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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #283 - 50 th anniversary: Books to see May 68 from below (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Sat, 2 Jun 2018 09:57:10 +0300
Fifty years after the biggest general strike in the country, many books come back,
unsurprisingly, on the events. The silence of the PCF and the CGT is, in this swarming
editorial, particularly edifying ! The great trend is to local and popular history which
offers a deep renewal of historiography, centered on the Parisian leaders and engraved in
the collective memory by Hamon and Rotman with Génération. Here are nine of these books.
---- Génération, published in Le Seuil in two volumes between 1987 and 1988 wrote the
official history of the extreme left of the post-war period to the victory of the Union of
the Left in 81. From dream years to powder years , from the terrorist drift to the
electoral outlet. The TV documentary (15x30 minutes) that accompanied the release of
Volume 2 has shaped a long-term vision and the centrality of avant-garde organizations and
their leaders. The book remains an essential reference but very focused on the history of
some student leaders and the Latin Quarter.
Generation or period ?
For fifty years, many works go beyond and give voice to young people, workers, women,
provincials. To those who have made the daily reality of " events ". Omar Gueye's book
even makes it possible to recall that the movement in Senegal was just as powerful as
it is here. This is unfortunately one of the few books that gives a clear view of the
global movement. For the sixty years of May '68 publishers may allow historians to study
more seriously what happened, country by country, in those years. But for this year you
will have to accept that France remains the center of a world where the bottom of the air
Let's be honest if you choose to read a book published recently, it's the 1968 Ludivine
Bantigny that you need. For three reasons: a real work as a historian, with
considerable counting of archives, notament of the police. Multiple angles: students,
peasants, workers, women, bosses, trade unionists, Gaullists, leftists, Stalinists ... all
with a sharp and coherent political reading. Ludivine is already known for her
anti-imperialist, feminist and anti-racist commitments, but this book will be a landmark
in both research circles and militant circles.
If the works on Lyon and Marseille help to finally decenter our gaze fixed on the
courtyard of the Sorbonne, rue Soufflot and Ulm, the May 68 by those who have lived is
an editorial adventure uncommon since dozens of anonymous stories, in a few lines or
pages, their personal memories. Generation requires, the majority of the testimony is the
fact of high school students, students and called to military service. But from all
regions. With so many teachers, there are also workers, children, housewives and trade
unionists. All accompanied by many photos of amateurs. Note that Médiapart takes over and
publishes hundreds of testimonials that were not retained in the large paper volume. If
the book will not serve you as a political compass, it will immerse you very usefully in
the atmosphere of that year !
The little hands of the general strike
The 68 of The Discovery will not be more a compass. Deliberately pluralistic, it deals
with the years 62-81 by cutting, without originality, the period in four phases 62/68 -
May 68 - 68/74 and 74/81. Each sequence opens with a detailed historical reminder and
follows various political testimonies.
On a larger sequence, from the post-war period to the present day, an old LCR activist
delivers to L'Harmattan a punctilious study of the history of groups of extreme left,
Trotskyists, Maoists, anarchists, autonomous. The book, although politically oriented, is
a mine for the passionate of the history of each current and group, debates and splits
that have crossed. Necessarily each protagonist of this feverish story will complain that
such a point has been underestimated or that aspect forgotten. And the author sometimes
struggles to take the height of reflection on this small world he describes. Nevertheless
the book is probably an unequal sum of information. The weakest part is obviously the one
that it dedicates to the autonomous ones that we will therefore look for in Libertalia
which publishes a collection of testimonials nicely titled Voyage in addition left .
Useful to understand the state of mind of a fraction of the student youth, the role played
in a few places by the situationists, it leaves to see the political limits of those who
do not go beyond the poetics of the riot as a political orientation and a social project.
To seize the spirit, it is necessary to read with happiness the re-edition by Libertalia
of the little story of Peuchmaurd published hot in the autumn of 68 . With an elegant
and dreamy writing, he gives us the vision, at the edge of the Parisian barricades, of a
rioter. And his detestation of revolutionary organizations.
Avant-garde against vanguard
Thus, the anniversary of May 1968 draws a line, without much admitting it, over a period
marked by the clash between the PCF and the revolutionary parties for the leadership of
the proletariat. A new period opens slowly on the ruins of the Berlin Wall. Many
understand that we must end once and for all with the conception of the party-guide and
seek, even confusedly, to put back the direct democracy in the functioning of
organizations as of society. Spring will be libertarian communist !
Jean-Yves (AL 93-Center)
 Omar Gueye, May 68 in Senegal, Karthala Ed, 2017, 336 p, 24 euros.
 Ludivine Bantigny, 1968, great evenings in small mornings, Editions Seuil, 2018, 464
p, 25 euros
 Marseille 68 years, under the direction of Fillieule and Sommier, Presses Sciences Po,
2018, 612 p, 25 euros. Lyon struggles in the 68s , Collectif de la Grande Côte, University
Presses of Lyon, 2018, 424 p, 20 euros
 May 68 by those who lived it, Collective, Editions de l'Atelier / Mediapart, 2018,
480p, 29.90 euros
 May 68 a collective history, under the direction of Artières and Zancarini, 2018, 880
p, 28 euros.
 Jacques Leclercq, Far Left and Anarchism in May 68, L'Harmattan, 2017, 568p, 39 euros.
 Lola Miesserof, Overseas Trip, Libertalia, 2018, 280p, 10 euros.
 Pierre Peuchmaurd, More alive than ever, Libertalia, 2018, 128p, 8 euros.
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