At about 7:80 on the evening of June 27, 1960, in a tiny book-crammed lodging of a workers’ suburb of Paris, Pierre Monatte died. He was seventy-nine years old.
Monatte entered the union movement in 1902, having been attracted to it by reading Fernand Pelloutier’s l’Histoire des Bourses du Travail. The son of a lacemaker and a blacksmith in a small mountain town, he had been a scholarship student at the Brioude college. Reading Hugo’s Les Miserables had, since adolescence, oriented him toward socialism.
In Paris he met Charles Guiyesse, at that time publisher of the review Pages Libres, and in this environment he came to know Pelloutier, Sorel, Merrheim, and Broutcheux. In 1904, he sat on the committee of the Labor Exchanges, then at Lens he edited L’Action Syndicale, the weekly paper of the newly organized miners’ union. He became a proofreader and joined the Federation du livre, remaining a member until his death.
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