The French campaign against the Rif War, or, the difficult process of learning Bolshevisation (1924-1926)

By Morgan Poggioli

When France joined Spain in its war against the Republic of the Rif in Morocco in 1925, the French communist movement launched a broad-based agitation campaign. This movement played on the themes of anti-militarism, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, serving as an opportunity to show a united front between the Communist Party, the CGTU and socialist and reformist organisations. It peaked with the general strike that started on 12 October 1925. This strike was the first large-scale application of the new principles of Bolshevisation for the galaxy of communist organisations. Recently-opened archives allow us to update our knowledge of the political and unionist aspects of this event. We will show that this movement, which was subject to internal debate about both its message and its actions, reveals the structural weakness of the young French Section of the Communist International and the difficulty of combining political party and trade union activities as advocated by the Third International.

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