Archives par mot-clé : Jean Jaurès

The Emergence of Muslim/Turkish Socialism and the Muslim Working-Class in the late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic 1908-1925 (2/2)


The existing literature on the emergence of socialism in Turkey to a great extent concentrates on intellectual history, prominent personalities and political organizations. Intellectual history is one of the most developed areas in the historiography on Turkey, compared to social and cultural studies. The translations from French and other Western languages constitutes also a significant part of the literature in the Ottoman Empire. That is why, one should also compare these translations with the original European texts. Yet, Ideologies are taken into account as if they were only intellectual products. Historians and social scientists do not see any link in between the emergence of leftist ideas and organization and the movement of labouring classes. However, ideologies and political organizations are also social phenomena. The literature on intellectual and political history argue that the Ottoman Empire lacked an industrial revolution which was a base for a full-fledge working class movement and socialist thought. Historians claim that Socialism in the Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic was a foreign import. It is a general assertion in Turkish historiography that Turkish socialists did not really know the philosophical and ideological content of socialism. Therefore, for them, Turkish socialism should be considered to be a part of other branches of ideologies such as liberalism and nationalism. My research will first contribute to the existing literature by revealing the ideological content of the Muslim/Turkish socialism and uncovering the link between them and the workers’ movement.

I argue that the emergence of socialist thought in the Ottoman Empire was indicative of a vibrant working class. Surely, socialism was not the only influential ideology on working class discourse and identity during this particular period. Like any other socialist movement in history, Ottoman socialism was also influenced by social and historical context. Thus, Muslim/Turkish socialists made use of national, ethnic, religious, communal elements in their political discourse. Turkish historiography considers socialist movement as a part of Turkish nationalist movement, particularly in the Armistice Period. In contrast to mainstream Turkish historiography which denounces of the socialist identity of Muslim/Turkish socialists due to their ethno-religious discourse, I explore the articulation of these discourses as an indispensible aspect of class formations and class experience within the context of a multi-ethnic empire.

Social and Political Context

The demographic composition of the Ottoman Empire was comprised of different ethnic and religious communities. Both the working class and the socialist were squeezed in between their own religious/ethnic communal identities and the notion of a common Ottoman citizenship. Drawing on communal compartmentalization of the empire, national historiographies subsume working class movements and socialists under ethnic and religious movements. Yet a non-national perspective regards ethno-religious bonds as building blocks of socialist discourse in the Ottoman Empire. The international connections of Ottoman socialists attest to their political autonomy from ethno-religious movements. The integration of the Ottoman Empire into the world economy within the course of 19th century stimulated an influx of foreign investment and trade, international corporations, and European workers and professionals. These global transactions transformed Ottoman economy and society. In this context, the working class movement and the socialists established ties to international organizations. As a significant number of socialists migrated in and out of the country, Ottoman socialists learned a great deal from their French, German and Russian comrades. They communicated with socialist organizations such as the International and the Bolshevik Party. The Ottoman public followed news regarding the movements of workers, strikes and socialists in different countries as evident in the press coverage in this particular period.

Why this study?

I decided on this research topic following my earlier studies on social movement in the Ottoman Empire. I published several articles and a book on the boycott movements during the Second Constitutional Period. In my PhD studies I concentrated on the mobilization of Muslim merchants and working classes in the anti-non-Muslim nationalist movement. I defended my dissertation in May 2010 at Leiden University and published by IB Tauris in 2014. As a historian of social movements I came across with the vibrant socialist publications and convivial working class movements during my PhD researches.

This research will pave the way for a comparative analysis of working-class movements and socialism and try to build up a critique of the essentialist and exceptionalist tendencies in Turkish historiography. Therefore my research will not only try to contribute to the existing knowledge on working class movement and Muslim/Turkish socialism in early 20th century but also will try to trace a theoretical path out of traditional Turkish historiography. The latest contribution to the Ottoman and Republican Turkish Labour History in this vein has come from the IISH by the publication of the 17th Supplement of the International Review of Social History. Besides these theoretical approaches and interest on Turkey, I am also looking forward to find relevant archival material within the collection of IISH such as Ottoman and Turkish socialist periodicals and personal and institutional donations about the early Ottoman/Turkish labour movements.

One of the significant organizations that came out during this particular era is the Ottoman Socialist Party (Socialist Party of Turkey after 1918). Party and its leader Socialist Hilmi also tried to construct a relationship with their counterparts in Europe such as Jean Jaurès and the Second International. Therefore, I will work on the Second International Archives to find traces of Ottoman and Turkish socialists. The activities of Turkish socialists in Caucasia after 1918 have also a crucial place in the history Socialism Turkey. Turkish Communist Party (TKP) had its roots in Caucasia. The intellectuals coming from Russia played significant roles in the socialist movement. I will study on the Turkey-Transcaucasus Relations Collection 1908-1920 to find relevant information about my subject. The collections such as the Ottoman Socialist Party Collection, Komintern-TKP Collection, and Iran and Turkey Communist Parties of Azerbaijan Archives are directly related to my investigation. I am also looking forward to find some issues of socialist journals in Turkish such as İştirak and Beşeriyet in the library of IISH which are not available in Turkish libraries.

Doğan Çetinkaya
Istanbul University

The Emergence of Muslim/Turkish Socialism and the Muslim Working-Class in the late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic 1908-1925 (1/2)

The Emergence of Muslim/Turkish Socialism and the Muslim Working-Class in the late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic 1908-1925 (1/2)

Summary: The working-class movement in the Ottoman Empire gained an unprecedented impetus after the 1908 Revolution. Although it has peaks and valleys, mobilization of the workers persisted until the construction of single party era in Turkish Republic. The mobilization of the workers and their actions coincided with the emergence of Muslim/Turkish socialism and socialist organizations. In contrast to the Turkish historiography, my research will scrutinize the link between the emergences of these phenomena in the first quarter of the 20th century. Traditionally these two cases are examined separately as if they were unconnected. My research will not only consider socialism as a component of intellectual history but uncover the effects of the workers’ movement on its ideology and political organizations.

Research Proposal

In this research project I explore the nexus between ideology and social mobilization by studying the relationship between Muslim/Turkish socialism and working class movement in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Two aspects of Global Labour History Programme provide the guiding principles of my research: first working class formation is part and parcel of a global process and needs to be studied as such; second, the definition of the working class cannot be narrowed down to industrial work force. The aim of the project is thus to engage with theoretical approaches to labour history as well as Turkish historiography.

The Working-Class

I focus on different groups of workers among the Muslim/Turkish working class who lost their ownership of and control over the means of production: artisans, underemployed, women, part-time workers and factory workers in the formal as well as the informal sectors. As Marcel van der Linden argued, a significant number of interpretations on working class are based on “free” wage earners. He has claimed that the working class is comprised of different types of commodified labour and that “this commodification may take on many different forms.” Similarly, E.P. Thompson criticized the definition of the working class as industrial workers and emphasized the role of the declining artisans in early modern working class formation. Scholars such as William H. Sewell, Christopher H. Johnson, Raphael Samuel has argued class-conscious workers’ movement was not an outcome of factories and industry. A great bulk of working class movement in Europe in the course of 19th century were to a great extent a movement of artisans because there were no longer any “traditional” urban crafts since capitalism and new exploitive practises had already transformed crafts long before the invention machinery. Contrary to this line of thought, Turkish historiography retained a sharp distinction between industrial labourers and artisans or guild workers and equated capitalism with the Industrial Revolution. The narrow definition of the working class in Turkish historiography converges with the neglect of socialism as a significant political movement. In contrast to other modern ideologies such as nationalism, constitutionalism, Islamism or liberalism, socialism remains an understudied subject in Ottoman historiography. The underlying assumption of this neglect remains the operative even for handful historians of Ottoman socialism such as Mete Tunçay: no industry, ergo no working class, ergo no socialism. Studying class formation, however, requires more than establishing a mechanical connection between economic development and political thought. It involves the investigation of class formation, class experience and social agency.

The history of the working class in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic is still understudied and neglected field in contemporary Turkish historiography despite significant contributions to Turkish labour history in the last decade. Since historians are primarily preoccupied with the state and political elite, modern research on working-class history has been left to amateur historians, journalists and union activists. These studies proliferated in the 1960’s and 1970’s when social and leftist political movements gained power in Turkey. For them the working class movement was an outcome of historical progress: the industrialization process in Turkey gave birth to a working-class who pioneered the socialist movement. Soviet Turkologists also contributed to these early studies. However, theirs were a Turkish variation of Soviet historiography which was devoid of detailed information and in-depth research. Amidst these publications there appeared also the first academic studies on the topic though they were quite marginal within academic circles.

Historians to a great extent make use of a specific definition of working class. The narratives of the Turkish historiography assume the working class as a population of men working in a modern industrial plant: the blue-collar worker. Workers who operate in service sector are not even counted among the members of this social class. This approach is not peculiar to the historiography on Turkey. Most of the studies on working class history in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey have concentrated on the activities of the trade unions, organizational initiatives, political struggles and strikes. However, this tendency to limit working-class history to such fields resulted in a very limited picture of the workers’ experience. Until mid-20th century this scholar trend was not peculiar to Turkish historiography. Labour historiography had similar features in different countries. However, subjects like daily life, gender, ethnicity, race, culture, religion, identities etc. have entered into Western labour historiography after the 1960’s. Turkish historiography on Labour history is still lacking these new areas of investigation.

In my research I will focus not on the level of industrialization but the development of capitalist relationships in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, in order to evaluate and analyze the social classes.

Doğan Çetinkaya
Istanbul University

La Fondation Jean Jaurès et le fonds Renaudel

English version below


Billet 06. Brochure de présentation de la Conférence par Jean Jaurès à Rouen le samedi 2 juillet 1904.

Billet d’entrée de la Conférence par Jean Jaurès à Rouen le samedi 2 juillet 1904.  (Archives Pierre Renaudel – collection Fondation Jean-Jaurès)

C’est un vendredi après-midi, le 28 mars 2014, que les archives de Pierre Renaudel  (1871-1935) sont réapparues. Alors que l’exposition Jaurès venait d’ouvrir aux Archives nationales et que la Fondation Jean-Jaurès entamait une « année Jaurès 2014 » riche d’événements[1], la petite-fille de Pierre Renaudel, Monique Bonnier Pitts nous contacta pour nous proposer dans un premier temps des manuscrits de Jaurès et un buste de son grand-père. Le lundi suivant, au cours de rangements dans le week-end, c’est tout un ensemble de boîtes d’archives et d’ouvrages qu’elle avait mis au jour et qu’il fut possible de découvrir dès le lendemain.

Pierre Renaudel, dont le parcours est présenté dans le billet de Gilles Candar eut un fils et une fille, Thérèse, qui épousa en 1923 Claude Bonnier, compagnon de la Libération, décédé en 1944[2]. Le couple eut deux enfants, Nicole, décédée à Paris le 20 janvier 2015, et Monique. Cette dernière se maria avec un Américain et vit depuis lors aux Etats-Unis. Thérèse Renaudel, décédée en 1991, vécut avec sa fille Nicole dans l’appartement familial près du Bois de Boulogne, conservant les souvenirs de ces deux hommes, Pierre Renaudel et Claude Bonnier. Ce sont ces souvenirs, objets, archives et ouvrages, comme réunis et figés dans le temps depuis plus de 60 ans, qui réapparurent au printemps 2014 et furent confiés à la Fondation Jean-Jaurès.

Depuis 1999, la Fondation veille à la préservation et à la valorisation des archives du Parti socialiste et de ses militants, et développe et coordonne des projets favorisant l’étude et la recherche historique sur le mouvement socialiste, des origines à aujourd’hui. De nombreux documents sont consultables gratuitement en ligne sur un site Internet dédié ouvert en 2014. C’est donc naturellement que les archives de Pierre Renaudel ont rejoint quelques jours après les contacts avec ses descendants les 1500 mètres linéaires de documents conservés. Rapidement, il fut facile d’isoler les pièces relatives à Jean Jaurès que Renaudel a trouvé dans le bureau de l’Humanité en août 1914, ou dans le casier parlementaire de Jaurès comme l’indique une mention sur une chemise. Année 2014 oblige, quelques objets ont intégré très vite l’exposition Jaurès contemporain au Panthéon comme les lunettes ou le porte-plume de Jaurès. Les manuscrits, pour certains visiblement inédits, vont faire l’objet de publications commentées[3]. En Juin 2014, une interview dans L’Express de Gilles Finchelstein, directeur général de la Fondation Jean-Jaurès fut l’occasion de dévoiler ces « trésors »[4].

Parallèlement, le nettoyage, le reconditionnement et le récolement du fonds d’archives principal commença, l’inventaire est actuellement en cours. Quelques grands ensembles se détachent, et il est nécessaire de souligner la richesse du fonds par déjà tout simplement la période chronologique couverte, de la dernière décennie du XIXe siècle à 1935 : c’est un fonds d’archives unique pour un responsable socialiste face au devenir des archives des organisations partisanes précédant 1905 puis celles de la SFIO[5]. Renaudel était un homme de presse, et une part des photographies, des dessins, des collections de journaux conservées ou des brouillons d’articles en témoignent, que ce soient pour la Vie socialiste ou l’Humanité. Au total, le fonds d’archives représente  54 boîtes soit environ 250 dossiers, auxquels il faut ajouter l’ensemble des livres et des brochures de sa bibliothèque. L’historien trouvera notamment de riches séries de correspondance et des notes personnelles prises lors de réunions, que ce soient lors de comités de rédaction, des séances de la commission Armée de la Chambre des députés entre 1914 et 1919 ou pendant des réunions internationales dès 1918 puis de l’Internationale ouvrière socialiste après 1923. L’inventaire définitif affinera ces trop brèves remarques.

Billet. 06 Extrait des groupes adhérents à la Fédération Socialiste Révolutionnaire de Seine-Inférieure adressé à Briand

Extrait des groupes adhérents à la Fédération Socialiste Révolutionnaire de Seine-Inférieure adressé à Briand (Archives Pierre Renaudel – collection Fondation Jean-Jaurès)

La Fondation Jean-Jaurès et son secteur Histoire et archives noue depuis 1999 des partenariats, avec des institutions publiques comme les Archives nationales, l’INA ou le Service interministériel des archives de France, avec des centres de recherches comme le Centre d’histoire de Sciences PO, le Centre d’histoire sociale du XXe siècle à l’université Paris I et au-delà avec de nombreux universitaires étudiant l’histoire du mouvement socialiste, et avec des associations comme l’Institut François Mitterrand, L’OURS et la Société d’études jaurésiennes, ou regroupées en réseau comme le Codhos. Le partenariat avec Eurosoc s’inscrit dans cette dynamique, et visera à valoriser plus spécifiquement la « partie normande » du fonds d’archives Renaudel. L’objectif est de numériser les archives repérées, naturellement pour les préserver des manipulations rendues délicates par l’état de certains documents, et plus largement de les mettre plus rapidement à la disposition des chercheurs pour en favoriser l’analyse historique. Ces sources, pour l’historien, seront naturellement à croiser avec les fonds que les archives municipales ou départementales de Normandie peuvent conserver sur les premières années de l’implantation du socialisme, Pierre Renaudel se détournant de ses terres d’origine en 1909 pour s’implanter dans le Var. les correspondances de Pierre Renaudel précisent le développement des groupes socialistes dès la fin du XIXe siècle et éclairent probablement d’un regard nouveau par leurs détails et leurs précisions les élections législatives en 1902 ou les municipales de Rouen en 1904, et au-delà,  les hommes, les réseaux et les dynamiques propres au socialisme en Normandie de 1896 à 1907. Les échanges et les futures contributions scientifiques des historiens intégrés à Eurosoc vont permettre l’étude de ces archives et l’apport de réflexions nouvelles.

Thierry Mérel

Directeur secteur Histoire et Archives de la Fondation Jean-Jaurès

[1] La Fondation Jean-Jaurès a publié en 2015 une brochure reprenant les initiatives de « 2014, année Jaurès »

[2] Une biographie de Claude Bonnier est disponible sur le site Internet du Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération

[3] Un premier manuscrit, « Monsieur de Bismarck et la démocratie » a été commenté par Emmanuel Jousse


[5] Frédéric Cépède, « L’Office universitaire de recherche socialiste (OURS), 45 ans d’histoire (et) d’archives socialistes », Histoire@Politique. Politique, culture, société, n° 24, septembre-décembre 2014 [en ligne,]


The archives of Pierre Renaudel (1871-1935), reappeared on March 28th 2014, it was a Friday afternoon. While the Jean Jaurès exhibition had just opened at the National Archives and the Jaurès Foundation had started an eventful year devoted to him in 2014[1], Monique Bonnier Pitts – Pierre Renaudel’s granddaughter – contacted us in a first phase to offer us manuscripts by Jaurès and a bust of his grandfather. The following Monday, after having tidied up archives in the weekend, she had uncovered a whole set of archives boxes and books that we were able to access the very next day.

A few major sets stand out but it is necessary to underscore the richness of the collection. First, the chronological period covered is simply tremendous: it goes from the last decade of the 19th century to 1935; this collection of archives therefore represents something unique for a socialist leader in the face of what will become of the partisan organizations’ archives before 1905 and then the archives of the French Section of the Worker’s International[2]. Renaudel was a newspaperman and part of the photographs, drawings, collections of newspapers kept or rough versions of articles bear witness to this, whether it be for La Vie Socialiste or L’Humanité. All in all, this collection of archives represents 54 boxes, approximately 250 files, to which must be added all the books and brochures of his library. Historians will notably find rich series of correspondence and personal notes taken during meetings, whether it be during editorial boards, sessions of the Chamber of Deputies’ Army Commission between 1914 and 1919 or during international meetings as early as 1918 and then during meetings of the Second International after 1923. The final inventory will refine those too brief comments.

The Jean-Jaurès Foundation and its field “History and archives” has been building partnerships with public institutions ever since 1999.

The partnership with Eurosoc participates in this dynamics and will aim more specifically to enhance the “Norman part” of the Renaudel collection of archives. The objective is to digitalize the identified archives in order to first, preserve them from manipulations (the state of some documents made them delicate to handle) and more broadly, to make them available more quickly to researchers in order to encourage their historical analysis. For historians, this material will naturally have to be cross-referenced with the collections that the municipal or departmental archives of Normandy may have preserved on the first years of the establishment of socialism – as Pierre Renaudel turned away from his homeland in 1909 to set himself up in the Var department. Renaudel’s correspondence explain the development of socialist groups at the end of the 19th century and, thanks to news details and precisions, probably shed new light on the legislative elections of 1912 or the municipal elections in Rouen in 1904 and, beyond that, shed new light on the men, networks and dynamics specific to socialism in Normandy from 1896 to 1907. The exchanges and future scientific contributions of the historians included in the Eurosoc project will allow the study of these archives and provide some new thinking.

[1] The Jean Jaurès Foundation published a brochure using the initiatives of “2014, année Jaurès”

[2] Frédéric Cépède, « L’Office universitaire de recherche socialiste (OURS), 45 ans d’histoire (et) d’archives socialistes », Histoire@Politique. Politique, culture, société, n° 24, September-December 2014 [available online,]

Version française & English version.pdf