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HEATH, Nick. " The Black Sea Mutiny: the Marty Myth and the Role of the Anarchists"
Article published on 4 September 2012
last modification on 24 July 2012

by r-c.
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A look at the French Communist Party’s mystification of the 1919 Black Sea Mutiny.

We, the Social Defence Committee and the Black Sea Sailors Committee, have transformed this wind bag (André Marty) into a hero”. (End of report of talk by Louis Sellier to the municipal councillors of Paris 11 December 1931).

There are two histories of the mutiny of the French sailors on the Black Sea in 1919. There is the official Communist Party version, where Andre Marty is the leader of the revolt and there is another more authentic version (see the account by Tico Rossifort). The French Communist Party portrayed Andre Marty, a leading light in their party for many years, in hagiographic accounts of the Black Sea Mutiny, as its inspirer and leader.

While it is true that Marty was the only officer involved in the events, we shall see that in fact he was already under arrest during the main events of the mutiny.

As Rossifort notes there were several action committees on the French ships, made up of ordinary seamen or petty officers who were engineers.

Among these were Louis Philippe Badina, quarter master-mechanic, and originally from Marseille, on board the destroyer Protet; Jean Francois Braman, another quartermaster-mechanic. There was a group of twenty or thirty sailors on board the battleship France, who were either anarchists or sympathised with anarchism and had put together a secret library, circulating pamphlets and newspapers, of which La Vague had the most influence on those aboard. Jean Fichou and Virgile Vuillemin were important figures in this committee. Vuillemin was sympathetic to anarcho-syndicalism, later, after the events, becoming involved with an individualist anarchist group Vers la Beaute. Jean Fichou (born 1893) from Brest, was a convinced anarchist.Others in the committee on the France were the sailors Antonin “Marius” Ricros, an anarchist sympathiser and Alphonse Sauveur Cannonne.

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