French Communist Party 1928

Foreign Workers

Source: Cahiers du Bolchevisme, 3rd year, no. 10, December 1928;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

We are happy to publish the following article, which concerns one of the Party’s most ignored questions.

The problem dealt with by our comrade is even more important given that foreign workers, as much by their number – which is much greater than is stated by our correspondent – as by their quality, are a factor that the French working class no longer has the right to neglect.

If the Communists are not the first the understand to what extent immigrant workers are tied to them; if they continue to think that foreigners have come to take the bread from their mouths, as the bourgeois say; if they continue to only see this question from a sentimental angle; if they don’t want to continue to see the operation of our leaders, which consists in every week bringing into the French labor market hundreds of workers guided by priests and fascists at the same time that, carrying out a selection from among them, class conscious workers are stopped at the border or expelled; if this is the case then they will bear a large part of the responsibility for the difficulties they will experience in having their demands met.

Comrades of the regions, sections, sub-sections, and cells; seriously consider our comrade’s appeal.

– The Central Section of the M.O.E. [1]

Theory and Practice of Propaganda
Among Foreign Workers.

At all of our national and international congresses resolutions are unanimously adopted on propaganda work among foreign workers. These resolutions are never acted upon. Foreign worker commissions are formed, but most exist in name only because Frenchmen consider them to be strictly reserved to foreigners. In France there are 857,000 Italians, 535,000 Belgians, 480,000 Spaniards, and 385,000 Poles. Few Frenchmen distribute the special newspapers of the CP. Comrades in the cells, in general, bother very little with foreign workers. It is often the case that foreigners, who must suffer a double repression, are reduced to having to defend themselves against the bosses, and we have often seen Frenchmen leave to foreign comrades the initiative in formulating demands.

There is a newspaper, La Rood Vaan, for the Flemish. We have never seen appeals in l'Huma for its distribution among Flemish immigrants. It is the same for the other papers. Foreign colonies exist in all regions. The “patriotic” factor has little hold on them, the immigrant worker having more of an internationalist tendency. What is more, the distribution of the foreign press of the C.P. doesn’t meet with many obstacles, given that bourgeois papers are little read because too expensive.

So to start with the best thing that can be asked of our cells is to carry out a census of the foreign and colonial population in their area of action. Distribution will be facilitated and this will be a task for the cells. Can we put on the order of the day the distribution of the foreign and colonial press?


1. Main d'oeuvre étrangere – Foreign Labor , the section of the PCF that dealt with foreign workers. In 1932 it changed its name to Main d'Oeuvre Immigrée (Immigrant Labor), and was later to supply key fighters and cadres -including the Manouchian Group – to the anti-Nazi resistance.