Left-wing individuals who lived in Paris and ‘made a difference’  in the evolution of both socialism nationally and internationally and of France’s quite unique social model.

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Jean Allemane

A printworker deported after the defeat of the Commune. Created the Allemanist syndicalist tendency within 1880s French socialism.

Louis Althusser

Philosopher and Communist from 1948. His structural Marxism strongly influenced Maoist currents in 1968.

Louis Aragon

Poet, rebel and surrealist, joined the Communist Party in 1927, and fatihfully followed its line into the 1950s. While becoming dissident he remained a PCF member through his last two decades.

Inessa Armand

French mother of five who became Lenin’s mistress in 1909. Chaired the First International Congress of Communist Women in Russia in 1918.

Lucie Aubrac/Bernard

Young Communist and resistance fighter, rescuing her husband from the Gestapo in 1943. Became a major anti-racist campaigner.

Mikhail Bakunin

Russian revolutionary who became a major theoretician of anarchism and lived in Paris in the mid-1840s.

Armand Barbès

Supporter of the republican Rights of Man society wounded in the 1839 insurrection and called ‘the scourge of the establishment’ by Marx

David Barta (Korner)

Member of the Romanian Left opposition lived in France from 1936. He founded the Communist Union that became Lutte ouvrière.

Ahmed Ben Bella

A major leader of the Algerian anti-colonial struggle. Jailed at La Santé prison from 1956 to 1962. Became the first president of independent Algeria.

Daniel Bensaïd

Trotksyist philosopher, founder of the Revolutionary Communist Youth (JCR), active in May 1968 and a leader of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR).

Pierre-Jean de Béranger

France’s ‘national poet’ of the 1820s and 1830s his songs led him to prison. They appealed to liberals, republicans, Bonapartists and socialists.

André Bergeron

Postman who joined the Young Socialists in 1936. Official of the anti-Communist CGT-Force ouvrière he was its General Secretary from 1964 to 1989.

Louis Blanc

Influential figure in early French socialism, he was Influenced by utopian communists, but argued the importance of the state. Exiled 1848-1870.

Auguste Blanqui

Called ‘the imprisoned’ after lifelong attempts to overthrow every government from 1830 onwards he was the 19thC’s major insurrectionary communist

Marc Bloch

France’s leading 20th century historian, excluded from his Paris post as a Jew before leading the Lyon resistance movement and executed in 1944.

Marc Blondel

Post office sorting worker he joined Force ouvrière (FO) in 1956. In 1985 became General Secretary with the support of the Trotskyist Parti des Travailleurs.

Léon Blum

A major Jewish figure of French socialism, prime minister in 1936 of the Popular Front government, in a concentration camp from 1942 to 1945.

Charlotte Bonnin

A leading post office trade unionist in the CGT in the 1920s and 1930s, she was also a leader of the French Women’s Suffrage League.

Pierre Bourdieu

Philosopher and sociologist he supported Algerian independence and the French strike wave of 1995

Jeanne Bouvier

A seamstress, she was one of many women trade unionists who campaigned for women’s suffrage after their experiences in the First World War.

Georges Brassens

Leading anarchist poet and songwriter, of the 1950s and 1960s, encouraged anti-authoritarianism.

André Breton

Poet, surrealist, he joined the Communist Party in 1927, he co-operator with Trotksy in 1935 and later supported Algerian independence.

Aristide Briand

A lawyer who was initially close to revolutionary syndicalism and then to Jaurès. Became a government minster 26 times between 1906 and 1932.

Cécile Brunschvicg

Leader of the French Suffrage Union, editor of La Française. She became the third Jewish minister in the 1936 Popular Front government.

Philippe Buchez

Buchez inspired the workers’ cooperative movement of the 1840s. In May 1848 he was briefly president of the Assembly.

Aimé Cesaire

In the 1930s Cesaire moved towards Black nationalism and anti-colonialism. He was elected an overseas deputy in the French National Assembly in 1945.

François Chérèque

François worked in the health sector, joined the CFDT in 1978 and was General Secretary from 2002 to 2012.

Gustave Courbet

The leading realist painter of his day,Gustave Courbet was a socialist and republican. After supporting the 1871 Commune he was jailed and exiled.

Ambroise Croizat

Communist Minister of Labour and Social Security from 1945 to 1947 responsible for the creation of the French social security and pensions systems

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