Octave Garnier

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Octave Garnier (December 25, 1889 - May 14, 1912) was a French anarchist and founding member of the infamous Bonnot Gang.


Born in Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne on Christmas Day 1889, Garnier worked as a butcher and baker at an early age. He took up theft at the age of thirteen and had served his first prison term by age seventeen. Garnier later wrote, "prison had made me even more rebellious."

Following his release from prison, Garnier dabbled in, and then became disillusioned with, both union syndicalism and revolutionary politics before turning to anarchism.

Following two additional stints in prison (one for assault), Garnier fled to Belgium in 1910 to avoid France's military draft. Abroad, he learned the art of burglary and counterfeiting from anarchist associates. In April 1911, Garnier and his partner Marie Vuillemin moved to Romainville to live with future gang members Raymond Callemin, Jean De Boe, and Edouard Carouy as well as Victor Kibalchich, then editor of l'Anarchie. Within this group, Garnier's political sympathies grew rapidly towards illegalism, a radical form of individualist anarchism that was heavily influenced by German philosopher Max Stirner.

Following an ideological split within l'Anarchie, Garnier and Vuillemin moved to Paris and he began work as a navvy, participating in strikes at Chars, Marin, and Cergy. Working as a burglar on the side to make ends meet, he was unhappy with his lot and dreamed of bigger heists. It was at this point...
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