Pierre Monatte

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Pierre Monatte (15 January 1881 – 27 June 1960) was a French trade unionist who worked in the printing industry (ouvrier du livre). He was the responsible of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT, Generation Confederation of Labour) at the beginning of the 20th century, and founded its journal La Vie ouvrière (Workers' Life) on 5 October 1909. Monatte has been considered one of the great figures of revolutionary syndicalism.

During World War I, Pierre Monatte opposed the Union sacrée national bloc, and resigned in 1915 from the confederal instances. Monatte often referred himself to Fernand Pelloutier and did not disguise his anarchist sympathies, although he drifted away from this current of Socialism after the International Anarchist Congress of Amsterdam in 1907. During this congress, Monatte argued in particular with Errico Malatesta concerning the methods of organisation: invoking the 1906 Charter of Amiens which established the principle of "political neutrality" of the trade-unions, Monatte considered syndicalism itself to be revolutionary, while Malatesta advocated the creation of some sort of anarchist organisation to superate internal conflicts among the workers' movement itself.[1]

Heading the internal opposition in the CGT, he founded in April 1919 the Comités syndicalistes révolutionnaires (Revolutionary Syndicalist Committees) inside the CGT. In 1923, he joined the French Communist Party (PCF) and was close to Boris Souvarine and Alfred Rosmer. Along with them, he was excluded at the end of 1924 of the party at the occasion of an internal purge against "leftist"s elements of the party who supported Leon Trotsky. Then, Monatte founded in January 1925 the journal La Révolution prolétarienne (The Proletarian Revolution), along with Robert Louzon. The journal enjoyed an appreciated audience among trade-unionists and left-wing activists during the inter-war period.


Colette Chambelland, Pierre Monatte, Une autre voix syndicaliste, coll.: Part des Hommes, Éd. de l'Atelier, 1999, ISBN 2-7082-3460-9


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