General Strike in France, May/June 1968: Workers' Liberty 3/21

Class struggle in France May-June 1968

The May 1968 general strike in France is often bracketed with the other events of that year. Although student activism did play an important role in “detonating” the factory occupations movement in France, to see the general strike as just one among many acts of “resistance” is to denude it of its class content. It was a tooth-and-nail struggle in which the working class withheld its labour power, brought the de Gaulle administration to its knees and had the ability to take state power from the ruling class. The French general strike should properly be compared with the 1974-75 Portuguese...

Occupying Sud Aviation

The first factory occupation in 1968 took place at the Sud Aviation aircraft plant at Bouguenais near Nates. François le Madec, a CFDT union activist at the factory, gave this account of the first night of the strike in his 1988 book L’aubépin de mai (The Hawthorns of May). Translated by David Broder. On Monday 14th there were the usual sporadic walkouts. Management were going to meet with the union reps in early afternoon: it wasn’t exactly clear why, but something big was in the offing. The atmosphere was electric. During the first afternoon walkout, between half past two and three o’clock...

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