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Ian Birchall

Paris back to normal – on the surface

(August 1968)

From Socialist Worker, No. 86, August 1968, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

TO A TOURIST EYE, Paris in late July was back to normal. The Folies Bergères – where the strike was one of the longest – is open again and the cobblestones of the Latin Quarter are being covered over with asphalt.

There is no obvious repression. Every bookstall is covered with books on the May events- The only shop we found that did not have a single book about May in its windows was the official Communist Party bookshop, which was concentrating on holidays in Rumania.

The satirical paper Canard Enchaine continued its anti-Gaullist [line of text missing] Action and Lutte Ouvrière are sold on the streets of the Latin Quarter, despite the occasional seizure and arrest of sellers.

But behind this is a more sombre aspect. The banned groups proclaim their continued existence in slogans on the walls of the Underground. Plain-clothes policemen, carrying guns, follow suspicious elements.

The attitude of the Gaullist regime is quite clearly to act, not against freedom of ideas – which, with the word “Revolution” painted on every [line of text missing] tionary party a little sooner than some members of the libertarian left.

The general opinion of French comrades is that there is a long struggle ahead. There will not be a repetition of the May events in October, although it is possible that the universities will not be reopened as it will be impossible to prevent them being occupied by students.

In the factories a long struggle is developing. At the moment the crucial issue is overtime working to make up for the time during the strike.

[line of text missing] strike, hitherto almost unknown in France, is becoming more widespread, and there may be a wave of them in the autumn.

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