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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #228 - May 1913: Debut of mutiny in the barracks (fr) [machine translation]

Date Tue, 02 Jul 2013 12:19:52 +0300

Episode forgotten today, the French barracks were hit in May 1913 with strong stirring. The reason: the refusal of the law three years of military service, the centerpiece of the militarization of the country on the eve of the Great War. The event will provoke a furious crackdown against the rebels, but also against the revolutionary syndicalists and anarchists, accused of fomenting. It is also the starting point for an open CGT crisis.
If there is a controversy ignited France during the first half of 1913, it is that the law of three years of military service. By extending the service a year, the French army will have 160,000 more men constantly under arms. This is an important step in the militarization of France at that time, and an extra room in the gear that the Moroccan crisis of 1911 [ 1 ] in the Balkan war, will lead to the Great War.

Announced in March 1913, the three-year law will be passed in August, despite strong resistance. It actually causes a strong discontent in the working class, but also the peasantry, whose son will miss the field one more year. The Socialist Party, the CGT and the Anarchist Communist Federation (ACF) are at the forefront of the struggle, and organized several protest rallies in Pre-Saint-Gervais, near Paris, each time attracting nearly 100,000 people. In front, the government remains firm. The Radical Party is divided - as usual - between "troisanniste" right and "deuxanniste" left.

Conscripts are agitated, Toul Rodez

An event now long forgotten testament to the depth of popular discontent against the law of three years: the wave of rebellion which then runs the barracks between 18 and 24 May 1913.

The trigger was the announcement by the Chairman, Louis Barthou, May 4, the conscripts of 1910 class will not be released September 24, 1913, as planned, but maintained twelve months more in uniform .

Click to enlarge. http://www.alternativelibertaire.org/IMG/jpg/GS_23_juillet_1913_copie.jpg
In 1913, the entire labor movement is mobilizing against the project to pass the military service from two to three years. Drawing H.-P. Gassier in Social War of 23 July 1913.

The answer surprised everyone. May 18, 300 to 500 conscripts 153rd Infantry Regiment, at Toul, trying to protest against the three years. The order is restored with great difficulty by the intervention of the police [ 2 ]. The next day, agitation wins Belfort conscripts singing The Internationale , booed three years manhandle a noncommissioned officer and making threats against the officers. They eventually return to their barracks under the threat of another battalion. In Paris, the Reuilly barracks, we rebel band: conscripts marching music in the courtyard, shouting against three years. Again, The International sounds. On May 21, hundreds of others do the same in the streets of Macon, while in a dormitory Commercy was sacked with cries of "Down with three years" then soldiers gather in the yard and try to rouse their comrades, without success. For Nancy, it hums The International in the refectory, and butterflies are stuck against the three years [ 3 ]. In Orleans, a group of soldiers appear Martroi square at the foot of the statue of Joan of Arc.

Minor incidents are also recorded in Bourges, Verdun, Saint-Die, Epinal, Nancy, Troyes, Toulouse, Chalons-sur-Marne and Paris barracks in New France and Clignancourt. Here singing The Internationale and Glory to the 17th , there is a group of conscripts attend in uniform, a militarist meeting. Moreover, it circulates in the barracks petition against the PS three years, but also copies of The Battle unionist and Humanity [ 4 ].

There are only Rodez, May 22, that the challenge is around a real mutiny, when two battalions of the 122nd Infantry Regiment premeditate a collective output of the barracks to go poach another garrison. They are deterred by the strong reaction of an officer who stops the output and shines a gun on the band [ 5 ]. Stirring off after May 24.

The staff is rife and means guilty

Dozens of soldiers considered leaders are placed under arrest and promised the council of war. The Battle unionist , official daily of the CGT, initiates a Defence Committee of the soldiers, led by leftist intellectuals [ 6 ].

While it rages, the staff survey. And very quickly, is blaming the revolutionaries " We are not in the presence of a military mutiny, but a politically motivated move , "said General Paul Pau [ 7 ]. In the climate of war preparedness facing France at the time, it was the kickoff of an outburst of the bourgeois press against the CGT and anti-militarist. It now speaks openly of "traitors" of "high treason" and "anti-French plot" [ 8 ]. Arrested in the Senate, the Minister of War Eugène Étienne, promises to take action and "get to the guilty organization" [ 9 ].

The police sweep conducted on the eve of May 26 is an unprecedented scale: labor exchanges, trade union headquarters, barracks barracks, homes of militants ... hundreds of excavations took place in no less than 88 cities! In Paris, the police returned all offices of the headquarters of the CGT, the labor exchange, those of the working life and Libertarian , and the seat of the FCA in Belleville. We also raided at several confederal officials of the Federation of Building, Social Protection Committee and the CFA.

Where it comes, the police seized everything that falls into his hands. Justice will know how to build a case load from its findings. CGT replica by a clear long mocking the " government burglaries "and stating:" That the CGT is dissolved, and soon it will recover as planned and agreed forms. "[ 10 ]

Use of special anti-anarchist laws

In the Senate, Barthou refers to " hit the CGT , "the use of anti-anarchist laws of 1893-1894, or even special legislation [ 11 ].

On June 6, a second wave of raids specifically affects the FCA. The small anarchist organization shows that it is good. On June 25, when it is financially exhausted, she organizes a meeting entitled " Were they soldiers? "against the hypocrisy of ministers, well-born, could be exempt from military service.

May 25, 1913 in Pre-Saint-Gervais, gathering 150,000 people against the law for three years (on the podium, Jean Jaurès).

A few days later, on July 1, on the basis of anti-military documents seized during the searches, Justice launched arrest warrants against 22 activists of the CGT throughout France. It is responsible for half of the Federation of Building and some dockers and steelworkers, but Charles Marck, treasurer confederal and Yvetot, branch secretary of labor exchanges. To top it off, two activists were arrested FCA.

All will be charged under anti-anarchist laws of 1894, which limited the rights of defendants.

Dilemma for the CGT: Arm wrestling or round back?

In fact, the suppression of July 1913, more violent even in 1908, when the killing of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges [ 12 ], strongly undermines the CGT. What attitude should it adopt? As she means to retaliate? It should instead round back and let the storm pass?

Left the revolutionary syndicalism - which FCA - saw in the riots of May, a symptom of pre-revolutionary crisis. She holds a key date, as a leitmotif: September 24. At that time, conscripts frustrated their release could actually mutiny. You need to call for a general strike on September 24 and thus the junction with possible riots.

In making the choice of prudence, the CGT will cause a strong discontent in this left wing, which relies mainly on construction unions and metals from the Seine and the Rhone, the union Youths of the Seine and the movement of the FCA.

The first crack appears at the confederal committee of 4 July 1913, which debate the appropriate response to the wave of arrests of July 1. When very proactive delegate Building, Raymond Pericat offers a cons-demonstration on July 14 and a general strike on September 24, he faces a widespread disapproval. The vast majority of delegates reject the proposal, arguing that the CGT did not afford such a radicalization [ 13 ]. Confederation therefore stick to the publication of a vehement manifesto [ 14 ] and a large gathering at Pré-Saint-Gervais, July 13.

Click to enlarge. http://www.alternativelibertaire.org/IMG/jpg/VDP_du_05-10-10.jpg
"The exploiting trinity (the magistrate, the military, the capitalist) - Shoot, shoot your brothers! "( The Voice of the People October 5, 1905, special issue illustrated for the start of the class). To prevent the intervention of the army against strikes, CGT regularly invites soldiers to disobedience.

The left of the CGT, which at that time used more The Libertarian as megaphone protest against what it sees as a retreat [ 15 ]. But nothing works. At the national conference of the CGT, which brings together many provincial delegates from 13 to 15 July the left windshield another failure. His spokesman, Pericat and Benedict Broutchoux, fail to hear the need for an ambitious response to the CGT. They even harshly rebuffed by Alphonse Merrheim, secretary of the Federation of metals and new thinking head of the CGT, which has the support of the majority. Delegates believe we too exhausted unions with strikes twenty-four hours, and should not repeat the mixed experience of the general strike against the war in December 16, 1912 [ 16 ].

The next day, the press a field day of what is interpreted as a capitulation. The CGT was "intimidated" by repression, welcomes Time [ 17 ]. Confederation "So renounce the struggle for lack of troops," concluded Echoes of Paris [ 18 ].

A few days later, ending: the National Assembly waives extend for one year the service of the vote in 1910 and its release in early November class. Has the government afraid of new mutinies and a concomitant action of the CGT? This is what Jaurès assert thereafter " some source "[ 19 ].

This conference in mid-July 1913 is certainly the starting point of a divorce between the left of the CGT and the national leadership, accused of " correct his shot . " Hostilities are started by a relentless editorial Pierre Martin in The Libertarian : " Do not procrastinate, he writes, we must recognize and say the CGT has led the reaction. Full revolutionary situation, she dropped foot, lying with its tradition, the trade union movement deviated from its true path [...]. "[ 20 ].

This is the beginning of an open crisis of revolutionary syndicalism, which in the summer of 1914, will not be resolved.

William Davranche (AL Montreuil)


Against the law for three years
March 5: bill extending military service in three years.

March 16: at Pré-Saint-Gervais, CGT brings together some 150 000 to 200 000 people against three years. The CFA are attached.

March-May: Many protest meetings across the country.

May 18-24: wave of unrest in the barracks.

May 23: the head of government promises to go back to "guilty organization" .

May 25: PS the largest gathering of Pre-Saint-Gervais. The CFA are attached.

May 26: hundreds of searches are conducted in the union and anarchist circles.

June 26: searches in anarchist circles.

July 1: targeted arrests 20 leaders of the CGT and 2 of the FCA's incarcerated and charged under the "villainous laws" for "carried anarchists."

July 4: refusing to engage in a showdown with the government, the confederation CGT Committee does not call for a general strike on 24 September.

13 July: great gathering of the CGT, with the FCA, the Pré-Saint-Gervais.

July 15: National Conference of the CGT confirms the decision of 4 July.

July 19: the law was passed in the National Assembly by 363 votes against 204 and 32 abstentions. The Libertarian accused the CGT have "dropped off" .

August 7: The law was passed by the Senate.

[ 1 ] Read "1911: Agadir, the war is already here" , Alternative libertarian February 2011.

[ 2 ] The Morning of May 19, 1913.

[ 3 ] The Morning of May 19 to 22, 1913.

[ 4 ] Yolande Cohen, Young, socialism and war , L'Harmattan, 1989.

[ 5 ] Becker, The Book B , Klincksieck, 1973.

[ 6 ] One of his lawyers is the socialist Pierre Laval, who will subsequently the poor trajectory is known.

[ 7 ] The Morning of May 22, 1913.

[ 8 ] The Gauls of 27 May 1913.

[ 9 ] The Morning of May 23, 1913.

[ 10 ] "Response to government burglaries", May 1913.

[ 11 ] The Morning of May 29, 1913.

[ 12 ] Read "1908: Draveil Villeneuve, the CGT at the moment of truth" , Alternative libertarian July 2008.

[ 13 ] Proceedings of the confederal committee Voice of the People August 13, 1913.

[ 14 ] "The CGT remains standing," July 4, 1913.

[ 15 ] Peter Martin, "on September 24! " The Libertarian July 12, 1913.

[ 16 ] Read " 1912: CGT general strike against the war , " Alternative libertarian December 2012.

[ 17 ] Time July 17, 1913.

[ 18 ] L'Echo de Paris on 16 July 1913.

[ 19 ] The humanity of 22 September 1913.

[ 20 ] Peter Martin, "Error and fear," The Libertarian July 19, 1913.
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