On Repression

The aftermath of May '68. From Internationale Situationniste #12 (September 1969).

Submitted by Fozzie on April 20, 2023

The Leftist vocabulary of 1968, fundamentally outmoded but at the same time a step ahead of reality when came it being identified in an archaic situation, described the police action of winning back streets taken by the rioters and the barricades that gave them cover as "repression." This indignation was indicative of the old Left, so good at moralizing incorrectly with its respectful petitions. And when the real repression got underway in the middle of June — which, fortunately, remained quite limited given what had happened — they immediately cried fascism.

These Leftist groups have since disbanded. Apart from "March 22," which was incorrectly — thankfully enough — supposed to bring together marginal and original currents from across the board, the dissolved groups were all either Leninists (Trotskyites are nothing more than this) or Stalinists (Maoists are nothing more than this).

The SI's position on this point couldn't be clearer: we obviously defend, in the name of our principles, their freedom of association and speech, a freedom that they would refuse us in the name of their own principles if they ever had the chance (we might add that we find it decidedly unrevolutionary to call on the Gaullist police to disband a fascist group like "Occident," and then to congratulate oneself on such a "success").

In the aftermath of the movement, a number of assassination attempts with explosives took place. Because of this, workers in Bordeaux were imprisoned without the slightest demonstration of any visible solidarity from the revolutionary "students." Six months later, Andrée Destouet was implicated in the bombing of the façades of several Parisian banks. To examine this from the strategic point of view of social struggle, it must first of all be said that one must never play with terrorism. Furthermore, even serious terrorism has never been effective in history except when every other form of revolutionary activity was made impossible by complete repression; and therefore when a significant portion of the population was forced to side with the terrorists. However, the personality of the individual claiming responsibility for the attacks in question — Elisée Georgev — permits the affirmation that these acts were dictated by an honest intention to help the cause of the exploited; in such a way that those Leftists who had spoken on this subject of "political provocation" deserve the definitive scorn of all revolutionaries.

Although the amnesty of June 1969 put a stop to proceedings relating to just about all of the crimes and misdemeanors committed in connection with the movement of 1968, it is does not to concern foreigners formally deported at the time (among them Cohn-Bendit), as they have never been charged. Expressing their unconditional right to return to France — not, of course, with whining objections, but with every direct action possible — should be one of the immediate goals of all these groups who claim to possess the means to "paralyze" the proper functioning of a faculty, or indeed of any other sector.

Translated by Reuben Keehan. From https://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/onrepression.html