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French CP in turmoil

(2 November 1968)

From Socialist Worker, No. 95, 2 November 1968, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

THE FRENCH COMMUNIST Party, battered by last summer’s general strike and the Czech crisis, ran into new trouble when its Central Committee met on October 20 and 21.

Perhaps the biggest shock was the resignation from the Central Committee of Jeannette Thorez-Vermeersch. She is the widow of Maurice Thorez, leader of the party from its early years up to his death in 1964.

Mme. Thorez-Vermeersch has been angered by the party’s disapproval of Russian intervention in Czechoslovakia, and has accused the leadership of helping ‘anti-Soviet’ forces.

The party leaders also criticised one of France’s leading communist intellectuals, Roger Garaudy, for having been too outspoken in his criticism of the Russians. Garaudy publicly accepted the criticisms.

This could be the first sign of a serious split in the party. There is a strong pro-Moscow group which has been distributing material published in Russia defending the Russian intervention. Some reports even suggest that this group may try to form a separate party.

But most of the leaders realise that to show public support for the Russians would ruin the party’s parliamentary ambitions for years to come, especially since they can only win parliamentary seats in alliance with the social-democrats, who are strongly anti-Russian.

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Last updated: 10 October 2020