A case study of a modern political party, this book explores the strengths and weaknesses of the French Socialist party—its history, ideology, organization, and constituency—as well as the reasons the party has remained a viable force in the French political system for over seventy years. The authors explain the party's past and present role in French politics, and in the process interpret the major changes in French political affairs during the past several decades. They examine the crisis of identity that occurred for the French Socialists in the 1960s—the result of a massive Gaullist majority—and the party's subsequent reappraisal of its role, changed pattern of conduct, ideological compromise, and finally reemergence as a significant force in the French political scene of the 1970s. The concluding chapter compares the French Socialist party with some of its counterparts in other European states. Here the authors discuss perceptively the tendency of European Socialist parties to merge into larger units and to weaken their ideologies in order to attract large numbers of voters.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Introduction -- Party Background -- Historical Background -- The Ideology of Democratic Socialism -- Party Organization -- The SFIO in and out of Government -- The SFIO and Domestic Issues in the Fourth Republic -- The SFIO and International Policies in the Fourth Republic -- The SFIO and the New Republic -- Toward Revitalization -- In Quest of Realignment and Redefinition -- The New Socialist Party: Its Problems and Prospects -- Comparisons and Perspectives