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Parti Communiste Français

Page history last edited by Phil Pierce 2 years, 4 months ago

The communist party in France ,Parti Communiste Français or PCF, was one of the political parties that had a large influence on the events of May 68. However from the beginning the PCF ,although considered a revolutionary party, was deemed as one of the main reasons the movement of may 68 failed to turn into a revolution. This stemmed from their severe opposition to the movement. They were under the leadership of Waldeck Rochet and denounced the student and worker led revolution of May 68 as it was seen to be the less appropriate route for social change. The PCF deemed the whole process of rioting and occupying factories as barricades which disrupted the anticipated legal route to socialism. The PCF were active during the Grenelle accords as they controlled the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) (Broder,D. 2008).

With the PCF's reliance on the slogan of “socialism with French colours” working-class revolution was limited at all costs. They called for a reforming government to nationalise industry and planned to implement this by using parliament to slowly introduce a version of “socialism from above" (Broder,D. 2008).

This type of socialism was socialism implemented by the upper elites of society and not the workers. This meant that the riots and strikes by workers and students inhibited the planned implementation of socialism proposed by the PCF.  They held the same views as the CGT so were allied in their negativity towards the student movement and distanced itself from Cohn-Bendit. The party was constantly weary of actions by the numerous left wing parties throughout may 68. (Gilcher-Holtey, Ingrid 2008)

The demonstration in the Charléty stadium by the far left trade unions was met with fear and alarm. Pierre Mendes-France the self appointed leader of the demonstration was seen as a threat to the PCF's pans for gaining power in the elections that de Gaulle had announced a few days earlier. They felt as though the other left parties and trade unions were trying to form an alliance to overthrow de Gaulle and in doing so leave them out of any future government. This fear turned out to be irrational as the inadequacy of the left to agree terms and gather unison during may 68 ultimately led to de Gaulle maintaining power after the elections of June 1968. (Schwartz,P. 2008)




Broder, D., 2008.  Class struggle in France May-June 1968 [online]. Alliance for Workers Liberty. Available at: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2008/07/04/class-struggle-france-may-june-1968 [Accessed 22nd March 2018].

Gilcher-Holtey, I., 2008. The Dynamic of Protest: May 1968 in France. Critique, 36 (2), 201-218.

Schwartz, P., 2008. 1968: The general strike and student revolt in France Part 2—The betrayal of the PCF and CGT [online]. World Socialist Web Site. Available at: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/05/may2-m29.html [Accessed 26th March 2018].


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