People

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

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Paul Lafargue

He first visited London and met Karl Marx in 1865 marrying Laura Marx in 1868. Founder of the French Workers’ Party.

Pierre Lambert / Boussel

A leader of the fragmented Trotskyist left, influential among Socialist politicians and in the Force Ouvriere trade union

Paul Langevin

A leading physicists he supported Dreyfus in 1898 and in the 1930s opposed the fascists.

Alexandre Ledru-Rollin

Key figure in the left republican resistance to King Louis-Philippe in 1846-1848, he helped bring about universal male suffrage.

Henri Lefebvre

Marxist philosoper of art and space and time, he joined the Communist Party in 1928 with other surrealists, leaving in 1956.

Nathalie Le Mel

She led the Women’s Union during the 1871 Commune and supported ‘La Revue socialist’ in the 1880s.

Fernand Léger

A humanist whose art moved from cubist to mechanical and then figurative, he joined the French Communist Party in 1945 upon his return to France from the US.

Pierre Leroux

Leroux evolved from the elitist Saint-Simon movement to socialism, the term he coined in 1834.

Benny Lévy / Pierre Victor

Leader of the Maoist Proletarian Left in the early 1970s, Lévy became Sartre’s secretary from 1973 to 1980, moving to Israel in 1997.

Rosa Luxemburg

Lived in Paris from 1893 to 1897 researching her doctorate and editing the new Polish Social Democratic Party newspaper.

Edmond Maire

A Catholic member of the CFTC, he supported the formation of the secular CFDT in 1964 (and workers’ control), leading it from 1971 to 1988.

Stéphane Mallarmé

He was a major symbolist poet who joined Zola and others campaigning for Dreyfus in 1898 just before his own death .

André Malraux

Anti-fascist in the 1930s and wounded twice in the Spanish Civil War, he served as a minister under De Gaulle from 1958 to 1969.

Georges Marchais

Marchais joined the Communist Party in 1947 and became General Secretary from 1972 util 1994,

Karl Marx

Marx lived in Paris from October 1843 to January 1845, briefly in 1848 and in 1849, and finally in 1881 staying with his Parisian-born daughter, Jenny Longuet.

Pierre Mendès-France

Anti-fascist and resistant, prime minister in 1954-55, he supported decolonisation and opposed De Gaulle’s 1958 coup d’état. In 1960 he joined the new left PSU.

Louise Michel

A teacher, she played an active part in the 1871 Paris Commune. From 1880 she campaigned for women, strikers and anarchism.

François Mitterrand

President of France from 1981 to 1995, he took French socialism to the left in the 1960s and 1970s and to the right after 1984.

Pierre Monatte

A highly influential figure in revolutionary syndicalism he opposed World War 1. Joined the Communist Party briefly but was expelled after opposing Stalinism.

Gaston Monmousseau

An opponent of the World War 1, in 1922 he became General Secretary of the CGTU trade union affiliated to the Communist International.

Pierre Naville

A leading surrealist in the 1920s, he became a Communist and then a Trotskyist. After the war he became one of the leading French sociologists of work

George Orwell

Eton-educated Orwell ran out of money in Paris soon after arriving in 1928. His job as a bottle-washer became the basis of ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’.

Michel Pablo (Raptis)

Left Opposition supporter and Greek Trotskyist, he arrived in Paris in 1938. A founder of the 4th International and later of ‘Pabloism’, arguing that Trotskyists should join mass left parties.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso visited Paris often between 1900 and 1904 when he settled there. In 1937 he painted Guernica and in 1944 joined the French Communist Party.

Madeleine Pelletier

A socialist from the 1890s she became the first woman psychiatric doctor in France and feminist.

Fernand Pelloutier

General secretary of the Labour Exchange movement (Bourses du travail) from 1895 he was a leading revolutionary syndicalist and advocate of a general strike.

Marceau Pivert

A Socialist and teachers’ trade union leader, he led the Revolutionary Left faction in the SFIO arguing in 1936 that ‘Everything is Possible’

Germaine Poinso-Chapuis

A lawyer who became the first woman to serve as a principal minister (for health) in the Schuman government of 1948-49.

Émile Pouget

A revolutionary syndicalist, advocate of the general strike. Jailed with Louise Michel, he was also antisemitic, calling Dreyfus a ‘rich yid’.

Jacques Prévert

Surrealist, briefly Communist, film director and major 20th century poet, he opposed of the forces of law and order in 1968 and supported Angela Davis.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

His was the biggest single influence on the core beliefs of the French left in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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