From Fourth International, Vol.10 no.6, June 1949, pp.180-185.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The pre-war period was marked by an implacable struggle by the Fourth International against centrist organizations, particularly against the London Bureau, the international center which was the meeting ground for groupings which oscillated between Marxism on the one side and opportunism or Stalinism on the other. This side of our activity was limited in the postwar period; the London Bureau disappeared and most of the former centrist organizations went out of existence. (The Independent Labour Party, the oldest of these and the most deeply rooted in the British labor movement, came to the conclusion that it no longer was a factor on the political scene in England.)
On the other hand, the postwar revolutionary crisis impelled the broad masses toward the old Social Democratic and Stalinist organizations. The problem of the building of revolutionary parties was posed at this stage in the form of the establishment of links between the Trotskyist organizations and the masses, so that as a result of common experiences they would be won over to the banner of the Fourth International.
The split between the masses and the leadership of the old organizations has begun in various ways but the Trotskyist organizations are still too weak to take full advantage of this development. Does that mean that there is room for centrist organizations? What would be their scope and their orientation? Such questions can only be answered by examining the situation concretely, country by country. The experiences on this point in France are quite specific, and while one must guard against drawing too generalized conclusions from them, they nevertheless are instructive in the building of a revolutionary party.
Following the “liberation” in 1944, the overwhelming majority of the working class and important sections of the middle class followed the Stalinist party. The remainder of the working class followed the Socialist Party which had wide influence among government employees and the middle class. As a result of the class-collaborationist policies carried on equally by the Social Democracy and by Stalinism, and then by the policy of the Stalinists after the formation of the Cominform and by the unbridled class-collaborationism of the SFIO (French Socialist Party), an important part of the middle class was thrown into the arms of de Gaullism and the old leadership began to lose its influence over sections of the workers and the middle class.
Confidence in the traditional parties has begun to wane. This process is quite advanced as far as the Social Democracy is concerned. It is less marked in the French Communist Party, the strongest of all Stalinist parties in Western Europe, which has at its disposal not only a huge” apparatus but a large number of worker-militants who have been associated with it over many years of struggle and who enjoy considerable authority in the factories.
In this process of disintegration, the transformation of centrist tendencies into centrist organizations tends to germinate at the weakest points of the old organizations. Moreover the workers’ groupings are still far more inert than the petty bourgeoisie; they react more slowly but with far greater consistency.
This is being very clearly confirmed in France. The allegiance of members and sympathizers of the CP to that party has always been much stronger than that of SP members and sympathizers to Blum’s party. Op to now the Stalinist party has suffered only minor losses among its worker-members. During the early part of 1947 when the CPF was still in the government and supported, the wage-freeze, some of its members went over to the Anarchists, specifically to the CNT, Anarcho-Syndicalist trade union federation, but the decomposition of this organization has been as rapid as its rise.
The bulk of the working class still follows the Stalinist party. One of the reasons for the absence of any broad development of a centrist organization was the “left turn” of the CP following the creation of the Cominform. Discontent with the policy of the CP is widespread and exists within the ranks of the party itself, where strong differences have been manifested to the position of Thorez, Duclos, Marty, etc. But these are widely diverse, politically and organizationally isolated from each other. Thus centrism assumes exceptional importance within the ranks of the CPF, embracing worker-militants who are under the pressure of a large rank and file but who, because of the policy of their leadership, are not permitted to carry on revolutionary activity corresponding to their own aspirations. Therein is posed the most important problem of centrism in France. Upon its solution depends the creation of a strong revolutionary party in France and at the same time the development of the class struggle in this country and therefore the development of class relations for an entire period in Western Europe.
What has already happened among the petty-bourgeois tendencies and in the ranks of the Social Democracy – while quite secondary to the above-mentioned phenomena: – is not a matter of indifference. In addition the evolution of a centrism, social democratic in origin and petty bourgeois in social composition, has been intimately connected with political developments in the Parti Communiste Internationaliste (French Trotskyists). As will be seen, the history of these groupings cannot be separated from the recent crisis of the French Section of the Fourth International, a crisis which is most clearly explained by the evolution of these centrist elements. It is a conclusive experience in this connection.
Two closely associated tendencies took shape in the SP and split from it in 1947 – Jeunesses Socialistes (Socialist Youth – JS) and Action Socialiste et Revolutionnaire (Socialist and Revolutionary Action – ASR).
Deprived of political rights in the SFIO the Jeunesses Socialistes began an orientation toward a revolutionary program which was most marked at their 1947 convention at Montrouge a Paques. Six weeks later when the first Renault (auto) strike occurred, they solidarized themselves with the strikers and were expelled by the SP leadership. Their political evolution, continuing in an autonomous and somewhat devious way, led them to consider fusion with the PCI, and on December 13, 1947, their national committee resolved:
The National Committee of the JS notes that the discussion and actions carried on with the PCI have demonstrated that despite differences there is fundamental agreement on revolutionary program between the two organizations.
Therefore there can be no serious obstacle to the building of a revolutionary party uniting the JS and PCI.
The National Committee takes note that the resolution adopted by the ASR defines in essence a political orientation similar to that of the JS and the PCI and that therefore it now appears hopeful that after thorough political clarification and discussion, the three organizations will participate in the building of a united revolutionary party.
Special note should be taken that on December 13, 1947 “no serious obstacle” to unification of the JS and PCI existed.
Action Socialiste et Revolutionnaire was belatedly constituted in the SP around Dechezelles, co-secretary of the party, C. Just and members of the Lyons organization after a split with Rous, Boutbien and others to whom we shall return later. At the Lyons Convention of the SP held in August 1947, the ASR protested against the expulsion of the Jeunesses but it was not yet politically prepared to leave the party. It was only later, at the critical point of the 1947 general strike, that the ASR broke with the SP, adopting the following resolution on its position at its December 7th conference:
The only possible means for the abolition of the capitalist system and the institution of proletarian power and the building of socialism is the creation of a revolutionary party based on the class struggle.
Therefore the ASR sets as its goal the building of such a party and will issue an appeal for this purpose to all members and all organizations who agree on the following principles. ...
Under the impulse of the great workers’ battle then in process both tendencies were evolving in the direction of a clear-cut revolutionary program. Unification with the PCI was on the agenda of both organizations; it was posed more concretely in the JS than in the ASR because of the more heterogeneous character of the latter, but the problem was clear enough to its leading elements.
The defeat of the November-December movement, the trade union split organized by Blum and Jouhaux (reformist trade union leader) and facilitated by (the Stalinist) Frachon, the capitalist and government offensive, the rise of de Gaullism, gave rise to the attempts of the socialists to find new ministerial combinations, and to the extremely complex policy of the Stalinists.
The Stalinists were not inactive in this situation. Their. agents in the SP, gathered around the paper Bataille Socialiste, who had said nothing against the expulsion of the JS and had not carried on any campaign against the anti-labor policy of the party leadership and the socialist cabinet ministers, came into violent conflict with the Managing Committee of the SP on the issue of its pro-American and anti-Russian policy. They courted expulsion for the purpose of chanelizing the discontent of the socialist-minded workers and of the left wing in the SP.
Soon after, what remained of the “left” in the SP, Rous, Boutbien and others – no longer able to remain silent or to freely desert to the leadership as was done by Marceau Pivert (leader of pre-war French centrism) – believed that it would be possible to circumvent the discipline of the SP by another device. In company with a number of journalists who proclaimed their independence from all organizations and with some figures from the literary world like Sartre and Rousset, they launched the Rassemblement Democratique Revolutionnaire, (Revolutionary Democratic Rally – RDR) a grouping without any programmatic basis, without any strict form of organization, without discipline, and above the parties. The aim of the operation was indicated in a pamphlet by Rous who advocated a policy of pushing the “third force” to the “left.”
One would have thought that these two new “independent” groupings, one obviously pro-Stalinist and the ether a transparent appendage of the “third force,” would not have been able to exercise any powerful attraction on the JS and ASR. These groups had the merit of breaking with the SP on a class basis. They knew from their own experience the exact worth of the leading figures of the Bataille Socialiste group as well as those of the RDR.
But a third element intervened in the situation which arrested the development of the JS and the ASR. This was the crisis in the PCI and the role played in it by the former right wing of the PCI, the Parisot-Demaziere faction which led the party from September 1946 to December 1947. Under the impact of the defeat of the workers’ movement they cast aside the revolutionary program and broke with the Fourth International. Confronted with this split, the militants of the JS and the ASR, still either immature politically or confused, became disoriented and demoralized; Their progress stopped short and retrogression set in.
How was it possible for this to happen to an old Trotskyist leadership?
The right-wing tendency in the PCI was not united by common political views (its members gave no evidence of precision in the formulation of their political positions and La Verité, under their editorship, manifested this, alas, only too often) but by a conception of building a revolutionary party which can be summarized as follows:
The Trotskyists have not grown in the past because of their “sectarianism” (meaning their attachment to a program which concretized the whole experience of the working class); it is necessary to be flexible; on occasion to put programmatic questions in the background; daily policy is not a question of principle; political skill is required to gain the leadership of a mass movement, which having been won can be directed toward certain ends. Some of them thought it possible to create this mass current by a vast superficial agitation, others by resorting to this or that conception or slogan which was popular on some occasion (such as the “Resistance”), others by creating a broad shapeless mass organization. (In essence, this conception is closely related to that of the Stalinists for whom the class is a malleable mass to be manipulated by an all-powerful apparatus.)
This is also the idea which pervaded the activity of the JS and the Dunoyer grouping in the SP. The left wing in the JS and the SP formed slowly, painfully and confusedly. But matters worsened after the split because of the substitution of a whole series of organizational maneuvers for genuine political struggle, resulting rapidly in mishaps, then in catastrophe.
Jeunesses Socialistes, a very weak political organization, had an absolute need for an intense political life if it was to assimilate the program of the Fourth International. But instead and in place of that, at more or less regular intervals, Dunoyer gauged the “political consciousness” of the JS and set an organizational goal which according to him was to develop this consciousness. In the period which followed expulsion from the SFIO, a space of several weeks, there occurred a rapprochement with a Stalinist youth organization for the ostensible purpose of permitting the JS to have an experience with Stalinism; then activity oriented around the formation of “Committees of Revolutionary Regroupment” to give the JS an understanding of the need for a revolutionary party; and finally a rapprochement with the PCI in a joint electoral campaign in the municipal elections of October 1947 with a view toward fusion.
These youth, who should have been learning the revolutionary program by study and in actions other than an electoral campaign, were told to defend a program they did not understand by hook or by crook before the working class. Heavy damage to the JS was caused by these organizational gymnastics. Still one could hope toward the end of 1947 that with the adoption of the above-cited resolution by the National Committee of the JS, the worst would soon be over.
At that time, Dunoyer told us that there was “no serious block” in the “consciousness” of the JS to fusion with the PCI, and one could be thankful for that. But when the effects of the workers’ defeat made themselves felt, Dunoyer, and with him the “consciousness” of the JS, began to evolve. The same evolution and the same zigzags were manifested by the defeated leadership at the 4th Convention of the PCI and in the leadership of the ASR.
Instead of the building of a revolutionary party by unification of the ASR, JS and PCI on a program which would be fundamentally if not formally that of the Fourth International, we saw first a new turn in the leaderships of the ASR and the JS in the direction of the Stalinist Bataille Socialiste. They told us that involved in part in this procedure was the unification of those elements with a socialist origin which would later serve as a stepping stone for the building of a revolutionary party. 
This undertaking did not get very far because the leaders of Bataille Socialiste insisted upon an open attack against the PCI (which as was shown later would not perhaps have been unacceptable) and submission to the desires, big and little, of the leaders of the CP – which was hardly an attractive condition at a time when the wind had turned and was now blowing ever more strongly from the West.
The unification of the JS and the ASR which took place in 1948 was only a belated recognition of the existence of two leaderships over one and the same organization, or rather the vestiges of an organization. The ASR, thus unified, found itself on the horns of a dilemma; either to work for the building of a revolutionary party, as had been decided five months earlier and as was demanded by a tendency in its ranks grouped around comrades Dumont and Just – and that meant to seek a rapprochement with the PCI; or to abandon this perspective and, as inveterate centrists, to turn toward the RDR. The majority of the leadership, with the support of the ex-Trotskyists who betrayed their party and their program, adopted the latter solution and decided to enter the RDR. 
Since then the ASR has virtually disappeared, its political disintegration proceeding apace. At a recent session of its central committee, after having expelled the tendency favoring the building of a revolutionary party in unity with the PCI, the majority divided into two sections, one for fusion with the Stalinist Bataille Socialiste in the “Socialist Unity Party” and the other which no longer has any other hope than to be the spark plug of the RDR. It is noteworthy that Dumont who a few weeks later was to be the spokesman of the revolutionary opposition at the Congress of the CGT (French trade union federation) was expelled from the ASR by Sautery who was to vote with the Stalinists on all questions at the same trade union convention. This incident speaks volumes on those who wanted to teach the Trotskyists lessons in political flexibility.
To speak of the RDR as centrist is a little less than exact. Traditional centrism, mixture of Marxist phraseology and opportunist practice, is far superior to the positions taken by the RDR. The first manifesto announcing this social democratic offspring begins by amending Marx: Its motto is: “Proletarians and free men of all countries, Unite!” Being neither proletarians, who are specifically designated, nor capitalists, this expression can only refer to what we in our Marxist language and stubborn sectarianism call the middle classes, the petty bourgeoisie.
The concept of classes is abhorrent to the RDR. According to the “free men” of the RDR there are entities above the classes and their struggles, and the most important of these is “the Resistance.” Only a malicious Marxist would point out that the “Resistance” was almost universally divided and engaged in mortal combat along class lines (Yugoslavia, Greece) or was rapidly dividing along sush class lines (France, Belgium).
Watching reactionary developments in France, a free man like David Rousset cries out: “No, the Resistance didn’t want this!” One must have the brain of a free man to discover that one “of the errors of General de Gaulle ... which has its roots in his social formation and in his political orientation ... (is) to have understood the Resistance solely in the narrow framework of military action and intelligence.” The capitalists and the militarists at their service are obliged to utilize the laboring masses in their wars in “the narrow framework of military action,” to use the language of a “revolutionary democrat.” This is no error on their part. The capitalists know what a class is and they know how to exploit petty-bourgeois intellectuals for their benefit.
The national problem is also tackled by the RDR from the point of view of “free men” and not from the class point of view. Lenin pointed out the role of the proletariat in the struggle of oppressed peoples for independence; he also demonstrated in his study on imperialism that this force subjugated, not only colonial countries but small modern capitalist countries as well to the yoke of the most powerful nations. This tendency has been tragically unfolded to the extent that we now see Europe put on rations by the United States. But Lenin did not depend upon free men, especially on the kind who could free themselves from Trotskyism. In his letter of March 4, 1948 which marked his break with Trotskyism, Demaziere discovered that “... along with scarcity there has arisen new exploiting and privileged groups (middle men, speculators) who are completely unconcerned with the independence of their country.”
Is it any wonder that there are dissertations in La Gauche (the name of the RDR paper which in itself represents a program in France) on the guilt of the German people? Of course they do not speak of this guilt in any specific sense. But who doesn’t know that the technique of these “left” personalities consists in finding progressive meanings for the ideas the ruling class utilizes for its reactionary policy?
International tension is now obliging the free men to take a position. David Rousset has discreetly abandoned the pro-Stalinist position he had on the morrow of the “liberation.”  He sees only “the geographic extension of the Russian system whose state form does not respect all the freedoms.” (The terms used to describe the GPU regime are very cautious because he does not wish to burn all his bridges.) And he also sees America whose “strategic advance is essentially aimed at safeguarding, wherever it is threatened, a moribund economic regime which, however, is indispensable for its economy.”
The RDR proposes a “constructive struggle” against the Marshall Plan which consists in demanding from Wall Street an effective control over the utilization of American grants and credits by trade union organizations. To whom is Washington to give control over American funds granted to capitalist states? To Jouhaux or to Frachon? And for what purpose? Perhaps to build socialism? The free men are especially free in using any kind of formula which does not tie them down to anything concrete.
There is no lack of denunciation of “the old colonialism” by these personalities on the “left.” They favor the right of the people to self-determination but within limits, that is within the French Union, or, to be more precise, within a genuine, democratic, revolutionary French Union. Provided that they take care to keep within these limits, the Vietnamese, the people of Madagascar and the Algerians will be entitled to complete self-determination. In other words, in place of the “old colonialism” our free men propose a new colonialism, democratic and revolutionary, which we suppose is to be enforced by the good capitalist Republicans.
The petty-bourgeois character of the centrist tendencies manifest themselves in many ways toward domestic problems. In Drapeau Rouge, organ of the JS, as in La Gauche, workers’ demands far from occupying a primary position are only the object of afterthoughts. Only during the second half of 1947 was there a momentary effort in Drapeau Rouge to give more consideration to specifically workers’ problems. The demands which they do put forward vary from issue to issue according to the editor of the moment. In June 1948, the RDR was at one and the same time in favor of the sliding scale of wages and for an increase in wages proportionate to the increase in productivity. Are they trying in this manner to satisfy all tendencies in the labor movement?
The centrism of the former right wing of the PCI and the leaders of the ASR and the JS is most completely revealed on the question of the united front. There was an entire period when the two old leaderships – Social Democratic and Stalinist – were united in opposing strikes, and when the initiative was in the hands of the working class which was restrained only with the greatest difficulty by these leaderships. The problem of the split in the workers’ movement was not a practical question but, on the contrary, it was the slogan of the general strike which embodied the highest form of the unity of the workers’ front. During this entire period our centrists, on every occasion and out of all contact with reality, agitated for the united front, going so far as to propose a “united electoral front” to the CP and SP in the November 1946 elections.
Following the defeat of the general strike, the initiative passed over into the hands of the bourgeoisie and it became necessary to rebuild the unity of the workers’ front, to organize a working-class resistance which could be transformed into a victorious counteroffensive. Thus when the united front should have become the central axis of the policy of a revolutionary party concerned with elaborating a perspective for the working class, this slogan virtually disappeared from the platform of the centrists.
There has never been any lack of ambiguity on the character of the RDR, judging even from the conceptions of its supporters themselves. For some it is a formation based on a more or less precise program in competition with the existing parties. For others the RDR pretends to be a rally above parties for the purpose of opposing the other rally (de Gaulle) and, because of this, realizes within itself a united front of the masses. But since the masses have not decided to follow this kind of organization, the RDR cannot be anything else but a political formation, a sub-party without a precise program. It will neither achieve the united front nor contribute to its achievement. To the degree that it hinders the formation of the revolutionary party, it hinders the realization of the united front.
At a time when everyone knows that the dominant question in France is that of power, when de Gaulle and the Stalinists who influence three-fourths of the country, campaigning on the one side for a “strong state” and on the other side for a government of “democratic unity,” the free men have nothing to say to the laboring masses on this question. Their approach to this question is possibly embodied in the proposal by (George) Altman [a social democrat] who, proclaiming his loyalty to the Republic (it is really touching), calls for “a rally of all the left forces in the .country ... with formal guarantees for the free expression of differences.” This may, appear somewhat complicated, this “revolutionary, democratic rally” which is itself enclosed within a “rally of all the left forces,” seasoned with unrestrained rights for everyone to say everything and to do nothing, the total result being the well known old tale which is entitled: left bloc, popular front, tripartitism.
That is the essence of the program of the centrists. And for this purpose Demaziere proposed to the PCI that:
“The revolutionary vanguard of which the PCI is a part should enter the RDR and play the game intelligently and thoroughly. In the prevailing state of disintegration and bewilderment in the workers’ vanguard, some key values will help our militants find their way again. As for the rest we should withhold our views until there is sufficiently widespread activity which would permit us to make ourselves better known than in the past.”
The centrists have their peculiar way of being internationalists. Before the war, the “London Bureau” was the center for a number of political formations which met from time to time, exchanged fraternal greetings, adopted vague resolutions, but otherwise felt no common bond whatever. The war put an end to this Bureau and most of its affiliates.
The split of the right wing from the PCI occurred on the eve of the Second World Congress of the Fourth International. They parted company with the Bolshevik Leninists in more than 30 countries in order to unite with the free men of the editorial board of Franc Tireur and the Flore cafe. This done, Demaziere, Dunoyer and company announced that they were prepared to remain within the Fourth International on the condition that the latter would be content to receive occasional reports of their activity in the RDR – in other words on the condition that the Fourth International would take the place of the defunct “London Bureau.”
But since there were Ceylonese, Uruguayan and even French Bolshevik-Leninists who had no stomach for this international with the “new look,” it became necessary for the ex-Trotskyists and their associates to clear their conscience by devising some form of internationalism. This did not prove to be difficult. “A movement not bound to any system, any regime, any doctrine” (Altman pontificated) should have no trouble finding other free men beyond the frontiers and the oceans who are similarly free and similarly uninhibited by doctrine.
If rumors are correct the ex-Trotskyists are assured of the help of Shachtman and the POUM, a Spanish party, in the publication of a periodical. (The magazine has since appeared under the name Confrontation Internationale.) International alliances are very helpful for politically characterizing a movement.
Trotsky designated the POUM as having been the most serious of the centrist organizations. It had a workers’ base in Catalonia and a certain revolutionary tradition. Although some of the leaders of the POUM pretend to have leanings toward the Fourth International, they never lose an opportunity to assist the opponents of the Trotskyists or to display sympathy for them. It has become a standard practice to be sympathetic to the Fourth International while coming to an agreement with those who are trying to betray it.
La Batalla, organ of the POUM, was preoccupied with the presidential elections in the US. They were aware that our comrades in the SWP were carrying on a vigorous campaign for their nominee, Farrell Dobbs. They were equally aware that Shachtman’s organization had advised American voters to take their pick among the “socialist candidates,” that is, to vote either for the SWP candidate, or for Norman Thomas, or for the candidate of the archaic grouping, the SLP. It is noteworthy that the most decisive elements in Shachtman’s group (James T. Farrell, Albert Goldman) who were sympathetic to Norman Thomas, left the organization on this question. Referring to Shachtman’s vague position, La Batalla (September 18, 1948) wrote:
“It would have been more correct to come out publicly and officially in favor of the Socialist Party candidate and even participate actively in his behalf in the election campaign.”
Thus as between Trotskyism, whose candidate was a militant worker with a record of struggle and who was imprisoned for his activities during the war, and American “socialism,” whose candidate was a former preacher who supported the imperialist war and has nothing in common with socialist thought, the sympathies of the POUM are on the side of social democracy.
We have no doubt that Shachtman is well able to cover the pages of a magazine with his scribbling. But on the basis of what program? The word program itself is rare enough in his writings. And what are his perspectives? Having returned to his country after a visit to Europe, he found a completely demoralized organization. This is the opening observation of all the articles in the Internal Bulletin of the Workers Party and of some of the articles in its public organs. The Second World Congress of the Fourth International, the strongest international gathering of Trotskyists, to use Shachtman’s own words, made no impression upon him. He voluntarily closed the door upon it. He sees no solution except to renounce the name “Workers Party” in favor of a study and discussion circle. And as for the rest of the Marxists in the world, he recommends that they plunge into the mass movement without a program – this movement being represented in France not by the Stalinist party but by the RDR! Shachtman joins hands with Demaziere on every point. Without doctrine, without principles, no one is held responsible for anything by anyone. What a remarkable magazine will emerge from
such an ideological vacuum!
It is with considerable disgust that we watch this wretched comedy in which ex-Trotskyists are the chief actors. But it throws considerable light on the struggle which took place over the years in the PCI, a struggle between the supporters of the Trotskyist program and a petty-bourgeois wing which was attempting to free itself from the Trotskyist program and organization.
The future of centrism, originating in petty-bourgeois and social democratic groupings is unquestionably very circumscribed in France. The struggle of the Trotskyists against this tendency should now permit them to turn their attention to the other centrism, that of the workers breaking with Stalinism, with all the necessary theoretical clarity as well as with all the indispensable flexibility needed to advance on the basis of the program of the Fourth International.
October 15, 1948.
1. At this point Demaziere sent a letter (July 31st) to the Political Bureau of the PCI in which he proposed:
“Review the question of organic unity with the JS and ASR, the tendencies closest to us. Such a unity, aside from its present uncertainty, no longer appears valid to me ...
“In its place we should favor and attempt to guide all partial regroupments: BS, JS and ASR for example, even on political and organic bases which would implicitly or explicitly exclude us.”
Space is lacking to deal separately with the question of the unification of the JS and the PCI. At one time the right wing, feeling the ground slip from under at the 5th Convention of the PCI, wanted a spectacular unity with the JS in order to utilize them as a. pawn in the convention in order to retain the leadership of the party. The intervention of the International was required to prevent this maneuver against the PCI.
2. Within the PCI, Demaziere penned another letter (March 4th) in which he touted the virtues and the future of the RDR in dithyrambic terms:
“The RDR slow in coming into the world seems to have quick success from its first days. My profound conviction is that it will experience considerable growth in the weeks to come and rapidly gain the adherence of several tens of thousands of members. It is a symbol, amidst the reigning confusion, attracting the bewildered millions of workers, intellectuals, petty bourgeois who do not want to choose between Truman and Stalin ...”
A decision of the top committee of the SP caused the departure from the RDR of Rous and Boutbien. The tens of thousands of members evidently did not come. The confusion remained.
3. On the morrow of the “liberation,” Rousset made three brief appearances in the PCI where, before vanishing completely, his activity was limited to defending a thesis before the Second Congress which he presented under the name of Leblanc. Here are the essential passages:
“To the degree that the Soviet bureaucracy today finds itself obliged to prepare its defenses in anticipation of a third war, it must pose and achieve the socialist revolution abroad. The liquidation of the second world war has put an end to the theory and practise of the theory of socialism in one country in the eyes of the bureaucrats themselves.
“... Soviet economic forces intervene directly in world affairs in the political form of the Stalinist bureaucracy. In the new phase we have entered, they represent the only real and effective guarantee of the socialist revolution in the world.”
Since then, friendship with the USSR is no longer in vogue. In the recent period Rousset, along with Sidney Hook and James T. Farrell, supporters of the Atlantic Pact, and leaders of the Catholic MRP, was an organizer of the “anti-Stalinist,” “peace” conference in Paris.
Last updated: 18.9.2005