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H.F. Roberts

Oust 13 French Bolsheviks
from S.P. for Stand on War

Central Comm. Splits on Issue Of Expulsions

(26 October 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 44, 26 October 1935, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Thirteen leaders of the Bolshevik-Leninist group of France have been expelled from the French Socialist Party. Preparing a sacred union of their own as a prelude to the sacred union government of the morrow, the Socialist and Stalinist bureaucracies are seeking to disembarrass themselves of a revolutionary left wing which does not and will not permit their gross betrayal of the French proletariat to go unchallenged.

In response to this reactionary offensive an organized bloc under the name Revolutionary Left is taking form in the Socialist Party of France. At a meeting of 1,500 militants in Paris Marceau Pivert, one of the outstanding leaders of the Socialist left, proclaimed the formation of the left bloc.

The expulsion of the Bolshevik-Leninists, long expected and forecast in these columns, was openly stated by the National Disputes Committee of the S.P. to be based upon the fact that the “program of the Bolshevik-Leninist Group cannot for a single instant be admitted since it would lead the party into an impossible situation.” Impossible, because it would lead the party to the conquest of power by the proletariat!!

Expelled for Bolshevism

Specifically, five articles in La Verité were given as grounds for the expulsions.

“The first article with which we are reproached,” states a leaflet issued by the Bolshevik-Leninist Central Committee after the expulsions, “is the Letter of Trotsky to the French Workers. Trotsky advises the French workers that it is necessary to prepare a New International in view of the failure of the two old. ones from the revolutionary standpoint, principally on the burning question of war (1914, Stalin-Laval declaration). Instead of replying politically to this question, instead of opening a discussion on the war question, the left is expelled.

“The second fact has to do with our issue on the expulsions of the Socialist Youth at Lille. We explained that these expulsions of the representatives of more than a third of the Socialist Youth were a joint maneuver of the Stalinists and reformists for the exclusion of all revolutionists hostile to the sacred union! ...”

The third crime laid against the Bolshevik-Leninists is their agitation for the slogan of revolutionary defeatism.

“They call agitation for revolutionary defeatism and against the sacred union – violations of discipline! ... The slogans regarded as undisciplined by the Bureau of the Party are also considered by the bourgeoisie to be a violation of social discipline within bourgeois society!”

Fourth in the list of the crimes of the Bolshevik-Leninists are their articles on the events of Brest and Toulon which were greeted by the Stalinists and Socialists as acts of “provocation” and by the Bolshevik-Leninists as symptoms of the sharpening of the class struggle.

“We maintain,” they declared, “that at a time when the fires of revolution are being lighted, that at a time when the workers rise in their might, arms in hand, against the state forces of repression, to give the miserable explanation that all this is the provocation of ‘suspicious elements’ instead of a Marxist explanation of the class struggle constitutes outright treason! A simple comparison of extracts from the bourgeois press and from the Populaire and l’Humanité suffices to confirm our charges.”

Agitated for Fourth International

Finally, the Bolshevik-Leninists are indicted for the crime of agitating for and publishing an appeal for the formation of the Fourth International. On this subject an earlier leaflet of the Bolshevik-Leninist group made the position perfectly explicit. “Partisans of the Fourth International? We have never concealed that for a single moment. When we entered the Socialist Party it was perfectly well known that we considered neither the Second nor the Third Internationals to be instruments of the struggle of the proletariat and that an international regrouping of working class fighters on a revolutionary basis was on the order of the day.”

Appealing to all revolutionary elements in the Socialist party to resist the expulsion of the left and to expose the reactionary policies of the bureaucracy, the Bolshevik-Leninist group declares:

“Expelled or not, we shall continue our policy of revolutionary regrouping. Expelled or not, while war thunders, we shall fight patriotism and chauvinism in the workers’ ranks.

“Expelled or not, we shall fight to face the Fascists with something better than pitiful invocations! We shall fight to build the people’s militia which alone can smash the Fascist leagues.

“Expelled or not, we shall fight to orient the popular masses along the lines of the class struggle, for the revolution, for a workers and peasants government and to prevent the Front Populaire from ending up in a government of class collaboration with the Radical traitors.”

The thirteen expelled leaders are comrades Hic, Frank, Rous, Rousset, Gerard, Meichler, Martin, Mol-inier, Van, Naville, Rigal, De Vreyere and Danno.

A few days after the expulsions, comrade Rous, who was a member of the Permanent Administrative Committee of the Socialist party, was asked to leave the session of that committee. Comrade Marceau Pivert solidarized with Rous. A discussion followed which showed that the ferment is having Its effects even in the topmost rungs of the Socialist party. In reply to the attack of the bureaucrats, Rous demanded a national congress to decide the question of the party’s attitude toward war, to answer the following question: “Is it or is it not a violation of discipline to be an implacable enemy of national defense, to work for the defeat of the bourgeois government?”

S.P. Central Committee Splits

The reply was a motion to exclude comrade Rous from the meeting of the C.A.P. Among those who voted for it were Zyromski and Descourtieux, members of the “left” Bataille Socialiste which is Stalinist and therefore thoroughly social patriotic in its tendency. But a minority motion which secured the votes of seven members, all of whom with the exception of Marceau Pivert are anything but Bolshevik-Leninist sympathizers, showed that a process of differentiation is taking place even at the summit of the Socialist bureaucracy.

Allies of the French Bolshevik-Leninists are springing up wherever there are militant workers who consider their own the slogans of struggle against the bourgeoisie, against imperialist war, for revolutionary defeatism and for a real united front of combat against the Fascist bands. The left centrist elements in the Socialist party are moving steadily nearer to revolutionary positions. The point at which they will effect a fusion with the Bolshevik-Leninists is drawing near. Already these left elements are themselves calling their new bloc “the embryo of the great, new French revolutionary Party.”

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