ICC day of discussion on May 68, London, 9 June

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Alf
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May 9 2018 06:28
ICC day of discussion on May 68, London, 9 June

International Communist Current

All day discussion meeting

50 years since
May 1968

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.
Very soon other national sectors of the working class would enter the struggle.

Saturday 9th June, 11am-6pm

The Lucas Arms
254A Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8QY

In the morning we will focus on the events In the afternoon we will take up the development
themselves, their context and significance. of the class struggle since then.

www.internationalism.org,

Lurch
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May 9 2018 15:29

Gutted not to be able to make this. Hope for fruitful discussions and decent audio/written reports. Fraternally...

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Alf
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May 9 2018 17:50

We'll do our best....
The reading material for the meeting is in the dossier we are compiling:
http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201804/15127/fifty-years-ago-may-68

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May 9 2018 18:43

Great, look forward to it

baboon
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May 11 2018 19:45

The BBC, Goebbels' favourite station, is "commemorating" the event in its news and current-affairs programmes by emphasising its "student" nature above all else. This blatant ruling class propaganda is designed to play down the fact of the largest single strike in working class history and the fuse that it lit for proletarian struggle almost everywhere.

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May 12 2018 19:14

I watched Joan Bakewell's documentary and it was not all bad! She referred to the situationists without trying to make them look like no more than artistic clowns. David Edgar in his Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/10/radical-legacy-1968-neoliberalism-progressive) talks about "a new politics that combined an anti-Stalinist re-reading of Marxism with avant-garde cultural expression, a general spirit of anti-authoritarian rebelliousness, and a politics of personal emancipation" - which is not the worst description of the newly emerging and frequently very confused groups and tendencies to the left of Trotskyism, even if Trotskyism did its level best to recuperate this "new politics".
Noticeable in its absence in both contributions: not the huge workers' strike in France itself, which was given a fair amount of attention. but the recognition that this outbreak of class struggle in France was the precursor to an enormous world wide wave.
Both also seemed to answer the question of "what is left from May 68" by pointing to the persistence and indeed growth of feminism, a perception that needs a proper historical critique.

This one also talks about the situationists

Another small but vital literary and political legacy centred on two immensely powerful books. Although it was first published in 1967, Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle became the key text that conveyed the profound critique of modernity that motivated some of ’68’s most imaginative rebels. In the age of Facebook, fake news and the sense that our online lives have taken precedence over real existence, it has an amazingly prophetic aspect, evident in its opening sentences: “The whole life of those societies in which modern conditions of production prevail presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.”

Its companion piece is The Revolution of Everyday Life, written by Raoul Vaneigem, a forceful voice in Debord’s organisation the Situationist International. Among this text’s insights is an attack on the supposed importance of work that chimes with a 21st-century conversation sparked by automation: “In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity,” Vaneigem wrote, “the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create.” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/11/may-1968-the-revolution-retains-its-magnetic-allure?CMP=share_btn_link

In the end however, the article claims that the heirs of the situationists can be found in...Momentum.

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May 21 2018 09:28

Some more detail about the content of the meeting:

Morning Session: The events of May '68, their context and significance

Fifty years is as far away from today as the Russian revolution was to the events of 68. That’s why it will be necessary to recall the broad outlines of what actually happened in May-June, from the agitation in the universities to the ten-million strong strike wave. At the same time, we will try to place these events in their broader international, and above all historical, context: before 68, the international scale of a new generation’s questioning of a society which breeds racism and war, together with growing signs of working class discontent faced with the beginnings of a new economic crisis. In the wake of May 68: an international upsurge of workers’ struggles which signalled the end of a long period of defeat and counter-revolution, and the emergence of a new milieu of revolutionary political organisations.

Reading material

‘May 68 and the revolutionary perspective’, in International Reviews 133 and 134; see the online dossier ‘Fifty years ago, May 68’, http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201804/15127/fifty-years-ago-may-68

Afternoon Session: The evolution of the class struggle since 1968

Just as the five decades prior to May 68 were marked by definite periods in the balance of class forces – a period of open revolutionary struggles followed by a period of deep counter-revolution – so the period opened up by 68 also needs to be analysed in its overall characteristics and not simply as a series of particular struggles. Broadly speaking, we can say that the period 1968-89 was marked by waves of class struggle which contained a potential for massive and even decisive class confrontations; but also that the failure of these movements to develop an explicitly revolutionary perspective, coupled with the bourgeoisie’s own inability to enlist the proletariat for another world war, ushered in the current phase of capitalist decomposition which has produced further difficulties for the working class. This part of the meeting will then look at the potential for the working class to overcome these difficulties and finally realise the revolutionary hopes raised by the events of May 68.

Reading material

21st ICC Congress: Report on the class struggle, International Review 156, http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201601/13787/report-class-struggle

22nd ICC Congress: Resolution on the international class struggle, International Review 159, http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201711/14435/22nd-icc-congress-resolution-international-class-struggle

This is an opportunity for debate among all those groups or individuals who want to develop a better understanding of the past, present and future of the proletarian struggle. All are welcome!

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Alf
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Jun 8 2018 06:06

tomorrow

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rat
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Jun 8 2018 19:39

I'd like to know more about what the International Communist Current think of the situationists?

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Jun 8 2018 23:20

A couple of articles you could look at:

'May 68 and all that: Situationism then and now'

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/316/situationism

'The second death of the Situationist Interational'

http://en.internationalism.org/node/3624