Matériaux pour l'histoire de notre temps

Contents of the latest issue
A new issue of Matériaux pour l'histoire de notre temps, edited by theBDIC, has just been published (in French). It is dedicated to the subject of internationalism - both historical and contemporary aspects. Please find below a table of contents and abstracts of the articles. Orders and inquiries:
Matériaux, c/o BDIC, 6 Allée de l'Université, 92001 Nanterre Cedex
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L'internationalisme en question(s)
Enzo Traverso, German Judaism and cosmopolitanism Jewish cosmopolitanism, one of the ingredients of German socialist internationalism at its height, was inspired by the figure of the wandering Jew. During the 19th century, the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment)and Judaic science developed differently in the two main seats of Judaism: into religious ideology in Central and Eastern Europe, where German was the lingua franca, and into nationalism in the yiddishkeit of the Tsarist Empire. In Germany, the urban culture (Bildung), to which the cosmopolitan Jews contributed, served as a target for the nationalist and anti-Semitic Germans who saw their roots as being in the land. Under the Weimar Republic, the quest for the post-national identity embodied by socialism was compounded by the rediscovery of a Jewish identity. Those Jews that were exiled to the United States under Nazi persecution dedicated themselves to the preservation of their German culture, creating a new symbiosis between Bildung and the Bill of Rights.

Robert Paris and Claudie Weill, Pilgrims and missionaries: militant itinerants
Two complementary figures of the militant in exile embody the concept of internationalism: the pilgrim and the missionary. The former was drawn towards the epicentre of international socialism, principally Germany at the time of the Second International, then to Russia after the Revolution, where he often came to play a leading role. The latter took European anarchism, socialism and trades-unionism with him to the New World. There, he encountered immigrant workers and together they formed the embryo of the emerging local labour movement. A study of these journeys highlights the importance of exile and migration in the diffusion of "proletarian" internationalism.

Gael Cheptou, The "Club de lecture" of social-democrat Germans in Paris: from exile to immigration (1877-1914)
An organisation of exiles established a shortly before the passing of the laws banning socialism in Germany, the Club lost part of its importance at the heart of the SPD once the party became legal again. A meeting place for young professionally mobile workers, the Club tried to benefit from the standing of the SPD in international socialism. Internationalism among the members of the Club was represented in two ways: shared activities with other foreign socialist groups present in Paris; and the attempt to join with other social-democrat German groups in exile, or to foster their creation.

Ursula Langkau-Alex, Landmarks in the history of the Socialist Internationals and exile during the inter-war period
The Labour and Socialist International (LSI) was re-formed in 1923, and the proportion of its constituent parties that were in exile increased steadily during the inter-war period. The criteria for representation were reconsidered several times, mainly through the impetus of the English Labour Party. This led to a drastic reduction in the number of votes in congresses for exiled organisations. During the same period, the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) was initially in favour of supporting clandestine organisations in "countries without democracy", where those trade-unions that were affiliated to the International Trade Secretariats (ITS) benefited from room to manoeuvre, whilst the ITS sought a reorganisation of IFTU. Later, IFTU began to focus on the future and gave more attention to organisations in exile. The LSI and IFTU were both active within international organisations such as theSociety of Nations and the International Labour Organisation. At the time of therise of fascism and Nazism and the Spanish Civil War, they concentrated primarily on aiding refugees and campaigning amongst reluctant national governments for an international right of asylum. A difficult relationship with the communists was another element through which the impact of institutional internationalism can be measured.

Michel Pigenet, International solidarity and occupational closure: the various horizons of the French dockers
As particularly cosmopolitan places, harbours, and the dockers who work within them, provide a good example for a study of the difficulties of implementing international strategies amongst workers. Added to the competition between the harbours, there is also the competition between the workers themselves, especially between regular and casual labourers. This explains the process of occupational closure and regularisation of employment, which hardened to the distinction between different categories of labour. From the end of the 19th century, this system was the basis of resistance led by the International Transport Federation (ITF) to international policies of employers. An uneasy coexistence, with occasional disputes, amongst the federations, some of which looked towards Moscow, was eventually resolved in the common struggle against fascism. Even when it was politically aggressive -- cf. the example of organisedboycotts -- the internationalism of the dockers' trade unions remained one step behind that of the employers, as the late foundation of the European Transport Federation (whose recent resistance against European deregulation was nevertheless successful) illustrates.

Babacar Fall, The trade-union movement in francophone West Africa: from the tutelage of the metropolitan trade-unions to that of the ruling parties, or the difficult quest for a personality (1900-1968)
Introduced in a colonial context, the trade-unions of French West Africa first emerged as a result of exchanges between migrants, particularly seamen, influenced by the CGT. Their development was, however, for a long time constrained by the local absence of the right of association. The history of the AOF labour movement is characterised by some long strikes (in the field of railway transport particularly), marked by racial tensions but also by co-operation between Europeans and Africans. After the Second World War, the African trades-unions become extensions of the main French trade-unions and then attempted to find their autonomy. This highlights the paradox of internationalism in a colonial context. A double rupture, firstly with the French working class, which was denounced by the CGT, and then with theinternational federations, accompanied the creation in 1957 of the UGTAN (General Union of the African Workers). This was a trans-national organisation that went on to fight against the ruling parties of the newly independent single-party states.

Klaus Meschkat, About the history of our internationalism
The internationalism of the German New Left -- the internationalism of a generation -- was based principally on solidarity activities that began at the time of the Algerian war. These became more virulent during the anti-imperialist struggles against the war in Vietnam, using forms of intervention that were borrowed from American activists. Based on a third world ideology, this solidarity was not always the result of a sound comprehension of the localsituation, and this may explain some mistakes and misunderstandings. Neither was it very strong in Europe. As regards the current anti-globalizationmovement, a renewed internationalism should be founded on the traditions of the First International. It should base its activities on a thorough knowledge of what is at stake, locally and globaly.

Jean-Pierre Garnier, The antiglobalization movement: a borrowed internationalism
Do the movements protesting against the neo-liberal globalization constitute a revival of the traditional labour movement? Anxious to rid themselves of this very heritage, the alter-globalists crossed a boundary when they gave up the anti-globalization struggle in order to promote an alter-capitalism based on a return to Keynesianism and the Welfare State. Violent street fights have now given place to tightly organised festive demonstrations. This process is linked to the emergence of a "collective intellectual" whose expertise is acknowledged by its supposed enemies, who now sometimes themselves sponsor "anti-globalization" meetings. Based on citizen mobilisation, this movement is increasingly atomised, and willing to enlarge its base. It has ceased to make references to social class. It also venerates some Latin American Leaders and this gives it a flavour of traditional third world ideology, including some aspects of the cult of personality.

Richard Figuier, An editing utopia: Maxilien Rubel, Marx's editor. A firstlook at the Rubel collection in the BDIC
The originality of Maximilien Rubel, editor of the works of Marx for the famous Pleiade series, rests on the fact that he was not satisfied merely with translating those texts that had already been published. Instead, he drew also on a significant quantity of unpublished material from the archives, in order to illustrate a system of thought not restricted to partisan (or even party political) interpretations. He never claimed to offer to the reader the completeworks of Marx, as did the MEGA program. Only four out of six volumes planned by Maximilien Rubel were published.

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