In this 1997 essay, contemporary educational reform is offered as an illustration of not only the destructive effects of capitalist modernization, but also of the ambiguity of a “libertarian” concept of progress (exemplified by “the recuperable side” of May ‘68) that often only serves to facilitate and justify capitalism’s elimination of traditional structures of human society (customs, family, etc.) that once shielded humanity from the noxious effects of the ongoing realization of capitalism’s “negative utopia” (an “anthropological impossibility”) that reduces humans to “monads” of “enlightened self-interest”.
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 May 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. Footballers occupied the headquarters of the French Football Federation and issued a 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”.