France History Archive
Paris May-June 1968

Declaration by PCF Secretary General Waldeck-Rochet

Source: L'Humanité, May 25, 1968;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor.

As was confessed by General de Gaulle himself, the current government has been very much weakened. And a referendum will not resolve its problems. The government is condemned to come to an early end.

Millions of blue- and white-collar workers are on strike; the aspiration of an entire people for a true regime change continues to grow.

Negotiations with union organizations are going to begin, but what millions of strikers and their families are waiting for is the rapid satisfaction of their essential demands.

On the political level, the question of power is posed more than ever. The Gaullist regime has reached its end. It must depart.

In order to answer the aspirations of workers, teachers, and students, the state must end its subjugation by the monopoly capitalists, something that requires profound structural reforms.

This is why the French Communist Party, considering it necessary that a step be taken towards socialism, proposes not only the nationalization of the big banks, but also that of the great industrial enterprises that are part of the monopolies that dominate the key sectors of the economy.

In addition, we call for the democratic management of national enterprises, and the establishment — at all levels of economic life — of a controlling power by workers, beginning with the extension of the powers of enterprise committees, and the unhindered activity of union branches in the enterprises.

I stress that the Communists aren’t proposing reforms in order to bury — under Left-wing phrases — essential demands of the workers, such as a general increase in wages, the progressive reduction of the work day, the abrogation of anti-social ordinances, and full employment for all.

Contrary to the assertions of certain Leftists affiliated with anarchism, these demands have not been superseded; they must be satisfied without delay.

In order to completely change policies, and to realize real structural reforms, we must have done with the power of the monopolies, with Gaullist power, and promote a popular government that relies on the will of the people.

The Communist Party, which is ready to take its place in such a government, has never ceased proposing to other parties of the Left, as well as democratic organizations, an agreement on the basis of a common program of government. It’s not our fault if this agreement has not yet been reached.

It’s in order that this objective be quickly reached that the Communist Party invites the creation of numerous action committees for a popular government and for democratic unity.

May 24, 1968