France History Archive

The Charter of Amiens

The CGT 1906

Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

At its Ninth Congress, in 1906, the CGT passed, by a vote of 830 for, eight against, and one abstention, the following document — a key revolutionary syndicalist text — stressing the need for the movement to maintain its independence from all political parties.

The Confederation’s congress of Amiens confirms Article 2 as foundational of the CGT. [1]

Outside of all political schools, the CGT groups together all workers conscious of the fight to be carried out for the disappearance of the salaried and of employers.

The Congress regards this declaration as a recognition of the class struggle which, on the economic plain, sets the workers in revolt in opposition to all forms of exploitation and oppression — material as well as moral — put in place by the capitalist class against the working class.

The congress clarifies — by the following points — this theoretical assertion.

In daily protest work the union pursues the coordination of working class efforts, and the growth of the well being of workers, through the carrying out of immediate improvements, such as the diminution in work hours, the increase in salaries, etc. But this task is only one side of the work of syndicalism: it prepares complete emancipation, which can only be fulfilled by expropriation of the capitalists; it advocates as a method of action the general strike; and it considers that the union, today a resistance group will be, in the future, a group for production and redistribution, the basis of social reorganization.

The Congress declares that this double task, daily and in the future, flows from the situation which weighs on the working class, and which renders obligatory for all workers — whatever their opinions or their political or philosophical leanings — membership in that essential group that is the union.

In consequence, as far as it concerns individuals, the Congress asserts the complete freedom for union member to participate — outside of his corporate grouping — in those forms of struggle that correspond to his philosophical or political concepts, limiting itself to asking him in exchange to not introduce into the union the opinions he professes outside it.

As far as it concerns organizations, the Congress declares that in order for syndicalism to achieve its maximum effect, economic action must be carried out directly against the bosses, the confederated organizations not having to involve themselves, as a union group, with parties and sects that can, outside and alongside, pursue social transformation in complete freedom.

Marie [Marie Francois, typographer from the Seine]
Cousteau [Cousteau M. gardener]
Menard [Ménard Ludovic, tileworker, Trelazé]
Chazeaud [Chazeaud Jules, boilermaker, Lyons]
Bruon [Bruon C, building worker]
Ferrier [Ferrier Louis, locksmith, Grenoble]
E. David, BdT Grenoble [David Eugene, plasterer- painter, Grenoble]
Latapie [Latapie Jean, metalworks, Paris]
Médard [Médard Jean-Baptiste]
Merrheim [Merrheim Alphonse,metalworks]
Delesalle [Delesalle Paul metalworker in precision instruments, Paris]
Bled [Bled Jules, gardener, Seine]
Pouget [Pouget Emile]
Tabard E. [Tabard Etienne coachman, deliveryman]
Bousquet A. [Bousquet Amédée baker, Paris]
Monclard [ baker, Marseilles]
Mazau [Mazaud Jacques coachman, Seine]
Braun [Braun Joseph, mechanic]
Garnery [Garnery Auguste jeweler, Seine]
Luquet [Luquet Alexandre hairdresser,Paris]
Dret [Dret Henri, cobbler, Paris]
Merzet [Merzet Etienne, miner, Saone-et-Loire
Lévy [Lévy Albert, employee]
G. Thil [Thil G. lithographer]
Ader [Ader Paul agricultural worker, Aude]
Yvetot [Yvetot Georges, typographer, Seine]
Delzant [ Delzant, Charles, glassmaker, Nord]
H. Galantus [ Galantus Henri, tinsmith, Paris]
H. Turpin [Turpin H. driver]
J. Samay, Bourse du Travail, Paris
Robert [Robert Charles, tanner,Grenoble]
Bornet [ Bornet Jules, lumberjack, Cher]
P. Hervier, Bourse du Travail de Bourges [Hervier,Pierre Bourges]
Dhooge, Textile of Reims [Dhooge Charles weaver]
Richer, Bourse du Travail de Brest [Richer narcisse, shoe worker]
Laurent L Bourse du Travail de Cherbourg [Laurent Leon]
Devilar, courtier de Paris [Deevilar C]
Bastien, textile d'Amiens
L. Morel de Nice [Morel Léon, commercial employee]
Sauvage [metal molder]
Gauthier [Gauthier Henri, boilermaker, Saint-Nazaire

1. Actually paragraph two of Article 1 calls for the independence of the CGT from all political parties.