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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: September 2016

6 - “With Socialist Greetings”: The PSU, the Cedetim, and the Praxis of “International Solidarity”


This chapter will examine, first, the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU), a party founded during the Algerian War, and then, in much greater detail, the Cedetim, an association that emerged out of the PSU in 1965/67. The previous chapter on Partisans probed the constructive force of the Third World concept, but also the dynamics of cooperation, conflict, and appropriation between those seen as the representatives of the Third World and the New Radical Left. These questions now arise again, though at a different level: if Partisans had to confine itself to publishing texts, the activists in the PSU and the Cedetim were seeking possibilities of political action in the narrower sense. The focal point of the analysis therefore shifts from theory and texts to practical politics and its organization. This corresponds simultaneously with the trajectory of the Third World idea: so far, I have outlined how the concept was invented and institutionalized, semantically diversified, and politicized in the course of the 1960s. The account that follows focuses on the years 1968 to 1976, when the idea of a Third World was no longer new, but a self-evident notion that structured the political sphere of “international solidarity.” A look at the PSU and the Cedetim sheds light on the successes, difficulties, and ambivalences of this solidarity work.

The Party of the New Radical Left: The Parti Socialiste Unifié

The history of the PSU is often told as a story of tensions and paradoxes: the PSU never won more than 4 percent of the votes and never grew beyond 16,000 members. And yet the party had enormous intellectual reach. Its slogans influenced the entire French Left, in whose structural transformation between 1960 and 1974 the PSU played a central role. Many well-known intellectuals and politicians were involved in the PSU – among them Pierre Mendès France, Michel Rocard, Daniel Mayer, Edouard Depreux, Gilles Martinet, Claude Bourdet, Jack Lang, Arlette Laguiller, Alain Geismar; historians Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie; and anthropologist Emmanuel Terray. On one hand, the PSU aggregated large segments of the New Radical Left in a long-lived party with roots across the country, thus putting considerable pressure on the Parti Communiste Français (PCF) and the Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière (SFIO).

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