The French Communist Party: A Critical Anatomy

The French Communist Party: A Critical Anatomy

Has the French Communist party truly changed? If so, to what extent and in what direction? Some evolution is suggested by the line adopted by the Union of the Left, by modifications in the Party’s language, and by the distance it has put between itself and Russia. But other factors—the collapse of the Union of the Left and the CP’s continued political monolithism—appear to belie such developments.

To discuss the question one must push beyond the conventional meaning of words.When the French CP “abandons” the dictatorship of the proletariat, some people approve its taking this “democratic” step, while others criticize it for having thereby abandoned Marxism. Yet, it is evident that the French CP never has supported the dictatorship of the proletariat; what it has supported is the dictatorship of the French Communist party. To proclaim that one is abandoning something one has never in fact sought simply perpetuates a hoax. Nonetheless, the change in the Party’s formulation of that hoax is significant: it is the Party’s way of signaling that it has renounced its objective of holding exclusive power.


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