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social sciences

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Guérin, Daniel (1904-1988)  
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Guérin also rejected the consumerist gay culture and "the superficial pursuit of pleasure" that emerged in France the 1980s as "a million miles from any conception of class struggle." He nevertheless continued contributing to the French gay movement by giving interviews, writing articles for the gay press, and speaking out in defense of gay rights.

He maintained that "homophobic prejudice" could not be defeated through "reformist" means, but "like racial prejudice, only by an anti-authoritarian revolution." Homosexual liberation "will be total and irreversible only if it is achieved within the context of social revolution."

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Guérin published dozens of books and hundred of articles on such topics of vital concern as fascism and capitalism (which he believed linked), racism, militarism, and colonialism. He also wrote favorably about anarchism, the American labor movement, the revolutionary ideas of Rosa Luxembourg, the African-American fight for equality, and the Kinsey report on human sexuality. He even brought out autobiographical work, including Autobiographie de jeunesse (1965), Le feu du sang: autobiographie politique et charnelle (1977), and Son testament (1979).

Yet Guérin considered his most important work--the one worth remembering after his death--to be a two-volume historical study of the popular movement in the French Revolution, The Class Struggle under the First Republic, published in 1946. Guérin saw the political and social agitation by urban artisans and wage-earners during the French Revolution as the forerunner of the proletarian revolutions of the twentieth century. The historical profession greeted the book with little enthusiasm.

Guérin is remembered today chiefly for his uncompromising stand as a political, labor, and gay militant.

In 1975, Pierre Hahn, another pioneer militant, wrote to Guérin: "More than to anyone else, homosexuals are grateful to you . . . for everything you have done for them. . . . The most valuable thing you have done is a life's work that is both political (in the traditional sense) and sexological: it's [your books like] The Brown Plague [on fascism] plus Kinsey [on the Kinsey Report]; it's Fourier [on the nineteenth-century radical thinker] and the texts against colonialism: finally it's you yourself."

Michael D. Sibalis

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social sciences >> Overview:  France

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social sciences >> Overview:  French Gay Liberation Movement

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literature >> Overview:  French Literature: Twentieth Century

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social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Left

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social sciences >> Overview:  Paris

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social sciences >> Aron, Jean-Paul

French writer and public intellectual Jean-Paul Aron is widely credited for giving a human face to AIDS and thereby changing the public perception of the disease and those who suffered from it.

social sciences >> Hahn, Pierre

One of the earliest gay militants in contemporary France, Pierre Hahn also received the first doctorate in France for work in the history of homosexuality.

literature >> Hocquenghem, Guy

Leftist Guy Hocquenghem produced a considerable canon of queer theory and experimental fiction, much of it still unknown outside France.

social sciences >> Kinsey, Alfred C.

The most important sex researcher of the twentieth century, Alfred C. Kinsey contributed groundbreaking studies of male and female sexual behavior in America.

literature >> Pastre, Geneviève

One of France's leading lesbian theorists and political activists, Geneviève Pastre is a writer and publisher who has made lesbian feminism the root of her political and literary work.


"Daniel Guérin." Special unnumbered issue of Alternative Libertaire (1998).

Berry, David. "'Workers of the World, Embrace!' Daniel Guérin, the Labour Movement and Homosexuality." Left History 9 (2004): 11-43.

Guérin, Daniel. Homosexualité et révolution. Paris: Le Vent du Ch'min, 1983.

Martel, Frédéric. The Pink and the Black: Homosexuals in France since 1968. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Sedgwick, Peter. "Out of Hiding: The Comradeships of Daniel Guérin." Salmagundi 58/59 (June 1982): 197-221.


    Citation Information
    Author: Sibalis, Michael D.  
    Entry Title: Guérin, Daniel  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated January 25, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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