Fernand Pelloutier

1867 – 1901 • France

Revolutionary syndicalist • Trade unionism


A journalist who became General secretary of the Labour Exchange movement (Bourses du travail) from 1895 a leading revolutionary syndicalist and advocate of using a general strike to expropriate the capitalist class.

Born in Paris at 81 Rue de Courcelles with a father who had wanted to be a journalist but had become a post office manager and an ardent republican grandfather, Fernand lived there initially until he was 13. The family then moved to Nantes.

In 1893 Fernand Pelloutier moved back to Paris, living with his younger brother (and later biographer) Maurice and Maurice’s wife, Berthe, in a flat at 32, Rue Levert. he then began a relationship with Berthe’s sister, Maria Ridel, that lasted until Pelloutier’s early death in 1901. In 1899 when Pelloutier was already seriously ill, the two couples moved 10 kilometers out of Paris to Sevres, then in the country, in the hope he might recover.

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