ON THE FRENCH COMMUNIST PARTY
2 March 1922
Inprekorr, ii, 2 Sonderbeilage, p. 6, 1 April 1922
The great organizational efforts made by the French Communist Party since the congress of Tours have kept within its ranks the best forces of the proletariat and stirred them to political action. The Marseille congress offered the party the opportunity of serious activity in the theoretical field, from which the revolutionary workers' movement will undoubtedly derive the greatest benefit.
In breaking with the parliamentary and political traditions of the old socialist party, whose congresses were merely pretexts for rhetorical duels between the leaders, the communist party called on all militant workers to make a profound study of the theses dealing with the most important questions of the development of the revolutionary workers' movement in France. This has never happened in France before. The organizational crisis in the French party, which it would be incorrect either to exaggerate or to play down, is a factor in the development of the party, in its cleansing, and its rebuilding and consolidation on truly communist foundations.
The split at Tours drew a fundamental line of division between reformism and communism, but it cannot be denied that the communist party which arose from this split retains in certain respects survivals of the reformist and parliamentary past; it
can get rid of them and finally discard them by its own efforts and by participation in the struggle of the masses.
These survivals of the past among certain groups in the party can be seen
firstly, in a tendency to re-establish unity with the reformists;
secondly, in the inclination to form a bloc with the radical wing of the bourgeoisie,
thirdly, in the anxiety to replace revolutionary anti-militarism by petty-bourgeois humanitarian pacifism;
fourthly, in a false analysis of the relations between party and trade unions;
fifthly, in the struggle against a genuinely centralized party leadership;
sixthly, in efforts to substitute for international discipline in action a platonic federation of national parties.
After the Tours split these tendencies could neither exert their full effect, nor win any great influence on the party. Under the powerful pressure of bourgeois public opinion, however, the elements inclined to opportunism exert a natural attraction for each other and try to create their own agencies and footholds. Although they have had little success in this, it would be a mistake to underestimate the dangers which their work represents for the revolutionary character and the unity of the party. In no circumstances should communist organizations leave the field clear for these views, which were the essential reasons for the breakaway of the reformists from the party of the working class. Any lack of clarity in this respect would inevitably prejudice in a lasting fashion the work of the
revolutionary education of the masses.
The plenary session of the Executive Committee declares that the resolutions of the Marseille congress are permeated with the spirit of the Communist International and create extremely important points d'appui for party activity among the working
masses both urban and rural.
At the same time the Executive notes with satisfaction the declaration of the French delegation, that within the shortest possible time the party will sever its connection with the Journal du Peuple, a paper in which the reformist and confusionist tendencies are concentrated and which takes up an attitude in direct contradiction to the programme of the International, the decisions of the French Communist Party taken at the Tours and Marseille congresses, and to the
revolutionary irreconcilability of the class-conscious French proletariat.
The primary significance of the Marseille congress lay in this—that it put before the party as its chief task regular and systematic work within the unions in accordance with the spirit of the party's programme and tactics. This involves final
disapproval of the tendency of those party members who on the pretext of fighting for trade union autonomy—which is incidentally not open to question—are really fighting for the autonomy of their own activities within the trade unions without any supervision or direction by the party.
The Executive also notes the declaration of the French delegation that the central committee will take all the necessary measures to see that all party decisions are carried out (in a spirit of strictest unity and discipline) by communists in trade unions under the general control of the central committee of the party.
Since the statutes of the Communist International and all its sections, based on the principle of democratic centralism, adequately guarantee the steady and normal development of each communist party, the plenary session is bound to regard the resignation of various comrades elected to the central committee at the Marseille congress as unjustified, quite apart from the political considerations which provoked their resignation. Resignation from posts to which they have been sent by the party can be interpreted by the broad party masses only as a confession of inability of the representatives of the various tendencies to work together within the framework of democratic centralism, and may give an impulse to the formation of fractions within the party.
The plenary session of the Executive Committee expresses its firm conviction that the fight against the anti-communist tendencies noted above will be carried out by the overwhelming majority of the party and by all its leading bodies.
Since the formation of fractions will inevitably do great harm to the development of the party and injure its authority among the proletariat, the plenary session of the Executive notes with satisfaction the declaration of the French delegation that the
central committee is prepared to take the necessary organizational measures to see that the will of the Marseille congress is carried out unchanged and to the end, and that the comrades who handed in their resignation will again take up their work in the party leadership in order to fulfil their task in a friendly and organized fashion.