The Communist Party

  • Neill Nugent
  • David Lowe


From the early 1920s, when it was Bolshevised, until the present day the PCF has continually displayed three central features. Each has closely interacted with the other and each has seen its nature, emphasis and relative importance vary in accordance with changing circumstances. Taken together the three have combined to make up what may be described as the enduring core of the Party.


Communist Party Central Committee Parliamentary Election Party School Office Holder 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, 6 Sept. 1976.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    France Nouvelle, 5 and 12 Dec. 1977.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    It is not possible to examine here the question of whether there really is (or was) such a thing as Eurocommunism. From the enormous range of literature which has arisen out of the phenomenon the following are amongst the most useful: R.L. Tokès (ed.), Eurocommunism and Detente (Martin Robertson, 1978)Google Scholar
  4. B.E. Brown (ed.), Eurocommunism and Eurosocialism: The Left Confronts Modernity (Cyrco Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  5. P.F. della Torre et al. (eds.) Eurocommunism: Myth or Reality? (Penguin, 1979).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    E. Adler et al. L’URSS et nous (Editions Sociales, 1978).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Le Matin: Le Dossier des Legislatives 1978, Institut Louis-Harris poll (Sep. 1977) p.32.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    For Marchais’ address see L’ Humanité, 4 Feb. 1980.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    See, for example, P. Fromonteil, ‘1920–1975: un parti révolutionnaire pour la démocratie et le socialisme’, Cahiers du Communisme, Dec. 1975, pp.50–9.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    ‘Pour une démocratie avancée, pour une France socialiste!’ (Champigny Manifesto), Cahiers du Communisme, Jan. 1969, p. 134.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    It is possible here to give only an outline of SMC and the PCF’s economic policies. For a more detailed resumé see D. Bell. ‘The Economic Policies of the French Communist Party’. Paper presented to the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, Apr. 1980. Of the many PCF sources the Champigny Manifesto is particularly important, because it marks the first full development of much of the Party’s current economic analysis.Google Scholar
  12. E. Fajon, ABC des Communistes (Editions Sociales, 1979), chs. 2–4.Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    Politbureau statement of 5 July 1978. It is printed in a useful compilation of PCF pronouncements on the EEC, Les Communistes Français et l’Europe: bulletin des Communistes Fran栩s a l’Assemblée de la Communauté Européenne, Jan. 1979.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    For a more detailed discussion of the different strategies see H. Portelli ‘La Voie nationale des PC francais et italien’, Projet, no. 106, 1976.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    The Times, 18 Nov. 1946.Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    P. Robrieux, ‘Colloque de l’ISER’, 24 April 1976, published in La Nouvelle Revue Socialiste (special edition), p.74.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    Changer de cap: programme pour une gouvernement démocratique d’union populaire (Editions sociales, 1972); Programme commun de gouvernement du Parti Communiste Fran栩s et du Parti Socialiste (Editions Sociales, 1972).Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    Le Défi démocratique (Grasset, 1973) p. 128.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    Vivre libres! published by L’Humanité, May 1975. See especially Part One, ‘Les Libertés Individuelles et Collectives’.Google Scholar
  20. 17.
    The Times, 19 Nov. 1975.Google Scholar
  21. 18.
    L’Humanité, 16 Feb. 1966.Google Scholar
  22. 19.
    The list of infringements was produced in pamphlet form; 5 million were claimed to have been printed. It also appeared in L’Humanité, 21 Feb. 1980, and L’Humanité—Dimanche, 22 Feb. 1980.Google Scholar
  23. 20.
    This view of rapporteurs as ‘political persuaders’ is developed and illustrated by Denis Lacorne in his article ‘Left Wing Unity at the Grass Roots: Picardy and Languedoc’ in D. Blackmer and S. Tarrow, Communism in Italy and France (Princeton University Press, 1975) pp.315ff.Google Scholar
  24. 21.
    J. Elleinstein claimed in 1976 that there were 860 permanents employed by the Central Committee and the federations. Le PC (Grasset, 1976), p.90.Google Scholar
  25. 22.
    Cahiers du Communisme, June-July 1979, p.300.Google Scholar
  26. 23.
    Le Monde, 16 Mar. 1979.Google Scholar
  27. 24.
    Interview with G. Labica in O. Duhamel and E. Weber, Changer le PC (PUF, 1979) p.94.Google Scholar
  28. 25.
    L. Althusser, Ce qui ne peut plus durer dans le PC (Maspéro, 1978).Google Scholar
  29. 26.
    C. Ysmal, ‘La crise du Parti communiste’, Projet, Nov. 1978.Google Scholar
  30. 27.
    See, for example, Le Monde, 21–2 June 1978.Google Scholar
  31. 28.
    Only two years previously the PCF had published a booklet Coexistence pacifique et lutte de classe en 1975. This comprised the report of Jean Kanapa, the foreign policy spokesman to the Central Committee held on 14–15 Apr. 1975. In it he denounced ‘the instrument of security’ which, on the contrary was a menace to security. That this was so ‘justifies more than ever our wish that France renounces its nuclear arm, as the Common Programme of the Left wants’, p.38.Google Scholar
  32. 29.
    Le Canard Enchainé, 12 Apr. 1978. Those reported as voting for the opening were Marchais, Laurent, Colpin; those voting against were Leroy, Plissonnier, Fiterman, Piquet.Google Scholar
  33. 30.
    Les Statuts, du Parti Communiste Français 1979, Article 7.Google Scholar
  34. 31.
    P. Laurent, ‘A propos du centralisme démocratique’, France Nouvelle, 22 May 1978. See also his Le PCF comme il est (Editions Sociales, 1978).Google Scholar
  35. 32.
    The articles to provoke the most discussion, because they were amongst the first and because of the status and frankness of the authors were: J. Elleinstein, ‘Du XXlle congrès du PCF à l’échec de la gauche’, Le Monde, 13, 14, 15 Apr. 1978Google Scholar
  36. L. Althusser, ‘Ce qui ne peut plus durer dans le parti communiste’, Le Monde, 25, 26, 27, 28 Apr. 1978.Google Scholar
  37. 33.
    For the ‘inside’ version of these events, see H. Fiszbin et al., Les Bouches s’ouvrent (Grasset, 1980).Google Scholar
  38. 34.
    Gerald Sfez writing in La Nouvelle Critique, Oct. 1978. The Apr. 1978 edition was so critical the Politbureau attempted to prevent publication.Google Scholar
  39. 35.
    La vie du parti, Mar. 1979. Special edition for Twenty-third Congress.Google Scholar
  40. 36.
    L’Humanité, 13 Feb. 1979.Google Scholar
  41. 37.
    Ibid., 10 May 1979.Google Scholar
  42. 38.
    Le Monde, 16 Mar. 1979.Google Scholar
  43. 39.
    L’Humanité, 9 Mar. 1979 for the contributions of Spire and Rony. L’Humanité, 10 Mar. 1979 for the replies by Félix Damette (a Central Committee member) and Nicole Grynszpan.Google Scholar
  44. 40.
    Ibid., 14 May 1979.Google Scholar
  45. 41.
    See the report on local conferences in Le Monde, 25 Apr. 1979.Google Scholar
  46. 42.
    A. Kriegel, The French Communists (University of Chicago Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  47. 43.
    Figures of the independent Centre d’Etudes des Supports de Publicité. It should be said that these figures were falling rapidly in the late 1970s and by 1980 some estimates put the sales of L’Humanité at well less than 100,000 and those of L’Humanité Dimanche at around 250,000.Google Scholar
  48. 44.
    See, for example, La Vie du Parti, Mar. 1979.Google Scholar
  49. 45.
    Le Monde, 21 Oct. 1978. As is shown in Chapter 9 official estimates of this kind must be approached with caution and it is probable that the figure is somewhat lower.Google Scholar
  50. 46.
    L’Humanité, 14 May 1979.Google Scholar
  51. 47.
    A. Campana, L’Argent secret (Arthaud, 1976)Google Scholar
  52. J. Montaldo, Les Finances du PCF (Albin Michel, 1977).Google Scholar
  53. 48.
    Op. cit. Also, Les Secrets de la banque soviétique en France (Albin Michel, 1979).Google Scholar
  54. 49.
    L’Humanité, 14 May 1979.Google Scholar
  55. 50.
    J. Elleinstein, op. cit., pp.90–1.Google Scholar
  56. 51.
    L’Humanité, 14 May 1979.Google Scholar
  57. 52.
    J. Lagroye et al. Les Militants politiques dans trois partis français (Pedone, 1976) p.34.Google Scholar
  58. 53.
    L’Humanité, 28 Apr. 1979.Google Scholar
  59. 54.
    For a detailed breakdown of this and other characteristics of the delegates see Cahiers du Communisme, June-July 1979, pp.295–300.Google Scholar
  60. 55.
    For a complete regional analysis see J.R. Frears and J.L. Parodi, War Will Not Take Place (C. Hurst, 1979) p.74.Google Scholar
  61. 56.
    F. Bon, Les Elections en France (Seuil, 1978) p. 144.Google Scholar
  62. 57.
    R. Tiersky, French Communism 1920–1972 (Columbia University Press, 1974) p.7.Google Scholar
  63. 58.
    Of Annie Kriegel’s many published works, see especially The French Communists op. cit; ‘Communism in France’ in T.J. Nossiter et al., Imagination and Precision in the Social Sciences (Faber & Faber, 1972).Google Scholar
  64. 59.
    G. Lavau, ‘Le Parti Communiste dans le système politique français’ in F. Bon et al., Le Communisme en France (Armand Colin, 1969) pp.7–81. For an ‘updating’ of his views on the subject see the interview with him in Duhamel, O. and Weber, E., op. cit.Google Scholar
  65. 60.
    For a socio-economic breakdown of voting in the presidential elections see the Sofres survey in Le Nouvel Observateur, 1–7 June 1981; for the parliamentary elections see Le Nouvel Observateur, 4–10 July 1981.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Neill Nugent and David Lowe 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neill Nugent
    • 1
  • David Lowe
  1. 1.Manchester PolytechnicUK

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