- New paperback 194 pages.
- Union Books 2012.
- First published 1936.
- ISBN-13: 9781898231288
Beset by economic chaos and financial scandals, the Radical government of France was brought down on February 6th, 1934, by armed fascist riots. This was the signal for a period of intense social and political conflicts in France which came to a head with the election of the Popular Front government in May 1936. Finance capital at first tried to solve the crisis in 1934 by installing the Bonapartist government of Gaston Doumergue, but this was short-lived, largely owing to the resistance of the working class. The alternative was the Popular Front, advocated by the Soviet bureaucracy which needed France as an ally against the growing menace of Nazi Germany. Its role was to prevent the general strike from turning in to a revolution, and to preserve the alliance with the bourgeoisie through the Blum government. The lack of a mass revolutionary party enabled it to carry through this betrayal, exposing the working class to the counter-offensive of reaction from 1937 onwards.
Trotsky's articles on France collected in this volume were written in the heat of these events. Like the writings of Marx and Engels on the revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune of 1871, they analyse the events from the point of view of the struggle to break the working class from the influence of the bourgeoisie and turn it towards the taking of power. This is why they hammer out definite tactics to guide the practice of the French section of the Left Opposition and it was in this way that Trotsky was able to elaborate the lessons of the Russian Revolution and of the first four Congresses of the Communist International.