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 A Splendid New Page in French History

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A Splendid New Page in French History

Great storm of mass struggle set off by the French workers and students

Source: Peking Review, No. 28, July 12, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


  THE great storm of the revolutionary struggle of the French workers and students has been sweeping across all France with the momentum of an avalanche and the force of a thunderbolt since May. It has dealt the reactionary rule of the French monopoly capitalist class heavy blows and shaken the decaying and moribund world capitalist system. Inheritors of the glorious revolutionary traditions of the Paris Commune, the fine sons and daughters of the French people have written a splendid new page in French history.

Unprecedented Violent Revolutionary Storm

     At the beginning of May, Paris students ignited the first sparks of this great revolutionary mass struggle. They came out of the schools and heroically challenged the rotten bourgeois educational and social systems. More than 600,000 university students and millions of middle school students throughout the country rose up in response. Inspired and spurred on by the unprecedented upsurge in the student movement, over ten million workers arose in a general strike, which had both economic and political demands, and occupied half the country's factories and enterprises. Within a very short period, revolutionary red flags were hoisted over the factories, mines and enterprises from the mining district in northern France to the Mediterranean coast in the south, from the port of Bordeaux along the Atlantic seaboard in the west to Strasbourg on the eastern border of France and West Germany, and the roaring flames of mass struggle were kindled everywhere in more than 90 provinces of France.

Spearhead of Struggle Pointed at the Decaying Old System

     One of the important characteristics of this great revolutionary storm is that the struggle is clearly directed at the evil rule of the French monopoly capitalist class and the decaying capitalist system. This shows that the consciousness of the French masses and their struggle have risen to a new level.
     Thousands upon thousands of students and workers went into the streets, shouting: ''Revolution! Revolution!" "Down with the police state!" "Down with the anti-popular regime which creates unemployment and poverty!" "Power to the workers!" They attacked the French Senate, assaulted many departmental administrations, set fire to the Paris stock exchange, the "shrine of capitalism," and valiantly challenged branches of the reactionary state machinery such as the police, the gendarmerie and the judiciary. In a public statement, progressive students in Paris noted that their struggle must be waged "within the framework of a contest with and a struggle against the capitalist regime" and that it was tied up with the "overthrow of the (existing) relations of production and transformation of the economic structure by and for the workers.'*

"Students and Workers, Unite !"

     Another clear characteristic of this revolutionary hurricane is that the student movement and the workers' movement supported and encouraged each other, thus pushing the struggle forward at a furious pace.
     As early as the beginning of May when the Paris students went into the streets, Paris workers joined in their demonstration processions. "Workers and students, unite!" This has become the ringing slogan in this revolutionary storm. In mid May when the students were brutally suppressed, the workers staged a general strike in solidarity with the student struggle. The day in early June when the workers of the Renault Automobile Plant in Flins were savagely attacked by the police, large numbers of Paris students rushed to their support that night, breaking through line after line of police blockades. In the last two months, the students and workers have forged a deep revolutionary friendship in the struggle.

Meet Counter-Revolutionary Violence With Revolutionary Violence

     A third vivid feature of this storm is that the students and workers, undaunted in the face of brute force, held the "law" and "order" of the bourgeoisie in scorn, ignored the orders and "directives" of the French revisionists and scab union bosses and courageously challenged the capitalist system. They formed occupation committees and pickets, occupied university and factory buildings, and prevented blood-sucking managers and capitalists from leaving their offices.
     When the French Government moved in large numbers of heavily armed police, gendarmes and security forces to brutally put them down, the students and workers staunchly declared: "Meet bourgeois violence with revolutionary violence!" Having built street barricades, they fought pitched battles against the reactionary police and security forces night after night. They grabbed police high-pressure hoses, picked up tear-gas and concussion grenades which had not exploded and threw them back at the police, along with rocks and incendiary bottles. The police and security forces were soundly beaten. Police vans were burnt and police stations were attacked and set on fire. Hitherto regarded by the ruling class as its paradise, many big cities were turned into battlefields engulfed in smoke and strewn with debris.

Badly Mauled Ruling Circles Resort lo Every Kind of Intrigue

     French ruling circles and their accomplices and running dogs of all descriptions have been badly mauled in the last two months. They have been struggling desperately and trying their utmost to suppress and oppose the people and have thereby fully revealed their vicious features. They have served as teachers by negative example and given the French people a profound lesson by negative example.
     In an effort to maintain its tottering reactionary rule, the French monopoly capitalist class has gone all out in its counter-revolutionary Iwo-faced tactics — political deception and violent suppression. On the one hand, it staged its disgusting "election" farce and made empty promises of "reforms" and trivial concessions in wage and welfare benefits to deceive the people. On the other hand, it flagrantly sent police, special agents, gendarmes and security forces all over the country to carry out bloody suppression of the students and workers. In the last two months, two young workers and one student were killed and several thousand people arrested by the French reactionaries. The ruling class has incurred a heavy debt of blood to the French people.

Renegade Features of French Revisionist Clique Fully Revealed

     The revisionist leading clique of the French Communist Party and the bosses of the General Confederation of Labour (C.G.T.) under the control of the French revisionists openly came out for maintaining the "law" and "order" of the bourgeoisie at a time when French ruling circles were in the grip of a grave crisis. They spared no effort in attacking and undermining the just struggles of the students and workers. This has fully revealed their ugly features as renegades and scabs who play the role of watch-dogs of the imperialist and capitalist system of exploitation.
     The French revisionist chiefs mortally hate and fear the students who were the first to rise in struggle. As apologists for the reactionary authorities, these revisionists have once and again attacked and slandered the students who are carrying out a just struggle as "provocative elements" and 'creating revolt." At a time when the musses of French workers had broken through the obstacles put up by the revisionists and had launched an irrepressible wave of occupying factories and holding strikes throughout the country, which was like a big earthquake shaking the very rule of the monopoly capitalist class, these revisionist chiefs lost no time in reaching "agreement" with the government and the capitalists on resumption of work at the expense of the workers' fundamental interests. The revisionists and ruling circles worked in close co-operation, used different kinds of dirty tricks and tried their best to resort to intimidation, cajolery and sowing dissension to help the ruling circles disrupt the vigorous mass struggle. This was why the West European bourgeois press openly praised the French revisionist bosses as "natural allies of the French Government" in suppressing the revolutionary movement of the workers.
     In their actual struggles, more and more progressive French workers and students have come to realize that the French revisionists are the Ferocious enemies of the workers' movement and that it is impossible to overthrow capitalism without crushing revisionism.

French People's Triumph Inevitable

     With the help of the French revisionists, the French ruling circles have temporarily suppressed the vigorous revolutionary mass movement. They are now intensifying their repressive measures against the revolutionary people. On the one hand, they have flagrantly dissolved a large number of workers' and student organizations, arrested and persecuted progressive workers and students, and, on the other hand, they arc making further economic onslaughts against the working people. But the greater the oppression, the more powerful the resistance. These perverse actions by the French reactionaries will certainly further aggravate the acute class contradictions at home, making the French people rise in struggle more resolutely.
     Having been tempered in this great revolutionary storm, the revolutionary French Marxist-Leninists and people, who have a glorious tradition of revolution, will surely accumulate rich experience from struggle and become stronger. No matter how desperately the French monopoly capitalist class and the revisionist clique thrash around in their death-bed struggle and no matter what tremendous difficulties the French people may meet in their struggle in days to come, victory surely belongs to the French people. As pointed out by our great leader Chairman Mao: "The socialist system will eventually replace the capitalist system; this is an objective law independent of man's will. However much the reactionaries try to hold back the wheel of history, sooner or later revolution will take place and will inevitably triumph."
  
  
  

 
 
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