True Gesture Politics in France

Friday 23rd  October 1936

The congress of Edouard Herriot’s Radical party in Biarritz, partner’s in Leon Blum’s Front Populaire coalition, was intended to send a warning shot across the bows of Blum for any inclination to move too far to the left. The political danger was real, but the event struggled to avoid descent into futility. In heated exchange the leader of the party’s left found himself defending the role of the Communist Party in the events of 1934 against the leader of the right wing. Even the presence of a Spanish militia man did not prevent the congress passing a resolution to avoid "ideological" crusades

Most embarrassing of all was the plan to manufacture a “Liberal” salute as a counterpoise to the Fascist salute, but, naturally, not all like it. It involved extending both hands above the head, which proved challenging for elderly and stouter delegates. It did not catch on.


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