A short biography of French anarchist and internationalist Roger Bossiere.
Roger Bossiere was born at Mailly-la-Ville , a small town in the Yonne departement of France on 22 March 1922. He was already influenced by anarchism at the age of 16.
He made the acquiantance of another young worker, Pierre Lanneret, at the office of the Socialist Youth. They discussed the Spanish Civil War's May Days of 1937 together and started a friendship that developed during the war. They studied Esperanto together and joined a group of Esperanto pacifists and they stayed with it until the outbreak of war. By 1942 Roger, who had trained as a fitter and later became a technician, was living in Paris. He had become a member of the Revolutionary Proletarian Group (GRP), which took up an internationalist position on the World War. Its members consisted of Pavel and Clara Thalmann, Maximilien Rubel, and Pierre Lanneret, who had just returned from obligatory work as an unskilled factory worker in Germany. This tiny group with its revolutionary politics was extremely marginalised because the Communist Party and other elements of the French Resistance fought on a nationalist and anti-German platform with the slogan ‘Everyone their Boche’ ["Boche" was a disparaging term for Germans].
After the war he was involved in a number of struggles, especially in those around birth control, alongside people like Gilbert Devillard (see Andre Nedelec). He also became involved in the Youth Hostels (Auberges de Jeunesse) movement, which at that time was a counter-cultural phenonemon and radicalised many young people. At the same time Roger continued his involvement with the tiny councilist and ‘ultra left’ groups. In the 60s, with Maximilien Rubel and Ngo Van (the three are pictured above - Bossière left, seated with Ngo standing and Rubel,right), he was involved in the Groupe Communiste de Conseils, which translated, published and distributed the writings of the Dutch council communist Anton Pannekoek. He was involved with the publishing house Spartacus of René Lefeuvre, which produced a magazine of the same name as well as many books and pamphlets by anarchists, council communists and left communists. Around 1962 he was involved with the revolutionary syndicalist magazine La Révolution Prolétarienne, originally founded by Pierre Monatte and Alfred Rosmer and edited by Roger Hagnauer and Maurice Chambelland. He assisted with its relaunch in 1983 He was a member of Alternative Libertaire from 1991 to 2001.
“He was a well of science, a living encyclopaedia of the workers’ movement”, as his friend Georges Fontenis, still a member of AL in Touraine, remarked. Tributes also came from the editor of La Revolution Proletarienne, Jean Moreau: ‘Proletarian philosopher, his library was rich and his modesty immense.’
Roger retired to the village of Tourneboisset several years ago with his partner Madeleine. Jean Moreau recalled ‘that day passed at Tourneboisset, at Roger and Madeleine’s. One found out for sure that fraternity really existed and that in this spot at least, the world was transformed and real life was possible’.
He died on Monday 7 August 2006.
Based on obituaries by Jean Moreau and Gilbert Devillard in La Revolution Proletarienne, and a further obituary by Devillard in Alternative Libertaire. Additional information in my biography of Rubel and in Internationalists in France during the Second World War by Pierre Lanneret, Phoenix Press.