From Fourth International, Vol.6 No.12, December 1945, p.383.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
The French Trotskyist Parti Communiste Internationaliste (Internationalist Communist Party) scored a signal success in the October elections to the Constituent Assembly. Against tremendous odds, amidst persecution, semi-illegality and with little preparation, with only two lists presented in two election districts and only sixteen candidates put forward as against some 580 seats balloted for, the PCI received 10,817 votes.
Of these 8,113 were cast for the list in the 1st election district in Paris headed by comrade Albert Demazières general secretary of the PCI and 2,704 for that in the Isère Department headed by comrade Raffin-Dugens, an old communist militant who participated in the Kienthal conference with Lenin in 1916 and joined the PCI only recently. La Verité, the central organ of the PCI, which has not as yet obtained legal status, comments as follows on the election results in its issue of November 9, 1945:
“The elections have revealed a new fact of the greatest interest: the existence of a revolutionary current as yet not fully manifest but very powerful and of great consciousness. Two tests made – in two parts of the country very distant from each other – have revealed the striking force of this as yet subterranean current. Due to the anti-democratic and heavily-taxed voting procedure, we were only able to present two lists. In Paris, in the 1st Election District, we received the following votes:
“These figures constitute a remarkable result for the proletarian arondissements (districts), especially if we bear in mind the tremendous difficulties we encountered: the difficulty in collecting the 200,000 francs ($4,000) required by the regulations, which caused us to start our campaign very late; the fact that our party had only just come out of six years of illegality, was presenting itself for the first time in elections and could publish only an internal bulletin; government sabotage which prevented the issuance of our first circular; the fact that in the 13th arondissement practically not a single voter received our circular or election literature, which was the case, to a lesser degree, in practically all the other arondissements the systematic destruction of our election posters by the Fascists and by specially organized gangs of Stalinists; the torrent of lies poured out against our party by the most powerful party in France (the French CP) disposing of enormous means and utilizing the state apparatus in which it collaborates; the systematic disruption of our meetings in the 13th and 14th arrondissements by special brigades of Stalinists; the very spirit in which we undertook this campaign, in which we called not only for votes but for active struggle with us for our program; the defeatist atmosphere which the bourgeois press deliberately cast over our candidates; the widespread opinion among workers agreeing with our program that by voting for the PCI they did not have any chance of electing a Trotskyist and that consequently it would be better to vote for a Stalinist or a Socialist in order to prevent a reactionary candidate from being elected.
“Under these conditions the 8,113 votes are indeed a remarkable result. Remarkable because it is only an indication of the wide-spread sympathies which we have acquired in the working class. It is noteworthy to mention, for instance, that in the polling station in Kuss Street, set up for a housing project in which many workers of the Gnome et Rhone factory live, there were 50 Trotskyist votes to 438 for the Stalinists, although we did not have a single meeting in that part of the city. We are infinitely more confident over this indication of a change in the relation of forces than the French CP.
“It is clear that in eight months (when the elections are scheduled for), if our comrades in these districts know how to ‘capitalize’ on the results, if we prepare ourselves seriously for the coming struggles, there will be at least one Trotskyist deputy returned from the 1st election district in Paris. And perhaps more than one.
“The other test we made is no less encouraging. We refer to the results in the Isère. There our comrades received 2,704 votes. At La Mure we received 104 votes, for instance, as against approximately 400 for the French Communists (Stalinists). At Vienne we got 80. At Grenoble 364, etc. Moreover, it must be noted that in this part of the country the election list of a very leftist resistance group (Farge list) undoubtedly drew a few thousand votes that would otherwise have been cast for us.
“The prohibitive financial obligations imposed in the election procedure permitted us only to make two tests. But it is already clear that there must be hundreds of thousands of workers throughout France who are ranging themselves on our side. We know the value of those who have made their decision already. It is a guarantee that in the coming struggles the working class will learn to find its road to emancipation. It is a guarantee that the Parti Communiste Internationaliste will be the revolutionary leadership of tomorrow. The task of all our friends who understand the necessity of this struggle is to join the PCI ranks, to build the great revolutionary party which the working class needs to lead it to victory.
“Forward to the building of a powerful Internationalist Communist Party.”
(To be continued)
La Verité of the same date also reports some highly successful election campaign meetings, despite attempts of the Stalinists to disrupt them. In the Paris region 4,000 workers, gathered in schoolyards at the call of the PCI, voted for a resolution demanding immediate legalization of La Verité and other suppressed proletarian papers. They also passed a resolution calling for the break-up of the coalition and the establishment of a “Socialist-Communist-CGT (Trade Union) Government without de Gaulle.” In the town of Quimper, in Brittany, the PCI held a meeting on October 18 with 1,100 workers present. The following day a PCI meeting held in nearby Concarneau, the home town of our martyred comrades Bourhis and Gueguen, had an attendance of 1,200 workers.
The PCI also announces that on September 13, Paul Fabre municipal councillor of the city of La Mure in the Isère Department, resigned his post upon issuing a declaration that he was leaving the Communist Party of France and joining the Trotskyist party. In his declaration comrade Fabre denounces the betrayals of the Stalinists and calls upon the communist workers to join en masse the PCI “the vanguard party of Marxism-Leninism.”
The Parti Communiste Revolutionnaire (Revolutionary Communist Party) Belgium Section of the Fourth International, held its Fifth National Congress in Brussels on November 1, 2 and 3. The congress, attended by 24 voting delegates and delegates from the European Executive Committee and from the Trotskyist parties of France, Great Britain and Germany, concentrated on a program for the organizational strengthening and expansion of the party. It adopted political resolutions on The Advance of Barbarism and the Perspective of the Proletarian Revolution, on The Present Situation in Belgium and the Immediate Tasks of the Party and on the situation in the USSR and the countries occupied by the USSR. In coming numbers we expect to publish these resolutions in whole or in part.
The PCR bas been conducting a particularly successful campaign for solidarity with the German workers. Its central organ La Voie de Lenine (Lenin’s Road) was banned last spring for publishing an appeal for such solidarity. But despite this and other reprisals undertaken by the Government against the PCR, the campaign is meeting with widespread success.
Thus, at Anderlues, a mining town in the Centre basin, German prisoners of war working in the mines joined the strike of the Belgian coal diggers there in the struggle for holiday-pay, upon an appeal from the union officials. In the mining town of Trieu-Kaisin, Belgian, Polish and Spanish miners went out on a protest strike when the company failed to send an ambulance in time to take care of a German prisoner injured in a fall. Fraternization in the whole province of Hainaut has been so wide-spread that the Governor of the province, a Social Democrat, found it necessary to publish a proclamation, posted on all walls, calling upon the Belgium population to desist.
The PCR is also carrying on an active campaign in the renewed crisis over the monarchy under the slogan: “For the Republic! For the Defense of the Workers’ Interests!”
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Last updated on 11.9.2008