Paul Robin

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Paul Robin (1837–1912) was a French educator and scientist.

Paul Robin, a college professor, was the most significant figure of the French Neo-Malthusianism movement.

Early in his life Robin was a socialist & supporter of Marx & Engels in the First International before they excluded him, along with Michael Bakunin. Expelled from Belgium in 1869, Robin moved to Switzerland, where he was helped & influenced by Bakunin, then moved to London.

Robin lived in London for 10 years, then went to France in 1880 where he became head of the Prévost Orphanage in Cempuis (Oise). Here he threw in all his energies & put into practice a completely original libertarian pedagogy.

Functioning like a boarding school, more than 600 children were there between 1880 & 1894.

Robin's teaching was based upon observation, development of the artistic direction of the child & taking into account the children's desires. Co-education was the rule, & the children were taken along for two months to the sea each summer, etc. Physical, manual & intellectual education were complemented with 19 different workshops which provided them at least one complete formation of a trade occupation (a bakery, printing works, photography, masonry, etc.). These workshops also provided the school a certain financial autonomy.

Unfortunately this libertarian school was subjected to numerous rightwing attacks, & on August 31, 1894, Paul Robin's license was revoked.

Robin then turned his energies to the néo-Malthusian cause, influencing & working for a time with Eugene Humbert, with whom he eventually had a falling-out.

Tired & worn down by the struggles, Paul Robin committed suicide on September 1, 1912.

But Robin's legacy at Cempuis was not lost, & he had a tremendous influence on two other great libertarian pedagogues: Francisco Ferrer & Sébastien Faure.