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(en) France, UCL AL #323 - Obituaries, Michel Desmars (1942-2021), activist from May (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 5 Jan 2022 10:53:36 +0200


Michel Desmars died on December 21, at the age of 79. Red and black figure of May 1968 in Tours, revolutionary railway worker and trade unionist, internationalist, he was all of these at the same time. ---- In 1968, the May movement seized Michel Desmars, a railway worker affiliated with FO, but above all with the Union des anarcho-syndicalistes. Joined the SNCF in 1961, he is a driving agent, attached to the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps depot (37), and actively participates in the strike with occupation, as he told for the Union magazine Syndicale Solidaires on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of May [1]. General assemblies punctuate the movement, tools for free speech and self-organization. In parallel with this involvement in the strike, he led, alongside Georges Fontenis, the Revolutionary Action Committee (CAR) of Tours.

Excluded from FO in 1969, Michel Desmars went through an anti-unionist phase, and very marked by the spirit of Mai, he sought to promote the expression of a form of workers' autonomy, whether by participating in the Cahiers de Mai or the Bulletin Action-Cheminots. In 1969, he was, along with Georges Fontenis, one of the co-founders of the Mouvement communiste libertaire (MCL), and was director of publication for his newspaper, Guerre de classes.

Leader of the left CFDT
While the MCL - which became the so-called "first way" OCL in 1971 - declined, Michel Desmars joined the CFDT in 1974 and very quickly took on responsibilities. He will be one of the organizers of the trade union left of this central twenty years. Revolutionary and self-managed, he is involved in all the adventures of regrouping this union left, in particular through the magazines Résister, Collectif and even Cahiers syndicales [2]. In 1986, he was among those who launched the renewable strike at the SNCF and made the union tool available to general railway assemblies and the coordination of driving agents, not without heated discussions with the management of the CFDT, which condemned the 'self-organization[3].

Unsurprisingly, and while he retired in 1992, he participated in the creation of SUD-Rail in 1996 and then in the development of the Union Syndicale Solidaires, in particular through its internationalist activity as in the Departmental Union of Haute-Garonne.

UTCL activist
After the MCL-OCL experience, Michel Desmars joined the Union of Libertarian Communist Workers (UTCL) in 1980 and participated in its Transport branch. He was among the signatories of the Call for a Libertarian Alternative which would lead to the creation of the organization of the same name in 1991. But he was not going to continue in this way and ceased to join a libertarian communist organization.

In 2001, he participated in the experience of the list Motivated es in Toulouse, where he appeared in 3 th position and was elected to the City Council. In 2007, when union and libertarian activists criticized the "false good idea of the Bové candidacy" for the presidential election, he was on the contrary participating in the campaign team of the former peasant unionist.

Mayor of Verdier, his small village in Tarn, at the end of his life, Michel Desmars was nonetheless a man of the emancipation camp, one of us.

Théo Roumier

Michel Desmars' biographical note can be found online in Le Maitron, a biographical dictionary of the labor movement and the social movement.

To validate

[1] Michel Desmars, "May 68 in Tours, souvenirs, souvenirs...", Les Utopiques n ° 7, spring 2018.

[2] Part of the collections of these reviews is kept in Montreuil at the Libertarian Communist Archives (FACL) to which Michel Desmars contributed. See also Michel Desmars, "When the union left acquired tools to move forward...", Les Utopiques n ° 4, February 2017.

[3] See Théo Roumier[Rival], Syndicalistes et libertaires, une histoire de UTCL (1974-1991), Alternative libertaire, 2013.

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Michel-Desmars-1942-2021-militant-de-Mai
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