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Front page of L'Humanité on 25 February 2010. Commenting on the Greek government-debt crisis, the headline reads "Greece does not want to pay the rich people's bills".
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Berliner
Editor Patrick Le Hyaric
Founded1904;115 years ago (1904)
Political alignment Left-wing
Headquarters Paris
Website www.humanite.fr

L'Humanité (pronounced  [lymaniˈte] , "Humanity"), is a French daily newspaper. It was an organ of the French Communist Party, and maintains links to the party. Its slogan is "In an ideal world, L'Humanité would not exist." [1]

French Communist Party left-wing political party in France which advocates the principles of communism

The French Communist Party is a communist party in France.


History and profile

Pre-World War II

L'Humanité was founded in 1904 [2] [3] by Jean Jaurès, a leader of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). [1] [4] Jaurès also edited the paper until his assassination on 31 July 1914. [5]

Jean Jaurès French / Occitan Socialist leader

Auguste Marie Joseph Jean Léon Jaurès, commonly referred to as Jean Jaurès, was a French Socialist leader. Initially a moderate republican, he was later one of the first social democrats, becoming the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. The two parties merged in 1905 in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). An antimilitarist, Jaurès was assassinated at the outbreak of World War I, and remains one of the main historical figures of the French Left.

French Section of the Workers International political party

The French Section of the Workers' International was a French socialist party founded in 1905 and replaced in 1969 by the current Socialist Party (PS). It was created during the 1905 Globe Congress in Paris as a merger between the French Socialist Party and the Socialist Party of France in order to create the French section of the Second International, designated as the party of the workers' movement.

When the Socialists split at the 1920 Tours Congress, the Communists took control of L'Humanité. Therefore, it became a communist paper despite its socialist origin. [6] The PCF has published it ever since. The PCF owns 40 per cent of the paper with the remaining shares held by staff, readers and "friends" of the paper. The paper is also sustained by the annual Fête de l'Humanité, held in the working class suburbs of Paris, at Le Bourget, near Aubervilliers, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in the country.

The Tours Congress was the 18th National Congress of the French Section of the Workers' International, or SFIO, which took place in Tours on 25–30 December 1920. During the Congress, the majority voted to join the communist Third International and create the French Section of the Communist International, which became the French Communist Party in 1921.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Le Bourget Commune in Île-de-France, France

Le Bourget is a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 10.6 km (6.6 mi) from the center of Paris.

The fortunes of L'Humanité have fluctuated with those of the PCF. During the 1920s, when the PCF was politically isolated, it was kept in existence only by donations from Party members.

Louis Aragon started to write for L'Humanité in 1933, in the "news in brief" section. He later led Les Lettres françaises, the paper's weekly literary supplement. With the formation of the Popular Front in 1936, L'Humanité 's circulation and status increased, and many leading French intellectuals wrote for it. L'Humanité was banned during World War II but published clandestinely until liberation of Paris from German occupation.

Louis Aragon French poet, novelist and editor

Louis Aragon was a French poet, who was one of the leading voices of the surrealist movement in France, who co-founded with André Breton and Philippe Soupault the surrealist review Littérature. He was also a novelist and editor, a long-time member of the Communist Party and a member of the Académie Goncourt.

The Popular Front was an alliance of left-wing movements, including the communist French Section of the Communist International, the socialist French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and the progressive Radical-Socialist Republican Party, during the interwar period. Three months after the victory of the Frente Popular in Spain, the Popular Front won the May 1936 legislative elections, leading to the formation of a government first headed by SFIO leader Léon Blum and exclusively composed of republican and SFIO ministers.

Liberation of Paris military action that took place during World War II

The Liberation of Paris was a military battle that took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the German garrison surrendered the French capital on 25 August 1944. Paris had been ruled by Nazi Germany since the signing of the Second Compiègne Armistice on 22 June 1940, after which the Wehrmacht occupied northern and western France.

After World War II

The paper's status was highest in the years after World War II, when the PCF was the dominant party of the French left and L'Humanité enjoyed a large circulation. Since the 1980s, however, the PCF has been in decline, mostly due to the rise of the Socialist Party, which took over large sections of PCF support, and circulation and economic viability of L'Humanité have declined as well.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Socialist Party (France) French political party (1969– )

The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and was, for decades, the largest party of the French centre-left. The PS used to be one of the two major political parties in the French Fifth Republic, along with the Republicans. The Socialist Party replaced the earlier French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) in 1969, and is currently led by First Secretary Olivier Faure. The PS is a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Socialist International (SI) and the Progressive Alliance.

Until 1990 the PCF and L'Humanité received regular subsidies from the Soviet Union. According to the French authors Victor Loupan and Pierre Lorrain (fr), L'Humanité received free newsprint from Soviet sources.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Post-Soviet Union

The fall of the Soviet Union and the continued decline of the PCF's electoral base produced a crisis for L'Humanité. Its circulation, more than 500,000 after the war, slumped to under 70,000. In 2001, after a decade of financial decline, the PCF sold 20 per cent of the paper to a group of private investors led by the TV channel TF1 (part of the Bouygues group) and including Hachette (Lagardère Group). TF1 said its motive was "maintenance of media diversity." Despite the irony of a communist newspaper being rescued by private capital, some of which supported right-wing politics, L'Humanité director Patrick Le Hyaric described the sale as "a matter of life or death."

There has been speculation since 2001 that L'Humanité would cease as a daily newspaper. But in contrast to most French newspapers, its publication increased to about 75,000.

After 2001

In 2006, the paper created a weekly edition, L’Humanité Dimanche . The same year L'Humanité had a circulation of 52,800 copies. [1] In 2008, it sold its headquarters due to financial problems and called for donations. More than €2 million had been donated by the end of 2008.

Fête de l'Humanité

The newspaper organises the annual Fête de l'Humanité festival as a fundraising event.

See also

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French Left

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  1. 1 2 3 "The press in France". BBC. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  2. John Tebbel (2003). "Print Media. France". Encyclopedia Americana. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  3. "Historical development of the media in France" (PDF). McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. Cathie Burton; Alun Drake (2004). Hitting the Headlines in Europe: A Country-by-country Guide to Effective Media Relations. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 118. ISBN   978-0-7494-4226-2 . Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  5. Raphael Levy (January 1929). "The Daily Press in France". The Modern Language Journal. 13 (4). doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.1929.tb01247.x. JSTOR   315897.
  6. Alex Hughes; Keith Reader (1998). Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture. London: Routledge. p. 287. Retrieved 23 November 2014.  via Questia (subscription required)

Further reading