Fernand Pelloutier (1867-1901)
During his short but brilliant life Fernand Pelloutier became one of the most influential figures in French working-class history. He began life as a journalist, and joined the Marxist Parti Ouvrier Francais, but became disgusted with the dogmatism of the leaders and turned to anarchism. In 1885 he became the secretary of the Federation des Bourses de Travail, the equivalent of local trades councils in English-speaking countries, and there developed his anarcho-syndicalist idea that the trades union or syndicate could become at the same time a means of carrying on the struggle for social change and a model for the free communist world of the future.

Pelloutier was the major theorist of anarcho-syndicalism and is perhaps more deserving to be known for initiating the theory of syndicalism than Georges Sorel.