, calling for a general uprising in response to the collapse of the French government during the Franco-Prussian War, seeking to transform an imperialist conflict into social revolution. In his Letters to A Frenchman on the Present Crisis, he argued for a revolutionary alliance between the working class and the peasantry and set forth his formulation of what was later to become known as propaganda of the deed.

Anarchist historian George Woodcock reports that "The annual Congress of the International had not taken place in 1870 owing to the outbreak of the Paris Commune, and in 1871 the General Council called only a special conference in London. One delegate was able to attend from Spain and none from Italy, while a technical excuse - that they had split away from the Fédération Romande - was used to avoid inviting Bakunin's Swiss supporters. Thus only a tiny minority of anarchists was present, and the General Council's resolutions passed almost unanimously. Most of them were clearly directed against Bakunin and his followers."[9] In 1872, the conflict climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress, where Bakunin and James Guillaume were expelled from the International and its headquarters were transferred to New York. In response, the federalist sections formed their own International at the St. Imier Congress, adopting a revolutionary anarchist program.[10]

The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 (more formally, from March 28) to May 28, 1871. The Commune was the result of an uprising in Paris after France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War. Anarchists participated actively in the establishment of the Paris Commune. They included Louise Michel, the Reclus brothers, and Eugene Varlin (the latter murdered in the repression afterwards). As for the reforms initiated by the Commune, such as the re-opening of workplaces as co-operatives, anarchists can see their ideas of associated labour beginning to be realised...Moreover, the Commune's ideas on federation obviously reflected the influence of Proudhon on French radical ideas. Indeed, the Commune's vision of a communal France based on a federation of delegates bound by imperative mandates issued by their electors and subject to recall at any moment echoes Bakunin's and Proudhon's ideas (Proudhon, like Bakunin, had argued in favour of the "implementation of the binding mandate" in 1848...and for federation of communes). Thus both economically and politically the Paris Commune was heavily influenced by anarchist ideas.[11]". George Woodcock manifests that "a notable contribution to the activities of the Commune and particularly to the organization of public services was made by members of various anarchist factions, including the mutualists Courbet, Longuet, and Vermorel, the libertarian collectivists Varlin, Malon, and Lefrangais, and the bakuninists Elie and Elisée Reclus and Louise Michel."[9]

Louise Michel was an important anarchist participant in the Paris Commune. Initially she workerd as an ambulance woman, treating those injured on the barricades. During the Siege of Paris she untiringly preached resistance to the Prussians. On the establishment of the Commune, she joined the National Guard. She offered to shoot Thiers, and suggested the destruction of Paris by way of vengeance for its surrender.

In December 1871, she was brought before the 6th council of war, charged with offences including trying to overthrow the government, encouraging citizens to arm themselves, and herself using weapons and wearing a military uniform. Defiantly, she vowed to never renounce the Commune, and dared the judges to sentence her to death.[12] Reportedly, Michel told the court, "Since it seems that every heart that beats for freedom has no right to anything but a little slug of lead, I demand my share. If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance." [13]

Following the 1871 Paris Commune, the anarchist movement, as the whole of the workers' movement, was decapitated and deeply affected for years.

The propaganda of the deed period and exile to Britain

Parts of the anarchist movement, based in Switzerland, started theorizing propaganda of the deed. From the late 1880s to 1895, a series of attacks by self-declared anarchists brought anarchism into the public eye and generated a wave of anxieties. The most infamous of these deeds were the bombs of Ravachol, Emile Henry, and Auguste Vaillant, and the assassination of the President of the Republic Sadi Carnot by Caserio.

After Auguste Vaillant's bomb in the Chamber of Deputies, the "Opportunist Republicans" voted in 1893 the first anti-terrorist laws, which were quickly denounced as lois scélérates ("villainous laws"). These laws severely restricted freedom of expression. The first one condemned apology of any felony or crime as a felony itself, permitting widespread censorship of the press. The second one allowed to condemn any person directly or indirectly involved in a propaganda of the deed act, even if no killing was effectively carried on. The last one condemned any person or newspaper using anarchist propaganda (and, by extension, socialist libertarians present or former members of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA)):

"1. Either by provocation or by apology... [anyone who has] encouraged one or several persons in committing either a stealing, or the crimes of murder, looting or arson...; 2. Or has addressed a provocation to military from the Army or the Navy, in the aim of diverting them from their military duties and the obedience due to their chiefs... will be deferred before courts and punished by a prison sentence of three months to two years.[14]

Thus, free speech and encouraging propaganda of the deed or antimilitarism was severely restricted. Some people were condemned to prison for rejoicing themselves of the 1894 assassination of French president Sadi Carnot by the Italian anarchist Caserio. The term of lois scélérates ("villainous laws") has since entered popular language to design any harsh or injust laws, in particular anti-terrorism legislation which often broadly represses the whole of the social movements.

The United Kingdom quickly became the last haven for political refugees, in particular anarchists, who were all conflated with the few who had engaged in bombings. Already, the First International had been founded in London in 1871, where Karl Marx had taken refuge nearly twenty years before. But in the 1890s, the UK became a nest for anarchist colonies expelled from the continent, in particular between 1892 and 1895, which marked the height of the repression, with the "Trial of the thirty" taking place in 1884. Louise Michel, a.k.a. "the Red Virgin", Émile Pouget or Charles Malato were the most famous of the many, anonymous anarchists, deserters or simple criminals who had fled France and other European countries. Many of them returned to France after President Félix Faure's amnesty in February 1895. A few hundreds persons related to the anarchist movement would however remain in the UK between 1880 and 1914. The right of asylum was a British tradition since the Reformation in the 16th century. However, it would progressively be eroded, and the French immigrants were met with hostility. Several hate campaigns would be issued in the British press in the 1890s against these French exilees, relayed by riots and a "restrictionist" party which advocated the end of liberality concerning freedom of movement, and hostility towards French and international activists.[15]


Le Libertaire, a newspaper created by Sébastien Faure, one of the leading supporters of Alfred Dreyfus, and Louise Michel, alias "The Red Virgin", published its first issue on November 16, 1895. The Confédération générale du travail (CGT) trade-union was created in the same year, from the fusion of the various "Bourses du travail" (Fernand Pelloutier), the unions and the industries' federations. Dominated by anarcho-syndicalists, the CGT adopted the Charte d'Amiens in 1906, a year after the unification of the other socialist tendencies in the SFIO party (French Section of the Second International) led by Jean Jaurès and Jules Guesde.

Only eight French delegates attended the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam in August 1907. According to historian Jean Maitron, the anarchist movement in France was divided into those who rejected the sole idea of organisation, and were therefore opposed to the very idea of an international organisation, and those who put all their hopes in syndicalism, and thus "were occupied elsewhere".[16] Only eight French anarchists assisted the Congress, among whom Benoît Broutchoux, Pierre Monatte and René de Marmande.[16]

A few tentatives of organisation followed the Congress, but all were short-lived. In the industrial North, anarchists from Lille, Armentières, Denains, Lens, Roubaix and Tourcoing decided to call for a Congress in December 1907, and agreed upon the creation of a newspaper, Le Combat, which editorial board was to act as the informal bureau of an officially non-existent federation.[16] Another federation was created in the Seine and the Seine-et-Oise in June 1908.[17]

However, at the approach of the 1910 legislative election, an Anti-Parliamentary Committee was set up and, instead of dissolving itself afterwards, became permanent under the name of Alliance communiste anarchiste (Communist Anarchist Alliance). The new organisation excluded any permanent members.[18] Although this new group also faced opposition from certain anarchists (including Jean Grave), it was quickly replaced by a new organization, the Fédération communiste (Communist Federation).

The Communist Federation was founded in June 1911 with 400 members, all from the Parisian region.[18] It quickly took the name of Fédération anarcho-communiste (Anarcho-Communist Federation), choosing Louis Lecoin as secretary.[18] The Fédération communiste révolutionnaire anarchiste, headed by Sébastien Faure, succeeded to the FCA in August 1913.

The French anarchist milieu also included many individualists. They centered around publications such as L’Anarchie and EnDehors. The main French individualist anarchist theorists were Émile Armand and Han Ryner who also were influential in the Iberian peninsula. Other important individualist activists included Albert Libertad, André Lorulot, Victor Serge, Zo d'Axa and Rirette Maitrejean. Influenced by Max Stirner's egoism and the criminal/political exploits of Clément Duval and Marius Jacob, France became the birthplace of illegalism, a controversial anarchist ideology that openly embraced criminality.

Relations between individualist and communist anarchists remained poor throughout the pre-war years. Following the 1913 trial of the infamous Bonnot Gang, the FCA condemned individualism as bourgeois and more in keeping with capitalism than communism. An article believed to have been written by Peter Kropotkin, in the British anarchist paper Freedom, argued that "Simple-minded young comrades were often led away by the illegalists' apparent anarchist logic; outsiders simply felt disgusted with anarchist ideas and definitely stopped their ears to any propaganda."

After the assassination of anti-militarist socialist leader Jean Jaurès a few days before the beginning of World War I, and the subsequent rallying of the Second International and the workers' movement to the war, even some anarchists supported the Sacred Union (Union Sacrée) government. Jean Grave, Peter Kropotkin and others published the Manifesto of the Sixteen supporting the Triple Entente against Germany. A clandestine issue of the Libertaire was published on June 15, 1917.

French individualist anarchism

From the legacy of Proudhon and Stirner there emerged a strong tradition of French individualist anarchism. An early important individualist anarchist was Anselme Bellegarrigue. He participated in the French Revolution of 1848, was author and editor of 'Anarchie, Journal de l'Ordre and Au fait ! Au fait ! Interprétation de l'idée démocratique' and wrote the important early Anarchist Manifesto in 1850. Catalan historian of individualist anarchism Xavier Diez reports that during his travels in the United States "he at least contacted (Henry David) Thoreau and, probably (Josiah) Warren."[19]Autonomie Individuelle was an individualist anarchist publication that ran from 1887 to 1888. It was edited by Jean-Baptiste Louiche, Charles Schæffer and Georges Deherme.[20]

Later, this tradition continued with such intellectuals as Albert Libertad, André Lorulot, Émile Armand, Victor Serge, Zo d'Axa and Rirette Maitrejean, who developed theory in the main individualist anarchist journal in France, L'Anarchie[21] in 1905. Outside this journal, Han Ryner wrote Petit Manuel individualiste (1903). Later appeared the journal L'EnDehors created by Zo d'Axa in 1891.

French individualist circles had a strong sense of personal libertarianism and experimentation. Naturism and free love contents started to have an influence in individualist anarchist circles and from there it expanded to the rest of anarchism also appearing in Spanish individualist anarchist groups.[22] "Along with feverish activity against the social order, (Albert) Libertad was usually also organizing feasts, dances and country excursions, in consequence of his vision of anarchism as the “joy of living” and not as militant sacrifice and death instinct, seeking to reconcile the requirements of the individual (in his need for autonomy) with the need to destroy authoritarian society."[23]

Anarchist naturism was promoted by Henri Zisly, Emile Gravelle [24] and Georges Butaud. Butaud was an individualist "partisan of the milieux libres, publisher of "Flambeau" ("an enemy of authority") in 1901 in Vienna. Most of his energies were devoted to creating anarchist colonies (communautés expérimentales) in which he participated in several.[25]

"In this sense, the theoretical positions and the vital experiences of french individualism are deeply iconoclastic and scandalous, even within libertarian circles. The call of nudist naturism, the strong defence of birth control methods, the idea of "unions of egoists" with the sole justification of sexual practices, that will try to put in practice, not without difficulties, will establish a way of thought and action, and will result in sympathy within some, and a strong rejection within others."[22]


Caricature of the Bonnot gang
Caricature of the Bonnot gang

Illegalism[26] is an anarchist philosophy that developed primarily in France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland during the early 1900s as an outgrowth of Stirner's individualist anarchism.[27] Illegalists usually did not seek moral basis for their actions, recognizing only the reality of "might" rather than "right"; for the most part, illegal acts were done simply to satisfy personal desires, not for some greater ideal,[28] although some committed crimes as a form of Propaganda of the deed.[26] The illegalists embraced direct action and propaganda by the deed.[29]

Influenced by theorist Max Stirner's egoism as well as Proudhon (his view that Property is theft!), Clément Duval and Marius Jacob proposed the theory of la reprise individuelle (Eng: individual reclamation) which justified robbery on the rich and personal direct action against exploiters and the system.,[28]

Illegalism first rose to prominence among a generation of Europeans inspired by the unrest of the 1890s, during which Ravachol, Émile Henry, Auguste Vaillant, and Caserio committed daring crimes in the name of anarchism,[30] in what is known as propaganda of the deed. France's Bonnot Gang was the most famous group to embrace illegalism.

From World War I to World War II

After the war, the CGT became more reformist, and anarchists progressively drifted out. Formerly dominated by the anarcho-syndicalists, the CGT split into a non-communist section and a communist Confédération générale du travail unitaire (CGTU) after the 1920 Tours Congress which marked the creation of the French Communist Party (PCF). A new weekly series of the Libertaire was edited, and the anarchists announced the imminent creation of an Anarchist Federation. A Union Anarchiste (UA) group was constituted in November 1919 against the Bolsheviks, and the first daily issue of the Libertaire got out on December 4, 1923.

Russian exiles, among them Nestor Makhno and Piotr Arshinov, founded in Paris the review Dielo Trouda (Дело Труда, The Cause of Labour) in 1925. Makhno co-wrote and co-published The Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists, which put forward ideas on how anarchists should organize based on the experiences of revolutionary Ukraine and the defeat at the hand of the Bolsheviks. The document was initially rejected by most anarchists, but today has a wide following. It remains controversial to this day, some (including, at the time of publication, Voline and Malatesta) viewing its implications as too rigid and hierarchical. Platformism, as Makhno's position came to be known, advocated ideological unity, tactical unity, collective action and discipline, and federalism. Five hundred people attended Makhno's 1934 funeral at the Père-Lachaise.

In June 1926, "The Organisational Platform Project for a General Union of Anarchists", best known under the name "Archinov's Platform", was launched. Voline responded by publishing a Synthesis project in his article "Le problème organisationnel et l'idée de synthèse" ("The Organisational Problem and the Idea of a Synthesis"). After the Orléans Congress (July 12–14, 1926), the Anarchist Union (UA) transformed itself into the Communist Anarchist Union (UAC, Union anarchiste communiste). The gap widened between proponents of Platformism and those who followed Voline's synthesis anarchism.

The Congress of the Fédération autonome du Bâtiment (November 13–14, 1926) in Lyon, created the CGT-SR (Confédération Générale du Travail-Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire) with help from members of the Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), which prompted the CGT's revolutionary syndicalists to join it. Julien Toublet became the new trade-union's secretary. Le Libertaire became again a weekly newspaper in 1926.

At the Orléans Congress of October 31 and November 1, 1927, the UAC became Platformist. The minority of those who followed Voline split and create the Association des fédéralistes anarchistes (AFA) which diffused the Trait d'union libertaire then La Voix Libertaire. Some Synthesists later rejoined the UAC (in 1930), which took the initiative of a Congress in 1934 to unite the anarchist movement on the basis of anti-fascism. The Congress took place on 20 and 21 May 1934, following the February 6, 1934, far right riots in Paris. All of the left-wing feared a fascist coup d'état, and the anarchists were at the spearhead of the anti-fascist movement. The AFA dissolved itself the same year, and joined the new group, promptly renamed Union anarchiste. However, a Fédération communiste libertaire later created itself after a new split in the UA.

Anarchists then participated in the general strikes during the Popular Front (1936–38) which led to the Matignon Accords (40 hours week, etc.) Headed by Léon Blum, the Popular Front did not intervene in the Spanish civil war, because of the Radicals' presence in the government. Thus, Blum blocked the Brigades from crossing the borders and sent ambulances to the Spanish Republicans, while Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were sending men and weapons to Francisco Franco. In the same way, Blum refused to boycott the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, and to support the People's Olympiad in Barcelona. Some anarchists became members of International Antifascist Solidarity (Solidarité internationale antifasciste), which helped volunteers illegally cross the border, while others went to Spain and joined the Durruti Column's French-speaking contingent, The Sébastien Faure Century. A Fédération anarchiste de langue française (FAF) developed from a split in the UA, and denounce the collusion between the French anarchists with the Popular Front, as well as criticizing the CNTFAI's participation to the Republican government in Spain. The FAF edited Terre libre, in which Voline collaborated. Before World War II, there are two organizations, the Union anarchiste (UA), which had as its newspaper Le Libertaire, and the Fédération anarchiste française (FAF) which had the Terre libre newspaper. However, to the contrary of the French Communist Party (PCF) which had organized a clandestine network before the war – Édouard Daladier's government even had made it illegal after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – the anarchist groups lacked any clandestine infrastructure in 1940. Hence, as all other parties apart of the PCF, they quickly became completely disorganized during and after the Battle of France.

Under Vichy

After Operation Barbarossa and the Allies' landing in North Africa, Marshal Philippe Pétain, head of the new "French State" (Vichy regime) which had replaced the French Third Republic, saw "the bad wind approaching." ("le mauvais vent s'approcher"). The Resistance began to start organizing itself in 1942–1943. Meanwhile, the French police, under the orders of René Bousquet and his second in command, Jean Leguay, systematically added to the list of targets designed by the Gestapo (communists, freemasons and Jews) the anarchists.[31]

On 19 July 1943, a clandestine meeting of anarchist activists took place in Toulouse; they spoke of the Fédération internationale syndicaliste révolutionnaire. On January 15, 1944, the new Fédération Anarchiste decided on a charter approved in Agen on October 29–30, 1944. Decision was taken to publish clandestinely Le Libertaire as to maintain relations; its first issue was published in December 1944. After the Liberation, the newspaper again became a bi-weekly, and on October 6–7, 1945, the Assises du mouvement libertaire were held.

The Fourth Republic (1945–1958)

The Fédération Anarchiste (FA) was founded in Paris on December 2, 1945, and elected George Fontenis as its first secretary the next year. It was composed of a majority of activists from the former FA (which supported Voline's Synthesis) and some members of the former Union anarchiste, which supported the CNT-FAI support to the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War, as well as some young Resistants. A youth organization of the FA (the Jeunesses libertaires) was also created. Apart of some individualist anarchists grouped behind Émile Armand, who published L'Unique and L'EnDehors, and some pacifists (Louvet and Maille who published A contre-courant), the French anarchists were thus united in the FA. Furthermore, a confederate structure was created to coordinate publications with Louvet and Ce qu’il faut dire newspaper, the anarcho-syndicalist minority of the reunited CGT (gathered into the Fédération syndicaliste française (FSF), they represented the 'Action syndicaliste' current inside the CGT), and Le Libertaire newspaper. The FSF finally transformed itself into the actual Confédération nationale du travail (CNT) on December 6, 1946, adopting the Paris charter and publishing Le Combat Syndicaliste.

The Confédération nationale du travail (CNT, or National Confederation of Labour) was founded in 1946 by Spanish anarcho-syndicalists in exile with former members of the CGT-SR. The CNT later split into the CNT-Vignoles and the CNT-AIT, which is the French section of the IWA.

The anarchists started the 1947 insurrectionary strikes at the Renault factories, crushed by Interior Minister socialist Jules Moch, whom created for the occasion the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) riot-police. Because of the CNT's inner divisions, some FA activists decided to participate to the creation of the reformist CGT-FO, issued from a split within the communist dominated CGT. The FA participated to the International Anarchist Congress of Puteaux in 1949, which gathered structured organizations as well as autonomous groups and individuals (from Germany, USA, Bolivia, Cuba, Argentina, Peru and elsewhere). Some communist anarchists organized themselves early in 1950 in a fraction, named Organisation pensée bataille (OPB) which had as aim to impose a single political stance and centralize the organization.

The GAAP (Groupes anarchistes d'action prolétarienne) were created on February 24–25, 1951, in Italy by former members of the FAI excluded at the congress of Ancône. The same year, the FA decides, on a proposition from the Louise Michel group animated by Maurice Joyeux, to substitute individual vote to the group vote. The adopted positions gain federalist status, but are not imposed to individuals. Individualists opposed to this motion failed to block it. "Haute fréquence", a surrealist manifest was published in Le Libertaire on July 6, 1951. Some surrealists started working with the FA. Furthermore, the Mouvement indépendant des auberges de jeunesse (MIAJ, Independent Movement of Youth Hostels) was created at the end of 1951.

In 1950 a clandestine group formed within the FA called Organisation Pensée Bataille (OPB) led by George Fontenis.[32] The OPB pushed for a move which saw the FA change its name into the Fédération communiste libertaire (FCL) after the 1953 Congress in Paris, while an article in Le Libertaire indicated the end of the cooperation with the French Surrealist Group led by André Breton. The FCL regrouped between 130 and 160 activists. The new decision making process was founded on unanimity: each person has a right of veto on the orientations of the federation. The FCL published the same year the Manifeste du communisme libertaire. The FCL published its 'workers’ program' in 1954, which was heavily inspired by the CGT's revendications. The Internationale comuniste libertaire (ICL), which groups the Italian GAAP, the Spanish Ruta and the Mouvement libertaire nord-africain (MLNA, North African Libertarian Movement), was founded to replace the Anarchist International, deemed too reformist. The first issue of the monthly Monde libertaire, the news organ of the FA which would be published until 1977, came out in October 1954.

Several groups quit the FCL in December 1955, disagreeing with the decision to present "revolutionary candidates" to the legislative elections. On August 15–20, 1954, the Ve intercontinental plenum of the CNT took place. A group called Entente anarchiste appeared which was formed of militants who didn't like the new ideological orientation that the OPB was giving the FCL seeing it was authoritarian and almost marxist.[33] The FCL lasted until 1956 just after it participated in state legislative elections with 10 candidates. This move alienated some members of the FCL and thus produced the end of the organization.[32]

A group of militants who didn't agree with the FA turning into FCL reorganized a new Federation Anarchiste which was established in December 1953.[32] This included those who formed L'Entente anarchiste who joined the new FA and then dissolved L'Entente. The new base principles of the FA were written by the individualist anarchist Charles-Auguste Bontemps and the non-platformist anarcho-communist Maurice Joyeux which established an organization with a plurality of tendencies and autonomy of group organized around synthesist principles.[32] According to historian Cédric Guérin, "the unconditional rejection of Marxism became from that moment onwards an identity element of the new Federation Anarchiste" and this was motivated in a big part after the previous conflict with George Fontenis and his OPB.[32] Also it was decided to establish within the organization a Committee of Relations composed of a General Secretary, a Secretary of Internal Relations, a Secretary of External Relations a Committee of Redaction of Le Monde Libertaire and a Committee of Administration.[32] In 1955 a Commission on Syndicalist Relations was established within the FA as proposed by anarcho-syndicalist members.[32]

Regrouping behind Robert and Beaulaton, some activists of the former Entente anarchiste quit the FA and created on November 25, 1956, in Bruxelles the AOA (Alliance ouvrière anarchiste), which edited L’Anarchie and would drift to the far-right during the Algerian war.

The French Surrealist group led by André Breton now openly embraced anarchism and collaborated in the Fédération Anarchiste.[34] In 1952 Breton wrote "It was in the black mirror of anarchism that surrealism first recognised itself."[35] "Breton was consistent in his support for the francophone Anarchist Federation and he continued to offer his solidarity after the Platformists around Fontenis transformed the Fédération anarchiste into the Federation Communiste Libertaire. He was one of the few intellectuals who continued to offer his support to the FCL during the Algerian war when the FCL suffered severe repression and was forced underground. He sheltered Fontenis whilst he was in hiding. He refused to take sides on the splits in the French anarchist movement and both he and Peret expressed solidarity as well with the new Fédération anarchiste set up by the synthesist anarchists and worked in the Antifascist Committees of the 60s alongside the Fédération anarchiste."[35]

The Fifth Republic (1958) and May 1968

Many leaders of the Mouvement du 22 Mars, the March 1968 decentralized student protest in Nanterre, came from small anarchist groups. The anarchists rejected the Anarchist Federation, which they described as dogmatic, and instead mixed with other revolutionaries, such as Trotskyites and other militants.[36] Anarchism was in a lull at the time of the radical May 1968 events. It was minimally present in, and gained no momentum from, the events. Even the Situationists, who held similar positions, bristled at being publicly grouped with the anarchists.[37] Daniel Guérin's Anarchism: From Theory to Practice was popular during the May 1968 events.[38]

During the events of May 68 the anarchist groups active in France were Fédération anarchiste, Mouvement communiste libertaire, Union fédérale des anarchistes, Alliance ouvrière anarchiste, Union des groupes anarchistes communistes, Noir et Rouge, Confédération nationale du travail, Union anarcho-syndicaliste, Organisation révolutionnaire anarchiste, Cahiers socialistes libertaires, À contre-courant, La Révolution prolétarienne, and the publications close to Émile Armand.[32]

In the seventies the FA evolved into a joining of the principles of both synthesis anarchism and platformism. Today the FA is constituted of about one hundred groups around the country.[39] It publishes the weekly Le Monde Libertaire and runs a radio station called Radio libertaire.[40]

Notable names within French anarchism

See also Category:French anarchists.

List of French libertarian organisations

See also


  1. ^ Doherty, Brian (2010-12-17) The First War on Terror, Reason
  2. ^ a b Robert Graham, Anarchism - A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas - Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE to 1939) (Black Rose Books, 2005).
  3. ^ Joseph Déjacque, De l'être-humain mâle et femelle - Lettre à P.J. Proudhon par Joseph Déjacque (in French)
  4. ^ "l'Echange", article in Le Libertaire no 6, September 21, 1858, New York. [1]
  5. ^ Nettlau, Max (1996). A Short History of Anarchism. Freedom Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-900384-89-9.
  6. ^ Nettlau, Max (1996). A Short History of Anarchism. Freedom Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-900384-89-9.
  7. ^ a b Alain Pengam. "Anarchist-Communism"
  8. ^ "Anarchism", BBC Radio 4 program, In Our Time, Thursday December 7, 2006. Hosted by Melvyn Bragg of the BBC, with John Keane, Professor of Politics at University of Westminster, Ruth Kinna, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Loughborough University, and Peter Marshall, philosopher and historian.
  9. ^ a b George Woodcock, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962).
  10. ^ Robert Graham 'Anarchism (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2005) ISBN 1-55164-251-4.
  11. ^ "The Paris Commune" by Anarcho Archived 2012-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Louise Michel, a French anarchist women who fought in the Paris commune Archived 2009-07-10 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Thomas, Édith (2007) [1966]. The Women Incendiaries. Haymarket Books. ISBN 978-1-931859-46-2.
  14. ^ (in French) "1. Soit par provocation, soit par apologie [...] incité une ou plusieurs personnes à commettre soit un vol, soit les crimes de meurtre, de pillage, d'incendie [...] ; 2. Ou adressé une provocation à des militaires des armées de terre et de mer, dans le but de les détourner de leurs devoirs militaires et de l'obéissance qu’ils doivent à leurs chefs [...] serait déféré aux tribunaux de police correctionnelle et puni d'un emprisonnement de trois mois à deux ans."
  15. ^ Project of a doctoral thesis Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, continuing work on "French Anarchists in England, 1880–1905", including a large French & English bibliography, with archives and contemporary newspapers.
  16. ^ a b c Jean Maitron, Le mouvement anarchiste en France, tome I, Tel Gallimard (François Maspero, 1975), pp.443-445 (in French)
  17. ^ Jean Maitron, 1975, tome I, p.446
  18. ^ a b c Jean Maitron, 1975, tome I, p.448
  19. ^ Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923–1938). Virus editorial. Barcelona. 2007. pg. 60
  20. ^ Autonomie Individuelle (1887–1888)
  21. ^ "On the fringe of the movement, and particularly in the individualist faction which became relatively strong after 1900 and began to publish its own sectarian paper, −315- L'Anarchie ( 1905–14), there were groups and individuals who lived largely by crime. Among them were some of the most original as well as some of the most tragic figures in anarchist history." Woodcock, George. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. 1962
  22. ^ a b "La insumisión voluntaria. El anarquismo individualista español durante la dictadura y la Segunda República" by  Xavier Díez Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ “Machete” #1. "Bonnot and the Evangelists"
  24. ^ The daily bleed
  25. ^ "1926 – France: Georges Butaud (1868–1926) dies, in Ermont."
  26. ^ a b The "Illegalists" Archived September 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, by Doug Imrie (published by Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed)
  27. ^ "Parallel to the social, collectivist anarchist current there was an individualist one whose partisans emphasized their individual freedom and advised other individuals to do the same. Individualist anarchist activity spanned the full spectrum of alternatives to authoritarian society, subverting it by undermining its way of life facet by facet."Thus theft, counterfeiting, swindling and robbery became a way of life for hundreds of individualists, as it was already for countless thousands of proletarians. The wave of anarchist bombings and assassinations of the 1890s (Auguste Vaillant, Ravachol, Emile Henry, Sante Caserio) and the practice of illegalism from the mid-1880s to the start of the First World War (Clément Duval, Pini, Marius Jacob, the Bonnot gang) were twin aspects of the same proletarian offensive, but were expressed in an individualist practice, one that complemented the great collective struggles against capital."
  28. ^ a b Parry, Richard. The Bonnot Gang. Rebel Press, 1987. p. 15
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Pre-World War I France was the setting for the only documented anarchist revolutionary movement to embrace all illegal activity as revolutionary practice. Pick-pocketing, theft from the workplace, robbery, confidence scams, desertion from the armed forces, you name it, illegalist activity was praised as a justifiable and necessary aspect of class struggle.""Illegalism" by Rob los Ricos Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Maurice Rajsfus, La police de Vichy, Les forces de l'ordre françaises au service de la Gestapo 1940–1944, Le Cherche Midi, 1995 ISBN 2-86274-358-5
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h Cédric Guerin. "Pensée et action des anarchistes en France : 1950-1970"
  33. ^ "Si la critique de la déviation autoritaire de la FA est le principal fait de ralliement, on peut ressentir dès le premier numéro un état d'esprit qui va longtemps coller à la peau des anarchistes français. Cet état d'esprit se caractérise ainsi sous une double forme : d'une part un rejet inconditionnel de l'ennemi marxiste, d'autre part des questions sur le rôle des anciens et de l'évolution idéologique de l'anarchisme. C'est Fernand Robert qui attaque le premier : "Le LIB est devenu un journal marxiste. En continuant à le soutenir, tout en reconnaissant qu’il ne nous plaît pas, vous faîtes une mauvaise action contre votre idéal anarchiste. Vous donnez la main à vos ennemis dans la pensée. Même si la FA disparaît, même si le LIB disparaît, l'anarchie y gagnera. Le marxisme ne représente plus rien. Il faut le mettre bas ; je pense la même chose des dirigeants actuels de la FA. L'ennemi se glisse partout." Cédric Guérin. "Pensée et action des anarchistes en France : 1950-1970"
  34. ^ "It was in the black mirror of anarchism that surrealism first recognised itself," wrote André Breton in "The Black Mirror of Anarchism," Selection 23 in Robert Graham, ed., Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume Two: The Emergence of the New Anarchism (1939-1977)"Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume Two: The Emergence of the New Anarchism (1939-1977)". 2008-12-14. Archived from the original on 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2011-03-05.. Breton had returned to France in 1947 and in April of that year Andre Julien welcomed his return in the pages of Le Libertaire the weekly paper of the Federation Anarchiste""1919-1950: The politics of Surrealism" by Nick Heath
  35. ^ a b "1919-1950: The politics of Surrealism by Nick Heath". Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  36. ^ Berry 2018, pp. 459–460.
  37. ^ Berry 2018, pp. 461–462.
  38. ^ Berry 2018, p. 455.
  39. ^ "Les groupes/liaisons/individuels de la FA" by Federation Anarchiste
  40. ^ Radio Libertaire
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2006-09-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • Berry, Dave (2018). "Anarchism and 1968". In Levy, Carl; Adams, Matthew S. (eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 449–470. ISBN 978-3-319-75619-6.
  • Berry, David. A history of the French anarchist movement: 1917 to 1945. Greenwood Press. 2002. new edition AK Press. 2009.
  • Carr, Reg. Anarchism in France: The Case of Octave Mirbeau. Montreal. 1977.
  • Frémion, Yves. L’anarchiste: L’affaire Léauthier. Paris. 1999.
  • Maitron, Jean. Histoire du mouvement anarchiste en France (1880–1914) (first ed., SUDEL, Paris, 1951, 744 p.; Reedition in two volumes by François Maspero, Paris, 1975, and reedition Gallimard)
  • Merriman, John. Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siècle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2009.
  • Nataf, André. La vie quotidienne des anarchistes en France, 1880–1910. Paris, 1986.
  • Patsouras, Louis. The Anarchism of Jean Grave. Montreal. 2003.
  • Shaya, Gregory. "How to Make an Anarchist-Terrorist: An Essay on the Political Imaginary in Fin de Siècle France", Journal of Social History 44 (2010). online
  • Sonn, Richard D. Anarchism and Cultural Politics in Fin-de-Siècle France. University of Nebraska Press. 1989.
  • Sonn, Richard D. Sex, Violence, and the Avant-Garde: Anarchism in Interwar France. Penn State Press. 2010.
  • Varias, Alexander. Paris and the Anarchists. New York. 1996.

Further reading

External links

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