A short biography of French teacher and Trotskyist-turned-anarchist communist, Michel Ravelli.
Born 1924 - Paris, France, died 4 August 2006 - France
From Trotskyism to libertarian communism
Born in Paris in 1924, Michel Ravelli was one of the generation that was politicised during the Occupation of France. He entered the Communist Party to do entrist work on behalf of the Trotskyist Parti Communiste Internationaliste, after gaining his doctorate in philosophy at the Sorbonne. After 1956 and the crushing of the Hungarian uprising, Michel was one of the editors of the Tribune de discussion, alongside Felix Guattari, later to be one of the founders of anti-psychiatry. This underground bulletin, first duplicated and then printed, was distributed among dissident members of the Communist Party.
Michel was one of the principal leaders of the PCI, alongside Michel Raptis ( better known under his pseudonym of Pablo). During the Algerian war he was active in a support network for the National Liberation Front (FLN).
He was active as a militant in the teachers union L’Ecole Emancipee, and was one of the signatories of the famous Appeal of the 121 which called for the right to disobey orders during the Algerian war. He took Pablo’s side in the split in the Fourth International and was one of those who left the PCI to found the TMR4- Tendance Marxist revolutionnaire de la IVe Internationale. He edited its paper Sous le drapeau de socialisme from 1962 to 1972. Whilst most of this current ended up as “self-management” reformists, Michel persisted in a revolutionary trajectory and grew close to the anarchist movement. He joined the Organisation Revolutionnaire Anarchiste (ORA) in 1972 and then the Organisation Communiste Libertaire in 1976. From 1976-1977 he edited the magazine Pour. From the end of the 70s and into the 80s he participated in groups like the Comite des journees de reflexion anti-autoritaire (COJRA) which sought to bring unity to the French libertarian movement.
He was involved in the editing of various journals independent of the anarchist organisations like Les Raisons de la colere, Informations et Reflexions Libertaires (IRL) and finally Noir et Rouge, of which he was director. He remained an anarchist up till his death on 4 August 2006 at the age of 82.
In the 1970s as an observer from the British Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists I attended conferences in Paris of our French counterpart the ORA. One of the many remarkable people I met there was “Ravelloche”. Tall, thin and agitated, he consumed life voraciously. His warm and magnetic personality and above all his laughter will be remembered by myself and many others.