Louis Eugène Varlin

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Varlin, Louis Eugène


Born Oct. 5, 1839, in Claye-Souilly; died May 28, 1871, in Paris. Leader in the French workers’ movement; one of the organizers and leaders of the Paris sections of the First International; a left Proudhonist.

By profession a bookbinder, Varlin joined the First International in 1865 and was a delegate to the London Conference (1865) and the Geneva (1866) and Basel (1869) congresses of the International. He was the founder and head of the bookbinders’ trade union in Paris. In 1869 he achieved the unification of the trade-union organizations of Paris into the Federal Chamber of Workers’ Societies, and in 1870 he was elected president of the International’s Parisian Federation. He was brought to court in the second and third trials of the First International in 1868 and 1870.

In April 1870 he emigrated to Belgium, but he returned to Paris after the revolution of Sept. 4, 1870. He commanded the 193rd Battalion of the National Guard and took part in the uprisings of Oct. 31, 1870, and Jan. 22, 1871. He was a member of the Central Committee of the National Guard, one of the leaders of the revolt of Mar. 18, 1871, and a member of the Paris Commune of 1871. (He was on the commissions of finance and provisions; from May 5 he was on the War Commission.) In the Commune he supported the Proudhonist minority. During the “May Week” he was head of defense of the sixth and 11th districts. Varlin was shot by the Versaillists.


Lur’e, A. Ia. Portrety deiatelei Parizhskoi Kommuny. Moscow, 1956.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.