Gabriel Cohn-Bendit

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Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit (born 1936 in Paris) is a French reformist educator.


Gabriel Cohn-Bendit was born in 1936 as the son of the German-Jewish lawyer Erich Cohn-Bendit (1902-1959) and his wife Herta Cohn-Bendit in exile in France. Unlike his brother Daniel Cohn-Bendit (* 1945), later student leader and Green politician, he became a French citizen.

He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.[1] Cohn-Bendit joined the French Communist Party (PCF) in 1956[1] (PCF) in 1956, but later left it again and – after a brief sympathy for Trotskyist currents[1] – the Socialisme ou barbarie[1] and the United Socialist Party (PSU).[2] In the time of the 68er movement he moved in left-wing extremist circles. In 1979 he revealed his libertarian left-wing political views to the daily newspaper Libération, reporting on the influences of Trotskyism.[3] Today he is a member of the French Green Party Europe Écologie-Les Verts.

From 1979, together with Éric Delcroix, Claude Karnoouh, Vincent Monteil and Jean-Louis Tristani, he supported the Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson in his claim to freedom of expression in a controversial publication (1981), which led, among other things, to conflict with the Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme.

Cohn-Bendit worked as a German teacher in the commune of Saint-Nazaire until 1987, and founded the Lycée expérimental de Saint-Nazaire, a reform pedagogical school, in the same place. He also taught in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 1987 to 1988. Several times he wrote open letters to the Ministry of Education, calling for reforms.[4][5] In 2001 he became involved in the Conseil national de l’innovation pour la réussite scolaire and in 2003 he founded the Réseau Éducation Pour Tous en Afrique.[6]

In 2002, in an article (“Arlette n’est pas une sainte”, German: Arlette is not a saint) in the magazine Libération, he and his brother Daniel defamed, among others, the Trotskyist party Lutte Ouvrière and its leader Arlette Laguiller.[7] For this, Gabriel was sentenced in 2005 by a court of appeal to a fine of 1500 euros.[8]

In the 2012 presidential election in France, he publicly called for the election of François Hollande.[9]

Writings (selection)

  • with Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Linksradikalismus, Gewaltkur gegen die Alterskrankheit des Kommunismus. Translated from the French by Wolfgang Brokmeier. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1968.
  • with Éric Delcroix, Claude Karnoouh, Vincent Monteil and Jean-Louis Tristani: Intolérable intolérance. Éditions de la Différence, Paris 1981, ISBN 2-7291-0093-8.
  • Nous sommes en marche. Flammarion, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-08-067744-6.
  • L’école doit éduquer à la désobéissance: le lycée expérimental de Saint-Nazaire éd. L’Harmattan, Paris 2001.
  • Lettre ouverte à tous ceux qui n’aiment pas l’école. Éditions Little big man, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-915347-22-0.
  • A bas le Parti Vert! Vive l’écologie! Éditions Mordicus (= collection Coups de colère), Paris 2011, ISBN 978-2-918414-48-3.

Web links

Individual references

  1. a b c d Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey: The Fantasy to Power: May 68 in France. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-518-28780-X, p. 85.
  2. Arno Guillou, Mathieu Renard Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, L’œil électrique, retrieved 4 September 2013.
  3. Gabriel Cohn-Bendit: Question de principe, in: Libération, 5 March 1979.
  4. Saint-Nazaire: l’expérience reconnue à la marge, in: Le Monde de l’Éducation, March 2007.
  5. La lettre ouverte de 2000, écoles, collèges & lycées différents, retrieved 4 September 2013.
  6. Historique(Memento of Originals october 29, 2013 on the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this notice.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/ (PDF; 991 kB), retrieved 4 September 2013.
  7. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Gabriel Cohn-Bendit Arlette n’est pas une sainte, in: Libération, 4 April 2002.
  8. Gabriel Cohn-Bendit et Libé condamnés, in: Le Nouvel Observateur, 14 October 2005.
  9. Gabriel Cohn-Bendit votera Hollande. in: Le Figaro, 26 March 2012.