Communism in Rural France: French Agricultural Workers and the Popular Front (International Library of Historical Studies v. 55)

Communism in Rural France: French Agricultural Workers and the Popular Front (International Library of Historical Studies v. 55)

By: John Bulaitis (author)Hardback

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The French Communist Party has traditionally been identified with the urban working class but paradoxically its position as France's main left-wing party was dependent upon support from the countryside. "Communism in Rural France" explores for the first time the party's complex and often misunderstood relationship with agricultural labourers.During 1936 and 1937 a bitter struggle between agricultural workers and farmers swept through parts of the French countryside. Coinciding with the urban 'social explosion' which followed the victory of the Popular Front government, the strikes, farm occupations and increased unionisation panicked farmers and shocked right-wing opinion, which blamed the spread of the 'corrupting' collectivist influences of urban society into the countryside on the French Communist Party."Communism in Rural France" traces the evolution and characteristics of the agricultural workers' movement from the turn of the 20th century through the inter-war years, as well as the response of the government and the resistance organised by farmers during 1936-37. By focussing on agricultural workers, John Bulaitis sheds light on a section of the rural population that has been generally overlooked in French rural and labour history. "Communism in Rural France" explores their relationship with the French Communist Party and illuminates an important and previously neglected aspect of European politics.

About Author

John Bulaitis teaches at the University of Essex, specialising in twentieth-century French history. He obtained his PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. He has taught European history at Queen Mary, Royal Holloway and the Open University and translation at London South Bank University. He has also worked at Goldsmiths College, University of London, organising outreach work in schools and colleges. His forthcoming biography of Maurice Thorez will also be published by I.B.Tauris.


Tables and Illustrations; Chapter 1. Introduction; Chapter 2. The Legacy of pre-1914 French Socialism The emergence of the 'peasant question'; Socialist agrarianism; The French agricultural worker in the early twentieth century; Socialists and the agricultural strike movement; Chapter 3. Communist agrarianism, 1921-28; The Comintern and the agricultural proletariat. The Marseille thesis: 'nothing has changed'; Post-war agricultural workers' unionism; The 'absurdity' of the class struggle in the countryside; Chapter 4. 'Class against Class' in the countryside, 1928-34; The agricultural proletariat at the centre of agrarian strategy; The FUA during the 'class against class' period (1928-32); Winter 1932/3: a new orientation; Chapter 5. Communists and the agricultural labour force, 1933-35; 'A rural proletariat comparable to the industrial proletariat'; Building the FUA in the Calais region; Vive Marcel Cachin!', 'Vive Monsieur Behin!'; Agricultural workers' unionism and the immigrant worker; The Peasant Popular Front; Chapter 6. Rebellion in the fields, 1936-37; 'We will no longer be common bastards'; The communists and the Calais strike movement; Who led the farm strikes?; An agricultural Matignon?; The 20 July 'general strike'; The Battle of Arras; The FNTA in face of a counter-offensive; 1937: Radicalisation and defeat; Chapter 7. Characteristics of the farm strikes; The farm strikes as community struggles; Farm occupations; Immigrant workers: the 'spearhead of the movement'?; Chapter 8. The farm strikes and the policy of 'peasant unity'; Waldeck Rochet and the strike movement; The strikes and the 'small and middling' farmers; Uniting workers and farmers in the Cantal; A 'fascist provocation' in the Calvados; Two ideas on 'peasant unity'; Conclusion; Sources; Bibliography.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781845117085
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9781845117085
  • ISBN10: 1845117085

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