Communist Plans For The French Colonial Empire

Say that after ww1, the communists come to power in france. Great, down with the bourgeois, i'll polish up the guillotine, all that fun stuff. Except...

had a bit more than just france at the time. So what were the leading communist solutions to the issue? Decolonization/puppets? Integrate the lot like Algiers but give civil rights? Some other third option?
"In 1937, at the Aries Congress of the French Communist Party, Thorez summed up the colonial policy of the Party in the formula: ... The interests of the colonial people are in a union 'free, trusting and paternal' with democratic France. To forge this union, so it appeared in his eyes, was 'the mission of France all over the world." In 1945 the PCF would explain that while it favored the right of self-determination, nevertheless (quoting Lenin) to recognize a right to divorce did not imply an obligation to divorce...

I have no doubt that in a French People's Republic, the colonial peoples would "freely choose" union with "democratic France."

In this respect, the PCF's performance with regard to Algeria became notorious: To quote an old post of mine (I have made a few changes):


(1) "Yes, and that was the definitive turn away from the PCF’s anticolonial heritage. The PCF saw in the Algerian insurrection of November 1954 only individualistic terrorism. In his book Années de feu, Jacques Jurquet, the former PCF member who later became a leading representative of French Maoism, stresses the responsibility of the socialists in the colonial repression as well as the “distance between the courageous (. . .) commitment [of the Communists] against the Rif War” and their attitude in 1954.

"The PCF wanted the creation of a “real” Union française and in every single text or speech from its leader on Algeria the interests of France were paramount. The most memorable explicit colonial position by the PCF during the Algerian Revolution was of course the vote in favor of Prime Minister Guy Mollet’s special powers in 1956 in order not to “divide the republic.”

"During this second phase of the Algerian Revolution the last anticolonial figures of the PCF were either excluded or left the party (like Jacques Jurquet, in 1956, and Maxime Rodinson, in 1958, for example). With the support offered to Guy Mollet, the PCF positioned itself clearly as an associate of the colonial counterrevolution in Algeria.

"Fortunately, after the bloody repression of a peaceful demonstration by the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) in Paris, in October 1961, the PCF did condemn the police brutalities and murders but its declaration was notably filled with republican language..."


(2) "On February 9, 1956, the Socialist -led government of Guy Mollet introduced a bill giving the government 'special powers' to act in Algeria. It asked for powers 'enabling it to take all exceptional measures in view of establishing order, protecting persons and property, and safeguarding the territory.' In order to do this, it allowed for the call-up of reservists, the suspending of the guarantee of civil liberties in Algeria, and divided Algeria into three zones, in the third of which , 'the forbidden zone,' populations were put in settlement camps and placed under Army control. The motion passed on March 12 by a vote of 455-76, with the French Communist Party voting for it. Jacques Duclos’ speech in defense of this vote was issued as a flyer." (Note that in that speech, Duclos, while urging recognition of the Algerian "national fact." nevertheless stated that "We declare ourselves to be in favor of the existence of political, economic and cultural ties between France and Algeria.")

From another post of mine, concerning Indochina:

"Another widespread view about Ho is that in 1945-1946, Ho pursued a moderate and conciliatory policy toward France. They cited as concrete manifestation of this attitude Ho's agreement of March 6, 1946 by which he accepted for Vietnam the status of Free State - instead of independent state - member of the Indochinese Federation and the French Union. Jean Sainteny, the French representative who negotiated this agreement with Ho, asserted that Ho sincerely wanted friendly relations with France, and even liked the idea of being vice-president of the French Union..." But again this was completely in accord with Soviet policy, which wanted a friendly France (the Communists were after all participating in the French government):

"The CPF, which the CPI had always considered a senior party since the days of its foundation, warned the Vietnamese to make sure that their actions met the criteria of the current Soviet line and avoid any "premature adventures". Maurice Thorez stressed in 1946 that "under no circumstances" the CPF wished to be considered as "the eventual liquidator of the French position in Indochina".89 And in April 1946 he told a stunned Sainteny that the March 6, 1946 agreement was "very satisfactory" and if the Vietnamese did not respect it "we know what necessary measures to take, make the cannons talk if need be”.90

"...Ho knew perfectly what Soviet policy at the time was, and he had to conform to it. This, and not the weakness of his government alone at the time, explains his seeming moderation towards the French in 1945-1946, and well until the end of 1947. But in 1947 the situation changed. In May, the French communist ministers were out of the French government, and in September, in Poland, Zhdanov, on behalf of Stalin, announced a new policy: that of confrontation with the West. In Indochina, full war had already developed, and Ho did not have to make any turnaround to meet the demands of Moscow..."


I think all this makes the PCF's goal pretty clear--to convert the French Empire into an "unbreakable union of free republics."
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