Rise of the Communist Party

The 1920 Christmas-time congress of the Socialist Party at Tours splits with the majority setting up the French Section of the Communist International

Nationalism, Reparations, Imperialism, Socialist split, Communist Party, Class against Class to Popular Front – in progress

Rue Carducci

Arrondissement 19

Number 3

A view of the building where Albert Treint was living when he was expelled from the PCF in 1928

Albert Treint, one of the first leaders of the French Communists, was living here in Belleville with his wife and son when he was expelled from the PCF (French Communist Party) for supporting the Left Opposition to Stalin on 31 January 1928.

Albert Treint, one of the first leaders of the French Communists, was living here in Belleville with his wife and son when he was expelled from the PCF (French Communist Party) for supporting the Left Opposition to Stalin on 31 January 1928.


Rue Ramponeau

Arrondissement: 20

Number 40-42, 51

The school where Albert Treint taught in 1919-1921 before being fired for his active role in the formation of the French Communist Party

It’s a big haul walking up from the boulevard de Belleville to the Boys’ Elementary School (now mixed) where Albert Treint taught from 1919 to September 1921. He was then dismissed for his political activities as a leader of the new French Communist Party.

His victimisation was revoked in 1936 when Jean Zay became Minister of Education in the Popular Front government. Three years later, however, Treint was dismissed again when the Daladier government passed a law interning all those considered a threat to the security of the state.

The last barricade of the Commune was taken by the Versaillais army at 1 pm on May 28 1871

Hazan (IOP) quotes the Communard historian Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray as writing that the last of the 1871 Commune barricades to hold out on May 28 1871 was across the Rue Ramponeau at numbers 40-42, rising above the Rue de Belleville (then Rue de Paris), and within a kilometre of the Père-Lachaise cemetery where the last Communards were gunned down.

The entrance to rue Ramponeau from the Belleville Boulevard photographed in 1900

Paris Revolutionnaire


Communism as an international struggle for freedom. This 1951 socialist realist painting by Boris Taslitkzy shows French dockers fighting to stop arms going to French Indochina

What is shared between those who define themselves or are defined by others as ‘communist’? And how may ‘Communism’ be distinguished both from French anarchism and French socialism, with which it shared much common history and ground?

Babeuf was guillotined on 27 May 1797 as leader of the Conspiracy of Equals against the Directorate

Manifesto of Equals

The 1795 Paris revolutionary ‘Manifesto of Equals’ inspired by François-Noel Babeuf and rescued from oblivion by Philippe Buonarroti (1761-1837) summarised what remained (and remains) common to nearly all those who described themselves as communist across the following two hundred and some years:

We need not only that equality of rights written into the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen; we want it in our midst, under the roofs of our houses… We lean towards something more sublime and more just: the common good or the community of property! No more individual property in land: the land belongs to no one. We demand, we want, the common enjoyment of the fruits of the land: the fruits belong to all.

We declare that we can no longer put up with the fact that the great majority work and sweat for the smallest of minorities. Long enough, and for too long, less than a million individuals have disposed of that which belongs to 20 million of their kind, their equals.

Let it at last end, this great scandal that our descendants will never believe existed! Disappear at last, revolting distinctions between rich and poor, great and small, masters and servants, rulers and ruled.’

After agreeing to this general statement of belief, communists had much more to disagree with each other upon.  

We have divided the considerable history of Communism in France into five periods:

Communism 1830-1917

For nearly 80 years before the redefining of communism with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the 1920 formation of the…

Communism 1918-1938

The Communist (Third) International was formed in Russia in 1919. The Soviet Communist Party directly dictated French Communist Party policy from…

Communism 1939-1947

From the shock of the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin to holding ministries in the French government from 1945…

Communism 1978-to date

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the end of the Soviet Union, changes to its traditional working class constituency…