Extracts from the Pre-Congress Debate and the Proceedings of the 22nd Congress of the French Communist Party (January-February 1976)

    On the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat*

    Georges Haddad

    (Secretary of the Pablo Neruda branch,

    Although the question of the Party Statutes does not figure on the agenda for the 22nd Congress, we [L'Humanité] think that readers may find the following contribution interesting, in so far as it deals with a problem which is relevant to the work of the Congress.

    I should like to make my contribution to the debate which is now involving large sections of the Party in connexion with the preparations for the 22nd Congress, by proposing a new version of certain paragraphs of the Preamble to the Statutes of the French Communist Party.

        As far as paragraph 9 is concerned, I want to suggest a new wording which, while avoiding the use of the expression 'dictatorship of the proletariat', clarifies this notion and brings it into closer touch with the present-day class struggle.

        Why is it better to avoid the term 'dictatorship of the proletariat'?

        -- Because, although it is an old and fundamental notion, the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' corresponded to particular circumstances of the class struggle, to particular historical, social and economic conditions.

        -- Because the term 'dictatorship' does not have the same connotations nor even the same content now, as compared with before the appearance of the fascist regimes in Germany and Italy, and of the Spanish, Greek and Portuguese dictatorships, the last two of which have recently collapsed . . . not to speak of the dictatorships

        * From the pre-Congress debate for the 22nd Congress; as published in L'Humanité, 7. 1. 1976.

    in Latin America, and in particular in Chile.

        -- Because, after all, 'dictatorship' is the opposite of the continuously widening democracy and continuously expanding liberties for which we are fighting.

        -- Because the idea of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is no longer completely true today. It was absolutely true towards the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth. It does still have some truth today, but it does not reflect the whole of present-day reality, since the possibilities of victory do not depend entirely on the struggle of the working class and of the agricultural proletariat, but essentially on the struggle of the working class in alliance with the broad anti-monopolist social strata, and not only with the proletarian peasantry, within a broad grouping of forces around the working class, the decisive force behind the Union of the French People.

        Thus paragraph 9 could be worded in the following way:

        'This new political power, whose form may vary, guarantees the widest possible democracy, in particular for all working people, at both the economic level and the political level. It will ensure both the extension of liberties and the satisfaction of economic, social and human needs. This new political power of the working people will open up the road which will lead progressively from the government of men to the administration of things, to communist society.' And then, I would propose adding to or completing paragraph 11 with the following phrase:

        'Only the working class can successfully lead the revolutionary struggle, because it is the leading force of the struggle to change society.'



    Liberty and socialism*

    Georges Marchais

    G. Marchais -- Your [the interviewer's ] question poses a general problem to which I must reply. In the construction of socialist society a number of principles must be taken into account.

        You cannot build socialism without the collective appropriation of the means of production and exchange; without the State being ruled by the working class and its allies; without democratic planning; without the participation of the citizens in the administration of public affairs at every level; without a great Communist workers' party.

        From Cuba to China and the USSR, socialism already offers a great diversity of possibilities throughout the world. This diversity will increase as other countries reach socialism.

        Socialist society is genuinely superior because it truly guarantees the liberation of man, puts an end to his alienation and allows him to enjoy real freedom.

        The text submitted for discussion by the Party with a view to the preparation of the Congress underlines the fact that democracy must be taken to its limits.

        Socialism is synonymous with liberty.

        This notion is valid for every country and for every circumstance. It is quite wrong to use repression or administrative measures against the expression of ideas, and there can be no other way of looking at this question.

        That is why the French Communist Party has decided to express its disagreement with certain other ways of behaving. We think that there is no justification for attacking liberties. We shall remain

        * From the interview given to 'Antenne 2' (French Television). As published in L'Humanité, 8. 1. 1976.

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    attentive to the question of liberty and of respect for socialist democracy.

        It is within this general framework that our standpoints must be interpreted. There is a difference of opinion between ourselves and the CPSU on the question of socialist democracy. [. . .]

    Question: Your condemnation of the attacks on liberties in the USSR -- is this a new thing?

    G. Marchais -- For you it is new, for me it is not. The question of liberty and of respect for socialist democracy is for us of the first importance.

        We are more demanding now that the considerable successes of the Soviet Union and of the Socialist countries -- and I draw your attention to the fact that 25 million Soviet citizens are participating in the administration of public affairs -- have created new conditions in which socialist democracy can be pushed forward and further developed.

        The CPSU has criticized the crimes, tragedies and errors of the past -- which by the way demonstrates the superiority of socialism --and certain necessary corrections have been made, but these are not yet complete and more corrections have to be added. The necessary conditions exist for the Soviet Union to bear the banner of liberty ever higher and further.

    G. Marchais is next asked about the pre-Congress discussion for the 22nd Congress of the French Party.

    The branches are meeting, the debate is lively, says G. Marchais, who remarks : no party in this country prepares its congresses so democratically as we do. In our Party discussion is free; when the decision has been made, everyone applies it!

        But, he continues, it is always difficult to reproduce before the Congress itself the same lively to-and-fro as in the discussion in the branches. . . .

        . . . With 1,500 delegates present, the Congress always gives a rather solemn impression; but we must ensure that the Congress debate reflects the tremendous discussion now taking place in the Party.

    Christian Guy then questions G. Marchais about 'the democratic road to socialism'.

    page 163 G. Marchais -- It means transition to socialism without civil war. What is the solution? STRUGGLE. We reject civil war, but there can be no transition to socialism without a bitter struggle, taking various forms, based on the Union of the French People and its central pillar, the Union of the Left, and whose means lies in the system of elections. The majority must at each step make its will known through the election system.

    G. Marchais is then asked: Is this a gamble?

    G. Marchais -- No, it is a serious political strategy: shall we or shall we not succeed in obtaining a majority grouping of the people and thus in isolating the big bourgeoisie? Yes, of course!

    The General Secretary of the French Communist Party then details the 'three necessary levers' of change:

    1. -- The working class, which has the greatest interest in change. The working people makes up 44% of the population. It has a great experience of struggle, a powerful Communist Party, and a great, experienced Trade Union federation.
    2. -- The Union of the French People, a grouping whose main pillar is the Union of the Left.
    3. -- The French Communist Party, the revolutionary party of the working class.

        These are the three forces, the three levers of struggle. At each stage, universal suffrage will decide!

    J.-M. Cavada -- Well, that's clear enough!

    Next, C. Guy questions G. Marchais about the discussion contributions published that morning by L'Humanité, and in particular about the opinion expressed there according to which the term 'dictatorship of the proletariat' should be eliminated from the French Communist Party's Statutes.

    George Marchais expresses his agreement with this proposition. He says: 'The Congress will decide.' He continues: 'Here is my opinion . . .'

    G. Marchais -- . . . We are living in 1976 . . . The French Communist Party is not rooted in the past. It is not dogmatic. It knows how to adapt to present-day conditions. Now, the word 'dictatorship' no longer corresponds to our aims. It has an intolerable

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    connotation, contrary to our aspirations and to our arguments . . .

        Even the word 'proletariat' will no longer serve, because we want to unite together, with the working class, the majority of wage-earners . . . But this does not mean that we are abandoning our objective: socialism in French colours . . . For without socialism there is no way out of the crisis . . .

    G. Marchais underlines the need to struggle step by step for each immediate demand, but he is emphatic in pointing out: 'We must transform society. We need a socialist society . . .'

    The broadcast then links up with Rome for the next item.


    Ten questions, ten answers, to convince the listener*

    Georges Marchais

    Question 2 -- You have enlivened the pre-Congress debate by con demning the dictatorship of the proletariat. If this expression is eliminated from the Party Statutes or replaced, will you not appear as a revisionist of Marxist-Leninist doctrine and be called to order ?

    Answer -- As you know, we are preparing our Congress on the basis of a draft document entitled 'What the Communists want for France'.

        The 'dictatorship of the proletariat' does not figure in this draft document to designate political power in the socialist France for which we are fighting. It does not appear there because the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' does not properly characterize the reality of our policy and of what we are proposing to the country today.

        We are living in 1976. We are living and struggling in a France and in a world totally different from the situation fifty or even twenty-five years ago. We take the fullest account of this fact. To do otherwise would be to replace the precise and living study of a real situation by quotations or examples erected into a dogma. The French Communist Party has been formed in a quite different school.

        We believe, as our draft document clearly points out, that the power which will have to carry out the socialist transformation of society will be -- with the working class playing the vanguard role -- representative of the whole of the manual and intellectual workers,

        * From the interview broadcast by France-Inter (French Radio): 'Ten questions, ten answers to convince the listener', January 19th, 1976; as published in L'Humanité, 20. 1. 1976.

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    therefore of the great majority of the people in France today.

        This power will bring about the most extensive democratization of the whole of the economic, social and political life of the country by drawing support from the struggle of the working class and of the masses of the people.

        Finally, at each stage we shall respect and ensure respect for the decisions of the people as freely expressed by universal suffrage.

        Very briefly, we are proposing to the people the democratic and revolutionary road to socialism, taking account of the conditions of our epoch and our country, and of a relation of forces which has profoundly changed in favour of the forces of progress, liberty and peace.

        Now, it is evident that this road, which we are now proposing to the working people, to our people, cannot be called a 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. That is why this term does not appear in our draft document. Half a million Communists have been engaged in a democratic discussion on this question for more than two months. If their representatives at the Congress agree -- and this is probable, on the evidence of the branch, section and federation meetings already held -- then the problem will certainly arise of drawing up the necessary modifications to the Preamble to the Party Statutes. The Congress will have to decide what procedure to adopt.

    Question 3 -- Mr Marchais, were you or were you not guided in your decisions by tactical considerations and by the attitude of other political forces, for example by the progress of the Socialist Party?

    Answer -- The idea that the reason why we are proposing a democratic road to socialism, without the dictatorship of the proletariat, lies in pressure from other political forces, is quite simply absurd. I will tell you why. All the other political parties are now or have in the past been involved in government. What have they done?

        The right-wing parties, especially under Giscard d'Estaing, are using their power in an anti-democratic, authoritarian manner, for the benefit of a privileged minority.

        The Socialist Party and Francois Mitterand, when they entered the government without us, also served the interests of big capital. And you can see today how in certain countries, like West Germany, the Social-Democratic Parties in government are carrying out numerous and grave attacks on liberties, and undermining democracy.

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        In short, if we were to give way to pressure from other political forces, the consequence would be that we should change for the worse, we should enter the government to maintain capitalist rule and restrict democracy. But we are proposing exactly the opposite, as I have just explained to you.

        The reason for our position is very simple: we have taken account of the changes which have occurred in national and international reality. In short, these positive changes allow us to envisage less severe roads to socialism, different roads from those followed by the peoples who have already built socialism. It is our good fortune that these possibilities exist in the French conditions. Our attitude is therefore not a tactical but a principled one. Taking account of the situation, we are pointing out the best and quickest way of arriving at socialism.

    On the dictatorship of the proletariat*

    Etienne Balibar

    (Gabriel Péri branch, 5th Ward, Paris Federation )

    Several discussion contributions published in L'Humanité and in France Nouvelle have taken up position either for or against referring to the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' in the document which the Congress must consider; and even for or against the presence of this notion in the Party Statutes. Interviewed on Antenne 2 [French Television] on January 7th, Georges Marchais declared himself in favour of rejecting the 'dictatorship of the proletariat', neither term of which any longer corresponded either to the present situation or to the objectives of the Communists. He added: 'Congress will decide.'

        We therefore find ourselves faced with the following situation: the 22nd Congress may officially ratify a radical change in the principles on which, from the very first, the political action and organization of the Communist Parties has been based. Citing Marx's unambiguous arguments, Lenin wrote: 'To confine Marxism to the theory of the class struggle means curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat' (The State and Revolution ).

    1. First of all, it must be pointed out that a theoretical change of this importance cannot be carried out ad hoc. How does it come about that the draft document of the Congress, the basis of the present discussion, did not even mention the problem? Are Communist militants incapable of facing a clearly posed question

        * Discussion contribution for the 22nd Congress; as published in L'Humanité, 22. 1. 1976.

    head-on, and of organizing a thorough discussion about the principles of their politics? Would it not have been correct to set out in detail, precisely on the occasion of the Congress, the whole line of reasoning justifying the decision to establish the action of the Communists on new foundations, to assign it new historical objectives, and to drop the dictatorship of the proletariat, so that the Communists might make their decision with full knowledge of the facts, and not simply on the basis of a feeling of repulsion inspired by the word 'dictatorship'.

        In fact, and this is my second point, there is unfortunately reason to fear that we Communists -- i.e. the Party -- are at the moment incapable of discussing the problem at depth. For the necessary conditions do not exist[*]

        [. . .] French Communists are being invited to reject, at short notice, and without having made a scientific analysis of the problem, a concept which is an integral part of the Marxist tradition, and which cannot be reduced to a question of words. Can we, in that case, be sure that we have an objective understanding of what we are going to put in its place?

    2. I quoted Lenin. I could have produced a thousand other quotes. Quotations prove nothing. Reduced to quotations, Marxism becomes a form of sterile dogmatism, a religion of for mulae: painful experience has taught us something about the consequences. Let us remember one fact, however: that the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is not a theoretical invention, conjured up by Marxist intellectuals; it is a discovery which had to be made, which expresses the lessons of years of activity. And this

        * The following paragraph was omitted by L'Humanité :

        Even if the Congress document had been differently conceived, conceived not as a 'manifesto' for the future, but as an analysis of the political problems confronting the present theory and tactics of the Party, these conditions could not have been created from one day to the next. It would in fact have been necessary for the Party in the preceding years to have fixed for itself the task of studying in depth the problems of the dictatorship of the proletariat, systematically confronting them with the lessons of its everyday experience. Instead of which, voluntarily or not, it has kept silent on this question, and thus allowed a gap to develop between its analyses, its projects for a programme and Marxist political theory. So that the particular 'dictatorship of the proletariat' which is now to be cast off like a worn-out piece of clothing is no more than a ghost, a caricature of the concept worked out by Marx and Lenin, which they had made the touchstone of the revolutionary class position and which they had tried, not without difficulty, to explain to the labour movement of their own time in the hope that the movement would adopt it.

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    activity teaches us, in particular, that the revolutionary class must not accept the blinkers, the mystifying alternatives on which bourgeois legal ideology rests: 'dictatorship' in itself or 'democracy' in itself; organization of the workers as a ruling class through the use of State coercion or democratic mass struggle for their emancipation. But these are precisely the alternatives within which we are now trapping ourselves.

        You have to understand what is at stake here. If the labour movement in the course of the class struggle had to fix the dictatorship of the proletariat as its objective, with all the difficulties and even formidable contradictions which go with it, and could not 'simply' define this objective as happiness, liberty, democracy, etc., it is for a material reason. It is because capitalist exploitation inevitably brings with it the class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and rests on it, whatever the more or less violent and openly repressive forms taken by this dictatorship in particular historical conditions; and it is because it is impossible to destroy the historical foundations of this bourgeois dictatorship without immediately undertaking the destruction of the existing State apparatus, which can never as such function 'in the service of the working people'. To imagine that we can fight for 'real' democracy, for democracy for the masses of the people, without passing through the dictatorship of the proletariat is to ignore the existence of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, to ignore the role of the State apparatus as an instrument of exploitation. Does this really correspond to the experience of the working people of France in their present-day struggles?

    3. We are faced with an enormously important fact, about which we have finally had to admit that it has been a big obstacle to the mass movement. This fact is that the history of the socialist countries (or of certain socialist countries) has disfigured and discredited the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. It has confused it with a dictatorship over the proletariat, by identifying party and State; it has in practice opposed the dictatorship of the proletariat to mass political democracy. It has led to grave political crises and to deep rooted splits in the International Communist Movement. But it is no good for us simply to express our regrets about this situation or to hope to avoid it by ignoring and then finally openly abandoning the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat. On the contrary, this situation must be analyzed. An historical phenomenon has

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    historical causes. What are the historical causes which prevented (leaving aside all questions of individual 'personalities') the peoples of the socialist countries from fully realizing the dictatorship of the prolateriat, and which have thus tended to turn it into its opposite? What are the historical causes which prevented the effective destruction of the bourgeois State apparatus and therefore the complete solution of the gigantic social contradictions inherited from centuries of class oppression? What form do these causes take today, in the socialist world, and in the capitalist world, and how can they be counteracted? What in consequence are the additions (including the rectifications ) which have to be made to the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to guide the revolutionary action of the Communists?

    4. The absence of these questions is greatly distorting the present debate in the Party. Its effects can be felt in every line of the draft document, sometimes producing astonishing results. I shall give just one example. The document devotes one small paragraph to the 'international context'. The impression is given on the one hand that the world situation is evolving uniformly to the detriment of imperialism and to the benefit of the socialist camp, the national liberation struggles, the labour movement and the unity of these forces for progress; and on the other hand that France, because of its 'world importance', has the means to carry out its internal social transformation while escaping the intervention of imperialism. But the facts show this simplistic and over-optimistic view to be completely wrong. The only peoples who, in the course of the last decades, have succeeded in liberating themselves from imperialism and starting out on the road to socialism have been able to do so only at the cost of prolonged struggles against imperialist intervention: Cuba and Vietnam. The point is obviously not to underestimate the historic importance of these victories, for they show that revolution can be made by the peoples of the world and by the workers. And this in spite of the obstacles resulting from the disunity of the socialist camp and from the fragility of the alliance between socialism and the national independence struggles (cf. the Middle East!), which imperialism ceaselessly plays on.

        But what are we to think of the argument invoked in order implicitly to meet this objection, the argument about France's 'world importance'? It can in fact mean only one thing: that

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    because France is an imperialist country, it finds itself in a more favourable position to neutralize any intervention in its internal affairs by the world imperialist system (of which it is a part), or even to escape such intervention completely! But this argument is quite unacceptable, and that is why, in fact, no-one has ever formulated it openly in this way; because it is the opposite which is true: the nearer a country is to the heart of the imperialist system, the more vital it is for imperialism to prevent its revolutionary development, and the greater the means available to imperialism economic, ideological, political and military -- to do so. There is therefore less need for it to make immediate use of the extreme remedy of an external attack, which in the end only welds against it the national unity of the forces of the people. Once before, in 1945-47, a movement of the people was thus isolated and defeated in France. But the extent to which French society nowadays depends on the world imperialist system has not been reduced but considerably increased.

        What are the lessons, in particular, of Chile, of Portugal and at the present time of Italy? Surely that imperialist intervention never takes exactly the same form, that it has to adapt itself to the existing conditions. In this respect it is remarkably successful, making use in one place of the military putsch, in another of economic pressure exercized through the Common Market, mediated and guided by the counter-revolutionary action of European Social-Democracy, and everywhere exploiting the specific weaknesses of the mass movement. These examples reveal a basic fact, characterizing the present-day situation: the fact of the still enormous power of imperialism, its capacity for initiative and pre-emptive action. As soon as the masses, in any country in the world, begin to intervene in person on the political scene, even if they are only fighting for limited social changes, even if they are not yet completely united politically, even if they are quite unaware of the fact that in order to bring their struggle to a successful conclusion they need to overthrow capitalism itself, nevertheless im perialism will be there to intervene and even, forestalling its enemies, will begin to plan and to organize counter-revolution.

        That is why we must realize that when the need and the conditions for a real social change in this country begin to develop, we cannot rest content with a strategy based on counting up all those social groups who are at this moment being trodden down by big

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    capital and who in principle ought to be capable of uniting against it; we cannot content ourselves with putting forward a few general slogans and universal ideological themes which are supposed spontaneously to conjure up such a majority. We have to forecast the forms which imperialist intervention will take, which are related to its very existence; we have to take into account in the analysis the contradictions in the camp of the people on which imperialism can play, and the means at its disposal -- it will use everything that it has got -- to mobilize entire masses of the people, including sections of the exploited masses, against change, even when their own interests suffer thereby (in the case of Portugal it succeeded in using as its shock troops those very same poor peasants which it had itself reduced to poverty and forced into emigration). To put it briefly: we do not simply need to take into account the foundations of the popular union for change and for the transition to socialism; we also have to take into account -- this is the whole problem -- the potential foundations of counter-revolution, in order to analyze them and to work out corresponding forms of struggle. Any strategy which fails to deal with both aspects of the problem must be utopian; it will bring not victory but defeat.

        Thus -- and the above is only one aspect of the problem, which I have singled out in order to remain within acceptable limits of space -- we arrive back at the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Not at the question concerning the simple term 'dictatorship of the proletariat', but at that which concerns the problems raised by the dictatorship of the proletariat, which we must ask and answer in our own fashion, and which no-one could or can answer for us. The question is not that of the alternative: either the dictatorship of the proletariat or mass democratic struggle; this alternative is the one which the bourgeoisie wants to force upon us. The question is: how to develop the forms of mass struggle, broad and democratic, which can make the dictatorship of the proletariat a reality, uniting the workers and the whole people against the exploiters and the bourgeois State. I am for my part completely convinced that the transition to socialism, with its own original stages, is 'on the agenda' for French society, as in other capitalist countries. But I do not think that we have any chance of making this transition if we give way to the ideological pressure of the enemy, or if we underestimate the contradictions involved in the process, and deceive ourselves as to the acute nature of the class

    struggles which it implies and the high stakes which it involves.

        Comrades -- let us not lightly reject the slogan of the dictatorship of the proletariat! Let us prove ourselves, in theory as well as in practice, to be real Communists!

    On the dictatorship of the proletariat (Reply to E. Balibar)*

     Guy Besse
    (Corrèze Federation, Guy Moquet Branch (Brive ),
    Member of the Political Bureau )

    Some remarks on Etienne Balibar's discussion contribution (L'Humanité, 22. 1. 1976).
    1) To question the right of the General Secretary of the Party to take part in the pre-Congress discussion is to put in question the rights of every member of the French Communist Party; it is to ignore the duties of every Communist leader and to reduce his role to that of an arbitrator, or a simple spectator. Besides which, G. Marchais has said nothing which might suggest (as one might think, reading the opening lines of E. Balibar's contribution) that the Communist Party's 'aims' have changed: today, as it has always done, it is fighting for a socialist France.

    The power of the big bourgeoisie today
    2) E. Balibar writes: 'To imagine that we can fight for "real" democracy, for democracy for the masses of the people, without passing through the dictatorship of the proletariat is to ignore the existence of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, to ignore the role of the State apparatus as an instrument of exploitation.'

        In fact it is on the contrary just because we are fighting against the domination of big capital, the power of the monopolies and that of the State uniting together in what we call State Monopoly Capitalism that we are led to define in French conditions a form of socialist power which cannot be properly expressed by the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

        * Pre-Congress discussion contribution; as published in L'Humanite, 13. 1. 1976.

        If we want to unite all the forces of the working class, to group around it the whole of the working population against the money aristocracy, then we cannot satisfy ourselves with a general denunciation of the 'dictatorship of the bourgeoisie'. Unless we locate the different aspects of the economic, social and political power held by the great industrial and finance companies, unless we analyze the crisis of State Monopoly Capitalism, unless we analyze the class struggles of present-day France, then we shall be condemned to impose on contemporary reality texts of Lenin abstractly torn from their historical context.

        The crisis has its source, says the draft document, in a fundamental contradiction between the 'economic, social and political structures' of our society, dominated by big capital, and on the other hand the 'vital needs of the workers and of the people', the 'requirements of economic progress and of national development'. There exists an oligarchy which, in order to hold on to power and to force the whole of the French working people to accept the consequences of the crisis, is concentrating the levers of power ever more closely into its own hands. It is attacking the liberties dearly won by our people since 1789. It wants to imprison France in a supra-national Europe, under American supervision.

        In such conditions, is it not the task of a Leninist Party to help all the social strata victimized by big capital to recognize their common enemy, to form that unstoppable 'majority grouping' which alone can isolate the regime and defeat it? And which, already, is forcing it onto the defensive in this or that sector of the class battle -- when for example, supported by the population, workers prevent the closure of an enterprise decided on by some big company, protected and supported by the State.

        This is the revolutionary meaning of our struggle for the Union of the French People around the Common Programme of the Left. A Union whose motor is the working class, for reasons which the document explains. The needs, the aspirations which have become globally an essential characteristic of French society are today in fact witnesses (even if many French men and women are not yet conscious of the fact) to the objective necessity of the socialist transformation of our country. The working class therefore cannot play its full part except by assuming all the responsibilities which fall to it with respect both to the everyday economic struggle and to the unification of all the forces which will make our country into a socialist democracy.

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        If this was not the case, it would be impossible to understand why the régime wants to isolate the Communist Party, win back the Socialist Party to class collaboration, and set the different sections of the working population against one another. It would be impossible to understand why it is so worried by the successes of our action for the defence and extension of liberties. One thing which Marx and Engels taught us, and which Lenin repeated in his time, followed by French Communists like Maurice Thorez and Waldeck Rochet, is that the struggle for socialism and the struggle for democracy are inseparable.

    Democratizing the State
    3) According to E. Balibar, the draft document ignores the need, in order to put an end to the 'class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie', to destroy 'the existing State apparatus, which can never as such function "in the service of the working people"'.

        Balibar reproaches the draft document for reducing the debate on the dictatorship of the proletariat to a question of 'words'; I should like to ask him to measure the terms which he employs against contemporary reality.

        The evolution of the State in present-day France faces the labour movement with new problems. For example -- to take only one case -- State power is nowadays being used to undermine the big public service industries (e.g. the Post Office); and it is the postmen who have been fighting to preserve for the French people a public service which is truly 'public' and truly a 'service'.

        But, above all, the transition from the State of the monopolies to the State of the working people as envisaged by the draft document (Part 3) cannot be made in a single step; it will not be like a sudden mutation. It will be a process of democratization, the very process which we are already preparing for today in working for the Common Programme.

        The application of this Programme will deprive the monopolies of their control of the banking and finance system, and of the key sectors of the economy. It will thus constitute an 'important step forward' on the road to democratic change. And the struggles of all those groups whose interest lies in the application of the Common Programme will lay the foundation for other struggles, those which, when the majority of the French people has decided for it, will take democracy 'to the limit' and transform the country into a

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    socialist democracy.

        How can E. Balibar therefore write that we are trapping ourselves within mystifying 'alternatives'? We do not believe, as Bernstein used to believe, that the movement is everything and the goal nothing. The democratic mass struggle does not exclude but paves the way for the victory of socialism. And the new government, which will for the first time be a government of the working class and of all working people, will improve its work and defend itself not by restricting democratic activity but by providing it with every possible facility.

    Defending socialism
    4) E. Balibar believes that the draft document underestimates the forces and means available to the bourgeois counter-revolution; he suggests that it cannot be overcome except by the dictatorship of the proletariat.

        These worries would be justified if the Document had forgotten that a socialist democracy must watch over its conquests. But the whole document in fact helps us to understand that the defence of socialism is one of the components of socialist democracy.

        I shall not repeat here the arguments already developed in the present discussion by those comrades who are of the opinion that, in our country, the 'representative government of the working people' will have a broader base than that of a dictatorship of the proletariat. This government will not forbid opposition movements to participate in public life; it will exclude no single social group from the voting booths. It will provide for its own defence, in every domain, by means of the indispensable 'action of the working class and of the broad masses of the people'. And the conquests of socialism on the workshop floor and in the various institutions, in life and in law -- will provide the working class and its allies with greater possibilities of intervention against any attempt, whatever its form, to drag the country back into the past. One of the functions of a democratized system of universal suffrage will be to demonstrate the will of a people resolved to give way neither to pressure nor to violence.

        It is therefore in its own way, in direct application of its principles and aims, that socialist democracy will provide itself with the means to ensure that it is 'respected'. In this way the links between

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    the working class and the other strata of working people will be reinforced. In this way more favourable conditions will be created for the mobilization of all the help which a socialist France will need in order to guarantee its progress -- even against threats of subversion and armed violence.

        The working people of our country understand the meaning of the word 'fascism'. But it was only in the struggle for the people's demands and liberties that, thanks to the initiatives of the Communist Party, fascism retreated in the face of the single front, in the face of the Popular Front.

        If today the practical activity of the men of government proves their liberalism to be no more than a matter of words, it is because they find democracy more and more impossible to accept. The struggle to preserve the democratic heritage, to extend the sphere of liberties in accordance with the demands of our epoch -- this struggle is imposing on the modem feudalists a battle which is becoming more and more difficult for them. And it is preparing the ground, today, on which millions of Frenchmen will be able to come together in defence of their socialist democracy. To act now, today, for the democratization of the system of administration, of justice, of the police, for an army of citizen-soldiers and of citizen officers -- this will enable our working class and our people to make the best possible use tomorrow of all the weapons of liberty.

        And, since the defence of socialism (Balibar stresses this point) implies the need to hinder any attempt to hold up its economic development, here too the most effective defence will be the full exercise of socialist democracy. The new government will interest the whole working population in the protection and perfectioning of the means of production and exchange; in their enterprises the working people (including the employees of the banks) will be the best defenders of the socialist economy. Is it not already obvious that they know how to protect the national heritage against the big bosses and their State? Will they not find this task all the easier when State power is their own?

    Fighting anti-Sovietism
    5) The history of the socialist countries is open to study. It is in any case certain that, without the dictatorship of the proletariat (as Lenin understood it), the first socialist State would have been

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    unable either to defeat its enemies or to transform old Russia.

        Never could a 'dictatorship over the proletariat' (an expression unfortunately taken over by E. Balibar) have found the strength to break Hitler's offensive. The Soviet Union's victory over fascism, the murderer of peoples, was the victory of a socialist society, of a people solidly united around its Soviet State and its Communist Party.

        We condemn those practices which are -- in spite of the decisions of the 20th Congress of the CPSU -- still holding up the development of socialist democracy. Our attitude is based on the conviction that such practices are in conflict with the principles of a society whose goal can only be the happiness and brotherhood of men.

        It is this society itself which provokes the steadfast hostility of international reaction; a society in which the working people have conquered and developed that fundamental liberty which is still to be born in 'advanced liberal society': they are no longer subjected to capitalist exploitation.

        To fight against anti-Sovietism is today, as it has always been, a revolutionary task.

    The evolution of the relation of forces
    6) E. Balibar has a different view of the international context from that set out in the draft document. L'Humanité has on several occasions presented the analyses on which this document is founded, and I shall not repeat them in detail.

        Peaceful co-existence, which has been imposed on imperialism, is working in the interest of the liberation of the peoples, whatever the form of their struggle (from Cuba to Vietnam).

        Imperialism has not changed its aggressive nature, and the fact that it has been weakened does not lead us to conclude that the international situation is irreversible.

        But I cannot imagine that Balibar has not noticed the positive evolution of the relation of forces. And how can he disregard the role and the effects of the movement of the people in this country, today and in the future?

        Imperialism (and above all American imperialism) is hostile to a socialist France? But the draft document does not hide this fact, and our Party is at the head of the struggle for the right of the

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    French people to decide its own future. Balibar pleads for us not to ignore 'the potential foundations of counter-revolution' in our country, not to underestimate the ability of imperialism to turn to its own profit 'the contradictions in the camp of the people'; but it seems to me that the only strategy capable of foiling these manoeuvres is precisely the one defined by the draft document.

        It warns against the temptation to try and take short cuts; and here again the importance attached to the system of universal suffrage will be a substantial guarantee against the impatience of anyone who thinks that he can force the pace. It envisages the most sensible means of resolving at the proper moment, and to the advantage of socialism, the contradictions thrown up by its development.

    A thoroughgoing debate
    In the conditions of present-day France, the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat is out-of-date. Only the strategy defined by the draft resolution offers the working class the possibility of bringing about the 'Union of the French People', an indispensable condition of victory. Only this strategy offers the French Communist Party the possibility of further strengthening itself and assuming all its responsibilities at the head of the struggle for a socialist France.

        E. Balibar believes that the French Communists are not in a position to make a decision on these questions because they lack 'full knowledge of the facts'. But does the debate not demonstrate -- a debate in which tens of thousands of our comrades are taking part, in branch meetings, section congresses and federal congresses -- that the moment has come when the problems under examination are ready to be solved? And they are being solved, by the vast majority of our militants, both manual and intellectual workers, in the spirit of the draft document presented to the 22nd Congress.


    'In order to take democracy forward
    to socialism, two problems are
    decisive.' (Extracts)

    Georges Marchais

    1. Property and administration

    Now, just because we are Communists, we do not consider that putting the Common Programme into effect would constitute an end in itself. We want to take democracy further forward, we want socialism.

        The draft document defines the characteristics of socialist society as we are proposing it to the country. I should like to take a closer look at two problems which are decisive for a correct understanding of the kind of society for which we are fighting.

        As our document points out, we believe that the 'great means of production and exchange should become as a whole the property of society itself'. This is one of the foundations of socialist society, and there can be no socialism if this condition is not realized. This is shown by the experience of the Social-Democratic Parties which, recoiling before the need to put an end to the stranglehold of big capital on the principal resources of the countries which they have ruled or are presently ruling, have nowhere been able to bring socialism into being. Does this mean that we want France to be what reactionary propaganda calls 'collectivist', i.e., that we want to dispossess everyone, to submit them to uniformity and constraint? Our reply is a categorical no.

        In the first place, we obviously do not intend to interfere with personal property -- with the various kinds of consumer goods and articles of personal use -- or with the right to bequeath it. This applies for example to home ownership, either of a house or flat.

        In the second place, the objective of socialism is the satisfaction

        * From the Report presented to the 22nd Congress of the French Communist Party on February 4th, 1976; as reported in L'Humanité, 5. 2. 1976.

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    of the needs of the members of society. In order to meet this requirement, there will be various forms of social property: nationalized property, co-operative property, municipal, provincial and regional public property. At the same time, in a number of fields, small-scale private property (artisan-type, commercial and industrial) and family-based farming will be the best way to satisfy the people's needs; taking account of international experience, we intend to maintain these forms in a socialist France.

        In the third place, it is the monopolies which are exercizing a real dictatorship over the enterprises; it is the present regime which is developing a technocratic bureaucracy trying to domineer over all aspects of national life; it is the State of big capital which is meddling with the local communities and trying to keep them under its thumb. We are today struggling against this authoritarianism, this suffocating centralism. And not in order to re-introduce it tomorrow, under socialism! On the contrary, we want the nationalized enterprises to be independent in their administration; we want planning to be carried out democratically, with the participation of the working people and consumers; we want the administration of enterprises to be itself democratic, so that those employed there -- workers, white-collar employees, engineers, managers -- can participate more and more actively in this task. And we also want the parishes, provinces and regions to become real centres of democratic decision-making and administration.

        The same preoccupations lie behind our conception of cultural life. We stand for a culture liberated from the rule of money, a culture which will no longer be a commodity nor a luxury but the property of everyone, men and women, in our country. In a socialist France, culture will be broad and lively, open to every advance in knowledge, research and creation. Developing the great traditions of our people, it will be enriched by the diversity of talents and also by the possibilities provided for each individual freely to develop the faculties which lie in him.

        In short, we do not want a mutilating uniformity but an enriching diversity. Nothing is more foreign to our conception of socialism than what is called 'barracks communism', which pours everyone and everything into the same mould. We picture the socialist system which we are proposing for our country in lively, flexible and inventive terms, as favouring a variety of solutions and appealing to the expansion of initiatives. (Applause.)

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    2. The question of the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'
    This leads me to another question. The document defines a second decisive problem of socialism, inseparable from the first: 'Only a political power representing the working people will make it possible to bring about the necessary radical transformations in economic and social life.'

        The importance of this problem has provoked a discussion all the richer for the fact that the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' does not appear in the draft document. We must therefore take a closer look at this question.

        The reason that the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' does not appear in the draft document in order to designate political power in the socialist France for which we are fighting is that it does not characterize the reality of our policy, the reality of what we are proposing for the country.

        What do we say in the draft document? We say the following:

        -- The power that will lead the socialist transformation of society will be that of the working class and of the other categories of working people, manual and intellectual, of city and countryside, i.e. the great majority of the people.

        -- This power will be based on and will act according to the freely expressed results of the system of universal suffrage; its task will be to carry out the most extensive democratization of the economic, social and political life of the country.

        -- Its duty will be to respect and to ensure respect for the democratic decisions of the people.

        In contrast to all this, the term 'dictatorship' automatically evokes the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Salazar and Franco, i.e. the very negation of democracy. That is not what we want.

        As far as the proletariat is concerned, today it represents the core or heart of the working class. Though its role is an essential one, it does not represent the whole of this class; still less does it represent the whole of the working people whose power will be expressed in the socialist society which we envisage.

        It is therefore obvious that what we are proposing to the working people, to our people, cannot be called a 'dictatorship of the proletariat'.

        On what basis do we define our position on this question? We base ourselves on the principles of scientific socialism elaborated

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    by Marx, Engels and Lenin.

        The first point is that the working class must play a leading political role in the struggle for the socialist transformation of society.

        Even if the working people, the masses of the people, are already able to force the government to take urgent social measures, and even to win certain new privileges, the genuine and permanent satisfaction of their economic, social and political rights is totally impossible without a change in the class nature of the régime. The participation of the working people and of their representatives in the administration of the country's affairs, their access to the control centres of society constitutes the key problem of the struggle for socialism. Among the working people, the working class is the most numerous, militant and experienced class in the struggle for social progress and also -- this has to be underlined -- for the national interest. It must therefore take its full place in the socialist State and play a determining role within it.

        In this connexion, the draft document states: 'Only the working class can lead the revolutionary struggle to victory. Its vital interests, its numerical power, its great concentration, its experience of the class struggle and its organization make it, today and tomorrow, the leading force in the fight for a new society.'

        The second point is that the manoeuvres of the big bourgeoisie cannot be defeated without the revolutionary struggle of the masses.

        In this connexion the draft document declares: 'The big exploiting bourgeoisie will never willingly give up its domination and its privileges. It will always tend to use every possible means to defend them or to win them back.' I would even add that this is particularly true of the French bourgeoisie. For, although there exists a revolutionary tradition in our country, there also exists the reactionary tradition of Versailles, which is certainly not dead, as the behaviour of the men now in power reminds us every day.

        That is why the draft document shows that the working people, the masses of the people, must 'at each stage gather their forces and struggle very actively in order to foil reactionary manoeuvres . . . and to paralyze or defeat any possible attempt by reaction to resort to illegal action, subversion and violence'.

        Having said that, we must in conformity with the spirit of our own doctrine take into careful account 'the real process', in other

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    words the conditions in which we live in this epoch and in this country. These conditions allow and require us to envisage other paths to socialism in France than those followed by the peoples which have already brought about the socialist transformation of their country.

        In the conditions of Russia in 1917, and then of the young Soviet Union, the dictatorship of the proletariat was necessary in order to guarantee the construction of socialism. It is true to say that without this dictatorship the working class and the peoples of the Soviet Union would have been able neither to undertake nor to persist in the unprecedented task of liberation which they carried out. That is why the Communist Parties, when they were founded, drawing the lessons of the bankruptcy of international Social-Democracy and of the victory of the October Revolution, were correct in the conditions of the epoch to adopt this slogan.

    The world has changed
    In the most recent period of history, the world has profoundly changed. The relation of forces has been transformed and continues to develop in the direction of independence and the liberty of the peoples, of democracy and socialism. Peaceful coexistence has been strengthened. In the course of complex and bitter struggles, marked by advances and sometimes by retreats, it is finally reaction and fascism which have had to give ground, while democracy is progressing, as shown by the events in Greece, Portugal and also in Spain. It cannot be denied that never have the peoples of the world had such great possibilities of deciding their destiny and of advancing on the road of national and social liberation. These possibilities are based on the existence and progress of the socialist countries, on the development of the struggles of the working class and the masses of the people in the capitalist countries, on the rapid advance and the rise in the level of the struggle of the national liberation movements, and on the solidarity between all these revolutionary forces. The people of our own country will find in these movements a factor of support, which does not of course mean that it is exempt from the need to take action for itself, but which does provide it with unprecedented means of independent action. Moreover, if the position of France in Western Europe and the relations linking it with its neighbours

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    pose problems which must not be ignored, they also offer possi bilities of co-operation and common action between revolutionary and progressive forces in the struggle to open new roads -- based on the concrete conditions existing in our country -- to democracy and socialism. Our Party has already, for several years, been working in support of such common action. It is in this spirit that we contributed to the success of the Conference of Communist Parties of Capitalist Europe held in January 1974, and to the implementation of its decisions, and it is in the same spirit that we have just adopted, together with our Italian comrades, an important joint declaration.

        Now both the Communists and all the forces of progress are of course very concerned about what happened in Chile. They are also attentively following events in Portugal. Beyond the important differences between these two sets of events, they both provide brutal confirmation of the fact that reaction will never shrink from the use of violence. No-one who is really interested in the progressive transformation of society, its transformation in the direction of the interests of the working people, can afford to forget or to neglect this fact. But events also show that reaction has not always turned and cannot always, in all conditions, turn to violence; it requires a relation of political forces which is moving in its favour.

        In Chile, the Popular Unity alliance took government power in an absolutely legal and normal way. However, we must not forget that it did not in the beginning enjoy the support of a majority in the country. In the face of the machinations of internal reaction and of imperialism, nothing was more important than to change this relation of forces in its own favour, by getting down to the problem of winning and extending the majority support of the population. Our Chilean comrades did in this connexion, even if they produced some positive results, commit gravely damaging errors which did not help them to realize this aim. In Portugal the overthrow of fascism allowed the popular movement to win some important successes. But the division of democratic forces, for which Mario Soares' Socialist Party must bear an overwhelming responsibility, led to a retreat of this popular movement. The struggle to defend, and to extend in the future the democratic achievements of the Portuguese people is today being fought out in more difficult conditions.

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        In drawing attention to these events, we do not intend to lecture others but to draw the necessary conclusions for our own struggle.

        In this connexion, what we conclude from these two sets of events is that it is necessary to be on permanent guard against two dangers: -- The danger of not carrying out, when this becomes possible, the necessary democratic transformations of the economic and political structures, with the support of the mass movement; -- The danger of putting forward adventurist slogans or of taking adventurist actions which do not correspond to real possibilities, which are inspired by the desire to 'take short cuts', and which in fact lead the revolutionary forces to isolation and defeat.

        The most important conclusion is that the decisive condition of success is the existence and self-assertion of a popular movement sufficiently broad to encompass a large majority of the people, solidly united around the need for change.

        This fundamental lesson adds weight to the conclusions which we have drawn with respect to France from the analysis of the conditions existing in our country.

        What is this analysis and what are its conclusions?

    French reality
    As you know, the working class now makes up 44.5% of the working population of France, i.e. about 10 million persons. In addition, several million other wage-earners, above all among the employees, live and work in conditions close to those of the working class. Together with the working class in the strict sense, this makes at least three-quarters of the active population. Moreover, the crisis is not only damaging the interests of the mass of wage-earners but also those of the other strata of the working population. The convergence of the basic interests of all these social forces therefore offers unprecedented possibilities of winning over the majority of the people to the cause of changing our society, of grouping around the powerful pole constituted by the working class a movement representing the vast majority of the people. Should we make use of such a possibility? There is no doubt about it.

        In this connexion we must return to the question of 'bourgeois liberties'. It is claimed that we are opposed to certain liberties on

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    the grounds that they are bourgeois or formal in nature. This is to deform not only our position but also that of the founders of Marxism.

        There is one and only one liberty to which Communists are and always will be opposed: the liberty to exploit the working people. This liberty is the only real bourgeois liberty, if you can talk about a right of oppression as a liberty.

        For the rest, we openly refuse to give the credit to the bourgeoisie for the existence of liberties. It is true that the French bourgeoisie, when it took power nearly 200 years ago, did carry into daily life some of the democratic principles proclaimed by its philosophers. But very soon, a very long time ago, it stopped arguing for or putting into practice any principle which did not correspond to its own nature and to its needs as an exploiting class.

        In reality there is no liberty in France which has not been paid for by the sufferings and sometimes the blood of our people. The working people, the masses of the people, have indeed had to struggle for -- among other things -- universal suffrage, freedom of opinion, expression, association and publication, for the right to strike, for trade union rights, and for the right to organize their own political parties. And they waged these struggles because all these liberties correspond to their own interests and aspirations. That is why they are so attached to them, and why the Communist Party will defend them to the end. The task of the Communists and their ambition is only to improve their work in this respect -- is to continue in the line of all the workers, peasants, intellectuals, simple citizens or statesmen who have for so many centuries been fighting for liberty in our country.

        If certain liberties today have a formal character, it is because the bourgeoisie in power has been trying to empty them of their content. Far from coming to their aid and holding these liberties in contempt, we intend on the contrary to restore them to their full meaning, to renovate them. Socialism is not an arbitrary construction of the mind. It is born in the real movement of history, out of the real struggles of the people such as it is, with its own traditions and aspirations. We are convinced that socialism in our country must be identified -- otherwise we shall remain at the level of words -- with the defence and extension of the democratic conquests which have been made possible by the great and persistent struggles of our people. This must be so and this can be so.

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        As I have pointed out, the draft document rules out any illusions about the attitude of the big bourgeoisie and its willingness to respect the verdict of universal suffrage.

        But at the same time it guards against the idea that it might be possible, taking a short cut, to substitute for the political will of the majority of the people the action of 'small, highly-motivated groups' or of the weapons of repression. This is an equally dangerous illusion, because it can only give internal and external reaction an excuse for violence; it can only lead the revolutionary movement to isolation and defeat.

    Struggle of the masses and liberties
    In the struggle for socialism, nothing, absolutely nothing can -- in our own epoch and in a country like our own -- replace the popular majority will, expressed democratically in struggle and by means of universal suffrage. Whatever the forms taken by the advance to socialism in this country (and of course we cannot predict in detail what these will be) we are convinced that at each stage there must be both a political and an arithmetical majority. This is possible.

        How are we to create the best conditions for the development of this indispensable majority movement of our people, to make it broad, strong and effective? This is the real question; to pose any other is either empty talk or provocation.

        To this question, the democratic road to socialism which we are proposing offers a serious answer.

        In struggling today for the democratic transformations foreseen in the Common Programme, we are offering the best possible foundation for uniting the broad masses of the people, a foundation which will make it possible to replace the power of the monopolies by a new, democratic power.

        Tomorrow, the application of democratic reforms will enable the positions and the means of str.lggle of the big bourgeoisie to be weakened, and the positions and therefore the means of struggle of the working class and of the people to be strengthened.

        Beyond that moment, it is by developing economic, social and political democracy, and by still further extending individual and collective liberties, that the popular movement will be reinforced and that the socialist regime will win the support and participation which it needs. In return, the struggle of the masses will continue to produce

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    changes in the relation of social and political forces, to the benefit of the working people and of all the other sections of the people.

        In fact, in order to guarantee the success of socialism, the problem is not to deprive the minority making up the reactionary forces of its liberties, but to provide these liberties to the working people constituting the great majority of the nation. The reactionaries might of course organize a reactionary party. But this they already possess today, it will not be a novelty. What will indeed be a great novelty is for example the fact that the working people will have extensive rights in their places of work, or that their representatives will be allowed fair access to the television, or that the police will be democratized. Thus they will possess effective means of struggle against any economic sabotage carried out by reaction, they will be able to extend and defend their positions, ideas and actions far and wide, and they will be able to defeat their enemy politically and ideologically. The workers will be strengthened, ever more strengthened by the liberties they will enjoy.

        It is by drawing support from these liberties that they will be able to develop their struggle, to force the big bourgeoisie on to the retreat and then to defeat it. And it is by drawing support from this broad-based struggle that the socialist government will be able to force the reactionaries to respect the choices freely made by the great majority of the people.

        This means that, far from renouncing socialism or holding it back, we are proposing the best and quickest means of bringing it into being.

        In so doing, we are absolutely faithful to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, which has no use for a collection of dogmas, and to the creative experience of the world Communist movement and of our own Party.

        We know for example that Lenin, analyzing the situation at the beginning of the century, developed the argument that, contrary to what Marx had imagined, socialism could triumph first of all in a single country. This all-important conclusion was to be the basis of the Bolshevik Party's strategy in 1917. In the same way, the world Communist movement put forward in 1960 the new idea that world war was no longer inevitable in contemporary conditions. And the fact is that thirty years have passed since the Second World War, and that peaceful coexistence is advancing, though of course it is not irreversible.

        Turning now to the case of France, the idea of the Popular Front, which became a reality in 1936, cannot be found ready made in Marx or in Lenin. It was based on the general principles of scientific socialism and on 'a concrete analysis of concrete reality'. Many other examples could be taken, all showing that our present approach finds its inspiration in the living source of the revolutionary theory and practice of our movement.

        Such are the foundations of our position, the reasons leading us to propose the democratic road defined in the draft document.

        That is also why the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' does not figure in the draft document.

    *       *       *

    In consequence, and as requested by all the federal congresses of the Party, we are proposing to the National Congress that this notion should be abandoned (applause ). We are also proposing to Congress that the Central Committee to be elected there should be instructed to present to the following Party Congress a suitably modified version of the Preamble to the Statutes.