Pierre Besnard

October 8, 1886 - February 19, 1947

Besnard was very active in the French anarcho-syndicalist movement from the end of the First World War until the Second World War. He contributed to Faure’s Encyclopédie anarchiste, and wrote several books on the theory and practice of revolutionary syndicalism, including Les syndicats ouvriers et la révolution sociale (Paris: Le Monde nouveau, 1930); Le Monde nouveau (Paris: Confédération Générale du Travail-Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire, 1936); and L’Ethique du syndicalisme (Paris: Confédération Générale du Travail-Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire, 1938). He tried to modernize anarcho-syndicalism, and to persuade other anarchists to support anarcho-syndicalist trade unions without derogating from their independence and autonomy. Nevertheless, Besnard sought to achieve ideological unity among anarchists, taking a position somewhat similar to the Platformists associated with the Russian anarchist, Peter Arshinov, and the Ukrainian anarchist partisan, Nestor Makhno. For more on Besnard, see Wayne Thorpe, “Anarchosyndicalism in Inter-War France: The Vision of Pierre Besnard,” European History Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4, 559-590 (1996).

—From Robert Graham's Anarchism Weblog.

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