French Trotskyism 1960

Principles and Refusing Army Service

Source: La Vérité des Travailleurs, no. 110, November 1960;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2010.

The leaders of the PCF quote Lenin in justifying their condemnation of the refusing of army service.

They have no right to do this because:

  1. They advocated analogous forms of action when it was a matter of protesting against Speidel’s presence in Fontainebleau, while for many long months they hid the example of Alban Liechti, who refused to bear arms against the Algerian Revolution.
  2. Lenin advocated entering the army in order to carry out anti-militarist and disorganizing activities, while the leaders of the PCF left and leave the soldiers who go to Algeria without directives, though many young communists have requested advice from the leadership.
  3. The quotes from Lenin dealt with a situation completely different from the one we are living. Lenin took the point of view of effectiveness: it was necessary to be where the working class – the decisive force in the smashing of war mongering capitalism – was. At present the mobilization only touches young men between the ages of 20 -23; in its great majority the working class remains in the factories. Consequently, the situation is different. The quotations from Lenin are aimed at cases of general mobilization and are being incorrectly applied to our situation.
  4. In short, Lenin advocated a policy of REVOLUTIONARY DEFEATISM, which the Thorezian leadership breathes not a word of and which perfectly applies to the war in Algeria, especially since on the Algerian side it is a just, revolutionary war.