Jean Longuet

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Jean Longuet
Longuet in 1918
Jean-Laurent-Frederick Longuet

(1876-10-05)5 October 1876
London, England
Died11 September 1938(1938-09-11) (aged 61)
Occupation(s)Journalist, lawyer and socialist politician
SpouseAnita Desvaux
The Lafarge's Grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. Longuet and his wife and sons are also buried here

Jean-Laurent-Frederick Longuet (5 October 1876 – 11 September 1938) was a French socialist politician and journalist. He was Karl Marx's grandson.

Early years[edit]

Jean, often called 'Johnny' as a boy by his family, was born in London on October 5, 1876, the son of Charles and Jenny Longuet. He was their second son, and the eldest who survived to adulthood.[1] The family often visited Jenny's father, Karl Marx, who liked to play with his grandchildren.[2]

The Longuet family moved to France in February 1881.[2] In summer 1882 Karl Marx stayed with the Longuets for three months, being joined by Jean's aunt Eleanor Marx. By this time Jenny was suffering from bladder cancer, and would die a year later. To ease the burden on the family, Eleanor took Jean back to England in August 1882, promising to educate and discipline him. They became close, with Eleanor thinking of him as ‘my boy’.[3] On his return to France, Jean lived for a time with his father's family in Caen to continue his studies.

Political career[edit]

After attending university in Paris, Longuet worked as a journalist and trained as a lawyer. He worked for the newspaper L'Humanité and was a founder and editor of the newspaper Le Populaire.[4] He was active in one of France's principal socialist parties, the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), and served both as a mayor and as a member of the French Chamber of Deputies.[5][6]

During the First World War, he was a pacifist but also supported war credits. At the Strasbourg Congress in 1918 his policy was adopted by the majority of the socialist SFIO. After the Tours Congress of 1920 had the Communists gained the majority, he supported the minority and joined the centrist Two-and-a-half International, the Vienna Union. He criticised the League Against Imperialism, which was created in 1927 and supported by the Comintern.[7]

Longuet supported pro-Zionist positions at the Socialist International meeting in Brussels in 1930[8] and at a speech to a Zionist group in Paris in 1935.[9]

He also represented Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a political prisoner, who while being taken from Bombay to England to stand trial on the charges of sedition and abetment of murder, escaped from the ship, which was docked at Marseilles, and swam ashore until he was caught by a French gendarme. The case drew criticism from the French socialist press, which decried that the individual rights of Savarkar had been trampled as a result of his arrest by British constables on French soil, which they believed to violate the sovereignty of France.

Pressure from the leftist and liberal press continued and forced both countries in October 1910 to take their case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Madam Cama, a revolutionary Parsi woman from Bombay who was one of the founders of the Paris Indian Society, managed to get power of attorney, which facilitated the engagement of Longuet as Savarkar's representative in The Hague. However, as the arbitration was between France and Britain, the tribunal did not accept Longuet's memorandum on behalf of Savarkar, considering it out of the terms of reference. However, Longuet persisted and personally handed over the copies of the memorandum to the members of the court.[10]

Death and family[edit]

Jean Longuet married Anita Desvaux (1875–1960) in 1900. They had two sons: the lawyer and journalist Robert-Jean Longuet (1901–1987) and the sculptor Karl-Jean Longuet (1904–1981). Jean's younger brother Edgar Longuet, a physician, was also an active socialist.[5]

Longuet died at the Aix-les-Bains Clinic after a car accident in September 1938, aged 61.[11][12] He was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, in the same grave as his aunt and uncle, Laura and Paul Lafargue. Longuet's wife and two sons were later buried in the same grave.[13]


  1. ^ Padover, Saul K. (1978). Karl Marx: An Intimate Biography. McGraw-Hill Book Co, New York. pp. 479-474. ISBN 0070480729.
  2. ^ a b Wheen, Francis (1999). Karl Marx. Fourth Estate. p. 374. ISBN 9781841151144.
  3. ^ Wheen, Francis (1999). Karl Marx. Fourth Estate. pp. 377–379. ISBN 9781841151144.
  4. ^ "Entry on Jean Longuet". Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Grandsons of Karl Marx lean Left, but differ on heirs of teaching". St. Petersburg Times, 30 May 1948, p 40. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Jean Longuet" (in French). National Assembly. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Glossary of People: Jean Longuet".
  8. ^ ”The sessions which adopted the pro-Zionist resolution was presided over by Emile Vandervelde, Belgian Socialist leader and friend of Zionism. Among the supporters of the resolution were Leon Blum, French-Jewish Socialist; Jean Longuet; Pierre Renaudel; and M. Turati, Italian Socialist leader (”Socialist International Urges Britain to Facilitate Jewish Immigration, Colonization,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7 August 1930).
  9. ^ “Jean Longuet, grandson of Karl Marx, father of modern Socialist, announced himself as a Zionist in a speech to a Zionist group here” (The Sentinel (Chicago), 30 May 1935, p. 29).
  10. ^ "A century before Kulbhushan Jadhav, the debate at the Hague was over VD Savarkar". 28 May 2017.
  11. ^ "JEAN LONGUET, 62, NOTED SOCIALIST; Grandson of Karl Marx Dies in. France After Auto Crash--Former French Deputy". New York Times. 13 September 1938. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Jean Longuet, Karl Marx's Grandson, Dead at 62". Jewish Telegraph Agency. 13 September 1938. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Confirmed by photograph of grave".

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