Anarchism spread into Belgium as Communards took refuge in Brussels with the fall of the Paris Commune. Most Belgian members in the First International joined the anarchist Jura Federation after the socialist schism. Belgian anarchists also organized the 1886 Walloon uprising, the Libertarian Communist Group, and several Bruxellois newspapers at the turn of the century. Apart from new publications, the movement dissipated through the internecine antimilitarism in the interwar period. Several groups emerged mid-century for social justice and anti-fascism.

Before 1880

The Anti-Authoritarian International

Mikhail Bakunin

In September 1872, during the Hague Congress of the International Workingmen's Association, the Belgian delegates spoke out against the exclusion of Mikhail Bakunin proposed by the General Council of London, dominated by Karl Marx. In this founding conflict of anarchism, they joined the camp of the "anti-authoritarians" against the "authoritarians". Like Bakunin, the Belgian delegates refused to achieve their objectives by conquering political power and were in favor of a federalist structure of the International, in which the local groups retained a large degree of autonomy. According to them, the revolution would take place quickly and a new society would be built from below.[1]

From this split was born, at the congress of Saint-Imier on 15 September 1872, an "anti-authoritarian" International known as the Jura Federation. It was around this that the anarchist current was born, which then claimed to be called "revolutionary collectivism", wanting to be the promoter of a self-managed economic system outside all authority, all centralization, all states and giving as objective "the destruction of all political power by the revolutionary strike". The majority of Belgian members of the First International joined this anti-authoritarian International.[2][3]

In the mid-1870s, Belgian socialism was made up of a set of workers' associations anxious to maintain their independence and to stay away from politics. The local federation of Verviers was then the center of the anti-authoritarian International in Belgium. It challenged trade unionism and political action to privilege revolutionary propaganda: the abolition of the state must be the top priority. But the announced revolution was long overdue and the social-democratic tendency, particularly present in Ghent and Brussels, gradually won out over the anti-political revolutionary.[1]

"Compagnon"

The term compagnon ("fellow") by which anarchists refer to themselves was first used in Belgium, said Jean Maitron. "When the republicans," cried Tévenin, judged before the Assize Court of Isère, "wanted to designate themselves separately from the monarchists, they took the name of citizen; we who despise the right of citizenship, we looked for an absolutely working-class term and we adopted that of companion; that means a companion in struggle, in misery, sometimes also in a chain". These companions do not belong to a party, but to local groups without structures and living an independent life.[4]

Personalities

From 1880 to 1914

Walloon uprising of 1886

The Walloon uprising of 1886 designated a series of insurrectional workers' strikes that began on 18 March with a commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Paris Commune, organized by the Revolutionary Anarchist Group of Liège. There were violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, the army was mobilized and the uprising was crushed, causing the deaths of several dozen strikers.

The Friendly Federation of Anarchists (1904)

Ce que veulent les anarchistes, réédition de 1909.

In 1902, Georges Thonar chaired the "revolutionary congress" of Liège which was a success of participation but gave few concrete results, in particular because of individualism and the fear of any authoritarianism which paralyzed any beginnings of organization. Dispersed in an multitude of trends, the movement proved incapable of implementing its resolutions, of coordinating its action.[8]

However Thonar continued his project of organizing anarchism. To clarify the positions, he drew up a manifesto, What anarchists want, which excluded from the outset those nostalgic for propaganda of the deed and the "originals" who were not conformist.[8]

For him, anarchism was located in "an active propaganda, purely theoretical and without phrases", aiming at "integral education" through study circles, schools, conferences, newspapers and brochures. To ensure "the development of personal dignity, of the spirit of independence and of feelings of solidarity", such was the immediate objective of group action. Direct action was not neglected, but anarchism knew that "riots" and "revolutions" are not created "artificially"; that "governmental arbitrariness and capitalist exploitation will push the masses that must be educated as a consequence to a gigantic general strike, the prelude to the social revolution". He did not reject any idea of reform because "the educational action of the struggle waged to obtain them is useful to the working class."[9]

In October 1904 in Charleroi and on this basis, Thonar, assisted by Émile Chapelier, brought together a libertarian communist congress of around a hundred fairly representative militants who unanimously adopted his text and laid the foundations for a Friendly Federation of Anarchists.[10]

The objectives were, on the one hand, to bring together the anarchists by means of an organization which allowed them to act more methodically, and, on the other hand, to take concrete measures to develop propaganda, whether through conferences, publications or libraries. The organization project, entirely developed by Georges Thonar, in a way leader of the movement at the time, speaks of a libertarian federalism based on voluntary collaboration: each group and each individual retains its autonomy, and no one imposes decisions (which makes it possible to overcome the reluctance of those who fear the appearance of a certain authoritarianism). The organization of the federation was based on three types of gathering: local sections, study and propaganda circles, intended to train members through conferences on both social and scientific subjects; concentration groups meeting monthly and finally the free federation, without statute, holding an annual congress. The publication of a newsletter informs about the state of propaganda and new publications, and its production is carried out each time by a different group in order to develop contacts and avoid excessive centralization.[11] Thonar was appointed secretary,[12] but he was quickly disappointed because, apart from the holding of an annual congress, few actions were organized collectively.[1][8]

The libertarian community L’Experience (1905–1908)

An Esperanto course at the libertarian communist colony, L’Experience.

In July 1905, the libertarian L’Experience community in Stockel, was founded by Émile Chapelier and his partner Marie David (Joseph Jacquemotte's sister).[13] It had five to fifteen people, wanting to be an alternative to propaganda of the deed – what they called "propaganda by example". Victor Serge, Jean de Boë and the Esperantist activist Eugène Gaspard Marin, notably stayed there.[14][15]

The libertarian communist colony was the Brussels section of the Libertarian Communist Group founded on 25 July 1905 with a view to structuring the movement to carry out joint action and sustained propaganda. Until then, individualism and the fear of authoritarianism had always pushed anarchists to refuse any form of organization.[11]

The project was the implementation of libertarian communism: common property, communal work (gardening and poultry farming essentially) and consumption according to the principle of "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs". It relied on the principle of mutual aid developed by Peter Kropotkin. It was an open environment, integrated into the Belgian and international anarchist movement, and multiplying activities for those who came to visit it: newspapers, active theater, conferences, etc. On 22 July 1906, the second Belgian Libertarian Communist Congress was held there, which launched the idea of an anarchist international. The colony published multiple brochures, which helped reactivate Belgian and international anarchism, on revolutionary syndicalism, neomalthusianism, Esperanto, free love, etc. It was an assumed experimental environment, not wanting to appear as a model, nor as a fixed structure.[16][17]

A showcase for anarchism, the colony was open to visitors on Sundays, lectures and plays were given there. The community published many brochures in its collection.[18] On 11 August 1906, it published the first number of the weekly L'Émancipateur.[14]

The Libertarian Communist Group (1905–1907)

L’Insurgé, 6 June 1903.

The Libertarian Communist Group (French: Groupement Communiste Libertaire, GCL) was a Belgian anarchist organization founded by about thirty militants on 25 July 1905 and disappeared in August 1907. Its goal was to propagate the ideas of libertarian communism by means of meetings, the creation of education circles, and the publication of newspapers and propaganda books.[19] Its main objective was to structure a movement divided into many tendencies and to create the means necessary for the development of the libertarian press. Georges Thonar was its general secretary.

On 15 October, a congress was held in Liège to study two questions: the foundation of a libertarian colony and the attitude to adopt in the event of war.[10] At this congress, Thonar clarified that the group was addressing activists who believed in the need to strengthen the organization of propaganda and solidarity, so the group was relatively closed. The GCL adopted a declaration in which it specified that its aim was to propagate the libertarian communist theories defined by the Declaration of principles adopted at the Congress of Charleroi in 1904.

In July 1905, the libertarian L'Expérance community was created by Émile Chapelier and became the local section of Stockel. At the beginning of 1906, the first results were quite encouraging: the number of members and sections continued to increase. The GCL managed to ensure the survival of L’Insurgé and organized meetings, study circles, and the publication of propaganda books.[10][11] At that point, the GCL had around 100 activists divided into around 15 sections.[10] The newspaper L'Insurgé, which Thonar launched in 1903,[20] became L’Emancipateur, "Organ of the Groupement Communiste Libertaire" and was published in L'Expérance.[21]

However, the GCL did not alleviate the financial difficulties of the anarchist press, which was one of its primary objectives, and L’Émancipateur, with its 300 subscribers, did not balance its books. Contacts were spaced out between the different sections and Secretary General Georges Thonar lost contact with his base. Finally, the sections reproached the group for its centralizing tendency and decided to dissolve it at the last general assembly in August 1907. However, it was decided to maintain a network woven by the fraternal relations formed between the members during the meetings and that the action must to develop in a new direction: revolutionary syndicalism.[11][10]

The Brussels Revolutionary Group (1907–1909)

In July 1908, at the call of the Brussels Revolutionary Group, largely from the L'Experience colony, an anarchist Federation was formed based on "the free membership of groups, without statutes, without regulations and without a committee". It published the newspaper Le Révolté.[8][10][1]

The Belgian General Confederation of Labor (1906–1908)

On 11 and 12 June 1905 in Charleroi, a revolutionary trade union congress brought together delegates from 24 localities, mainly in Hainaut, but also from Ghent, Brussels and Liège, miners, glassmakers, typographers, carpenters, metallurgists and painters.[8] The congress decided on the principle of the creation of a General Confederation of Labour.[22][1] Following the model of the French CGT, for the new Confederation, it was a question of bringing together all the trades in a single agreement so as to create an anti-political union capable of carrying out the revolutionary general strike. Its goal is the elimination of wage labor. But unlike France, which was industrialized late but where the workers 'groups were nourished by a revolutionary tradition, Belgium, and in particular the Walloon industrial basins, experienced the first industrial revolution on the continent but a workers' movement which is organized late. Local and professional particularism reigned and union membership was very small30.

On 16 July 1905, the first issue of the newspaper L’Action Directe, "organ of workers", then "organ of the General Confederation of Labor" then "organ of revolutionary syndicalist propaganda" appeared in Gilly (Belgium).[23] Founded by Léopold Preumont, from June 1907, Henri Fuss succeeded him at the head of the newspaper which was both a propaganda tool and a rallying center for the unions of Charleroi and Liège, which claim to be in direct action.[24]

On 28 January 1906 in Brussels, the constitutive congress of the new organization was held, a congress prepared by the Union des Travailleurs bruxellois founded by Henri Fuss and in which Georges Thonar and Émile Chapelier joined in particular.[8] The Belgian CGT grew in the following years but its newspaper, L’Action Directe and some of its members were prosecuted on several occasions, in particular because of their anti-militarist positions or their participation in strikes. These lawsuits had the consequence of depriving the movement of its most important activists. These reasons, to which are added a local and professional particularism and the absence of outstanding personalities, caused the end of the CGT in 1908.[1]

The Amsterdam International Anarchist Congress (1907)

A large Belgian delegation took part in the International Anarchist Congress in Amsterdam in August 1907, including Georges Thonar and Henri Fuss (Liège), Émile Chapelier (Boitsfort), Segher Rabauw and Samson (Antwerp), Janssen and Heiman (Ghent), Schouteten (Brussels), Hamburger and Henri Willems.[25] The Libertarian Communist Group intervened there in particular in the debate on the organization.[26]

Publications

Le Libertaire, no 1, 22 October 1893.

On 22 October 1893 in Brussels, Henri Willems published the first issue of the bimonthly Le Libertaire, the "Socialist-revolutionary organ of the groups of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode", in Brussels. It contained two epigrams: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a rascal" by August Spies and "Our enemy is our master" by Jean de La Fontaine, and followed the newspaper L'Antipatriote. However, its printer and publisher were prosecuted in 1894 for press offenses, which led to the stopping of publication of the newspaper.[27]

The first issue of La Débâcle sociale was published on 4 January 1896 in Ensival. Originally published every two weeks, from issue 6 ( 22–29 March 1896), it became a weekly. Among the contributors: Henri Zisly, Henri Beylie, Émile Gravelle, Jules Moineau, Augustin Hamon, Élisée Reclus and Séverine. After 10 issues, the newspaper stopped on 19 April 1896.[28] In March 1896, La Débâcle sociale also published in the form of a brochure, the plea by Émile Royer, Pour l´anarchiste Jules Moineau.[29]

In 1910, the Revolutionary Federation published the newspaper Le combat social, the leader of which was Félix Springael.[30] In the first issue, published under the title of Bulletin of the Revolutionary Federation, the Revolutionary Federation declared itself for integral socialism, for a society in which everyone produces according to their strength and consumes according to their needs.[31]

On 1 November 1902 in Brussels, the first issue of the newspaper Le Flambeau, "Organe de combat Révolutionnaire", came out, edited by Julius Mestag.[32] "Le Flambeau is not a journal of theory, nor a gossip sheet, it is a revolutionary combat organ, the cry of the oppressed, the expression of a feeling of revolt."[33]

L’Émancipateur

L’Émancipateur (first period), 11 August 1906, "Organ of the Groupement Communiste Libertaire" published by the libertarian community L’experiment.

On 11 August 1906, the first issue of the weekly L'Émancipateur, "Organ of the Groupement Communiste Libertaire", published by the libertarian colony founded by Émile Chapelier, was published in Stockel. Georges Thonar was its administrator and printer. The newspaper ceased to appear in December 1906 after 13 issues appeared. The newspaper Le Communiste succeeded it in June 1907. Its epigraph was "from each according to their ability; to each according to their needs".[34][35]

On 18 September 1910, the first issue of the second period of L'Émancipateur "Communist-anarchist revolutionary organ" came out in Liège. The managing editor responsible for the newspaper was François Requilez. The journal was edited from number 24 by the group The Seekers of Truth. Fifty two issues appeared until March 1913. The newspaper was replaced from this date and until July 1913 by L'action anarchiste. L’Émancipateur reappeared in March 1914 for a new series of twelve issues, until 2 August 1914. Its epigraph was: "We want to establish a social environment which ensures to each individual all the sum of happiness adequate for the progressive development of humanity".[36]

L’Emancipateur (third period), 1921–1936, published by Camille Mattart in Flémalle.

In July 1921, the first issue of the third period of L'Émancipateur, first subtitled "Organe communiste-anarchiste Révolutionnaire", was published by Camille Mattart in Flémalle. After becoming the newspaper of the Libertarian Communist Federation, the title disappeared in December 1925 to make way for the newspaper Le Combat. Camille Mattart then republished it periodically from 1928 to 1936.[37]

Personalities

Émile Chapelier.
Jean De Boë.
Gassy Marin

From 1914 to 1945

Like the international movement, the libertarian movement emerged from the First World War divided, fractured between radical antimilitarists and supporters of a victory for Western democracies gathered around the Manifesto of the Sixteen. World War I was undoubtedly a fatal halt to the development of anarchism all over the world. In Belgium, while until 1914, the libertarian movement was the first censor on the left of the Workers' Party, it gradually lost its influence.[56] The Russian Revolution of October 1917 aroused enthusiasm among some who joined the communist movements, while others realized the true dictatorial nature of the new Bolshevik power.

Most Belgian anarchists then embarked on newspaper publication. Belgium, during the interwar period, was a land of exile and Belgian militants of this generation welcomed and helped many exiles living in semi-clandestinity: Italian, German and Spanish anarchists, Jews, conscientious objectors, neo-Malthusians, etc. The movement was influenced by the arrival of Italian exiles fleeing fascism or immigrants seeking work: five anarchist magazines in the Italian language were published in Brussels in the interwar period. Some local activists collaborated on these publications and sometimes edited them, such as Hem Day or Jean De Boë.[57]

In 1921, a Belgian Anarchist Communist Federation initially brought together three groups in Brussels, Liège and in the Borinage.[57]

In 1924, Hem Day welcomed the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists Francisco Ascaso and Buenaventura Durruti, then on the run to Cuba, into his home for two years.[58] In 1928, the International Committee for Anarchist Defense (CIDA) was created to fight against the expulsions and extraditions of foreign anarchists. A support network was set up around CIDA for many militants living in semi-clandestinity and an exfiltration channel towards South America.[57]

Personalities

See also: Camille Mattart, Ernest Tanrez, Léo Campion, and Louis Mercier-Vega

Hem Day

From 1945 to the 1960s

As after World War I, Belgian anarchism emerged shaken from World War II. However, as soon as the last battles had been fought, attempts to rebuild the movement appear. Even if they did not define themselves specifically as an anarchist, by welcoming libertarians and letting them express themselves, several groups participated in this libertarian renewal. Their purpose was social justice, pacifism, anti-militarism, anti-fascism, etc.[65]

Les Cahiers socialistes

Without being specifically anarchists, Les Cahiers socialistes, founded in November 1944, brought together independent socialists of all stripes and maintained close relations with groups clearly claiming to be part of the libertarian movement and welcomed in its editorial committee, in 1947, an anarchist activist like Ernestan.[66]

The editorial line of the review advocated a libertarian socialism that attempts a critical approach to Marxism. For its authors, the very essence of Marxism has been obscured by the too rigid doctrine of political parties. It was important to give more freedom to the socialists, as to the workers. This resolutely libertarian approach led them to adopt a rather nuanced point of view with regard to the debate on the role of the State, a conflict which is at the basis of the split of the First International. For Les Cahiers socialistes, the authoritarian socialists, by retaining the notion of the State, perpetuate an oppressive system, while in reaction, the anarchists advocate a "petty-bourgeois" individualism. The solution, according to them, lay in an alternative: self-management. The journal was certainly not presented as statist, for its authors, the state was neither a form of socialism nor a means of achieving it.[67] Les Cahiers socialistes believed that each individual had the right to assert their socialist ideal and was categorically opposed to authoritarianism.[68]

Pensée et Action

Pensée et Action, no 1, 20 September 1945.

The Pensée et Action group was founded on 28 March 1945 following a conference by its leader, Marcel Dieu. The aim of the group was "to awaken and develop individual and intellectual consciousness to fight against all forms of authoritarianism". The group organized more than a hundred conferences on fields as diverse as sociology, politics, economics, psychology, literature, philosophy, sciences, Fine Arts, etc. The talks were attended by around thirty spectators, sometimes around a hundred.[69]

The group publishes an eponymous monthly review which should serve as "a link between all those who, beyond the fray of today and tomorrow, are looking for the possible bases of a free evolution of men in societies".[70] It therefore declared itself open to all, as attested by the formula written on the back cover of each issue of the review: "Pensée et Action intends to seek, beyond any sectarianism, any political or dogmatic ideology, the elements of a genuinely revolutionary culture, defending the merits of the essential demands of the mind and of men!"[70] Forty-six issues were published between September 1945 and December 1952. From that date until 1970, the review was replaced by Les Cahiers de Pensée et Action.

Action commune libertaire

Action commune libertaire was founded on 2 November 1952,[71] at the call of the libertarian trade unionist Jean De Boë. In addition to Alfred Lepape (Dour) who was the responsible editor and secretary of the group's publications, Guy Badot (Charleroi), Hem Day (Brussels), Georges Simon (Quaregnon), Joseph De Smet (Ghent), Luis Broecke (Antwerp) and Jean-Baptiste Schaut (Liège) were also members of the group.

The association brought together anarchists of all tendencies and sets itself the objective of providing information intended for a large public. It published pacifist and anti-militarist posters and leaflets, recurring themes among libertarians of this generation. The group was quickly undermined by divisions between individualists, including Hem Day and Joseph de Smet, and the libertarian communist fringe. After 1954 and a few rescue attempts, the group disappeared.

International Anti-Fascist Solidarity (SIA)

The Belgian section of International Antifascist Solidarity (SIA) was founded on 18 May 1946 in the form of an association. It brought together anti-fascists and anti-Stalinists around the founders: Joseph De Smet and especially Jean De Boë. The association organized the defense of asylum seekers who had fled their country and authoritarian regimes. It was a meeting place for immigrants, including the many anarcho-syndicalists from the National Confederation of Labor (CNT) in exile.[72]

In addition to its activities and galas, the association published brochures and leaflets during important events such as in 1960. For example, at the wedding of Baudouin, the young Belgian king, with Fabiola, from the Spanish nobility, the association denounced the living conditions under the Franco dictatorship and the passive collaboration of the royal family and clerical circles.[72]

In 1958, young people, including Stéphane Huvenne,[73] joined the association and offered to organize more spectacular or even violent actions, which caused tensions between the new and the old generation mainly made up of non-violent activists. The young Spanish anti-fascists decided to leave SIA and to join the Libertarian Youth (FIJL), then in exile on Belgian territory since its ban in France on 9 August 1963.[72]

War Resisters' International (WRI)

The War Resisters' International logo: a broken rifle.

Without being specifically anarchist, the Belgian section of the War Resisters' International (IRG) brought together many libertarians. Pacifist and antimilitarist, the IRG was the only association which did not base its rejection of war on foundations of a religious nature. It advocated an integral nonviolent pacifism: "War is a crime against Humanity. For this reason, we are determined not to help any kind of war and to fight for the abolition of all its causes”. The IRG provides concrete support to people who resist militarism and conscription (rebels, conscientious objectors, etc.) and, on a more philosophical level, advocates for "a world without war and a new social order, where all cooperate for the common good”.[74]

Two personalities of the libertarian movement took responsibilities at the international level: Hem Day and Jean Van Lierde. The group published the newsletter Non-violence et Société. The action that most mobilized the pacifists of the IRG was the struggle for the recognition of the status of conscientious objector and, in return, the creation of a civilian service. Some libertarians wonder about the value of this status, official recognition by the powers in place, and, even more, about the legitimacy of a civil service, which constituted participation in the workings of the state.[74][75]

Personalities

From the 1960s to 2000s

The Dolle Mol in June 2007.

The leftist movement of the years after May 68 was marked by the influence of anarchism, in particular by spontaneism, horizontality, direct democracy and direct action.[84] In Liège, in the wake of the events of May 68 and the student movement Boule de neige, the anarchist monthly "Le Libertaire" was published, in which Noël Godin, Edgard Morin, JP Delriviere, Mihaili Djosson and Yves Thelen participated.[85] The latter, in issue 7 February 1969, wrote the "Manifesto of the Libertarian" which specified the line of the monthly under the title "What is anarchism".

Socialisme et Liberté

“Socialisme et Liberté" was created in 1966 by François Destryker, but it differed from the rest of the libertarian milieu in Brussels. At the time, a few comrades disseminated libertarian ideas in isolation. "L'Ordre Libre", an organ of the Cercle La Boétie, had been distributed by Jean De Smet since 1960. In November 1965, issue 2 of this review appeared, which tells us about the liquidation of the Institute of Possibilities. There was also a Libertarian Center, in premises rented by the Brussels CNT, near the Grand-Place in Brussels.

The CNT brought together other comrades. For his part, Hem Day ran the review "Pensée et Action" and kept alive the libertarian tradition within the pacifist movement and Freemasonry. The anarchist movement in the 1960s was therefore limited to a few individuals whose visions for the future were limited to rehashing the past. "Socialisme et Liberté" also made contact with CRIFA: Commission des relations de l’ Internationale des Federations anarchistes, in France.

Socialisme et Liberté” defended the following positions:

May 68 brought with it the anarchist discovery of council communism. The activists of Socialisme et Liberté were active during the Free Assemblies organized at ULB. In 1969, "Socialisme et Liberté" took part in the organization of the international meeting of ICO (Information Correspondence Ouvrière) in Brussels. This meeting takes place at the Auberge de la Paix, bringing together around a hundred participants. Daniel Cohn-Bendit was present, as well as other participants of May 68. The group "Socialism and Freedom" was influenced by "Noir & Rouge", which proclaimed itself anarchist-communist and many texts, in the review, alluded to contributions of dialectical materialism. "Noir & Rouge" approached anarchism critically and dismantled Russian mystification. The ICO criticized the unions as a cog in the state apparatus and thus answered a fundamental question about the nature of the USSR. Noir & Rouge had 46 issues, going from simple mimeographed sheets to a printed pamphlet format. It had a relative influence during the events of May 1968, Daniel Cohn-Bendit frequented this group. From this moment, "Socialisme et Liberté" argued the question of the nature of unions, that of anarcho-syndicalism. Within "Socialisme et Liberté" an important political deepening was being developed, without however arriving at an autonomous theorization.

L'Alliance

Alliance 89 was founded on 7 January 1969, its main objective was to inform and collect documentation on the anti-authoritarian movement in Belgium. With this in mind, it created a documentation center as well as a library which was in its premises at the Maison de la Paix in Ixelles.

Its work was not limited to maintaining a library, the Alliance also published brochures by well-known anarchist authors as well as its own newsletter. The Alliance library attempted to bring together libertarian works. It was formed in the wake of Socialisme et Liberté. It was being developed in a room at the Maison de la Paix, in Ixelles. It was associated with CIRA in Lausanne. With the Alliance, a crossroads was created for meetings. This was the reflexive axis from which various groups claiming to be part of the libertarian movement formed, developed, and disappeared. But the Alliance continued to refer to Daniel Guérin. The name of the association referred to the name of the group created by Mikhail Bakunin within the First International. The association's goal was "to work on the cultural level for the free development of the human person". Concretely, the group's mission was to provide the most precise and complete documentation possible to activists, supporters, students or researchers wishing to learn about the anarchist movement, its press, its literature and its actions. To do this, it set up a library containing a large number of books and publications on this subject. Its action also included the publication of publications, periodical or not, the organization of conferences, debates, meetings and seminars. Finally, the association supported free education centers or community houses.

Alternative libertaire poster from 1985.

A Hem Day Fund committee was also created to manage the documents offered by the anarchist. It was made up of Jean Cordier, Jean Van Lierde, Jean Thys and François Destryker. Indeed, before his death, the anarchist had expressed the wish that his collections be entrusted to the Royal Library. The committee responsible for this fund within the Alliance took a whole series of steps to ensure that these were integrated as quickly as possible into the Albertine's collections. The committee also suggested that officials of the Royal Library provide them with the help of a libertarian objector to speed up the classification of this collection.

Alternative Libertaire

Alternative Libertaire was a monthly newspaper published in Belgium from 1975 to 2005.[86] For the duration of its publication (30 years and 282 issues), its openness to debates and its posters contributed to broadening the audience of libertarian ideas in French-speaking Belgium.[87]

The richness and notoriety of Alternative Libertaire was due to the many links that the newspaper forged over time. Alternative Libertaire was a newspaper written by its readers. A dissident newspaper for different readers.[88] It was a newspaper that wanted to be open to debate. Its goal was not to address convinced activists but to reach out to the periphery of the movement, that is to say the supporters who hesitate to get involved or who by their ideas are interested in libertarian or anti-authoritarian practices.

The visibility of the newspaper was such that even today, it is not uncommon to see copies of its very popular posters[89] or placards[90] in bars, associations, libraries or even schools. The openness of the newspaper led the libertarian movement to leave its groupuscular tendencies and played a big role in the propagation of libertarian ideas.[91][92]

Union Communiste Libertaire Bruxelles

Logo of the Union communiste libertaire

The Union Communiste Libertaire Bruxelles is a local Brussels group that is part of the French-speaking anarcho-communist federation Union communiste libertaire.

In March 2013, Brussels anarcho-communist activists in contact with the French organisation Alternative libertaire founded a local group Alternative Libertaire Bruxelles.[93]

In March 2018, the Brussels collective adopted the operating principles of anarchist “specifism” (Especifismo). The aim is to strengthen the structure of the organisation and to facilitate the insertion of anarchist activists within social movements.

The organisation is structured in thematic fronts of struggle (trade union, feminist, antifascist, queer, social ecology) which aim to coordinate and implement the political line decided by the collective.[94]

Following the merger of Alternative Libertaire and the Coordination des Groupes Anarchistes in 2019, a new anarcho-communist organisation is founded L'Union Communiste Libertaire. The local Brussels group then takes the name of Union Communiste Libertaire Bruxelles.

Personalities

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Jacques Gillen, Les anarchistes en Belgique, in Anne Morelli, José Gotovitch, Contester dans un pays prospère: l'extrême gauche en Belgique et au Canada, Peter Lang, 2007, p. 19 à 35, texte intégral.
  2. ^ Marianne Enckell, 1872 : Saint-Imier, berceau de l’anarchisme, Alternative libertaire, nº 220, septembre 2012, texte intégral.
  3. ^ La Fédération jurassienne et l’Internationale antiautoritaire, Mémoires d'ici, Centre de recherche et de documentation du Jura bernois, texte intégral Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Collectif, Un courant autonome, in Les Anars des origines à hier soir, Éditions Alternative libertaire et Éditions du Monde libertaire, 1999, texte intégral.
  5. ^ Dictionnaire des anarchistes, « Le Maitron » : notice biographique.
  6. ^ René Bianco : 100 ans de presse anarchiste : notice.
  7. ^ Fonds Jan Pellering : notice biographique Archived 9 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Maxime Steinberg, A l'origine du communisme belge : l'extrême-gauche révolutionnaire d'avant 1914, Les Cahiers Marxistes, Le Mouvement social, décembre 1970, texte intégral.
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Bibliography

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