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University of Ottawa
Naomi Davidson

HIS 2342 Leftist movement in the democratic countries Britain: - The major concern after WWI were unemployment, the loss of economic dominance, the decline of the coal industry - The Labour Party (Left) supported a solution that fell along social lines. - They supported nationalizing key industries. - The government purchases and runs industries such as coal, steel and transportation. - If British industries become more efficient because the industries wouldn’t have to compete with other industries. - The idea was that this was a more efficient way. If production would become more efficient UK would be able to product enough goods to sell abroad. - Continuing in this cycle this newly efficient Britain would be able to produce more job because they would produce and consume more. If there’s more job there’s less unemployment. - British labour however supported on the centrist party. - For the most park the UK in the inter-war years wasn’t as shaken by the extreme right and left. - Generally speaking Britain didn’t suffer the same results as other countries. France - The French had a wide gap between left and right. - The sacred union refers to the fact that before the war the socialist party had advocated against the war. - In France this sacred union between the right and left lasted only as long as the war did. In fact, it sometimes didn’t even last throughout the entire war. - France is divided with Republicans on the Left and the authoritarian regime and or royalists. - The left in France ranged from socialists and communists to radicalized workers who believed that the best kind of activity was outside of formal politics to anarchists and intellectuals. This is a diverse group of individuals. The most important split is between the socialists and communists. - The communists whom are loyal to Moscow and the Socialists whom have no affiliation with the USSR. - Leon Blum is trying to convince socialists to remain socialists and not to become communist. - “We’re not reactionary, we can accept some change, some new ideas and strategies but the newness that communism proposes goes against the principles of socialism. The way the communists want to change goes against the principles of socialism. - The problem of the communist party seems to put all countries in the same mould as the Russian mould. It emerged out of a specific set of circumstances that may have made sense in that context but that cannot be exported elsewhere. - Socialism is open to the widest audience possible and seeks to engage everyone and seeks to educate everyone. It’s about bringing in as many individuals as possible in the political process. - The communist party is a hierarchical party where leaders whom aren’t chosen and are simply communicated down make decisions at the top. He describes it to the military. - The argument that the communists are the real revolutionaries and socialists counter- revolutionary. Socialists are evolving because they believe in the transformation of the regime of private property. He argues that this is a revolutionary project. The Socialists are fighting for that. What’s revolutionary is that they’re trying to transition from private property to collective property. - For socialists this transformation from private to collective prop can only occur when the socialists have achieved democratic goals in the system. - Here we see a crucial difference, Blum says we believed to putting an end to private property but they want to achieve this by reaching a political process. - For the communists they said that this didn’t matter because this is simply playing the bourgeoisie’s game in politics. - Blum thinks it’s the socialists whom are revolutionary because they’re using socialism to achieve their ends. - The aim of the communists is armed struggle against bourgeois power. - He goes further by arguing that if individuals believe that ending these things are revolutionary participating in politics is revolutionary if this creates a new economic order. - Blum argues that power can only be taken by workers whom have full class consciousness who know what they want and know how to get what they want and what they’ll have to sacrifice to achieve these goals. There cannot be any revolution unless they revolutionaries know what they want. - Blum doesn’t achieve his goal and the party splits in 1920 between the one’s who remain socialists and the one’s whom become communists. This has important consequences for leftist politics. 1936 in France - In 1936 it was clear that the State was trying to give protection to their citizens. - The popular front was a coalition of groups on the left. It included some closer to the center. For the majority is was the French Socialist Party and the French Communist Party. Leon Blum became PM. - In only a few months Blum’s gov placed a series of social reforms. 40 hr. week, paid vacation, labour dispute mediation. - The leftist movement only lasts a year. After a year Leon Blum was forced to step down in favour of a more centrist leader. Some of the internal problems were between the socialists and the communists. The communist party was technically part of the coalition but many representatives didn’t participate in the State. - Business Leaders some of whom were sympathetic of the program because they though it would help the industries began to turn against the popular front because they were worried of the power these union’s received from the French government and that wage increases had become too scary. Business opposed the front. - Finally, the problem with the front was that the popular front gov. tried to make some reforms within the French Empire. They tried to place some laws and reforms to give more rights and autonomy to subjects of the French Colonies. The Center and the Left rejected these. The heyday of this party was a confined and discreet period. - While the French Gov remained Left or Center-Left Germany represented a much more radical left. Spartacus League - Born out of German opposition after the war. - This opposition to the First World War was created in 1918 and formal
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