Les jeunesses socialistes dans l’entre-deux-guerres

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Extrait de Les jeunesses socialistes dans l’entre-deux-guerres
Christian Delporte, Le Mouvement social, No. 157 (Oct. – Dec., 1991), pp. 33-66

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Abstract

Des premieres tentatives de constitution (les annees 1890) aux lendemains de la Grande Guerre, l’histoire des Jeunesses avait ete marquee par la fragilite, la dissension interne, la mefiance des aines; celle des J.S. dans l’entre-deux-guerres ne rompit point avec ces caracteristiques. En juillet 1920, avant meme le congres de Tours, les Jeunesses eclaterent, l’immense majorite des mandataires se portant sur la resolution communiste. Des lors, pour les jeunes restes fideles a la S.F.I.O., commenca une periode fort difficile: leurs effectifs se reduisirent bientot a quelques centaines de militants. Aussi, en 1924, le Parti se decida-t-il a reorganiser les Jeunesses. Le mouvement qui naquit en 1925, strictement controle par les adultes, voyait ses objectifs limites a l’education socialiste et a la prise en charge des loisirs de la jeunesse. Les amenagements de ses statuts, en 1928, suscites par des discussions interieures, n’y changerent rien: les J.S. ne disposaient d’aucune autonomie. De 1928 a 1933, ces dernieres respecterent les taches que leur avait confiees la S.F.I.O.: education socialiste, loisirs ouvriers, action culturelle, propagande, mais aussi service d’ordre du Parti (Jeunes gardes socialistes). Sur le terrain, les Jeunesses se heurtaient a la rude concurrence des Jeunesses communistes. Mais la periode qui suivit — celle de la construction du Front populaire — mit en evidence le caractere trop limite des objectifs, suscita de vives discussions politiques, reactiva le debat autour de l’autonomie (les J.S. compterent bientot 55 000 membres). Les Jeunesses etaient gagnees, peu a peu, par de forts courants d’extreme-gauche. La S.F.I.O. confia alors a Chochoy la reprise en mains des J.S.: les exclusions se succederent. Le mouvement s’affaiblit vite, mais le Parti, qui n’avait jamais reellement accorde sa confiance a son groupement de jeunesse, resta ferme sur son refus de l’autonomie interne des J.S.

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From the first attempts to establish itself (the 1890’s) to the post World War I period, the history of the Socialist Youth Movement was marked by weakness, internal conflict and distrust of the older ones; the history of Socialist Youth did not break with such features in the interwar years. Even before the Tours congress, in July 1920, the Youth Movement broke up as the huge majority of its representatives focused on the communist resolution. From then on began a very difficult period for the younger members who had remained loyal to the S.F.I.O.: soon after, their numbers were reduced to about a hundred militants. In addition, in 1924, the Party decided to reorganize the Youth Movement. The Movement which sprang up in 1925 and which was strictly controlled by adults saw its aims limited to the socialist education of the youth and the supervision of their leisure activities. The internal discussions which had led to the adjustments of its statutes in 1928 did not alter anything: the Youth Movement did not gain any autonomy. From 1928 to 1933, the tasks which the S.F.I.O. had entrusted the Movement with were fully respected: socialist education, cheap leisure activities, cultural organisations, propaganda, and also the Party’s security service (Young socialist guards). In the field, the Youth Movement confronted stiff competition from the Communist Youth. However, the period which followed — the one which saw the construction of the Popular Front — brought out the highly limited nature of the Movement’s objectives and led to sharp political discussions, triggering off once again the debate over the question of autonomy (the Youth Movement was soon to have 55 000 members). The Youth Movement was gradually won over by strong waves from the extreme Left. It was then that the S.F.I.O. entrusted Chochoy with the task of supervising the Youth Movement: successive exclusions followed. The movement was soon weakened but the Party remained firm on its decision to refuse on internal autonomy of its youth organization.

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