Francois Mitterrand and his Socialists:Minuet A La Francaise

One way or another, Fran‡ois Mitterrand and his Socialists must come to grips with the other major force on the French Left

One way or another, François Mitterrand and his Socialists must come to grips with the other major force on the French left, the 500,000-member Communist Party of France (P.C.F.). That will be no easy thing to do. Relations between the two parties over the years resemble nothing so much as a complicated minuet. For a while the parties move in step, and then they each go their separate and stubborn ways.

The dance began in 1920 when delegates to a Socialist convention in Tours walked out and joined the fledgling Comintern, the external arm of the Bolshevik Revolution. Over the next 15...

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