Courtesy Reuters

French Socialism and Europe

The French Left is at the gates of power. Long impotent in the face of Gaullist or conservative rulers, it has for a good many years now achieved an intellectual, programmatic and, above all, a popular renaissance that upsets the rules of the French and European political game.

This renaissance rests, first of all, on a new Socialist Party whose active membership has doubled over the last five years and whose political and economic program has taken a new form, one emphasizing the theme of self-management (autogestion). The renaissance of the French Left rests, secondly, on a Communist Party which is more and more bound to a French definition of socialism and which is, as a consequence, like other European Communist parties, following a road that diverges from that of Moscow. These two parties have concluded that, based on their positive evolution, a Union of the Left could be formed. The untiring efforts of French Socialist leader François Mitterrand laid the foundations and furthered the consolidation of this union, whose symbol and contract is the Common Program signed by the two parties in 1972.

In the next elections to the National Assembly, the parties of the united Left will be running on a precise program which is known to all, and to which they have been committed for the life of the legislature, that is to say, for five years. French democracy would profit if every political party had such a clear program.

The program of the Left is designed first of all to ensure justice and liberty for the most disadvantaged elements in French society. This is the continuing goal of the struggle of all socialist forces. But there will be no chance of achieving this goal if the present international situation is not taken into account.

II

The world in which the French Left is called upon to fulfill its responsibilities is still characterized by the preponderant presence of the two principal victors of the Second World War. The

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