French CP and secularism

jeudi 9 septembre 2004

French Stalinists have always been in favor of bourgeois nationalism, in its most extreme forms. They were violently antiGerman during the Second World Ward (« A chacun son Boche », « Each Frenchman should kill a Kraut » was its slogan and they hailed Joan of Arc as their hero). In the 1970s, when the crisis started, they defended the interests of French capitalism shouting « Produisons français » (Let’s produce French).

So, unsurprisingly, they consider secularism as the « founding principle of our social pact », i.e. of the stability of bourgeois society. As Marie-George Buffet, the Party’s general secretary declared, secularism « flows directly from the Declaration of the Rights of Man » which, everyone knows, is itself a direct product of « French revolutionary genius ». « Cocorico ! » boasts the Gallic cock.

But the CP has a serious problem : its number of militants and, more important for this party, its number of local councillors, mayors, senators and deputies is regularly declining for the last 20 years. So the Party desperately tries to be trendy and uses a hip language. As the traditional monolithic centralism is progressively falling into pieces, rather diverse opinions can express themselves openly inside and outside. French stalinists are in favor of an « open secularism », they want to « ensure a true quality of the living-togetherness in our country », « a cross-fertilization », an « ethnical mixing », « a constructive attitude », etc. Most of these concepts are directly imported from psychology to the politics, to build a soft kind of ethics based on the blurring of contradictory class interests. During the vote of the new law the Stalinist parliamentary group was divided : 14 deputies voted against the law, 7 were in favor.

This division partly reflects the growing gap between the last deputy-mayors who run big working-class cities and are obliged to make all sorts of compromises to keep their jobs, and other fractions of the CP which are less prisonners of electoral politics but nevertheless desperately look for a way forward to save their dying party : either adopting a language close to the Socialist Party in favor of an « open secularism », either trying to root the Party in the new petty bourgeoisie with hip slogans and a multiculturalist propaganda, directed towards the socalled ethnic communities.

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