Possibilists(redirected from Possibilism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
an opportunistic trend in the French workers’ movement from the 1880’s to the early 20th century that supported the idea of municipal socialism. At first the Possibilists, headed by P. Brousse and soon after by B. Malon, who later left the Possibilist group, constituted the reformist petit bourgeois wing of the Workers’ Party (Parti Ouvrier, founded 1879). They led the struggle against revolutionary Marxism and adhered to the “policy of possibilities” as formulated by Brousse (hence their name).
In 1882 the Possibilists succeeded in splitting the Workers’ Party between their own faction and the Guesdists. They then began to call themselves the Workers’ Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, and in 1883 they assumed the name of Federation of French Workers-Socialists. In the 1880’s the Possibilists attempted to gain leadership of the international workers’ movement, but most socialist organizations did not support them. As a result of this struggle, two parallel congresses were held in Paris in 1889: the International Socialist Congress of Marxists, which founded the Second International, and the Congress of Possibilists, who found themselves isolated. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Possibilists joined the French Socialist Party.