French Trotskyists Under the Occupation 1944

How Do You Form a Workers Militia?

Source: La Vérité, August 4, 1944;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2010.

1) Form a team

Find two or three comrades with whom you’ll constitute the provisional committee of the Workers Militia in your workshop or factory. If possible choose guys who have some military capacity, but who above all are dedicated and courageous workers. Together draw up a plan to reach out to all the workers in the factory who might enter the Militia. The Workers Militia must bring together all the workers capable of fighting and who aren’t strikebreakers, squealers, or fascists.

Together specify the tasks of the Workers Militia in the factory and the neighborhood. Find a safe meeting place and comrades capable of providing military advice or weapons. It goes without saying that the Workers Militia is democratic. It will be called upon to ratify your leadership or to name a new one.

2) Constitute your militias.

Don’t bring together the comrades you’ve enrolled haphazardly, but rather according to their workplace. Within the same workshop the workers know each other better and can foil any provocations. Form groups of eight to ten divided into two groups. These groups meet once a week. They discuss the tasks of the militia, the actions to be supported (worker’s demands, housewives movements). They establish an action plan: for example, the points that are vital to be occupied in the factory and quarter (police stations, fascist offices, strategic points for street fighting, gas stations, oil depots) and friendly and enemy houses, etc. They see to the procurement of weapons and training.

3) Broaden the Militia

In the factory and neighborhood the groups are united to form “thirties” (three groups) and “hundreds” (three thirties). Only the chiefs of each echelon know each other. The election of leaders is always from bottom to top: there are no chiefs imposed from the top!

The Workers Militia enters into contact with factory and neighborhood cells and attempts to constitute them if they don’t yet exist. It makes contact with the workers parties, the illegal unions, the Red maquis and the FTP.

4) Go into action

Don’t wait to act. As soon as the Militia starts to be organized you must go into action. It is only thus that the Militia will attract attention and develop.

You must first obtain weapons, manufacture grenades that will allow the procuring of less rudimentary weapons by disarming cops, killing Darnand’s Miliciens [1] and the rats of the LVF [2], asking for arms from friendly resistance fighters, fraternizing with German soldiers and helping them to desert: they will bring their arms and their military knowledge with them.

You must start as soon as possible to support the workers and housewives movements.

5) Be alert!

It goes without saying that all of these actions must be carefully prepared and taking all the precautions necessary in conditions of illegality. Only those who need to know addresses should know them; never have written lists; never hold large meetings; choose meeting places and hideouts carefully. Pitilessly exclude the curious, braggarts, and loudmouths.

As the actions increase the confidence in the Workers Militia will develop and the Workers Militia will become the combat formation of all the workers.

1. The Milice, the French fascist auxiliary of the Nazis.

2. Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism