Libmonster ID: MD-903
Author(s) of the publication: A. A. YAZKOVA

P. CONSTANTINESCU-JASI. Lupta pentru formarea Frontului popular in Romania. Bucuresti. 1968. 157 p.

In the Socialist Republic of Romania, a book by the well-known Romanian historian, academician Petre Constantinescu-Yash, about the struggle of the Romanian masses in the 1930s against the offensive of reaction and fascism, for the creation of the People's Anti-fascist Front, was recently published. The work of P. Constantinescu-Yash is full of rich factual material. The author made extensive use of the Romanian archives and the democratic press of Romania in the 1930s. The book contains interesting and new (even for the reader who is familiar with this issue) facts known to the author from his personal activities in the underground Communist Party and the legal anti-fascist organizations created by it (P. Constantinescu-Yash was a member of the Communist Party since 1921 and took part in the leadership of many of the democratic organizations of Romanian workers created in the 30s). The range of sources used by the author is much wider than in the works previously published by him on the same subject, the most significant of which was published in 1952.1

By setting out a general statement of the question of the importance of the Popular Front and its creation in a number of European countries, especially in France and Spain, the author shows that the idea of the Popular Anti-fascist Front also found favorable ground in Romania during the period under review. From the very beginning, the author emphasizes that the situation in the country and the underground conditions in which the Communist Party of Romania operated were largely responsible for the fact that unity of action of workers was implemented in Romania on a much more limited scale than in France or Spain (pp. 13-14).

Throughout the study, the author carefully traces the development and forms of the struggle of the Romanian workers in the 1930s, paying special attention to the struggle for the unity of the working class. "Even in Romania," he writes, "the formation of the Popular Front was preceded by actions aimed at creating a united workers' front, around which a broad concentration of democratic forces was to be created " (p.14). The need to establish unity of action of the working class was mentioned in the decisions of a number of plenums of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, beginning with the July plenum of 1933. The book contains numerous examples of practical proposals for unity of action that the Communist Party of Romania addressed to the socialist parties (in the 1930s, there were three socialist parties in Romania: the Social Democratic Party, the Independent Socialist Party, and the Socialist Party). The book also covers in detail the activities of the Communist Party to create mass legal organizations, which became particularly important in Romania, where the Communist Party worked underground. Among these organizations, the author mentions the "League of Labor", which was active in 1933-1934, and the "League of Struggle against Prejudice and Superstition", which carried out a systematic struggle against corruption.-

1 P. Constatinescu-Jasi. Organizatii de massa legale conduse de P. C. R. in anii 1932 - 1938. Bucuresti. 1952.

page 172

tiv ideology of the advancing fascism, the society "Friends of the USSR" and others. He notes the significant work on the creation of the Popular Anti-fascist Front, which was carried out in the mid-30s by three of the most popular organizations of Romanian workers, created in direct contact with the Communist Party: the Democratic Bloc, the Front of Farmers and MADOS (Union of Hungarian Workers). The author dwells in detail on the stages of the creation of these organizations and shows that they were headed by advanced representatives of workers, peasants, and labor intelligentsia who held anti-fascist positions.

The year 1935 in Romania, as in a number of other countries, was a turning point in the struggle of the Communist Party for the creation of the Popular Anti-fascist Front. However, the author's distinction between the Communist Party's policy on this issue and the general policy of the Communist parties and the Comintern seems to us unjustified. In this regard, the author writes: "Even before the Communist International at its Seventh Congress clarified its position on the problem of the Popular Front, the Romanian Communist Party took the initiative to organize the Front, considering it an objective historical necessity arising from the evolution of the socio-political reality of our country" (p.26). With reference to the archive of the Institute of Historical and Socio-Political Studies under the Central Committee of the RCP, the author cites in support of this position the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation of February 1935, which states the need to create a broad Popular front in the country to fight against the offensive of fascism.

It is well known, however, that the turn towards the Popular Front policy was outlined in the world communist movement even before the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, which summed up and theoretically summarized the historical experience of the struggle of a number of European communist parties, primarily French, Spanish and German, against fascism. Beginning in 1933, the leadership of the Comintern adopted a number of documents aimed at rallying the working masses of the Communist parties in the struggle against fascism (the Appeal of the ECCI to the workers of all Countries on March 5, 1933, the materials of the preparatory commission of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, drawn up in July-August 1934, etc.) .2 Therefore, there was nothing surprising in It is clear that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation used in its resolution adopted in February 1935 the positive experience of the anti-fascist struggle of the world communist movement, as well as of the Romanian Communists themselves. The facts presented by the author show that the practical struggle for the creation of the Popular Front unfolded in Romania in the autumn of 1935 and was continued in the winter and spring of 1936.

The paper presents evidence (drawn by the author from the contemporary press and party documents) that the idea of creating a Popular Front was recognized as legitimate and part of the leadership of the Social Democratic Party of Romania and the left-bourgeois leaders of the National Tsaranist Party. However, while they were anti-communist, from the very beginning they opposed the participation in the Popular Front ("Democratic Front", according to the terminology of right - wing social-democratic leaders) of "various leagues and committees created recently" (p.32). It goes without saying that they strongly rejected the participation of the illegal Communist Party in this front. Thus, two fundamentally different directions of struggle against the offensive of reaction and fascism were formed in the country: the program put forward by the CPR on the basis of theoretical propositions developed by the world communist movement, the program of creating a genuine Popular Front with the participation of democratic organizations of workers led by the CPR, and the other, which included the idea of creating, first of all, a government coalition of left-bourgeois and reformist forces, without the participation of communists. The latter project was clearly unrealistic from the very beginning, due to the political weakness of both the Social Democrats and the left wing of the National Tsaranist Party. Nevertheless, its initiators consistently rejected the participation of mass democratic workers ' organizations in the Popular Front because of their links to the underground Communist Party.

The illegal situation of the CRC significantly hindered its activities, but it was not able to do so.

2 See B. M. Leibzon and K. K. Shirinya on this issue. The Turn in the Politics of the Comintern, M. 1965, pp. 50, 77-82; " The Communist International. A brief historical sketch", Moscow, 1969, pp. 351-352, 368-475.

page 173

Representatives were able to present their positions in the democratic press under pseudonyms. P. Constantinescu-Yash cites in his work excerpts from speeches made by L. Patrascanu, Z. Stancu, M. Constantinescu and other leaders of the party and youth communist organizations who pointed out the need to create a Popular Front. In the autumn of 1936, the Communist Party, through the legal democratic organizations in contact with it, took a number of practical steps to rally the democratic forces. However, the overwhelming majority of bourgeois parties were hostile to the idea of creating a Popular Front. In this regard, the author cites the statements of the conservative newspaper "Erosa", as well as the National Democratic Party's organ" Neamul rominesc", which argued that the formation of the Popular Front does not make sense, since there are" no fascists in Romania " (p.45). One of the leading leaders of the National Tsaranist Party, Ion Michalike, also officially spoke out against the creation of the Popular Front (p. 46). As for the right-wing leadership of the SDP, while continuing its divisive policy, it once again confirmed its position of not participating in any alliances with the Communist Party (p.49).

In the face of the offensive of reaction and fascism and the fragmentation of anti-fascist forces in the autumn of 1935 and winter of 1935/36, a number of steps were taken at the initiative of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to unite democratic organizations. In September 1935, an agreement on unity of action was concluded between the" Front of Farmers "and MADOS, which found a positive response outside Romania , 3 and in November - between representatives of the" Democratic Bloc " and the Socialist Party. In December, all four organizations united and concluded a unity of action agreement at a crowded peasant meeting, the so-called "Tebea Pact" (p.83). A little later, the "Democratic Student Front"also joined the agreement.

The Communist Party of Romania, based on the current situation, adopted in January 1936 a resolution "On the tasks of the Communist Party of Romania to mobilize the broad masses of the people to fight against the danger of fascism in Romania", which, as P. Constantinescu-Yash notes, "based "on an analysis of specific conditions and taking into account the decisions of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern, once again clarified the line communists in the struggle for the creation of the People's Anti-fascist Front "(pp. 95-96). The Communist Party took certain steps to unite the country's democratic forces and achieved some success in this direction (the victory of the left in partial parliamentary elections in Hunedoara and Mehedinc counties in February 1936, the organization of a mass anti-fascist demonstration on May 31, 1936). However, on a large scale, its struggle for the creation of the Popular Anti-Fascist Front was not crowned with success.

Analyzing the reasons for the defeat of the Romanian democratic forces in 1936-1937, P. Constantinescu-Yash points out a number of circumstances that prevented the implementation of their unity, and above all, the policy of repression on the part of the reactionary ruling circles, which acted in concert with the forces of advancing fascism. Under these circumstances, the leaders of the so-called "democratic" bourgeois parties, who rejected the Communist Party's proposals to create a broad Popular front, inflicted particularly heavy damage on the democratic forces. These proposals were also rejected by the right-wing leadership of the Social Democratic Party. Finally, one of the main reasons why the Popular Front was not established was, as the book notes, the lack of a mass legal communist party in Romania.

Some of the problems raised by the author of the peer-reviewed work are still waiting for further research. The balance of power in the arena of political struggle is not clearly defined. Unfortunately, the paper does not say much about the number of anti-fascist organizations, their influence among the masses, and the main enemy that opposed the democratic movement - the advancing fascism and its influence in various strata of Romanian society.

The book makes a valuable contribution to the study of the struggle of the Romanian people in the 1930s against the offensive of reaction and fascism. It is full of rich factual material, and it raises and resolves a number of issues that are essential for understanding the problem of the Popular Front as a whole.

3 "L'Humanite", 23.X.1935.


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A. A. YAZKOVA, Historical science abroad. Reviews: P. CONSTANTINESCU-YASH: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CREATION OF THE POPULAR FRONT IN ROMANIA // Chisinau: Library of Moldova (LIBRARY.MD). Updated: 11.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 17.07.2024).

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