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Fourth International, May 1947


N. Henri

The Return of de Gaulle


From Fourth International, May 1947, Vol.8 No.5, p.159.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Einde O’Callaghan in 2009 for ETOL.


PARIS, April 18 – General de Gaulle has announced the creation of the “Rally of the French People” (RPF). He has proclaimed himself its leader, appointed a general secretary and made an appeal for membership. Up to the present there is no precise information as to the structure of the new organization. In any case its inception does not have anything democratic about it. Its aim, however, is quite precise. It aims at creating “a cohesive state, concentrated and orderly” in which power is derived “from the country and not from the parties” md in which “all insoluble conflicts are settled by the people itself.”

In foreign policy, de Gaulle purely and simply threw overboard his old ideas concerning a “grandeur” that was not to be shared. He abandoned his old attitude of balancing between the powers and resisting them in the name of France, which would not give anything to anybody. In the presence of the US ambassador he answered Truman’s appeal: The United States and France: he declared, “will always be in agreement to oppose any new tyranny.”

Bonapartism here does not seek to camouflage itself. De Gaulle wants a totalitarian regime, without political parties, in which he shall be the plebiscitary leader approved from time to time by referendum, a regime in which there will be a strong state directed against the working masses. That is the only out for decrepit French imperialism. Tbe General’s declaration maintains a reserved silence as to the means to be employed by the RPF for the enforcement of its program.

The movement has been launcbed with a great beating of the drums, with the unconcealed support of American imperialism and there are already gathering around the troops of reaction the enraged petty bourgeois, among them a certain number of political adventurers. This may eventually prove to be bad business, but for the moment there seems to be no lack of funds.

The big party of the Fourth Republic, the Popular Republican Movement (MRP) wbich senses the threat most keenly, is in search of a “formula.” There have been suggestions of a new electoral law, of new elections wbich would bring about a more governable Parliament, and somehow avert coup d’etat and civil war.

Stalinists and Socialists are denouncing the Bonapartist adventurer without making mention of the fact that it was they who created the legend around him, who turned over the power to him at the time of the “liberation,” and who served as his Ministers for 18 months. Even today, their denunciations remain purely verbal, while their politics continue to pave the way for the General. They continue to undermine the economic struggle of the workers, the chief means of counteracting the plans of the capitalists. They do not at all seek to make clear that de Gaulle is the man chosen by Big Business in France. Tbey do not attempt any real mobilization of the masses. “Committees of Vigilance” have been created here and there, but insofar as the Stalinists at their head are concerned, they are to be nothing but new editions of the same old People’s Front top combinations. Nor is there any idea of reviving the workers’ militias. (Thorez dissolved them two years ago in payment to de Gaulle for the latter’s signature of a treaty with Moscow.) Finally, they are continuing their collaboration with the bourgeoisie in its shaky cabinet and refuse to call upon the masses to create a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government which, basing itself upon them, could quickly put an end to de Gaullist agitation.

The workers of France are watching this new attempt by de Gaulle to carry through an operation previously attempted by la Roque and later on by Petain. Their old leaderships have learned nothing. But the workers have certainly learned something from their experiences and in the coming struggles, we can be sure that they will prove it.

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Last updated on 13.2.2009