From New International, Vol.2 No.3, May 1935, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
What is happening in France? For months the capitalist press has been carrying only the most meager and superficial reports from their French correspondents. Almost anything – one would judge from their surface – in the way of foreign news, from the animal party at Ambassador Bullitt’s to sextuplets in South Africa, is more significant than France.
And so, likewise, in the Socialist and Stalinist press. The Daily Worker tells us plenty about the knighting of shock troop factory workers and the mosaic in the new Moscow subway; but it steadily avoids any analysis or even account of the policies and practices of the French United Front. Unfortunately, this is not a journalistic accident. From the point of view of the Communist International, Litvinoff’s military pact with the French bourgeoisie is far more important than the fate of the French proletariat.
It is for these reasons that we have given over the greater part of the present issue of The New International to a detailed analysis of the present situation in France, an article translated from La Verité, the organ of the Bolshevik-Leninist faction of the French Socialist Party, (March 15, 1935).
The curve of the world revolutionary movement does not move evenly from one level to the next. We find it rising to the mighty crisis of insurrection, or falling to a proletarian defeat at given and irregularly intervalled moments of time. Thus, in 1917, it was the events in Russia that determined the general character of the world movement. Again, in 1930-33, Germany was the spatial focus; and Hitler’s victory meant not merely defeat for the German workers, but an appalling drop in the whole broad curve of the world movement.
Herein, of course, is the answer to the short-sighted “realists” who believe internationalism to be a fetishistic abstraction, and argue that we have enough trouble at home without mixing ourselves up in what happens elsewhere. However desirable it might be, however much easier it might make our local tasks, we cannot avoid being affected, directly and concretely affected, by what happens “elsewhere”.
There is grave reason to believe that the spatial focus of the world movement now centers in France. If so, the outcome in France during the next period will decide the immediate course of the movement not merely in France, but throughout the world.
Defeat in France, following the defeats in Germany, Austria and Spain, means the decisive triumph of reaction on the entire European continent. Victory for the working class in France will, at long last, once more turn the curve of the world movement upward, and will open the road to the international revolution.
Last updated on 31.7.2006