France's Communist Party has chosen to risk destroying its strong prospect of getting into the next French government rather than make major sacrifices on ideology.
Friday's decision to temporaily suspend political cooperation with the larger Socialist Party implies that the Communists have turned away from the tempting vision of a leftist electoral victory next March and an immediate share of power. Instead they have evidently chosen a long-term strategy based on a return to more rigid Marxist doctrine.
If confirmed by a clear break with the Socialist the decision will have major consequences on efforts to develop a distinct and more democratic Western European brand of communism, generally known as Euro-communism.
A final rupture would undermine the compromise strategies of the Communist parties in Italy and Spain to form coalitions with non-Marxist political and social forces.It would also reinforce the position of Portugal's Socialist prime minister, Mario Soarcs, who has refused cooperation with his country's hardline Communist Party.
The consequence for France will, of course, be even more dramatic. The first step in a long-term bid by the Communists to regain their once dominant position on the French left will necessarily be an all-out effort to destroy the Socialists politically.
Moreover, the splitting of the left revives President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's quasi-covert hopes of forming a centrist-social democratic type of government for France. If the Socialists run alore and emerge as the largest single party in the National Assembly next March, the pressures on Giscard and Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand to make a deal that excludes the Communists and Gaullists from power will be intense.
All of this has not yet happened. The Communists Socialists and the minor party of left Radicals who have [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]