Cold War, Surveillance State, Renault Strikes, Decolonization


In 1947, The Monnet Plan was introduced in France to reinvigorate the economy, which was still feeble after World War II. Its high demands of factory workers soon led to strikes, which quickly gained the support of the French Communist Party. Concurrently, the French government was rapidly decolonizing Madagascar. Newly independent Africans found themselves financially strained in the wake of decolonization and were enticed to immigrate to France in the hopes of attaining economic freedom and citizenship in exchange for labor. These laborers, who were employed by the stricken factories, also garnered the support of the PCF, much to the dismay of the Labor Party and the Rally of the French People. While negotiations ended the strikes, the surveillance state instituted to monitor French-African immigrants perpetuated the class divides, xenophobia, and racism that grew out of the original resistance to The Monnet Plan. Thus the complex power and class dynamics that dominated the French Cold War also played a key role in its creation, as the total submission to the nation via the surveillance state came about as a result of much earlier fears of Blackness, immigration, and migrant labor.