French Stalinists Join the Bandwagon of Anti-Migrant Demagoguery


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 24.09.2019,




Our movement has always emphasized that Stalinism is essentially a nationalist trend which contains social-chauvinism as part of its political DNA. This thesis has been confirmed once more by a statement of Fabien Roussel during a TV interview for France 3 Nord on 23 September. Roussel is the National Secretary of the French Communist Party (PCF) since November 2018 and a member of the French parliament. The PCF is not only the historic party of Stalinism in France but also a key member of the Party of the European Left (PEL) – an alliance of social democratized (ex-)Stalinist parties in Europe to which, among others, the German Linkspartei as well as SYRIZA in Greece belong. [1]


In his interview, Roussel said that: "Let's talk about immigration! I want to stop this immigration organized by the liberal treaties of Brussels which puts the wage earners, the workers in competition with each other. Let's talk about that! Let's talk about figures." [2]


This is the classic language of anti-migrant racism which is usually employed by Le Pen, Salvini and Strache. As one can see, Roussel does not limit himself to denounce so-called “illegal immigration” – a standard theme among bourgeois politicians and trade union bureaucrats – but he also opposes legal immigration as it takes place under the EU treaties! Basically, the leader of the Stalinist party thinks that “there are too many foreigners in our country” – the core idea of classic racism.


As a matter of fact, migration has always existed – in the epoch of capitalism as well as before. The task of authentic communists – in contrast to such social-chauvinist caricatures of “communism” like the PCF/PEL – is to fight against the criminalization and discrimination of migrants, for open borders and for full equality in terms of wages, citizenship rights access to social and health service, use of native language in education etc. This is the way how to fight the bosses’ attempts to create competition between domestic and migrant workers! [3]


It would be wrong to imagine that the racist burp of Roussel is a gaffe. It fact, this is Stalinism as it lives and breathes! The PCF itself has a historic tradition of anti-migrant chauvinism. In December 1980, the PCF mayor of Vitry, a suburb of Paris, led a gang of 60 party members and supporters in a “direct action” to stop 300 immigrants from Mali being rehoused in Vitry. The gang turned off water, gas and electricity, and used a bulldozer to smash up the hostel. Then on the weekend of 10-11 January 1981, a big anti-immigration demonstration was organised in Vitry to support the mayor's action and the Party's immigration policy. Over 10,000 people attended. One of them was Georges Marchais, the General Secretary of the PCF. This anti-migrant policy was repeated by other PCF mayors. [4]


There are numerous other examples of Stalinist chauvinism – inside and outside the Party of the European Left. We limit ourselves to refer only to two recent examples about which we have dealt in our publications. The Greek KKE recently made a public commitment to “annihilate any foreign intruder who dares to attack Greece” and to “defend the sovereign rights of Greece” against Turkey as well as against the Macedonian people. [5] Another outrageous example is the Stalinists’ long-standing support for Serbia’s claim to occupy and colonialize the people in Kosova. [6] In all these cases, the Stalinists combine a platonic commitment to “Marxism” and “internationalism” with a very concrete support for their capitalist chauvinism against migrants.


Other, far more horrific examples of Stalinist chauvinism have been the mass deportation of ethnic minorities like the Crimean Tatars and Chechens by Stalin’s regime in the 1940s (resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of people). An actual example is the barbarous mass incarceration of the Muslim Uyghurs by the Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship in China. [7]


The PCF/PEL policy on migration is is a breach with the principles of proletarian internationalism and communism. Marxists have always defended the fundamental democratic right of migrants to enter other countries without restrictions. These are the ideas for which Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky fought for in the past and which the RCIT defends today. [8] The Communist International summarized such an approach in its "Theses on the Eastern Question," adopted at its Fourth Congress in 1922.


"In view of the coming danger, the Communist Parties of the imperialist countries – America, Japan, Britain, Australia and Canada – must not merely issue propaganda against the war, but must do everything possible to eliminate the factors that disorganise the workers’ movement in their countries and make it easier for the capitalists to exploit national and racial antagonisms.


These factors are the immigration question and the question of cheap coloured labour.


Most of the coloured workers brought from China and India to work on the sugar plantations in the southern part of the Pacific are still recruited under the system of indentured labour. This fact has led to workers in the imperialist countries demanding the introduction of laws against immigration and coloured labour, both in America and Australia. These restrictive laws deepen the antagonism between coloured and white workers, which divides and weakens the unity of the workers’ movement.


The Communist Parties of America, Canada and Australia must conduct a vigorous campaign against restrictive immigration laws and must explain to the proletarian masses in these countries that such laws, by inflaming racial hatred, will rebound on them in the long run.


The capitalists are against restrictive laws in the interests of the free importation of cheap coloured labour and with it the lowering of the wages of white workers. The capitalists’ intention to take the offensive can be properly dealt with in only one way – the immigrant workers must join the ranks of the existing trade unions of white workers. Simultaneously, the demand must be raised that the coloured workers’ pay should be brought up to the same level as the white workers’ pay. Such a move on the part of the Communist Parties will expose the intentions of the capitalists and at the same time graphically demonstrate to the coloured workers that the international proletariat has no racial prejudice." [9]


This is the approach of Marxists! In contrast, the racist statement of the PCF leader is a splendid example of “Communists” who trample underfoot the very idea of anti-racism and internationalism. It demonstrates once more what the RCIT has emphasized again and again: one must not judge political forces by their self-proclaimed ideologies. Rather, one must judge any regime or political force by their deeds, by their concrete positions in the class struggles as they take place concretely. And here, we see that these “communists” join the bandwagon of racism!




[1] The RCIT has dealt critically with the “Party of the European Left” in numerous publications; see e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective (Part 3 and 4), RCIT Books, Vienna 2019, pp. 270-275,; The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, pp. 337-340,

[2] « Parlons-en de l'immigration! Je suis pour stopper cette immigration organisée par les traités libéraux de Bruxelles qui met les salariés, les ouvriers en concurrence entre eux. Parlons de ça! Parlons chiffres ! »,; see also Le n°1 du PCF souhaite stopper l'«immigration organisée par les traités libéraux de Bruxelles», 23 sept. 2019,

[3] A summary of the RCIT’s position on migration and our program of revolutionary equality can be read in chapter XXII (“Revolutionary Defeatism and the Struggle for Full Equality of Migrants”) of the above mentioned book Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry.

[4] See on this e.g. Kenan Malik: Aping populist attacks on migrants is not a winning strategy for the left, 11 March 2018,; David Labica: Quand le PCF chassait les immigrés à Vitry et Montigny, 11.05.2019,; Jacques Derogy: 1981 - Racisme: le bulldozer du P.C., publié le 03/07/2018,; AWL: When the "Morning Star" Backed Racist Gangsters, 9 May 2017,

[5] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Stalinist Chauvinism: The Example of the Greek KKE. Is “Defending the Sovereign Rights of Greece” against Turkey and Macedonia Legitimate? Marxist Internationalism versus Bourgeois Social-Chauvinism, 12 November 2018,

[6] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Stalinists Support Serbian Expansionism against Kosovo Albanians. Another Example of the Flirt of Stalinist Parties with the Plague of Arch-Reactionary Chauvinism, 13 December 2018,

[7] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: 37 Signatures Are Worth a Thousand Words. On a letter of 37 states, including Muslim countries, sent to the United Nations defending China's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, 16 July 2019,; Michael Pröbsting: China: Defend the Muslim Uyghurs against Oppression! 18.10.2018,

[8] For a more detailed discussion of the issue of immigration control see the following articles of the author of these lines: Patriotic “Anti-Capitalism” for Fools. Yet Again on the CWG/LCC’s Support for “Workers’” Immigration Control and Protectionism in the US, 30.5.2017,; The Slogan of “Workers’” Immigration Control: A Concession to Social-Chauvinism, 27.3.2017,; A Social-Chauvinist Defence of the Indefensible. Another Reply to the CWG/LCC’s Support for “Workers’” Immigration Control, 14.5.2017,

[9] Communist International: Theses on the Eastern Question, Fourth Congress of the Communist International, December 1922, in: Jane Degras: The Communist International 1919-1943. Documents. Volume I 1919-1922, pp. 391-392,