A mass revolutionary upsurge engulfed France in the mid-1930s in response to the worsening social conditions bred by the world capitalist depression. Armed with the lessons of earlier struggles, Leon Trotsky sought to equip working people there for the challenges they faced, including the growing threat of fascism.
Trotsky exposed the class-collaborationist policy of the Popular Front, whose Stalinist and social democratic misleaders subordinated workers' interest to a "progressive" section of the wealthy ruling minority. Drawing on the experiences of the October 1917 Russian revolution, he argued that while advancing broad mobilizations against the fascist gangs, workers and peasants needed to mount a struggle to take political power. Forging a disciplined, proletarian party capable of leading this struggle was the central task for the workers' vanguard, he explained.
These lessons are invaluable today, as working people resist the devastating consequences of the capitalist crisis and once again face the emergence of ultrarightist and fascist movements.