The congress of Saint Imier 1872 and the beginning of the global anarchist mouvement

St-Imier 2023 and Workshops

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On 15 and 16 September 1872, an episode in world history took place in Saint-Imier, even if few of the village's inhabitants realised it. It was a crucial moment in the history of the left, when the socialist currents - reformist, centralising communist and anarchist - began to differentiate. The federations of the International Workers' Association (IWA) sent delegates from Italy, Spain, France, Russia and other countries. For two days they have been holding discussions with local activists here at the Hôtel de la Maison de Ville. The four long resolutions adopted by what came to be known as the founding Congress of the Anti-Authoritarian International have the function of a charter of anarchism. They contain the essential principles and strategies of its anarcho-syndicalist and insurrectionary branches. They still have a worldwide echo today.Why this crucial congress for the history of anarchism was hold in Switzerland? What is the relation between watchmaking industry and the beginning of the global anarchist mouvement? The key lays in the historical context af the early globalisation and the high level of libertarian syndicalist organisation of the local watchmakers.The conference is hold in english by the historian Florian Eitel, author of "Anarchistische Uhrmacher in der Schweiz. Mikrohistorische Globalgeschichte zu den Anfängen der anarchistischen Bewegung im 19. Jahrhundert, Bielefeld 2018" / "Le Vallon horloger et ses anarchistes. Une micro-histoire de Saint-Imier et Sonvilier aux débuts de la mondialisation, Bienne 2022". Pictures and text in german will accompany the presentation. Questions can be ask  asked in french, italian or spanish.