a political current in the French workers’ movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, led by J. Guesde. During the 1880’s and early 1890’s the Guesdists, who formed the Workers’ Party, played an important role in propagandizing Marxism and establishing party organizations in the industrial centers of France. They fought against anarchism and the petit bourgeois opportunistic policies of the Possibilists. However, as early as the mid-1890’s they committed certain opportunistic errors in attempting to expand their first parliamentary successes. The sectarian position maintained by the Guesdists during the Dreyfus Affair and their lack of flexibility in working in the trade unions prevented them from unifying the majority of the French proletariat, despite the basically correct position they held in the struggle against Millerandism.
The Guesdists made up the nucleus of the Socialist Party of France between 1901 and 1905. In 1905 they joined the French United Socialist Party. In the years preceding World War I the majority of the Guesdists gradually shifted to a centrist position. A substantial proportion of the Guesdists and Guesde himself adopted a social chauvinistic position during the war. Others defended centrist views, while only a small group of left Guesdists maintained an internationalist position. In 1920, some left Guesdists, led by M. Cachin, played a prominent role in the establishment of the Communist Party of France. After World War I Guesdism ceased to exist as an independent political current in the French workers’ movement.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Krakh II Internatsionala.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26.
Dalin, V. M. “Bylo li gedistskoe napravlenie edinym K istorii raznoglasii mezhdu Lafargom i Gedom.” In his book Liudi i idei. Moscow, 1970.
Willard, C. Sotsialisticheskoe dvizhenie vo Frantsii, 1893-1905 (Gedisty). Moscow, 1969. (Translated from French.)
V. M. DALIN