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S. Gordon


Opposition Progress

(July 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 27, 26 July 1930, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The minor effects of the world crisis which French industry has already come to experience (textile, wines, etc.) and the pessimistic perspectives created for it by the recently adopted U.S. protective tariff, do not as yet lead the French bourgeoisie to seek methods of despair (“fascisation”) as the Party here would have us believe. It senses trouble for the future to be sure, It knows that the crisis is not going to leave France economically immaculate. And for this very reason it strains every effort to reinforce and consolidate its present political domination in the country. A stable bourgeois bloc, purged of all “extremist” elements, is its chief aim.

This was clearly, demonstrated by the recent speech of Tardieu at Dijon. By threat and by persuasion he hopes to win over the Radicals to his Republican Concentration, because it is these that he needs to assure stability to his class-government. He openly admits that there are serious problems facing his class (the agricultural crisis, financial disorder, etc.) and he makes a strong plea for cooperation to the different bourgeois parties – on the basis of what he has already “accomplished.” As a major part of his “accomplishments” he cites his strong-handed suppression of Communist influence! This Communist influence, two, three years ago, was menacing. Today it is impotent! Now, he sees as the task of the government: “positive” achievement.

The Party up a Blind Alley

The Party writers pass over in painful silence this enemy class estimate of the movement. For, it is the solemn truth. The First of May, the inaction displayed in the campaign for the 13 martyrs of Yen-Bay attests it. Yet nothing stirs the leadership from their philistine complacency. Vacant, optimistic phrases are still the substitute for effective class action. As long as the Party will not realize that a strong, solid working class resistance must be assembled to oppose the concentrated power of the bourgeoisie, its influence is going to decline still further. And such a working-class resistance cannot be achieved by “third period” antics, by mechanical control of the mass organizations, by bureaucratic execution of the trade union work, by leaving the basis of reality. By these methods, it only drives the workers into the arms of the reformists of all shades socialists, popists or syndicalist minoritaires. By these methods it discredits Communism as a whole in the eyes of the workers. The masses have to be educated through all possible phases of collective struggle for their historic class task and not by light-headed optimism and talk.

Opposition Growth

With all this tragic sterility of the Party leadership, the situation is, however, by no means hopeless. The Left Opposition is always there, watchfully exerting its pressure, struggling to revitalize the Party. The progress of the Left group is increasing. It was the Ligue Communiste which in conjunction with a majority of Annamite Communists here (who, after having, carefully studied the events of the Chinese revolution know where to find proper Communist guidance for their own) organized the first, real protest demonstration against the executions of Yen-Bay, before the president’s palace. This demonstration and the impression it made upon the bourgeoisie contributed a great deal to awaken the membership of the Party to the insufficiency of the leadership and to force the Party itself into (belated) action, governmental measures striking our comrades heavily (expulsion and prison).

In the North of France a strong detachment of the regional C.G.T.U. has joined the Opposition Unitaire (which rallies about the political program of the Left Opposition and the Verité.) The C.G.T.U. Left Opposition is rapidly developing, parrying successfully the calumniating attacks of the both the Stalinist majoritaires and the syndicalist minoritaires (“Committee for Trade Union Independence”). In the Party itself, different nuclei and subsections (Tours, 13th Arrondissement, Paris etc.) have started a struggle against the false policy of the leadership, backing and declaring their full support of the Left Opposition. The struggle for the Party and for the reestablishment of a Leninist line has only begun.

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Last updated: 21.10.2012