05 February, 2009

Benoit Frachon


Benoît Frachon was a trade unionist French related on the French Communist party and the French interior Résistance.

It was born on May 13rd, 1893 with the Chambon-Feugerolles, close to Saint-Etienne in a family of minors, metal-worker at the 13 years age, it adheres to the CGT as of its 16 years.
Engaged in a libertarian small group since 1909, Benoît Frachon takes part in some demonstrations of direct action. Its first strike, it saw it in 1910, in Chambon. It is very hard (more than one month), gives place to confrontations with the army (the cavalry charges “saber with light” the strikers), turns to the popular strike (the women of the strikers take part, but also, to a certain extent, the population of Saint-Etienne). He assiduously attends the Maison of the people of Chambon: it learns there and is impregnated there working culture.

The shortly after the First World War, it adheres to the French Communist party which has been just based with Tours in 1920. Directing great strike of the metallurgists of Saint-Etienne of 1924, Frachon is affirmed and become permanent secretary of the departmental union of CGTU. Starting from 1928, Frachon reaches higher responsibilities. In agreement with the orientations of the direction of the International Communist, it takes part in meetings with Moscow and enters to the political office of the PCF: Frachon is the prototype of this generation of Communist leaders which knows a very fast promotion (3 years in fact).
With the beginning of the year 1930, Frachon is in the middle of the line which triumphs in French Communism, made fold of the sectarian tendency and research of the unit at the base with the workmen and not with the socialist directors or trade unionists “confederated” (invited thus to differentiate them from unit from the CGTU). Whereas develop in France the first effects of the Crise of 1929, Communism and the trade unionism at will revolutionary see their audience narrowing. Frachon, like much of militants, undergoes the consequences of governmental repression, knows the prison of Health.

As of 1931, it is carrying analyzes then new on the trade union movement, drawing the attention to the need for sticking to the small claims of the workers. He becomes the spokesperson convinced of the fight for the Trade-union unit, under the banner of the CGTU, on the basis of defense of the Revendication S and the interests of the Working class. Frachon wants to gain the working masses: for that it is initially necessary to deal with working reality, to carry out the single face of exploited, to refuse to make “make the round the world tour with proletarians whose dominant concern is the increase in their wages” .

Starting from 1933, become secretary of the CGTU, Frachon is located in the middle of a unit strategy which seeks not only the bringing together with the workmen confederated and socialist, but also with their leaders.

Leader of foreground of the CGT after the trade-union reunification of 1935, Frachon takes part in meeting CGT/CGPF (employers) of the June 6th 1936 with the Matignon hotel. He is 15:00 when the negotiations begin. The power struggle is such as those do not last for ever: with 1:00 of the morning, the agreements of Matignon are signed.

The signature of the Pacte germano-Soviet the August 23rd 1939 puts definitively fine at the trade-union unit: the Communists of CGT are summoned to repudiate the pact and Frachon, although being pronounced in the working Life for a national defense antifascist, is deposed of his mandate.
In the Resistance, Benoît Frachon will be one of the principal leaders of PCF clandestine, more especially in charge of the union action.

Frachon takes an active part in the development of the claiming platform proposed in confederated in 1943 which leads the April 17th to the reunification of CGT. Until the Release, the essence of the trade-union activity, the great directives of action, are the fact of unit under the direction of Frachon: it is in clandestinity that those conquer the majority of the CGT and, Frachon, the authority to become one of the general secretaries about it.

August 22nd, 1944, it signs in Humanity a call to the weapons with the metal-workers Parisian.


September 10th, 1944, Frachon states the great tasks of CGT: to complete the war victoriously, to rebuild the economy. It launches the battle of the production and connects it to satisfaction working claims.
After the war, he will be elected general secretary of the CGT the September 5th 1945, responsibility which he shares with Leon Jouhaux. He is then the leading uncontested one of CGT, then with the ridge of his power.

He withdraws himself gradually as from 1967, when he becomes president of CGT, but he is the only survivor of 1936 to be taken part in the negotiations of Grenelle, even if he is not then any more general secretary of CGT.

He belongs to the political office of the French Communist party of 1956 with his death. He also takes part in the leading authorities of the Mouvement of peace.

He dies the 1975.

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