Neosocialism

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Neosocialism was the name of a political faction that existed in France during the 1930s and in Belgium around the same time and which included several revisionist tendencies in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). Step by step, the fraction distanced it self from revolutionary Marxism and reformist socialism, instead advocating a "constructive revolution", or revolution from above. Neosocialists came to oppose the majority of the socialists in France National Assembly and the faction was expelled from SFIO.

Originally linked to fascist politics in France, neosocialists expressed admiration for Italian fascism. This ideological orientation later emerged in a newly formed party, the Neosocialist Party, which advocated authoritarianism and antisemitic policies as well as intimate cooperation with the Nazis.

History[edit]

In the wake of the Great Depression, a group of right-wing members, led by Henri de Man in Belgium (the founder of the ideology of planisme, i.e. planism meaning economic planning) and in France by Marcel Déat, Pierre Renaudel, René Belin, the "neo-Turks" of the Radical-Socialist Party (Pierre Mendès-France), opposed themselves to both gradual reformism and the idea of a Marxist-inspired popular revolution. Instead, influenced by Henri de Man's planism, they promoted a "constructive revolution" headed by the state and technocrats which would institute planification—the establishment of a technocratic planned economy. Such ideas also influenced the non-conformist movement on the French right.

Marcel Déat published in 1930 Perspectives socialistes (Socialist Perspectives), a revisionist work closely influenced by Henri de Man's planism. Along with over a hundred articles written in La vie socialiste (The Socialist Life), the review of the SFIO's right-wing, Perspective socialistes marked the shift of Déat from classical socialism to neosocialism. Déat replaced class struggle with class collaboration and national solidarity, advocated corporatism as a model of social organisation, replaced the notion of "socialism" with "anti-capitalism" and supported a technocratic state which would plan the economy and in which parliamentarism would be replaced by political technocracy.[1]

The neosocialist faction inside of the SFIO, which included Marcel Déat and Pierre Renaudel, were expelled during the November 1933 Congress because of their revisionist stances and admiration for Italian fascism. The neosocialists advocated alliances with the middle classes and favoured making compromises with the "bourgeois" Radical-Socialist Party to enact the SFIO's program one issue at a time. After having been expelled from the SFIO, Marcel Déat and his followers created the Socialist Party of France – Jean Jaurès Union (1933–1935) which was one of the main expression of neosocialism in France. Inside the General Confederation of Labour trade union, neosocialism was represented by René Belin's Syndicats (then Redressements)'s faction.[citation needed]

On the other hand, Henri de Man's planism influenced the left-wing of the Radical Party, called "Young Turks" (among them Pierre Mendès-France). Planisme would later influence dirigism (dirigisme), the postwar semi-planned economy, regionalism, spatial planning as well as Mendesism, "left-wing Gaullism" (Louis Vallon) and socialist clubs in the 1960s (Club Jean Moulin).[citation needed]

The neosocialists eventually evolved toward a form of participatory and national socialism which led them to join with the reactionary right and support the collaborationist Vichy Regime during the Second World War (René Belin and Marcel Déat became members of the Vichy government). As a result, Déat's neosocialism was discredited in France after the war.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zeev Sternhell (1987). "Les convergences fascistes". In Pascal Ory. Nouvelle histoire des idées politiques (in French). Pluriel Hachette. pp. 533–564. ISBN 2-01-010906-6. 

Further reading[edit]