Essay help RE: Paris '68

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Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2005 19:07
Essay help RE: Paris '68

OK I know it's slightly cheeky but any help would be appreciated. I'm writing an essay on why the student uprising in France in 1968 failed to spread to certain aspects of French society and I've discovered my university is hideously understocked with relevant material. Any sources anyone knows of, and indeed people's own interpretations of the answer to the above question are welcomed. I obviously have my own vague ideas on it but I'd be interested to hear others.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2005 19:29

No cos I'm not doing Politics haha. My girlfriend's holed herself up for the last 2 weeks to finish off her essays for tomorrow though.

This one's in for first day of next term. Au revoir Christmas.

EDIT: Thanks for the link btw.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2005 19:31

What year are you?? You doing Politics??

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 12 2005 20:07

Beneath the paving stones, Situationists and the beach, May 1968-is good

Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May 68 by Rene Vienet is also good.

If you can get your hands on a copy of the situationist anthology youll be lucky

My understanding is that the Union bureaucracy did their best to keep the students and workers and workers and workers divided to the best of their abilities in order to keep the occupations within the boundaries of particular industries and factories.

sovietpop
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Dec 12 2005 20:36

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws93/paris39.html

Here's a short article and a link to a pamplet on 68 - make sure you reference it correctly now 8)

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2005 20:44
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
Beneath the paving stones, Situationists and the beach, May 1968-is good

Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement, France, May 68 by Rene Vienet is also good.

...are on my reading list but not in the library. Are they actually relevant to my essay question or do they just provide a waffly, secterian account of Paris '68 like most sources I've been given??

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 12 2005 20:55

Yeah I'm considering going the second my chest quits feeling like a combine harvester.

jaycee
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Dec 13 2005 01:43

the first point to make will be to say that it weren't a students movement, it was a workers movement.

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Steven.
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Dec 13 2005 07:28

Some more stuff here:

http://libcom.org/library/paris-may-1968

And a lot of stuff in situs and the beach is here:

http://libcom.org/library/situationist-international

Good luck!

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 13 2005 13:33
revol68 wrote:
not quite true if anything it was a product of technocratic reforms and raising aspirations amongst not only students but actual workers as well.

Explain this. Without being a wanker. Thanks.

I have "The Imaginary Revolution" by Michael Seidman, hopefully that will help me. Seems to me that every fucker and his shitty dog is more than happy to write an account of May '68, but noone's prepared to analyse its successes and failures and reasons for them in sufficient depth to really be of much use.

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georgestapleton
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Dec 13 2005 13:49

I'd strongly recommend

Worker-Student Action Committees - France May '68

by Roger Gregoire & Fredy Perlman

http://www.geocities.com/~johngray/peractil.htm

combined with

The Solidarity Article

http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws93/paris39.html

I'd say that'd cover it really.

I've heard is the Rene Vienet book "Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement"

http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/enrages.html

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georgestapleton
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Dec 13 2005 13:54

Actually, revol what with you're name and you're abov comments and you're 'anti-activism' I'm curious have what do you make of the Solidarity article and the Perlmand book?

They both place a lot of emphasis on the significance of students standing outside factories handing out fliers and getting ideas out there. And both seem critical of the idea of the kind of spontaneous-class-consciousness that you seem to think comes from 'struggle'. In other words they both seem to emphasize the role of activists.

This is an honest question and not me trying to get in a dig at you.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 13 2005 15:43
georgestapleton wrote:
I'd strongly recommend

Worker-Student Action Committees - France May '68

by Roger Gregoire & Fredy Perlman

http://www.geocities.com/~johngray/peractil.htm

Thanks, this looks really helpful.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Dec 13 2005 19:10
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...are on my reading list but not in the library. Are they actually relevant to my essay question or do they just provide a waffly, secterian account of Paris '68 like most sources I've been given??

Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation movement, france, may 68 By Rene Vienet is more relevant than the other book, it has a chapter called 'the state reestablished' which may be relevant, i'd suggest getting the book anyway if your loan stretches to it.

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Alf
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Dec 14 2005 12:30

Agree with those who have insisted on May 68 as essentially a working class movement. The official media (and historians) nearly always dismiss it as a ‘student riot’, completely obscuring its real significance the reawakening of proletarian struggle after decades of counter-revolution. At its height there were ten million workers on strike; no less important was the phenomenon of assemblies, action committees, innumerable discussions about the possibility of a new society, and the re-emergence of the communist movement. May 68 was the beginning of an international wave of workers’ struggles between 1968 and 1974 the ‘hot autumn’ in Italy 69, the Codobaza in Argentina in the same year, the Polish workers’ revolt in 1970, the miners’ and dockers’ strikes in Britain in 72 and 74, and many others. After all the theories about the working class being integrated into ‘consumer society’, these struggles were the proletarian response to the first effects of the world economic crisis which began to develop in the 1960s.

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jef costello
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Dec 14 2005 18:37

What uni are you at?

If its university of london then you can get into any of the libraries, reference only, of the universities that are a part of London university.

Kings, Imperial, LSE, UCL, Westminster etc

all the catalogues are online.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 14 2005 19:21

I'm at Goldsmiths. The Viennet book Vaneigem is recommending is neither available in our library or Senate House. If I remember rightly, Freedom doesn't have it either so I'm gonna find out if Bookmarks does.

I pretty much need to take the book home over Christmas so reference only isn't much help. Thanks though.

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jef costello
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Dec 14 2005 19:28

buy it from Borders/waterstones and then return it after christmas as an "unwanted gift"

be careful tho, a friend of mine ended up with some hugely expensive textbooks due to an accident with some coffee smile

edit: Waterstones don't ask for receipts if you exchange so you can scam them a bit.

I used to work in a remaindered bookshop and 'returned' some books to waterstones, and got myself some money off. grin

Tomson95
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Dec 16 2005 12:59
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
OK I know it's slightly cheeky but any help would be appreciated. I'm writing an essay on why the student uprising in France in 1968 failed to spread to certain aspects of French society and I've discovered my university is hideously understocked with relevant material. Any sources anyone knows of, and indeed people's own interpretations of the answer to the above question are welcomed. I obviously have my own vague ideas on it but I'd be interested to hear others.

I wrote my history coursework in sicth form about whether "France really was on the verge of a revolution" following the events of May 68. I can send it to you if you're interested.

Regarding your own questions, I would first like to point out that that there were two important linked but distinct groups invloved in the events of May 68: the students and the workers. To be honest, if 10 millions French workers hadn't "spontaneously" striked on May 14, I'm not sure the student riots would have really lasted very long; they were only a couple of thousand of them. And I think an important factor why this mouvement failed to spread is arguably that it was not a single mouvement! It was many different ununited left-influenced groups acting as "chienlit" (Maoists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, as well as the UNEF)- reflecting the general divisions within the French political parties.

Also, it's true that in the short-run, the events failed to spread to a large part of the population, which was characterised by the huge demo in support of De Gaulle on May 30, and this can simply be explained by the silent majority's fear of this student violence. The bourgeoisie did not want a civil war or a revolution so appealed to the good old general and his army to restore law & order. On top of that, I believe there was a still widespread bitterness within much of the population at the violent loss of Algeria a couple of years earlier and having the nation's pride already undermined, it could not stand to have all these disruptions on its own doorstep and needed to be reassured that its coercive system did actually work.

But, at the same time, the spirit of these revolts did not simply get lost and I believe had a long-term impact on the evolution of French society. Most notably, I guess, was the election of the so-called Socialist Party in 1981 and their attempted wide-spread reforms (even though many of them were ineffective and Mitterand backed away from them as soon as the Right put political pressure on his government).

Oh, and don't forget that if you considering the reasons why the uprising did not spread across France, do not forget that, to a large extent, anything that happens outside of Paris, or fails to have any significant impact on the population of the capital city is generally seen as irrelevant and not worth the worry by the government.

ftony
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Dec 16 2005 16:21

it's also worth situating (excuse the pun) it with other stuff that was going on, like algerian independence that pissed a lot of people off. There might be a link drawn, for example, between the algerian victory - and the general decolonisation that was going on - and the left-leaning liberals whose job looked done, particularly with de Gaulle now having egg on his face: so the appeasement of the 'moderate' left may have isolated a lot of the radical left.

Also the general sexual, artistic and social liberation that was taking place may have compounded this sense of liberal bourgeois self-satisfaction.

i don't know really, was kinda ad-lib(com)ing there, so it may not have made much sense!

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 16 2005 19:22

Thanks very much Tomson. I'm interested to hear whether you used any external sources for your coursework, I don't think I used any at all during my A Levels but even so....

Tomson95
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Dec 16 2005 22:10
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Thanks very much Tomson. I'm interested to hear whether you used any external sources for your coursework, I don't think I used any at all during my A Levels but even so....

There are few English books simply talking about the May 68 stuff so you need to look at broader modern history books about France, I used:

- Ardagh, John: France in the New Century – Portrait of a Changing Society (2000)

- Gildea, Robert: France since 1945 (2002)

- Perry, Keith: Modern World History (1993)

Oh also, there is an excellent French account of the events, its by Maurice Rajfus and is titled "Mai 68 – Sous les pavés la répression".

Good luck.

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Steven.
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Dec 20 2005 19:22

for any libcom library junkies, we now have the perlman/gregoire piece:

http://libcom.org/library/worker-student-action-committees-france-1968-perlman-gregoire

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 5 2006 23:01

Sorry, but who was it who said something like "What the students and strikers didn't realise was that in order for there to be a revolution, it wasn't sufficient for them to merely occupy the factories, they'd have to work them too"...or something along those lines.

Cheers. This essay is starting to really fuck me off.

EDIT: Sorry, found it. It was Bookchin.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 6 2006 21:21

Can someone explain to me exactly the deal with de Gaulle's Civic Action Committees?? Were they volunteers from the general public??