Paris May 1968
Source: The May Events Archive of Simon Fraser University;
Translated: by Mitchell Abidor.
In taking the risk of cutting itself off from the “working masses,” by resolutely breaking with the formal processions and protests of the democratic left, the student movement has jammed itself like a coin into the political institutions. Through street combat it has driven the Gaullist government to its first spectacular defeat. Though its determination it has shaken all of public opinion, and forced the unions to organize the mass demonstration and general strike that they had avoided up till then.
The apathy of the social forces, maintained by the reformist strategy of their organizations, is without a doubt one of the best guarantors of the regime at this time. They speak of integration into the consumer society while forgetting to say that the capacity of capitalism to integrate the workers is a function of the inability of the unions to arm them.
By exploding the ideological framework and traditional forms of struggle, the demonstrations in the Latin Quarter have revealed that the consumer society causes illusions solely for the good of a provisional calming of class violence. They revealed that the police bogeyman wasn’t a superman, but a vulnerable cop. They affirmed in practice that the bourgeoisie always needed reactionary violence for its survival and that in turn it called for REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE.
The May days allow us to glimpse the possibility of a profound political crisis in the regime. Taking inspiration from the students who have raised the red flag over their faculties and occupy offices, the workers at Renault-Rouen, Renault-Flins, of Nantes also occupy their factories and are sequestering their bosses. FROM THIS DAY FORWARD THE STUDENTS’ STRUGGLE IS NO LONGER A SIMPLE UNIVERSITY STRUGGLE, BUT THE FIRST MANIFESTATION OF A POLITICAL STRUGGLE OF ALL AGAINST THE GAULLIST REGIME AND ITS POLICE STATE.
While the 15,000 FIGHTERS AT THE BARRICADES bandage their wounds and catch their breath after a week of ceaseless mobilization , we see unfurling over the Sorbonne and the other faculties a wave of tasteful reformists, progressive Gaullists, understanding professors, serious students, crypto-Stalinists; in short, the whole gamut of recuperators who want their exams.
We didn’t fight to know what would be the most advantageous, effective or most favorable pedagogical relation. In taking the initiative in the struggle we have torn down the pseudo-neutrality of the government and we’ve unmasked its class basis and its police state face.
And we intend to continue.
In putting up barricades we have given birth to a movement to a movement of sympathy and hope in the most advanced sectors of the working class. Today the questions posed by the demonstration of May 13 (and after) are just beginning to be asked. We are making the working class leadership confront its responsibilities.
And we intend to continue...
Every university student, every high school student, every worker who has sympathized with our struggle or who has fought along with us must be convinced of one thing: for us this is not the time to be discussing exams or the Autonomous University. The police used WAR GAS against the students in the Latin Quarter. PEOPLE HAVE DISAPPEARED, AND THERE ARE PROBABLY PEOPLE KILLED.
For us this means that we must find the unifying axis of the worker and student struggles. This means that there is no question of serenely compromising under the guard of Fouchet and Grimaud’s cops.
This means that there will be no exams before Fouchet’s and Grimaud’s resignations.
From now on, those who are determined to pursue the political struggle without getting bogged down in vain discussions where right and left meet must organize in Action Committees and prepare the case against Gaullism’s henchmen.
We must proceed to a permanent mobilization against the Gaullist state and the model of which it is nothing but an incarnation: the bourgeois state in all its forms. It is in this way that we can deepen the crisis that has opened and accelerate the rapprochement in the struggle against the same adversary of the mobilized workers and students.
It is certain that the movement that is forming today is not in itself an alternative force to Gaullism; it is even certain that if the regime were to collapse it will be succeeded by a brochette of true democrats. But if the Mitterands and the Waldecks arrive in power not by a simple parliamentary maneuver but at the end of a powerful extra-parliamentary mobilization, then in truth the red flags that fly over the Odeon and the Sorbonne will only have been a precursor of the struggles yet to come. And then the Waldeck-Mitterand operation will itself be compromised.
NO TO RECUPERATION!
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!
THE RESIGNATIONS OF FOUCHET AND GRIMAUD
Jeunesse Communiste Revolutionnaire