An at times playful conversation with Henri Lefebvre conducted by Kristin Ross. Lefebvre, then in his eighties, discussed his memories of Guy Debord and the Situationist International as well as his attempts to provoke mischievous students around Nanterre University in 1968, where the May uprisings began. Originally published in October 79 (1997).
In May '68, a student protest at Nanterre University spread to other universities, to Paris factories, and in a few weeks, to most of France. On May 13, a million Parisians marched. Ten million workers went out on strike. At the center of the fray, from the beginning, was Daniel Cohn-Bendit, expelled from Nanterre for his agitation. Obsolete Communism was written in the five weeks immediately following the French State regaining control. No account of May '68, or indeed of any rebellion, can match its immediacy or urgency.
A demystifying review essay and analysis summarizing the events of May-June 1968 in France with an almost exclusive focus on the strikes of the workers, based on reports and testimonies garnered from a voluminous bibliography, providing a sobering reassessment of the largest nationwide strike in French history, which the author defines as a “generalized non-insurrectional work stoppage”.
In the insurgent Paris of 1968 when millions of workers were on strike, the students had occupied the universities, the president had fled the country and France seemed on the verge of revolution, the footballers were not to be left out. On May 22 footballers the headquarters of the French Football Federation for six days and issued this communiqué:
In this book first published in 2008, Jaime Semprun and René Riesel examine the attempt by predominantly First World governments and NGOs to utilize the specter of an environmental apocalypse as an alibi to save “industrial civilization” by imposing a rationed form of “survival”, justified by a terroristic propaganda campaign based on fear, enforced by an expansion of the state’s coercive powers, and facilitated by the mass conformism and resignation that “industrial society” has induced in the population by creating an “anxiogenic environment” of “insecurity and generalized instability”; “[f]or the fears proclaimed by the experts … are in reality nothing but orders”.