Obsolete communism: The left wing alternative - Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit

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.

Submitted by wojtek on June 10, 2013

Daniel's gripping account of the revolt is complemented by brother Gabriel's biting criticism of the collaboration of the State, the union leadership, and the French Communist Party in restoring order, defusing revolutionary energy, and handing the factories back to the capitalists. Leninism and the unions come under fire as top-down bureaucracies whose need to manage and control are always at odds with revolutionary action.

"Daniel Cohn-Bendit is the most dangerous scoundrel in France." - President Charles de Gaulle

We heartily recommend you buy Obsolete Communism online now

Comments

Entdinglichung

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on June 10, 2013

"Daniel Cohn-Bendit is the most dangerous scoundrel in France." - President Charles de Gaulle

today, he is a Green MP, since he joined the Green party in 1984, he belonged to its "realistic" right wing ... and there is something else: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Cohn-Bendit#Pedophilia_debate

slothjabber

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by slothjabber on June 10, 2013

That doesn't necessarily make him wrong in 1968, however.

But, I picked this up from a second-hand bookshop maybe 16 years ago, and though it's got some great bits, other bits are in my considered opinion terrible.

But of course that just confirms that I'm a Lenino-Bolshevist Authoritarian Petit-Bourgeois Technocrat Opressor-in-Waiting.

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on June 10, 2013

Back when I was becoming an anarchist (early 1970s), this was one of the first post WW-II texts I read which influenced some of my thinking. Been a long time (decades) since I read it. I wonder how it would read today?

Thanks for putting it up.

Entdinglichung

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on June 10, 2013

many decent radicals already disliked him and some of the other leading people of Revolutionärer Kampf (Revolutionary Struggle) like Joschka Fischer, Tom Koenigs and Thomas Schmid in the early 1970ies and considered them to be pseudo-radical bigmouths and machos ... still my favorite book on 1968 is La Chienlit (don't think there is an English translation), a 500 pages edition of original sources, manifestos, leaflets (among them some rare ones by immigrant organisations and factory councils), etc. whose German edition was translated and edited partly by Joscha Schmierer who became chieftain of the Maoist KBW and Cohn-Bendits 1970ies Nemesis, threatening him in a book review in 1976 that "the workers will either send him to work in a fish meal factory or hang him on the next tree" during the revolution ... they later met on the Green party's right wing and are now good friends

Harrison

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Harrison on June 10, 2013

The enrages wore leather jackets / shades, and in 'Enragés and Situationists in the Occupations Movement' say they were cooler than the anarchists. I'm afraid thats all the info i've got, because the political polemicising in Enrages & Situs has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as with all situ texts, so its kind of hard to work out how seriously to take their political criticisms of Cohn-Bendit's group.

Entdinglichung

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on June 10, 2013

btw. Daniel Cohn-Bendit did not play a big role during the General strike in May 68, he had left Paris before things really kicked of on the 10th and was expelled to Germany on the 22nd, his historical importance lay in the events before the May, mainly as a spokesperson of the students in Nanterre where the students movement in France gathered pace in March (but there were also other people who played an important role in Nanterre)

Glimmer

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Glimmer on June 11, 2013

Yes, this was one of the main texts that drew me from Bolshevism towards anarchism. Its account of Krondstadt 1921 is especially important and revealing.

paul r

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by paul r on June 11, 2013

This book, together with Paul Cardan's "Modern Capitalism and Revolution", which I read in 1970, more or less defined my politics at the time and for many years after.

syndicalist

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalist on June 11, 2013

Glimmer

Yes, this was one of the main texts that drew me from Bolshevism towards anarchism. Its account of Krondstadt 1921 is especially important and revealing.

Found this of interest as well: "From Bolshevism to the Bureaucracy" by Cardan

georgestapleton

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by georgestapleton on June 11, 2013

Entdinglichung

many decent radicals already disliked him and some of the other leading people of Revolutionärer Kampf (Revolutionary Struggle) like Joschka Fischer, Tom Koenigs and Thomas Schmid in the early 1970ies and considered them to be pseudo-radical bigmouths and machos ... still my favorite book on 1968 is La Chienlit (don't think there is an English translation), a 500 pages edition of original sources, manifestos, leaflets (among them some rare ones by immigrant organisations and factory councils), etc. whose German edition was translated and edited partly by Joscha Schmierer who became chieftain of the Maoist KBW and Cohn-Bendits 1970ies Nemesis, threatening him in a book review in 1976 that "the workers will either send him to work in a fish meal factory or hang him on the next tree" during the revolution ... they later met on the Green party's right wing and are now good friends

Isn't the bold bit true about just about every single revolutionary group in the world. (I've even heard the macho bit about all women feminist groups.) And is that Chienlit book in French or German? I'm confused.

Entdinglichung

11 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on June 12, 2013

Chienlit, in German, taken from a bigger French collection

sabot

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by sabot on January 11, 2018

I might be going crazy here, but I could have sworn that the full text was available on libcom at one point. Was it removed (with the exception of the last chapter)? That could be misleading to a newbie, as the final chapter isn't the full text.

At least the PDF is the book in its entirety.

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 11, 2018

sabot

I might be going crazy here, but I could have sworn that the full text was available on libcom at one point. Was it removed (with the exception of the last chapter)? That could be misleading to a newbie, as the final chapter isn't the full text.

At least the PDF is the book in its entirety.

The full text is only on the PDF version.

If anyone has time to OCR the text we would love to have it up in text version as well