The Basic Writings of Trotsky

By Leon Trotsky; Irving Howe | Go to book overview

21
The Popular Front in France

TRANSLATED BY HAROLD ISAACS AND JOHN G. WRIGHT from Whither France? ( 1936).

Parliamentary cretins who consider themselves connoisseurs of the people like to repeat: "One must not frighten the middle classes with revolution. They do not like extremes." In this general form this affirmation is absolutely false. Naturally, the petty proprietor prefers order so long as business is going well and so long as he hopes that tomorrow it will go better.

But when this hope is lost, he is easily enraged and is ready to give himself over to the most extreme measures. Otherwise, how could he have overthrown the democratic state and brought fascism to power in Italy and Germany? The despair-

____________________

[ Trotsky distinguished sharply between the united front, which he approved of on particular occasions, and the Popular Front, to which he was opposed in principle. Thus, he advocated a united front of the working-class parties in pre-HitlerGermany but attacked the French Popular Front in 1936.

As Trotsky saw it, the united front involved temporary cooperation be-

-267-

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