53 years ago today, May 3rd 1968, following conflict between students & University of Paris authorities, students protested the closure of the Sorbonne, setting off a wave of civil unrest by MILLIONS of students & workers.

"Be realistic, demand the impossible".

In the late 60s, French youth assumed they were living under a quasi-benign dictatorship.

The main opposition parties, Radicals & Socialists, had essentially collapsed, which meant that progressive political change via conventional parliamentary channels was all but ruled out.
In 1967, students at the University of Paris had staged protests against restrictions on dormitory visits that prevented male & female students from sleeping with each other. In January 1968, student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit verbally attacked France’s Minister of Youth & Sports.
Cohn-Bendit complained the Minister had failed to address the students’ sexual frustrations. The Minister suggested he cool off his ardour by jumping into the pool, whereupon Cohn-Bendit replied that the Ministers remark was just what one would expect from a fascist regime.
The exchange earned Cohn-Bendit a reputation as an antiauthoritarian provocateur, and he soon acquired an almost cultlike following among French youth.

In March an attack on the American Express office in central Paris resulted in the arrest of several students.
At a protest a few days later in support of the students, more students were arrested, including Cohn-Bendit himself, who, it was rumoured, was threatened with deportation.

The March 22 Movement, which lobbied for the arrested students’ release, emerged in response.
Fearing an escalation of the protests, the dean of Nanterre shut down the campus, & since the students were barred from protesting at Nanterre, they decided to take their grievances to the Sorbonne, in the heart of Paris’s Latin Quarter.
On May 3, the police clear the university’s courtyard, where 300 students had assembled. The mass arrests that followed, with help from the national riot police, sparked violent resistance from bystanders, who began pelting the police with cobblestones & erecting barricades.
The police responded with tear gas, clubbings, & more arrests. The University was closed & student leaders proposed a rally for May 10 to demand its reopening, the release of students who were still being held by the police, & an end to the intimidating police presence on campus.
On May 10th, 40,000 student protesters gathered. Police blocked the marchers’ path, so some students began removing cobblestones & erecting barricades for protection.

At around 2 a.m. May 11, the police attacked, firing tear gas & beating students & bystanders with truncheons.
The confrontation continued until dawn. By the time the dust had cleared, nearly 500 students had been arrested & hundreds hospitalized, including more than 250 police officers. The Latin Quarter lay in ruins, & public sympathy for the students, already considerable, increased.
The protest movement came to engulf the whole of France, opening up new possibilities for radical change: the dismantling of authoritarian political structures; the democratization of social & cultural institutions ranging from education to the news media & beyond.
The next several days witnessed the largest wildcat general strike in French history: MILLIONS of workers poured into the streets in support of the students as well as to set forth their own demands. Scores of factories - including those of Renault - were seized by workers.
The French state was badly shaken, yet it weathered the crisis. Charles de Gaulle delivered a dramatic May 30 radio address in which he raised the spectre of a communist takeover, but the French Communist Party had long ago abandoned the dream of a revolutionary seizure of power.
The strikes continued but de Gaulle also announced an election for June 23, assuming that the French people were ready for a return to stability.

He also implicitly threatened to use the army to impose order if the forces of “intimidation” & “tyranny” did not back down.
Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country marched in counterdemonstrations in support of de Gaulle.

Although strikes & student demonstrations continued into June, the student movement gradually lost momentum, & de Gaulle’s party won a resounding victory.
French society did undergo profound changes in the aftermath, but were more measured & incremental than many wanted.

The May revolt initiated a transformation of “everyday life”, a phrase crucial to understanding the cultural-political implications of #May68, in France & beyond.
The critique of everyday life encouraged activists to focus attention on a variety of qualitative issues & concerns that transcended the narrowly economic orientation of orthodox Marxism: the “sixty-eighters” sought to unmask new forms of ideological coercion & social control.
They realized that with the advent of consumer society, the scope of commodification had transcended the workplace & encompassed almost every aspect of social life, opening up critique of new areas of social emancipation, including feminism, environmentalism, racism & gay rights.
50 years later & we STILL need to confront the underlying problems: political authoritarianism & corruption; media control; structural & institutional disadvantage; consumerism; insecure work; nationalism & levels of wealth inequality not seen since the 1930s; & climate change.
#May68 has its critics, who see it as a childish chaotic outburst, achieving little & substituting economic justice for 'identity politics'. Others see it as the Left at its best: critiquing an authoritarian elite while fighting for both economic equality AND social emancipation.
One of the most significant problems the Left must confront is ubiquitous corporate #propaganda.

The Left is mistaken in thinking that simply 'speaking truth to power', or countering propaganda with truth, is an effective strategy. On it's own, it isn't:

A #THREAD about how forty years of uninterrupted neoliberal ideology has facilitated an elite who have hoarded at least $30 TRILLION offshore, & who fund political parties & free-market #propaganda which legitimate environmental & human exploitation:

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with GET A GRIP

GET A GRIP Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @docrussjackson

4 May

In January, Gavin Williamson announced that our increasingly authoritarian Govt of philistines intends to cut University funding by 50% to performing & creative arts, media studies & archaeology, with further reductions sought in future years.

Unlike our corrupt Government of liars, bankers, lobbyists & charlatans, Britain's cultural, communication & creative industries are genuinely world beating, & among the fastest growing sectors of our struggling economy.

It makes *zero* economic sense.

So why are they doing it?
The importance of communications & media in the lives of British citizens has never been greater, with an epidemic of disinformation & misleading, deeply polarizing, & ideological #propaganda passed off as news - much of it emanating from Downing Street via the billionaire press.
Read 36 tweets
3 May
What the 'culture war' is for:

40 years of years deregulation & free-market policies, compounded by a decade of #austerity, means almost EVERYONE is worse off: while the rich are MUCH richer, we have a poverty & housing crisis, broken public services, & low paid insecure work.
After FORTY YEARS, all that the right-wing free-market ideologues have left is to distract & divide us by relentlessly provoking outrage over tenuous stories about statues, race, gender, & flags, which keep us constantly distracted from the reality of much more pressing issues.
If @UKLabour & the Left are serious about creating a fairer, greener society, we have to stop talking to each other, & take the argument to THE MOST right-wing constituencies, & SPELL OUT not only what the Tories have done to them, but also EXACTLY how we're going to fix it.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
A headteacher suggests “good morning everyone” should be used instead of “boys & girls”, because it's more inclusive & doesn't create a gender divide, & all the usual unhinged divisive opportunist anti-woke culture war morons are now actually trying to cancel her!
The headteacher made it crystal clear that despite misleading press lies & online reports, the words 'boys' & 'girls' ARE NOT BANNED.

Predictably, Nana Akua - the latest addition to Andrew Neil's polarizing "anti-woke" TV channel - still objected.

And now, thanks to the unhinged partisan crap emanating from the shit-stirring gaslighters at the 'anti-woke anti-cancel culture' Daily Mail, we now have outraged "anti-woke" warriors who decry the "cancel culture mob" ACTUALLY TRYING TO CANCEL the headteacher.

Jesus wept.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Shit-stirring liar Andrew Pierce works for the Daily Mail.

The headteacher actually said the phrase “good morning everyone” should be used instead of “boys & girls”, because it's more inclusive & doesn't create a gender divide, adding “Of course we use the words boys & girls".
The headteacher made it crystal clear that despite misleading press lies & online reports, the words 'boys' & 'girls' ARE NOT BANNED!

Predictably, Nana Akua - the latest addition to Andrew Neil's polarizing "anti-woke" TV channel - objected anyway.

And now, thanks to the unhinged partisan bullshit emanating from the global hard-right 'anti-woke anti-cancel culture' shit-stirring #industry, we now have outraged gullible "anti-woke" warriors who decry the "cancel culture mob" ACTUALLY TRYING TO CANCEL the headteacher. 🤬
Read 4 tweets
1 May
#Lickspittles try to please people in authority, to gain advantage.

National newspapers exist primarily to create conditions conducive to protecting or enhancing the interests of their funders/owners.

Occasional negative headline about a bigoted liar are neither here nor there.
And what word might we use to describe people cosying up to the despicable far-right Orbán regime? #Lickspittles?

And what word might we use for those people who amplified the misleading view that the Cambridge Analytica scandal, about obtaining personal data of millions of people without their consent to be used for political advertising, was a 'conspiracy theory'?

Read 4 tweets
29 Apr

UK's richest 1,000 wealth increase since 2009:

571 MILLION💰💰💰

Crony contracts given to Tory donors:

2.4 MILLION 💰💰

Investment in Andrew Neil's #GBeebies:


Average additional annual income from nurse pay rise:

0.4 +👏
The wallpaper cost £840 a roll.

#NHS nurses will receive a pay increase worth less than half a roll of Downing St wallpaper this year – despite their heroics in guiding the country through a deadly pandemic resulting in 150,000 largely avoidable deaths.

#GBeebies investors may be more interested in #INFLUENCE than financial return: £60 MILLION was raised with help from Libertarian billionaires #Cato's John Malone & #Legatum's Christopher Chandler, & hedge funder Paul Marshall who bet big on #Brexit chaos.
Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!