Jules Dalou

1838-1902 * France

Sculptor * Communard

Dalou with his wife and daughter in exile in London in 1876, painted by Lawrence Alma Tadema

After his return from exile under the general amnesty of 1789, from 1880 until his death in 1902 Dalou lived in an apartment in the Avenue du Maine. His daughter was mentally ill and required the continuous presence of his wife or another adult.

Initially Dalou rented a studio in the Artists Collective in the Rue Denfert-Rochereau. But from 1881 Dalou’s workshop was very close to his flat in the then Impasse de Maine, a 150m private road. now 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle.

It was in the Impasse de Maine workshop that Dalou produced many of his masterpieces. The reactionary politics of the immediate post-Commune period had given way to a more liberal environment, one in which successive republican governments saw the major threat to the country coming from the monarchists and Bonapartists on the right of the political spectrum.

Dalou therefore became an acceptable recipient for those with public funds to distribute.

One of his earliest large bids was to design a sculpture to feature in the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution in Place de la Republique. His proposal didn’t win, but as runner-up he was given a commission for the piece to provide the central sculpture in the Place de la Nation.

Poulain Chocolate produced a series of advertising prints featuring Famous sculptors including Jules Dalou and his best known work

In 1880…

Dalou’s last work was erected six years after his death, a memorial to Auguste Scheurer-Kestner (1833-1899), the vice-president of the Senate and the first politician to defend Alfred Dreyfus’ innocence.

Dalou’s monument to the Republican and Dreyfusard Auguste Scheurer-Kestner was erected in 1908 in the Luxembourg Garden, just metres from the Palace that had become the home of the Senate, where Scheuere-Kesnter was vice president from 1894 until his death in 1899.

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Le Maitron

Parisrevolutionnaire

PLACES

Honoré Daumier

1808-1879 • France

Artist • Caricaturist • Human Rights

Master of French political caricatures he was a democrat, often close to the working class, jailed for six months in the Sainte-Pélagie prison under Louis-Philippe in 1832.

Daumier’s cartoon: ‘Past, Present and Future’ depicting Louis-Philippe’s size and greed reflected continuous republican criticism and occasional insurrections

Imprisonment did not stop his attacks on the Orleans regime. In 1835 he published his most famous sketch of the Massacre of Rue Transnonain.

Daumier sketched the 14 April 1834 massacre of men, women and children at 12 rue Transnonain by Louis-Philippe’s troops

He was very sympathetic to the Commune. where he belonged to the Artists’ Federal Committee, elected on April 17 1871 where, as representative of the Beaux-Arts section, opposed Courbet‘s proposal to knock down the Vendome column.

For much of his working life Daumier submitted cartoons to the Le Charivari  (Hullabaloo) journal in existence from 1832 to 1893, whose editorial offices were at 16 Rue du Croissant.

From 1869 until his death he lived at No. 42, Rue Rochechouart, an address that became still more significant for the left in 1889, since it was there that the Second International was founded.

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Simone De Beauvoir

1908 – 1986 • France

FeministAuthor • Philosopher

A major writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist from the 1940s to the 1980s.

In Paris in 2016, I was still walking round following dreamers and lovers. It was 30 years since Simone de Beauvoir died. Along with George Sand, she is probably close to the top in France (and with a world-wide reputation) when it comes to fighting for women’s rights – both politically and personally.

Simone de Beaouvoir lived in a first floor flat above the café brasserie at the centre of the Montparnasse art scene before the First World War


So I headed back to La Rotonde on the boulevard du Montparnasse. When I first had a drink there with the ghosts of Trotsky and Rivera I didn’t know that when they were there in August 1914, the six-year-old Simone was living above their heads in the posh flat where she was born. That didn’t last long. Her maternal grandfather, who had funded her wannabe-actor legal secretary dad (his Breton name including ‘de’ doesn’t mean he was an aristocrat), went bankrupt after World War 1.

In 1919 the family was forced to move to a sixth floor (ie servants’) flat) at 71 rue de Rennes, without (like most Parisian working class families at the time) running water. (It’s not like that today!!). From there she went first to the Catholic Cours Desir secondary school in the Rue Jacob and then to the Lycée Fénelon, the first girls’ lycée in Paris that had opened in 1893 in the Rue de l’Éperon. It’s just down the road from where my father’s partner for 30 years still lives (she’s over 94 and going strong).
Simone de Beauvoir became an atheist at 14, around the time a close friend died.

She passed her Bac exams in 1924 and became the ninth woman to get a degree at the Sorbonne University where, at 20, she first saw the 23-year-old Jean-Paul Sartre at philosophy lectures.

In 1928, still living at home, she completed the equivalent of a Masters dissertation on Leibniz under the supervision of the husband of the leading feminist, Cecile Brunschvicg.

Philosophy student Jean-Paul Sartre in his 20s

A year later, she had moved out to the Avenue Denfert-Rochereau. That same year, in 1929, De Beauvoir and Sartre met again at the Cité Universitaire (where I first lived in Paris in the Maison de la Tunisie in 1964), and that was it. For the rest of their lives they kept a close intimate and work relationship going. Over the years, De Beauvoir had many other lovers, men and women, while Sartre had many women lovers.

Simone De Beauvoir in 1945 at the end of the Second World War


From 1929 to 1943 de Beauvoir taught at various lycées to support herself. Her independence was crucial to her thought. In 1931 and 1932 she was allocated to Lycées outside Paris teaching first in Marseille and then in Rouen.

In 1936-37 she was back in Paris, teaching at the Lycée Molière in the wealthy 16th arrondissement while living in the royal Bretagne hotel in the Rue de la Gaîté. On mornings when she wasn’t teaching, she used to have breakfast at the Dôme, the haunt of many German refugees who read newspapers there and played chess.

At one point Sartre proposed marriage to her so that they could both be sent to the same region of France, but she rejected this idea. Her independence was not for sale.

In September 1937 both de Beauvoir and Sartre were assigned teaching posts in Paris, and they both rented rooms in the Hôtel Mistral in Rue Cels. They lived there until September 1939 when Sartre was called up. This was where de Beauvoir began to work on her first novel (L’Invitée, published in 1943, in English ‘She Came to Stay’). There is now a joint plaque to them outside the Hotel.

After Sartre was mobilised into the army, de Beauvoir moved to the Hotel Danemark in the Rue Vavin. From there she moved to the Hotel d’Abusson on the Rue Dauphine. When Simone was thrown out of teaching in 1943 after being subject to political and personal criticisms the pair moved into separate rooms in the even cheaper Hotel Louisiana in the Rue de Seine.

Strangely, though, given her huge reputation, I only found one individual plaque to her. There was no plaque at what is now an expensive restaurant with an average-priced brasserie attached, La Closerie des Lilas. This was where Sartre and de Beauvoir organised a ‘Socialism and Freedom’ meeting attended by 50 people in 1941 after Sartre returned from a prisoner of war camp.

From 1948 to 1955 De Beauvoir lived in a three-room flat in the Rue de la Bûcherie. She then moved to a first-floor flat in the Rue Victor-Schoelcher opposite the Montparnasse Cemetery with Claude Lanzmann.

A rare plaque in Paris to a leftist who opposed the Algerian War and was an inspiration to the world feminist movement

This was her final move. She lived there until until 1986, where a plaque recognises her presence.


De Beauvoir’s most important work, ‘The Second Sex‘, was published in 1949. Its central argument is that women are constructed as a subordinate ‘Other’ by men, but that they can choose freedom rather than accept this construction. She certainly did this.

After two hours walking I sat down at another cafe – not far from where the couple had shared much, and near the Montparnasse Cemetery were they now lie together.

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Geneviève De Gaulle-Anthonioz

1920 – 2002 • France

Human rights • Resistance Activist

Resistance activist and survivor of Ravensbruck she became a leading campaigner against poverty and was president of the ATD Charity from 1964 to 1998;

A commemorative plaque was placed at 4 rue Michelet on International Women’s Day.

On 27 May 2015 her empty coffin, along with those of Germaine Tillion, Jean Zay and Pierre Brossolette was placed in the Panthéon to honour four resistance fighters.

De-Gaulle Anthonioz was the first woman to be awareded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, Germaine Tillion was the second.

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Paul Eluard

1895 – 1952 • France

Author • Poet • Communist

A surrealist poet in 1924, Eluard joined the Communist Party in 1926 with Breton, and then left in 1933 when Breton was expelled, and rejoining in 1942 when he wrote in most famous poem, Liberty.

In 1947 another PCF member, Fernand Leger, illustrated Paul Eluard s most famous poem, ‘Liberty I write your name’
Locations
  • 43 Rue Louis-Blanc – Eluard ( then Eugène Grindel ) in Paris from 1908 to 1913.

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Friedrich Engels

1820-1895 • Germany

Communist • Marx • Second International • Socialist

Following the customary sequencing of their names, ‘Marx and Engels’, I thought, ‘Nice day, let’s follow up the reference in the Communist Manifesto to their first meeting’.

So I walked to Rue Vaneau where Karl Marx lived from 1843 to 1845. There were fields and a pond at the back then (now the gardens of the Matignon Palace).

I then strolled the 35 minutes from there and across the Pont Royal bridge to the place where the Café de la Régence used to be in the Rue Saint-Honoré, opposite the Palais Royal. This was where Karl met the 24-year-old Friedrich Engels (a very handsome young man) on August 28 1844.

Marx, then 26, had moved to Paris to work away from the risk of jail in Germany on a German-French socialist-leaning periodical. He had read and liked Engels’ serialised articles on the ‘Condition of the Working Class in England‘, and they had corresponded. So it wasn’t an accidental meeting.

Upstairs at the Café de la Régence was the epicentre of the French chess circle – where allegedly Robespierre and Napoleon and Louis Philippe had all played chess (no not together!). The cafe also doubled as one of Paris’ four cafe/shop post offices at the time.

Maybe they played chess together? Or bought some stamps?

Unlikely. Engels wrote later: When I visited Marx in Paris in the summer of 1844, our complete agreement in all theoretical fields became evident and our joint work dates from that time.

Their very first joint work, published in German in February 1845, was The Holy Family, a critique of the Young Hegelians. Engels had completed his allocated chapters (1, 2, 3 and sections of others) before he left to go back to work at Manchester’s Ermen & Engels factory on September 6.

Engels visited Marx again, soon after Marx was expelled from France to Brussels. in the summer of 1845 he took Marx on a trip to London and Manchester, preparing the ground for the establishment of the Fraternal Democrats. By then Engels had resigned from his Manchester job

In 1846 and 1847 Engels often travelled between Paris and Brussels attempting to build a Communist Corresponding network. Engels was then expelled from France at the end of January 1848 because of his political activities. He lived during those years on the money sent him by his mother and father.

In the wake of the February 1848 revolution that overthrew Louis-Philippe, Marx was expelled from Belgium and returned to Paris on March 4 1848. Engels joined him there soon afterwards. They both then returned to Germany and on June 1 1848 published the first edition of their New Rhenish Gazette.

With the failure of the 1848-1849 German Revolutions, Engels and Marx were forced to flee. Marx went to London via Paris. Engels to London and then in November 1850 to Manchester where he became manager of the office there of Ermen and Engels, in order to be able to earn money with which to support Marx..

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Zhou Enlai

1898 – 1976 • China

Communist • National Liberation

Zhou Enlai, born to a wealthy Mandarin family had a modern, liberal education and went to university in Japan for a year in 1917. He came to France after spending the first six months of 1920 in prison for his involvement in a nationalist demonstration.

Zhou left China in November 1920 as one of the 1,200 ‘work-study’ Chinese students that the nationalist Li Shizeng, based in France, organised in the early 1920s within his Franco-Chinese cultural programme.

After experiencing work at the Say sugar refinery at 123 – 127 boulevard Vincent Auriol (formerly the boulevard de la Gare), he then spent two weeks in the Renault Billancourt factory.

Zhou with his family wealth behind him, unlike the other Chinese students did not have to work. So he moved quickly into full-time political activity. He joined the Communist Party soon after its foundation, early in 1921. At this time he first met Ho Chi Minh.

In February/March 1922 Zhou moved to Berlin, which was also the centre of the Western European secretariat of the Communist International.

In June 1922 Zhou returned to Paris, lodging at the Hôtel Godefroy, 17 rue Godefroy (where there is one of Paris’ rare plaques to a communist). While there he moved frequently to and from Berlin, helping found in Paris the European branch of the new Chinese Youth Communist Party, and then the European branch of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomingtang) in 1923.

Zhou Enlai aged about 24 in front of the hotel where he stayed in Paris from 1922 to 1924 in 17 rue Godefroy. there is now a Hotel Neptune at number 15.

From 1923 Zhou employed the 17-year-old Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) to type out the stencils and run the duplicating machine he had installed in Paris. Deng eventually recovered from being purged by Mao to opening China to foreign investment and the global market in the late 1970s and 1980s.

In 1923 the younger Deng Xiaoping moved to Paris from a village 120 km away to work with Zhou Enlai

In the summer of 1924 Zhou returned to China with a reputation of being an excellent organiser, and became leader of the Shanghai insurrection of 1927. From 1935 he became one of Mao’s most reliable supporters in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and was Prime Minister of China from 1950 to 1975.

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Frantz Fanon

1925 – 1961 • Martinique

Anti-colonialism • Human rights • Philosophy • Psychiatry

Frantz Fanon a philosopher and psychiatrist who charted the psychological, sociological and philosophical damage of colonisation

He joined the French Army fighting Vichy and the Nazis in 1943, and then, having witnessed the racism of the French in Algeria, studied psychiatry in France. From 1954 he supported the Algerians in their war of independence.

On 19 September 1956 he spoke at a Conference on the ‘Crisis of Black-African Culture’ organised by the Présence africaine journal. This was held in the Descartes ampitheatre of the Sorbonne. Along with Fanon, other speakers included Aimé Césaire and other international speakers such as Dos Santos and Richard Wright.

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Félix Fénéon

1861-1944 • Italy

Anarchist • Art Collector • Dreyfus campaigner

Born in Turin and raised in Burgundy, Félix Fénéon topped an examination to become a senior administrator at the Ministry of War in Paris at the age of 20. During the 1880s he became known as a leading literary and art critic in the Paris. In the 1890s he was accused of being an anarchist bomber and jailed for several months before being found not guilty.

To my great surprise while travelling to Paris on June 20 2019, Marian found an advertisement in the Eurostar magazine for a major art exhibition devoted to Fénéon. It began at the Musée du Quai Branly, where it was essentially devoted to his collection of African art. From October to January 2020 it continued at the Musée de l’Orangerie, where it focused on his anarchist artist friends. The combined exhibition was then scheduled to cross the pond to New York in 2020.

Fénéon wrote for a journal called La Libre Revue in 1883 and 1884 while he was still living with his parents in Rue Vaneau. Its correspondence address was 8 Place du Palais Bourbon. He then became a founding editor of La Revue Indépendante in 1884, whose offices were in the Rue de Médicis. He then became editor of La Vogue in 1885, contributing to Le Symboliste in 1886. All of these posts were part-time.

Fénéon coined the term ‘neo-impressionism’ and promoted pointillism. Very friendly with Georges Seurat, he promoted pointillism. 

Paul Signac painted Felix Feneon in the pointillist style in 1890

At the same, like many intellectuals in the ten years from 1885, Fénéon was attracted by anarchist libertarian and egalitarian ideals. He attended anarchist meetings, was a friend of Émile Henry, the 20-year-old bomber of the Café Terminus. He supported the ‘propaganda by deed’ movement and had a substantial police file. 

Bombing 

The senators’ favourite local Restaurant Foyot in the rue de Conde was bombed by an anarchist on April 4 1894

After the Rue de Condé explosion at the Restaurant Foyot, the police found nothing incriminating at his flat in Rue Lepic. But a flask of mercury and detonator tubes were found in his office at the War Ministry. He was arrested and jailed in the Prison Mazas

Laurent Tailhade, an anarchist friend of Feneon and sole victim of the 1894 Foyot bombing

With 29 others in August 1894 he was put on trial at the Palais de Justice for ‘criminal association’ with other anarchists in the ‘Trial of the Thirty‘. 

This was in the same month that the 20-year-old Italian anarchist baker, Caserio, who in June 1894 in Lyon had mortally stabbed the French President Sadi Carnot, was guillotined. The political climate was highly hostile to anarchism.

In the witness box, however, Fénéon mounted a brilliant defence. He totally ridiculed the prosecution. Fénéon and 26 others were found not guilty.

Fénéon lost his War Office post and steady income. His lawyer, Edgar Demange went on to represent the Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus in his two trials in 1894 and 1899.

He was then asked by Thadée Natanson to became editor of La Revue Blanche, an influential artistic and literary journal, sympathetic to anarchist ideas that the wealthy banker’s son had founded in 1889. Its offices were in the Rue Laffitte.

Active in supporting Dreyfus, Natanson was in 1898 one of the founders of the Rights of Man League. His wife Misia, the daughter of the Polish sculptor, Cyprien Godebski, were at the heart of the Parisan cultural and artistic scene at the beginning of the 20th century.

Misia and Thadee Natanson painted by Pierre Bonnard in 1906

Artists like Pierre Bonnard and Toulouse-Lautrec designed the front covers of La Revue Blanche and illustrated articles by authors such as Proust and Gide. He also published poems by Stéphane Mallarmé

Toulouse-Lautrec was one of many leading artists who Feneon attracted to La Revue Blanche from 1895. Here he is using Misia Natanson as a model

Fénéon broadened the journal’s politics to include pieces by Lucien Herr, Léon Blum, Kropotkin and Tolstoy. In January 1898 Fénéon signed the Manifesto of Intellectuals published in support of Dreyfus the day after Zola’s ‘J’accuse’ letter that led to Dreyfus’ second trial. 

Feneon at La Revue Blanche painted around 1896 by Felix Vallotton

La Revue Blanche ceased publishing in 1903 and Feneon then worked as a jobbing art critic journalist.

World War 1 

From 1906 until 1925 Fénéon was artistic director of the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune art gallery, also initially located in the Rue Laffitte. He edited its journal from 1919 to 1926. 

During the World War 1, when some leading anarchists identified with their national governments, Fénéon began to distance himself from anarchism. After the Bolshevik revolution, along with his friend Paul Signac, he became closer to the Communist Party

From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a literary editor for Editions de la Sirène, publishing James Joyce, Jerome K Jerome and many others. In 1936, on the victory of the Popular Front, he hoisted a red flag in front of his house.

He died at Châtenay-Malabry aged 82 in 1944. 

In 1947, shortly before her own death, his widow, Fanny Goubaux, set up the annual Prix Fénéon (Feneon Prize), organised by the University of Paris. This was funded by the sale of much of his by then extensive art collection, bought from antique dealers and given by his friends.

In 1947 Fanny Fénéon established the Prix Fénéon from the proceeds of the three sales of Fénéon’s art collection.

Today, Feneon Prizes for literature and art still offer under 35-year-old poor French artists and writers funding to help them follow their chosen path. In 2018 Julia Kerninon won the literary prize, and Salomé Fauc the artistic prize.

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Michel Foucault

1926 – 1984 • France

Author • Philosopher

One of the world’s most cited philosophers, in the 1970s he campaigned for prisoners’ rights and migrant workers.

In the 1980s he moved towards the reformist ‘Second Left’ such as Michel Rocard, Pierre Mendès France and Edmond Maire.

He was one of the first public figures in France to die of AIDS.

Foucault was one of the 137 intellectuals who called for a silent anti-racist protest from the metro station on the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle on Saturday 16 December 1972 against the machine-gun murder by an officer of the police at the Versailles police station of a 32-year-old Algerian Mohamed Diab. Banned by the government the march became a battlefield with dozens of arrests of the predominantly migrant demonstrators.

Pierre Wiazemsky, the nephew of Claude Mauriac, one of those who called the demonstration, came back afterwards and completed several sketches, including one of Foucault running away from the CRS attack more speedily than Mauriac. Foucault’s skull narrowly missed being struck by a police batten before they were all arrested.

Jean Genet, Michel Foucault, Claude Mauriac and Alain Geismar sketched together in a Wiaz drawing after their arrests on 16 December 1972

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Antoinette Fouque

1936 – 2014 • France

Feminism • Socialism

A key figure in the French Women’s Liberation movement (Mouvement de libération des femmes) and founder editor of the publishers, Éditions des femmes

Challenging the general mysogeny and machoism in Paris in 1968, she was one of the founders of the French Women’s Liberation movement. She was elected a left radical member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999.

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Pierre Frank

1905-1984 • France

Communist • Trotskyist • 4th International

Member of the Fourth International secretariat from 1948 to 1979.

Of Russian parentage, Frank trained as a chemical engineer. He joined the Communist Party in 1925, but by 1927 supported the Russian Left Oppositio. Early in 1929 hetravelled to Prinkipo, the Turkish island where Trotsky lived after first being exiled by Stalin.

Returning to France a Trotskyist in August 1929 Frank and others launched La Vérité (the Truth), France’s first Trotskyist publication and was accordingly expelled from the Communist Party. From July 1932 until June 1933 he worked for Trotsky as one of his secretaries on Prinkipo.

On Trotsky’s suggestion Frank and other Trotskyists joined the SFIO in June 1935 – only to be expelled in October. In the later thirties Frank had tactical divergences with Trotsky. After an arrest warrant was issued for him in June 1939 he escaped to Belgium and then spent the Second World War in Britain, where he was interned on the Isle of Man until November 1943..

He returned to Paris in 1946 and became part of the leadership of the Trotskyist Parti Communiste Internationaliste. He sided with Pablo [1911-1996] at the time of the split in 1952 and supported the strategy of entry work in the Communist Party.

The PCI was one of the first French organisations to engage in solidarity work in support of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN). Frank was briefly jailed for his activity. Although the organisation was very small it contained some courageous activists who “carried suitcases” for the FLN, including Henri Benoits [b 1926] and Clara Benoîts [1930] who organised solidarity with Algerian workers at Renault-Billancourt, Denis Berger [1932-2013] who organised jailbreaks, and Alain Krivine [b. 1941] who turned to the Trotskyists in the 1960s out of disillusion with the Communist Party.

Frank continued to play a leading role in the organisation, which grew rapidly after 1968, becoming the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, until his retirement in the late 1970s. He wrote several books, including a history of the Communist International.

Pierre Frank died in the Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, one of Europe’s largest publicly-owned, a former prison in the Boulevard de l’Hôpital. Others who died there included Josephine Baker in 1975, Michel Foucault in 1984, the same year as Frank, and Princess Diana in 1997.

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Eugen Fried

1900 – 1943 • Czechoslovakia

Communist • 3rd International

The Slovak Eugen Fried became a professional revolutionary in 1919. He had massive influence over the PCF in the 1930s

Eugen Fried was first jailed for his involvement in the 1919 Budapest uprising. In the 1930s he was the Communist International’s Paris representative to the French Communist Party. He was assassinated by the Gestapo in 1943.

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André Gide

1869 – 1951 • France

Author • Anti-fascist

One of France’s leading writers in the early 20th century, in the early 1930s he moved close to the Communist Party. in 1937, after his first visit to Russia, he denounced the Moscow trials and simultaneously campaigned against fascism.

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Jean-Baptiste André Godin

1817 – 1888 • France

Cooperatism • Fourier • Familistère de Guise

Jean-Baptiste André Godin, a follower of Fourier founded the utopian Home/Workshop (Familistère de Guise) in 1859

Republican, democrat and early socialist, from 1859 to 1882 Godin built a ‘family palace’ with a park, allotments, swimming pool, schools and library alongside a factory. 2,000 families lived there in 1882 and more than 1,200 worked in the cooperative association’s factory.

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André Gorz

1923 – 2007 Austria

Literature, Marxism, Ecology

Philosopher and from the mid-1970s the theoretician of ecology, Gorz’s actual name was Gerhard Horst.

Based in Paris from 1949 Gorz moved from existentialism, through neo-Marxism to become a major global thinker about political ecology.

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Jean Grave

1854 – 1939 • France

Anarchist • Kropotkin

Son of a Communard, Jean Grave became an anarchist of notoriety for saying he ‘preferred dynamite to the vote’.

With Kropotkin during World War 1 he argued that defeating Germany and its autocratic monarchy should be the main aim.

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Fernand Grenier

1901 – 1992 • France

Communist, Women’s suffrage

Fernand Grenier was one of the young socialists who joined the Communist Party in 1922. During the Second World War he represented the PCF and the FTP resistance in London with De Gaulle.

On 21 April 1944 Fernand Grenier, the Communist representative at the Consultative Assembly set up in Algeria, moved the successful motion to give women the vote. He was re-elected Deputy to the National Assembly from 1945 to 1968.

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Benoîte Groult

1920 – 2016 • France

FeministAuthor

Best-selling novelist who embraced feminism in the 1970s, she founded the monthly ‘F Magazine’ in 1978. She was the first to denounce female genital mutilation, and she fought for the right to die with dignity.

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Daniel Guérin

1904 -1988 • France

Human rights • Libertarian communism

Guérin joined Pierre Monatte‘s revolutionary syndicalist group in 1930. He rejoined the SFIO in October 1935 to work with Marceau Pivert ‘Left Revolutionary’ tendency. In 1937 he organised a meeting opposing colonial repression with speakers from Algeria, Morocco, Indochina and Tunisia ( Habib Bourguiba ).

In February and March 1939 Guérin corresponded with Trotsky, although he disagreed with the declaration of the Fourth International.

In September 1960 Guérin and his wife Anne were among the first signatories of the ‘121 Call’ by artists, musicians and writers to recognise the Algerian war as a legitimate struggle for independence, demanding conscientious objectors be supported. Other signatories included De Beauvoir, Sartre, Sagan, Boulez, Rosmer, Breton, Truffaut, Lefebvre and Signoret.

in 1963 he wrote a report for Ben Bella on workers’ control in Algerian businsses, and after Ben Bella was overthrown in June 1965 he helped found a committee defending him and other victims of the subsequent repression.

In 1965 he published a book on Anarchism that sold thousands

Having written about his sexuality in the 1950s, in 1968 he became known as the ‘grand-father’ of the gay rights movement in France.

In 1969 he joined the Libertarian Communist Movement just founded by Georges Fontenis. In the 1970s he increasingly was interested by the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg.

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Marie Guillot

1880 – 1934 • France

Revolutionary syndicalist • Trade Unionist

A rural primary school teacher and revolutionary syndicalist, she refused to support the war in 1914 and in August 1921 she was elected General Secretary of the Federation of Secular Teachers Unions, which affiliated to the anarchist/communist dominated CGT Unitaire. In 1924 she returned to teach in a rural school.

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Robert Hardy / Barcia

1928 – 2009 • France

Communist •Trotskyist • Lutte Ouvrière

Son of a Spanish migrant Robert Barcia was a leader of a Trotskyist sect that eventually became Lutte Ouvrière.

Barcia was born in a Paris working-class family, with a leftist Spanish father. At the age of fourteen he joined the Communist Youth in April 1943 when Paris was under the German Occupation.

In September 1943 he was jailed by the French police in the Santé prison for possession of illegal leaflets. In the five months he spent in jail before being released because he was still under 16, he developed his political education copying out the Communist Manifesto by hand .

The parents of one of his fellow prisoners put him in touch when he got out with the Communist Group, the dozen or so Trotskyists led by David Korner (Barta). Korner had refused to unite with the other small French Trotskyist groups because he believed they had made concessions to nationalism.

In September 1944 a comrade from Barta’s group, Mathieu Bucholz, was murdered by Communist Party members to stop him influencing other young communists. This murder made a deep impression on Barcia, who then joined Barta’s group and adopted the pseudonym Hardy.

Between spells in a sanatorium for his tuberculosis, in April 1947 Barcia and other Union Communiste (Trotkyste) members actively supported their comrade, Pierre Bois, [1922-2002] who led the 1947 strike at Renault Billancourt (577 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt) that forced the withdrawal of Communist ministers from the government.

The Union Communiste split in November 1949 and disappeared in the early 1950s, but Hardy and Bois kept in contact, despite Hardy spending the whole year 1952 in the Rue Quatrefages tuberculosis clinic.

In 1956 Hardy relaunched the group with the name Union Communiste Internationaliste. The Hungarian insurrection and its repression would, it believed, allow Trotskyism to win many active Communists. Their strategy was to produce regular factory bulletins. This was effectively their only activity, and unlike other Trotskyists they played little role in supporting Algerian independence. In 1962 they launched the paper Voix ouvrière (workers’ voice).

Hardy led the group for nearly 50 years, though he never appeared in public and never wrote under his own name. To earn his living he ran  a  company which trained commercial travellers to sell drugs to doctors.

Voix ouvrière was banned by the government in June 1968, but within a fortnight Hardy and other comrades launched a new weekly paper called Lutte ouvrière (LO – workers’ struggle). It was the first left paper to reappear after the dissolution of virtually all the left sects.

In the aftermath of 1968 LO grew rapidly and raised its public profile considerably. From 1971 it held an annual fête during the Whitsun holidays in the outskirts of Paris – a three-day open-air festival with stalls, political discussion and entertainment. And fit began to contest elections. In particular Arlette Laguiller [b 1940] was a candidate for the presidency on six occasions.

Laguiller, a bank worker who had led a strike and occupation at the Crédit Lyonnais headquarters in 1968, was the first woman to run for the presidency, standing in 1974. Her best result was in 2002 with 1,630,000 votes (5.72% of the total). In 1999 she was elected a member of the European Parliament. By the 1990s LO was distributing regular factory bulletins to over half a million workers.

But despite becoming well-known, LO remained a small organisation. It was tightly disciplined and put very high demands on its members, described by one critic as “soldier-monks”. For reasons of “security” all members had pseudonyms, and they were very strongly discouraged from having children.

Barcia died in 2009, but, in keeping with the cult of secrecy that characterised the organisation, news of his death was not made public till fourteen months later.

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Ernest Hemingway

1899-1961 • USA

Journalist • Author

Hemingway’s only vote was for the socialist Eugene V Debs. In 1921 he moved to Paris, leaving in 1927 after his first divorce. In the 1950s he was spied upon by the FBI for supposed Communist sympathies.

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Lucien Herr

1864-1926 • France

Dreyfus Affair • Socialist

Socialist and philosopher who helped persuade many leading figures to support the Dreyfus campaign

One of the best read socialists in France this chief librarian (from 1888 to 1926) at the elite École Sormale Supérieure university at 45 rue d’Ulm persuaded many key figures, such as Jaurès and Blum to become socialists and then to defend Dreyfus.

He helped found L’Humanité in 1904 and joined the SFIO in 1905.

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