|Description||he party publishes a daily newspaper called L'Humanit鬠which was started in 1904 as the paper of the Socialist Party. In fact the PCF, originally known as the French Section of the Communist International (SFIC) as the Socialist Party was known as the French Section of the Workers International (SFIO), began with a split in the Socialist Party. The split in question having been in the process of development from 1914 when a majority of the SFIO took a "social-chauvinist" line and supported the First World War. By 1920 and the Congress of Tours the anti-war minority had developed to such an extent that they could, having won to their point of view many leaders who had supported the war, a majority of the party which then changed its name and became an affiliate or section of the Communist International. |
Beginning in the 1930s, the French Communist Party became a mass party, their success fueled by the popularity of the Comintern's new Popular Front strategy, which advocated alliances with other socialist and progressive bourgeois parties to fight against fascism. Although, following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the Communists pursued an anti-war course during the early part of the Second World War, following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the party took an active part in the Resistance, once again gaining credibility with many Frenchmen as an anti-fascist force. Many well-known figures joined the party at this time, including Pablo Picasso, who joined the PCF in 1944, and remained an active member until his death, and the future Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. With the liberation of France in 1944, the Communists, along with other resistance groups, entered the government of Charles de Gaulle, but were forced to quit the government of Paul Ramadier in 1947. During the Fourth Republic, the Communist Party consistently received more votes than any other party, although they were not allowed to enter the government.
Following the events of May 1968, in which the PCF was broadly hostile to the events, and the suppression of the Prague Spring in by Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops later that year, the French Communist Party began to distance itself from Moscow, ultimately becoming a strong critic of Soviet-style communism, which many decried as merely "state monopoly capitalism" (see Eurocommunism). This culminated with the Communists' entry into the government as a coalition partner to Fran篩s Mitterrand's Socialists in 1981. The entry into the government accelerated the party's decline, as did the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Maurice Thorez was the general secretary of the party from 1930 until his death in 1964. Jacques Duclos was Thorez' deputy for much of this period and was acting general secretary during World War II while Thorez was living in exile in Moscow. Duclos succeeded Thorez as general secretary serving from 1964 until 1972 and running for President of France in 1969 winning 21% of the vote. Thorez and Duclos led the Stalinization of the party in the 1930s and expelled Trotskyists and other dissidents.
Georges Marchais was the party's general secretary from 1972 to 1994.
Marie-Georges Buffet is the current leader of the party (since 2001) and former Minister of Youth and Sport in the government of Lionel Jospin. She succeeded Robert Hue, who received only 3.37% of the votes in the 2002 presidential elections, placing 11th in a field of 15 candidates, while the party received an only slightly better 4.8% in the 2002 parliamentary elections. The list she led in άe-de-France received 7.2% in the 2004 regional elections, while other lists led by the PCF received more than 10% (in Nord and Picardie for instance). This is in comparison to the period after World War II, when PCF was France's largest political party, with 28.8% in the 1946 parliamentary elections. Each September, the party holds the "F괥 de l'Humanit馱uot;, a large popular festival.