Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/3955
10 million workers occupied the factories. Can it happen today?
France 1968 - month of revolution. Brutal police repression of student demonstrations. Within days, 10 million French workers are on strike. Factories occupied, red flags flown, the Internationalé ringing out in the streets of Paris. Even the armed forces are infected by the revolutionary mood. The future of French capitalism hangs in the balance.
Cynics perceive that revolutionary upheavals such as these simply do not take place in the West, that the working class and young people here are unwilling to fight. But May 1968 saw what has been described as the greatest general strike in history break out at the heart of Europe.
- What caused this mighty explosion of workers' and students' anger?
- Why did it not succeed in overturning capitalism?
- Could history have taken a different course?
- Could this happen again today?
Virginie is a member of Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI France). She is a socialist activist and is a trade union representative. She has been involved in numerous struggles against the French governments' anti-working class policies, including the fight against CPE legislation in 2006, which was a gross attack on young workers' rights.
Clare is a member of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales). She has visited France on many occasions, including in 1968, and is the author of 'France 1968: month of revolution'. Her work has included traveling to many countries, including living for a period in Russia, and she has written extensively on international issues. She is a convinced and active socialist.
Marie-José became active in Left politics as a student in the 1960s and was a participant in the events of May 1968. She is a member of Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI France). To this day, she remains a socialist campaigner and her visit to the UK offers an excellent opportunity to hear first hand the effect of the mass movement on workers and young people.Speaking tour information:
Thursday 10th April Bristol TBA
Saturday 12th April Portsmouth Portsmouth University Students Union (Part of the 'Activists Academy')
Wednesday 7th May Swansea TBA
Thursday 8th May Cardiff TBA
Saturday 10th May London Conway Hall, Loin Square (Part of '1968 & all that' event)
Sunday 11th May Glasgow 1:00pm, St Stevens Centre, Bath Street
Monday 12th May Newcastle TBA
Tuesday 13th May Manchester 7:00pm, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street
Wednesday 14th May Sheffield TBA
Thursday 15th May London x 2 TBA
Saturday 17th May Brighton TBA
Monday 19th May Birmingham TBA
Tuesday 20th May Nottingham TBA
Wednesday 21st May London x 2 TBA
Thursday 22nd May Bristol TBA
Wednesday 29th May Oxford TBA
Thursday 30th May Southampton TBA
The tour is being hosted by the Socialist Party, which is part of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI). The CWI organises for socialist change world wide and has sections in over 35 countries, including France but also in Latin America, Africa & Asia.