History of French platformist and anti-militarist, Nicolas Faucier.
Nicolas Faucier aka The archangel with blue eyes*
Born Orleans, France 1900. Died Saint-Nazaire, France 1992
Born on the 30th March 1900, in Orleans, France, Nicolas Faucier had to start work at the age of 12, with night work, 12 hour days and work weeks of more than 50 hours. At 12 years old also, he started morning gymnastics sessions which he continued throughout his life and which he later claimed helped him through times of hardship and prison.
During the First World War, he signed up with the Navy to avoid the butchery on the front. He received various punishments for infractions, including expressing solidarity with the mutineers of the Black Sea fleet, who had refused take part in the economic blockade of the young Soviet Union.
With the end of the war, he found work as a fitter at Argenteuil. He discovered anarchist ideas in 1923. He became a workshop delegate and was sacked from Renault after a strike. He worked to support himself as a peddler and in 1927 became the administrator of Le Libertaire and managed the anarchist bookshop La Librairie Sociale. With Rene Boucher, ex-Secretary of the Proofreaders Union for the Parisian Press, who was to become his brother in law, he was heavily involved in support work for Sacco and Vanzetti.
At the bookshop he met people like Lazarevitch, Victor Serge, Voline, Arshinov and Nestor Makhno. The Committee of Mutual Aid, set up to financially support Makhno, was run by Alice Boucher, Nicolas’s future partner.
A member of the anarchist organisation the Union Anarchiste, he was a member of the Platformist tendency within it. This did not stop him working with synthesists like Louis Lecoin and Sebastien Faure. He did solidarity work with Sacco and Vanzetti, and around the right to exile of Ascaso, Durruti and Jover.
He became a proofreader himself and was involved with the revolutionary syndicalist current around the magazine La Revolution Proletarienne, which he helped edit.
The 1936 Popular Front and the mass strikes and occupations found him exhorting the idea of direct action and fulminating against the electoral charade in the pages of Le Libertaire.
With Louis Lecoin he was one of the main founders of the Comites Espagne Libre and of Solidarite Internationale Antifasciste (SIA) in contact with the Spanish libertarian movement. These committees supported the Spanish movement with food and arms supplies.
In 1938 he signed with Lecoin a declaration in which they publicly announced that they would refuse call-up. This and their editing of the leaflet Immediate Peace (print run of 100,000) got him imprisoned by the Vichy regime. Four years later he escaped to care for his partner Alice who was severely ill. It was fortunate that he did, because nearly all of the prisoners at the Neuville camp where he had been incarcerated were later massacred by the Nazis.
With the Liberation he took up his activity again, but never rejoined an anarchist organisation. He was involved in a number of anti-militarist and pacifist campaigns alongside Lecoin and with the magazine Refractaire of May Picqueray.
With retirement he moved to Saint Nazaire in June 1968. He wrote for the anarchist press and found time to write three books: Les ouvriers de Saint-Nazaire; Pacifisme et antimilitarisme dans l’entre-deux-guerres; and his autobiography, Dans la melee sociale.
In 1989 he was one of the founders of a collective against the repression in China. During the Gulf War, in January 1991, he could often be heard speaking at the meetings of the Collective Against the War as a representative of the Saint-Nazaire branch of La Libre-Pensee (Freethought) calling for international strike action against the war.
Just before his death, he wrote in the local paper: “At over 90, I could say that I don’t have much to hope for. But I don’t have the right, because others are taking up the flame….The world today doesn’t lend itself to optimism. Despite it all, the libertarian revolution is not an outdated notion. One has to battle because struggle is everyday. I will battle right up to my last breath. Without pretensions, I believe that I did what I could, and I regret none of what I did.”
He died on Saturday 20th June 1992 . He donated his body to medical research.
* Description of Faucier by a journalist in the late 1920s.