Tous les articles par Frank-Olivier


On the History of Socialism in Denmark before 1914 (1/3)


“Social Democratic Youth raises the banner of socialism in a free and democratic Denmark” Social Democratic Youth Organization (1947)

Résumé en français à venir

Nous publions en plusieurs parties l’intervention de notre collègue Bertel Nygaard de l’Université d’Aarhus (Danemark) présentée le 15 février dernier à Rouen. Un résumé français sera également publié sur le carnet.

On the History of Socialism in Denmark before 1914  (1/3)


We are publishing Bertel Nygaard‘s communication (Aarthus University, Denmark) delivered on the 15th of February 2016 at Rouen University, in succesive parts.


To study the history of socialism in Denmark is to study the history of European socialism from a specific type of European semi-periphery, i.e. a nation which has looked towards the social and cultural centres of Europe (especially Britain and France) and conceived itself as a rightful part of this European heritage, while also being aware of its marginality, not only in a basic geographical sense, but also politically and culturally. Being a small state for centuries and having a distinctly non-revolutionary, consensualist and pragmatist political culture, Denmark has been on the receiving end of most political and intellectual innovations during the last 250 years, yet it has often integrated these innovations with a remarkable degree of national pride. The European revolutionary waves of 1789, 1830 and 1848 were invariably greeted with enthusiasm for progress and enlightenment, combined with horror of the revolutionary forms of change, all tackled by means of pre-emptive, moderately progressive political and economic reforms. This long tradition of consensualism inevitably put its mark on the development of socialism in Denmark, too.

Early socialism, 1840’s

The history of socialism in Denmark should begin some decades before the growth of a strong, avowedly socialist labour movement. The first debates on socialist views and the first few supporters of socialism in Denmark began, as in many other European countries, during the 1840’s. For the hegemonic forces of the Danish public sphere at that time, socialism (and its more sinister twin, communism) was a horrifying spectre – and a very French spectre too, conjured by the French July Revolution of 1830 and carrying the French revolutionary and utopian promises of a radically different future into new extremes. Yet, many Danish commentators tended to regard the Parisian centre of modern political culture indirectly, especially through German writers whose own semi-peripheral perspectives on ‘Frenchness’ and whose somewhat comparable social background often made them easier to identify with for Danish sommentators. Thus, for example, the first comprehensive account of French Socialism and Communism in Danish, published in the liberal newspaper Fædrelandet in 1842 and 1843, was based on Lorenz von Stein, the enlightened Prussian observer of Parisian socialism during the early 1840’s. Like Stein, Danish liberals argued that socialism ought to be taken seriously as a sign that the current processes of commercial, liberal civilization risked leaving the workers behind.

The first tiny wave of outright socialist sympathies emerged in Denmark during the 1840’, in dialogue with French left-wing figures such as Proudhon, Louis Blanc and, to a certain degree, Charles Fourier and his followers. Such new political currents were a source of inspiration for the small democratic newspaper The Copenhagen Courier (Kjøbenhavnsposten) from the mid-1840’s till around 1849. During the European Revolutions of 1848, when Danish absolutism was toppled by a combination of peaceful reform and violent civil war with Prussia concerning the national fate of Schleswig-Holstein, a small group of artisans somewhat inspired by the Buzhezian socialism of l’Atelier briefly appeared at the head of the democratic left. But the most prominent socialist figure of this first wave – and the only one recalled by later generations of socialists – was the young medical student Frederik Dreier who published some remarkable books and pamphlets along with the first outspokenly socialist journal, The Reform of Society (Samfundets Reform) in the early 1850’s. But this was only a small and weak current, with very limited support even within the early labour organizations formed during the same time. And with the political reaction following the defeat of the 1848-49 revolutions and with the early death of Dreier in 1853, this early wave of Danish socialism died out.

After the Paris Commune: Social Democracy

It took the Paris Commune of 1871 to reinvigorate the memories of socialism and communism, among the frightened bourgeois as well as among the growing class of (more-or-less) industrial workers. While most of the Danish public sphere was thoroughly frightened by the Commune, a small group of worker agitators, led by the postal service official Louis Pio, formed The International Working Men’s Association in October 1871. This organization openly declared itself socialist, publishing the weekly journal Socialisten. Swiftly gaining a membership in the thousands, it was affiliated to the First International from the first months. During the first years, it functioned as both a political movement and a trade union movement.

By now, it was possible to regard the German Social Democratic Party as the main model of a Socialist movement. To a certain extent, the politico-cultural centre of Socialism – as viewed from the North – became Berlin rather than Paris. The first proper congress of the Danish Social Democratic momvement, held in 1876 with 6.000 delegates, adopted a program very close to the Gotha program of the German SPD (the one famously criticized by Marx). This constituted the beginnings of the earliest of the Scandinavian Social Democratic parties that were all to become highly influential in designing different versions of the Scandinavian welfare states, with the Norwegian party founded in 1887 and the Swedish party in 1889.

The organization was severely repressed by the authorities by the mid-1870’s. The original leadership was in part pressured, in part bribed to move to the United States. A more moderate group of leaders then took over, still committed to socialist ideals, but with a less outspoken, radical political identity. In 1878 the trade union wing was separated from the political wing, which then was renamed the Social Democratic League (Socialdemokratisk Forbund).

During the 1880’s and 1890’s the party and its influence began to grow again. The main newspaper of the movement, named The Social Democrat (Social-Demokraten) since 1874, became the widest circulated national newspaper in the 1890’s, and a number of local Social Democratic newspapers appeared during the same period. Winning its first few seats in the lower chamber of Parliament in 1884, it won representation in 25 municipalities too during the 1890’s. At the last parliamentary election before the outbreak of the First World War, the party achieved the largest number of votes, just below 30 percent, though the liberal peasant party still won the most seats, due to election rules. During the war itself, in which Denmark held a position of principled neutrality, the Social Democratic party won its first seat in the national government. In the interwar years, the party grew steadily, forming its first coalition government (with the Radical party, rallying the support of urban intellectuals and poor farmers) in 1924. Eleven years later, in 1935, it achieved the best parliamentary result of any Danish political party ever, with 46.1 percent of the votes. While the Norwegian and Swedish Social Democratic parties achieved even better electoral results during the next three decades – with the Swedish party peaking at 53.8 percent in 1940 – this attested to near-monopoly of this party within the Danish labour movement.

Bertel Nygaard


Part 1. pdf

Part 2. pdf

Part 3: full version


Cite this article as: "On the History of Socialism in Denmark before 1914 (1/3)," in EUROSOC Normandie, 20/03/2016,

Pierre Renaudel de la Normandie à l’Internationale / Pierre Renaudel from Normandy to the Second International

English version below


Le projet EUROSOC s’implique dans la valorisation de la partie du fonds de Pierre Renaudel relatif à l’histoire du socialisme en Normandie, fonds conservée à la Fondation Jean-Jaurès.

Né à Morgny-la-Pommeraye le 19 décembre 1871, fils d’instituteurs, lui-même vétérinaire diplômé de l’École nationale d’Alfortville (Seine), Pierre Renaudel s’investit tôt dans le socialisme. À l’origine blanquiste, c’est-à-dire membre d’une tendance très anticléricale et attachée aux traditions révolutionnaires françaises, de 1793 à la Commune de Paris (1871), il participe au rassemblement socialiste promu par Jaurès à l’occasion des remous de l’affaire Dreyfus. Il milite au sein du Parti Socialiste Français (1902-1905). Ce parti inséré dans le Bloc des gauches majoritaire est considéré comme « réformiste » face au Parti Socialiste De France qui se veut « révolutionnaire » et regroupe les « marxistes » emmenés par Jules Guesde et Paul Lafargue et les « blanquistes » d’Édouard Vaillant. Mais Renaudel occupe une position originale car il anime une aile gauche au sein du PSF, critique envers la participation ministérielle et les compromissions jugées trop droitières des parlementaires. Il n’hésite pas à affronter Jaurès lors des congrès, ce qui offre l’occasion pour les deux hommes de se connaître et de fonder une relation de confiance entre eux. Ce que comprend bien Rosa Luxemburg, évidemment plus critique, quand elle dénonce le rôle de cette opposition : non un « contrepoids » mais une « cuirasse » pour Jaurès, déclare-t-elle au congrès international d’Amsterdam (17 août 1904).

            Orateur et organisateur, Renaudel devient incontournable au sein du socialisme français. Sa tendance regroupe plus de 40 % des mandats au sein du PSF et joue un rôle de pivot dans le processus qui, après un dernier congrès du PSF tenu en mars 1905 à Rouen, conduit à la formation du Parti Socialiste, Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière (avril 1905). Renaudel délaisse vite les missions internes qui lui sont confiées (secrétaire-adjoint du parti, puis délégué permanent à la propagande), pour s’investir comme responsable de la rédaction de L’Humanité. Avec le havrais Philippe Landrieu, administrateur, il accompagne le développement du journal et en assure la gestion sous la houlette confiante de Jaurès. Il bataille à ses côtés, renforce les relations avec les milieux syndicalistes et garde l’œil sur les diverses manœuvres susceptibles de remettre en cause la prééminence du « patron ». Au congrès de Saint-Quentin (avril 1911), il assure son triomphe. Il suit de près les affaires du parti et assume pendant les premières années la représentation de la fédération de la Seine-Inférieure. Le centre du pouvoir étant toutefois alors au Palais-Bourbon, il tente de se faire élire député dans le Var et il y parvient en 1914.

            Pendant la Grande Guerre, il dirige L’Humanité, pratiquant une politique de « défense nationale » qu’il s’efforce de maintenir dans la fidélité aux principes. Il refuse les outrances nationalistes et, avec son ami Jean Longuet, rencontre le 12 avril 1915 à Berne, en territoire neutre, les sociaux-démocrates allemands, Haase et Kautsky. L’initiative est réitérée en août, mais elle ne débouche sur aucun résultat concret. Face à la minorité « pacifiste », Renaudel représente de plus en plus la majorité du parti. Pourtant très hostile en 1917 au gouvernement Clemenceau, de plus en plus contesté, il perd la direction de L’Humanité en octobre 1918 au profit de Marcel Cachin, naguère très « union sacrée » mais désormais « centriste » rallié à la nouvelle majorité.

            Toujours actif, Renaudel est marginalisé au sein du parti. Il pèse toujours au sein de l’Internationale. Il est l’homme des contacts avec les Géorgiens dont la république menchevik (1918-1921) est anéantie par les soviétiques, le correspondant de Kautsky et bien d’autres. À nouveau député du Var à partir de 1924, Renaudel anime une tendance, La Vie socialiste, située à la droite de la SFIO, favorable à une entente avec les radicaux qui l’amène à faire scission en 1932-1933 et à lancer un Parti Socialiste de France-Union Jean Jaurès fort disparate. Il ne faut pourtant pas caricaturer son action. Libre penseur, dirigeant de la Ligue des droits de l’homme, Renaudel mène campagne pour la grâce de Sacco et Vanzetti ou contre la peine de mort. Il soutient l’entreprise de Maghreb (1932-1935) pour des réformes coloniales associées à la promotion d’élites indigènes. Bref, comme le diront à sa mort (1er avril 1935) nombre de responsables socialistes (Bracke, Longuet…), le choix assumé d’une action réformiste se fait toujours dans la continuité des principes socialistes de sa jeunesse.

Gilles Candar


Pierre Renaudel was born on December 19th 1871 in Morgny-la-Pommeraye. The son of schoolteachers, he graduated from l’École nationale d’Alfortville (Seine department) and became a veterinarian. He threw himself into socialism at a young age. Originally, he was a Blanquist, that is to say a member of a trend attached to the French revolutionary traditions – from 1793 to the Paris Commune in 1871 – and very anticlerical. He attended the socialist rally promoted by Jean Jaurès during the turmoil of the Alfred Dreyfus case and was an activist in the French Socialist Party (FSP, 1902-1905). This party was inserted in the Lefts Bloc and perceived as “reformist”, contrary to the Socialist Party of France which sought to be “revolutionary” and gathered together the “Marxists” led by Jules Guesde, Paul Lafargue and the “Blanquists” of Édouard Vaillant. However, Renaudel occupied a special position because he led the left wing of the FSP; a wing which was critical of ministerial involvement and the compromises of principles – that they considered going too far right – reached by the parliamentarians.  He did not hesitate to confront Jaurès during conventions; it gave them the opportunity to know each other and build a relationship based on mutual trust. This was perfectly understood by Rosa Luxemburg who was obviously more critical when she condemned the role of this conflict: Renaudel was not a “counterweight” but a “shield” for Jaurès, she said at the International Socialist Congress in Amsterdam (August 17th 1904).

As a speaker and organizer, Renaudel became essential to French socialism. His orientation gathered together more than 40% of the mandates within the FSP and played a pivotal role in the process which, after the last congress of the FSP held in March 1905 in Rouen, led to the formation of the Socialist Party: the French Section of the Workers’ International (SFIO, April 1905). Renaudel quickly abandoned the internal missions he was entrusted with – he served as Assistant Secretary of the party and then as permanent delegate for propaganda – to invest himself in fulfilling his role as editor-in-chief of L’Humanité. With Philippe Landrieu – from Le Havre and administrator of L’Humanité – he supported the development of the newspaper and ensured its management under the leadership and with the trust of Jaurès. He fought alongside him, strengthened the relationships with the trade union milieu and kept an eye on the various manoeuvres which may have challenged the supremacy of “the boss”. At the Congress of Saint Quentin (April 1911), he ensured his triumph. He closely monitored the party’s internal affairs and took on the representation of the federation of the Seine-Inférieure department in the early years. However, as the center of power was at the National Assembly, he tried to get elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Var department and succeeded in becoming one in 1914.

During the Great War, he ran the newspaper L’Humanité and practiced an editorial policy based on “national defense” that he strived to preserve while being loyal to its principles. He refused to give in to nationalist excesses and met, with his friend Jean Longuet, the German Social Democrats Haase and Kautsky in neutral territory on April 12th 1915 in Bern. They met again in August but this initiative produced no concrete results. Against the “pacifist” minority, Renaudel increasingly represented the views of the party’s majority. Although he was very much opposed to the government led by Georges Clemenceau, he was more and more challenged and ended up losing his job as editor-in-chief of L’Humanité in favour of Marcel Cachin – A MP formerly very much in favour of “L’union sacrée” who became a “centrist” and joined the new majority – in October 1918.

Still active, Renaudel was marginalized within the party but his opinion still carried a lot of weight in the SFIO. Moreover, he was the one who came into contact with the Georgian Mensheviks whose Democratic Republic (1918-1921) was wiped out by Soviet Russia and was also the pen friend of Kautsky and many other people. He got elected as MP representing Var once again in 1924 and founded the socialist weekly publication, La Vie Socialiste, whose orientation represented the right wing of the SFIO and supported an arrangement with the radicals. This led him to split from the SFIO in 1932-1933 and launch The Socialist Party of France – Jean Jaurès Union; a party whose members varied a great deal. Yet, his work must not be caricaturized: he was a free thinker; he was at the head of the Human Rights League and campaigned for the pardon of Sacco and Vanzetti or against the death penalty. He supported the initiative of the Moroccan nationalist journal Maghreb (1932-1935) in favour of colonial reforms combined with the promotion of indigenous elites. In short, as many socialist leaders (Bracke, Longuet, etc.) said when he died on April 1st 1935: he consciously chose to be in favour of a reformist action and this choice was always consistent with the socialist principles of his youth.

Gilles Candar

Version française .pdf

English version .pdf

Cite this article as: "Pierre Renaudel de la Normandie à l’Internationale / Pierre Renaudel from Normandy to the Second International," in EUROSOC Normandie, 13/03/2016,

Colloque international : Réseaux et solidarités internationales face à la répression dans les ports et en mer. Appel à communication / International Conference: International networks and solidarity in the face of repression in harbors and at sea. Call for papers

English version below

Un appel à communication pour le Colloque international “Réseaux et solidarités internationales face à la répression dans les ports et en mer” (Troisièmes Journées Jules Durand) auquel EUROSOC sera associé est lancé.

Où ? Université du Havre

Quand ? 24-25 novembre 2016

Date limite de dépôt : le 1er juin 2016

Modalités : la proposition aura entre 10 lignes et une page, et sera accompagnée d’une courte présentation de l’auteur et de ses publications.

Contact :

Extrait de l’appel à communication

Le réseau d’histoire du travail maritime constitué à Turin, lors de la conférence du Réseau européen d’histoire du travail, le 15 décembre 2015, a  constaté une accumulation de travaux sur les travailleurs des ports et de la mer au cours des vingt dernières années. En même temps s’est développé en France un regain d’intérêt pour la figure du docker charbonnier Jules Durand, acteur de la grève de 1910, victime d’une machination judiciaire,  objet d’une campagne de solidarité en France et dans le monde rassemblant partisans de la défense des droits de l’homme et syndicalistes de toutes tendances. Le colloque « Réseaux et solidarités internationales face à la répression dans les ports et en mer » vise à éclairer les formes qu’a prises cette solidarité avec Durand en 1910, à la rapprocher d’autres phénomènes de répression dans les ports et en mer qui déclenchèrent  aussi une solidarité internationale, dans d’autres lieux, à d’autres époques, sur d’autres questions.

Pour plus d’informations…

L’appel à contribution complet disponible en .pdf



A call for papers for the international Conference “International networks and solidarity in the face of repression in harbors and at sea” (Third Jules Durand Days) is launched.

Where? University of Le Havre

When? November 24-25th 2016

Submission deadline: June 1st 2016. Answers to the proposals will be sent out by July 1, 2016.

Modalities: The proposal should be from ten lines to a page, and should be accompanied by a brief presentation of the author and her or his publications.

Contact :

Extract of the call for paper

The Maritime Labor History Network founded in Turin on December 15, 2015, during the European Labor History Network conference, noted that studies of port and sea workers had accumulated over the last twenty years. At the same time, a new interest has emerged in France for the figure of Jules Durand, a coal porter and leader of the 1910 Le Havre strike who became the victim of a judicial frame-up and the object of a wide-ranging solidarity campaign in his own country and around the world, bringing together human rights activists and trade unionists of all tendencies.

For more informations (fr)…

Full version in English.pdf

Cite this article as: "Colloque international : Réseaux et solidarités internationales face à la répression dans les ports et en mer. Appel à communication / International Conference: International networks and solidarity in the face of repression in harbors and at sea. Call for papers," in EUROSOC Normandie, 10/03/2016,