Jules Bonnot

Article

October 17, 2021

Jules Joseph Bonnot (born October 14, 1876 in Pont-de-Roide, died April 27, 1912 in Choisy-le-Roi) - French anarchist, leader of the illegalistic group described by the modern press as the Bonnot gang.

Curriculum vitae

Early activity

He was born into a working-class family, but lost his mother at the age of ten. Due to the boy's difficulties at school, his father, himself illiterate, decided to send him to gainful employment at the age of 14. A year later, Bonnot was recorded for the first time for petty thefts. In 1901 he married a seamstress named Sophie, with whom he went to Geneva in search of a better job. In Switzerland, he first encountered the anarchist ideas of which he became an active supporter. His involvement in anarchist propaganda saw him expelled from Switzerland. After returning to France, he worked in the automotive plant in Lyon and then in Saint-Étienne, where he was an active union activist and organizer of strikes. During this time, he lost his wife, who had fled with her child abroad, having developed an affair with another worker in the same factory. Bonnot also lost his job and until 1910 lived only from odd jobs and burglaries with his partner Platano. In 1910 he worked in London as the driver of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Bonnot's Gang

At the end of 1910, Bonnot and Platano returned to Lyon, which they had to leave quickly for fear of being arrested. Platano died in mysterious circumstances on his way to Paris; Bonnot maintained that his accomplice accidentally shot himself with his own pistol. Upon reaching the capital, Bonnot contacted the Anarchy group of individualist anarchists and took over the leadership of it. He enthusiastically embraced Octave Garnier's idea that the group should base its activities on robbery. Bonnot's knowledge of the automobile models proved crucial to the continued success of the gang. He participated in a number of robberies against banks, convoys with money and private individuals. Accidentally surprised by a group of gendarmes in Ivry-sur-Seine, he was tracked down in Choisy-le-Roi and died from wounds sustained in the shootout.

Bibliography

J. Maitron, Ravachol et les Anarchistes, Juillard, Paris 1964

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