Maurice Thorez 1945
Interview of February 2, 1945
Source: L’Humanité, February 3, 1945;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007.
- We have to finish what we so happily have begun: the battle against Hitlerism, against Germany. Before the war we made many efforts at uniting the French against the threatening peril, but we unfortunately didn’t succeed. Now, through four years of resistance against the enemy we find ourselves united. This union, which was necessary for driving out the Germans, to cast Vichy aside must be continued in order to complete our victory and to construct a lasting peace. This unity should be expressed and manifested within the CNR (National Resistance Committee), where all parties are represented and have the sentiment of their responsibilities.
- A certain confusion, which I would like to believe is involuntary, has grown concerning the idea of one workers party and the one party. In the current conditions of democracy in France there is place for different parties. But we think that the workers – and particularly the socialists and communists – can manage to succeed in joining together in one party. Starting from this basis we will perhaps later be able to think of a great party of the people, extending to farmers, the middle class, and the intellectuals. What we must now prevent is the political splintering of France into rival parties that represent nothing but a caricature of democracy and a danger for it...
- As for the resistance groups and movements: unity of all “in one sole and large movement of all French and democratic forces.” But the resistance movements corresponded to an underground struggle. The conditions have currently changed. Just as they should not scatter, the movements shouldn’t tend to substitute themselves for parties.
FOR THE PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL RESISTANCE COUNCIL
- To be sure, when our prisoners return, and when it will be a question of composing the Constituent Assembly, then each party should come forward with its program. Until then we are partisans of unity in the Resistance.
- As concerns nationalizations, we hold to the program of the CNR. But the essential question in this field is expressed differently for us: we call for the confiscation pure and simple of the property of traitors, of the enterprises called Renault, Kuhlmann, Berliet, the Steelworks of the North, etc. In general we call for the confiscation of all the businesses of the Comité des Forges, which worked for France’s defeat.
- This isn’t our program, it isn’t the communist program. We don’t currently have to demand the application of the communist program, because we are united in the CNR along with other non-Communist parties. We are honoring the signature we placed at the bottom of the program of the CNR in March 1944.
- Union demands and, in general, the demands of the masses should not be opposed to the problem of production. In order to satisfy the essential and immediate demands of the workers we must develop production and reciprocally, in order to develop production, these demands must be met.
AN ARMY, A POLICE, AN ADMINISTRATION
- There is a government, and there must be an army, and one alone. There must be a police force, and one alone. In the struggle against the enemy and its agents, against the traitors and the saboteurs, it is up to all Frenchmen to make their voices heard, in particular via resistance groups or movements, and in the factory or the village by the intermediary of the Patriotic Committees. But all armed groups must disappear. Similarly, the Liberation Committees must not substitute for administrators and the only local Committees should be Patriot Committees.
- No, there was no turning point in our position. Our line has not varied: foil the Hitlerite plot that aimed at the destruction of France and win the war.
Marxism ISN’t A DOGMA
- Marxism is a science. This means it’s in constant development, constantly being enriched. To be precise, it isn’t a dogma because it isn’t a revelation made once and for all, but a method of investigation, a method of knowledge that at every instant obliges us to take into account the development of the different factors that condition this or that situation...
- Marx and Engels always took into account spiritual ideas and problems. “When an idea takes hold of the world,” Marx wrote, “ it becomes a material force.”
- The evolution that has occurred in the USSR is not that of the Soviet leaders, but that of the orthodox clergy. The Soviet power has always recognized absolute freedom of religion: it is written into the constitution. But the important event resides in the fact that the orthodox clergy – which at the beginning was hostile to the revolution – has openly rallied to it. It is the same with the Muslims. As for the Catholics, there were always Catholic priests in Leningrad and Moscow... In France the Communists also take into account the elements that act upon our development, both spiritual and material. We are partisans of freedom of conscience, and this isn’t something new. As for me, like Engels I’ve always considered it foolish to declare war on religion.
- These are the facts that respond to these questions as well as to others. If we were to seriously analyze the causes of the defeat and the dramatic situation which our country found and finds itself in, we would see that the essential cause is the selfishness or certain privileged circles that deliberately sacrificed the nations interests for the defense of their privileges. This is a fact. The class struggle is a fact. But today it’s not a matter of beginning a debate on the existence of this fact; it’s a matter of bringing the nation together to win the war.
INTERNATIONALISM AND PATRIOTISM
- The internationalism of the Communist Party was expressed by the Communist Timbaud, who was killed at Chateaubriant shouting “Long Live the German Communist Party!” adding “Vive la France!”
- There is no left or right wing in our party. The Communist Party has never been as united around its Central Committee as it now is in the task that it is accomplishing – together with all patriots – to wrest victory over Hitlerite Germany as quickly as possible.