Modern History Sourcebook:
French Socialist Progam, 1905
A common problem for socialist groups was factionalism. In
1905, the various French socialist parties united into one group
- the French Section of the Socialist International. Unification
made possible steady gains for socialists at the polls. By May
1914, the socialists were the second largest group in the Chamber
of Deputies, holding onesixth of all seats
From Program of The Unified Socialist Party (1905)
The delegates of the French organizations-the Revolutionary Socialist
Workers' Party, the Socialist Party of France, the French Socialist
Party, the Independent Federations, etc.-declare that the action
of the Unified Socialist Party must be based on the principles
which have been established by the international congresses, especially
the most recent ones at Paris in 1900 and at Amsterdam in 1904.
They state that the divergences of views and different interpretations
of tactics, which have so far been able to appear, are due above
all to circumstances peculiar to France and to the absence of
a general organization.
They affirm their common desire to found a party of the class
war which, even while it takes advantage for the workers of minor
conflicts among the rich, or is by chance able to concert its
action with that of a political party for the defense of the rights
or interests of the proletariat, remains always a party of fundamental
and unyielding opposition to the whole of the bourgeois class
and to the State which is its instrument.
Consequently, the delegates declare that their organizations are
ready to collaborate forthwith in this work of unifying the socialist
forces on the following bases:
1. The Socialist Party is a class party whose aim is to socialize
the means of production and distribution, that is to transform
capitalist society into a collectivist or communist society, and
to adopt as its means the economic or political organization of
the proletariat. By its purpose, its ideal, by the means it adopts,
the Socialist Party, while pursuing the achievement of the immediate
reforms claimed by the working class, is not a party of reform
but a party of class war and revolution.
2 Those whom it returns to Parliament form a single group as compared
with all the bourgeois political sects. The Socialist group in
Parliament must refuse the Government all the resources which
ensure the power of the bourgeoisie and its domination, must refuse,
therefore, military credits, credits for colonial conquests, secret
funds and the whole of the budget.
Even in exceptional circumstances, those returned cannot commit
the Party without its consent.
In Parliament the Socialist group must dedicate itself to the
defense and the extension of the political liberties and rights
of the workers, to the pursuit and realization of reforms such
as will improve the conditions of life and advance the struggle
of the working class.
Deputies, like all other selected members, must hold themselves
at the disposition of the Party, to serve its action in the country,
its general propaganda for organizing the proletariat, and the
final ends of socialism
[Articles 3 to 7 assert the authority of the Party over all its
elected representatives and over the Party press, exacting from
deputies a portion of their parliamentary salaries and obedience
to a mandat impératif-i.e., to prior instructions
given to deputies by the Party organization. The statement also
proposes a Congress of Unity to be held as soon as possible.]
From David Thomson, ed., France: Empire and Republic, 18501940 (New York Harper & Row, 1968), pp. 283284.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997