5. Leftism and Active Dissent

Submitted by libcom on July 30, 2005

To leftism, the relationships between leftist theory and revolutionary practice are obvious. The former tries to express the latter, sometimes to herald it, less often to inspire it. We have already seen the position which leftist theory assigns itself in the evolution of the radical movement. It hardly aspires to more than being the concept behind an unformulated reality. This is the reverse of the Kautskyist-Leninist conception which borrows so heavily from the infatuation with science that characterized the closing years of the nineteenth century. Historical reality was deduced from historical laws, and Marxism represented the law of socio-economic movement. The theoreticians were at once in possession of the abstract knowledge of this law and, as leaders of the labour movement, they had a monopoly of its historical interpretation. The proletariat was only supposed to acquire knowledge of its own practice in the field of economics; its spontaneity ceased at the threshold of science. The real movement, in order to break into the territory of politics, must be organized by professional revolutionaries, to accomplish tasks of which only theory could give cognizance. To borrow the language of philosophy, the working class could only become a class in itself when properly led.

Leftism has effected a complete reversal of perspective : revolutionary consciousness is the product of struggle. The workers are both actors in the drama of history and its producers. Any intrusion from outside alters the very circumstances of the struggle and distorts its progress. Consequently the sway held by ideologies of Marxist origin over the labour movement have not necessarily enriched the class struggle; the 'revolutionary battles' so vaunted by Stalinist mythology were for the most part defeats, beginning with the October Revolution. All outside intervention changes the course of working-class praxis, much as the introduction of a foreign body may completely modify a chemical reaction. There are, of course, gradations in the conceptions of spontaneity which may, in extreme cases, dissolve in tautology. But it remains a principle that a theory may be the expression of a real movement, may even divine it by anticipation, but may not lead it, as do those ideologies which, far from enlightening the proletarian consciousness, mystify it and divert the struggle from its proper course.

The question which now arises is that of the link between the theory and the practice of the revolutionary movement. Even without being 'imposed', an intellectual system may very well influence behaviour, inflect it, even guide it. There are many intermediate stages between information pure and simple and ideology, many levels through which the consciousness may pass, from purely 'objective' influence to 'brain-washing'.

The second question that arises is that of the congruence of theory and practice. It is certain that a theory which finds no verification in the varied tapestry of social events would be pure utopia. [1] The reason why so many sociologists take the trouble to make a study of leftism is because they occasionally see in it something more than material for a chapter on the history of ideas. But to what extent does leftism partake of social theory rather than philosophy ?

In order to answer the first question, one is led, obviously, to speak of the practice of social conflict. There has been much talk of the powerful influence of Marcuse, Rudi Dutschke and Henri Lefebvre. But what praxis are we talking about ? That of university lecturers, students, agricultural workers, white-collar workers, craftsmen ? Far from denying the enormous influence which the expression of opinions and the spread of ideas may have on social behaviour, [2] I think it quite impossible to assess, at the present time, the importance of the part played by radical ideas transmitted from outside in unleashing and promoting the current practice of active dissent. It varies, moreover, as between strikers and students, and almost nothing is known of the motives of the strikers in the occupied factories. Even less is known of the development (or lack of it) in these motives. For despite all the valuable studies that have been carried out in the way of surveys and journalistic reports, hardly any questionnaire has been drawn up that makes mention of the influence of such and such a doctrine or such and such a slogan. Even so, the influence of certain ideas would have to be conscious, which is by no means always the case. In short, social psychology and sociology have up to now played no part in the study of the practice of active dissent. [3] At the same time, it seems to me preferable to avoid making forays into divination or applying methods derived from 'intuitive reasoning'.

However, certain hypotheses -- and even some certainties -- do spring to mind that have been freely aired. After 10-11 May 1968, the 'Student Commune' was adopted by the people. Independent broadcasting stations provided unexpected propaganda by publicizing not only the exploits of the dissenting students but their ideas as well. It has been asserted that the occupation of factories after the 14 May 'was in imitation of the occupation of the Sorbonne'; that the slogans circulating in the Latin Quarter were immediately taken up by the strikers or future strikers. That is possible. It should not be forgotten, however, that wildcat strikes and factory occupations accompanied by violent confrontations with the police had already taken place in 1966, 1967 and the beginning of 1968. In Caen, for example, on 26 January 1968, it was the students who joined the strikers of SAVIEM demonstrating in the town. At Rhodiaceta in Bescançon in February-March 1967, it was again the strikers who organized a permanent fair on the site of the occupied factory, invited troupes of actors to give theatrical performances and invited the local population (students among them) to join with them. In order to be certain of the 'exemplary' nature of the Latin Quarter revolt, it would be necessary to conduct many more interviews and inquiries. The fact remains that there was 'communication' between two worlds which up to that time had remained closed to each other; first through the medium of broadcasting, then by direct contact. From the night of the 10-11 May, young workers joined the barricades ... [4] After 13 May, 'adults' from every kind of background and all social classes converged on the Sorbonne. Subsequently, 'joint' worker-student action committees were created. Under cover of these committees, numerous students were able to enter the factories, especially in the early days and even the early hours of the strike. Discussions were held between strikers and students. [5] Finally, mention should be made of the innumerable wall posters, pamphlets and journals which were not intended only for the students' benefit. Above all, hundreds of thousands of tracts were distributed in the streets and in the factories (although here the students frequently met with lively resistance from the strike committees).

It can be concluded with certainty that numerous contacts were established between students and workers (especially during May-June 1968). It may even be postulated that leftist ideas were not entirely without influence in the progressive 'politicization' of many strikers and on the current forms of social conflict. But beyond these cautious hypotheses, we enter the realm of conjecture. Especially if we hope to specify the extent to which social dissent was influenced and inspired by modern leftist theory. The share attributable to leftist ideas and the hold they have acquired on the practice of active dissent remain indeterminate. [6]

If we now consider a longer period, extending from 1963-5 to 1971, it may be asked whether leftist themes did not become mingled with ideologies of working-class origin, such as revolutionary syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism. It has been seen that leftism adopted, among others, themes that were part of a working-class tradition going back to the revolutionary period from 1789-94. Leftism has carried with it a whole fund of images and attitudes that are deeply rooted in the revolutionary traditions. [7] The marches, songs and barricades have been compared with the sequence of events during the Paris Commune. [8] Some have gone further still, in identifying the collective representations and the claims of the leftists with the 'dream' of total emancipation entertained by revolutionary syndicalism. [9]

All such historical recollections are undoubtedly interesting, but it would be more fruitful to establish the thread via which the historical tradition has been transmitted. The case of revolutionary syndicalism is an interesting one, since in its direct action, its anti-parliamentarianism, its anti-interventionism and its anti-Marxism it contains a number of elements of modern leftism. There are two objections to it, however, the first relating to the 'guardians' of the anarcho-syndicalist tradition, and the second to the syndical nature of that tradition. Let us consider the two in turn.

It would seem difficult to maintain that the tradition of revolutionary syndicalism has been transmitted to the mass of the workers by the two organizations who are its avowed exponents. The first is the group of revolutionary syndicalists centred on the journal La Revolution proletarienne (founded in 1925 by P. Monatte), which seems to have virtually no in fluence in the factories. The journal itself seems principally occupied in 'keeping the flame burning' rather than engaging in practical proselytism. The same observation applies to the National Confederation of Labour (C N T,the French branch of the International Working-men's Association), a tiny trade union composed principally of anarcho-syndicalist workers and whose newspaper, Combat syndicaliste (which has at certain periods in its history been published in Spanish), keeps alive the memory of the Spanish C N T and more generally of the anarcho-syndicalist tradition, but whose readership rarely rises above 2,000 to 3,000.

Paradoxically, the standard-bearer of the revolutionary syndicalist tradition in modern times is, according to some hypotheses, the contemporary C F DT, whose origins are closer to social Catholicism than to the Charter of Amiens. At the same time, the second objection, that relating to the syndical or trade-union nature of this tradition, is an even more serious one, and will be dealt with after considering the above hypothesis.

The CFTC had originally been a working-class organization closer to the Catholic hierarchy than to the trade-union tradition. The 1939-44 war saw a change in the Confederation, from the very fact of the anti-Petainist, pro-Resistance attitude of many CFTC militants and leaders. After 1946, the Confederation returned to the tradition of trade-union independence, and from that moment the left-wing minority attempted to hold to an authentically working-class line in opposition to the communism of the CGT majority. Organized in groups calling themselves Reconstruction, this left wing adopted the traditional syndicalist line, and ensured that the trade-union federation developed, after the 1952 Congress, towards a programme of democratic socialism conceived primarily in economic terms, and owing more to the revolutionary syndicalism of the pre 1914 era than to Marxism. [10] After the 1964 Congress, the congress which broke the direct links with the Church and resulted in schism (a vestigial 'Loyalist CFTC' still survives), the Confederation became more political and swung to the left, a development made possible by the accession, in 1961, of the old minority to the leading positions in the union.

The Reconstruction minority had long been the trustees of the old-style pre-1914 syndicalism. In opposition to the CGT, linked to the Communist Party, and the FO, which claimed to be apolitical, it demanded that the CFTC continue the French tradition of revolutionary syndicalism, 're-thought' in the light of new circumstances. [11] The Reconstruction groups hoped to distil, out of the history of the French labour movement, a form of socialism that was both democratic and had an economic viewpoint. This attitude led the CFDT, after 1964, to present itself as the sole heir of the pre-1914 CGT and to adopt a number of the latter's slogans and watchwords : it refused to ally itself to a party, it aspired to lead an economic revolution, it believed in doctrinal diversity and in direct action.

After May-June 1968, the Confederation again confirmed this development by its attitude to the general strike and by the stance it adopted subsequently. The Thirty-fifth Congress of the CFDT (held in May 1970) consecrated the new radical stand taken by the Federation's Bureau by recognizing the class struggle and placing workers' control among its list of objectives. Between 1967 and 1970 the Confederation gave the impression of having moved from representing an opposition from within the system to active dissent and contestation from outside it. [12] To some of the cédétiste leaders, workers' control provides the solution to the problem of authority : in a socialism run on cooperative lines, it would emanate from the base, so realizing true direct democracy, which is absent from regimes where the economy is state-controlled or mixed. Others see direct action and workers' control as the best means of 'smashing the authoritarian model of the ruling class'. [13] In short, the recent positions adopted by the CFDT leadership are directed towards making it a common meeting-point for all the workers radicalized in the struggles of recent years.

There is no doubt that this leftward movement of the union is not entirely unequivocal. There have been many ready to point out that the infrequent renewal of the leading caucus, the wide political spectrum (from the traditional right to the 'leftists' of Hacuitex) found at every level of the leadership, the imprint of social Catholicism in the attitudes of many longstanding members and militants mean that the development towards the 'class struggle' position adopted by the Thirty-fifth Congress is not always entirely credible. [14] This makes recent statements by the CFDT somewhat suspect, which brings us back to the leftist objection that the watchwords it has put out over the past few years such as 'planning', 'participation', 'structural reform' are difficult to reconcile with a cooperatively based socialist society under workers' control. Finally, it is the very fact that it is a trade union which places it, in the eyes of the thinking leftist groups, in the ranks of those organizations working for 'social conservation'.

So, despite all its efforts, the CFDT finds itself branded with the original sin of being a trade union. Consequently the ideology of the CFDT finds no place within the framework of the leftist theories considered in this work, which are typified by a virulent anti-trade-unionism. However, in examining possible 'points of contact' between leftist theory and the practice of active dissent, one should not overlook the fact that the CFDT might have provided an organizational framework for leftist activity. Since well before 1968 it appeared, by comparison with the CGT and the FO, a 'dynamic' union, allowing 'hard-line' initiatives decided upon by the rank and file, [15] so that, rightly or wrongly, it acquired a reputation as a democratic union. The part played by the CFDT in May-June 1968, the sympathy it expressed for the 'Student Commune', the stand it took in favour of grass-roots democracy and of the need for free and open discussion attracted a number of young dissenters who felt themselves to be close to leftism. It is therefore not impossible that the CFDT, through its declared readiness to allow the workers to assume the responsibility for formulating claims and preparing and carrying out industrial action themselves, [16] may have served as a broadcasting centre for some leftist ideas on direct action, mistrust of State authority, and the importance of action stemming from the rank and file. However, it is still not possible to be certain about the extent to which the CFDT initiated action or merely acted as a catalyst, or to which the workers joining it were already imbued with a considerable dose of combativeness rather than acquiring it through contact with the union.

On the other hand, more information is available on the influence which leftist ideas exercised on student dissent. The question here is not to determine the precise degree of such influence, but merely to note, with the aid of some indicators, the points of contact.

Leftist theory found a highly effective soil in student circles. [17] From the mid-sixties onwards, small groups existed which proclaimed their allegiance to this or that aspect of leftism. Most important of all, however, most of the 'radical' journals circulated in the universities : Socialisme ou Barbarie, Noir et Rouge, Pouvoir ouvrier, Internationale situationniste, etc. [18] The latter even possessed more or less avowed disciples who carried out 'exemplary' agitation under various labels ('Enragés', 'Vandales') in a number of university towns (Paris, Nanterre, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Nantes). Tracts originating from the situationists or the neo-anarchists were already questioning the bourgeois structure of the university, the transmission of a fixed, static culture, the bureaucracy and authoritarianism of the system. The situationists had aimed at drafting a 'practical theory' which would make it possible both to analyse the alienations of the modern world and to fight that world in everyday life. The Strasbourg 'scandal' served both as a general statement and as a model of this aim. Not only had the cyberneticist Abraham Moles been prevented from giving his classes, but the UNEF branch and the local BAPU (Bureau of University Psychiatric Aid) had been dissolved. From the academic year 1966-7, an extremely energetic movement of student agitation was created, which claimed to reject the human sciences as an instrument of repression and manipulation of the masses. The themes underlying the motives for these acts of dissent might have been approved by Marcuse or Reich. And yet leftist theory did not explicitly take up the heritage of Freudo-Marxism. Both Marcuse and W. Reich were known to a minority of leftist theoreticians, but to the majority they were probably not even names. [19] On the other hand, the essentials of leftist preoccupations (contestation of the leadership principle, of the principle of authority, de-alienation of everyday life) harmonized perfectly with Freudo-Marxism. Psychology and sociology students have been very receptive to Marcusian themes relating to the adaptation function of (neo-Freudian) psychoanalysis and its political possibilities in the search for a non-repressive society. In 1966 the publishers F. Maspero brought out a special edition of the review Partisans (Nos. 32-3, October-December 1966) devoted to the subject of 'Sexuality and Repression', and at the beginning of 1967 the sexologist Boris Fraenkel gave a lecture on W. Reich to the students at Nanterre. In January 1967 a sexology exhibition was organized, in the course of which a number of papers were circulated. Debates were also held in which proposals to 'update' Freudo-Marxism were made. In the foreword to a duplicated pamphlet distributed during the exhibition, which contained the transcript of a lecture read by H. Marcuse to the students of the Sorbonne in 1962 and an article by the psychoanalyst I. Caruso, the problem of sexual liberation was put very clearly. [20] 'Far from believing', the authors of the preface write, 'that sexual liberation is a precondition of the social revolution, we consider that the precise opposite is true. Enlarging the struggle of the proletariat and making it into not only a global, economic and political struggle, but also a cultural and moral one is no way to resolve it.' They conclude that it is necessary to 'mobilize all forces (...) necessary to the destruction of the existing social system, and effect a revision of the social order in terms of earthly happiness'. Finally, in March 1968, extracts of a manifesto published by Reich in 1936 were distributed on the occasion of a conference organized at Nanterre by the Resident Students' Association of the University of Nanterre on the theme of 'Sexuality and Repression'. This paper, which had in fact been in circulation for more than a year, made a frontal attack on sexual morality, the family structure and marriage in its present form, and issued a denunciation of 'sexual chaos'. [21]

There can be no doubt that the critique of everyday life found a very potent propaganda medium in this : sexual problems and problems relating to the 'cut-and-dried' nature of education, to the 'scientific neutrality' of disciplines such as sociology, psychology and psychoanalysis were the very ones that formed the chief preoccupations of the average student. This explains why the disturbances at Nanterre began with a question put publicly by a student to a minister (who had come to officiate at the opening of the campus swimming-pool) on the subject of the 'sexual indigence' of the young, and why the first serious confrontations with the administration took place on the subject of the university rule prohibiting visits to the women's quarters. Finally, it explains the constant interruptions of lessons in objection to the 'neutrality' of the social sciences. The question, 'Why do we need sociologists ?', was rapidly transformed into, 'Why do we need the University ?', into a debate on the university's role. Boycotting of examinations and lessons and the movement for self-government within the university resounded like a distant echo of Marcuse's ideas on the part played by universities as agents of social integration, even of manipulation.

After May-June 1968, Freudo-Marxism became widely and rapidly propagated. By now Reich, even more than Marcuse, has joined the pantheon of the precursors of leftism. He owes this in particular to his ideas on the social roots of neurosis, on the social function of sexual repression and on the role played by the patriarchal family in the perpetuation of the repressive society. This is a point of contact between the theory and practice of dissent which seems to me to be of extreme importance in the long term, especially so far as dissent among school-children and young workers is concerned.

If we now consider the question of contestation itself, in its widest sense (in factories, offices, secondary schools, universities), independent of all possible influences on the part of theoretical leftism, independent of the areas where theory and practice may have met and provided one another with reciprocal nourishment (and therefore leaving aside the sociologically important question of points of contact), a number of observations may be made.

First of all leftist theory, in contrast to 'orthodox' Marxism, does not pretend to be a scientific theory of social development. Consequently, it does not trouble to scrutinize history (whether past or contemporary) in order to deduce the correct praxis. This simple observation has very significant consequences, as has been seen, on the question of revolutionary consciousness and, by extension, on that of organization. But it also suggests why the question of the relation between leftist theory and practice is not put in terms of the influence the former may have on the latter. Not that this type of consideration is negligible, particularly for the historian or the sociologist of the labour movement, but it is a theoretically inessential question. For leftist theory claims to express the real, not to formulate it, even less to model it. It claims to be the concept of a concrete movement, and does not hesitate to anticipate the latter, for the movement of history is not irrational. But nothing guarantees that the class struggle will take the form which is theoretically accorded to it. Projections are therefore a matter of probabilities, not certainties. These only exist in the praxis of the movement.

The important factor, then, is the concrete form which the real movement will assume. If it confirms that which claims to be its own concept, then in truth the theory is a true revolutionary theory. If, on the other hand, it invalidates it, the theory is downgraded to the level of an ideology or utopia (which may itself be a form of false consciousness).

It may indeed appear paradoxical that the question of the practice, and hence of the well-foundedness of the theory is posed at the very end of a volume entirely devoted to abstract conceptions. Should this question not have been put at the beginning, that is to say the question of whether the practice of contestation has confirmed the supposed rationalization made of it ? This would have been logical, but impracticable. The leftists observe that the practice of independent struggle has been stifled and rendered almost impossible over the past half-century. Conceptual reflection has therefore had to be based on indications, on fragmentary conflicts that have broken through the veneer of Stalinist totalitarianism, both in the Soviet Union and, so far as the labour movement is concerned, in the West. But even though it is possible that the autonomous pursuit of struggle has been retarded by the tight grip maintained by the CPSU on the proletariat of a large number of industrialized countries, the low economic and spiritual level of the proletariat would certainly have inhibited the full expression of this aim.

On the contrary, and this links up with the latter observation, the new turn taken by the class struggle in recent years has confirmed the predictions of the most lucid of the councillists, the Dutch, who in the years before the last war staunchly maintained, in the face of general opposition, that the struggle would take the form of increasingly violent wildcat strikes.

This is the point of view held by the theoretical leftists; what does the reality look like ? If we consider the period from 1967 to 1971, and consider France in isolation, changes took place in the mode of social conflict that few observers will deny. To some sociologists, 1968 even inaugurated a new period of social struggle, while others saw it as a new life-style that had been introduced. A whole new historical epoch was commencing. [22] This judgement is regarded as optimistic by others, who see in the strike of May 1968 nothing more than a strike. The important thing, clearly, is to catalogue the social conflicts which took place in order to determine whether anything really new emerges and, even more important, whether this new feature has any chance of permanence.

An initial balance-sheet of the practice of social conflict must take account of two factors : firstly, the small number of sociological surveys that have so far been carried out, and secondly the brief duration of the period under consideration (five years at most). [23] Given these reservations, one cannot fail to be struck by the spread of a number of practices that have broken new ground. Not because such and such a practice was previously unknown (for example recourse to a general ballot of the work-force at a works meeting to decide on whether to strike or call a strike off, or even on a wildcat strike), but that their combined presence makes it possible to speak of a new mode of social conflict. The whole range of these practices (considered over the period from 1967 to 1970) is characterized by the following features : strikes break out outside the framework of the union machine, and often against the union's advice (where it is even consulted), and are often accompanied by occupation of the premises (offices, factory grounds, pits). The strike is called by the whole work-force and for an unlimited period. Claims are not categorized (e.g. an equal wage increase for the whole work-force), and in addition to financial advantages they are directed towards achieving 'qualitative' improvements : in the hierarchical structure of the company, in the wage system as such (in particular the practice of incentive payments and bonus schemes), in the management of the factory and a whole series of changes relating to the life of the worker in his employment (lateness, clocking-in, conditions of work). The progress of a strike will follow a particular pattern : the strike committee will include both organized and non-union workers, and all the workers affected will pronounce upon all questions relating to the strike at the general works meeting, and in particular will appoint or dismiss the members of the strike committee and of the delegation that negotiates with the employer. There may be 'sorties' from the works : demonstrations in the streets, marches to the Prefecture (or other public building), confrontations with the police.

Finally, it may be observed that this type of strike has tended to take place in the bigger plants, characterized by greater social mobility, by a high percentage of young workers (often under 21 years of age) and in which the CFDT is more strongly represented than the CGT.

Of course this description is of an 'ideal type' of contestation strike, based on a certain number of concrete instances. By and large, this is still an atypical phenomenon, which only occurs in some strikes in some sectors. Most of these features were more vividly apparent in May-June 1968, but they still survive today. It should be noted that in many cases the 'autonomous' structure born of the strike (shop-floor strike committee, general works committee) persists for some time after the end of the dispute. To obtain a more complete picture of the practice of contestation, mention should be made of the conflicts which have occurred in the schools, universities, prisons and among consumers (Metro passengers, council tenants, users of creches and play groups, etc.).

The limitations of this account are, however, apparent : the number of examples studied have been small (except for May-June 1968), the surveys conducted originated from different sources applying different methods, the period of study has been too short to be truly significant, or to enable one to speak of a structural rather than a merely conjunctural tendency. It would be especially important to determine whether this type of conflict represents the majority of cases, whether they affect key sectors and whether they are likely to become the rule.

This said, the characteristics enumerated above all bear witness to a high degree of spontaneity, to what the leftists call 'autonomy of struggle'. It is true that the influence of the trade-union machine (or for that matter the party machine or the political cell) is minimal at the beginning of a strike (since the CFDT allows greater freedom of initiative to the rank and file), and that the types of claim bear witness to the opposition that exists to certain structures (the wage structure, the structure of authority, hierarchies, trade unionism) and to a desire, often unexpressed, to take over the management of the company. In this sense, the practice of contestation does correspond to the analyses made by leftist theory. The leftists have not been slow to identify with the current trend towards contestation. To them, the extension and development of the struggle (and its reproduction in other countries would give further confirmation. of their ideas giving them universal validity) brings the modern world and the real movement into a historical phase of which leftism provides the most complete theoretical expression.


[1] Which does not mean to say that utopia has no hold at all over the real, and indeed leftism frequently claims to favour the introduction of an element of utopianism into real life. But that is a problem beyond the terms of reference of this chapter.

[2] Opinion polls, to mention but one source, have sufficiently demonstrated the decisive effect that a speech or particular doctrine may have on behaviour (electoral behaviour, for example). This influence is not necessarily positive, for before the seed can germinate it must fall upon fertile soil.

[3] With regard to the factual studies which have been made, the reader is directed to Denis Woronoff : 'Pour une histoire de mai', Politique aujourd'hui (August-September 1969), which gives a selected list.

[4] P. Vidal-Naquet reports their presence. A. Schnapp, P. Vidal-Naquet, Journal de la Commune etudiante (Paris, 1969), p. 41.

[5] Some records of these exist (notably on film), cf., for example, for Nantes; Les Cahiers de mai, 1 (15 June 1968).

[6] I have refrained from mentioning a factor which might increase this uncertainty : the diversity of leftist ideas and the multiplicity of their sources. Extremist propaganda frequently took over 'spontaneist' ideas, while at the same time amalgamating them with 'directives' that were Trotskyist or Maoist in origin.

[7] For example, the revived practice of holding general meetings (of workshops, of whole factories) under conditions of direct democracy irresistibly remind one of the life of the sections during the French Revolution, reconstructed with great erudition by A. Souboul in his Les Sans-culottes (Paris, 1968).

[8] cf. M. Reberioux, 'Tout ça n'empêche pas, Nicolas, que la Commune n'est pas morte' ('For all that, Nicholas, the Commune is not dead'), Politique aujourd'hui,5 (May 1969), and P. Vidal-Naquet, Journal de la Commune étudiante, Introduction.

[9] G. Adam, 'Mai ou les leçons de l'histoire ouvrière' ('May, or the Lessons of Working-Class History') in France Forum, 90-91 (October-November 1968).

[10] cf. P. Vignaux : 'Evolution et problem's de la CFTC' in La Nef, 5 (January 1954); and S. H. Barnes : 'The Politics of French Christian Labor', The Journal of Politics, XXI, No. 1 (February 1959).

[11] This theme has been illustrated and extended by R. Mouriaux and J. Capdevielle in their contribution to a seminar held in the third session of the National Foundation of Political Sciences, a duplicated document of twelve pages entitled : 'Transmission et déplacement du syndicalisme révolutionnaire'.

[12] On the Thirty-fifth Congress, see J. Julliard, 'La CFDT au pied du mur', Esprit (July-August 1970). The standpoint taken by the union in the month of May 1968 is detailed in the special issue of Syndicalisme of November 1969 (No. 1266 A).

[13] A. Detraz and E. Maire, 'Pourquoi nous croyons a l'autogestion', in Preuves (fourth quarter, 1970). Cf. also La CFDT (Paris, 1971), Part 2.

[14] This ambiguity has been underlined by P. Capdevielle in 'La CFDT depuis 1968', Projet (November 1970).

[15] In the months preceding the general strike of 1968, most of the 'wildcat' action had taken place in factories where the CFDT was in a majority over the CGT; cf. my article 'The Ideology and Practice of Contestation seen through Recent Events in France', Government and Opposition, V, No. 4 (Autumn 1970).

[16] La C FD T, p. 178 (declaration by Andre Jeanson). It should also be remembered that the 'radicalization' of the CFDT corresponded to a 'sobering-up' of the CGT which, at its 1969 congress, modified Article 2 of its Statutes relating to the abolition of the wage system.

[17] Although, paradoxically, it was not intended for students but for the workers, the revolutionary class par excellence.

[18] This is also confirmed by P. Vidal-Naquet, Journal de la Commune étudiante, Introduction.

[19] A. Frankin wrote a highly lucid article on W. Reich and the sexual economy in Arguments, 18 (second quarter, 1960). The same issue reproduced a lecture read by Marcuse to the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in 1958-9 ('De l'ontologie à la technologie'). Chaulieu, for his part, was 'contaminated' by the ideas of Marcuse from 1961-2, but never gave a systematic account of them.

[20] Twenty-page roneoed brochure entitled 'Eléments pour une critique révolutionnaire de la répression sexuelle' ('Elements of a Revolutionary Critique of Sexual Repression'). Marcuse's text is titled 'Répression sociale et répression psychologique, actualité politique de Freud' ('Social and Psychological Repression : the Political Modernity of Freud'), and that of Caruso, 'L'ambivalence dans la société du bien-être'('Ambivalence in the Affluent Society'). Both articles are accompanied by commentaries and a selective bibliography on the problems dealt with.

[21] Extracts reproduced in the Journal de la Commune étudiante, pp. 132-3. The same text was also published in its entirety in the Sorbonne during the students' sit-in, in the form of enormous hand-written mural posters. It seems likely that it was by this means that most of the students first became aware of Reich's teaching.

[22] For different interpretations of the social contestation of May-June 1968, cf. P. Beneton and J. Touchard, 'Les Interprétations de la crise de mai-juin 1968', Revue française de science politique, XX,3 (June 1970), notably pp. 523 and 529; and P. Souyri, 'La crise de mai', Annales, 1 (January-February 1970), notably pp. 179 and 184.

[23] I have attempted, with the aid of existing material, to draw an outline of the current modes of (industrial) conflict in 'The Ideology and Practice of Contestation', Government and Opposition, V, 4 (Autumn 1970).