Main NI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

The New International, July 1935


“United Front Wanes in France”

From New International, Vol. II No. 4, Inside front cover.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


UNDER THE above somewhat misleading headline, the New York Sun publishes (July 1, 1935) a highly interesting story from its Paris correspondent, Mr. William Bird, from which the following excerpts are taken:

“Disarray has been thrown into the recently united Socialist-Communist front by the statement which Foreign Minister Laval succeeded in wringing from Dictator Stalin in Moscow. Stalin declared that he ‘understood and fully approved’ France’s need for strengthening her armaments.

“The French Communist party, which has rallied for years to the cry of ‘Down with war!’ and has stubbornly fought military appropriations and the prolongation of the conscription period, thus receives a staggering repudiation from Moscow ...

“While M. Laval was negotiating his alliance with Soviet Ambassador Potemkin in Paris, the French communists, directed by the Comintern, were not only campaigning against the new French two-year service decree, but were bitterly opposing the reelection of M. Laval as Mayor of Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris. M. Layal was reelected, but the communists made tremendous gains in Paris and suburbs generally, thanks to their anti-militaristic doctrine.

“Of course, the world has known well enough that both the Soviet Government and the Comintern are directed from the same source, namely the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party, of which Joseph Stalin is secretary and acting chairman. But the fiction that the two were distinct has been maintained, with the consequence that Stalin’s right hand, the Soviet Government, has pursued one policy – that of alliance with France against Germany – while the left hand, the Comintern, has been ‘boring from within’ in the countries with which the Soviet was allied. Meanwhile, though his hands were thus diversely occupied, Stalin as the central brain has affected to hold aloof.

“His sudden decision to repudiate the anti-militarist campaign in France has completely disconcerted the communists here. They are obliged to seek a new rallying cry, and it is no easy matter. Moreover they are in a most embarrassing vis-à-vis the socialist party, their new found allies. The communists have always taunted the socialists with being pale pink traitors to the Red cause, but now the roles are reversed. The socialists are continuing their assaults on the army appropriations and the conscription decree, while the communists, on orders from Stalin, are compelled to back water.

“That there will now be many desertions from the communist ranks is certain. Orthodox communists cannot understand how Stalin can so far disregard the teachings of Marx as to make a distinction between one capitalist country and another. From their point of view the French Government is their enemy No. 1, and they cannot comprehend how Stalin dares order them to ease up on their opposition.

“Probably many communists will go over to the socialist party, but many others are talking already of the need for forming a new party and possibly a new International. The Third International, they hold, by its pact with Laval, has ceased to be Marxist.

“If this new party is formed, it will be in line with the history of internationalism. Since Marx himself founded the First International in 1864, the tendency of the internationalists has been to split as soon as they reached a position of influence, the main body of them drifting toward liberalism. The orthodox theorists have thereupon in each case founded a new revolutionary party.

“This, it is felt, is now happening again. The Third International as Marxists see it has now abandoned the revolutionary ideal and embraced the ‘balance of power’ principle, hardly distinguishable from the policy of the prewar Tsarist government. The time is ripe, therefore, for the ‘pures’ to start a new movement.”

Top of page

Main NI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 26 February 2016