Since the mid-1960s, Western public opinion has focused on the issue of human rights violations in the Soviet bloc, which has been a matter for increasing concern. Growing Dissent in Eastern European countries and the CSCE process compelled the Left in Western Europe to face the contradictions and inconsistencies of the communist countries. This issue became a key topic in domestic political debate in France – a country of freedom by definition – where many Eastern European émigrés established themselves.
In this book, Dissent is used as a prism through which to study relations between the Parti Communiste and the Parti Socialiste in France, and Eastern European governments. The main focus is the political confrontation between the two main parties of the French Left – from the union de la gauche to their cohabitation in government in the early 1980s.
The study is based on wide-reaching research using primary archive documents, as well as press analyses and interviews, mainly in France and Italy, but also in the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain and the Netherlands. The book examines international relations, domestic policies and cultural history to paint a complex picture of the fight for leadership of the French Left during the 1970s.