Enragés and Situationists in the occupation movement, France, May ’68

The contemporaneous and lively Situationist account of the near-revolutionary events of May 1968 in Paris, written in the fray by one of the major participants.

Submitted by dendrite303 on January 11, 2020

France '68, France '68, France '68, ever wondered why activists go on and on about France '68? Well if you have this little 160 page book written a few weeks after the implosion of one of the most important social movements of the twentieth century, it will broaden your opinions about the importance of France '68. Interestingly, although this book first appeared in French in 1968, no English edition appeared until the publication of this edition in 1992.

The author presents a first hand, day to day account of the role played by the two radical student groups, the Enrages and the Situationists in the events that rocked France in May 1968, and which still influence theories of revolutionary change today. The book is peppered with photographs, songs, comics, tracts and wall graffiti of the period. It highlights how the theories and practices of a small group of militants captured the imagination of a population that revolted against the realities of everyday life and seized control of their lives.

France '68 was much more than a student revolt, it spilled over into every sphere of life. The crew of the ocean liner France seized the ship outside Le Havre, the soccer players kicked out the managers from their federation and drafted a tract calling for "soccer for soccer players". Interns and young doctors broke the back of the French AMA. Graffiti appeared everywhere. "Tip over the applecart, apples for everyone" and my very own favourite, "Consume more and live less", the anthem of the late twentieth century capitalist society.

The French occupation movement of May '68 gave people a glimpse of how their day to day lives could change when they seized and controlled the means of production, distribution and exchange.

On the 22nd of May, the declaration for the Power of Workers council stated: "In ten days not only have hundreds of factories been spontaneously occupied by the workers and a spontaneous general strike totally disrupted, the activity of the country, but more over, several buildings belonging to the state have been occupied by de facto committees which are taking control. In such a situation, which in any case can't last but which confronts the alternatives of extending itself or disappearing, all the old ideas are swept aside and all radical hypothesis on the revolutionary movement confirmed."

1. The Return of the Social Revolution
2. The Origins of the Agitation in France
3. The Struggle in the Streets
4. The Sorbonne Occupied
5. The General Wildcat Strike
6. The Depth and Limits of the Revolutionary Crisis
7. The High Point
8. The “Council for the Maintenance of Occupations” and Councilist Tendencies
9. The State Reestablished
10. The Perspective for World Revolution after the Occupation Movement
Appendix: Documents
Section A: The Beginnings
Section B: The Enragés-S.I. Committee and the Council for the Maintenance of Occupations