André Mordant

On the Wednesday evening of the Employees’ Group’s extraordinary meeting in Borzée (see 14 April post) EESC member André Mordant, who was my neighbour at the dinner table, sang a song about les canuts, and he encouraged us all to sing the chorus: ‘C’est nous les canuts/Nous allons tout nus!’ You can listen to the song here. Intrigued, I started to look into the story of the canuts (there’s an English account here). They were the silk workers of Lyons and their first revolt, in 1831, was among the earliest of worker uprisings. There were several revolts, and each was put down bloodily (their battle cry was “Vivre libre en travaillant ou mourir en combattant!”). I suppose in British terms they were the equivalent of a conflation of the Luddites and the Peterloo massacre.