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Fascists Grow Bolder in France after Recent Clash

(23 November 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 48, 23 November 1935, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

At Limoges on November 17 some 30 French Socialist workers were wounded when members of the Croix de Feu opened fire.

“The shooting definitely establishes beyond any possible doubt,” says the Daily Worker, “that the Croix de Feu is well-armed for a Fascist coup.”

It also proved that the workers were facing the well-armed Fascists with nothing but their bare hands.

Cachin, says the Daily Worker, wants to oust Laval because the government “has not yet made any arrests among the Fascist gunmen.”

What is Cachin going to do about it?

Edouard Herriot, Radical co-minister of Laval, is the present beau-ideal of the Stalinists for premier – or at least foreign minister.

But this week “Comrade” Herriot bluntly declared that he was “fully in accord” with Laval, that he would countenance no attempt to overthrow Laval, and that he, Herriot, would not take part in any cabinet designed to succeed Laval’s.

Dutifully Leon Blum declared before the delegation of Radical-Socialist-Stalinist deputies that any attempt to overthrow the Laval government would be a “dangerous experiment.”

The thing to do, said Blum, was to get Laval to dissolve the Fascist leagues, dissolve Parliament and call new elections.

Will Sacrifice “People’s Front” Government

One or two Paris reports indicated that the Stalinists, who mortally hate and fear Laval’s tendencies to toy with Hitler, are growing fearful. The latest l’Humanité to hand indicates that even the slogan of a “Front Populaire Government” has been foresaken. It is now a simple “government of the left” which the Stalinists demand. And what would this government of the “left” be? A government, writes Jacques Duclos, “which would give life to the resolutions of Wagram.” (l’Humanité, Nov. 12) In other words, the resolutions of the Radical Socialist Party congress which ended on the keynote appeal for “impassioned devotion to national defense”! !

Such a government, which will apply, says Duclos, “a left policy,” i.e., dissolution of the Fascist leagues – and passionate national defense? – “will meet no difficulties from the Communists.”

No, hardly. Valliant Couturier, who marched on November 11 with uniformed, bemedalled war veterans, rhapsodically reported in the columns of l’Humanité that as they marched by, the unanimous electric cry was: “Long live the republican army! Long live the Republic!”

“The Unknown Soldier has once more found his comrades” – is the headline over the Armistice Day spread in l’Humanité. Tragically, it is true. The Cachins who handed over millions to unknown graves in 1914–18 are today preparing to hand the new generation over to the same fate symbolized by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with the slab of cold marble beneath it.

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