A short biography of French anarcho-syndicalist print worker Jacky Toublet.
Jacques 'Jacky' Toublet
Born 1940 - France, died 14 June 2002 - France
Jacky Toublet was one of the 30-odd comrades of the Alliance Syndicalistes Revolutionnaire Syndicalistes et Anarchosyndicalistes (ASRAS) I met in the early 70s when I was living in Paris. Once a week, I went to their centre to attend lively meetings. Alongside Bulgarian exiles and the granddaughter of the Spanish libertarian Juan Peiro, victim of dictator General Franco’s firing squads, were people like Alain Pecunia, who had served time in Franco’s jails for active solidarity with Spanish anarchism. and of course Jacky Toublet.
Son of a proofreader, himself an anarchist (Julien Toublet, secretary of the CGT-SR, anarchosyndicalist union in the interwar period) Jacques decided to enter the profession after courses in typography. He started work at Georges Lang in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. This was one of the largest printshops, employing many workers from the 50s to the 80s.
He joined the CGT union central, and was active in the proofreaders syndicat of the Parisian region.This union was a rare stronghold of anarchism within the Stalinist-controlled CGT. He did his military service in Algeria. In 1965 he got work in the municipal printshop of the Ville de Paris.He became an anarchist a little later, notably as a result of meeting Gaston Leval in 1967. This veteran had survived the First World war and had witnessed the 1936 Spanish Revolution.
He became active in the ASRAS from 1968 to the beginning of the 1980s. He struggled hard to create a libertarian tendency within the unions and reach convergence and common orientation of the diverse libertarian militants, not without difficulties.
At the end of the 70s the majority of ASRAS decided to join the Federation Anarchiste. He became active in the Pierre Besnard Group (19th arrondissement) of the Federation Anarchiste from 1981.
In the 70s he was extremely active in solidarity work with the Spanish movement. He enthusiastically welcomed the reconstitution of the Spanish anarchist trade union the CNT in 1976.
Whilst remaining in the CGT, he participated in the building of the French CNT and in the editing of its theoretical review Les Temps Maudits. Equally he put his professional know-how and his talents as a writer at the service of Le Monde Libertaire, the weekly of the FA. He became director of this publication.
In the last years of his life he fell prey to a debilitating disease. He left the FA in May 2001 and then joined Alternative Libertaire in February 2002. His illness meant he was unable to attend many meetings in this period, but he hoped to overcome it. Alas, it was not to be, and he died on the 14th June 2002.
He was deeply concerned with the question of libertarian unity, and he hoped that the growth of contacts between the different groupings would lead to real debate and a new dynamic. Jacky was an important figure of revolutionary syndicalism and of the French libertarian movement. In the words of Laurent Esquerre:
“We keep a memory of him of a cultured comrade, demanding of himself and of others, impregnated with the memory of the combats of the workers’ movement which he cultivated not out of simple nostalgia but which consisted for him as a means of making a link between the emancipatory struggles of yesterday and today.”
By Nick Heath
Slightly edited by libcom