French Communist Party 1930
Source: Cahiers du Bolchevisme, Special Issue, 1930;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2005.
At its meeting of September 10, the Central Committee of our Party mandated a delegation to give a report to the Executive Committee of the International on the situation in France and on the situation and policies of the Party as relates to August 1 and the Congress of the CGTU.
The resolution which we are publishing below and which was adopted at the conclusion of discussions at the CI strongly underline the necessity of pursuing “even more energetically and in a more concrete way” the fight against right dangers.
The firm approbation of the CI for the purification measures already taken vis-a-vis opportunist oppositional elements of the CGTU, renegade leaders in Alsace-Lorraine, and the editors of l'Humanité, will prevent opportunists and renegades from saying that the leadership of the Party is applying a policy of rectification that is not in conformity with the decisions of the CI.
The approbation of the Executive Committee of the CI for the self-criticism expressed by the delegation of the Central Committee and the confidence it has granted the leadership and the Party in recognizing the correctness of its general political line and its union policy “during the preparation of and at the congress of the CGTU,” will prevent opportunists and reformists in the Party and the CGTU from any longer hiding their political divergences behind questions of “method” and “tactics,’ and from proclaiming their pseudo-agreement with the Sixth World Congress and the 10th Executive.
Finally, the resolution calls on the entire Party to practical labor on the basis of the decisions of the 10th Executive and by underlining its weak points and the errors in its agitational and organizational activity that it must make an effort to rapidly overcome.
The Central Committee of December 9 approved without reservations this resolution of the CI and, in preparation for the Party’s National Conference, took measures for the application of the proposals that it contains.
The Political Bureau of the PCF
The examination of the economic and political situation in France, and in particular the analysis of recent events, confirms yet again the correctness of the general political line adopted by the 10th plenum of the ECCI.
It should be noted that over the last few months the leadership of the PCF has a correct political line, and that it has shown a firm will to surmount external difficulties and to defeat internal resistance in order to have this line adopted by the whole of the party. Consequently, the CI approves the leadership of the party for having taken the necessary measures in order to ensure effective political and administrative control of l'Humanité. In addition, the CI is in solidarity with the leadership of the Party in having chased from the Party those opportunist adventurers from Alsace-Lorraine who had become auxiliaries of French imperialism.
Nevertheless, the Alsace-Lorraine case shows that the PCF in the previous years had committed the error of not carrying out at the base a systematic ideological campaign against the Social-Democratic concepts and practices of certain local pseudo-Communist “chiefs.” In the previous years the Party hadn’t carried out a systematic labor of clarification of our position on the national question in Alsace-Lorraine. The Party wasted too much time in sterile negotiations with adventurer “chiefs” instead of isolating them by posing all the fundamental political and tactical problems to the base. For its part, the CC didn’t have a regular direct contact with the base of the Party in Alsace-Lorraine.
It must be noted that the union policy followed by the PCF during the preparations for, and at the Congress of the CGTU was correct. In particular, the work accomplished in unmasking and combating the open and camouflaged opportunist currents who boasted of their “pure syndicalism” and who, in the CGTU, are the spreaders of petit-bourgeois influences and elements of disorganization of the working-class movement. Nevertheless, the ideological struggle against the opportunistic currents within the union movement was begun with a certain delay. The preparatory work for the Congress remained restricted only to the union councils and the intermediary councils (local, regional, and federal union councils) and other superior organs of the Party and the CGTU. The mass of the Party and union members were not brought to actively participate in the preparatory work.
Without abandoning the political side of the orientation of the CGTU we should have, and we must, consecrate great efforts to the fixing and the defense of the professional demands of the workers.
The importance of the right-wing danger
The case of the editors of l'Humanité, the attitude of certain leading militants before, during, and after the August 1 demonstration, the case of Alsace-Lorraine, the attitude of certain Communist elected municipal officials, the attitude of certain leading militants within the CGTU demonstrate that serious opportunist dangers threaten the working class movement and the PCF. The fight against these dangers consequently has become one of the first tasks of the Party. The rectification work of the Party, carried out for more than two years, must be continued even more energetically and in a concrete way in all domains in the life of the Party. As the experiences of the last few months have demonstrated, the Party cannot effectively fight against political and police reaction without relying on the actions of large masses of alerted workers, actions that the opportunists seek to sabotage and paralyze.
The fight against bourgeois repression will only be politically effective insofar as the Party is able to unmask the opportunists in its own ranks and in the CGTU. It should not be forgotten that these opportunists represent a prolongation of Social-Democracy, and are a support and an active agent of bourgeois interests within the working class movement. In addition, it is necessary that the PCF not content itself with the important political success that was the day of August 1, but that it make an effort, through self-criticism of its defects and weaknesses, to learn all possible useful lessons for new battles.
The Application of the Decisions of the 10th Executive
The decisions of the 10th Plenum of the ECCI, which were examined and adopted without any reservations by the CC of the PCF, still remain unknown to the base of the party. They must be explained and popularized as widely as possible. Every Communist and every worker sympathizer must discuss them in order to assimilate them. It is necessary for the PCF to carry out a true change in its work for the conquest of the most important industrial centers and the workers in large factories.
The question of mass political strikes from the point of view of their practical resolution must be posed. The objective conditions and the fighting spirit of the workers in France make their occurrence possible.
The experiences and the results acquired in the constituting of committees of struggle and factory committees must be verified, and all measures should be taken to energetically push forward organizational work in this domain.
The political campaign undertaken for the defense of the open existence of the Party and union organizations must be continued with increasing intensity. The worker masses must be brought along to fight for the conquest of the streets. The question of the organization of worker’s self-defense must be posed. The economic and political movements of the proletariat, under the direction of the Party, render necessary immediate organizational work in the factories in order to create worker defense groups, charged with protecting all working class organizations and their class organizations.
The decisions of the 10th Plenum most also find their concrete application in the verification of the activity of the Party in the municipal domain. The field of municipal activity represents a milieu favorable for opportunist deviations, especially because opportunist elements and their “practical” work escape the direct political control of the leading organs of the Party.
In light of the decisions of the 10th Plenum the Party must also verify its work in the colonial domain, its antimilitarist work methods, improve its work among foreign workers and in auxiliary organizations (Red Aid, CGPT, etc...)
The new period and the threats of war imperiously demand that the Party consecrate great attention to the organization of working class youth.
For a Platform of Practical Political Work
All these urgent tasks point up the fact that the Party must not content itself with having a correct general political line, it must give itself a platform for practical political work so as to better organize and lead working class struggles and to carry them to a higher level of conscious class struggle.
In order to realize a platform of practical political work that corresponds to its correct political line the PCF must adapt, perfect, and reinforce its organizational work. The Party, which now has at its head a firm political leadership, must succeed in connecting itself with the decisive strata of the proletariat at the workplace in order to guide and lead their fight. It is necessary to ensure the regular and coordinated functioning of all Party activities at diverse levels, to in all cases maintain connections between the guiding center, the regions and the cells at the base. For this, it is necessary that the leaders of the Party have direct contact with the base of the Party. Political questions must not only be debated within central organisms, but must be brought to the knowledge of the entire Party, so that the political life of the base not be behind the political life of the center. This is why the leading militants of the Party must discuss, explain, and defend the line of the Party before the base organizations by giving it a large part of their time and their efforts.
A Turning-Point in Recruitment work
The current period demands that the Party carry out a change in its recruitment policy and work. We must not wait for the workers to spontaneously come ask for membership in the Party. In a methodical and appropriate way they must be made interested in the life and work of the Party. In parallel with the recruitment of new members, work in the formation and perfecting of cadres must be pursued. The new cadres should be recruited among those factory workers who take an active part in the preparation and organization of working class struggles. The ideological education of new cadres must march hand in hand with their use in responsible practical positions.
The current repression, under conditions of revolutionary growth, aims at the outlawing of the Party and other revolutionary organizations of the proletariat. It imposes on the whole of the Party, and especially on its leading organs, the serious examination of its methods and tasks in order to ensure the liaison and the coordination of the legal and illegal activity of the Party. The fact that while the Party formally remains legal the largest part of its leading organs are forced to work under conditions of, and using the techniques of, illegality show that the Party finds itself in a position of transition to illegality. The Party must intelligently utilize this period in order to succeed, if it is outlawed, in passing over to illegality in an organized way, all the while preserving and reinforcing its ties with the working class. The success of this work demands a reinforcement of discipline within the Party and an energetic and systematic fight against all opportunistic currents. In this period the least relaxation of discipline would permit corrupt and opportunist elements to sabotage this realization of the connecting of the legal and illegal work of the Party. In parallel with its systematic campaign against the opportunists within it and the CGTU, the PCF must carry out and stress its fight against Social-Democracy, in particular against its “left,” and tear working class strata from its influence. The fight against Social-Democracy in the current period of revolutionary growth and preparation of a new imperialist war is an indispensable and vital fight for protecting the working class from new defeats and ensuring the success of its partial class battles as well as the success of the proletarian revolution.
For the Upcoming National Conference
And so the upcoming National Conference of the PCF takes on considerable importance. The CI feels that the Party should mobilize its forces in the preparatory work for this conference. The Party should give itself over to a severe verification of its organizational state and the state of its diverse leading organisms. This Conference should mark a true turning point in the life and activity of the Party.
The continuation of the systematic and dogged work for the rectification of the Party in all fields of its internal activity and life must be carried out under the sign of self-criticism. Self-criticism should not be considered an episodic, circumstantial campaign, but rather as a normal function of internal Party democracy, as a condition ensuring the application of the decisions of the 10th Plenum, as a guarantee of the success of the fight against opportunists and, finally, as a powerful form of political education for cadres and members of the Party and the proletariat.
The Political Secretariat of the Communist International