Fernand Pelloutier and Revolutionary Syndicalism

Jeremy Jennings discusses the pivotal role of the anarchist trade unionist Fernand Pelloutier in the development of the revolutionary syndicalist movement in France.

Submitted by ites on August 24, 2012

Fernand Pelloutier can, in the words of Pierre Monatte, be 'justly regarded as the father of revolutionary syndicalism'. [l] Born in 1867, Pelloutier came to syndicalism via provincial radical republicanism and then orthodox Marxism. By profession a journalist, his break with Guesdism took place in 1892 when he, along with Aristide Briand, jointly defended the use of the general strike. As secretary of the Federation des bourses du travail from 1895 (at the age of only 27) until his death in 1901 he went part of the way towards creating the organisational basis of an autonomous working-class movement and in his books and numerous articles he outlined the rudiments of syndicalism as a distinct ideology. He also provided the syndicalist movement with an example of dedication and commitment that few, if any, were subsequently to surpass. [2]

The key to Pelloutier's thought is to be found in his analysis of the workings of the economic system. 'Can you deny', he wrote in 1894, 'that at the source of all disorder, of bad politics and bad morals, of greed and cruelty, of egoism and envy, one always finds money. Money is the beginning and end of everything'. [3] Specifically, Pelloutier located the cause of the ills of society in a perversion of the system of exchange, the substitution by capitalism of exchange value for use value. The law of supply and demand ensured that products were priced not according to their intrinsic value but in line with the dictates of the market. Inevitably, Pelloutier argued, such a system operated in the interests of those who possessed capital, the manipulators of the system of exchange, and contrary to the interests of the consumer and producer, whose labour benefited only 'the parasite, the rentier and the financier'. 'To the extent that one can say that a man is rich', Pelloutier observed, 'the less he has worked: his useful production is inversely proportionate to his wealth'. [4] Here, in essence, was 'the origin of the modern social system in its entirety'. [5]

The result of this economic inequality was the division of humanity into two classes, the vast majority condemned to a life of labour, servitude and grinding poverty and an idle elite who, in Pelloutier's view, served no useful function and were superfluous to society's requirements. The operation of the law of supply and demand led firstly to the emergence of a class of intermediaries, merchants, who, in the act of purchase and sale, extracted surplus value from the product, and thereby deprived the worker of the full fruits of his labour. In turn, those enriched by the process, fearing the demands and actions of the dispossessed and the loss of their wealth and power, created the instruments of the State to protect their interests. As a result another group of non-producers, the employees of the State -- the army, the police, the magistrature, the officials of government -- was created and, as the producers directly bore the cost, their poverty was further accentuated. The consequence of the law of supply and demand therefore was the economic impoverishment of the producers and their political enslavement.

Pelloutier was equally critical of the deleterious effects of this economic system. It had created a society of fraud and corruption, based upon competition, rivalry and violence. Little or no thought was given to the common good. The vast majority of the population were condemned to squalor and deprivation. Individual happiness was not attained through the enhancement of the well-being of others but the product of self-gratification and self-aggrandisement. Outwardly respectable, bourgeois society was a society of cant and hypocrisy, of philistine art and sexual depravity. It was also, as Pelloutier repeatedly proclaimed, a society doomed to decay and ultimate destruction.

The objective pursued by Pelloutier was the replacement of this iniquitous social and economic system by one which would re-establish 'the rational functioning of humanity'. [6] Clearly, for Pelloutier this implied the suppression of exchange value, the abolition of its product, capital, and an end to economic inequality. The goal of the new society should be 'to ensure for every man a portion of those fruits of the earth which he has shared in producing, equal to his needs, notwithstanding those physical and intellectual inequalities which distinguish him from other members of the collective'. [7] This, Pelloutier believed, could be achieved by creating an economic system that ensured that only goods of equal value could be exchanged, attained by giving to each product an invariable price. It followed that if the producer was to receive a reward appropriate to his labour then all non-productive intermediaries or functionaries --'the economic and political parasites of the present social system' [8] -- should be eradicated. 'Social life', Pelloutier argued, 'can be reduced to the organisation of production'. [9] Freed from poverty and social and political oppression, the workers would develop a completely new morality. Competition and envy would be replaced by co-operation and a sense of social duty. The 'society of the future' would, above all, be characterised by 'the voluntary and free association of producers'. [10]

The central question faced by Pelloutier was: how could such a society be brought into existence? The socialist and republican traditions in France offered a range of alternatives. Pelloutier rejected them all and set about developing his own strategy for the emancipation of the working class.

In his early articles as editor for the Saint-Nazaire based La Democratie de l'Ouest Pelloutier's suspicions of the parliamentary process can be discerned quite clearly. Initially he limited himself to calling for a closer and tighter relationship between the electorate and their elected representatives, describing 'the perfect representation' of the constituents' views as 'the very essence of universal suffrage.' [11] With time -- and noticeably after the Panama scandal' [12] -- Pelloutier became positively critical of the entire process of election within parliamentary democracy. Elections appeared to be little more than a lottery, the people giving their vote to the candidate 'who lies most, puts up the largest number of posters, eloquently flatters popular vanity'. [13] Parliament was a vehicle for the social advancement of the incompetent and the ambitious. From the perspective of Pelloutier's future society, universal suffrage was a complete irrelevance: the prevailing social conditions and the development of human faculties would ensure that men directed their own affairs.' [14]

Pelloutier's disillusionment, not unexpectedly, also extended to the Republic. Again this can be discerned in his articles in La De'mocratie de l'Ouest where he repeatedly returns to the theme that the Republic, despite its democratic facade, had failed to satisfy the hopes of the working class. In an article entitled 'L'Oeuvre de 1789' [15] published in 1892 Pelloutier was led to ask: 'whether man was more free under the Republic than he had been under the ancien regime?'. 'Free to die of hunger, certainly . . . Free to resist oppression? Just let the workers try to make use of their liberty!' was his reply. Likewise the political and civil liberties granted to the proletariat were simply abused by the bourgeoisie. The political Republic, as Pelloutier frequently asserted, needed to be replaced by the 'social Republic'.

This critique of Republican democracy was subsequently extended to include all attempts at reform within the present political and economic system. The interests of the State, Pelloutier argued, were inextricably linked to those of the possessing classes. The raison d'etre of the State, he wrote, is 'to protect superfluous or harmful political interests'. It made little sense, therefore, to expect an institution based upon wealth to attack the privileges and power of the rich. [l6]

This conclusion was confirmed by the experience of legislation purportedly designed to improve the conditions of the working class. Pelloutier was emphatic that the long list of legislation designed to ameliorate working conditions, reduce the working hours of women and children, provide insurance in the case of accident, and so on, had either remained inoperative or had been counterproductive. The capitalist class had had little difficulty in either evading the obligations of the (usually poorly formulated) law or in devising new forms of oppression that had further aggravated the misery of the workers. In addition, it was the workers themselves, through higher taxes, who bore the cost of this legislation. 'Legislative action', Pelloutier concluded, 'is at one and the same time useless and dangerous'. [17]

The way forward, therefore, lay not through piecemeal reform but through the root and branch eradication of capitalism and its political instrument, the State. Unless this were achieved all attempts to secure change by the 'Fourth Estate' would be futile and illusory: the capitalist class would simply claw back what had been given to the proletariat. The power of money had to be destroyed. [l8]

If these considerations quickly disabused Pelloutier of the republicanism that had characterised his journalistic writings prior to his move to Paris in 1893, so too did they distance him from the reformist socialism that was gaining ground in France during the 1890s. Not only, according to Pelloutier, had the attainment of socialism by purely legal and parliamentary means never been part of official socialist policy (as defined by the International) but it also distracted socialists from their ultimate goal. Socialism could not be reduced to the possession of political power, a change of political personnel, or a majority of votes for the socialist parties. The State was not a 'simple instrument of social organisation', an institution that could be 'purified' or 'moralised', as some socialists believed. Rather, from within Pelloutier's perspective, it appeared to operate as a means of demoralisation, corruption and temptation, inducing socialists to revere power and authority, a training ground for future authoritarians. The net result of the reformist strategy was the intrusion of the ambitious and the mediocre into the socialist movement and the virtual exclusion of the working class whose role was reduced to that of providing the votes required to keep their leaders in power. Everything indicated, however, that the working class itself, disillusioned by the repeated failures and disappointments of reformism, as coming to realise that only a complete economic and political revolution could secure the establishment of an equitable society. They, if not their socialist deputies in parliament, appreciated that the interests of capital and labour were irreconcilable and that the class struggle was an inevitable reality. [19]

Yet, for all Pelloutier's commitment to the complete and revolutionary transformation of society, his attitude to the Republic and the parliamentary process was not entirely without ambiguity. At times he seemed to concede the propaganda value and potential of elections (on the condition that socialists did not lose sight of their ultimate goal) and he also accepted the utility and desirability of a limited number of reforms: a reduction in working hours, the establishment of a minimum wage, the nomination by the syndicats of factory inspectors. Again, however, Pelloutier added the qualification that only those reforms secured directly by the proletariat itself were liable to be effective and durable. It is also evident that Pelloutier, unlike many later syndicalists, was not entirely indifferent to the fate of the Republic. Jacques Julliard has written that Pelloutier viewed the Republic as the regime that 'provided an opening' for socialism and it is certainly true that Pelloutier believed that the Republic provided the socialist movement with far greater opportunities for development than previous regimes. Yet, so too, Pelloutier was of the opinion that there existed 'no essential difference between the spirit of monarchical governments and that of democratic governments'. In the first case, public authority was held by 'one individual'; under a republic popular sovereignty was delegated by 'a plutocratic minority' to 'a few hundred men who enact laws for everybody in the name of everybody'. The overriding impression is that Pelloutier viewed the Republic as a venal and unprincipled system and it is clear that there would be little room for its institutions and parliamentary practices in his new society. [20]

Pelloutier's critique of the parliamentary and statist routes to socialism was plainly applicable not only to reformist socialism but also to those 'revolutionary' parties -- notably Guesde's Parti Ouvrier Francais -- committed to a program that entailed the seizure of political power, by either parliamentary or revolutionary means, prior to the economic expropriation of the capitalist class. This was amply demonstrated in the exchange of open letters between Pelloutier and Jules Guesde in 1892, in which Pelloutier asserted that Guesdist tactics implied the indefinite postponement of socialism. [21] Further, Pelloutier specifically extended his criticisms to include the tactic, associated with the French revolutionary tradition and then part of Guesdist rhetoric, of the insurrectionary seizure of State power.

Pelloutier's objections to this revolutionary strategy were two-fold. He argued that the beneficiaries of past revolutions had always been the bourgeoisie and the leaders of the insurgents. The proletariat had paid the cost through the loss of their lives. Secondly, the advance of military technology, the improvement in communications, the rebuilding and modernisation of cities had rendered unfeasible the seizure of power by a determined revolutionary minority: henceforth all the advantages, most notably fire-power, lay with the forces of the State. Here Pelloutier's concern reflected a growing awareness amongst the socialist movement that perhaps the days of streetfighting were over. [22]

Finally, Pelloutier rejected the anarchist tactic of 'propaganda by the deed', direct acts of violence against bourgeois society and the bourgeois State, at their height between 1892 and 1894. Pelloutier's reasoning was simple. He could not support a method that involved 'the sacrifice of innocent victims'. [23]

Simultaneously with this critique of parliamentary reformism and of Guesdist and anarchist revolutionary violence Pelloutier commenced the formulation and elucidation of what he hoped would be a more fruitful and effective means of working-class emancipation: the general strike. Pelloutier first turned his thoughts to the idea of the general strike during a lengthy period of convalescence in 1890-91. From 1892 onwards, after his return to public life, he became its tireless advocate, refining his ideas on the subject in his polemic with the Guesdists and completing the process with the publication in 1895 of 'Qu'est-ce que la greve generale?'. [24]

In his first open letter to Guesde in 1892 Pelloutier referred to the general strike as being both 'peaceful and legal'. What he meant by this is best disclosed in a document entitled 'De la revolution par la greve generale', written jointly by Pelloutier and Aristide Briand. [25]

The authors demonstrate the 'legality' of the strike in curious fashion: by appealing to bourgeois principles of law. Drawing upon the distinction between possession, the natural right to use a thing and property, the civil right to use and to dispose of or misuse a thing, they conclude that a man's 'muscular energy' must be his property. Therefore he has absolute rights over it and can make use of it in any way he chooses, even if that includes 'abusing' it in the form of strike action. Further, Pelloutier and Briand argue, recent legislation -- the 1864 act on the right to strike and the 1884 act legalising Syndicats -- implicitly recognised this fact: hence strike action was both legal and legitimate.

The exposition of the 'peaceful' character of the general strike fully betrays both the optimism and the naivete of the authors. Their basic assumption is that the social and economic order could not withstand a strike lasting longer than 15 days. Therefore they recommend that the workers set about creating a fund that could sustain them through such a strike. The required sum (Pelloutier and Briand estimate 400 million francs) could be collected within five years and this would provide each worker with 40 francs a day for the duration of the strike. Food for the strikers would be supplied by 'cooperative societies' which would have established vast warehouses' full of provisions. At the appropriate moment the workers would simply stay at home and the system, without their labour, would collapse around them. The revolution would be accomplished 'smoothly, without the spilling of blood, solely by the combination of rest'. Even if, by some unlikely misfortune, the strike were not entirely successful, the workers would be in a position to extract major concessions from the powers that be. The most likely outcome, however, would be the destruction of those very powers.

Pelloutier's conception of the general strike and his thoughts on the utility of strike action changed significantly in the next few years. Firstly, he came out strongly against 'greves partielles', individual strikes aimed at securing improvements for one particular group of workers. To fully understand this we need to make reference to one of the central beliefs about the working of the capitalist economic system current amongst labour leaders of the period. There existed, Pelloutier believed (following Ferdinand Lassalle), an 'iron law' which ensured that all wage increases were inevitably matched by price increases. At best there existed only a momentary time lag in which wages surged ahead. It followed that an individual strike could only produce a temporary benefit for the workers concerned and would positively harm the interests of those workers who had not been able to secure a wage increase. Moreover, Pelloutier felt that the loss of income sustained during the strike only rarely made strike activity worthwhile and that the meagre results obtained only depressed and disillusioned the workers, encouraging lethargy and inertia. The 'iron law' could only be broken by breaking the economic system. [26]

Secondly, Pelloutier concluded that a general strike, to be successful, need not necessarily involve all of the workers in all trades. Only the strategically important sectors of the economy needed to be brought to a standstill: transport, gas, electricity, major industries, food supplies. The division of labour, for so long a source of capitalism's strength, was to be exploited by the strikers as its principal point of vulnerability. [27]

In addition, Pelloutier now argued against the lengthy preparation of the general strike and specifically criticised his earlier view that the workers should establish vast stores of provisions. The new scenario postulated a general strike of no more than eight days duration. If the workers were committed to the strike they would have no difficulty securing food and resources for this short period; if they were not, no amount of preparation would ensure victory. Subsequently, in a review of de Rousiers' Le Trade Unionisme en Angleterre, Pelloutier extended this argument, asserting that excessive organisation and the establishment of union funds could actually engender an unwillingness to go on strike. Many later syndicalists in France were to echo this view. [28]

It is also clear that Pelloutier realised that a general strike would not be confined, as he had earlier believed, to a passive refusal to work and that it would necessarily involve some violence. The bourgeoisie would not meekly accept the demands of the workers or its own defeat and would therefore go on to the offensive. The attraction of the general strike, however, was precisely that it avoided the pitfalls of a revolutionary insurrection. While the army could be deployed against 30 000 insurgents, it was ineffective against a revolution that was both 'everywhere and nowhere', that was diffuse and widespread. The army, quite simply, could not protect every factory or every railway line. [29]

What is evident, above all, is that for Pelloutier the general strike was not perceived as a prelude to the revolution but as the revolution itself. During the strike the workers would take possession of the instruments of production, street by street, district by district. There would be no reliance upon the State or the political party. 'We wish to emancipate ourselves, to free ourselves', Pelloutier wrote, 'but we do not wish to carry out a revolution, to risk our skin, to put Pierre the socialist in the place of Paul the radical'. [30] The movement would be built around the syndicat and the bourse du travail, with the aim of creating 'the free association of each group of bakers in each bakery, of each group of locksmiths in each factory of locksmiths; in a word, free production'. [31]

We are again at the heart of Pelloutier's vision of society as an association of free producers. 'One dreams', he wrote in 1896, 'of free workshops where authority will have been replaced by the personal sentiment of duly'. [32] The merit of the general strike was precisely that it appeared to offer the definite possibility of establishing this libertarian order. It eschewed the corruption and the temptations of political activity, provided the means of making a revolution without recourse to either political leaders or parties and signified the destruction of hierarchical State authority. Conversely, the general strike operated on a premise that Pelloutier took to be incontrovertible: the priority of the productive process in social life.

Further, with the general strike there was, most crucially, a perfect correspondence between means and ends. If the end pursued was the emancipation of the proletariat, the general strike was a means of self-emancipation. 'We wish', Pelloutier wrote, 'that the emancipation of the people might be the work of the people themselves'. [33]

But were the workers capable of self-emancipation? In Pelloutier's view, any attempted revolution which did not rely upon the direct action of the workers themselves would inevitably lead to the re-establishment of hierarchical and authoritarian structures that would in turn once again enslave the proletariat. The question was whether the proletariat either possessed or could develop the intellectual, moral and technical skills and abilities required not only to carry out successfully the revolution but also to provide the basis of a new and regenerated future society. How could the workers prepare themselves for the revolution that would inevitably come? From 1894 onwards this issue became Pelloutier's abiding preoccupation.

What needs to be stressed is that Pelloutier did not believe that the revolution could either be left to chance or that it would be the result of a spontaneous and instinctive revolt on the part of the working class (a view often misleadingly associated with syndicalist theory in general). For Pelloutier the foundations of the future social and economic order would be laid within present society. The workers could not transform and transcend a debasing society in which they were denied the opportunity of directing their own lives without prior preparation both as individuals and as a class. Without that preparation any attempted revolution would simply be 'a waste of energy'. The lesson to be drawn, therefore, was crystal clear: instruire pour revolter. [34]

Pelloutier's efforts to encourage and further the education of the working class in the remaining years of his life took a variety of forms. Since his schooldays Pelloutier had been drawn to journalism and from 1893 onwards he became associated with numerous newspapers and journals, amongst which were Maurice Barres' La Cocarde, Jean Grave's Les Temps nouveaux, Bernard Lazare's L'Action and Sebastien Faure's Le Journal du peuple. For the greater part Pelloutier's articles in these papers consisted either of attempts to further the acceptance of the tactic of the general strike or in accounts of working-class conferences and congresses which were designed to promote an understanding of the proletarian movement. Pelloutier's most significant journalistic enterprise, however, was his own paper, L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, which he produced almost single-handedly from February 1897 until June 1899. [35] It was here that Pelloutier sought to exploit to the full what he took to be the educational possibilities of journalism. L'Ouvrier des deux mondes was to be neither 'a doctrinaire review' nor 'a polemical journal'. It was, in the words of Pelloutier, to be 'exclusively a medium for economic and industrial documentation', taking as its subjects 'problems of production and consumption. . . working conditions and the situation of the working class, the means employed by the international proletariat to suppress the capitalist regime'. [36]

The logic of Pelloutier's position was clear. If the proletariat was to emancipate itself from economic exploitation it needed first of all to be aware of the nature of that exploitation. What it lacked was an understanding of 'the science of its misery'. [37] In line with this a substantial proportion of Pelloutier's articles in L'Ouvrier des deux mondes was devoted to a sombre and detailed account of the conditions of working-class life in France. These studies, written in collaboration with Maurice Pelloutier, were to re-appear as part of a larger scale work, La Vie ouvriere en France. [38]

The text reveals Pelloutier's commitment to a meticulous empirical investigation of the conditions of working-class life and work. While the underlying theme is plain -- the capitalist system is the root cause of all the proletariat's ills -- the account is relatively free from polemic. In turn are examined the length of the working day, wage rates, the conditions of work for women and children, accident and mortality rates at work, the standard of living of the working class, death rates, and finally alcoholism which is described as 'a consequence of the excessive work to which the working class is subjected'. [39] The overall conclusion of the enquiry is summarised in this way: 'Men forced every day to carry out hard and often dangerous work in unhealthy workshops, reduced to feeding themselves on insufficient and unwholesome food, confined to districts and dwellings that drain them; women condemned to the same labour as that of men and rivals by necessity of their companions in misery; children delivered at an early age to occupations which exceed their strength: such are the general conditions of working-class existence under the regime of industrial "liberty". [40] Not even before death, Pelloutier remarks, are the members of the proletariat the equals of their exploiters.

Pelloutier's efforts to enlighten the working class on the nature and causes of their misery were not limited to these empirical enquires. One cherished project -- never realised -- was the setting up of Musees du travail, museums designed to put before the workers 'the products and history' of their labour. The intention was to offer the people 'the means of observing social phenomena for themselves', the exhibits were to be displayed 'in such a way that the very sight of the products might familiarise the visitors with economic science'. As a means of education, according to Pelloutier, this was more effective than any amount of revolutionary oratory.' [41]

Art, too, did not escape Pelloutier's attention. In a pamphlet entitled L'Art et la revolte [42], Pelloutier outlined what he took to be the role of art in the revolutionary process. His objection to contemporary art was that it stupefied the proletariat and acted as 'the servant, the accomplice of bourgeois society'. It did more, he asserted, to preserve the capitalist regime than any other social force. Similarly, revolutionary art had a crucial role in liberating the minds of the proletariat: 'Unveiling falsehoods, explaining how and why religions were created and the patriotic cult was invented, why the family was constructed on the model of government and why masters were thought necessary: such ought to be the objective of revolutionary art'.

Pelloutier's own artistic endeavours were a reflection of this aspiration. The poems of Pelloutier, published under the pseudonym Jean Reflec, are frequently to be found amongst the pages of L'Ouvrier des deux mondes and were to be reprinted in book form with the melancholic title De la colere, de l'amour, de la haine. [43] Pelloutier's conception of what he took to be good art can perhaps therefore best be disclosed by citing one of his own poems entitled Amour Libre. [44]

Ils allaient tous les deux dans la splendeur du soir
Trøs tendres, se disant une foule de choses
De ces gais riens qui font les pommettes plus roses
Plongeant en leurs regards ainsi qu'en un miroir

Tourment d'un ennui dont j'ignorais les causes
Je les suivais, berc de ce fragile espoir
Que leur bonheur ferait treve aux penses moroses
Qui m'obsedaient l'esprit et m'Áteraient tout vouloir

Or, je les vis s'etendre, elle et lui, sur la mousse
Et ce fut pres de moi l'extase pleine et douce
Qui fit mon coeur plus calme et mon souci moins lourd

A leurs libres transports, ž leurs libres etreintes
Moi, dont l'etre rpugn ž toutes les contraintes
Je pensai: voilž bien le vrai, l'unique amour.

Amongst the writers that Pelloutier himself admired were Zola, Anatole France and Ibsen.

Inevitably the preoccupation with the intellectual enlightenment of the proletariat engendered an interest in pedagogical reform. Above all, Pelloutier wished to see an education that was directed towards the real needs of the child. It was to be an 'integral' education, developing the intellectual capacity of the pupil whilst avoiding a reliance upon the use of memory and a concentration upon narrow specialisms. Such an education, Pelloutier contended, could never be provided by the State in whose interest it was to use the educational system solely as a means of control and indoctrination. [45] Only the workers themselves, in Pelloutier's view, could provide both the 'professional' and 'eclectic' education required to destroy 'the dominant tendency of modern industry to reduce the child to a physical action, the unconscious tool of the machine'. [46] The workers were to introduce themselves and their children 'to the discoveries of the human spirit'. [47] The institution within which this was to be achieved was the bourse du travail.

Pelloutier attributed the bourses with four primary functions: the provision of mutual benefits, education, propaganda and resistance. [48] Mutuality involved payment to members of a form of unemployment pay and accident insurance. In addition members were eligible for receipt of the so-called viaticum, a subvention paid to workers travelling the country in search of employment. The bourses were also intended to act as labour exchanges, locating jobs for the unemployed. The educational services of the bourses were to range from the setting up of libraries (each bourse was to have its own library), the establishment of Musees du travail and the provision of a technical education for the workers as well as a general education in the bourses' own schools for the workers' children.

The propaganda activities of the bourses were to take various forms. Pelloutier hoped that the bourses would operate as information offices, collecting statistics on the working of the economic system and disseminating this information to the various proletarian organisations. They were, if possible, to publish their own newspapers (as many actually did). Beyond this, the bourses were to aid and encourage previously unorganised workers, especially those working on the land or at sea, to establish their own syndicats. One favourite project was the setting up of sailors' homes.

Pelloutier also hoped that the bourses would be responsible for the creation of co-operatives. Like many syndicalists after him, Pelloutier had an ambivalent attitude towards co-operatives. He doubted their capacity to operate successfully within the capitalist system and feared that they might encourage workers to exploit their own comrades. They were, however, of value to the extent that they provided workers with an opportunity to direct their own affairs and as a means of propagating the idea of co-operative production. [49]

Finally, Pelloutier assumed that the immediate task of the bourses would be that of co-ordinating and organising working-class resistance to the exploitation imposed upon them by capitalism.

In short, for Pelloutier the bourses du travail were to become the very centre of working-class life. Despite his acceptance of municipal funding for the bourses it was always Pelloutier's intention that they should be financed and run by the workers themselves. [50] They were the incarnation of Pelloutier's desire to secure the moral and technical education of the proletariat. The workers were able to acquire the administrative and organisational skills necessary if they were to free themselves from the hierarchical structures imposed upon them by capitalism and, in the process, transcend a narrow egoism through an appreciation of the virtues of co-operative effort. The task of the berzrses was to turn 'workers into proud and free men'. [51]

Furthermore, the bourses du travail were to be the nuclei, the cells, around which the future society was to be created. 'The ambition', Pelloutier wrote, was 'to constitute within the bourgeois State a veritable socialist (economic and anarchic) State'. [52]

Pelloutier's conception of that future society and the place occupied within it by the bourses du travail was in part derived from his views on the organisational structure of the syndicalist movement. Pelloutier consistently argued that the bourses du travail and the trade based syndicats should co-exist as distinct entities pursuing different goals but with a common purpose. [53] This separation was to be maintained and combined with a corresponding division of function. Each syndicat was to be responsible for a particular sector of production. Pelloutier specifically mentions, for example, housing and the supply of provisions. The bourses, in effect, were to co-ordinate production, collecting and circulating information on productive capacity and consumers' needs. [54]

What the bourses du travail and the producers' syndicats were definitely not intended to become was an embryonic centralised State. The bourses were to act only as intermediaries, possessing no executive authority whilst the syndicats were to be 'libertarian organisations', controlling production and directing their own affairs 'with the free consent of their members'. [55] The model appealed to by Pelloutier was the federalism he associated primarily with Proudhon and also with Bakunin.

The affinities of Pelloutier's ideas to anarchism are clear and unmistakeable. He shared, for example, many of the traditional anarchist suspicions of the State. The State was inherently dictatorial and despotic. It was the cause of war. The inflexibility of its laws took no account of the diversity of human nature. [56] It is not therefore surprising to find Pelloutier from 1895 onwards arguing that anarchists should enter the syndicats. The libertarian organisation of the syndicats and their hostility to piecemeal reform and parliamentary action ensured that anarchists had nothing to fear from entering the syndicats and that the independence they cherished would not be threatened. In turn, the anarchists would teach the workers that they must learn to direct their own lives and that a future revolution must entail the permanent destruction of all hierarchical structures. The anarchists would act as the libertarian conscience of the syndicats. [57]

The end pursued by Pelloutier never varied therefore: it was the creation of a 'society of free men'. [58] There exists, he wrote, 'in the heart of men not a puerile sentiment of insubordination . . . but the noble and haughty desire to affirm his strength, his intelligence, the best part of himself -- his personality'. [59] That personality, Pelloutier asserted, could only flourish and develop in a society shorn of hierarchy and inequality. Men were no longer prepared to be treated as machines and tools; they wished to be 'creators' and 'inventors' of their works. Given responsibility and freedom, Pelloutier argued, men would work more efficiently and produce more with a resulting material prosperity that would enable men to develop themselves intellectually and to live a life that accorded with their natural instincts and aspirations. The task that Pelloutier set himself was that of creating the institutions that would provide 'the moral, administrative and technical education' required to render such a society viable. [60]

Pelloutier consistently and intentionally remained vague about the detailed structure of that future society but the guiding principles are clearly discernible: the control by the workers themselves of the productive process, the rational organisation and utilisation of production for the common good, and the distribution of resources according to need. 'What are we demanding?' Pelloutier asked: 'the perfecting of society, the utilisation of these marvellous resources it offers to human endeavour . . . and, at the same time, the suppression of the means by which it authorises the individual appropriation of common resources: Money and Authority'. [61]

Pelloutier's contribution to syndicalist theory was fundamental. In his writings can be discerned a set of ideas that form the rudiments of a distinct and distinctive ideology. At its core was the conviction that the emancipation of the working class must be self-emancipation and that this emancipation was to be attained through the creation of institutions which the workers themselves were to control and organise and in which they would obtain the moral and technical education appropriate to a future society without masters. The workers were to shun the bourgeoisie, avoid assimilation, and concentrate upon the creation of a self-consciously proletarian society within bourgeois society. The culmination of this educative process was to be the destruction of the capitalist order and the seizure of the means of production via the general strike.

In addition the tone of Pelloutier's writings was to be so typical of syndicalist thought. Pelloutier's struggle on behalf of the working class was sustained by a powerful sense of moral indignation, an awareness of the decadence and hypocrisy of contemporary society. This manifested itself in a variety of ways: criticism of the self-indulgence he associated with modern art, scorn for the sexual morals of the bourgeoisie and, in particular, condemnation of the non-producers, the 'parasites', be they capitalists or politicians. In turn, Pelloutier saw the productive process and those who worked it, the proletariat, as the source not only of society's wealth but also of all true values.

Pelloutier's particular genius -- as so many of his contemporaries appreciated -- was to be found in his meticulous examination of the exploitation suffered by the proletariat and in his determination to build a set of institutions -- most notably the bourses du travail -- which would allow the workers to free themselves from their enslavement. Svndicalists of subsequent generations were unerringly to turn to his example of selfless dedication in pursuit of this task for inspiration.

With the death of Pelloutier in March 1901 Georges Yvetot became general secretary of the Federation des bourses du travail. Paul Delesalle was to be his assistant. In the same year Victor Griffuelhes was elected general secretary of the CGT. Emile Pouget, the editor of the CGT's Voix du peuple since its creation in 1900, was chosen as his deputy. With the merger of the two organisations in 1902 these four men became the effective leaders of the syndicalist movement and through a variety of newspapers and pamphlets were to be its principal publicists. With the exception of Griffuelhes, who in his early years had been a supporter of Blanqui, each came to syndicalism from anarchism.

Anarchists in France began to turn their attention towards the syndicats in 1894 when the era of propaganda by the deed effectively came to an end. [62] In October of that year Pouget published an article entitled 'A roublard, roublard et demi' in his journal Le Pere Peinard in which he argued that the syndicats could provide 'les anarchos' with fertile terrain for their activities. [63] The following year Pelloutier continued the theme with an article entitled 'L'Anarchisme et les syndicats ouvriers' in Jean Grave's anarchist Les Temps nouveaux. [64] Shortly afterwards Paul Delesalle began a regular column under the rubric of 'Mouvement ouvrier' in the same paper. Yvetot's contribution to the debate came later in the pages of Sebastien Faure's Le Libertaire.

The central issue posed for the anarchists by the syndicats was the extent to which the syndicats were organisations capable of effecting revolutionary change. [65] For those anarchists opposed to entry into the syndicalist movement, the syndicats gave rise to profound misgivings. The syndicats, they argued, were by their very nature reformist organisations operating within the capitalist system to secure piecemeal improvements in conditions of work and thus were incapable of generating a radical transformation of society. Andre Lorulet, a columnist in Le Libertaire and founder member of the anti-syndicalist L'Anarchie, argued, for example, that the syndicats by 'sanctioning' the existence of the employers and the wage earners actually prolonged 'the life of the existing social structure'. [66] For Lorulet, the capitalist system could only be destroyed, not reformed. Secondly, for individualist anarchists the syndicats as organisations represented a positive threat to the liberty of the individual. 'When the workers have become conscious', Lorulet wrote, 'they will flee the syndicats because they will see that these authoritarian organisations are barriers to the extension of their personality and their action'. [67] Further, those anarchists opposed to syndicalism argued that it was incorrect to assume that the interests of organised labour were necessarily identical to those of all the oppressed and exploited. Preferring to talk of individuals rather than classes they were deeply sceptical of appeals to working-class solidarity. 'All those lacking in consciousness', Lorulet stated, 'are our adversaries'. [68] This category included those workers who had been integrated into and rewarded by the capitalist system. For the individualist anarchist, therefore, the chosen field of action was the affinity group ('groupe d'affinite), a loosely structured assembly of like-minded individuals. [69] 'A combative anarchist', Max Pelerin wrote, dismissing the utility of the syndicats, 'will always find a field of action where he will be able to assert himself and carry out propaganda'. [70] The revolution would be the work not of the 'aristocracy of labour' but of what was described by Ernest Girault as the 'black mass': the unemployed, the disinherited, those who remained outside the system and who felt the full force of its exploitative power. [71]

For those anarchists prepared to endorse the suitability of the syndicats for their purposes another question arose. If the syndicats were useful means to bring about the revolution what role, if any, would they have in the ideal libertarian society of the future? A communist anarchist pamphlet entitled Les Anarchistes et les syndicats published in 1898 [72] which sought to criticise 'the repugnance felt by certain anarchists towards entering into the syndicats' nevertheless concluded that while the syndicat was of value as 'an instrument of struggle' it was not to be seen as 'the model of the future society'. After the revolution, it argued, the syndicat 'must disappear or be modified to make way for free associations for production'. [73] The fear was that the syndicat could establish itself as a new form of political and social authority.

In his writings from 1894 onwards Emile Pouget sought to challenge and dispel these 'prejudices'. [74] For Pouget it was clear that the anarchists needed to change their tactics. In the wake of the repression that constituted the response of the State to propaganda by the deed the anarchist movement in France had been virtually destroyed. For Pouget the creation of 'groupes d'affinite" appeared to be an inadequate response to this new situation. Lacking 'roots in the masses' such groups would find it difficult to recruit new adherents. The dilemma facing anarchists was thus easily articulated. 'I am', Pouget wrote, 'an anarchist; I wish to sow my ideas: what is the land where they will germinate the best? I already have the factory, the bar . . . I would like something better, a place where I would find workers beginning to understand the exploitation that we are suffering and racking their brains to find a remedy. Does that place exist?' [75] Pouget was in no doubt about the answer. Having long believed that the workers must carry out the revolution themselves a period of enforced exile in London had familiarised him with the growing trade union movement in Britain and had further convinced him that the anarchists had much to gain from entry into these organisations. In contrast to the 'groupe d'affinite" the svndicat was the natural meeting place of those workers who were discontented with their 'sad lot'. [76] Surrounded by his comrades the 'prolo' would begin his 'intellectual education'. Politicians would be kept away; the workers, through strike activity, would learn that the government was always on the side of the bosses and that nothing could be expected from the capitalist system. Pouget was equally clear about the function of the syndicat. Firstly it must 'watch' the employer, prevent him from 'reducing' salaries and from carrying out similar 'dirty tricks (crapuleries)'. Beyond this 'everyday task', the syndicat would prepare the revolution of the future. Thus the syndicat was both an instrument of resistance and a vehicle of revolution. The task of the anarchists, Pouget argued, was to ensure that the syndicats performed both of these functions. If in 'A roublard, roublard et demi' Pouget did not refer explicitly to the place of the syndicat in a libertarian society, this omission was rectified in later articles. In 'Action corporative et duperie politique', [77] published in January 1898, Pouget stated clearly that the syndicat must be seen as 'the embryo of the future society', capable of organising 'communist production'.

The arguments deployed by Delesalle and Yvetot to justify anarchist involvement in the syndicats were of a similar character. In L'Action syndicale et les anarchistes, [78] for example, Delesalle, after having underlined the importance of the syndicat as 'the group which best represents the exploited class in the struggle against the avidity of the class which exploits', argued that the role of the anarchists within the syndicats was twofold: to demonstrate the futility of reforms and to push the syndicats towards the pursuit of revolutionary goals. For both Delesalle and Yvetot little could be expected from what Delesalle described as 'the army of the unemployed, vagabonds and declasse' elements'. [79] 'The beggar', Yvetot wrote, 'commits suicide or allows himself to die of hunger whilst the worker fights through the strike or otherwise and if he dies it is because he has been killed and not because he has committed suicide'. [80] It was therefore a matter of being practical. Whilst the ideal might well be the 'exclusively revolutionary group', if the anarchists wished seriously to destroy the iniquitous society in which they lived, the 'ivory tower' had to be abandoned. The syndicat offered the most direct and efficient means through which the anarchists could influence 'the great mass of the exploited'. [81] "Pure theory', Delesalle wrote, 'has too often absorbed us: it is time to know if we wish to return to action'. [82]

Where the libertarian beliefs of men such as Pouget and Delesalle were much in evidence was in their conception of the appropriate organisational structure of the syndicalist movement. As anarchists they were intimately aware that libertarian ends could only be achieved through libertarian means and were thus consistent critics of what they saw as the tactics and practices of 'Marxist authoritarianism'. [83] Moreover they realised that the syndicats, if allowed to ossify and to develop bureaucratic and centralised systems of control, could themselves become autocratic and authoritarian. This concern was reflected in a variety of different arguments. Responding to the charge that belonging to the syndicat meant an 'annihilation of one's individuality', Delesalle replied that the CGT was not 'a directing committee nor a workers' Senate but a simple correspondence bureau intended to put organisations in contact with each other'. [84] Elsewhere he described the CGT as a 'registering office'. [85] This, in turn, was an echo of Pouget's remark that the central committee of the CGT should be seen as 'a kind of switchboard'. [86] The idea was that the CGT would lack any executive authority. Each syndicat, each bourse du travail, would be autonomous. Instead of centralisation there would be 'the most absolute federalism'. [87] Such was Delesalle's opposition to centralisation within the syndicalist movement that he opposed the merger of the CGT and the bourses du travail in 1902. In a polemic with one of its supporters, Louis Niel, he argued that 'unity' would mean that the proletariat would be in the hands of 'a single committee charged with presiding over the destiny of the working class'. As the CGT and the bourses du travail performed different functions they should remain separate organisations. 'In opposition to "unitary" centralisation', Delesalle wrote, 'I propose decentralisation . . . the greatest number of directing groups'. [88] Delesalle subsequently changed his opinion on this issue but only when convinced that the CGT was not a 'centralising organism'. [89]

Pouget was equally adamant that membership of a syndicat did not and should not entail a loss of individual autonomy. [90] As a member of the syndicat, Pouget wrote, the worker entered into a contract with his comrades but this contract was 'revocable' at any moment and did not entail the 'suspension or abdication of the personality which distinguishes and characterises political votes'. The worker did not delegate authority or grant an unlimited mandate to a set of elected representatives. The division of labour within the syndicat was purely administrative: hence the liberty of the member of the syndicat was safeguarded. 'Autonomous he was', Pouget wrote, 'autonomous he remains'. Further, it was precisely in the syndicat that the worker could develop his personality to the full. The syndicat was a 'school of the will'.

Yvetot and Delesalle as general and assistant secretaries of the Federation des bourses du travail also let it be known that they regretted Pelloutier's original decision to accept subventions from municipal authorities as funding for the bourses du travail. An 'autonomous life' as befitted the 'dignity' of the workers, Delesalle remarked, demanded that the bourses du travail should be free of all 'financial and political tutelage'. [91]

For those anarchists prepared to enter into the syndicats, therefore, the aim was to utilise and exploit the opportunities provided by the syndicalist movement. Whilst for Pouget and Yvetot the syndicat was not the ideal means to achieve the emancipation of the proletariat they, nevertheless, believed that, under their own impetus, the syndicats and the bourses du travail were capable of bringing about revolutionary change and in a manner compatible with their own libertarian beliefs. It was, as Yvetot remarked, a case of 'pushing syndicalism to the extreme limits of its logic' [92]

This should not, however, be taken to mean that the syndicalist movement as it functioned in the first decade of the twentieth century was the product of anarchist theory. As Victor Griffuelhes remarked, it was rather 'the result of a long practice created more by events than by this or that man'. [93] In effect, the anarchists and the syndicalist movement converged. At the very moment that men like Delesalle were seeking a new terrain for their activities the syndicats were distancing themselves and were being distanced from the political parties of the Left. [94]

Victor Griffuelhes had little difficulty co-operating with his anarchist colleagues. Born in 1874 of working-class parents Griffuelhes had left school at the age of fourteen to become a shoemaker. Drawn to socialism by the 'numerous hardships' he had suffered, in 1896 he joined the Blanquist movement. Blanquism, as Edouard Dolleans commented, 'was more a temperament than a political doctrine': [95] by the middle of the 1890s it had all but abandoned the conspiratorial and insurrectional socialism of its founder. Loyal to the memory (and the myth) of the Paris Commune -- Patrick Hutton has described Blanquism as 'the politics of anniversary remembrance' [96] -- the Blanquists opposed the doctrinaire socialism of Jules Guesde and defended the independence of groups and individuals within the socialist movement.

Griffuelhes was thus as determined in his defence of the autonomy of the syndicalist movement as were the anarchists. [97] He was equally aware of the dangers posed by an undue emphasis and reliance upon organisational structures. One recurring topic of discussion amongst syndicalists was the low subscriptions paid by members and, it was argued, the inefficiency and poverty of the syndicats which followed as a consequence. French unions were frequently compared unfavourably with their British and German counterparts. Griffuelhes saw little need for change. What the French syndicats lacked in money, he argued, they made up for in 'enthusiasm, energy, the sentiment of sacrifice and the sense of battle'. [98] Did the immense financial and human resources of the German electricians' union, he asked, save it from defeat? It was 'the vigour of the combatants', not a strong organisation, that mattered. [99]

Griffuelhes, significantly, made much of the comparison between the differing characteristics of the trade union movement in France and Germany. Drawing upon his own experience of dealing with German labour leaders and the views expressed by Robert Michels, Griffuelhes concluded that organisation itself was a hindrance to action. The 'immoderate love of moderation' displayed by the Germans could be explained by their desire to avoid any action which might possibly 'endanger the vast but fragile edifice of their organisation'." [100] Superimposed upon this account of the conservatism of the German unions was what amounted to a classification by racial types. Whilst the first reaction of the German worker was to obey, that of the French worker was to revolt, to resist, to protest, to respond by immediate action. 'The German worker', Griffuelhes wrote, 'is unfamiliar with the free and irreverent (frondeur) spirit that is our distinctive trademark and is always gripped by fear and dread.' [101] Vestiges of Blanquist revolutionary nationalism, these sentiments were to have an important impact upon the actions of Griffuelhes in later years.

These four men then were the principal exponents of revolutionary syndicalism in the first decade of the twentieth century. In numerous pamphlets, newspaper and journal articles, and at CGT conferences, they set forth what amounted to a relatively consistent and coherent statement of their position. What they lacked in theoretical sophistication they made up for in courage and conviction: Delesalle alone amongst them managed to avoid a stay in prison. Their purpose -- as befitted what they saw as their role as revolutionary journalists -- was not to engage in intellectual debate (although they undoubtedly did this) but to inspire the working class to action. As Delesalle remarked, in Pouget's articles in La Voix du peuple 'it was the whole working class which fought through his pen'. [102]

What undoubtedly was missing from their writings was any detailed economic analysis of the working of the capitalist system. For each alike capitalism was perceived in simple terms: it was an iniquitous system which enslaved the worker. Paul Delesalle, for example, in a pamphlet entitled Aux travailleurs--la greve, [103] after having argued that the cause of exploitation lay in the seizure of the means of production by the 'strongest, craftiest and most intelligent', concluded that the person 'who has only his labour is the slave of he who owns'. For Pouget capitalism had produced a sharp divide. On the one side were the 'thieves, the masters', those who had appropriated the fruits of the labour of others; on the other side were the 'robbed, the enslaved', those who lived at the mercy of their employers.' [104] Both argued that the situation of the worker was little better than that of the feudal serf: ownership of the machine meant ownership of the man. The proletarian, Griffuelhes argued, lived a life of insecurity and hardship whilst the non-producer, the capitalist, enjoyed an excess of consumption. [105] The capitalist system was thus institutionalised robbery: class war was inevitable. The goal of the syndicalist movement, therefore, could be nothing less than the complete disappearance of the categories of wage-earner and employer and the creation of a society based upon communist principles. [106]

Delesalle and his colleagues offered nothing comparable to the detailed studies of capitalism that were such a feature of orthodox Marxism and it was not until Alphonse Merrheim produced his richly documented account of the metallurgical industry and its pattern of organisation that anyone within the CGT sought to provide an analysis of how the capitalist system actually worked. This is not difficult to understand. None of the four men under discussion had more than a knowledge of the rudiments of economic theory. Furthermore. if following Pelloutier the emphasis was to be placed upon the education of the workers, in the heady days of syndicalist expansion and increased militancy it seemed sufficient that the workers recognised that the capitalist system had to be eradicated, not reformed, and that liberty would only exist when private property had been abolished. The revolution did not depend upon the evolution of capitalism or even knowledge of its evolution: it was primarily to be the result of an act of will on the part of the workers themselves. Hence there was little need to do more than expose the injustices of the system. Merrheim's awareness of the power of the steelowners led him to a different conclusion. [107]

At the heart of revolutionary syndicalist doctrine lay the conception of the syndicalist movement as 'le parti du travail'. [108] The syndicat, it was argued, by its very nature united workers according to their economic interests and it was assumed that these interests were more real and permanent than any other considerations or opinions that an individual might entertain. The syndicat, Delesalle wrote, 'groups together and could only group together men having common and identical interests and pursuing the same end'." [109] Common needs, which themselves were the product of an identical economic position, would give rise to a concordance of views. It was therefore argued, by Pouget for example, that all the members of the working class, irrespective of how 'baroque' their philosophical, political or religious beliefs might be, were welcome to join the syndicats. It was simply required that these views were not introduced into the activities of the CGT. 'The syndicat', Pouget wrote, 'groups together those who work against those who live by human exploitation: it brings together interests and not opinions'. [110]

By implication the syndicats could only be open to members of the working class. There was, Delesalle wrote, 'no place for alliances or compromises with the bourgeoisie or the intermediary classes . . . whose immediate interests are in conflict with those of the workers'. [111] If this meant opposition to the class described by Pouget as 'les souteneurs', the 'parasites' who defended the capitalist system, it also entailed the exclusion of middle class intellectuals and politicians from the syndicalist movement. The working class, Yvetot wrote, 'is right to mistrust people who, not having suffered the same misery, have not received the same education'. [112] Moreover, in Pouget's view, the syndicat did not, in any case, provide an environment in which such people could satisfy their personal ambitions: anyone pursuing a 'selfish or private end' would quickly realise that the syndicats could not offer rewards or positions of prominence and thus would 'exclude themselves voluntarily' from the movement. [113] It also meant hostility to the very idea of syndicats composed exclusively of members of the liberal professions. It made no sense, Griffuelhes argued, to consider doctors as wage-earners. [114]

The class-based nature of the syndicat was deemed to be in marked contrast to the pattern of support and membership of all political parties. What distinguished the political party (including those of the Left) was precisely that it grouped people according to opinions and not interests -- parties, Pouget wrote, 'were an incoherent mish-mash of men whose interests were in opposition' [115] -- and, therefore, at best the political party could only possess a fragile unity which was easily broken when a conflict of economic interests arose. [116] In addition, political parties, given their goal of the conquest of the apparatus of the State, were fertile ground for middle-class opportunists.

Hubert Lagardelle was subsequently to give the distinction between party and syndicat greater force by extending it into a full-scale critique of the theoretical postulates of democratic theory but in the hands of the leaders of the CGT the point was a simple one: the syndicat, not the political party, was the natural expression of the real needs and aspirations of the producers and for as long as it grouped together only producers it could not be deflected from seeking the end of the exploitation created by capitalism. [117] 'In opposition to the present society which only knows the citizen', Pouget wrote, 'stands from now on the producer'. [118]

What was less evident was the concern that 'le parti du travail' should be composed only of the conscious producers. Yvetot, for example, displayed an open contempt for 'lafoule', the crowd. The masses, he argued, were 'stupefied by work and alcohol, by the prejudices of the family, the school and the barracks'. [119] In an article contrasting the revolutionary syndicalists with 'les jaunes', Yvetot condemned the members of the yellow unions (which sought to cooperate with the employers) for being 'ignorant, unconscious individuals, lacking dignity'. The 'reds', in comparison, were 'men who had not left their virility in the confessional, their human dignity in the barracks and who had not drowned their reason and will in alcohol' [120]

Further, the distinction between the conscious and unconscious producer was also utilised to justify the predominance of the revolutionary syndicalists within the CGT itself. In 1904 at the Congress of Bourges the debate about the appropriate manner of selection and representation for the syndicalist movement came to a climax. The reformists, including Auguste Keufer, favoured proportional representation, a system which distributed votes according to the numbers of members belonging to each syndicat and hence which favoured the largest unions, whilst the revolutionaries believed that each syndicat, irrespective of size, should have the same vote. The opponents of proportional representation carried the day. [121] The issue was in part a question of tactics (proportional representation would almost certainly have brought the ascendancy of the revolutionaries to an end) but it was also a reflection of a genuine disagreement about the prerogatives of what was normally referred to as 'la minorite agissante'. In a commentary upon the Congress of Bourges, for example, Pouget argued that the adoption of proportional representation 'would permit the numerous and ponderous masses to paralyse the conscious minorities and hence would be an instrument of reaction'. [122]

The hostility to proportional representation derived to a large extent from the general aversion to the ballot box and to what Pouget described as 'I'idee democratique vulgaire'. Voting was regarded as an abdication of the self: it taught the people nothing and encouraged them to rely upon the actions and ideas of others. 'One is an elector', Pouget wrote, 'on condition that one is simple enough to wish to be one'. After having voted, he argued, one became again the slave of the representative, 'the servant of the successful candidate'. [123] The electoral system also encouraged the workers to believe the promises of politicians. 'Accustomed to being intoxicated by hollow phrases', Delesalle wrote, 'the masses have marched behind words'. [124] They had thus come to abdicate responsibility for their own emancipation to what Yvetot described as 'a miserable piece of paper which carries the name of a dangerous third-rate actor politician'. [125] The principal objection to the voting process, however, drew upon an elitist characterisation of the individual voter as an unreflecting and compliant slave and of the majority as docile sheep. [126] It was this argument that was used to maximum effect and with no attempt at concealment in the debate about proportional representation within the syndicalist movement.

'Universal suffrage', Pouget argued, 'gives power to unconscious and inactive individuals (or better to their representatives) and suffocates the minority who carry the future within themselves'. [127] Applied to the syndicats this 'democratic system' would mean that control would be in the hands of an 'inert' mass which 'enjoys economic slavery'. The conscious minority, Pouget believed, were alone 'called upon to decide and to act' and were furthermore under an 'inexorable obligation' to do so 'without taking into account the refractory mass'. The 'zeros humains' who constituted the 'amorphous and numerous mass' could have little complaint with this arrangement. The majority would benefit from the actions of the minority whilst the minority would suffer the hardships of 'the battle'. Moreover, Pouget assumed that the conscious minority would always act in the interests of the majority. Syndicalist activity, no matter how small the militant minority, never pursued an 'individual and particularist aim'. [128] For the revolutionaries, therefore, little could be expected of the majority and of an electoral system which gave them power. Exhausted by work and in the grip of ignorance the majority would enjoy only moments of lucidity and this thanks to the endeavours of the revolutionary minority. The task ahead was thus one of creating a minority strong enough to overthrow the class which owned and controlled the capitalist system. 'Minorite contre minorite' was the watchword. [129]

This argument was itself a reflection of a wider and deeper rejection of politics and the political process as they existed in the Third Republic. The articles written by Pouget for Le Pere Peinard during the 1890s, for example, made constant reference to the corruption and duplicity of political life and to the fraudulent and unscrupulous nature of the Republic. Marianne, the female symbol of the Republic and of its virtue, was described as a slut, 'une salope'. 'In place of the Marianne of their dreams', Pouget wrote, 'the people have seen a horrible seductress saving her embraces for upper-class swine'. [130] The people, he argued, had believed that the Republic would bring them liberty and well-being, 'le bricheton assure': in reality, nothing had changed except the 'facade' of the regime. The only beneficiaries of the Republic were the 'swindlers': bankers, clergymen and judges, with Rothschild and his family as the 'king of kings'. [131] The Republic, Pouget commented, has 'created a new royalty, that of gold, more rapacious and murderous than the former one'.

The activity of politics was seen as being inherently corrupting and corrupt. For anarchists such as Pouget this was no more than a self-evident truth that was daily confirmed by the numerous scandals that rocked and afflicted the regime and its political establishment. 'Parliament', Pouget wrote, 'is a bazaar where entry is not free and where those who enter seek not to educate themselves but to dupe their fellows'. [132] This, in Pouget's opinion, was true not only of the defenders of the regime but also of those who, in theory, sought its overthrow. In Variations guesdistes Pouget delighted in exposing what he saw as the 'bad faith' of Jules Guesde and his followers. [133] Tracing Guesde's path from that of an anarchist who sought to prevent Marx from dominating the International to that of leader of a socialist party which only sought success within 'the four walls of the Chamber of Deputies', Pouget concluded that the Guesdists were 'politicians without scruple or conscience, changing their views according to the interests of the moment and subordinating everything to personal ambition'. [134] The pursuit of power and their 'shabby envy for bourgeois and aristocratic pleasure' led them to abandon all principles in the need to attract votes. 'The vote! the vote!', he wrote elsewhere, 'for them, there is no more than that: this crap (couillonnade) has become their sole obsession (dada)' [135]

This critical assessment of Republican democracy was forcefully put to the test by the Dreyfus Affair. If the events and agitation that surrounded the campaign to release Dreyfus posed dilemmas for socialists -- should they defend a bourgeois regime? -- then the issues raised for anarchists were even more acute -- should they even co-operate with their bourgeois enemies and, above all, should they lend their support to the defence of a system of government? [136]

Initially Pouget, like nearly everyone else in France, did not doubt that Dreyfus was guilty. Further, in line with most of the anarchist press, he claimed to be indifferent to the fate of someone who as a bourgeois army officer was by definition an enemy of the people. This position was reaffirmed by Pouget immediately after the publication of Zola's 'J'accuse' in an article entitled 'Soyons nous-memes! ni dreyfusiens ni esterhaziens'. [137] 'Between these two bands of swindlers', he wrote with a characteristic turn of phrase, 'we should not take sides'.

The position of the anarchists, with the notable exception of Jean Grave, began noticeably to change early in 1898. Sebastien Faure, the editor of Le Libertaire, canvassed anarchist involvement in the Dreyfusard movement as a means of exposing the secrecy of government. Pouget was at first critical of this position but during 1898 his views were slowly to change and when Faure launched the pro-Dreyfus Journal du peuple in February 1899 Pouget was to be found amongst its contributors.

At issue in the Dreyfus Affair, Pouget argued, was not primarily the fate of Dreyfus as an individual but the struggle between the forces of reaction and revolution. [138] 'Are we to fall', he wrote, 'more completely than ever under the yoke of the Army and the Church?'. The alternative was that the people should profit by the events of the Dreyfus Affair in order to break the bonds that constrained them and thence 'conquer the well-being and liberty that the Republic had been incapable of realising'. [139] Dreyfus, Pouget argued, was the victim of the Jesuits and the 'top brass' of the army and he was their victim precisely because he was a symbol of the Jew. Their aim was not to destroy Dreyfus in person but through him to attack his race. Dreyfus, Pouget repeatedly stressed, could expect little help from the legal system. [140] Victory over the Jesuits could only be secured by 'the arms of the people', 'les biceps populaires'. 'It is to the people', he wrote, concluding his most considered statement on the significance of the Affair, 'that falls the task of routing the Jesuit-military Reaction. It is to the people that belongs the role of securing the revision of the trial of Dreyfus -- not by the ordinary route but by the revolutionary route'. [141]' In 1899 Pouget optimistically believed that as a result of the Dreyfus Affair the people would take that path. His willingness to countenance anarchist involvement in the agitation to release Dreyfus did not therefore entail his reconciliation with the Republican regime.

Paul Delesalle was to display a more positive and less doctrinaire response to anarchist involvement in the Dreyfusard movement and, in contrast to Pouget, he was to feel deep concern for the fate of Dreyfus as an individual. In the early stages of the fight to release Dreyfus anarchists in France frequently argued that the injustices inflicted upon this bourgeois army officer were not unique. 'We too', Delesalle wrote, 'have our innocents in prison'. [142] This was unquestionably true. The 'lois scelerates' of 1894, outlawing anarchist propaganda in the aftermath of the bomb outrages had been used indiscriminately to persecute all anarchists. For Delesalle the Dreyfus case provided an opportunity for anarchists to denounce the iniquity of the 'lois scelerates' and, further, in collaboration with their 'temporary allies' to campaign against all violations of justice and liberty. 'Imbued with the true spirit of justice and truth', Delesalle wrote, 'we shall attack the modern Bastilles'. The anarchists, in their rightful place amongst the 'sincere men' who fought against the forces of reaction, would participate in an alliance that 'could only be to the profit of the whole of humanity.

During 1899 Delesalle translated these words into action. He travelled to Versailles to protect the Dreyfusards at the trial of Emile Zola and on the 11 June he was present at the republican demonstration at Longchamp called as a response to the nationalist demonstration at Auteuil of the previous week. In August he was to be found at Rennes for the retrial of Dreyfus, there to safeguard the life of Colonel Picquart, one of the first men to become convinced of Dreyfus innocence. In letters written to his wife from Rennes Delesalle recorded his impressions of the momentous events that were taking place. 'The entry of Dreyfus into the room', he wrote, 'was not without greatness and despite the profound scorn I feel for army officers I felt my throat tighten when I saw advancing, opposite me, his head high but without conceit, the man who had returned from Devil's Island'. [143] Delesalle's views on the trial were made public in three articles published in the Journal du peuple in September 1899. [144] Nevertheless Delesalle remained convinced that the Dreyfus Affair would above all serve to disgrace the bourgeois Republic and show it to be nothing more than a 'simple grouping of electoral interests'. [145]

If, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Pouget and Delesalle were prepared to endorse anarchist involvement in the Dreyfusard movement, both men were unreservedly critical of the socialist deputy Millerand's entry into government and of the legislation he introduced as Minister of Commerce. Delesalle, for example, was not moved by talk of the Republic in danger: 'big words', he wrote, 'which do not convince even the most credulous of people'. [146] Once in power, he contended, Millerand behaved in exactly the same manner as his bourgeois predecessors. [147] This was not difficult to understand. Millerand, as Pouget explained, had become the 'prisoner of Capital'. No matter how well intentioned he might be. Pouget argued, Millerand 'could not break the mould; he is only a cog in the machine of oppression and whether he wishes it or not he must, as minister, participate in the job of crushing the proletariat'. [148]

Millerand was responsible for the introduction of two important pieces of legislation: a law designed to limit the working hours of women and children in factories to ten hours per day and, more controversially, a law which established compulsory arbitration in industrial disputes. Delesalle articulated the response to the first measure. The effect of restricting the working week of women and children, he argued, would be to force women to work for the manufacturer within their own homes, to take on outwork which was even more exploited than labour in the factory. 'The law on the working hours of women and children', Delesalle wrote, 'has worsened the situation of those that it wished properly to protect, since their work has become more arduous, longer and less well-paid'. [149]

Millerand's second measure was seen as nothing less than an attempt to subordinate the workers' movement to the State and thus prolong the life of the capitalist system. [150] Pouget, in a series of articles entitled 'L'Etranglement des greves', [151] argued strongly that the aim of the law was to constrain the workers, reduce the power of the syndicats 'to zero', and prevent any moves towards a general strike. The workers, he commented, had now even lost the right to die of hunger. For Delesalle, the aim of Millerand's law was clear. The numerous restrictions upon the right to strike, including the inability of the workers to go on strike at a moment of their own choosing, were designed primarily to ensure that 'the employers avoided the risk entailed in strikes'. [152]

For the leaders of the syndicalist movement Millerand was not to be the only socialist who, on becoming a minister, betrayed the workers' movement. During the first decade of the twentieth century Rene Viviani and Aristide Briand were to follow Millerand's example. Briand's treason was, in many respects, the most spectacular. A former advocate of the general strike and friend of Pelloutier, in 1910 as Minister of the Interior he broke a general strike of railwaymen by the use of the most draconian methods. Having declared a military emergency he threatened all strikers with court martial.

By the time of these events the disillusionment felt towards the Republic by many syndicalists was complete. To a certain extent syndicalist hostility towards the Republic derived from straightforward theoretical premises. As an anarchist it made sense for Yvetot to comment that a republic was no different from a monarchy. All governments were the same: 'it is only the name and the personnel which change'. [153] But this was not the case for all syndicalists: for others it was the Republic in action that was decisive in shaping their views. In an article entitled 'Le Fond et la forme' [154] Griffuelhes argued that the workers wanted the substance of emancipation, 'le fond', and not just its form, the Republic, and that the interests of the workers must not be sacrificed to the form of the regime. The German Empire, he contended, had done more for the people than the French Republic. Why was it, he asked in 'Monarchie et Republique' [155] that in republican France retired workers were helped by the State at seventy whilst under the Danish monarchy it was at the age of sixty? The nature of the regime, he concluded, was not the cause of progress for the working class: what mattered most was the extent to which the proletariat was prepared to assert and defend its own interests.

It was, however, the manner in which the Republic responded to the demands of the workers and in particular to strikes by workers that did most to disabuse revolutionary syndicalists of what residual faith they might have been prepared to place in it. Strike action all too frequently resulted in the use of the army and, in increasing numbers, in the death of workers at the hands of the military.

In 1898 Pouget could be found comparing the Republic to the Second Empire of Napoleon III. [156] After the turn of the century this comparison became a commonplace. Commenting upon the deployment of the army to deal with a strike at Montceau-les-Mines in 1901 Pouget remarked that nothing had changed with the entry of Millerand into government: 'the troops bivouac at Montceau in the same way that under the Empire they bivouaced at Aubin'. [157]

Events gave ample opportunity to re-affirm these sentiments in the years which preceded Briand's defeat of the railwaymen. In October 1905 Delesalle penned an article entitled 'Assez de massacres' in which he drew attention to the fact that every significant labour dispute brought with it the immediate detachment of troops to the area. [158] In 1906 Alphonse Merrheim provided a detailed account in Le Mouvement socialiste of a strike which began in May of that year in the Breton town of Hennebont. [159] What Merrheim described was a town under virtual military siege in which the State lent its total support to the employer in an effort to crush the strike and intimidate the workers. The minority that made up the nonstrikers -- in the name of 'the liberty to work' -- received military escorts to and from their place of employment; the leaders of the strike were threatened with imprisonment; the streets were patrolled by cavalrymen 'with drawn swords'. Merrheim concluded from this experience that 'the Republic is no better than any other social regime' and that if the Republic had freed the worker from 'moral oppression' it had replaced it by a ferocious and pitiless 'economic oppression'. The workers, he argued, had understood that 'the priest, the owner of the chateau, the director of the factory, the Republic, in their mutual complicity, were in equal measure the Masters that must be removed'. [160] The following year the 'massacre' of striking peasants near Narbonne produced the publication of the CGT's broadsheet headed 'Government d'Assassins' [161] and this feeling of outrage and bitterness towards the Republic was proclaimed with even greater fervour after the death of strikers in clashes with the army at Draveil-Vignous and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges in l908. [162] A cartoon printed in La Voix du peuple showing Clemenceau, the prime minister of the day, balancing two scales of blood and which read 'Last year I massacred the peasants of Narbonne with cavalry from Paris! This year I'm massacring the workers of Paris with cavalry from the Midi! That's Equality' [163] summarises perfectly the antipathy felt by the revolutionary syndicalists towards the Republic and what they saw as its hollow and meaningless principles. In article after article Clemenceau was vilified. He was, Pouget wrote, not only the king of the cops, he is also the emperor of the informers and the leader of the prison warders. [164] Of Clemenceau, Griffuelhes asked, docs he want more corpses? [165]

The combined effect of what was seen as the repeated betrayal of the workers' movement by socialist ministers and the violent repression meted out to strikers was to place leaders of the syndicalist movement such as Pouget in a position where they could, with conviction and authority, argue that the proletariat should scorn polities and seek to destroy the State. There could be nothing in common between the people and those who sought to govern them. To see Millerand, the socialist deputy, by the side of General Gallifet, who had taken part in the suppression of the Paris Commune, was to realise that all politicians were unprincipled careerists. The State, even in the form of the democratic republic, was not a neutral institution capable of performing a mediating role in class conflicts: it always sided with the capitalists. Pelloutier's relative indifference towards the Republic was therefore replaced by an increasingly vociferous denunciation of all it appeared to stand for and, as Clemenceau's policy of repression led to more deaths and the imprisonment of the syndicalist movement's leaders, few, if any, would have voiced the opinion that the Republic was worth saving.

Hostility towards the Republic was reflected in the response of revolutionary syndicalists to the clerical issue. The Republic had sought to convince the people that the clergy was their principal enemy and that emancipation would be achieved by an assault upon the power of the Church and, in particular, by the dissolution of its educational monopoly. Freedom meant intellectual liberty which, in practice, meant that French men were to be taught to think like good republicans. The revolutionary syndicalists agreed that the Church was an enemy of the people but saw it only as a secondary target. Cleriealism, Yvetot agreed, was the enemy (as Gambetta had stated) 'but it is not the only enemy'. [l66] Getting rid of the elergy would make no difference if the religion of Christ was replaced by the religion of the Republic: 'we do not wish to free ourselves from one', Yvetot wrote, 'only to become the dupes of the other'. [167] The real enemies of the people were those who oppressed and enslaved them and this meant not only the removal of the Church but principally the bourgeois State in the guise of the Republic. 'Down with the church', Yvetot proclaimed, 'and all the filthy vermin of the mind who live in it! Down with the State and all those who support and perpetuate it!'. [l68] The relative unimportance attached to the clerical issue by the revolutionary syndicalists is, however, best shown by the fact that, in an age where the republican press delighted in exposing the minor misdemeanours of even the lowliest country priest, the syndicalist press devoted little space to the activities of the Church.

The issue which, by contrast, did receive enormous attention was anti-militarism. It was here that could be seen the true extent of the divide which separated the syndicalists from the Republic. The anti-militarist campaign gathered pace after 1900. By 1906 anti-militarism had been conflated with anti-patriotism and this, in theory at least, meant an unwillingness to go to war to save the French Republic. At a minimum three factors serve to explain the importance that the syndicalists were prepared to attach to this campaign. [169] After the turn of the century, and especially after the Morocco crisis of 1905, a war between the European powers seemed increasingly likely. [170] Secondly, syndicalist leaders in France grew ever more distrustful of their German counterparts and felt that a concerted internationalist campaign was necessary if the German proletariat was to be prevented from lending its support to the Kaiser in the event of war. Griffuelhes for one never forgot the unsympathetic reception he received from German labour leaders in January 1906. But it was, above all, the systematic use of the army to defeat striking workers that raised anti-militarism to its position of prominence.

The army came to be seen as the principal defender of the capitalist system and of the bourgeois Republic. 'The army', Yvetot wrote, 'is the impassable barrier that must be destroyed'. [171] Syndicalists were haunted by the thought of young workers conscripted into the army being used to quell the protests of their former comrades. 'The bourgcoisie', Pouget commented, 'has perfected the system of exploitation. It protects itself by the use of the workers who create its wealth and when the workers in overalls demand a better lot it sends against them the workers in red trousers'. [172] A cartoon in La Voix du peuple showed a young soldier returning home to his mother only to discover that he had killed his own father during a labour dispute. Syndicalist propaganda repeatedly called upon soldiers to disobey orders if told by their officers to shoot at members of their own class.

The anti-militarist campaign had several dimensions. It involved, first of all, the frequent description and characterisation of the army as an institution which brutalised and degraded the recruit. Army discipline was designed to dehumanise, to produce a passive and unconscious animal capable of committing the most vicious acts. Life in the barracks corrupted the soldier and introduced him to the perils of sexual excess and perversion. One special object of attack was the system of punishment deployed in army prisons. The army, Yvetot wrote in the Manuel du soldat, is 'not only the school of crime; it is also the school of vice, the school of cheating, of idleness, of hypocrisy and of cowardice'. [173]

After the army came an attack upon the very idea of the nation, 'la patrie'. Republicanism had made much of the supposed virtues of the French nation and of the patriotic duty of all Frenchmen to defend the cultural patrimony of France. For revolutionary syndicalists these words were meaningless. [174] 'I am a stranger', Griffuelhes wrote, 'to everything that constitutes the moral dimension of our nation. I possess nothing; I must sell my labour in order to satisfy even my smallest needs. Therefore nothing which for some people forms a homeland exists for me. I cannot be a patriot'. [175] Why should the worker protect something he did not belong to or own? The only 'patrie' the worker possessed was where he worked and from this perspective national frontiers were irrelevant. Yvetot agreed. If, he wrote, the worker, 'starving, without a home, without affection in the land of his birth, crosses the border in order to find an agreeable and easy life, to have friends, to start a family, he forgets his homeland'. [176] Only someone with the temperament of a well trained dog, he argued, could be a patriot. Nor did they set much store by the democratic liberties granted to every French citizen. As Delesalle pointed out, his own experience had been one of constant persecution and intimidation. Was France really superior in this respect to the other nations of Europe? [177] Overall their general point was that the real division was not between nations but between the exploited and the exploiters. As Yvetot subsequently commented, for the workers the lost provinces were not called Alsace and Lorraine but Life and Liberty.' [178]

Faced with the phenomenon of militarism and the threat of war soldiers and workers were called upon to respond. [179] Yvetot, in particular, counselled the conscript to disobey orders or desert. [180] Delesalle recommended those not wishing to join the army to go to prison rather than act against their will. [181] Soldiers were encouraged to turn their barracks into 'schools of revolt, to make contact with the workers in the local bourse du travail and to propagandise the syndicalist message among their colleagues. Above all, the conscript was to be reminded that after his two years in the army he would rejoin the ranks of the proletariat.

In the event of war Pouget and his colleagues had one answer: the general strike. [182] Scorning the schemes for international arbitration advocated by Jaures and the revolutionary patriotism associated with the French Left the workers were to be exhorted to turn the declaration of war into a social revolution that would bring an end to the exploitation of man by man. [183] But even in 1906, before the syndicalist movement faced the difficult task of attempting to put these ideas into practice, these sentiments were qualified. 'I would excuse', Yvetot wrote, 'French workers or the workers of a nation politically analagous to our own who agreed to go to war in order to resist the invasion of Russian despotism or Turkish barbarism'. [184] The clear implication was that, if in the eyes of the revolutionary syndicalists there was little to choose between the French Republic and the political systems of its often monarchical neighbours, this argument certainly did not apply to Csarist Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

Anti-patriotism clearly did not imply pacifism. Indeed, Charles Guieysse, the editor of Pages libres and one of the most perceptive commentators upon the syndicalist movement, pointed out that there existed profound similarities in the ethos typical of a bellicose patriotism and a doctrine which endorsed the class war. 'In revolutionary action', he wrote, 'one finds exactly the same qualities as in patriotic action: the sacrifice of individuals to the collectivity, the use of force for a task which is greater than the individual interest and which appears just'. [185] Moreover, it was accepted that the workers were not yet ready for such a grandiose gesture as a general strike in the event of war. The state of readiness could only be attained as a result of incessant propaganda and a lengthy process of education. 'In order to kill militarism', Yvetot wrote, 'it is necessary as a preliminary to kill the spirit of it'. [186]

Syndicalists were therefore obliged to consider how this end could be achieved and this led them inevitably to reflect not only upon the general question of how the workers attained a level of revolutionary consciousness but also upon the need for educational reform. [187] The general view was that the workers learnt primarily through action. 'In the syndicats', Pouget wrote, 'we philosophise little. We do better than that: we act'. [l88] Griffuelhes provided two lengthy accounts which appeared to support this argument: Voyage revolutionnaire and La Greve des de'laineurs de Mazzamet. [189] In Voyage revolutionnaire he showed how the vast majority of both rural and industrial workers, untouched by the agitation and propaganda of the syndicalist movement, remained in a position of passive submission and obedience. A similar state of affairs existed amongst the sheep-shearers of Mazzamet until the outbreak of a strike. A previously quiescent group of workers, 'hypnotised' by the Church and immune from 'modern ideas', sustained a strike for four months and, in Griffuelhes' view, in the process emancipated themselves from their deferential beliefs. 'What no theory has been able to achieve, what no oral or written propaganda can bring about', Griffuelhes wrote, 'is attained as a result of conflict'. [190] Action, he concluded, was creative: it opened the mind and the eyes.

Nevertheless, it was also recognised that a major obstacle to the intellectual liberation of the proletariat lay in the repressive State educational system. [191] That system, it was generally felt, was an instrument designed to secure the domination of the bourgeoisie. The State school taught the virtues of order, hierarchy and discipline, and respect for the prerogatives of property. The education it offered did not relate to the needs of working-class children: it was centralised and abstract, was imposed upon children in a uniform manner. Above all, it sought to provide the Republic with conscientious and submissive citizens. It was even argued that the real aim of the Republican system of education was to supplement the decadent elite of the bourgeoisie with a new elite drawn from the ranks of the working class. All too frequently, it was recognised, the educated worker deserted his own class. [192]

At the outset it should be noted that the reform of the educational system posed a particular problem for the revolutionary syndicalists: how were they to respond to the desire of State teachers to enter the bourses du travail and thus participate in the workers' movement? [193] The dilemma posed for the syndicalists was a simple one. While they sympathised with the desire of the teachers to free themselves from the tutelage of the State, the teachers were nevertheless perceived as a privileged middle class group. If they had a right to defend their own moral and material interests, as 'fonctionnaires' those interests were different from those of the producers. Delesalle, in particular, itemised what he took to be the likely consequences of the intrusion of the teaching profession. As 'semi-intellectuals' possessing a superior education and speaking skills they would quickly come to dominate their former pupils and would prevent the workers from obtaining the administrative education offered by their own institutions. As employees of the State, Delesalle asked, could the teachers be trusted to put the interests of the syndicat before their own livelihood? Crucially, if it was agreed that the State monopoly of education had to be opposed the syndicalists had little desire to hand over its provision to the teaching profession. The workers were to educate themselves. [194]

For the syndicalists the restructuring of education had several dimensions. [195] There was firstly the question of pedagogical reform. What was to be taught and how? Secondly, there was the problem of its location. Where was that education to take place and who were to be the teachers? By common consent the view was that education should be adapted to meet the needs of the working-class child. 'The educational ideal for us', Yvetot wrote, 'would be to secure the complete preparation of the child for every type of activity'. [196] Physically, intellectually and morally the child was to be made ready to meet the demands of life and work. Both Yvetot and Pouget provided an outline of this envisaged education in practice . [197]

There was to be no distinction between the sexes. Children were to be treated as ends in themselves, as beings in the process of development. Parents were to be denied control over their children's minds. Lessons were to be short, 'with demonstrations and exciting experiences'. There was to be an emphasis upon sport and physical culture; children were to play 'healthy and instructive games' and were to be taught to sing and to laugh. Academic studies were to be practical, not abstract. Children, Yvetot commented, were not to be taught grammar before they had learnt to speak. This applied to all disciplines, including mathematics, geometry and the natural sciences. [198] Children were to learn from observation and their own personal experiences. The natural world was to be studied not in the classroom but in the fields. By making the learning process as agreeable as possible the intention was always to foster the child's insatiable curiosity.

Given the antipathy felt towards the schools of the Republic the aspiration was to create schools that the workers would themselves run and control. In line with the principles set out by Pelloutier and inspired by the example of the model schools established by anarchists such as Jean Grave, the hope was that the workers' children could be given an education within the walls of the bourse du travail. Independent 'ecoles syndicales' were to be established. Yvetot, in particular, believed that this was a practical and feasible project. [199]

An integral part of the education received by the working-class child was to be a training in a trade or craft for which the child, by temperament and ability, was most suited. Again, it was argued that this training should be provided by the workers themselves and not by the State. 'It is', Delesalle wrote, 'in the workshop, the worksite, the factory, in the area of modern production, amidst the progress which every day is realised in each industry, that the apprentice of today, the worker of tomorrow, can learn the trade which will enable him to earn his livelihood and contribute his labour to the community'. [200] Beneath this vision, however, lay the realisation that the syndicats would only be able to provide an education suited to the intellectual and technical needs of the free producers of the future when they themselves had seized control of the means of production. With this we reach the heart of the syndicalist project.

Debate about the precise nature and detail of the appropriate tactics to be employed by the proletariat continued to flourish after the turn of the century (and after Pelloutier's death) as syndicalists sought both to advocate new strategies and to learn from their recent experiences. Significantly, and despite the fact that Delesalle could provide a virtual restatement of Pelloutier's account of the functions of the bourses du travail [201] with the unification of the movement in 1902 it was the syndicat which came increasingly to occupy a position of centrality. Co-operatives, despite the educational opportunities they provided for workers, were deemed to possess only limited potential. 'The primordial error', Delesalle wrote, 'is to believe that it is possible within capitalist society to organise the systems of production and exchange of the future society'. [202] There was, however, an awareness that the peasant, and not just the industrial worker, should be a vital element of the syndicalist movement. Indeed, Pouget went so far as to assert that co-operation between the two groups was indispensable for the success of the revolution. [203]

Jacques Julliard has written that the originality of French syndicalism lies not in the goals it pursued but in the methods it sought to employ. [204] Hostility to the State and the political process combined with a recognition of the primacy of class interests meant that the emancipation of the proletariat had of necessity to be self-emancipation. This formula became known as direct action and, as defined by Pouget, amounted to 'the putting into operation, directly, without intermediaries, without intervention from outside, of the strength which lies within the working class'. [205] The emphasis fell upon autonomy of action and the utilisation of means that the workers themselves employed and controlled. Direct action was action freed from what were regarded as impurities. The working class was to take its destiny into its own hands and to free itself from a faith in a providential State (and a providential God) and the dominance of middle class politicians this implied. [206] Further, in the minds of men like Pouget, direct action was an explicit rejection of the policies of social peace, a pure and undisguised expression of class war. Direct action was also a manifestation of vitality, initiative and human personality: through it the worker learnt 'to reflect, to decide, to act'.

Direct action took several forms and it would, Yvetot argued, vary according to the circumstances and needs of the moment. [207] Given that the system of law was a bourgeois creation designed to protect the established order the legality or otherwise of a particular act was not viewed as a relevant consideration. [208] One of the qualities of direct action was precisely that it extracted concessions from the employers and the State by engendering a sense of fear and duress. Included in the category of direct action were various types of consumer boycott, the award of a label of approval to employers who had met workers' demands and agitation in the streets as a means of exerting external pressure, but in the hands of the revolutionaries its principal manifestations were in the use of sabotage and in strike activity.

Sabotage was first discussed by the CGT when Paul Delesalle presented a report advocating its adoption at the Toulouse Congress of 1897. [209] Emile Pouget had already recommended its use to the readers of Le Pere Peinard and La Sociale and over the next decade was to be its principal supporter. [210] The tactic of sabotage was also unequivocally endorsed by Yvetot and Griffuelhes and, in addition, received support from other syndicalist militants. [211] By contrast, it should be noted, it was not popular amongst the theoreticians of the movement and was unreservedly criticised by Hubert Lagardelle and Georges Sorel. [212]

Sabotage was defined broadly by Pouget as poor work for poor pay. It included go-slows, working to rule (obstructionnisme), the improvement of the quality of goods produced so as to reduce the employer's profit margins, and, in certain circumstances, the destruction of machinery. The existence of two irreconcilable economic classes and, therefore, of two distinct moral codes meant that proletarian acts of sabotage could not be judged by bourgeois values. 'It is necessary', Pouget wrote, 'that the capitalists recognise that the worker will respect the machine only on the day when for him it has become a friend and not, as it is today, an enemy'. [213] The vindication of the use of sabotage lay solely in its efficacy as a means of resisting exploitation and of fulfilling the goals pursued by the working class. Sabotage meant that the proletariat, even in the most difficult and unfavourable circumstances, could always respond to the actions of its enemies. To the charge (voiced by Jaures and Sorel) that sabotage diminished the technical proficiency of the worker and thus undermined the syndicalist vision of the future society, Pouget responded that this argument amounted to a negation of the class struggle. The skills possessed by the workers should not be sold cheaply and moreover, he implied, far from inculcating bad habits sabotage actually increased the initiative and combative qualities of the proletariat.

By far the most controversial aspect of the defence of sabotage was the acceptance of the legitimacy of acts of physical damage in the form of such activities as machine breaking. In Delesalle's submission to the Toulouse Congress it was pacific forms of sabotage that were emphasised but both Pouget and Yvetot made little effort to disguise the fact that, in their view, sabotage also entailed acts of physical violence against machines and property (although not persons). [214] This form of sabotage, Pouget argued, aided the success of strikes. In the first place, it was likely that the strikers would only comprise a minority of the workforce and, in this context, sabotage served to impede 'the desertion of the masses' by making a return to work impossible. Likewise broken machinery prevented the army from strike breaking. Sabotage also served to bring a strike to a speedy conclusion. 'To demonstrate and tighten one's belt for months on end', Yvetot wrote, 'are absurd tactics'. [215] Sabotage received one final justification from Pouget.

In his opinion, sabotage in the form of a whole series of industrial and commercial malpractices which daily impoverished and threatened the lives of the people was the essence of the capitalist system. 'Capitalist sabotage', he wrote, 'is a means of intensive exploitation'. It was the expression of a rapacious greed. In contrast, the sabotage employed by the working class was both generous and altruistic in spirit and intention. By freeing the masses from exploitation 'it was a ferment for a radiant and better future'. [216]

In Aux travailleurs-la greve Paul Delesalle argued that strikes were the 'logical consequence of the state of war which brought capital and labour into conflict'. Each side -- in the shape of either surplus value or salary -- sought to maximise its share of the wealth generated by the productive process. Was this, therefore, to suggest, Delesalle asked, that individual strikes (greves partielles) could bring about an amelioration of the position of the working class? The answer was in the negative. Holding true to the 'law of salaries' that had underpinned Pelloutier's analysis of capitalism Delesalle argued that the employer would either recoup his losses at the earliest opportunity or that, if this did not occur, a general price increase would nullify the benefits of a higher salary. The strike, therefore, was best seen as 'the skirmish which prepared the way for the revolution'. [217] Nevertheless, only three years later Delesalle was to comment that 'to represent us as the enemies of all reform is to present the supporters of revolutionary syndicalism in a false light . . . We know, for example, that there is not a worker who, for the same salary, would not prefer to work for eight hours rather than ten hours'. [218] Yet, according to the 'law of salaries' previously endorsed by Delesalle such a reform was impossible to achieve under capitalism.

Delesalle's change of position was a reflection of a broader dilemma that arose from a genuine uncertainty about the goals and purposes of strikes. In stark terms, at issue was the question of the place of the pursuit of reforms within a movement which sought to secure revolutionary change through the eventual destruction of the capitalist system. Were the revolutionary syndicalists to oppose on theoretical and practical grounds any amelioration within bourgeois society of the condition of the working class? Was all hope, as Delesalle implied in Aux travailleurs-la greve, to be placed in the revolution in the form of the general strike? What is clear is that the hostility to 'greves partielles' was gradually replaced by a more realistic appraisal of the moral and material benefits that accrued from a successful strike. Integral to that process, of necessity, was the ditching of the 'law of salaries'. [219]

There was little disagreement about the merits of strikes as a form of direct action. Strikes, Griffuelhes argued, were the best means for the wage-earner to show his strength and to demonstrate that without his labour society could not survive. Strikes also represented the most straightforward and unambiguous method by which the worker could attack the capitalist and thus symbolised 'the rupture by which the proletarian dared defend his rights and interests'. The worker, through strike action, was fighting upon his own terrain. He was using the only weapon at his disposal: the withdrawal of his own labour. [220]

The changing perspective through which individual strikes (and hence reforms) were viewed is best illustrated by reference to Pouget's L'Action directe and Griffuelhes' article 'Romantisme revolutionnaire'. [221] Pouget argued that the final goal of general expropriation could not be separated from the daily struggle for piecemeal improvements. The folly of the all-or-nothing tactic, he argued, was that it failed to realise that each minor gain constituted a partial expropriation of the privileges held by the capitalists and thus opened up the way for greater demands on the part of the workers. To defend that position, and the necessity for proletarian action it involved, he argued against what he termed the 'catastrophic miracle', the view that the revolution would be brought about mechanically and fatally at some future date, and dismissed the veracity of the 'law of salaries'. Both entailed resignation and passivity: all effort, apart from that of the final struggle, was vain. By contrast, Pouget wanted to argue that the vigorous and energetic action of the proletariat could break the link between salaries and prices. This could be supported by appeal to the empirical evidence provided by countries which had short working hours and high salaries. There life was less expensive than in countries with long hours and low salaries. Further, Pouget also disputed the claim that misery acted as a ferment of revolt. Poverty and long hours, he argued, destroyed the worker both mentally and physically. Better conditions, on the other hand, did not mollify the worker. As they were inevitably the result of successful struggle they served to raise the dignity, consciousness and combativeness of the working class. [222]

Griffuelhes' article sought to dissociate revolutionary syndicalism from what he saw as a romantic and mystical faith in the redemptive qualities of the general strike. Recognising that the days of street fighting and barricades were over, the earliest supporters of the idea of the general strike, he argued, had nevertheless retained their belief that capitalism would be overthrown in one short and not-too-distant act of defiance. The vocabulary had changed -- guns had been replaced by the sudden stoppage of production -- but the vision, Griffuelhes wrote, had remained the same. Everything had now to be directed towards the general strike. Within this framework a strike which sought only to attain gradualist goals was viewed as a harmful waste and weakening of the strength of the working class. Griffuelhes' point in distancing himself from this view was to stress that it was precisely through the daily struggle that the revolution was prepared and organised. 'The day is not far away', he wrote, 'when every militant will recognise that truly revolutionary action is that which, practised every day, increases and augments the revolutionary value of the proletariat'. [223]

On this view, therefore, the pursuit of reforms in the shape, for example, of higher salaries and better working conditions was a feasible and desirable project and Pouget, in particular, vigorously denied the claim that the revolutionaries were not interested in securing such goals. 'To be a revolutionary', he wrote, 'in no way implies a disdain for day to day improvements'. [224] Nevertheless, it was their opinion that the only reforms worth having were those which the proletariat had secured through direct action. 'We know', Delesalle commented, 'that if we have been able to impose them, we are also capable of holding on to them'. [225] Furthermore, as Griffuelhes' remarks made clear, each individual strike had to be seen as part of a broader process of preparation and education leading to the expropriation of the capitalists through the general strike. Pouget, Griffuelhes, Yvetot and Delesalle persistently and frequently referred to strikes aimed at securing piecemeal improvements in terms of metaphors which evoked the image of training and mobilisation. The strike was 'une salutaire gymnastique', 'une gymnastique d'entralnement', 'une grande manoeuvre?

It was within this overall context that revolutionary syndicalists welcomed the campaign for the eight-hour day launched by the CGT at the Congress of Bourges in 1904 and whose centrepiece was to be a series of one day strikes concentrated upon May Day. [226] Pouget, for example, saw this campaign as 'une machine de guerre'. Through it the workers would secure not only material gains but a greater sense of what the revolution entailed. They would flex their muscles and improve their state of readiness. [227] Delesalle argued that the campaign would bring about shorter working hours, no loss in salaries, and a general decrease in unemployment. He also argued that it was long hours that induced resignation and exhaustion and which prevented the workers from pursuing their general emancipation. [228] These sentiments were echoed in CGT propaganda which, in general, sought to stress the physical and moral benefits accruing from the campaign while at the same time emphasising that the conquest of the eight-hour day was part of the revolutionary process. [229]

Underpinning this defence of 'greves partielles', however, was the realisation that no matter how short the working day might become, how high salaries might be, and how much the hygiene and conditions of factories might be improved, the continued existence of the categories of employer and wage-earner ensured that economic conflict between the classes would persist. And, in Pouget's opinion, this struggle would continue to grow in scale and bitterness as the workers grew in strength and came to appreciate their true value. The oppressed would voice their demands with ever increasing persistence and force until the moment when they were prepared for the decisive conflict. This final rupture would be 'direct action raised to its highest possible magnitude: the general strike'. [230]

The general strike was defined by Griffuelhes as 'the refusal of the producers to work for the pleasure and satisfaction of the non-producers'. [231] It was to be more than a mere withdrawal of labour. As the logical conclusion of the struggle of the proletariat to secure its emancipation the general strike was also to entail the seizure of the means of production. This much was agreed upon. Views differed about the likelihood of the use of violence. Griffuelhes was of an open mind. 'The general strike or revolution', he wrote, 'will be violent or peaceful depending upon the resistance to be overcome'. [232] Yvetot, on the other hand, was in doubt that the use of violence would be an integral part of any successful general strike. An attempt by the workers to take possession of the means of production, he argued, would meet an immediate response from a government determined to save the bourgeois social order. Faced by repression and what Yvetot referred to as 'the establishment of terror the proletariat would of necessity need to respond or accept defeat. [233] The violent suppression of a general strike in Spain and the failure of a pacific general strike in Sweden appeared to confirm this prognosis. [234] Pouget, in non-visionary mood, commented that, whilst it was impossible to foresee the conditions under which a general strike would occur, it was certain that the general strike would be preceded 'by frictions, blows and contacts of a more or less brusque nature'. [235]

Opinions also varied about the significance to be attached to the use of violence. Yvetot, whilst he saw force primarily as a means to secure a desirable end, [236] also frequently characterised the use of violence as being appropriate to the activist temperament of the French working class. 'Our own method', he wrote, contrasting the French with the moderate and unexcitable Swedes, 'corresponds to a prompt, energetic, violent and supreme act'. [237] Pouget, by contrast, argued that the people did not have violent instincts. If they had, he commented, they would not submit for a day longer to the misery and privation inflicted upon them. The people, he wrote, 'have nothing of the endemic violence which characterises the ruling classes and which is the bedrock of their domination'. [238] If the general strike did involve violence, therefore, the responsibility for it would not belong to the proletariat. Significantly, neither Griffuelhes, Pouget, Yvetot or Delesalle provided anything like a systematic defence of the morally regenerative and creative qualities of violence.

It was also not clear who the participants in the general strike were to be. Delesalle, in his description of the general strike as the 'complete, unanimous and simultaneous stoppage of production', clearly assumed that all the workers in 'common accord' would leave their places of work only to return when the goal of general emancipation had been attained. [239] This fitted uneasily with the revolutionary syndicalist emphasis upon active minorities and with the ambivalent attitude adopted by Yvetot and Griffuelhes. Griffuelhes, for example, was of the opinion that the revolution would not be accepted by everyone and therefore that it would be the work of a minority 'which our incessant efforts at propaganda and action tend to enlarge'. [240] This, in turn, raised the issue of the likely pattern and structure of the general strike. Was it to be decreed by the CGT? How, if at all, was it to be organised? None of the militants under discussion provided clear and adequate answers to these questions. This was partly by design. 'I have no desire', Griffuelhes wrote, 'to play the role of prophet by outlining a plan which would assign to every man the role that he would occupy'. [241] Griffuelhes himself, however, did not appear to discount the need for some organisation and co-ordination of effort. [242] But the accepted view seems to have been that the general strike would itself evolve almost naturally out of a strike within an individual sector of the economy. Certainly the articles by Yvetot and Pouget in La Voix du peuple covering strikes leave the reader in no doubt that a strike, for example, by railwaymen, peasants or shopworkers, if it were taken up by workers in other trades, was capable of creating a revolutionary situation. This also seemed to be the intention behind the massive May Day demonstrations. In such a situation of almost spontaneous revolt the role of the CGT would be a minimal one.

When, finally, would the general strike take place? Again the leaders of the movement would not be drawn. 'We do not intend', Griffuelhes wrote, 'to fix either the day or the time when the wage-earners and the owners come into conflict'. [243] Was the general strike, therefore, 'a Utopia, a dream'? [244] Events, even if a completely successful general strike had not occurred, proved the contrary. The Russian Revolution of 1905 in particular indicated that a general strike could be brought to a successful conclusion and this example, along with other lesser cases, showed that far from being a dream the general strike was a living reality. [245] The Utopia, Yvetot countered, was to 'believe it to be impossible to realise the idea of the general strike'. [246]

Pouget, however, in Comment nous ferons la revolution, written in collaboration with the leader of the electricity workers Emile Pataud, was prepared to offer an account of the general strike in fictional form. Griffuelhes dismissed this work as a piece 'of literary and imaginative fantasy' but Pouget, in his reply to the criticisms voiced by Jaures, seemed to suggest that even the most far-fetched aspects of the tale -- such as the 'aeroplanes tele-mecaniques' designed to defend the revolution -- should be taken seriously. [247] What Pouget and Pataud's depiction emphasises is the manner in which a revolutionary climate is steadily created and how this situation is set aflame by one incident, the 'massacre' of workers. A general strike, at first spontaneous, later more organised, follows. As the conflict, replete with demonstrations, power blackouts and acts of sabotage, spreads from Paris to the provinces and the countryside discipline within the army breaks down and the troops side with the strikers. Inspired by an 'elan magnifique' the workers storm parliament and simultaneously begin the task of the dissolution of the bourgeois State and the capitalist system. Gradually, through a process of 'rational requisitions', the new society comes into existence. [248]

Yet arguably the most significant aspect of Pouget and Pataud's account is the description they provide of the envisaged future society. In theory this was deemed to be impossible. Griffuelhes, scorning the role of prophet once more, argued that just as it had been impossible for the bourgeoisie of the eighteenth century to outline in advance the structure of the society they were subsequently to create, so equally the syndicalists were unable to describe the form of a free society. [249] However, syndicalists inevitably turned their attention to this topic and Griffuelhes himself was to be responsible for the launching of a general enquiry which invited participants to reflect upon the organisation of society in the wake of a triumphant general strike. [250] Listed amongst the seven questions asked were specific queries relating to the organisation and distribution of production, the transport of goods, and relations between industries. Syndicalists, in effect, were asked to consider how the syndicat might be transformed from an instrument of struggle into the key component of a new type of community. The often detailed replies were discussed at the Congress of Montpellier in 1902 and were published in La Voix du peuple. Furthermore, the response of Amadee Bourchet (taken sufficiently seriously to be appended to the report of the proceedings of the Montepellier Congress, published in La Voix du peuple, and reprinted in pamphlet form with the title of Au Lendemain de la greve generale [251] was, despite its brevity, in all essentials identical to the sketch provided in Comment nous ferons la revolution.

Pouget had, in fact, published earlier projections of the future, most notably 'Faramineuse consultation sur l'avenir' printed in the Almanach du Pere Peinard in 1896. [252] The libertarian communist ethos of this piece is much in evidence in Comment nous ferons la revolution and, in truth, the later fiction only filled out in greater detail the initial vision. At the heart of this vision was a conception of a 'decentralised, federative society where the human being would be able to develop in complete autonomy'. [253] To achieve that end the centralised machinery of the State would be demolished and replaced by a system of communal ownership and control. The syndicats would organise production whilst the bourses du travail would act as co-ordinating agencies -- a 'vast telephone network' -- providing statistical information necessary to ensure that the distribution of goods was carried out efficiently and the needs of consumers met. The transport of merchandise and people would be free of charge, the workers within the railway industry receiving 'carnets de consommation' as payment for their services. With the abolition of private property agricultural production would become a cooperative enterprise; the village would become a 'large family' and the uprooted who had migrated to the towns would return to the land. There would be no uniform pattern of production: large scale and artisanal enterprises would exist side-by-side. Everyone would be entitled to equal remuneration. This, it was argued, would be a system superior to capitalism capable of securing efficient production, the satisfaction of all real needs and free from human drudgery. [254]

In addition, reflection upon the future allowed Pouget to consider issues not normally found in syndicalist discourse. With the advent of the new society the prisons would be emptied but this did not mean that 'society would be put to the mercy of brigandage and idleness'. [255] In the first place, those who refused to accept the new conditions of life would be escorted to the country's borders and banished from its territory. Faced with the phenomenon of crime, it was argued that those cases (formerly the greater proportion of offences) deriving from inequality and misery or caused by the baneful effects of the environment would cease to exist in a society characterised by equitable harmony. Crimes that remained could be dealt with in a variety of ways. One expedient amounted to public censure. Each offender would be judged by his peers. If he was ajudged to be ill, he would be given treatment; if not, he would receive not physical punishment but a 'moral chastisement in the form of shunning or scorn'. [256] This 'quarantine' would be ended when it was felt that the offender had mended his ways. More serious crimes -- child molestation and rape are cited specifically -- evoked an altogether different response. [257] Such behaviour on occasion would be subject 'to acts of summary justice'. The perpetrator would be 'executed without pity', the victim of the legitimate 'indignation' of the populace. For all its cruelty, it was argued, this was better than the cold-blooded punishment meted out by the magistrates. [258]

The standing army would be abolished: the people, in the form of the syndicats, would 'arm themselves in order to protect liberty'. As for the liberal professions and intellectuals in general, the assumption was that they would, broadly speaking, welcome the revolution. Freed from the need to sell their knowledge and experience their occupation would be transformed into social functions performed in a spirit of moral and professional obligation. These groups would receive no special treatment or favours: their reward would derive from the privilege of performing their task. On the broader issues of intellectual and religious freedom, complete liberty was to be proclaimed. In the press, for example, there would be no limit to criticism. The Church would be stripped of its power although everyone would be free, if they so desired, to be a 'Christian, Buddhist or theosophist' as one's religion was a purely private affair. This tolerance, however, rested upon the presumption that with an improvement in material conditions the incidence of religious faith would gradually decline. The best examples of Church architecture were to be preserved. Art would become the possession of the people. The producers of luxury goods would use their skills to adorn public buildings. Literature and the theatre would become forums for free expression.

Social life would also change. The bar and the cafe would be replaced by the library and the discussion group. Alcoholism -- always a major issue of concern for syndicalists -- would be eradicated, as the workers were freed from the deleterious effects of overwork and exhaustion. With free and improved transport the people would move out of the squalid cities and would enjoy a 'semi-rural' existence. Women, too, would be emancipated. The sensible use of new inventions would transform domestic life and thus allow women to escape Proudhon's brutal dilemma of 'housewife or prostitute'. Public laundries and kitchens would exist. Children could be brought up in communal care. 'The first effect of this moral and material independence of women', it was argued, would be 'to purify and ennoble sexual relations'. [259]

Where Pouget and Pataud's account bordered upon the bizarre was in their discussion of the international repercussions of the revolution and the manner in which it was envisaged that external attacks would be repulsed. [260] The point of reference was the revolution of 1789. Events in France, it was argued, would engender enthusiasm and support among the peoples of Europe but their governments would try to kill the revolution at birth. The revolution would be protected not by the reconstitution of the army -- this would entail a return to the ancien regime -- but by the development and employment of highly sophisticated weapons of destruction which would not only crush the enemy but also effectively put an end to war. What all this indicates (apart from a prescient awareness on the part of the authors of the ability of technology to alter the character of war) is the realisation that a revolution, if it is to survive, must at a minimum be able to defend itself from its foreign enemies. Unfortunately, if revolutionary syndicalists paid little attention to the organisational and strategic aspects of the general strike, they showed even less interest in this dimension of their struggle.

Comment nous ferons la revolution, for all its faults, is of interest because not only does it provide an insight into the wilder and incautious hopes and aspirations of its authors but also because it discloses the rudiments of an ethical theory which, for all its simplicity, was at the basis of much syndicalist writing. Man would be transformed by his environment -- the text refers to man's 'plasticity' -- from 'la bete humaine' of capitalism into a 'sociable human being'. Rivalry, discord and struggle would be replaced by 'understanding, cordiality and mutual aid'. The only battle that would remain would be between man and the forces of nature. [261] In short, by a process of enlightenment man would come to perceive that, in a system of communal ownership and mutual obligation, there would exist no conflict between private and public interest. Man's natural sociability -- restored in the new society -- meant that each person's liberty would not be restricted but extended by the liberty of others. [262]

It is when we consider the question of how man's natural sociability is to be restored that we return to Pelloutier's central preoccupation of the creation of the free producers of the future. Maxime Lerov, in a work entitled La Coutume ouvriere [263] published in 1913, pointed out that the syndicalist movement was in the process of developing a 'new juridical system' that was 'exclusively proletarian'. The syndicats, through a series of rules, sanctions and punishments, sought to enforce a new code of behaviour which took as its central principle the obligation of all workers to act in accordance with the dictates of proletarian solidarity. The individual's liberty was not abandoned or alienated but was rather enhanced and extended by participation in the decision-making process of the svndicat itself. The relative simplicity of this procedure and the absence, in the main, of a sense of constraint derived from the homogeneity of the economic interests of a group of workers employed in the same occupation. Nevertheless, a 'tradition' or pattern of working-class behaviour -- with a whole set of verbal and written obligations -- was being self-consciously initiated. [264]

The mistake therefore, is to believe that Pouget and his colleagues -- for all their libertarian credentials -- sought to establish a society characterised by untrammelled freedom. The future, in effect, was to be the syndicats and the CGT writ large. The Republic, the State, capitalism, the bourgeois legal system, the army and bureaucratic administration [265] were to be abolished and in their place was to be an arrangement of interrelated but independent producers' organisations. The supposition was that in this new situation the individual would be markedly freer than he had been before but there were also discernible limits to freedom of action. An individual, upon the basis of precepts embodied by the syndicats, would not be free, it can be assumed, to be idle or, for example, to act in a manner contrary to the productive endeavours of his colleagues. If, in the new society, such an individual would not be imprisoned he would certainly feel the full force of society's moral opprobrium. Freedom, when it clashed with sociability, could be restricted in the interests of the superior claims of reciprocal duty towards the community. What the workers were being offered was, indeed, greater liberty but individual autonomy, when defined in terms of an extension of personality and capacity, was compatible with an element of restraint.

The primacy of the syndicat for all syndicalists derived from the centrality of the productive process, and hence of the producer, in social life. In the years that immediately followed Pelloutier's death the effective leaders of the CGT -- Griffuelhes, Pouget, Yvetot and Delesalle -- sought to develop a strategy that would enable the workers to capitalise upon this seemingly undeniable and inescapable truth. If Pelloutier's concern to further the education and preparation of the proletariat remained, his efforts to explore the nature of capitalist exploitation were superseded by a frequently and stridently repeated call for proletarian action. Pelloutier's distrust of politics was systematised into a coherent attack upon the Republic, the State and the political order. As the likelihood of war increased, anti-militarism and anti-patriotism were raised into central features of syndicalist doctrine. Most significantly, syndicalist theory discarded the law of salaries and thereby made possible a re-evaluation of the purposes and goals of strikes. Reform and revolution were no longer incompatible. But what remained untouched and with equal conviction was the core of Pelloutier's thought: the emancipation of the proletariat must be self-emancipation and the means to secure that end lay in the creation of exclusively working-class organisations which, ultimately, would bring down the capitalist system and its institutional and cultural superstructure by means of a general strike. In the hands of men of greater erudition and sophistication these ideas were to form part of a broader attack upon the theoretical premises of democratic society but when expressed in the pages of La Voix du peuple and at CGT congresses they were designed to inspire and guide a movement which, it was hoped, in the not-too-distant future would destroy the iniquitous system of capitalism and its repressive institutions. The tragedy was that by 1909 for Griffuelhes, Pouget, Delesalle and Yvetot these hopes had all but disappeared.

From the book "Syndicalism in France"


1. P. Monatte, 'Fernand Pelloutier et Aristide Briand', RP, 308, August-September, 1947, p. 129.

2. C. Chambelland, 'La greve generale, theme de la pensee de F. Pelloutier et d' A. Briand', L'Actualite de l'histoire, 18, May 1957, pp. 18-27 and 19, October 1957, pp. 1-12; P. Delesalle, 'Fernand Pelloutier', TN 23 March 1901, pp. 1-2.; E. Dolleans, 'Fernand Pelloutier' L'Homme reel, 19 July 1935, pp. 36-42; F. Foulon, Fernand Pelloutier (Paris: 1967); J. Julliard, Fernand Pelloutier et les origines du syndicalisme d'action directe (Paris: 1971); P. Monatte, review of Maurice Pelloutier, Fernand Pelloutier, VO, 59-60, March 1911, pp. 449-52; P. Monatte, 'Fernand Pelloutier et Aristide Briand', RP, August-September, 1947, pp. 129-37; P. Monatte, 'La jeunesse de Pelloutier', RP, 475, September 1962, pp. 13-18; A. Spitzer, 'Anarchy and Culture: Fernand Pelloutier and the Dilemma of Revolutionary Syndicalism', Inrernational Review of Social History, 8, l963, pp. 379-88; G. Yvetot, 'Fernand Pelloutier' VO, 40, May 1911, pp. 577-93 and 41, June 1911, pp. 641-58. The work by Julliard contains both a commentary on Pelloutier's work and an extensive selection of his writings. Where possible references to Pelloutoer's writings will cite the Julliard edition as this is the most easily available source. Julliard's book, without the texts by Pelloutier, was republished in 1985.

3. 'Evolution et Revolution: lettre ouverte au docteur Pioger', La Question sociale, December, 1894, in Julliard, p. 390. See also 'L'Argent', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 24 June 1892.

4. 'L'Organisation corporative et l'anarchie', L'Art social, October 1896, p. 98.

5. Ibid., p. 98.

6. Ibid., p. 101.

7. 'Qu'est-ce que la question sociale?', L'Art social, January 1894, in Julliard, p. 386.

8. 'L'Organisation corporative et l'anarchie', pp. 100-1.

9. Ibid., p. 100.

10. Ibid., p. 100.

11. 'Dans quatre ans', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 8 June 1892, in Julliard, p. 273.

12. See for example, 'L'Affaire de Panama', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 18 November 1892; 'En Droit et en Fait', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 31 August 1892.

13. 'Le Mois politique et social', L'Art social, July 1896, p. 29.

14. 'Le Suffrage', TN, 28 September 1895.

15. 'L'Oeuvre de 1789', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 24 August 1892.

16. 'La Tare parlementaire', Le Journal du peuple, 20 February 1899; La Vie ouvriere en France (Paris: 1900), p. 22; Histoire des bourses du travail (Paris: 1902), p. 54.

17. 'Qu'est-ce que la question sociale?', L'Art social, January 1894, in Julliard pp. 383-4; 'La conquete du pouvoir politique et l'Internationale', TN, 3 August 1895; 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, November 1897, p. 147; 'La loi sur les accidents du travail', Le Monde ouvrier, February 1899, pp. 17-18, March 1899, pp. 33-9; La Vie ouvriere en France, p. 126; Histoire des bourses du travail, p. 53.

18. 'Morale', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 27 November 1892; 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', p. 147; La Vie ouvriere en France, p. 276, Histoire des bourses du travail, p. 53.

19. 'La conquete du pouvoir politique et l'Internationale'; 'La conquete du pouvoir politique et les partis ouvriers', TN 24 August 1895; 'L'anarchisme et les syndicats ouvriers', TN, 2 November 1895; 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', p. 147; Histoire des bourses du travail, pp. 49-56.

20. 'La tactique nouvelle', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 28 October 1892, in Julliard, pp. 315-17; 'La conquete du pouvoir politique et les partis ouvri-ers'; 'Centralisation et Gouvernement', Almanach de la question sociale pour 1897, pp. 102-03, in Julliard, pp. 397-9; 'Les deux congres', Le Journal du peuple, 10 April 1899, in Julliard, p. 352; La Vie ouvriere en France, pp. 52-3.

21. 'Lettre ouverte au citoyen Jules Guesde', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 5 October 1892; 'La tactique nouvelle' (au citoyen Jules Guesde)', and J. Guesde, 'Reponse ouverte', in Le Socialiste, 16 October 1892 and La Democratie de l'Ouest, 25 October 1892. All three articles can be found in Julliard, pp. 312-17.

22. 'De la revolution par la greve generale' (unedited manuscript, 1892) in Julliard, pp. 291-5; 'La motion de Tours', La De'mocratie de l'Ouest, 9 September 1892, in Julliard, pp. 306-7; 'Replique au 'Temps', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 11 September 1982, in Julliard, pp. 307-8; 'La semaine politique et sociale', L'Avenir social, 19, November 1893; Qu'est-ce que la greve generale? (Paris: 1895), in Julliard, p. 326; 'L'action populaire, ses raisons, ses ressources', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 15 May 1898, in Julliard, p. 340

23. 'Souvarine', La De'mocratie de l'Ouest, 20 December 1892, in Julliard, pp. 275-7; 'La semaine politique et sociale', L'Avenir social, 19 November 1893.

24. 'Qu'est-ce que la greve generale?', in Julliard, pp. 319-33.

25. Whilst the greater part of this text was not published, some of it did appear in an article signed by Pelloutier, entitled 'L'Oeuvre de 1789', La Democratie de l'Ouest, 24 August 1892.

26. 'Qu'est-ce que la greve generale?', in Julliard, p. 322; 'Motion de la Federation des bourses', Le Radical, 10 September 1895, in Julliard, pp. 333-5; 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 November 1897, pp. 146-7; 'Reponse a A. D. Bancil, "Loi d'Airain des Salaires", L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 February 1898, pp. 194-7; La Vie ouvriere en France, pp. 80-4.

27. 'La semaine politique et sociale', L'Avenir social, 19 November 1893 'Qu'est-ce que la greve generale?', in Julliard, pp. 327-8.

28. Ibid., pp. 330-1; 'Le Trade-Unionisme en Angleterre', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 February 1897, p. 13.

29. 'Qu'est-ce que la greve generale?', in Julliard, pp. 325-7.

30. Ibid., p. 329.

31. Ibid., p. 327.

32. 'L'Organisation corporative et l'anarchie', p. 103.

33. Ibid., p. 103.

34. 'L'action populaire, see raisons, ses ressources', in Julliard, p. 339.

35. In January 1899 the paper became Le Monde ouvrier. See J. Julliard, 'L'Ouvrier des deux mondes', Cahiers Ceorges Sorel, 5, 1987, pp. 3-9.

36. 'Rapport moral', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 August 1898, p. 280.

37. 'L'enseignement social: le Musee du travail', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 April 1898, in Julliard, p. 497.

38. La Vie ouvriere en France was composed largely of atticles previously published in La Societe nouvelle, L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, La Revue socialiste and Almanach de la question sociale.

39. La Vie ouvriere en France, p. 315.

40. Ibid., p. 239.

41. 'L'enseignement social: le Musee du travail', in Julliard, pp. 497-501, 'Le Musee du travail', Le Journal du peuple, 21 March 1899; Histoire des bourses du travail, pp. 113-15.

42. L'Art et la revolte (Paris: 1896), reprinted in Julliard, pp. 502-18.

43. De la colere, de l'amour, de la haine (Paris: 1898). L'Art et la revolte was reprinted as a preface to this volume.

44. 'Amour Libre', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 February 1898, p. 197. A free translation might be:

They walked together in the splendour / of the evening, tenderly, talking of many / things, those sweet nothings which bring an / added blush to the cheeks, looking at each / other as if into a mirror.

Tormented by a melancholy of which I did not / know the cause I followed them, beguiled by / the fragile hope that their happiness would / bring respite to those morose thoughts which / obsessed my spirit and sapped my will.

Now I saw them stretch out, together, on the / moss, near to me in a full and sweet ecstasy / which made my heart more calm and my cares / less heavy.

Of their free expression, of their free / embraces, I, whose being loathed all / constraints, I thought this is truly / the real, the only love.

45. 'L'enseignement en societe libertaire', La Question sociale, August 1895, in Julliard, pp. 492-7.

46. Histoire des bourses du travail, pp. 120-1.

47. Ibid., p. 111.

48. Ibid., p. 85. The following outline of the functions of the bourses du travail is taken from ibid., pp. 85-148.

49. Ibid., pp. 143-8. See also 'La Verrerie ouvriere de Carmaux', TN, 18 January 1896; 'La Verrerie ouvriere', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 February 1897, pp. 9-11.

50. See Yvetot, op. cit., p. 586.

51. 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', L'Ouvrier des deux mondes, 1 November 1897, p. 149.

52. Histoire des bourses du travail, p. 160.

53. 'Les congres ouvriers de Toulouse', pp. 152-3.

54. 'Du ro1e des bourses du travail dans la societe future', Report presented to the 5th congress of the Federation des bourses, 9-12 September 1896, in Julliard, pp. 412-14.

55. 'Centralisation et Gouvernment', in Julliard, pp. 403-5.

56. Ibid., p. 398.

57. 'L'anarchisme et les syndicats ouvriers', TN, 2 November 1895, in Julliard, pp. 399-405; 'Lettre aux anarchistes', Preface to Le congres general du parti socialiste francais (Paris: 1900), pp. III-IX, in Julliard, pp. 415-19.

58. Ibid., p. 418.

59. 'L'organisation corporative et l'anarchie', p. 101.

60. 'Lettre aux anarchistes', p. 418.

61. 'L'Art et la revolte', p. 512.

62. See J. Maitron, Le Mouvement anarchiste en France (Paris: 1975), 1, pp. 206-61.

63. E. Pouget, 'A roublard, roublard et demi', in R. Langlois (ed.), Le Pere Peinard (Paris: 1976), pp. 34-41.

64. F. Pelloutier, 'L'Anarchisme et les syndicats ouvriers', TN, 2 November 1895.

65. See, for example, the numerous articles on this issue in Le Libertaire from 1899 onwards and see especially L. Grandidier, 'Anarchistes et syndicalistes', 5 November 1899; M. Pelerin, 'Syndicats et anarchistes', 14 March 1900; G. Yvetot, 'Syndicats et anarchistes', 18 March 1900.

66. A. Lorulot, 'Anarchistes ou syndicalistes', in A. Lorulot and G. Yvetot, Le Syndicalisme et la transformation sociale (Paris: 1909). This text contains a series of articles by Lorulot and Yvetot which outline their contrasting views on this issue. The articles were first published in Le Libertaire at the end of 1905.

67. Ibid., p. 10.

68. Ibid., p. 9.

69. For a discussion of these groups see J. Maitron, Le Mouvement anarchiste, 1, pp. 122-30

70. M. Pelerin, 'Syndicats et anarchistes'.

71. E. Girault, 'Les Sans-travail', Le Libertaire, 3 June 1897.

72. ESRI, Les Anarchistes et les syndicats (Paris: 1898).

73. Ibid., p. 14. l

74. For a discussion of Pouget's life and ideas before 1901 see E. P. Fitzgerald, Emile Pouget, the Anarchist Movement and the origins of revolutionary trade-unionism in France (Yale University Ph.D. thesis, 1973).

75. E. Pouget, 'A roublard, roublard et demi', p. 37.

76. For a critique of the 'groupe d'affinite' see E. Pouget, Le Syndicat (Paris: 1905), p. 9.

77. E. Pouget, 'Action corporative et duperie politique', in R. Langlois (ed.) pp. 145-52.

78.P. Delesalle, L'Action syndicale et les anarchistes (Paris: 1900).

79. Ibid., p. 14.

80. G. Yvetot 'Syndicats et anarchistes'.

81. P. Delesalie, 'Reponse a 'Une Remarque", TN, 1 November 1902.

82. P. Delesalle, 'A Propos du congres corporatif', TN, 16 October 1897. See also G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 12 July 1902.

83. See, for example, P. Delesalle, 'Le Congres de Londres', TN, 27 June 1896 and 15 August 1896.

84. P. Delesalle, 'Reponse a 'Une Remarque".

85. P. Delesalle, 'Le Congres corporatif de Rennes', TN, 29 October 1898.

86. E. Pouget, 'Le Congres de Rennes', Le Pere Peinard, 9 October 1898.

87. See P. Delesalle, La Confederatton Generale du Travail (Paris: 1907), pp. 16-19 P. Delesalle, Les bourses du travail et la CGT (Paris: 1909), p. 45.

88. P. Deiesalle, 'Encore l'unite', VduP, 1 June 1902. Delesalle and Niel produced a series of articles exploring this issue in La Voix du peuple during May and June 1902. Pouget was of the view that unity had not destroyed the federalist structure of the syndicalist movement; see E. Pouget, 'Le Congres syndical de Bourges', MS, xlv, 1904, pp. 38-41.

89. P. Delesalle, La Confederation Generale du Travail, p. 16.

90. E. Pouget, Le Syndicat, pp. 10-13. See also P. Delesalle, La Confederation Generale du Travail, pp. 1920 and G. Yvetot, ABC syndicaliste (Paris: 1908), pp. 26-7.

91. See P. Delesalle, Les bourses du travail et la CGT, pp. 45-50; P. Delesalle, 'Les bourses du travail et leurs difficultes actuelles', MS, XXIII, 1908, pp. 161-70; G. Yvetot, 'Fernand Pelloutier', VO, 40, 1911, p. 586. For the view of Griffuelhes see V. Griffuelhes, 'L'Acte de contrition d'un repenti', L'Action directe, 29 January 1908.

92. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 22 February 1903.

93. V. Griffuelhes, 'L 'Action syndicaliste (Paris: 1908), p. 3.

94. For a discussion of this process see E. Pouget, 'Notes pour une double conference sur le syndicalisme', manuscript held at the Institut Francais d'Histoire Sociale.

95. E. Dolleans, Histoire du mouvement ouvrier (Paris: 1948), 1l, p. 118.

96. P. H. Hutton, The Cult of the Revolutionary Tradition: The Blanquists in French Politics 1864 1893 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: 1981).

97. See V. Griffuelhes, L'Action syndicaliste, pp. 14-18.

98. V. Griffuelhes, 'Les Greves et le syndicalisme francais', MS, xlx, 1906, pp. 249-55.

99. V. Griffuelhes, 'Des Chiffres', VduP, 29 October 1905.

100. V. Griffuelhes, 'Les Caracteres du syndicalisme francais', in H. Lagardelle (ed.), Syndicalisme et socialisme (Paris: 1908), pp. 55-8; V. Griffuelhes, 'Sur une delegation', VduP, 4 February 1906. Michels wrote regularly for Le Mouvement socialiste but see R. Michels, 'Le syndicalisme et le socialisme en Allemagne', in H. Lagardelle (ed.), Syndicalisme et socialisme, pp. 21-8 and 'Lettre de Victor Griffuelhes a Roberto Michels', Cahiers Georges Sorel, 4, 1986, p. 60.

101. V. Griffuelhes, 'Les Caracteres du syndicalisme francais', p. 57.

102. P. Delesalle, 'Le Vie militante d'Emile Pouget', Le Cri du peuple, 5 August 1931.

103. P. Delesalle, Aux travailleurs -- la greve (Paris: 1900), pp. 3-9.

104. E. Pouget, Le Syndicat, pp. 1-5.

105. V. Griffuelhes, L'Action syndicaliste, p. 11. See also V. Griffuelhes, 'Le Chomage et son remede', VduP, 8 December 1901; 'Pour la vie humaine', VduP, 26 January 1902; 'Constatations', VduP, 9 March 1902.

106. The phrase 'disappearance of the wage-earner and employer' was frequently used to describe the goal of the syndicalist movement. See for example P. Delesalle, La Confederation Generale du Travail, p. 22 and P. Delesalle Les Deux Methodes du syndicalisme (Paris: 1903), p. 2.

107. For a discussion of Merrheim's views see N. Papayanis, Alphonse Merrheim: The Emergence of Reformism in Revolutionary Syndicalism 1871-1925 (Dordrecht: 1985), pp. 59-70 and C. Gras, 'Merrheim et le capitalisme', Le Mouvement social, 63, 1968, pp. 143-63.

108. See especially E. Pouget, Le Parti du travail (Paris: 1905).

109. P. Delesalle, La Confederation Generale du Travail, p. 22.

110. E. Pouget, Le Parti du travail, p. 2.

111. P. Delesalle, L'Action syndicale et les anarchistes, p. 6.

112. G. Yvetot, Le Syndicalisme, les intellectuels et la CGT (Paris: n.d.), p. 3.

113. E. Pouget, Le Parti du travail, pp. 3-4.

114. V. Griffuelhes, 'Des Professions liberales', VduP, 29 December 1907. See also P. Monatte, 'Syndicats de medecins', VduP, 22 December 1907 and R. Louzon, 'L'Etat et l'enseignement de medecine', MS, xxv, 1909, pp. 130-50. Doctors, Louzon argued, 'do not constitute a class'. For Louis Niel the issue was not as clear-cut; see 'Mouvement social', TN, 25 January 1908.

115. E. Pouget, Le Parti du travail, p. 3.

116. E. Pouget, 'A Propos du congres socialiste', VduP, 2 June 1901.

117. E. Pouget, 'Pas de politique', VduP, 15 June 1902 and E. Pouget, Les Bases du syndicalisme (Paris: 1905), pp. 1-2.

118. E. Pouget, L'Action directe (Paris: 1910), p. 1. See also E. Pouget, 'L'Unite', JduP, 22 July 1899.

119. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 4 October 1903.

120. G. Yvetot, 'Mouvement ouvrier', Le Libertaire, 3 January 1902.

121. See XIV Congres national corporatif (Bourges: 1904), pp. 144-90.

122. E. Pouget, 'Le Congres syndical de Bourges', MS, XIV, 1904, p. 62. See also P. Delesalle, 'Le Congres de Bourges', TN, 24 September 1904 and V. Griffuelhes, 'Le Congres de Bourges', Almanach de la revolution pour 1905 (Paris: 1905), pp. 30-33.

123. E. Pouget, 'L'Unite'.

124. P. Delesalle, 'Le Scrutin de dimanche', TN 19 May 1900.

125. G. Yvetot, 'Mouvement ouvrier', Le Libertaire, 1 February 1902.

126. See for example A. Bourchet, 'Rapport sur l'organisation de la societe au lendemain de la greve generale', XIII Congres national corporatif (Montpellier: 1902), p. 223 and Comite de Propagande de la greve generale, 'Reponse a Jaures, VduP, 22 September 1901. Bourchet spoke of 'la masse moutonnante', whilst the 'Reponse a Jaures' argued that 'les majorites sont moutonnieres'. Pouget, in Les Bases du syndicalisme, spoke of 'des majorites moutonmeres'.

127. E. Pouget, 'Le Congres syndical de Bourges', pp. 45-6.

128. Ibid., p. 45. Elsewhere Pouget spoke of the 'minorite desinteressee et tolerante'.

129. E. Pouget, L'Action directe, pp. 22-3.

130. E. Pouget. 'Marianne la salope', hl P. Langlois (ed.), Le Pere Peinard, pp. 194-6.

131. See E. Pouget, 'Le Roi des grinches' and 'Rothschild-Roussin' in P. Langlois (ed.), Le Pere Peinard, pp. 119-23 and 124-7.

132. E. Pouget, 'Action corporative et duperie politique', p. 149.

133. E. Pouget, Variations guesdistes (Paris: 1896).

134. Ibid., p. 4.

135. E. Pouget, 'Contre le suffrage universal', in P. Langlois (ed.), Le Pere Peinard, p. 176.

136. See J. Maitron, Le Mouvement anarchiste, 1, pp. 331-42.

137. E. Pouget, 'Soyons nous-memes: ni dreyfusiens ni esterhaziens', Le Pere Peinard, 16 January 1898 and 23 January 1898.

138. E. Pouget, 'Une Ecole de revolte', VduP, 31 August 1899.

139. E. Pouget, 'Ou allons-nous', JduP, 10 September 1899.

140. E. Pouget, 'Le Triomphe du sabre', JduP, 11 September 1899 and 'Dreyfus gracie', JduP, 21 September 1899. Pouget described the pardon granted to Dreyfus after the retrial at Rennes as 'l'hypocrisie de la justice'.

141. E. Pouget 'L'Oeuvre a accomplir', JduP, 12 September 1899.

142. P. Delesalie, 'A Propos des lois scelerates', TN 31 December 1898. Pouget echoed this concern; see E. Pouget, 'La Banqueroute de la Republique', JduP, 5 July 1899.

143. Quoted in J. Maitron, Paul Delesalle (Paris: 1985), p. 107.

144. P. Delesalle, 'L'Auteur de la condamnation', JduP, 16 September 1899; 'Gens de caserne', JduP, 18 September 1899; 'Gens de caserne', JduP, 19 September 1899.

145. P. Delesalle, 'C'est dans l'ordre', TN, 28 January 1899.

146. P. Delesalle, 'Millerand et Cie', TN, 22 July 1899.

147. Ibid. and P. Delesalle, 'Le Mouvement social', TN, 30 December 1899.

148. E. Pouget 'Esclaves du capital', VduP, 10 February 1901.

149. P. Delesalle, 'La Loi de 10 heures et ses consequences', TN, 17 December 1904.

150. See for example P. Delesalle, 'Quelle tactique?', TN, 30 August 1902 and 'Les Reformes de M. Millerand', TN, 25 June 1904.

151. E. Pouget, 'L'Etranglement de greves, VduP, 30 December 1900, 6 January 1901 and 17 March 1901.

152. P. Delesalle, 'Les Reformes de M. Millerand'.

153. G. Yvetot, 'Apres l'emeute', Le Libertaire, 27 April 1902.

154. V. Griffuelhes, 'Le fond et la forme', VduP, 29 March 1903.

155. V. Griffuelhes, 'Monarchie et Republique', VduP, 26 July 1903. Pouget made the identical point in 'Reformes legales', VduP, 10 September 1905.

156. E. Pouget, 'L'Agonie du 14 juillet', in R. Langlois (ed.), Le Pere Peinard, p. 48.

157. E. Pouget, 'A Montceau-les-Mines', VduP, 3 February 1901.

158. P. Delesalle, 'Assez de massacres', VduP, 10 October 1905. See also P. Delesalle, 'A Longwy. A bas l'armee', L'Avant-garde, 17 September 1905.

159. A. Merrheim, 'Un grand conflit social: la greve d'Hennebont', MS, xx, 1906, pp. 194-218, 347-79.

160. Ibid., pp. 378-9.

161. See VduP, 30 June 1907.

162. See VduP, 2 August 1908.

163. See VduP, special issue 'L'Appel de la classe', September 1908.

164. E. Pouget, 'Cdsarion gardc-chiourmc', VduP 12 January 1908.

165. V. Griffuelhes, 'Veut-on encore du sang', La Re'volution, 12 March 1909.

166. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 17 August 1902.

167. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 23 August 1902.

168. Ibid.

169. See J. Julliard, 'La CGT devant la guerre (1900-1914)', Le Mouvement social, 49, 1964, pp. 47-62.

170. See for example E. Pouget, 'Justification', VduP, 15 October 1905.

171. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 1 February 1903.

172. E. Pouget, 'La Conscription', VduP, special issue, January 1904.

173. G. Yvetot, Le Nouveau manuel du soldat (Paris: 1903); reference to (Paris 1908), p. 10.

174. See especially 'Enquete sur l'idee de patrie et la Casse ouvriere', MS, XVI, 1905, pp. 433-70 and XVII, 1905, pp. 36-71 and 202�31.

175. Ibid., XVI, p. 443.

176. Ibid., p. 466.

177. Ibid., XVII, p. 203.

178. G. Yvetot, Ma Pensee libre (Paris: 1913), p. 19.

179. See in particular the 'L'Appel de la classe' issues of La Voix du peuple.

180. G. Yvetot, Le Nouveau manuel du soldat, pp. 29-30.

181. P. Delesalie, 'La Moralisation par l'armee', TN, 18 July 1896.

182. This was the view of the majority of those who responded to Lagardelle's 'Enquete' in Le Mouvement socialiste.

183. See G. Yvetot, 'Ce que fut la greve generale de 24 heures 3 Paris', VduP 29 December 1912.

184. G. Yvetot, 'Enquete sur l'idee de patrie', MS XVI, 1905, p. 468.

185. C. Guieysse, 'Action patriotique et action revolutionnaire', Pages libres, x 1905, p. 302. See also C. Guieysse, 'Patriotisme democratique et patriotisme capitaliste', MS, XVII, 1905, pp. 129-59.

186. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 5 April 1903.

187. Hubert Lagardelle neatly summarised the problem faced by the syndicalists. 'What use', he writes, 'are power, guns, barricades and bombs when the disorganised and unconscious masses do not have the first idea of their role' H. Lagardelle, 'La Reforme d'enseignement', La Revolution, 6 March 1909.

188. E. Pouget, 'Le Congres syndical de Bourges, p. 42.

189. V. Griffuelhes, Voyage revolutionnaire (Paris: 1910) and V. Griffuelhes, La Creve des delaineurs de Mazzamet (Paris: 1909).

190. Ibid., p. 7.

191. For a discussion of this issue see M. Ferre, Histoire du mouvement syndicaliste revolutionnaire chez les instituteurs (des origines d 1922) (Paris: 1955).

192. For a succinct expression of these views see M. T. Laurin, 'L'Enseignement primaire et le proletariat', MS, XIX, 1906, pp. 212-27, M. T. Laurin, 'Les Ecoles syndicales', MS, xxv, 1909, pp. 40-8; L. Jouhaux, 'Le Monopole de l'enseignement et le socialisme', MS, XXVII, 1910, pp. 66-70 and H. Lagardelle, 'L'Ecole et le proletariat', MS, xx, 1906, pp. 185-8.

193. See M. T. Laurin, Les Instituteurs et le syndicalisme (Paris: 1908).

194. See P. Delesalle, 'Les Instituteurs et les syndicats' TN, 23 December 1905; C. Guieysse, 'Syndicats de fonctionnaires', Pages iibres, x, 1905, pp. 4658, M. T. Laurin, 'Les Instituteurs et les Bourses du travail', MS, XXXIII, 1908, pp. 120-4; M. T. Laurin, 'La Faillite de l'enseignement primaire', MS, XXXIV, 1908, pp. 374-7; Un groupe d'instituteurs, 'Ce que nous voulons', VduP, 17 March 1907. The journal L'Ecole emancipee, first published in October i910, provided a forum for the discussion of these ideas.

195. The issue of cducation was debated at the Marseilie congress of the hourses du travail in 1908; see XVI Congres national corporatif (Marseille: 1908) pp. 311-27.

196. Yvetot, 'L'Ecole syndicale', L'Ecole emancipee, 1, 28 January 1911, p. 1.

197. Ibid., pp. 1-2; E. Pataud and E. Pouget, Comment nous ferons la revolution (Paris, 1909), pp. 224-30. Part of Yvetot's article consisted of a reprint of his contribution to the 1908 debate at Marseille. For a more complete discussion of syndicalist educational principles see the articles contnbuted by Albert Thierry to La Vie ouvriere in 1912. These articles were reprinted in A. Thierry, Reflexions sur l'education (Paris: 1923), pp. 3-135.

198. For the development of this argument see R. Louzon, 'L'Ouvrierisme dans les mathematiques superieures', VO, IV, 1912, pp. 320-5.

199. G. Yvetot, 'L'Ecole syndicale', L'Ecole dmancipee, 1, 1 October 1910, pp. 4-5. See also M. T. Laurin, 'Les Ecoles syndicales', MS, xxv, 1909, pp. 40-8 and H. Lagardelle, 'Les Ecoles syndicales', La Revolution, 18 February 1909.

200. P. Delesalle, 'La Crise de l'apprentissage', MS, XXIII, 1908, pp. 245-6. For a more extensive discussion of this issue see the 'Enquete ouvriere sur la crise de l'apprentissage', MS, XXIII, 1908, pp. 241-67, 321-40, 401-17; XXIV, 1908, pp. 96-8, 278-84; xxv, 1909, pp. 100-7, 290-9.

201. P. Delesalle, Les Bourses du travail et la CGT.

202. P. Delesalle, 'Mouvement social', TN, 12 January 1901 and 26 January 1901.

203. E. Pouget, 'Les Paysans et la revolution', Almanach de la re'volution pour 1906 (Paris: 1906), pp. 23-5. See also V. Griffuelhes, 'L'Agitation rurale', VduP, 13 September 1903 and E. Pouget, 'La Jacquerie', VduP, 14 February 1904 and 'Le Sens du mouvement', VduP, 30 June 1907.

204. J. Julliard, 'Le Syndicalisme revolutionnaire et les greves', Le Mouvement social, 65, 1968, pp. 55-69.

205. E. Pouget, 'Action directe', in V. Griffuelhes and L. Jouhaux (eds), Encyclopaedie du mouvement syndicaliste (Paris: 1912), p. 13. See also E. Pouget, L'Action directe. Two journals created by syndicalist militants bore the title L'Action directe.

206. Griffuelhes made explicit the connection between a rejection of the idea of God and the advocacy of direct action in V. Griffuelhes and L. Niel, Les Objectifs de nos luttes de classe (Paris: 1909). Griffuelhes' contribution to this volume covered pp. 11-40. It was printed separately under the title Le Syndicalisme revolutionnaire (Paris: 1909).

207. For an outline of the various forms of direct action see V. Griffuelhes and L. Niel, pp. 21-36 and G. Yvetot, ABC syndicaliste, pp. 38-56.

208. See G. Yvetot, 'L'lilegalite par la force non par l'abjection', VduP, 6 November 1910.

209. Boycottage et Sabotage: Rapport de la Commission du Boycottage au Congres Corporatif tenu a Toulouse en septembre 1897 (Paris: 1897).

210. E. Pouget, 'Le Sabotage', La Sociale, 26 July 1896; E. Pouget, 'Le Sabottage', Le Pere Peinard, 19 September 1896; E. Pouget, Le Sabotage (Paris: 1910).

211. G. Yvetot, ABC syndicaliste, pp. 41-5; A. Luquet, 'Le Sabotage', L'Avantgarde, 3 September 1905; A. Bousquet, '11 faut sabotter', VduP, 21 May 1905; D. Sieurin, 'Sabotage', VduP, 10 December 1905; V Griffuelhes and L. Niel, pp. 29-32.

212. H. Lagardelle, 'La Formation du syndicalisme en France', MS, xxx 1911, p. 163 and G. Sorel, 'Le Syndicalisme revolutionnaire', MS, XVII, 1905, pp. 2797.

213. E. Pouget, Le Sabotage (Paris: 1910), p. 16.

214. See G. Yvetot, 'Le Sabotage n'est pas une legende', VduP, 28 September 1913.

215. G. Yvetot, 'Causerie ouvriere', Le Libertaire, 18 October 1902.

216. E. Pouget, Le Saborage (Paris: 1910), pp. 64-8.

217. P. Delesalle, Aux travailleurs -- la greve, pp. 13-15.

218. P. Delesalle, 'Etatisme et organisation ouvriere', TN, 19 September 1903.

219. See E. Pouget, 'Tactique de greve' VduP, 28 May 1907 and V. Griffuelhes, 'Quelques extraits', L'Action directe, 30 April 1906.

220. V. Griffuelhes and L. Niel, pp. 21-9.

221. V. Griffuelhes, 'Romantisme revolutionnaire', L'Action directe, 23 April 1908. This article was reprinted in MS, XXIV, 1908, pp. 293-5.

222. E. Pouget, L'Action directe, pp. 9-20.

223. V. Griffuelhes, 'Romantisme revolutionnaire', MS, p. 295. Griffuelhes reiterated these sentiments in Les Objectifs de nos luttes de classe, p. 35 and 'Quelques reflexions sur l'idee de greve', L'Action directe, 15 April 1908.

224. E. Pouget, 'Reformes et revolution', VduP, 16 August 1903.

225. P. Delesalle, Les Deux Methodes du syndicalisme, p. 9.

226. See XIV Congres national corporatif, pp. 204-20.

227. E. Pouget, 'La Conquete de la journee de huit heures', MS, xv, 1905, pp. 357-80; 'Les Resultats du mouvement du premier mai', MS, XIX, 1906, pp. 269-88; 'En attendant la revolution', VduP, 20 August 1906; 'L'Agitation pour les huits heures', L'Avant-garde, 23 April 1905.

228. P. Delesalle, 'La Journee de huit heures et les salaires' VduP, 19 March 1905.

229. See for example Comite Confederal, 'Nous voulons la journee de 8 heures', VduP, 29 January 1905 and the special editions of La Voix du peuple devoted to this issue on I May 1905 and I May 1906. See also three CGT pamphlets: La Journee de huit heures (Paris: n.d.); En Avant pour les huit heures (Paris: n.d.) and La Journee de huit heures dans le batiment (Paris: n.d.)

230. E. Pouget, L'Action directe, pp. 20-1.

231. V. Griffuelhes, L'Action syndicaliste, p. 32.

232. Ibid., p. 33.

233. G. Yvetot, ABC syndicaliste, p. 52.

234. G. Yvetot, 'Reflexions d'actualite', VduP, 22 August 1909; 'La Tragedie de l'Espagne', VduP, 22 August 1909; 'Sur la greve de Suede', VduP, 12 September 1909; 'La Fin d'une grande greve', VduP, 28 November 1909.

235. E. Pouget, 'Les Caracteres de l'action directe', Almanach de la revolution pour 1909 (Paris: 1909), p. 37.

236. G. Yvetot, 'La Force', VduP, 2 April 1911.

237. G. Yvetot, 'La Fin d'une grande greve' .

238. E. Pouget, 'Les Caracteres de l'action directe', p. 38.

239. P. Delesalle, La Confederanon Generale du Travail, pp. 278 .

240. V. Griffuelhes, L'Action syndicaliste, p. 34.

241. Ibid., p. 32.

242. V. Griffuelhes, 'Conditions de lutte', L'Action directe, 6 May 1908.

243. V. Griffuelhes, L'Action syndicaliste, p. 33.

244. V. Griffuelhes and L. Niel, p. 34.

245. See E. Pouget, 'La Greve russe', VduP, 12 November 1905 and 'Nouvelle etape', VduP, 5 December 1905.

246. G. Yvetot, 'La Mort d'une utopie', VduP, 27 August 1911.

247. V. Griffuelhes, 'A Propos d'un livre', VO, I, 1909, pp. 274-5 and E. Pouget 'L'eleve Pouget au prof. Jaures', GS, 1 December 1909.

248. E. Pataud and E. Pouget, Comment nous ferons la revolution, pp. 1-132.

249. V. Griffuelhes and L. Niel, p. 39.

250. See 'Enquete sur la greve generale', VduP, 27 July 1902. The 'enquete' was signed by Griffuelhes in his capacity as secretary of the CGT.

251. See XIII Congres national corporatif, pp. 223-31; VduP, 7 December 1902 and 14 December 1902; and Au Lendemain de la greve generale (Montpellier: 1902).

252. E. Pouget, 'Faramineuse consultation sur l'avenir', Almanach du Pere Peinard (Paris: 1896), pp. 22-34.

253. E. Pataud and E. Pouget, p. 141.

254. Ibid., pp. 140-84.

255. Ibid., p. 188.

256. Ibid., pp. 188-9.

257. Ibid., pp. 190-1.

258. Proudhon held similar views on punishment: see A. Ritter, 'Godwin, Proudhon and the Anarchist Justification of Punishment', Political Theory, 3, 1975, pp. 69-87.

259. E. Pataud and E. Pouget, p. 293.

260. Ibid., pp. 243-61.

261. Ibid., pp. 294-5. Sorel, in particular, was to take up this theme; see pp. 69-71.

262. See also E. Pouget, Les Bases du syndicalisme, pp. 10-13.

263. M. Leroy, La Coutume ouvriere (Paris: 1913).

264. Ibid., pp. 190-293.

265. For a syndicalist view of administration see R. Lenoir, 'Administration', in V. Griffuelhes and L. Jouhaux, Encyclopedie du mouvement syndicaliste, pp. 21-2.

266. For a discussion of these issues see A. Ritter, Anarchism: A Theoretcal Analysis (Cambridge: 1980).



3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Battlescarred on February 12, 2021

Andre Lorulot is incorrectly referred to as Lorulet throughout the above text.