an erudite fresco on the libertarian movement

An image taken from Tancrède Ramonet's documentary series “Ni Dieu ni maître.  A history of anarchism”.


” Neither God nor master. » The author and director Tancrède Ramonet borrows the formula of Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881), a socialist revolutionary who spent so much time in prison that he was nicknamed “L’Enfermé”, to title his documentary fresco in four episodes – visible independently – devoted to anarchism. He could have added “nor critical”, so laudatory is the story he offers.

Read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers Blanqui, man of barricades

But strangely, here, this bias is not embarring, compensated by the erudition and enthusiasm of the historians questioned, all specialists or supporters of the movements which opposed, in France and elsewhere, any form of authority ( State, boss, religion) since the XIXe century. This common pion allows Tancred Ramonet (son of Ignacio Ramonet, ex-director of the Diplomatic world) to present unpublished archives, unknown documents and new insights into facts that were thought to be rehearsed.

On condition, however, of not stopping at the first images of episode 3, broadcast on Monday May 22, notably those of the Mauthausen camp, where anarchists were deported during the Occupation. After this introduction, Flowers or cobblestones (1944-1968) focuses on the revival of the movement, from the re-creation of federations in Europe to the “revolutionary movement that could have changed the face of the world”. But through the original prism of pacifism, which gradually will switch to violence – the creation ofDirect action is the illustration. “The idea that war would be the health of states becomes the heart of libertarian thought”says British historian Carissa Honeywell.

A large sequence is thus devoted to the “provolution”, born in 1965 in the Netherlands and embodied by Roel van Duijn. This student will theorize “the famous cycle: provocation, repression, mobilization”. In the narration, the actor Redjep Mitrovitsa cannot restrain his admiration. A few minutes later, on the other hand, he is sorry: May 15, 1967, the Provo movement dissolves, “unable to seize this revolutionary momentum”.

Cohn-Bendit and May 68

The sequence with May 68 is instantaneous, suggested by an emblematic photo representing the student leader Daniel Cohn Bendit. But, here again, certain developments are pleasantly surprising, such as the use of the acronym A to federate the anarchist nebula “by mental automatism” – using the rules of marketing in ping.

The film also rectifies a few “errors”: “Contrary to what the legend says, the repression [de Mai 68] is very brutal. » The historian Claire Auzias (who took part, in 1968, in the movement of 22-Mars Lyonnais) still recalls that, on May 14, in Lyon, a policeman died not under the wheels of a truck launched by demonstrators , as the prefect of police said then, but during treatment in the hospital…

After the failure of the war in Spain, after May 68, the most touching thing is perhaps to note the intact fervor of the interviewees, rallied behind the old libertarian adage: “No revolutionary attempt is ever in vain. »

Neither God nor master. A history of anarchism, documentary series by Tancrède Ramonet (Fr., 2022, 4 x 52 min). episodes 3, Flowers or cobblestones (1944-1968)and 4, The Networks of Anger (1965-2012), airs May 22 and 23 at 8:30 p.m. on LCPfollowed by debates presented by Jean-Pierre Gratien. episodes 1, The Pleasure of Destruction (1840-1914), and 2, The Memory of the vanquished (1911-1945), are available on VOD on

Catherine Pacary

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