Sherry Mangan Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Terence Phelan

France Under Daladier Moves Toward
National ‘Sacred Union’ Gov’t

Political Course of Bpurgeoisie Is Influenced by
Growing Isolation of the Soviet Union;
Socialist Party ‘Left’ Expelled

(June 1938)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 28, 9 July 1938, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

PARIS, June 21. – The shift to the Daladier government, a longtime stop-gap while the heads of all the parties from the Stalinists on the left to the Fascists on the right horse-trade and jockey toward the ultimate goal of a “Government of Sacred Union” including all parliamentary parties, has made no essential change in France’s foreign policy, which still follows the plans of British imperialism.

Started last fall by Halifax’s Berlin visit, followed by Chautemps’ and Delbos’ London visit, confirmed by English and French behaviour when Hitler seized Austria, and increasingly unconcealable with each new move in the continuing Czechoslovakian crisis and the conversations with Mussolini, Chamberlain’s plan is nothing less than buying off Hitler in the West by giving him a free hand in the East against the U.S.S.R., while Britain, and to a lesser extent France, feverishly rush armament programs which they hope will permit them at the proper moment to snatch their imperialist spoils at the expense of both exhausted adversaries.

Fascist Orbit Extends

Rumania has swung largely into the fascist orbit; Austria is actually incorporated into the Third Reich; Czechoslovakia, though unlikely to be territorially occupied by Hitler, is being rapidly bullied into a governmental realignment which will make it either decentralized and impotent or actually pro-Hitler; and Poland, long on the fence, is plainly revealed by the recent terrorization of Lithuania to be playing the anti-Soviet game. A look at the map will show more plainly than any words what these shifts mean to the Soviet Union. Herein is grimly foreshadowed the tragic end of the un-Marxian Stalinist policy of “socialism in one country” (with its vicious concomitant of “no socialism anywhere else”), its reliance upon the “democracies,” and that wholesale deception of the international working-class, than which only the distrust that motivated it is more contemptible.

Yet in France the Stalinists continue to check the militancy of the working class, to pin all their hopes on class peace and the Franco-Soviet pact, unembarrassed by their new allies, the de la Rocque Fascists, whose spokesman Ybarnegaray has recently come out strongly in favor of it – this at the behest of those elements in the French General Staff whose technical military distrust of the Red Army, following the purge of the generals, has been somewhat offset by the similar shake-up in the Reichswehr, and by a close study of the military side of the occupation of Austria, which, practically successful because of the lack of resistance by Austrian clerico-fascism, was technically far from perfect.

Workers Mark Time

Deeply discouraged by the severe set-backs suffered in the spring strike wave through the misleadership of the Stalinists and the C.G.T. bureaucracy, French workers en masse have recoiled to nurse their wounds and take stock. It is, on the whole, a time when general militancy has for a moment ebbed; to pretend otherwise would be wishful thinking. The Stalinist treachery has thus a double edge: not only did it canalize militant strike action back into compromise settlements that were essentially defeats; but by that very betrayal convinced many workers under its ideological influence of the hopelessness of militant action – a vicious circle.

Yet other workers, quite on the contrary, draw the opposite and correct conclusion: they move away from the cesspool of betrayal and gropingly seek a true revolutionary leadership. Here and there – among the technicians, department store employees, postal and telegraph workers, and numerous crafts – sporadically violent revolts against further class collaboration, against Daladier’s anti-labor decree laws, against the sacred union for war, burst significantly forth, are with more or less difficulty quashed by the bureaucracy.

Seine Federation Revolts

Symptomatic of this latent fire of militancy under the ashes of temporary calm was the recent revolt of the whole Socialist Federation of the Seine (Paris and its workers’ suburbs) against the Blum-Faure leadership of the S.F.I.O. (Second International Socialists). This Federation, ideologically dominated by the “Revolutionary Left” led by Marceau Pivert, a manoeuvring centrist of the Tyler-Zam stamp, had had the courage, remembering the police-murder of the Clichy workers under the “Socialist” minister Marx Dormoy, to protest energetically against the Sacred Union and its war plans, and both to issue internal bulletins and lead public manifestations against continuance of the party’s class-collaborationist policies.

It goes without saying that the whole federation was simply pelled en masse from the an expulsion confirmed last week by the S.F.I.O.’s annual convention, which, in a disgusting display, underwrote the Bonapartist Daladier decree government, approved in advance the coming nationalist government, and prepared to follow its Macdonald, Leon Blum, anywhere he may lead.

New Party Formed

Pivert’s Revolutionary Left is now reconstituted as an independent party under the name of the P.S.O.P. (Socialist Workers’ and Peasants’ Party), predictably about 5,000 strong.

The new P.S.O.P. has in its rank-and-file valuable militant elements whom the Bolshevik-Leninists gladly welcome as comrades in the heavy tasks ahead.

Sherry Mangan Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 14 September 2015