Decisions for France Even though a relative calm reigns in
France today everything points to a major crisis in 1948. The financial measures proposed by M. Ren6 Mayer are certainly more drastic than any others which have been tried since the war. To impose a poll tax on those citizens who live without working, to risk a rise in the prices of industrial products in order to redress the balance between them and the scandalously inflated agricultural prices, and, above all, to clap a special levy on profits made out of inflation, knowing that it is bound to strike hardest at farmers, requires great political courage. The very fact that the Government is wining to take such steps makes the Gaullist insistence on an early general election look extremely peculiar. What has happened to France when the professional politicians want to get on with the work and the followers of General de Gaulle want to play politics ? The fact is that after thirty years of steady inflation France must now call a halt before the galloping stage is reached, and if the present Government is willing to take a firm line it deserves support from all men of good will. The chances of its obtaining Communist support grow smaller every day, par- ticularly now that even the industrial link between Communists and non-Communists has been broken by the split in the C.G.T. Now that the Force Ouvriere, consisting of trade unionists who are opposed to Communist domination of the C.G.T., has decided to join up with the independent unions already outside that body, the position of the Communist Party has been clearly defined. Having been deprived of political allies by the hreak with the Socialists in the summer, it has now been deprived of industrial allies by the secession of Force Ouvriere. It is difficult to see how the policy of strikes and sabotage can be pursued without a further reduction in the size of the party. And if M. Schuman's Government scores any success at all with its financial policy that reduction will be accelerated. But it is doubtful whether success can now be assured by anithing short of a drastic deflation, and it is almost certain that the present Govern- ment is neither strong enough nor determined enough to risk that.