Gustave Hervé (1871–1944) at the Extremes of the French Third Republic
Chapter 24 The Syndicats Unionistes and the Milice Socialiste National
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The P.S.N. itself had only an ephemeral existence after 1929. However, before the effects of the world economic crisis hit France and probably related to the failure of the P.S.N. to attract workers for the 1928 electoral campaign, La Victoire initiated a xenophobic union group called the Syndicats Unionistes. In late 1929 and early 1930 after the migration to La Victoire of several prominent former Communists, Hervé supported a new union movement in the hope of recruiting workers to his ideas. Using the xenophobic slogan “Les travailleurs français, d’abord,” the unions demanded the closing of France’s borders to new immigrants, employment restrictions on foreign workers, and preferential treatment for French workers. This was a bit ironic because after the war foreign laborers had been welcomed to help make up the wartime demographic losses and eventually to help offset les classes creuses.1 “After the war, immigration did not provoke widespread concern in French society … By the 1930s, however, the entire political spectrum became permeated with varying degrees of xenophobia.”2 Still, it is important to note that by 1931 France had 3.1 million foreigners living within its borders.3 The Syndicats Unionistes duplicated the social program of the P.S.N. in several ways. These unions recruited workers who favored social peace and could be mobilized for Hervé’s crusade for constitutional revision. The unions hoped to attract owners who sought access to “stable, moral, and patriotic workers.” The Syndicats Unionistes assumed that social justice was ← 727 | 728 → compatible with...
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