Prelude to Revolution: May '68 in France

Socialism 2018

July 05, 2018

An explosion of student struggle in France May 1968 led to 10 million workers joining the largest general strike and factory occupation in history till then. For the first time in decades, the working class in a modern industrial country showed it could be a revolutionary force. What began as an anti-Vietnam War protest escalated into violent police riots against tens of thousands of students and young workers who exposed the government’s weakness and inspired trade unionists to strike and demonstrate in solidarity. The sponteneity of those weeks of strikes and occupations was no match for the conservatism of the only mass force on the left, the Communist Party, which derailed the struggle and betrayed French workers and students. This talk will explore the cultural, political and historical lessons of the upheaval that transformed the French and global left.


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