Père Peinard was a weekly anarchist newspaper founded in Paris in September 1889 by anarcho-communist Émile Pouget – it was described by the authorities as the ‘most scurrilous of the French anarchist newspapers’, but had the widest working class readership.
The major editorial themes were direct action, antimilitarism, anticlericalism, denunciation of politicians/political repression and general criticism of the bourgeoisie and the exploiters. In 1893 the ‘Rogue Laws’ were passed to prohibit all forms of anarchist propaganda – Père Peinard was particularly targeted because it posed a real danger to the state. The last issue of the is published on February 21 1894. Pouget fled to London where he continued to publish the newspaper.
A contemporary wrote of Père Peinard:
‘With no display of philosophy (which is not to say that it has none) it plays openly upon the appetites, prejudices, and rancours of the proletariat. Without reserve or disguise, it incites to theft, counterfeiting, the repudiation of taxes and rents, killing and arson. It counsels the immediate assassination of deputies, senators, priests and army officers. It advises unemployed working men to take food for themselves and their families wherever it was to be found, to help themselves to shoes at the shoe shop when the spring rains wet their feet, and to overcoats at the clothier’s when the winter winds nipped them. It urges employed working men to put their tyrannical employers out of the way, and to appropriate their factories, farm labourers and vineyard workers to take possession of the farms and vineyards, and turn the landlords and vineyard owners into fertilising phosphates; miners to seize the mines and to offer picks to shareholders in case they showed a willingness to work like their brother men, otherwise to dump them into the disused shafts; conscripts to emigrate rather than perform their military service, and soldiers to desert and shoot their officers. It glorifies poachers and other deliberate breakers of the law. It recounts the exploits of olden-time brigands and outlaws, and exhorts contemporaries to follow their example.’
“A small anarchist republic”: French anarchists in Fitzrovia by Nick Heath:
The Émile Pouget pages at the Anarchist Library – including handy tips on ‘Methods of Sabotage’: