“Mandel on Althusser”
is a translation, by John Marot, of the first two chapters of
Ernest Mandel’s book “A Response to Louis Althusser and
Jean Ellenstein” (Edition La Brèche, Paris).
With this article, we initiate what we hope will be a
wide-ranging discussion on the problem of “the party.”
We hope the forthcoming discussion will not limit
itself to the themes touched on by Mandel, but will go beyond
them to include the specific problems of building a socialist
party in the U.S., both in the long run, and in the immediate
[Note: The articles by Louis
Althusser which Mandel refers to have been translated into
English by Patrick Camiller as “What Must Change in the
Party” and published in New Left Review #109,
May-June 1978, pp. 19-45.]
The appearance of four articles by Louis
Althusser in Le Monde entitled, “What Can No Longer
Continue in the Communist Party” and subsequently republished
by Maspero under the same title enlarged with a lengthy
polemical preface against George Marchais, (General Secretary of
the French Communist Party, ed.) has revealed the malaise
which currently prevails among the intellectuals of the PCF
(French Communist Party).
However, let there be no mistake.
This is more than just a quarrel between intellectuals or
a fictitious fight.
Althusser and the appeal signed by 300 intellectuals have
formulated only a few of the questions which thousands of
Communist militants are asking themselves in the aftermath of
the defeat of the Union of the Left on March 19th,
In this respect it is necessary to
emphasize the significance of Althusser’s evolution.
For a long time he had confined himself to carrying out a
theoretical struggle whose meaning was unclear to the rank and
file militant and whose content was ambiguous if not apologetic.
He then began to question the nature of Stalinism and the
lack of any scientific (i.e., Marxist) explanation of the
phenomenon of Stalinism (see his reply to John Lewis in Essays
But all this remained far removed from what he himself
had termed the concrete analysis of a concrete situation.
Even as he defended the concept of the dictatorship of
the proletariat in the debates of the French CP at the XXII
Congress, he did so in such an abstract manner that it could
only have had a most limited impact at the rank and file level.
This time, however, his argument has at
last become a political one.
Revolutionary Marxists must, therefore, very attentively
examine Louis Althusser’s pamphlet and his articles.
They must specify their agreements and disagreements with
the positions that the Marxist philosopher currently defends.
These obviously only constitute a stage in the evolution
of his thought and political practice.
The aim of this discussion is not only to clarify ideas,
but to insure that this evolution proceeds as far as possible
toward a full-fledged return to Leninism, to revolutionary
The most remarkable parts of Althusser’s
articles are those which unveil and denounce the internal
structure and functioning of the French Communist Party.
Althusser doesn’t call it by its real name, a name that
we know all too well and that we must proclaim out loud: It is
called bureaucratic centralism, antipode of democratic
In a biting style, Althusser dismantles its mechanisms:
an organization of full-time officials, virtually cut off from
the working class and from civil society and incapable of
subsisting outside of the party apparatus; a leadership which
manipulates the rank and file and ensures its own survival
through the automatic cooptation of the apparatus; a freedom of
“discussion” among a rank and file that is strictly
compartmentalized into cells or local sections, and powerfully
reinforced by the principle of unanimity (of “collegial
solidarity”) which the leadership observes in its relations
with the base; the myth that “the party is always right” or
that “ the central committee never makes mistakes,” a myth
which is the ideological correlative of a bureaucratic
structure; a manipulative and exhortatory relationship between
the party and the working class, in which the former educates
the latter but never learns from it, thereby sanctioning,
theoretically, the hierarchical and quasi-military relationship
between the leadership and the base.
All this is correctly analyzed and
We may describe these structures as Stalinist, on the
condition that we do not limit our understanding of this term to
the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet State, of the CPSU
and of the Communist International.
In truth we are dealing with an evil which is not limited
to these phenomena but extends far beyond them.
This evil is called the workers’ bureaucracy, the
bureaucratization of large working class organizations in
One need only take note of a recent event.
At the Congress of German Trade-Union Confederation, the
DGB, in May 1978, where undoubtedly many important things were
discussed, 90% of the delegates were officials!
This “labor parliament” was in fact a parliament of
Against this evil, two kinds of remedies
may be used.
The first is proposed by Althusser and is essentially
political in character.
It claims for itself a political theory and practice
diametrically opposed to that of the Stalinist and reformist
bureaucracies which is founded upon a distrust and fear of the
large masses of working people.
The emancipation of the workers must be the
task of the workers themselves.
The revolutionary vanguard party is an indispensable
instrument in achieving this task but can in no way substitute
itself for the working class.
A party wielding a correct revolutionary programme has a
decisive advantage in the class struggle as that programme is
the synthesis of all the lessons learned from past working class
Its correct implementation is a function of numerous
concrete factors peculiar to each situation.
Moreover, new phenomena periodically arise which are
unresolved at the programmatic level.
This is why the relationship of the
vanguard party to the class is far more complex that the
relationship between educator and educated.
The educator himself constantly needs to be educated.
He can only become so by correct practice within the
class and in the class struggle.
The only practical proof of his capacity to fulfill his
role of vanguard is given by his ability to establish his
political influence over ever wider layer of the working class
and, ultimately, to acquire political hegemony over the majority
We assume that in the course of this long
political struggle he will have learned as much from the
spontaneity of the masses and of their class struggle as he will
have taught them wider political conceptions.
This obviously does not mean an opportunist adaptation to
whatever the great majority of workers happen to believe at any
given moment, something which, incidentally, can change very
But it does mean lending an attentive ear to what they
have to say and doing so honestly and faithfully.
No long lasting and effective antidote to the evil of
bureaucracy is possible without these political and theoretical
elements, reinforced by a whole series of safeguards (statutory,
We will not dwell on them.
They have been for the most part enumerated by Marx and
We will mention only one additional principle: the
obligatory presence, in all legislative and executive organs of
workers, organizations and of future worker’s state, of an
absolute majority of workers remaining in production, that is to
say, of nonofficials.
The second kind of remedy against the
bureaucratic evil is more narrowly organizational in character.
It has to do with modus-operandi of working class
organizations, i.e. the preservation of workers’ democracy.
In this regard the most we can do is
note Louis Althusser’s timidity.
Having denounced a deep-seated and institutionalized
evil, he concludes with two very modest proposals: 1) opening up
the pages of the communist press to debate, and 2) securing the
right to obtain information horizontally in order to guarantee a
truly democratic debate.
We are, of course, in favor of these proposals.
However, even if they are necessary to insure a minimum
of workers’ democracy, they are still inadequate as a solid,
What distinguishes democratic from bureaucratic
centralism is the right, in theory and in practice, to form
Indeed, in any really centralized
organization the leadership unavoidably enjoys the advantages
accorded by centralization.
It obtains information, centralizes the practical
experiences of the party as a whole and transmits unitary
instructions to all party organs.
Draft resolutions or theses circulate in the party before
congresses or national conferences.
These constitute the foundation for all debates.
This is not in itself an evil.
It is even an advantage, an indispensable feature of any
functioning organic structure. To understand the objective role
of this centralization is to understand that it is not merely an
“organizational” or even administrative phenomenon, but
represents a social and political necessity.
What this centralization expresses is the attempt of
Marxists, of communists, to overcome the fragmentation of the
experience of the proletariat lived in isolation, factory by
factory, industry by industry, region by region.
The interest of the class as a whole is different from
that of its individual sectors or components and is brought out
only through centralization of the practice and the experience
of the class struggle.
However, the mechanisms of centralization can not be made
to work solely in favor of the leadership and at the same time
preserve their functional objectivity and effectiveness from a
class struggle perspective, unless one adopts the absurd
Stalinist thesis that the leadership is infallible.
Louis Althusser rightly rejects this thesis
of leadership infallibility as a theoretical mystification.
The entire history of the working class movement confirms
him in this.
From the moment the leadership is no longer expected to
automatically formulate the correct political line on the basis
of the centralized information at its disposal, the last
argument in favor of bureaucratic centralism -- its efficiency
From the moment the majority can be mistaken and the
minority be in the right, it is useful for the party that the
minority have the same possibility to influence the membership,
the same access to information, the same right to draft
resolutions as does the leadership.
In this way the party has greater chances to both avoid
mistakes and to correct them rapidly and discover their real
The procedure we have just outlined is the
bare minimum necessary to form tendencies: the right of members
to collectively formulate political platforms, elaborate
political proposals and draft resolutions other than those of
the leadership and independently of the compartmentalization of
cells, localities and regions; the right to submit them to the
discussion of members and the votes of congresses by virtue of
their dissemination to all members of the party; election of the
leadership more or less according to the number of mandates
garnered by various tendencies, while at the same time
guaranteeing the majority coming out of the Congress the right
to lead the party: the right to defend oneself orally in
preparatory Congresses, local and regional, and to be allotted
the same speaking time as that of the leadership’s speakers.
Without these rights, discussion forums and
elimination of compartmentalization will have a largely
In the end they will not give rank and file militants and
minorities the possibility to work out programs other than those
of the leadership.
The latter will retain the monopoly of political
direction which is meaningless if it does not have, as it does
not, a monopoly on wisdom and truth.
Bureaucratic centrism reproduces itself more or less
The equality of the membership remains a purely formal
one insofar as the membership does not possess the right of
association and consultation necessary to alter the party’s
This right remains the sole prerogative of the
Is the Right to Form
Tendencies Contrary to Leninism?
A number of objections have been raised
with respect to the right to form tendencies.
In the first instance it is alleged that it is contrary
to Leninism, since the 10th Congress of the CPSU, at
Lenin’s initiative, forbade the formation of factions.
In fact, the episode proves the opposite of what those
who point to it seek to prove.
For if factions are banned 18 years after the founding of
the Party, it means that they were allowed prior to the 10th
Congress and that their prohibition can only be explained with
due reference to exceptional conditions.
In reality, the entire history of Bolshevism is riddled
with faction fights.
Let us add that the 10th Congress only forbade
factions and not the right to form tendencies.
At this same Congress of the CPSU where
factions were banned, Lenin rejected an amendment by Riazanov
eliminating the right to form tendencies i.e. the right of
members in various cells, sections or regions of the party,
including members in the executive organs of the party to
formulate political platforms and submit them to a vote of the
Vigorously defending the right to form tendencies he
wrote: “We cannot deprive the Party and the members of the CC
of the right to appeal to the party in the event of disagreement
on fundamental issues.
I can not imagine how we can do such a thing. The present
Congress cannot in any way bind the elections to the next
Supposing we are faced with a question like, say, the
conclusion of the Brest peace? Can you guarantee that no such
question can arise?
We cannot give such a guarantee.
(Riazanov: On one question only?)
But your resolution says: no elections according to
I don’t think we are in a position to prohibit this…
If circumstances should make for fundamental disagreements, can
we prohibit them from being brought before the judgment of the
This is an extreme and unrealistic demand which I move to
reject.” (Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 32, p. 261).
Even earlier during the same debate on the
banning of factions, Lenin had reminded the leaders of the
Workers’ Opposition of the following: “250,000 copies of the
Workers’ Opposition platform have been published in the
Party’s central organ.
We have examined it from all angles and perspectives, we
have elected delegates on its basis, and finally we have
convened this congress which is summing up the political
discussion” (Ibid. p. 267).
Moreover, at the same Congress different
political platforms reflecting serious disagreements over the
trade union question were put to a vote of the Congress.
It then elected a new central committee according to the
number of ballots garnered by each platform!
Proof positive that at this Congress, the right to form
tendencies was upheld not abolished.
Let us add that the prohibition of factions
by the Congress was viewed as a temporary and extraordinary
measure and not as a new statutory norm.
The proof is that the CPSU did not request the
International to implement this measure.
is then alleged that the creation of permanent tendencies leads
to a situation where the “party is no longer made up of
multifarious and divergent sensibilities and intellects which
complement or confront one another.
Thereby enriching the collectivity, but instead becomes
frozen in resentment, in rancor, and in tenacious hatreds ever
ready to take future revenge… Discussion ceases (and) traps
are set by making a mental note of an opponent’s slip of the
tongue which is supposed to reveal his authentic nature… An
Ask about the settling of accounts between tendencies of
this or that socialist local or this or that far-left
organization.” (“Le mecanisme de la tendence” France Nouvelle
June 5, 1978).
There is a great deal of truth in this
critique of permanent and ossified tendencies.
But it speaks not to the right to form tendencies but to
Duration of Tendencies
Normally a tendency is formed with the
approach of a congress or with an important development in the
class struggle. After the congress has made its decisions, the
tendency dissolves and allows the majority to implement its
If necessary it reconstitutes itself on the eve of the
next congress and reopens the debate on the basis of newly
Only in this way can the dialectic, “freedom of
discussion to determine a line-- disciplined execution of the
majority line -- democratic reexamination of the line in the
light of democratic experience,” operate freely and
At the same time, any refusal to execute the decision of
the majority at a democratically elected congress where freedom
of discussion has been guaranteed violates the majority’s
rights and as such is profoundly anti-democratic even if it is
made in the name of factions or of cliques formed around
Here, again, it is an abuse of the right to form
tendencies and not of the right itself.
Permanent tendencies mark the existence of
an unhealthy situation.
Certain guidelines in the right to form tendencies are
Our movement is proud of having abided by them in a most
exemplary fashion: it constitutes a virtually unique example in
the working class movement.
We don’t say that we do so in an ideal manner, or that
we have the answer to everything.
We are ready to honestly discuss these matters with the
comrades of the communist opposition and with other currents in
the workers’ movement.
But one thing we are sure of.
The negation, limitation or suppression of the right to
form tendencies is in any case a thousand times more dangerous
and destructive than its abuse.
When Henri Malberg has the nerve to claim that the right
to form tendencies permits neither clarity of political choices
nor rapid elaboration of a political line, he is uttering a
Will he dare deny that if the right to form tendencies
had been respected, it might have been possible to change the
German CP’s obstinate 5 year line on “social fascism,” a
line which greatly contributed to Hitler’s victory in 1933?
Will he dare claim that if the right to form tendencies
had been respected in the CPSU Stalin could still have pursued
for 25 years agricultural policies so mistaken that they
resulted in a per capita production of certain animal and
vegetable products that was lower in 1953 than in 1916?
Bureaucratic centralism, the manipulation
of worker’s organizations by officialdom, the violation of
elected officials of decisions made by congresses (a routine
phenomenon in a social-democracy), the stifling of free
discussion and initiative in the rank and file allowing them to
choose between different political lines, these are obstacles
which must be fought mercilessly.
If they are not overcome, neither the free development of
the class struggle nor the victory of the working class can be
Such is, in any case, the conclusion which
we share with Louis Althusser.
For us, the right to form tendencies is an indispensable
precondition to successfully carry out this struggle.
The Role of the Ranks in
A United Front
The most important political stance taken
by Althusser in his four articles is the one favoring unified rank
and file committees in implementing a united front or
In the first place he rejects a parliamentary conception
of alliances understood as an agreement between political organizations
“owning their electoral base” in favor of a conception of
unity as “a struggle carried out by the organized section of
the working class aimed at extending its influence.”
He then proceeds to indict the leadership of the French
CP for having remained with a conception of the Union of the
Left as an agreement arrived at “from the top” and
concludes: “The leadership, contrary to the positions it had
adopted within the context of the Popular Front of 1934-36,
opposed the formation of popular committees.
In fact, the leadership, instead of anchoring the unity
of the left in the struggle for the masses, opted for a struggle
between organizations under cover of remaining true to the
Common Program (of CP and SP ed.).
It thereby successfully replaced a unified electoral
policy… by a sectarian one which falsely identified the
domination of one party over another with proletarian hegemony
and leadership of the popular movement.
“From 1972 to 1977 nothing was done to
encourage, or promote rank and file initiatives and the
embryonic forms of unity between manual and intellectual
Worse: any proposals favoring popular committees had been
rejected as they risked being manipulated.
Now, having for so many years throttled the initiative of
the masses they turned around and appealed for help to those
Refusing to be manipulated, one ended up simply by
manipulating the masses. (L. Althusser, “What can no longer
continue in the Communist Party,” pp. 114-115).
Let us leave aside the label suggested for
the popular committees which is in any case a secondary matter.
Neither should we dwell on Althusser’s notion that
unity at the rank and file level and negotiations between
organizations are counterposed.
Far from being contradictory, a united front at the base
and a united front at the top reciprocally condition one
another, at least partially.
Failure to understand this is to risk serious sectarian
We shall return to this later.
The crucial thing is Althusser’s
insistence on the role to be played by the organization and
initiative of the masses in a unitary process arriving at
“fundamentally changing” the political, economic and social
conditions of France.
It is a very important contribution, as important to the
debate within the PCF as it is to the debate within the working
class and the mass movement as a whole toward understanding the
causes and consequences of the electoral defeat of March 1978.
The entire history of the 20th
century bears witness to this.
The tumultuous intensification of the class struggle in
an industrialized capitalist country, nay, more the “decisive
change” of social and political structures is impossible
without the extra-parliamentary mobilization and
self-organization of the workers and toiling masses.
(In the good old days Marxists called this “decisive
change,” a social revolution, a socialist revolution or --
horror of horrors! -- a proletarian revolution, but now “we”
abandon this terminology so as not to “frighten the marginal
voter” who nonetheless managed to slip through our fingers on
the 12th and 19th of March 1978).
(These are the dates of the 2-stage national elections in
France which the left lost, even though its victory had been
generally anticipated only a few months earlier. ed.)
Even a centrist such as Kautsky gave the
worker’s councils -- soviets -- a decisive role in the
socialist transformation of society.
The belief that one can obtain decisive change through
purely electoral and parliamentary means is contradicted by the
entire course of history.
It identifies the political stance of ideologues calling
themselves communist with that of the pre-1914 and post 1918
right wing of the Social Democracy. It is not only unreal and
utopian but profoundly anti-democratic.
At the root of this elector list conception
lies a congenital distrust of the masses by political general
staffs possessing the “True Science” and founded upon in the
last analysis a fear of mass initiatives that might escape their
The masses are considered too backward, too uncultured,
too crude, too little conscious and too incompetent to be able
to resolve the decisive problems confronting the country’s
future with their own initiatives and actions.
Dropping a ballot in a voting booth every 4 years, this
is their only, their sacred, democratic right.
But letting them directly decide whether or not
bosses are still needed or bankers, or generals or a nuclear
strike force, no, this cannot be, this is too risky, too
dangerous. Besides, who can fail to note that rank and file
committees are ideally suited to manipulation by demagogues and
Meanwhile, we all know that voters are of course never
manipulated, that campaign promises are always kept, and that
parliaments vote in strict conformity with the wishes of the
Real power in the hands of the “experienced”
politicians and none at all in the hands of the
Here, in the nutshell, is the wisdom of our great
“democrats,” prudent champions of indirect but of course…
To insist on the deeply anti-democratic
nature of bourgeois, petty bourgeois and reformist propaganda
against direct workers’ democracy, against rank and file
committees, is to contribute to the indispensable and salutary
task of ideological demystification.
It is a shameful lie to portray the debate as one pitting
supporters favoring more democracy against those favoring less.
The truth is just the opposite.
Revolutionary Marxists and those in favor
of the revolutionary path with the exception of
Stalinist-Maoists (are they still in favor of the revolutionary
path?) favor the extension and not restriction of rights,
freedoms and political power of the masses and the citizenry not
only in the economic, social and cultural realm, but
particularly and especially in the political realm.
They favor the transfer of power currently wielded and
exercised by permanent bureaucratic apparatuses (the well-known
state machinery) to masses of organized citizens elected and
recallable at any moment by the will of the voters.
The Initiative of the
This is the meaning of Lenin’s thesis
developed in State and Revolution, that the workers’
state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is the first state
in the history of humanity that must begin to whither away as
soon as it is born.
This withering away is precisely the spectacular
broadening of direct democracy at the rank and file level.
This becomes realizable only under definite material and
political conditions: a reduction in the length of the working
day, plurality of political parties and tendencies, unhindered
access to the mass media, the right to exercise all fundamental
These desiderata are indispensable for the real, and not
formal and largely bogus operation of workers’ councils.
We will be told that we have skirted the
more modest issue, raised by Althusser, of “popular
We do not believe so.
There is an organic link, an internal coherence between a
communist political orientation systematically favoring mass
initiatives at the rank and file level and their
self-organization in day to day struggles.
There is an organic link between the conception, shared
by Marx and Lenin, of the seizure of power by the proletariat,
and the model of the Workers’ State of tomorrow, of socialist
democracy and of socialist construction as an immediate task
that we defend in the working class.
Whoever does not see this coherence and seeks to sidestep
it can only expect terrible disappointments not only among the
masses but in the vanguard as well.
It serves as a lodestar in proletarian and popular
struggles even in the absence of revolutionary or
The masses must learn how to organize independently,
and how can they if not through the experience of
self-organization acquired in the course of struggle.
Only through multiplying and generalizing the practice of
holding general assemblies at the work place (and in the
community, among students, etc.): only by multiplying and
generalizing the practice of democratically elected strike
committees by general assemblies of strikers; only by
multiplying and generalizing the practice of the united rank and
file committees to which Althusser refers, can this training be
Workers’ councils will spring up only through the
accumulation of such experiences acquired bit by bit, yesterday
To this unified and coherent conception of
the self-organization of the masses in the course of partial
struggles, of the socialist revolution and socialist
construction, corresponds an equally well defined conception of
what a genuine communist party is and what a genuine communist
This conception can be summed up as: The Party aids
the class’s self-organization and self-rule without ever
substituting itself for it.
The Party argues for its (correct) political line within
the committees and councils.
It can hope to win over the majority of workers to this
only if conditions are favorable and if the line is correct!
If it does not win them over or if it loses influence
among them, then the class struggle, revolution, and the
construction of socialism will enter into severe crises.
These will be either partially overcome or not overcome
But the party must struggle in the class by political
means only and never by administrative or repressive means.
All power to councils and committees not all power to
the party: such is the conclusion.
This does not at all diminish the decisive
importance of the revolutionary party in the class struggle, in
the overthrow of capitalism and in the construction of
On the contrary, it underlines even more its vital
The spontaneity of the masses by itself does not and
cannot solve the key problems facing the future of humanity.
But a genuine communist party is nothing other than the
vanguard of the working class on the road to its
self-organization and self-emancipation and not the substitute
or manipulator of the class.
This is the essence of the question.
Understood in this way the revolutionary
party, far from being a self-proclaimed vanguard, can become one
only insofar as it wins for itself a vanguard role within the
class as it really is.
There is nothing arrogant and sectarian about a vanguard
proletarian leader who by definition must learn how to win the
attention, the esteem and finally the political trust of his
He does so not merely thanks to his militancy, but by his
knowledge, his tactical and organizational abilities, and his
personal gifts as a “natural leader.”
He must be the product of an authentic process of
selection within the class.
An authentic communist party is one which
gathers within it the maximum number of “natural leaders” of
the working class at the work place.
It gives them the education and political experience
necessary for them to transcend their narrow personal
experiences, inevitably fragmentary, so that they may contribute
the entire range of their own experiences and initiatives toward
not only consolidating and building their party, but equally
toward the development of the consciousness of the class as a
For this they must be able to exercise their judgement
and retain a critical and independent intellect.
Here we are at the heart of the matter.
No qualitative progress is possible either in building
such a communist party or allowing free scope to the class
struggle without an unbridled development of the most varied
forms of workers’ independent organizations, that is, without
unified rank and file committees.
By refusing to encourage the formation of “popular
committees” the leaders of the PCF had right from the start
contributed decisively toward the failure of effecting the
“important change” and getting rid of the Giscard-Barre
regime in France, regardless of the future evolution of social
democratic leaders and their tactical stance with respect to the
Behind this refusal lies a whole series of
fundamental, strategic alternatives and choices which Althusser
does not analyze but which we will have to dwell on.
They are tied to the very nature of the “change” that
There is a reason here to bring to light a
striking contradiction in the position that the leadership of
the PCF defends.
Speaking at the festival of Avantgarde George
Marchais exclaimed: “Look at what’s happening right now.
Everywhere, in every organization, in every region,
discontent is growing and the struggle takes on a sharpness, a
militancy and a determination rarely attained.”
Now this tide of discontent and protest is
not solely directed against individual employers, against
lay-offs and speedups, against the nibbling away of purchasing
power and deteriorating conditions of work and life.
It is also aimed at the government’s policies as a
whole, particularly at the scandalous rate hikes in the public
services and in price increases which were implemented by Barre
after an electoral campaign where such inflation, it was said,
would come only in the event of a victory of the Left.
Marchais recognizes that this vast movement
of protest is in fact the 3rd run-off of the
elections, a defiant protest against bourgeois rule.
But how can one take it on by isolated and fragmented
Isn’t it obvious that the protest movement must be
unified and centralized in order for it to reach its goal?
Isn’t it obvious that very important allies of the
working class must join this movement: women, youth,
Isn’t it right to think that this unification can only
occur within the framework of unified rank and file committees
when it has utterly failed to occur within an electoral one?
We wager that George Marchais, in between insults and
slander about the manipulation of dissidents with the PCF by the
bourgeoisie, will most likely refuse to answer such a clear and
In one fell swoop he will have shown just who -- Marchais
himself, the communist dissidents or the far left --is
side-stepping the burning questions of the moment: how to get
rid of Giscard-Barre and their policies responsible for misery