Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
French Communist Party
The PCF was founded in 1920 by those in the French Socialist Party who had supported the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and opposed the First World War. Tensions within the Socialist Party (known as the French Section of the Workers International or SFIO) had emerged in 1914 with the start of the First World War, which saw the majority of the SFIO take a social-chauvinist line in support of the French war effort. The PCF affiliated itself to the Communist International.
1930s and 1940s
Beginning in the 1930s, the French Communist Party grew massively in size, their growth fueled by the popularity of the Comintern's new Popular Front strategy, which advocated alliances with other socialist and progressive bourgeois parties to fight against fascism. The parties involved in the Popular Front did well in the 1936 parliamentary elections and won a total of 376 seats in the National Assembly. However, after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 the PCF was declared a proscribed organisation by Edouard Daladier. The PCF pursued an anti-war course during the early part of the Second World War until the invasion of the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa. Following this, the party took an active part in the Resistance movement, once again gaining credibility with many Frenchmen as an anti-fascist force. The first Nazi officer to be assassinated by the Resistance was killed by a member of the PCF in a Paris metro station shortly after the Germans invaded the city.
Many well-known figures joined the party during the war, including Pablo Picasso, who joined the PCF in 1944, and remained an active member until his death, and the future Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. With the liberation of France in 1944, the PCF, along with other resistance groups, entered the government of Charles de Gaulle, but were forced to quit the government of Paul Ramadier in 1947. During the Fourth Republic, the PCF consistently received more votes than any other party, although they were not allowed to enter the government.
May 1968 and the Fall of the Soviet Union
Following the events of May 1968, in which the PCF was broadly hostile to the events, and the suppression of the Prague Spring in by Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops later that year, the French Communist Party began to distance itself from Moscow, ultimately becoming a strong critic of Soviet-style communism, which many decried as merely "state monopoly capitalism" (see Eurocommunism). This culminated with the Communists' entry into the government as a coalition partner to François Mitterrand's Socialists in 1981. The entry into the government accelerated the party's decline, as did the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Maurice Thorez was the general secretary of the party from 1930 until his death in 1964. Jacques Duclos was Thorez' deputy for much of this period and was acting general secretary during World War II while Thorez was living in exile in Moscow. Duclos succeeded Thorez as general secretary serving from 1964 until 1972 and running for the office of President of France in 1969 winning 21% of the vote. Thorez and Duclos led the Stalinisation of the party in the 1930s and expelled Trotskyists and other dissidents. Georges Marchais was the party's general secretary from 1972 to 1994. Marie-Georges Buffet is the current leader of the party (since 2001) and former Minister of Youth and Sport in the government of Lionel Jospin. She succeeded Robert Hue, who received only 3.37% of the votes in the 2002 presidential elections, placing 11th in a field of 15 candidates, while the party received an only slightly better 4.8% in the 2002 parliamentary elections. The list she led in Île-de-France received 7.2% in the 2004 regional elections, while other lists led by the PCF received more than 10% (in Nord and Picardie for instance). This is in comparison to the period after the Second World War, when PCF was France's largest political party, with 28.8% in the 1946 parliamentary elections.
The PCF publishes the following:
- Communistes (Communists)
- Info Hebdo (Fortnightly Information)
- Economie et Politique (Economics and Politics)
Traditionally, it was also the owner of the French daily L'Humanité (Humanity). Although the newspaper is now independent, it remains close to the PCF in a similar manner to the relationship between the British daily The Morning Star and the Communist Party of Britain. The paper is sustained by the annual Fête de L'Humanité (Festival of Humanity), held in the working class suburbs of Paris.
- PCF homepage
- Communistes homepage
- Info Hebdo homepage
- Economie et Politique homepage
- L'Humanité homepage
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details