French Workers' Party

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French Workers' Party emblem, c.1880

The Parti Ouvrier Français (POF, or French Workers' Party) was the Socialist party in France, created in 1880 by Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue, Marx's son-in-law (famous for having written The Right to Be Lazy, which criticized labour's alienation). A revolutionary party, it had as aim to abolish capitalism and replace it with a socialist society.

The party originated with a secession from Federation of the Socialist Workers of France, founded 1879, after a split with Paul Brousse's possibilists. The Parti Ouvrier's programme, written by Guesde with input from Marx, Lafargue, and Friedrich Engels, was approved at the opening congress. The party became the POF in 1893. In 1902, it merged with the Blanquist Central Revolutionary Committee to form the Socialist Party of France, and finally merged in 1905 with Jean Jaurès' French Socialist Party to form the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). Marcel Cachin, who would lead the split in 1920 which led to the creation of the French Communist Party and edited L'Humanité newspaper, became a member of the POF in 1891.

The Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Loire and Allier were the principal bastions of POF electoral strength.

Principal members[edit]



  • WILLARD C., Le Mouvement socialiste en France, 1893-1905. Les guesdistes, Ed. sociales, 1965.
  • VERLHAC J., La formation de l’unité socialiste (1898-1905), L’Harmattan, 1997 (réed. d'un mémoire paru en 1947).

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