par Eric Vilain
Pierre Besnard, born in 1886, is not part of the first generation of revolutionary syndicalism. After the Great War, he was an active militant in the CGT railway workers’ federation where he held important mandates in the Paris region. He was dismissed from his job in May 1920 for going on strike. On 20 May 1921, Besnard replaced Monatte as general secretary of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary syndicalist Committees (Comités syndicalistes révolutionnaires) which brought together the opponents of the reformist line of the confederal leadership of the CGT.
In the CSR were communist militants (who followed the recommendations of the Communist International), anarchists, and revolutionary syndicalists (anarcho-syndicalism strictly speaking did not exist as a movement yet). The CSR had been created after the Lyon congress of the CGT (1919) and were at the origin of the split that constituted the CGTU ("U" for "Unified"). Besnard is undoubtedly the figure who expresses in the most significant way the transition between revolutionary syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism.