1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution

1960s: Days of Rage


A young Parisian photographs the barricades stlll in place the morning after the riots. In May of 1968, angry students and workers took to the streets to protest against widespread poverty, unemployment, and the conservative government of Charles de Gaulle.

“For fifty years, the events of May–June 1968 in France have had a collective hero: the striking students and workers who occupied their factories and universities and high schools. They’ve also had a collective villain, one within the same camp: the French Communist Party (PCF) and its allied labor union organization, the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), which together did all they could to put a brake on a potential revolution, blocking the students and workers from uniting or even fraternizing. This reading of the events is often found in histories, most recently Ludivine Bantigny’s 1968. De Grands soirs en petitsmatins. I heard it fairly consistently from rank-and-file student…

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