Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


Popular Fronts

Dear Comrades,

I refer to Tom Kemp’s comments (Revolutionary History, Spring 1990) on my review of The French and Spanish Popular Fronts in the Autumn 1989 issue. Firstly, there is nothing in the editors’ introduction to show that the articles were in fact edited down from longer pieces. Secondly, I did not expect a uniform political treatment of the subjects dealt with in the book. What I said was that the wide range of subjects combined with the equally wide range of outlooks gave the book a disjointed feel.

More important, however, was the disproportion between the space devoted to the formation of the Popular Fronts, and that spent on their demise. No historian – Marxist, Stalinist or bourgeois academic – can deny that the Popular Fronts failed to ensure the defeat of Fascism and the preservation of bourgeois democracy. I don’t expect everyone to accept the Marxist explanation for this, but surely more than just passing remarks should have been spent on this not unimportant issue.

Finally, as to the misnaming of the Industrial Workers of the World, this was a sub-editing error for which I accept full responsibility. In view of the necessity for correctness in these pages, I'm sure that Tom will forgive me for having taken the liberty of amending the title of the book cited in his letter, British Fascism and the Popular Front, to read Britain, Fascism and the Popular Front, its correct title.

Paul Flewers

Updated by ETOL: 10.7.2003