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Pelloutier, Fernand (1867–1901) and the Bourses du Travail

Jean-Philippe Zanco

Subject Social History » Labor History
Sociology » Social Movements

Place Western Europe » France

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

Key-Topics anarchism, bibliography, labor movements, revolution, social change

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01169.x


Fernand-Léonce-Emile Pelloutier was born to a middle-class, Christian, monarchist family in Nantes. While he was still a pupil at the seminary of Saint-Nazaire, in 1885, he began writing for a radical newspaper, La Démocratic de l'Ouest . He became the editor in 1892. In the same year, he joined the French Parti Ouvrier (Worker's Party) founded by Jules Guesde, and he helped create the Bourse du Travail of Saint-Nazaire. In September he was made a representative for the Bourse of Saint-Nazaire to the General Congress of Tours, where he called for the general strike. Because of this clearly revolutionary conception, he broke with parliamentary socialism and was classified as a “dangerous revolutionary” by the sub-prefect of Saint-Nazaire. Leaving for Paris, Pelloutier quickly made contact with anarchists such as Paul Delesalle, Pierre Monatte, and Jean Grave, editor of the anarchist paper Les Temps Nouveaux , and soon was personally engaged in action: in July 1894 he stood against the police with militant workers defending the Bourse du Travail of Paris against a government closure order. Because of his youth and enthusiasm, he soon gained influence throughout the syndicalist world: in June 1895 he became the secretary of the Fédération des Bourses du Travail. Pelloutier was a Proudhonian : he believed that the workers' goal is not to rule the state, but to build up a self-governing, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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