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Between Justice and Politics: The Ligue des Droits de by William Irvine

By William Irvine

Among Justice and Politics is a historical past of the 1st fifty years of the Ligue des droits de l'Homme—the League of the Rights of guy. this can be the 1st book-length examine of the Ligue in any language, and it truly is proficient by way of the lately on hand information of the association. based through the Dreyfus Affair, the Ligue took as its mandate the protection of human rights in all their varieties. The relevant argument of this book—and the purpose on which it differs from all different writings at the subject—is that the Ligue frequently didn't stay as much as its mandate due to its simultaneous dedication to left-wing politics. by means of the past due Nineteen Thirties the Ligue used to be in disarray, and through the Forties a few its individuals opted to safeguard the Vichy regime of Marshal Petain.

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Extra resources for Between Justice and Politics: The Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, 1898-1945

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From the beginning there were those who had more faith in evolutionary reform than in revolution. This tendency became more pronounced after 1920 when some of the more revolutionary elements within the Socialists joined the fledgling Communist party. 16 Unlike the Radicals, the Socialists were not usually a party of government. It followed from the doctrine of the Second International that if capitalism could not be reformed from within, then Socialists had no business participating in bourgeois governments, as at least one of them had prior to 1905.

It was equally the case that some of the Socialist members of the League were not beyond a disquieting verbal radicalism. 48 This was a line that would be invoked incessantly in the years to come. But, rhetoric aside, it was also true that both the Socialists and the CGT were at that very time becoming more moderate and more reformist. Moreover, verbal flourishes aside, the position on civil servants and union activity adopted by the Central Committee was usually both cautious and sensible. Fifteen years later the Central Committee was confronted with the case of a worker in the tax collection service who was fired for circulating a letter from his union raising the possibility of job action, effectively obstructing the collection of taxes.

What accounted for the intensity and frequency of such assertions, however, was the fact that in most senses they were utterly untrue. The Dreyfus affair that brought the League into existence was, at least in its earliest stages, relatively nonpolitical. As late as the 1898 legislative elections, most politicians chose to ignore it. If Dreyfusards were more likely to be on the Left than on the Right, the Captain’s defenders as well as his antagonists could be found in all political camps. Yet from the beginning, most leaguers recognized that the League could not limit itself to the plight of Captain Dreyfus.

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