1968 - May in France

1968 - May in France

The general strike of 10 million French workers in May 1968 was the biggest strike in history, and sparked off an enormous wave of workers' struggles throughout the world, bringing the period of the counter-revolution that followed October 1917 to an end.

Fifty years ago, May 68

The events of spring 1968 in France, in their roots and in their results, had an international significance. Underlying them were the consequences for the working class of the first symptoms of the world economic crisis, which was reappearing after well over a decade of capitalist prosperity.

After decades of defeat, disorientation and submission, in May 1968 the working class returned to the scene of history. While the student agitation which had been developing in France since the beginning of spring, and the radical workers’ struggles which had broken out the previous year, had already changed the social atmosphere, the entry en masse of the class struggle (10 million on strike) overturned the whole social landscape.

1968 in Japan: the student movement and workers' struggles

As we have already pointed out in several articles published in the International Review and in our territorial press, the events in France during May 1968 were only part of a much broader movement around the world.

We are publishing here an article from a comrade in Japan, which demonstrates clearly that this broader movement also had its counterpart there, despite the specific and difficult historic particularities of that country.

The future proletarian revolution will be internationalist and international or it will be nothing. It is one of the greatest responsibilities of internationalists around the world today to place their local experience firmly within the framework of world events, to understand the movement of the working class in any one place as being only a part, an expression of a greater whole, and to contribute to an international debate within the working class on the lessons of past events for the future of the struggle against a moribund capitalism. We therefore salute comrade Ken's effort to place the events of 1968 in Japan in both a historical and a global context. We support his conclusion wholeheartedly: "We would be satisfied if this brief summary reflection upon the Japanese "68" could assist in some way in the international coordination of the global working class (this was the most important thing then, and the most important thing now)."

May 68 and the revolutionary perspective, Part 2: End of the counter-revolution and the historic return of the world proletatiat

Faced with all the lies about the events of May ‘68, it is necessary for revolutionaries to re-establish the truth, to draw the real lessons of these events and prevent them being buried under an avalanche of flowers and wreaths.

ICC meeting at ‘1968 and all that’: The perspective opened 40 years ago has not gone away

The ICC had a stall and hosted a meeting at the ‘May 68 and all that' event at Conway Hall in May. The event was a very mixed affair. There was a strong presence of those we refer to as leftists - political tendencies that talk about socialism and revolution but actually defend the interests of capitalism. This was evident in a couple of the meetings we attended.

May 68 and the revolutionary perspective, Part 1: The student movement around the world in the 1960s

In January 1969, at the inauguration of his first Presidency of the United States, Richard Nixon declared: “We have learnt finally to manage a modern economy in a way to assure its continued growth”. With hindsight one can see to what degree such optimism has been cruelly refuted by reality: from the beginning of his second term, hardly four years later, the United States would have their worst recession since the Second World War, which would be followed by other increasingly serious recessions.
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