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PCF history on this as regards being retrograde is as old as the hills...before my time, and I am not young. As far as the narrative (which in this case is accurate), it boils down to Thorez and especially his wife (Vermeersch) who took the lead on social issues, and she (supported by Thorez) was dead set against birth control (bourgeois tool to turn working class women into whores, a not unreasonable claim when one recalls French society at the time, women from the countryside moving to cities to be secretaries, or maids, and be vulnerable to male employers unwanted but casually accepted by societies advances)...In this way, PCF under Thorez was very much against population control, seeing it as a bourgeois tool to keep working class population under control and thereby control the working class with greater ease. Morale of the story for me is that cults of personalities and assimilated are undesirable, as this was clearly what was at work in the party at the time, as evidenced by what happened once Thorez was no more.
Once Thorez was gone (dead before I was born, I think the coins were still minted from silver back then) things evolved quite quickly, and PCF support for birth control and abortion was immediate, and Vermeersch resigned from her leadership posts (but not from the party, which she never did). Openness to homosexual rights came much later, as it did for everyone, but the PCF was in this case well ahead of everyone.
As regards DCB of course, Georges Marchais had some very choice words for Mr Cohn-Bandit, way back in the beginning, along the lines that he wasn't real lefty, that once he grew up he'd turn out to defend the interests of his upper bourgeois family, and here as usual Marchais nailed it well before his time (as he did, in amusing ways sometimes, less amusing others, on a number of subjects, Afghanistan coming to mind..)
The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet.
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