Over the years, the name Andre Senez could be read at the foot of the back page of many French anarchist and libertarian papers as "Director" of the publication- a paper cannot by law be published in France unless it has this State requirement and risks instant confiscation. Many veterans of the French libertarian movement have warm memories of Andre Senez, with his unflinching convictions and his solidarity. He died on the evening of 20th February after reaching his 80th birthday last October. Old worker in the shoe industry in Paris, an expert in his work, he had retired to the Touraine region to be close to his family. At the age of 15, he joined the youth section of the Communist Party, which he left very quickly after the signing of the pact between Stalin and Laval, the right wing French premier, in 1935. He became an anarchist and was a militant in the Jeunesse Anarchiste Communiste (Anarchist Communist Youth) then in the Union Anarchiste, its parent organisation and then in the post-war Federation Anarchiste.
Georges Fontenis writes: "I made his acquaintance at the start of the war and we were at all the rallies together, at all the demonstrations where he impressively handled his walking stick which he could not be separated from because of his handicapped status (as a child he had suffered an attack of poliomyelitis that was not taken care of properly, the lot of many children from a poor background in that period)". Leaving the Federation Anarchiste in the 50s, he attended meetings of Socialisme ou Barbarie along with Fontenis (On Socialisme ou Barbarie see the obituary of Cornelius Castoriadis in Organise! 48)
With Fontenis and Daniel Guerin, he was one of the founders of the Mouvement Communiste Libertaire (MCL). He remained in this group when it transformed itself into the (first) Organisation Communiste Libertaire. With its collapse in 1976, Senez joined the (second) Organisation Communiste Libertaire, the result of a changing of name by the Organisation Revolutionnaire Anarchiste ! He was subsequently active in the Union des Travailleurs Communistes Libertaires and its successor Alternative Libertaire. With the deterioration of his health, he became housebound, nevertheless continuing correspondence with various publications." We are all sad at having lost an old brother"-Georges Fontenis.
The post-modern French philosopher who died on April 21 is of little interest to us as revolutionaries. We wish to recall his time as a revolutionary before the pressures of a career and the ebbing of post 1968 hopes turned him into a darling of the sociologists.
Born in Versailles, educated at the Sorbonne, he spent 10 years as a philosophy teacher in secondary schools. A stay in French-occupied Algeria radicalised him, when he took sides against the French state and for Algerian "independence". Returning to France in 1956, he joined the Socialisme ou Barbarie group, alongside Castoriadis (see his obituary in Organise! 48) and Lefort. He contributed many important articles to its magazine. He joined Lefort in breaking away from S ou B in 1963 to form Pouvoir Ouvrier (Workers Power) This had originally been the name of a paper set up by S ou B to appeal to shop-floor workers. Pouvoir Ouvrier retained many of the original ideas of S ou B, believing that a revolutionary organisation was necessary to help bring about the establishment of workers councils. He left this group after 2 years. In 1968, as a lecturer at Nanterre University, he joined the March 22nd Movement made up of students from the Nanterre Anarchist Group and other elements. Here he was active alongside Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Jean -Pierre Duteuil (the first a sell-out to social-democracy, the second still an active libertarian communist)The March 22nd Movement had great influence on the events of May-June 1968 in France.