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French Socialist Progam, 1905

A common problem for socialist groups was factionalism. In 1905, the various French socialist parties united into one group - the French Section of the Socialist International. Unification made possible steady gains for socialists at the polls. By May 1914, the socialists were the second largest group in the Chamber of Deputies, holding one­sixth of all seats

From Program of The Unified Socialist Party (1905)

The delegates of the French organizations-the Revolutionary Socialist Workers' Party, the Socialist Party of France, the French Socialist Party, the Independent Federations, etc.-declare that the action of the Unified Socialist Party must be based on the principles which have been established by the international congresses, especially the most recent ones at Paris in 1900 and at Amsterdam in 1904.

They state that the divergences of views and different interpretations of tactics, which have so far been able to appear, are due above all to circumstances peculiar to France and to the absence of a general organization.

They affirm their common desire to found a party of the class war which, even while it takes advantage for the workers of minor conflicts among the rich, or is by chance able to concert its action with that of a political party for the defense of the rights or interests of the proletariat, remains always a party of fundamental and unyielding opposition to the whole of the bourgeois class and to the State which is its instrument.

Consequently, the delegates declare that their organizations are ready to collaborate forthwith in this work of unifying the socialist forces on the following bases:

1. The Socialist Party is a class party whose aim is to socialize the means of production and distribution, that is to transform capitalist society into a collectivist or communist society, and to adopt as its means the economic or political organization of the proletariat. By its purpose, its ideal, by the means it adopts, the Socialist Party, while pursuing the achievement of the immediate reforms claimed by the working class, is not a party of reform but a party of class war and revolution.

2 Those whom it returns to Parliament form a single group as compared with all the bourgeois political sects. The Socialist group in Parliament must refuse the Government all the resources which ensure the power of the bourgeoisie and its domination, must refuse, therefore, military credits, credits for colonial conquests, secret funds and the whole of the budget.

Even in exceptional circumstances, those returned cannot commit the Party without its consent.

In Parliament the Socialist group must dedicate itself to the defense and the extension of the political liberties and rights of the workers, to the pursuit and realization of reforms such as will improve the conditions of life and advance the struggle of the working class.

Deputies, like all other selected members, must hold themselves at the disposition of the Party, to serve its action in the country, its general propaganda for organizing the proletariat, and the final ends of socialism

[Articles 3 to 7 assert the authority of the Party over all its elected representatives and over the Party press, exacting from deputies a portion of their parliamentary salaries and obedience to a mandat impératif-i.e., to prior instructions given to deputies by the Party organization. The statement also proposes a Congress of Unity to be held as soon as possible.]

From David Thomson, ed., France: Empire and Republic, 1850­1940 (New York Harper & Row, 1968), pp. 283­284.

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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997