Sunday, June 06, 2010

Arthur Ramette (1897-1988) - French Hero

Arthur Ramette (Arthur Ream)

Arthur Jean Baptiste Ramette was born 12 October 1897 in Caudry (Nord) Northern France.

He went to work aged 12, by the age of 14 he was
an apprentice engineer (setting and forging)

During WW1 Caudry was occupied by the Germans and Ramette refusal to work for them lead him to receive two month imprisonments in 1918

As a young man Ramette was an active trade unionist and became secretary of the CGT metal workers union of Cambresis

In 1919 he joined the Socialist Party of France, and became Caudry branch secretary and soon after founder member of a committee which was agitating for the
admission of that body to the Communist International ( "Comité pour l'adhésion à la III Internationale - Committee for membership of the (third) International"). Ramette at the Congress of Tours in 1920 was one of the majority which adhered to the International

In 1919 he became secretary of the CGT Metal at Caudry,

By 1922 Ramette had become Secretary of the Communist party in Caudry

in 1924 Ramette made acquaintance with Thorez, then secretary of the Northern region of the Communist party and the two men were closely linked from then on

Ramette was appointed Communist Party Regional secretary in April 1929, and was active in the textile centres the coalfields and the agricultural districts of northern France.

He received a months imprisonment as a result of his arrest in the First of May demonstrations in 1929 and two years imprisonment in connection with the Roubaix textile strike (Barricades of the Rue des Longues-Hales) of 1930-1931. Ramette had been arrested on 30th June 1931

While Ramette was in prison in 1932 he was elected as Communist deputy for Douai and was re-elected after his release from prison in 1936.

Ramette became a member of the Central committee and the Political bureau of the communist party of France.



We, the deputies and militants of the French Communist party, swear to fight for the greatness of the people of our country and for the defence of the inter national proletariat.

We, the deputies and militants of the French Communist party, are totally at the service of the labouring masses united in the Popular Front on behalf of bread, peace and liberty.

Gladly ranging ourselves beneath the discipline of our party, and confident in its irresistible forward march, we swear to do our utmost for the union of the French nation, to work for a free, strong and happy France, which the Communists want and which they will bring about.

When the Communist party was outlawed by the German appeasers in the French Government, a new party was established on 28th September 1939 French Peasants and Workers group whose President was Ramette and Secretary Florimond Bonte

When communist deputies began to be inprisoned Ramette went into hiding

Ramette escaped to Belgium and through Communist contacts secured pass
age on the ship Molotov with Palmiro Togliatti and Raymond Guyot to Moscow , to finally join Thorez and Andre Marty in May 1940.

Ramette became responsible for broadcasts of Lino-radio, Post of National Front of struggle for the Liberation of France, where he was assisted by Felix Gouin

As France was liberated by the Communist lead French Resistance Ramette Returned to Paris 24th Novemember 1944

Remette was re-elected in the 2nd district of the North, after the war as a deputy or senator up until 1973, He was also a Lille Communist councillor between 1947-1963

In 1948 he was injured during riots between Police and strikers in November 1948

Arthur Ramette Died Seclin 15th December 1988

The Declaration was printed in leaflet form by the French Communist party on the day after the trial. 3 April 1940- (The final passages stated)

We love France and what makes France: her people.

We are proud of her savants, her thinkers, her writers and her artists, who win her the affections of the peoples of the universe.

All through their history and their splendid revolutionary past, the people of France have risen up against tyrants. Is this not recalled in a stanza of the Marseillaise which the capitalists take good care not to teach to the children of the people?

We do not want to be slaves of Hitler, or vassals of Chamberlain, or servants of Mussolini! We want to be Frenchmen, masters of our own life.

Yes, we love the people of France, and we want to rid them of those who are leading them to the hecatombs and to ruin, of those who are inflicting on them the shame of the dictatorship. It is with profound disgust that the masses of the people turn away from the handful of cowards (Gitton, Capron and Co.) who have betrayed them.

These renegades represent only themselves and their own ignominy. We leave them to the contempt of the people!

We salute the innumerable workers who are courageously battling for Communism!

We Communists call upon the people to fight for bread, liberty and peace.

Yes, we are Communists! We are proud to be the heirs of the Communards, who by their sacrifice saved the Republic and fought for the emancipation of labour, and of whom Marx said that they stormed heaven.

Communism means peace in the development of the individual and of human dignity, in the progress of science and letters, and in the blossoming of civilization.

We are Frenchmen, and that is why we long with all our hearts for a free, strong and happy France.

We are internationalists, and that is why we regard every victory of the proletariat, no matter where, as our own victory.

Yes, we regard the building of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. as the first act of the world revolution, which will deliver the peoples from oppression and war!

Communists of, France, together with Maurice Thorez, Andre Marty, Jacques Duclos and all our fellow accused, we are working for the liberation of our country.

We want to rid it of war!

We appeal to the people to impose peace!

We have confidence in our country, in the France of 1793, of 1830, of 1848, of the Paris Commune, of February, 1934, and of May, 1936.

We have confidence in the people of France, and we are confident that they will very soon dig the grave of the capitalist regime which is responsible for poverty and war.

Long live a free France ! Long live a happy and strong France!

Long live peace!

Under the banner of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, following the example of Karl Liebknecht and Dimitrov,


Andre Marty in The Trial of the French Communist Deputies states

Even in England, that pitiless capital of finance, where voices were loudly raised, even hissing Leon Blum at the Labour Party Conference, loudly proclaiming that working-class England does not sever its cause from working-class and peasant France. The resolutions and speeches in favour of the French deputies could be counted by the thousand. . . .

"We cannot understand how your government's action can be claimed to be different from the Fascist regime in Germany against which you are at war" declared the textile workers of Dundee. And they were echoed by the metal workers of Sheffield and by the London Trades Council, representing 300,000 members.

The British Anti-Fascist Aid Committee alone collected over two hundred resolutions, voted by 1,500,000 workers. Prominent members of the Labour party uttered their emphatic protest against the trial: Sir Charles Trevelyan, ex-Minister of Education; J.Wedgwood, M.P.;J. R. Squance, ex-general secretary of the Railwaymen's Union; and many others.

D. N. Pritt, K.G., M.P., publicly denouncing the trial in London, concluded by saying: " The people cannot and will not be crushed." And even the liberal and governmental News Chronicle admitted that the trial has deeply troubled sincere democrats in this country. The trial and persecution of a big scale of leaders and members of the French Communist party make the declarations of the French government that it is fighting for democracy sound rather artificial.

The workers of the world have passed judgment. They have shown their contempt of those who falsely call themselves France—

Andre Marty (picture May Day 1946)