Cachin, Marcel

Cachin, Marcel

(märsĕl` käshăN`), 1869–1958, French Communist leader. An early leader of the Socialist party, he was instrumental in bringing many Socialists into the first French Communist party in 1920. Long the leader of the Communists in the chamber of deputies and editor of the Communist daily Humanité, he became the first Communist senator in 1935. He was expelled from his seat after the German-Soviet nonaggression pact in Aug., 1939, and was subsequently arrested. In 1945 he was elected to the national assembly, where he sat until his death.

Cachin, Marcel

 

Born Sept. 20, 1869, in Paimpol; died Feb. 12, 1958, in Paris. Figured in the French and international workers’ movement.

Cachin graduated from the University of Bordeaux, where he subsequently taught philosophy. In 1891, Cachin joined the Workers’ Party, led by J. Guesde and P. Lafargue, with whom he was personally acquainted. He headed the party organization in the department and edited the party newspaper, La Socialiste de la Gironde. He took part in the Amsterdam Congress of the Second International in 1904. Cachin was one of the leaders of the French Socialist Party (SFIO) from 1905 to 1920. He participated in the Stuttgart (1907) and Basel (1912) congresses of the Second International and was a supporter of the Marxist tendency in the French workers’ movement. On the death of P. Lafargue, Cachin became editor of the newspaper L’Humanité in 1912 and was the director of the newspaper from October 1918 until his death. He served as a parliamentary deputy from 1914, except for an interval in 1933-35.

Under the influence of the revolutionary movement in France and Russia, especially the Great October Socialist Revolution (he visited Russia in the spring of 1917 and the summer of 1920), Cachin moved to a communist position. He attended the Second Congress of the Third International in Moscow in 1920, where he frequently met with Lenin. Supporting the recognition of Soviet Russia in parliament and the press and opposing anti-Soviet intervention, Cachin remained to the end of his life a true friend of the USSR. He played a leading role in the establishment of the French Communist Party (PCF). After many months of struggle (under the leadership of Cachin) for the affiliation of the SFIO with the Comintern, the Tours Congress of the SFIO in December 1920 adopted by majority vote Cachin’s resolution to create a communist party. Cachin became a member of the Directing Committee, which functioned during the first three years of the existence of the PCF. He was then elected to the first Central Committee and Politburo of the PCF, of which he remained a member to the end of his life. He was repeatedly subjected to persecution and arrest.

From 1924 to 1943, Cachin was a member of the Executive Committee and later a member of the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. He participated in the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventh Congresses of the Comintern.

Cachin played a significant part in the organization of the Popular Front in France (1934-38). He defended republican Spain against the fascist insurgents and interventionists (1936-39) and supported the strengthening of friendship with the USSR on the basis of the Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance of 1935. During World War II (1939-45) and the occupation of France by fascist German troops (1940-44), Cachin took part in the Resistance, working in the underground. After the war, he warned the French people against the anti-Soviet policy of the reactionary forces and opposed France’s entry into NATO and other aggressive blocs. Cachin was a staunch fighter for peace and the security of peoples.

A true defender of the interests of the working people, a fighter for the cause of peace and democracy, a patriot and a proletarian internationalist, Cachin enjoyed great popularity among the peoples of France, the USSR, and other countries. He was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1957 for his many years of work for strengthening friendship between the peoples of the USSR and France.

WORKS

Écrits et portraits, recueillis par M. Hertzog-Cachin. Paris, 1964.
Marcel Cachin vous parle. Paris, 1959.
La Vie et les combats de Marcel Cachin. Paris, 1949.
In Russian translation:
Zamysly frantsuzskikh imperialistov protiv SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.
Frantsiia—organizator interventsii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Kompartiia Frantsii vysoko derzhit boevoe znamia kommunizma. Moscow, 1935.
“Moi vstrechi s Leninym.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1957, NO. 4.
Nauka i religiia. Moscow, 1958.

REFERENCES

Thorez, M. Marcel Cachin: La Lecon d’une vie. Paris, 1958.
Antiukhina-Moskovchenko, V. I. “Marcel Cachin—revoliutsioner leninskoi shkoly” (biographical essay). Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1970, NOS. 1, 2, 4.
Frevil’, ZH. Rozhdenie Frantsuzskoi kommunisticheskoipartii. Moscow, 1951. (Translated from French.)

V. I. ANTIUKHINA-MOSKOVCHENKO

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