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Paul G. Stevens

Events on the International Scene

Notes from France

(26 April 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 17, 26 April 1948, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Trotskyists on Trial in France

On April 9, the Paris courts were the scene of one of the most exciting political trials. Nine members and former members oi the PCI, French Section of the Fourth International, were charged with “undermining national defense.” Their specific “crime” was publishing and distributing posters and leaflets in 1946 that denounced the war in Indo-China and called upon workers, peasants and soldiers to make common cause with the people of the Viet Nam in the struggle against imperialism.

Among those in the dock were Central Committee members Craipeau, sought by Hitler’s Gestapo for resistance activity during the Nazi occupation; Filiatre, a veteran of the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp; and eight others, Marchesin, Quilland, Lhammeau, Breger, Escoffon. Proudhon, Demaziere and Parisot. The last two have recently left the PCI. All defendants courageously defended their views and denounced the proceedings against them as part of a reactionary plot against the civil liberties of the whole working class.

The press noted that police barriers had been put up all around the courthouse, with patrolmen examining papers of all those entering and leaving, as a precaution against demonstrations. The courthouse itself was filled with “workers, housewives and colonials.”

Socialist Youth and Revolutionary Action

The independent Socialist Youth, which was expelled by the party of Leon Blum last August, and the Socialist Revolutionary Action (ASR) group, which left the party last December, have united to form a common organization. The unification conference noted the programmatic agreement of the new organization with the PCI, French Section of the Fourth International, but its majority expressed differences on the tactics of building the mass revolutionary party, which is to be the subject of discussion.

Yves Dechezelles, Rousseau, Dunoyer and Massein, several of the leaders of the new organization, put forward a resolution proposing to join the Revolutionary Democratic Rally (RDR), whose formation and character was described in a recent column. The majority of the conference voted for an amendment posing 2 conditions, without the fulfillment of which the new organization may not join the RDR: 1) That Socialist parliamentary representatives and members of the leading bodies of the Blum party, who belong to the RDR, shall disavow the policy of the Schumann Government; 2) that the RDR shall adopt a united front policy toward the CPF (Stalinists) and the CGT (Trade Union Federation). Dechezelles and the others accepted the amendments. Discussion of program and tactics between the ASR and the PCI are continuing.

PCI Central Committee Action

On March 27, the Central Committee of the PCI met. By a vote of 13 to 3 it adopted a resolution expelling Albert Demaziere, Paul Parisot, Louis Magnin, Chauvin, Beaufrere and Norval – members of the Central Committee, and eight other party members for joining the RDR in violation of party discipline. In reply to false rumors of a huge split spread by the Stalinist and reformist press, it established the fact that altogether twenty members of the party have been expelled or suspended in the right wing violations of party discipline. The resolution characterizes those expelled as follows:

“Representing an. opportunist wing in our party, they seek to ‘bar the road to Fascism’ today by means of the RDR, this annex of the social democracy which openly stands for the Marshall Plan ... provided it is applied under the control of the ‘French people’.” From 1944 to 1946, when the wind blew from the East, and Stalinism constituted the decisive weight, Albert Demaziere, Paul Parisot and Louis Magnin developed a constant policy of capitulation before Stalinism. For that very reason the Fourth Congress of our party deprived them of the leadership.

“Today the wind has turned. It is blowing from the West. These disoriented members are entering the camp of the ‘Third Front.’ These ex-Trotskyists are placing upon the working class and not upon its traitorous leaders, the responsibility for the defeats, accusing the workers of a ‘low level of consciousness.’ Having lost confidence in the proletariat, they are following the fluctuations of the petty bourgeois intellectuals in line with the swing of official public opinion ...

“The PCI continues its struggle. Its program is today penetrating among millions of workers who are taking up our slogans of the sliding scale of wages, workers control and trade union unity. A sector in the world struggle of the Fourth International, our party will not mourn over the desertion of several disoriented members. Our enemies are rejoicing too soon. Ever more rooted in the factories and in the workers struggles, the PCI will build the revolutionary party of the working masses.”

A National Conference of the PCI, held on March 28 and 29 ratified the decisions and resolutions of the Central Committee.

Modern “Plague” Hits Egypt

The modern “plague” has struck the ancient land of the Pharaoh Early this month the strike epidemic, which ever since the end of the war brought textile, tobacco metal and other industrial workers out into the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, affected government employees. The most important was a strike of police forces throughout the country which could be quelled only after Army intervention had felled tens of strikers. Hospital attendants struck when the police resumed their jobs and are still out.

The demands here, as elsewhere, are. wage raises to meet the rising cost of living.

The Arab capitalists have long been able to swing the masses behind its rabid nationalist campaigns. The industrialization of Egypt and its neighbors as a result of World War II has, however, interrupted this process. The new industrial working class is taking to independent, action for the first time. And thus, it points the road to a genuine solution of the tangled strife in the Middle East.

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