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Introducton
ho are we ether offcers nor functonares of
the orker- tudent cton Commttees; nether presdents
nor secretares of the movement; nether spokesmen nor
representatves of the revoutonares.
e re two mtants who met at the barrcades and
n Censer; who shared a pro|ect wth each other as wth
thousands of other mtants actve n Pars n May and
une 96 .
hy are we wrtng ths account of the May- une
events ot n order to descrbe a spectace, nor a
hstory whch s to enghten future generatons. Our
goa s to make transparent, to ourseves and to those
who are engaged n the same pro|ect, our shortcomngs,
our ack of foresght, our ack of acton. Our am s
to carfy the e tent to whch our concrete actons
furthered the revoutonary pro|ect.
The purpose of the crtque s to permt us to move
further n the reazaton of the revoutonary pro|ect,
to act more effectvey n a stuaton smar to the
one we e perenced. Our ntenton s not to carfy
the sequence of events whch took pace n rance n
order to make possbe a rtua repetton of these
events, but rather to contrast the mted vews we
had of the events at the tme we were engaged n them,
wth vews we have ganed from further acton n df-
ferent conte ts. Thus ths account and crtque of
rench events s at the same tme a crtque of short-
comngs we found n ourseves and n those aongsde
whom we strugged afterwards.
Ths booket s dvded nto two parts. The frst
part conssts of artces whch are attempts to under-
stand the events as they took pace and to defne the
perspectves behnd the actons. The perspectves be-
hnd the actons are not prvate phosophes whch we
attrbuted to an e terna soca movement ; they are
not the sub|ectve goas of two mtants. They are not
pro|ectons whch detached hstorans mpose on events
from the outsde. The perspectves are the bass on
whch we partcpated n the revoutonary pro|ect. e
do not regard ourseves as e terna observers report-
ng the actvtes of others. e were ourseves n-
tegra parts of the events we descrbed, and our per-
spectves transformed the events n whch we partcpated.
mtant who re|ects the constrants of captast
day fe was drawn to the unversty occupatons, the
street fghts, the strke, precsey because the coec-
tve pro|ect, the pro|ect of the others, was aso hs
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pro|ect. t the same tme hs perspectves, hs pro|ect,
became part of the coectve pro|ect. Consequenty,
when he deveoped hs perspectves, the entre group s
pro|ect was deveoped, modfed, transformed, snce the
coectve pro|ect ony e sts n the ndvduas who
engage themseves n t and thus transform t. The
pro|ect s not somethng whch e sts n our heads and
whch we attrbute to the movement, nor s t some-
thng whch e sts n the coectve mnd of the move-
ment. pecfc ndvduas engaged themseves n a
revoutonary pro|ect, and other ndvduas accepted
ths pro|ect as ther own and engaged themseves n t;
the pro|ect became a coectve pro|ect ony when numer-
ous ndvduas chose t and engaged themseves n t.
s the number of peope grew arger, Indvduas wth
dfferent knds of e perences defned new actvtes
and new perspectves, and consequenty contrbuted new
possbtes to a the others engaged n the pro|ect;
they opened up new potenta drectons for the entre
movement. Consequenty the perspectves of an actve
partcpant n the movement were n no way e terna to
the movement.
The second part of ths booket s a crtca
evauaton of our actons and perspectves; t s an
attempt to answer why our actons dd not ead to the
reazaton
of our per-
spectves.
The pont of
the crtque
s to enabe
us to go
further, not
to repeat
what happened
n May- une.
hat was the
nature of the
pro|ect we
engaged n
hy dd the
escaaton
of the move-
ment reach a
certan pont
and go no
further
hen we en-
gaged our-
seves n
the pro|ect
ntated by
the March 22
Movement n
why Tkesa
yom fc (0T.
&
3t Ue -Rfc
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anterre, dd we engage ourseves n the same manner
If not, what was the dfference
ttempts to reaze the revoutonary pro|ect
after the May- une events made us aware that our en-
gagement n the pro|ect of the March 22 Movement had
been passve. The nta am of the anterre mtants
was to change reaty, to emnate soca obstaces
to the free deveopment of creatve actvty, and the
mtants proceeded by emnatng concrete obstaces.
owever, a arge number of peope who became the move-
ment engaged themseves n a dfferent manner. They
dd not regard themseves as those who had to move
aganst the concrete obstaces. In ths sense they
were passve. They |oned a movement, they became
part of a mysterous coectvty whch, they thought,
had a dynamc of ts own. By |onng the movement,
ther ony engagement was to move wth t. s a re-
sut, concrete peope, who are the ony ones who can
transform soca reaty, were not gong to change
reaty through ther own concrete actvty; they were
gong to foow a mysterous force the mass, the
movement whch was gong to transform reaty. Thus
we became dependent on an nestent power.
R. Gregore
. Perman
aamazoo
ebruary, I969.
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stands and automobes to bud the barrcades, and dug
up cobbestones whch they threw n e change for poce
grenades and gas bombs.
The foowng day the atn uarter of Pars was
n a state of sege; fghtng contnued; a arge de-
monstraton at the rght-wng newspaper e garo
protested the newspaper s attempts to mobze voence
aganst the students. Red fags appeared at the front
nes of mmense demonstratons, The Internatona was
sung, and demonstrators cred ong ve the (Pars)
Commune.
On May 0, student demonstrators demand an m-
medate openng of a unverstes, and the mmedate
wthdrawa of the poce from the atn uarter. Thou-
sands of students, |oned by young workers, occupy the
man streets of the atn uarter and construct over
60 barrcades. On the nght of rday, May 0, cty
poce renforced by speca forces charge on the
demonstrators. arge number of demonstrators, as
we as pocemen, are serousy n|ured.
Up to ths pont, rench newspapers, ncudng the
Communst Party organ umante, had characterzed the
student movement as tny groups and adventurst
e tremsts. owever, after the poce represson of
May 0, the communst-ed unon cas for a genera
strke protestng the brutaty of the poce and sup-
portng the students. hen amost a mon peope
demonstrate n the streets of Pars on May 3, stu-
dents cry vctorousy e are the tny groups
The very ne t day, Tuesday May Ik, the movement
begns to fow beyond the unversty and nto the fac-
tores. The arcraft pant ud- vaton, manufac-
turer of the Caravee, s occuped by ts own workers.
On ednesday, May 5, students and workers take
over the Odeon, the rench natona theater, pant
revoutonary red and back fags on the dome, and
procam the end of a cuture mted to the economc
ete of the country. The same day numerous pants
throughout rance are occuped by ther workers, n-
cudng the automobe producer Renaut.
Two days after the take-over of the Renaut pant,
orbonne students organze a 6-me march to demon-
strate the sodarty of the students wth the workers.
t the head of the march s a red fag, and on ther
way to the pant marchers sng the Internatona
and ca Down wth the Poce tate, Down wth
Captasm, and Ths s ony the begnnng; contnue
the strugge
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red fag s fown at the entrance to the Renaut
pant, and ndvdua workers standng on the roof of
the budng cheer the marchng students. owever, the
C.G.T., the communst unon whch had taken charge of
the strke nsde the pant. s guardedy hoste to
the student demonstrators, and party spokesmen are
openy hoste toward students who ca on workers to
govern and speak for themseves drecty, nstead of
ettng the unon govern and speak for them.
he rado statons contnue to broadcast that
students are e cusvey concerned wth fna e amna-
tons and workers are e cusvey concerned wth m-
proved saares, students organze Commttees of c-
ton, and factory occupatons contnue to spread.
- ; . - -

C T RR T T
O M C I
D U IT
OU URD MO TO
UR IB

Iw . wn a MB

-.

In the
audtorums and
ecture has
of Unversty
of Pars bud-
ngs, a vast
e perment n
drect de-
mocracy s
under way.
The state,
the mnstres,
the facuty
bodes and
the former
student re-
presentatve
bodes are
no onger
recognzed as
egtmate
awmakers.
The aws are
made by the
consttuents
of Genera
ssembes. cton commttees estabsh contacts wth
strkng workers, and eafets nform workers of the
e perence n drect democracy whch the students are
ganng.
t ths wrtng, the workers contnue to be re-
presented and controed by the unons, and the unons
contnue to demand reforms from the state and from the
factory owners. owever, the students refusa to
recognze the egtmacy of any e terna contro,
ther refusa to be represented by any body smaer
than the genera assemby, s contnuay transmtted
to the strkng workers by the tudents and orkers
cton Commttees.
. Perman
It s by stoppng OUR M C I
together that we show them
ther weakness.
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P RI . May 20, 96
orkers Occupy Ther actores
The work-force whch has taken power n rance s
man ndustres was characterzed, n the past, by
unbrdgeabe confcts of nterest. The confctng
nterests were e poted by factory owners, by the
poce, and by the state. th the occupaton of the
factores the dfferences have dmnshed, but they
have not dsappeared, and the dfferences contnue to
be e poted, n modfed form, wthn the occuped
factores.
In arge factores ke Ctrofen, the man con-
fct was between rench workers and foregn workers.
Ths artce w mt tsef to the forms of e -
potaton, past and present, of the confct of n-
terests between these two groups.
oregn workers, many from Portuga, pan,
ugosava and orth frca, worked for wages whch
were, on the average, ess than haf the sze of
rench workers wages. The foregn workers had no
choce. rst of a the foregners do not know
rench, and coud not nform themseves ether of
ther human rghts or of ega forms. The unon dd
not estabsh schoos for them. econdy, numerous
poce bureaucraces made t neary mpossbe for
foregners to fnd |obs once n Pars, and sent them
back to ther own countres after they had spent the
money they had somehow saved n ther own countres
to come to Pars. In other words, the foregn worker
s vrtuay forced to gve up hs humanty n order
to fnd a |ob. Consequenty, the foregn worker s
not wng to rsk osng hs |ob even f hs very
defnton of hmsef as a human beng s n queston,
snce he has argey ceased to defne hmsef as a
human beng. ystematcay dehumanzed, these work-
ers were easy manpuated by the owners of rance s
bg ndustres: wng to work for ow wages, they
owered the overa wage scae; wng to work under
any condtons, they were used to break strkes.
rom the pont of vew of the rench workers,
the foregners represented a constant threat. n
unempoyed rench worker had to compete wth foregn-
ers wng to work for ower wages n worse cond-
tons. mpoyed workers, prveged n terms of type
of |ob, workng condtons and wages, coud strke
ony hestanty from fear that the factory owners and
the state woud use the strke as a prete t to repace
rench by foregn workers.
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r/ff y 6 T TO Be tf Ut T/MT
/ T C; /T
6-7OT...
f
11 v
oM t
In order to |ustfy ther reatve prveges
and to ratonaze ther fear of the foregn workers,
rench workers deveoped psychoogca outooks whch
are neary dentca wth racsm.
The Communst Party unon (the C.G.T.) dd not
make speca efforts to equaze the condtons of the
foregners wth those of the rench workers. Ths s
argey because the work contracts of most of the fo-
regners were temporary, and the foregn workers coud
not vote, whch means that the foregn workers dd not
represent a power base for the Communst Party. nd
some unon spokesmen contrbuted to a further worsenng
of the foregn workers stuaton by coaboratng wth
the poce represson of the foregners, and even by
pubcy defnng foregners as the greatest threat to
the rench workng cass.
In order to understand the present cash of the
Communst unon wth the movement for drect democracy,
t must be noted that a unon s not the unfed
communty of workers of a factory or a regon, and t
does not e press the w of a the workers. The
unon s n fact a partcuar group of peope who
represent the workers, who speak for the workers,
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who make decsons for the workers. Ths means that a
movement of revoutonary democracy whch seeks new
potca forms for the e presson of the w of a
the workers (for e ampe, through a genera assemby of
a the workers), threatens the very e stence of the
present day unon. The movement for revoutonary
democratzaton, ntated by students, affrms the
prncpe that the unon of workers, namey the entre
coectvty, s the ony body whch can speak for, and
make decsons for the workers. In ths concepton
the offca unon (and the rench Communst Party) woud
be reduced to a servce organzaton and a pressure group
wth no decson-makng power. Ths s the reason the
C.G.T. (and the Communst Party as a whoe) has conss-
tenty magned. nsuted, and tred to put an end to
the student movement, and the reason why unon func-
tonares have tred to prevent any form of contact be-
tween workers and students. In ths strugge wth the
revoutonary movement, the Communst Party, vewed by
mercan beras as the eptome of ev, has fought for
goas and has empoyed technques ong famar to
mercan beras.
The frst workers to be nfuenced by the student
movement for autonomy and drect sef-government were
workers who had much n common wth the students, namey
young, educated and hghy potczed workers. The
factory revoutonares are nether the od party
stawarts nor the uneducated and supere poted foregn
workers, but rather reatvey prveged young rench
workers. It s these young workers who take part n
the contnuous dscussons of drect democracy and the
overthrow of captasm and statsm whch take pace
contnuousy at the Unversty of Pars. nd t s
these workers who are the frst to ca for strkes n
a factory, and who defne the goas of the strke as
a substtuton of captasm and statsm by a system of
drect, socast, workers democracy.
Once the revoutonary strrng n the factory
begns, the unon functonares behave ke mercan
beras n a perod of crss. The unon functonares
pace themseves at the head of what they ca the
reform movement, and nstead of speakng of a radca
transformaton of the soco-economc system, they speak
of negotatng wth the factory owners (who have de
facto been e proprated) for hgher wages. nd n
order to consttute themseves the ony egtmate
spokesmen for the workers, unon functonares empoy
a bera-type consensus potcs whch conssts of
a ma ma e potaton of the confcts between the
nterests among the vared eves of workers n the fac-
tory.
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tores, once a the workers have been convnced to move


nsde the factory and occupy t, unon offcas cose
the factory gates on the students standng outsde, and
they soate the revoutonary workers on the nsde.
The unon functonares soate the young workers from
the od by pantng the young workers as e tremst ad-
ventursts who w brng the poce runnng nto the
factory, and from the foregn workers by nsnuatng
that ony the unon s fghtng for the mprovement of
wages of the foregn workers, and f the unon fas,
then the foregn workers mght ose ther hard-won |obs
and be forced by the poce to return to ther countres.
nce the orgnaty and courage of the students
s admred by most sectors of the rench popuaton, the
Communst Party vascates between md support and
e treme attacks. nd n order to prevent the revou-
tonary and e permenta potca forms deveoped by
the students from fowng nto the workng cass, the
Communst Party s cooperatng wth the state, coabor-
atng wth ts cass enemy (the factory owners), and
e potng dfferences of nterest among the workers
whch were formery e poted by the captast state
and the owners.
Thus after the factory s occuped by a ts
workers, the unon becomes the ony spokesman for the
workers. In other words, whe the workers as a whoe
have decded to take over ther own factores and to
e proprate the owners, the workers have not yet de-
veoped potca forms through whch to dscuss and
e ecute ther subsequent decsons. In ths vacuum,
the unon makes the decsons nstead of the workers,
and broadcasts ts decsons to the workers through
oudspeakers. nd at the present wrtng, the Com-
munst unon had decded for the workers that the e -
proprated factores were to be returned to ther owners
n e change for hgher wages.
P. Perman
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2
P RI , May 30, I96
Ctroen cton Commttee - -1
The cton Commttees born throughout rance at
the end of May transcend haf a century of eft-wng
potca actvty- Drawng ther mtants from every
eft-wng sect and party, from soca democrats to
anarchsts, the cton Commttees gve new fe to goas
ong forgotten by the socast movement, they gve new
content to forms of acton whch e sted n urope dur-
ng the rench Revouton, and they ntroduce nto the
socast movement atogether new forms of oca par-
tcpaton and creatve soca actvty.
Ths artce w trace the deveopment, durng
the the ast ten days of May, of a commttee (the
orkers- tudents cton Commttee Ctroen) whose pr-
mary task was to connect the student movement wth the
workers of the Ctroen automobe pants n and around
Pars.
On Tuesday, May 2, a strke commttee represent-
ng the workers of the Ctroen pants caed for a
strke of unmted duraton. The factory owners m-
medatey caed for state powers to take the measures
whch are ndspensbe for the assurance of the free-
dom of abor and free access to the factores for those
who want to work. ( e Monde. May 23, 96 .)
The same day that the owners caed for poce
nterventon, students, young workers and teachers who
on prevous days had fought the poce on the streets
of Pars formed the Ctroen cton Commttee at the
Censer center of the Unversty of Pars. The frst
am of the cton Commttee was to cooperate wth the
factory s strke commttee n brngng about an occupa-
ton of the factory. The cton Commttee s ong-term
goa was to hep brng about a revoutonary stuaton
whch woud ead to the destructon of captast so-
cety and the creaton of new soca reatons.
cton Commttee Ctroen s composed of young
rench and foregn workers and nteectuas who, from
n abrdged verson of ths artce was pubshed n
the Guardan, une 29, 196 .
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Ik
are responses to soca stuatons. Thus a pro|ect
comes to an end as soon as the stuaton changes and
a new pro|ect s conceved, dscussed and put nto ac-
ton n response to a new stuaton.
On the day when the strke commttee of the Ctro n
factores caed on the workers to occupy ther factores,
the CtroBn cton Commttee aunched ts frst pro|ect:
to contrbute to the factory occupaton by takng to
workers and by gvng out eafets e panng the strke.
One eafet was a ca to worker-student unty n the
strugge to destroy ths poce system whch oppresses
a of us. . . Together we fght, together we wn.
( eafet Camarades, Comte d cton Travaeurs-
tudants, Centre unverstare Censer, 3eme etage.)
nother eafet was the frst pubc announcement
of the commttee s uncompromsng nternatonasm.
undreds of thousands of foregn workers are mported
ke any other commodty usefu to captasm, and the
government goes so far as to organze candestne m-
mgraton from Portuga, thus unveng tsef as a
save-drver.
The eafet contnues: that has to end...
The foregn workers contrbute, through ther abor, n
the creaton of the weath of rench socety. . . It s
therefore up to revoutonary workers and students to
see to t that the foregn workers acqure the totaty
of ther potca and unon rghts. Ths s the concrete
bass for nternatonasm. ( Travaeurs trangers,
Comte d cton, Censer.)
t 6:00 a.m. on the mornng of the occupaton,
when the CtroBn workers approached ther factores,
they were greeted by young workers, students and teach-
ers dstrbutng the orange and green eafets. On
that mornng, however, the young cton Commttee m-
tants were greeted by two surprses. rst of a, they
found the functonares of the C.G.T. (the communst
unon) cang for the occupaton of the factory, and
secondy, they were approached by the unon functonares
and tod to go home.
On prevous days, the C.G.T. had opposed the
spreadng strke wave and the occupaton of the factores.
et on the mornng of the occupaton, arrvng workers
who saw the unon functonares readng speeches nto
ther oudspeakers at the factory entrances got the m-
presson that the C.G.T. functonares were the ones who
had ntated the strke.
owever, the unon, unke the student movement and
unke the workers who had ntated the strke, was not
cang for an e propraton of the factores from ther
captast owners, or for the creaton of a new socety.
G
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CChR 3 es IT eens that
car.
y y Ue
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tf tf
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you e. / - 77 fcfc
T /0 (/ TO o you c CR 27-
tf tf
O / /
The functonares of
the communst unon
were cang for
hgher wages and m-
proved workng cond-
tons wthn the
conte t of captast
socety. Thus the
functonares
strenuousy opposed
the dstrbuton of
the cton Commttee s
eafets on the
ground that ther
dstrbuton woud
dsrupt the unty of
the workers and woud
create confuson.
The unon func-
tonares dd not
spend too much tme
argung wth the
cton Commttee
mtants because
the factory occupa-
ton dd not take
pace as they had
panned t.
ty percent
of the abor force
of the CtroBn pants
are foregn workers
and the vast ma|orty
of them are not n the
C.G.T. (nor n the
smaer unons).
hen a sma number
of unon members
entered the factory
n order to occupy
t, they were kept
out of the workshops
by factory pocemen
paced nsde by the
owners. The vast
ma|orty of the
foregn workers
dd not accompany
the unon members
nto the factory;
the foregn workers
stood outsde and
watched. The unon
G
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6
offcas made a great effort to transate the wrtten
speeches nto some of the anguages of the foregn work-
ers. The foregn workers stened to the oudspeakers
wth ndfference and at tmes even hostty.
t that pont the unon offcas stopped tryng to
chase away the cton Commttee agtators; n fact, the
offcas decded to use the agtators. mong the m-
tants there were young peope who spoke the anguages of
the foregn workers, and the young peope mnged freey
wth the foregn workers. On the other hand, the unon
offcas, seasoned bureaucrats, were nsttutonay
unabe to speak drecty to the workers: years of prac-
tce had made them e perts at readng speeches nto
oudspeakers, and ther oudspeakers were not eadng
to the desred effects.
Thus the functonares
began to encourage the young
agtators to m wth the
workers, to e pan the factory
occupaton to them; the func-
tonares even gave oudspeakers
to some of the foregn members
of the cton Commttee. The
resut was that, after about
two hours of drect communca-
ton between the foregn work-
ers and the cton Commttee
members, most of the foregn
workers were nsde the fac-
tory, partcpatng n ts
occupaton.
7
OUO T P t
Proud of ther contrbu-
ton to the occupaton of
Ctroen, the cton Commttee
peope went to the factory the foowng mornng to tak
to the occupyng workers. Once agan they found them-
seves unwecome. arge red fag few outsde the
factory gate, but the young mtants found the gate
cosed to them. t the entrances to the factores
stood unon offcas who e paned they were under
strct orders (from the unon s and the C.P. s centra
commttee) not to et students or other outsders nsde
the factory. The young agtators e paned that they
had payed a cruca roe n the factory s occupaton,
but the e presson on the faces of the unon functon-
ares merey hardened.
That evenng the Ctrofen cton Commttee had an
urgent meetng. The commttee s members were furous.
Unt now, they sad, they had cooperated wth the
unon; they had avoded an open confrontaton. Ther
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7
cooperatve atttude had made no dfference to the unon
offcas; the commttee mtants had merey et them-
seves be used by the functonares, and once used up,
they were re|ected. It was about tme to confront the
unon openy. The commttee drafted a new eafet, one
whch caed on the workers to push past the unon and
take contro of the factory nto ther own hands.
Due to the presence of unon guards at the factory
entrances, a reatvey sma number of workers read
the eafet. owever, among these workers there were
some who resented the unon take-over nsde the fac-
tory, and some who began attendng the meetngs of the
Ctroen cton Commttee and partcpatng n the po-
tca dscussons at orbonne and Censer.
t ths pont the Ctrofcn Commttee together wth
other acton commttees at orbonne and Censer composed
a ca to acton for the workers nsde the factores.
The pocy of the unon eaders s now very cear;
unabe to oppose the strke, they try to soate the
most mtant workers nsde the factores, and they
et the strke rot so as to be abe, ater on, to force
the workers to accept the agreements whch the unons
w reach wth the owners, the eafet e pans. ow-
ever, the eafet contnues, the potca partes and
the unons were not at the orgn of the strke. The
decsons were those of the strkers themseves, whether
unonzed or not. or ths reason, the workers have to
regan contro over ther work organzatons.
strkers, unonzed or not, unte n a Permanent Genera
ssemby In ths ssemby, the workers themseves w
freey determne ther acton and ther goas.
Ths ca for the formaton of Genera ssembes
nsde the factores represents an appea to e proprate
the captast cass, namey an appea for nsurrecton.
th the formaton of a Genera ssemby as the decson
-makng body nsde the factory, the power of the state,
the owner as we as the unon ceases to be egtmate.
In other words, the Genera ssemby of a the workers
n the factory becomes the ony egtmate decson-
makng power; the state s bypassed, the captast s
e proprated, and the unon ceases to be the spokesman
for the workers and becomes smpy another pressure
group nsde the Genera ssemby.
Unabe to communcate these deas to the workers
at the factory, the Ctroen cton Commttee drafted a
new pro|ect. nce s ty percent of the factory s
workers are foregn, and snce the foregn workers ve
n speca housng pro|ects provded for them by the
factory owners, the CtroMn Commttee decded to reach
the workers at ther homes. The foregn workers were
spendng ther days at ther vng quarters snce they
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were no onger abe to transport themseves to the fac-


tores (the transport to the factores s aso furnshed
by the factory owners, and was obvousy not beng fur-
nshed durng the strke).
nce ths pro|ect was conceved durng a perod
when gasone was scarce n Pars, most of the part-
cpants had to htch-hke to the housng centers.
evera reated pro|ects were suggested by the cton
Commttee mtants to the foregn workers. rst of
a the foregn workers were encouraged to hep those
strkers who were cang for worker-contro of the
factores, and not merey for wage-rases. nd second-
y, the foregn workers were encouraged to organze
themseves nto acton commttees n order to cope wth
ther own specfc probems.
The cton Commttee s pro|ect ntated and st-
muated varous knds of actvtes among the foregn
workers. In seme of the vng quarters, courses were
organzed for foregn workers who know no rench. In
anterre, for e ampe, the occupaton commttee of the
Unversty of anterre granted a room to a newy formed
cton Commttee of ugosav workers. The room was to
serve for potca meetngs and rench essons. In
another center, workers organzed to protect themseves
coectvey from abuses by the andord s (namey
CtroMn s) agent at the housng center. In some of the
ghettos around Pars, where poor workers had run out
of food for ther fames, trucks were found to trans-
port food from peasants who contrbuted t at no cost.
Contacts were estabshed between the foregn workers
and the revoutonary workers nsde the factores.
oregn workers were encouraged to |on rench workers
n the occupaton of the factores. On each e curson
to the vng quarters, the Ctroen cton Commttee
members tod the foregn workers not to et themseves
be used as strke breakers by the factory owners.
In a of the contacts between the Ctroen cton
Commttee and foregn workers, the Commttee s nter-
natonasm was made cear. hen the commttee members
caed for the e propraton of the owners and the
estabshment of workers power nsde the factores,
they emphaszed that the power over the factory woud
be shared by a aborers who had worked n t, whether
rench or foregn. nd when some foregn workers sad
they were ony n rance for a short tme and woud soon
return home, the cton Commttee mtants answered that
the goa of ther movement was not to decaptate merey
rench captasm, but to decaptate captasm as such,
and thus that, for the mtants, the whoe word was
home.
. Perman
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20
Potcans, bureaucrats and captasts w defne the
forms of the May revouton, so as to prevent ther re-
appearance; they w study the seauence of events, so
as to prevent a recurrence of May 96 . In order to re-
man ahead of the forces of reacton, the May revou-
tonares w have to provde more than souvenrs; they
w have to see the genera modes behnd the specfc
sequence of events; they w have to anayze the con-
tent behnd the forms.
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2
The sequence of events whch ed to a sudden con-
frontaton between rench state captasm and a deter-
mned revoutonary movement caught both sdes by sur-
prse. ether sde was prepared- But the moment of
hestaton was fata ony to the revoutonares; the
rung cass took advantage of the bref pause to e -
tngush the fre. The fact that ony one sde ganed
from the pause s understandabe; the revoutonares
woud have had to rush nto the une pored, the unknown,
whereas the forces of order were abe to fa back
to we known, n fact cassca forms of represson.
The revoutonary movement rushed forward at tre-
mendous speed, reached a certan ne, and then, sudden-
y dsorented, confused, perhaps afrad of the un-
known, stopped |ust ong enough to aow the enormous
rench poce forces to push the movement back, ds-
perse t and destroy t. Refecton now begns on both
sdes. Revoutonares are begnnng to defne the
ne whch was reached; they are determned to go be-
yond t ne t tme. They had come so cose, and yet
were pushed back so far. To many t was cear that
steps nto the unknown had been taken, that the ne
had n fact been crossed, that the sea had n fact begun
to fow over the dam. To many t was not surprsng
that the dam shoud be renforced, that efforts to stem
the tde shoud be undertaken. hat they had not e -
pected, what they ony sowy and panfuy accepted,
was that the sea tsef shoud begn to ebb. They ac-
cepted the retreat wth pan because they knew, as they
watched the waters recede, that as hgh as the tde had
rsen, as cose as the food had come, the sea woud
have to gather much more force, the tde woud have to
rse far hgher, merey to reach the eve of the dam
once agan.
The rung casses have been warned; one must
assume that they w take the necessary precautons.
nayss of the partcuar cracks n the dam through
whch the foodwaters rushed w be undertaken by both
sdes. uch anayss w be a documentaton of a par-
tcuar event, a hstory of a revouton that faed.
On the bass of ths documentaton, rung casses w
prepare themseves to prevent the recurrence of the same
event. Ths s why revoutonares cannot use the do-
cumentaton as a bass for the preparaton of a future
event: the same cracks w not be found twce n the
same dam; they w have been repared, and the entre
dam w have been rased. future tda wave w
fnd new cracks n the dam, cracks whch are as n-
vsbe to nsurgents as to defenders of the od order.
Ths s why conspratora organzatons whch pan to
rush through a partcuar crack n the dam are bound to
fa: no matter how ngenous ther centra commttees,
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22
there s no reason to assume that the drectors or
eaders of the conspratora group w he abe to
see a crack whch the drectors of the estabshed order
cannot see. urthermore, the estabshed order s far
better armed wth toos for nvestgaton than any con-
spratora group.
storans w descrbe through whch cracks the
sea rushed n May I96 . The task of revoutonary theory
s to anayze the sea tsef; the task of revoutonary
acton s to create a new tda wave. If the sea re-
presents the entre workng popuaton, and f the tda
wave represents a determnaton to re-approprate a
the forms of soca power whch have been aenated to
captasts and bureaucrats at a eves of soca fe,
then new cracks w be found, and f the dam s mma-
cuate t w be swept away n ts entrety.
t east one esson has been earned: what was ms-
sng was not a sma party whch coud drect a arge
mass; what was mssng was the conscousness and conf-
dence on the part of the entre workng popuaton that
they coud themseves drect ther soca actvty.
If the workers had possessed ths conscousness on the
day they occuped ther factores, they woud have pro-
ceeded to e proprate ther e poters; n the absence
of ths conscousness, no party coud have ordered the
workers to take the factores nto ther own hands. hat
was mssng was cass conscousness In the mass of the
workng popuaton, not the party dscpne of a sma
group. nd cass conscousness cannot be created by a
cosed, secret group but ony by a vast, open movement
whch deveops forms of actvty whch am oneny to
subvert the e stng soca order by emnatng the
servant-mentaty from the entre workng popuaton.
. Perman
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23
P RI , une 24, I96
Ctroen cton Commttee--II
perence and Perspectves
The Ctroen factores empoy about kO thousand
workers n Pars and ts surroundngs. tota of 500
workers are n unons. Insde the factores, the owners
organze represson by means of management agents, a
prvate poce and a free unon. bout 60 percent of
the workers are
foregn, and
they are em-
poyed on the
more onerous
assemby nes.
On rday,
May 7, work
stoppages took
pace n the
workshops of
numerous fac-
tores. uch
an event had
not occurred
for decades.
On that day
severa workers
went to the
Censer Center
of the Unver-
sty of Pars
and descrbed
the poce re-
presson, the
mpotence of
the unon, and
the fghtng
sprt of the workers. The factory workers, they sad,
were ready to stop work on the comng Monday f pckets
were avaabe and f the nformaton were spread through
the factores. Together wth the Ctroen workers, Censer
students prepared a eafet to be dstrbuted the foow-
ng day at a the Ctroftn pants.
OU I O P RR T R
P R OB T C T C I U .
IMPU O
CR O P RTOUT D T I R POPU IR
une 6 : the start of a ong fght.
et s choose our own I D O
COMB T. et s not be stopped by
technca obstaces. et s push
et
s create popuar workshops
everywhere.
Pubshed n Intercontnenta Press ( o. 6, o. 27),
uy 29, 196 , pp. 6 3-6 .
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2k
The foowng day, aturday, the CGT (Genera Con-
federaton of abor) dstrbuted a eafet cang for a
strke on Monday and demandng a mnmum wage of 600
(about U 20) a month. umerous factores a over
rance were aready on strke. t Ctroen the CGT had a
very sma membershp; was the CGT takng the ntatve,
t was asked, n order to gan contro of a movement
whch up to ths pont had been out of ts contro
The May 20th trke and the Occupaton
orker-student acton commttees had been func-
tonng at the Censer Center snce May 3- fter the
frst e change between the Ctroen workers and the stu-
dents, a new commttee was formed. The Ctrofcn cton
Commttee prepared two eafets for May 20, one ad-
dressed to a the workers, the other to the foregn
workers at the CtroBn factores. The commttee s am
was to nform the workers of the student movement whch
had chaenged the captast system and a forms of
herarchy. The eafets dd not chaenge the unon
nor the unon demands. On the contrary, the eafets
suggested that the unon demands chaenged the cap-
tast system the same way the students had chaenged
t. The eafets e pressed an awareness of the common
enemy of the workers and the students, an enemy who
coud not be destroyed uness the workers controed the
productve forces. The occupaton of the factores was
seen as the frst step towards workers power.
The frst eafet sad:
Mons of workers are on strke.
They are occupyng ther workshops. Ths massve,
growng movement goes beyond the estabshed Power s
abty to react.
In order to destroy the poce system whch oppres-
ses a of us, we must fght together.
orkers-rtudents cton Commttees have been con-
sttuted for ths purpose. These commttees brng
to ght a the demands and a the chaenges of
the ranks of the entre workng cass. The capta-
st regme cannot satsfy these demands.
The second eafet, prnted n four anguages, was
addressed to foregn workers:
undreds of thousands of foregn workers are m-
ported ke any other commodty usefu to the ca-
ptasts, and the government even organzes can-
destne mmgraton from Portuga, thus showng t-
sef as a save drver.
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26
On May 20, students and workers of the CtroPn
Commttee dstrbuted eafets and taked to workers at
a the entrances to the Ctrofen factores. The frst
contacts wth deegates of the CGT were negatve. The
deegates tred to prevent the dstrbuton of the
eafets. The prete t was that the varety of eafets
woud destroy the unty of the workers and woud create
confuson. It woud be better, the deegates sad,
f the eements e terna to the factory went away:
they gve a provocatve prete t to the management.
owever, a sgnfcant number of the Communst
Party and CGT functonares who had come to gve a
strong hand to the CGT were e terna to the factory,
namey they dd not work n any of the Ctroen pants.
The CGT offcas gave out eafets whch demanded,
among other thngs, a mnmum wage of ,000 ( 200),
namey neary twce as much as they had sought two days
earer.
In the street, the unon deegates communcated
wth workers through oudspeakers. The students of the
Ctroen commttee, on the other hand, m ed freey wth
the rench and foregn workers. nce the foregn work-
ers were not obeyng the CGT cas to occupy the fac-
tory, the unon offcas decded to use the students.
Instead of tryng to chase away the young agtators,
the offcas encouraged the acton commttee mtants
to contnue to make persona contact wth the foregn
workers. The resut of two hours of drect communcaton
was that the ma|orty of the foregn, workers were nsde
the factory, actvey partcpatng n ts occupaton.
The Gates re hut By The CGT
On May 2, the second day of the occupaton, the
acton commttee mtants found a the gates of the
factory cosed, and unon deegates defended the en-
trances aganst provocateurs. Thus the young m-
tants were cut off from the contacts they had had be-
fore the occupaton. oung workers nsde the factory
protested vgorousy aganst the threats whch were
hured at the eements e terna to the factory. The
CGT had become the new Boss. The unon dd a t coud
to prevent workers from becomng aware of the fact that
the occupaton of the factory was a frst step toward
the e propraton of the owners. To strugge aganst
ths une pected new force, the acton commttee addres-
sed tsef to the workers n a new eafet:
orkers:
ou have occuped your factores. ou are no onger
controed by the tate or by the e -owners.
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27
Do not aow new masters to contro you.
of you and each of you has the rght to speak.
DO T T T OUD P R P OR OU.
If those behnd the oudspeakers propose a moton,
a other workers, rench and foregn, must have
the same rght to propose other motons.
ou, T OR R , have the power. ou have the
power to decde what to produce, how much and for
whom.
ou, T OR R , contro your factores. Don t
et anyone take the contro away from you.
If some peope mt your contacts wth the out-
sde, f some peope do not aow you to earn
about the profound democratzaton takng pace
n rance, then these peope are not tryng to
represent you, but to contro you.
The occuped factores have to be opened up to a
comrades, workers as we as students, n order to
enabe them to make decsons together.
orkers and students have the same ob|ectves.
Despte the government, the unverstes are aready
open to a.
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2
If the oudspeakers decde nstead of you, f the
oudspeakers broadcast the decsons we1 have made,
then the men behnd the oudspeakers are not workng
wth you; they re manpuatng you.
second eafet, prepared by severa acton commt-
tees, was aso dstrbuted. Ths eafet caed for the
formaton of genera assembes of a the workers whch
woud bypass the unon and prevent any sma group from
speakng n the name of the workers and from negotatng
n the name of the workng cass:
. . . The potca and unon offcas were not
the orgnators of the strke. The decsons were
made, and must contnue to be made, by the strkers
themseves, whether they are unonzed or not. . . .
In order to crcumvent the CGT and to contnue ts
work of ason and nformaton, the Ctroen commttee
aunched three new pro|ects: actons wth foregn work-
ers n the sums and the dormtores; contacts wth
strkers at the entrances of the factores; ason
between the potczed workers at the dfferent Ctroen
factores.
Contacts t The actory
t the Baard and anterre factores, day meet-
ngs took pace between the workers and the acton com-
mttee. The sub|ect of the meetngs was a basc po-
tca dscusson on the nature of the student movement
and ts reaton to the strke. The factory workers be-
came ncreasngy conscous that the strke had become
transformed more and more nto a tradtona unon
strke. They depored the demobzaton and the de-
potzaton of the pckets, whch had been accompaned
by a massve deserton. t the Baard factory, at nght,
for e ampe, a sma number of young peope defended
the factory. the young workers attempts to or-
ganze were sabotaged by the unon bureaucracy, ether
n the form of drect opposton or n the form of
seemng to forget probems.
The nonunonzed young workers attempted to break
out of ther soaton. They contacted mtants of the
C DT ( rench Democratc Confederaton of abor) who
seemed to favor student-worker contacts, but the C DT s
ntentons were potca rather than revoutonary; the
mnorty unon tred to enst new members, and the po-
puarty of the student movement among the workers made
t opportune for the mnorty unon to assocate wth
the student movement. econdy, the young workers
sought contacts wth mtants who wanted to work wthn
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30
was to estabsh contacts among the workers of dfferent
enterprses. owever, such contacts coud not take pace
nsde the factory snce the factory had become an m-
pregnabe baston guarded by the unon bureaucracy, whch
opposed any rank-and-fe contacts among the workers.
Thus the probem was to fght for free e presson and for
the possbty of worker e changes.
The thrd form of acton proposed by the acton com-
mttee was to contact the foregn workers at ther dor-
mtores. There were two aspects to these contacts: they
were a means to radcaze the strugge by ncudng
foregn comrades n the strke pckets, and the contacts
were a means to do away wth the e haustng strugge
of the strkers aganst strke-breakers, who were gene-
ray foregn workers manpuated by the management of
the factory; the foregn workers were manpuabe be-
cause they were generay unpotczed, unnformed; on
severa occasons the management had caed them to-
gether to vote to return to work.
The oregn orkers Dormtores
The dormtores for foregn workers enabe the owners
to e pot the workers twce, namey durng the day and
agan at nght. The vng quarters are managed by Ctroen
agents who do not et anyone enter, even members of the
workers fames. or e ampe, at the dormtory at
ers-e-Be, thrty mes out of Pars, the workers
ve n forty-eght apartments wth fourteen peope n
each two-or-three-room apartment. The assgnment of
workers to apartments s done arbtrary. Thus ugo-
savs are housed together wth pansh and Portuguese
workers. The workers are rarey abe to communcate wth
each other. They work n dfferent shfts and n df-
ferent workshops. The workers pay 50 ( 30) per month.
rom ths snge dormtory, the factory cears 50,000
( 0,000) per month.
Members of the Ctroen Commttee who spoke the an-
guages of the workers estabshed contacts at the dor-
mtores n order to nform the foregn workers about the
acton commttees, and to estabsh connectons between
the strkers and foregn workers. The am of the com-
mttee was to enabe the workers to organze themseves
nto acton commttees n order to cope wth ther spe-
cfc probems: transport to the factores, food, the
strugge aganst the repressve condtons nsde the
factory, and contacts wth rench comrades. rench
anguage courses were organzed n severa centers af-
ter the workers organzed themseves nto commttees and
found cassrooms n nearby student-occuped unverstes
or n oca cuture centers. In the sum and ghetto
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3
areas, food supped by peasants and dstrbuted by ac-
ton commttees was taken to poor workers and ther fa-
mes. On a occasons, the foregn workers were n-
formed of the dfferent forms used by the empoyers to
break the strke by usng foregn workers as strke-
breakers. umerous foregn workers were put n contact
wth strkers, and they took an actve part n the occu-
paton of the factory.
The am of a these actons was to enabe, and
encourage, rank-and-fe organzaton among the workers.
sma number of workers, soated n the factory,
posed the probem of defendng the factory aganst a
forms of aggresson. The unon had gven the order to
abandon the factory n a dgnfed manner n case any-
one attacked; ths order was e paned n terms of the
reaton of forces. The Ctroen cton Commttee
paced numerous pckets outsde the factory, and on one
occason the pckets defended the factory from an at-
tack by strkebreakers and toughs hred by the owners to
chase out the occupyng strkers.
The Rank and e Commttees
n ncreasng number of workers went to the Censer
Center to seek contacts wth the acton commttees, and
the workers transformed the character of the Ctrofe n Com-
mttee and they opened perspectves for organzaton and
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32
acton by the workers themseves nsde the factory.
Meetngs between the Ctroen Commttee wth the Inter-
nterprse Commttee and wth workers from the Rhone
Pouenc chemca pant opened further perspectves.
Rh&ne Pouenc workers famarzed the workers of
other enterprses wth the organzaton of rank-and-fe
commttees whch had taken pace very successfuy nsde
ther factory. The echo was mmedate. Ctroen workers
recognzed that the rank-and-fe organzatons, where
the decson-makng power over the runnng of the strke
remaned wth the workers themseves, was the souton
to the probems they had faced durng the strke. ow-
ever the perod n whch the Ctroen workers became
famar wth the Rhone Pouenc rank-and-fe commt-
tees no onger permtted the aunchng of such an organ-
zatona pro|ect nsde Ctroen, snce ths was one of
the ast factores st on strke, and snce the strke
had become a tradtona unon strke.
The Rhone Pouenc workers, who caed on comrades
n other pants to foow ther e ampe, aso ponted
out that rea workers1 power coud not be reazed un-
ess rank-and-fe organzaton was e tended to other
parts of the captast word. nd durng the tme when
the Ctroe n workers were earnng of the e perences of
the chemcas workers, some members of the Ctroen Com-
mttee went to Turn to estabsh contacts wth the
orker- tudent eague grouped around at, the argest
enterprse n urope. In Turn, nformaton was e -
changed on the strugges of the workers n Itay, on
the smarty of the obstaces posed by the unons n
both countres, and on the sgnfcance of the acton
commttees. The organzaton of rank-and-fe commt-
tees and the probem of worker contro opened up perspec-
tves for the comrades n Turn. s a bass for further
contacts, the two groups estabshed a reguar e change
of nformaton (eafets. |ournas and etters), e -
changes of sts of demands, and drect contacts by work-
ers and students. Itaan comrades arrved n Pars from
Man n order to estabsh smar contacts wth the
Ctroen Commttee, and some members of the Ctroen Com-
mttee tsef returned to other countres (such as ng-
and and the Unted tates) n order to generaze the
nternatona contacts.
The trke for Matera Demands
On aturday, une 22, after the CGT reached an
agreement wth the Ctroen management, workers n the
Ctroen Commttee who opposed the return to work sought
contact wth other organzed forces n order to prepare
an acton for the foowng Monday. The workers prepared
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33
a eafet whch e paned that, n terms of the unon s
matera demands, nothng had been receved by the work-
ers:
... he the CGT unon consders tsef satsfed wth
ts agreement wth the managers, a arge ma|orty of
the workers, aware that the crumbs receved do not cor-
respond to ther fve weeks of strugge nor to the
strke whch began as a genera strke, are ready to
contnue ths strugge....
On Monday mornng, three dfferent eafets opposed
to the return to work were dstrbuted. The CGT offcas
were not abe to fnd workers wng to dstrbute ther
eafets. The unon s forces had passed to the oppos-
ton; unon deegates and offcas were booed durng the
meetng before the vote. orkers e pressed themseves
physcay to aow speeches by workers opposed to the
return to work. Durng the meetng, a unon representa-
tve who coud not speak because of the boong, demanded
to be heard n the name of democracy, and then denounced
the workers who booed hm as those who want to wave the
red fag of the workng cass hgher than the CGT.
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3
Perspectves
Dssatsfacton wth respect to the matera de-
mands, and dsusonment wth the unon, caused the
workers to anayze n depth a probem whch had been
touched earer by the Ctrogn Commttee, namey the
probem of whether mtant acton shoud take pace
nsde the unon or outsde t. arge number of un-
organzed workers were tryng to concentrate ther force
by forgng new forms of organzaton- Once the probem
of the unon was soved, the Ctroen Commttee woud be
abe to deveop and enarge the perspectves for acton
whch coud be drawn from ts e perence.
or the Ctro n workers, the Ctroen cton Commttee
s an organ for ason and nformaton. thn the con-
te t of the commttee, the workers are abe to coordnate
ther efforts to organze rank-and-fe commttees n
the factory s workshops. t the weeky meetngs wth
another acton commttee, the Inter- nterprse Commttee,
CtroBn workers earn that smar organzatona efforts
are takng pace n other enterprses, and through ther
contacts abroad they earn about the efforts of automobe
workers n other countres. The workers are aware that
the revoutonary sgnfcance of the rank-and-fe com-
mttees can ony fnd e presson n another perod of
crss. The rank-and-fe commttees are seen as a bass
for the massve occupaton of the factores, accompaned
by an awareness on the part of the workers that they are
the ony egtmate power nsde the pants (namey that
no speca group can speak or negotate for the mass of
the workers). The massve occupaton, accompaned by the
workers conscousness of ther power as a cass, s the
condton for the workers to begn appropratng, namey
usng, the nstruments of producton as an overt man-
festaton of ther power. The act of overt appropraton
of the means of producton by the workers w have to be
accompaned by organzed armed defense of the factores,
snce the captast cass w try to regan the fac-
tores wth ts poce and wth what remans of ts army.
t ths pont, n order to abosh the captast system
and to avod beng crushed by foregn armes, the workers
w have to e tend ther strugge to the prncpa cen-
ters of the word captast system. Ony at that pont
woud compete worker contro over the matera condtons
of fe be a reaty, and at that pont the budng of a
socety wthout commodtes, wthout e change and wthout
casses coud begn.
by Members of the Ctrogn cton Commttee
(Roger Gregore and redy Perman)
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35
P RI , uy. 96
M OO (Mchgan), ugust, I96
berated Censer:
Revoutonary Base
Introducton
The revoutonary movement whch showed ts head n
rance n May and une, I96 , has been magned and ms-
understood by the captast press, the Communst Party
press, and the presses of revoutonary 1 groupets.
ccordng to the bera captast press, the stu-
dent revot and genera strke can be understood n terms
of the pecuar characterstcs of Gaust rance. c-
cordng to the Communst Party press, the unversty oc-
cupatons and the genera strke represent a reform move-
ment, wth students fghtng for a modern unversty and
workers for the satsfacton of matera demands, both
groups beng dsrupted by a handfu of madmen and adven-
turers. ccordng to some revoutonary groupets,
the movement n rance s ether an e ampe of the eff-
cacy of revoutonary vanguards and eaders, or ese
t s an e ampe of the ack of vanguards and eaders-
There s aso an ecectc verson: the rse of the move-
ment ustrates the effcacy of the revoutonary van-
guards, and ts decne ustrates what happens to a
movement whch has no vanguard.
1
ccordng to one verson, the Revoutonary Com-
munst outh ( .C.R.) payed the centra eadershp
roe (The Mtant, uy 5, 196 ). ccordng to another,
students payed the eadershp roe (The Mtant, une 21,
196 ;. ccordng to a thrd verson, the acton commt-
tees payed a vanguard roe of centra mportance (The
Mtant, une 2 , 196 ;. et accordng to sghty df-
ferent vanguard revoutonares the movement faed
because t had no vanguard; they concude n a headne:
ta nk of Revoutonary Party t eeded and they
pont out n the artce that the genera strke has
confrmed the perspectve that ths paper has put forward
over recent years ( ocast orker ondon uy, 196 ).
The same concuson was drawn n the Guardan, une 1,
196 .
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36
enrages
de
tous
es
pays
unssez-
vous
These e panatons do not e nan
why anythng happened n rance n May,
96 . tudent revots and factory occupa-
tons are not among the characterstcs
of rench socety, nor dd pecuar con-
dtons for such behavor appear n rance
precsey n May, I96 . The norma be-
havor of students and workers n capta-
st socety, the desre of students for
more prveges and of workers for more
goods, does not e pan why students and
workers ceased actng normay and start-
ed struggng to destroy the system of
prvege.
The e poson of May- une I96 s a
sudden break wth the reguartes of
rench socety, and t cannot be e paned
n terms of those reguartes. The soca
condtons, the conscousness of students
and workers, the strateges of revouton-
ary sects, had a e sted before May, I96 ,
and had not gven rse to a student revot,
a genera strke, or a mass movement de-
termned to destroy captasm. omethng new appeared n
May, an eement whch was not reguar but unque, an ee-
ment whch transformed the norma conscousness of stu-
dents and workers, an eement whch represented a radca
break wth what was known before May, 96 .
The new eement, the spark whch set off the e po-
son, was a handfu of madmen who dd not consder them-
seves ether a revoutonary party or a vanguard. The
story of the student movement whch began n anterre
wth a demonstraton to end the war n etnam has been
tod esewhere. The actons of ths student movement were
e empary actons ; they set off a process of contnuous
escaaton, each step nvovng a arger sector of the
popuaton.
One of the steps n ths process of escaaton was
the occupaton of Censer, anne of the Unversty of
Pars acuty of etters ( orbonne). ot as pubcsed
as the actons or personates of the anterre student
movement, the actvty whch deveoped at Censer durng
the ast two weeks n May paraes and suppements that
otaby by the madmen themseves n: Mouvement du
22 Mars, Ce n est qu un debut. contnuons e combat (Ths
Is Ony the Begnnng, et s Contnue the trugge). The
ngsh transaton of the centra parts of ths book was
pubshed n C , o. 3, a, 196 .
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3
of the March 22 Movement. Ths essay w try to descrbe
the steps n the process of escaaton as they were e -
perenced and nterpreted by the occupants of Censer.
hat happened n Censer cannot be e paned n
terms of rench everyday fe. The occupants of Censer
suddeny cease to be unconscous, passve ob|ects shaped
by partcuar combnatons of soca forces; they become
conscous, actve sub|ects who begn to shape ther own
soca actvty.
The occupants of Censer am at the destructon of
captast soca reatons, but they do not defne them-
seves as the hstorca sub|ect who w overthrow ca-
ptasm. Ther actons, ke those of the March 22
Movement, are e empary actons. Ther task s to com-
muncate the e ampe to a arger sub|ect: the workers.
To make the e ampe overfow from the unversty to the
workng popuaton, the Censer occupants create a new
soca form: worker-student acton commttees.
ach acton s desgned to go beyond tsef. The
am of the occupants of Censer s not to create a sef-
governng commune n that budng, but to set off the
occupaton of factores. The occupaton of Censer s a
break wth contnuty; the occupants am s to create
other breaks.
The occupants do not proceed on the bass of what s
norma, but on the bass of what s possbe. Radca
breaks wth everyday fe are not norma, but they are
possbe. movement wth the sogan anythng s pos-
sbe proceeds on the bass of the potenta, not the
usua.
The task of these revoutonares s not to defne
the condtons whch make revouton mpossbe, but to
create the condtons whch make revouton possbe.
Ths orentaton s probaby the most radca break of
March 22 and Censer wth the tradtona estern eft,
whch begns by pontng to the ob|ectve condtons
(for e ampe, the apathy, sef-nterest and dependence
of workers) whch make revouton mpossbe. The
rench movement begns by pushng beyond the ob|ectve
mts, an orentaton whch t shares wth a handfu
of Cuban revoutonares and etnamese revoutonares
who began struggng at a tme when any anayss of
ob|ectve condtons woud have ed to a predcton of
certan defeat. The rench revoutonares broke out
of the psychoogy of defeat, the outook of the oser,
and began struggng. Ther strugge, ke that of the
Cubans and the etnamese, was e empary: the e ampe
overfowed to sectors of the popuaton who are far
stronger and more numerous than the nta revouton-
ares.
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3
In the sprt of March 22 and Censer. ths essay
w not dea wth the ob|ectve condtons of rench
socety, but wth the e empary actons whch ruptured
those condtons; t w not dea wth the apathy, sef-
nterest and dependence whch make the sef-organzaton
of workers and students mpossbe, but wth the roe of
Censer n creatng the radca break whch made ther
sef-organzaton possbe; t w not dea wth the con-
dtons whch prevent communcaton and cooperaton among
workers and students, but wth the roe of Censer n
makng such communcaton and cooperaton possbe. The
essay w not try to e pan why the Censer movement
dd not get further, but why t got as far as t dd.
empary Character of the Unversty Occupaton
To understand why unversty students n an ndus-
tray deveoped socety are enraged, t s essenta
to understand that the students are not enraged about the
courses, the professors, the tests, but about the fact
f OUB : IT I 6I 6 T T T
ftCf U rscTT f
-PO CC tef ThB T
B t) am 3 TO
C OUT T
ORBO C.
(OU 6 6 UOU T Pec sT
OTT ontO To C
out rue Poce
||D T rM T
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39
that the educaton prepares them for a certan type of
soca actvty: t s ths actvty they re|ect. e
refuse to be schoars cut off from soca reaty. e
refuse to be used for the proft of drectors. e want
to do away wth the separaton between the work of e -
ecutng and the work of thnkng and organzng. By
re|ectng the roes for whch the educaton forms them,
the students re|ect the socety n whch these roes are
to be performed. e re|ect ths socety of represson
n whch e pcty or mpcty, the Unversty s
unversa ony for the organzaton of represson. 2
rom ths perspectve, a teacher s an apoogst for the
e stng order, and a traner of servants for the capta-
st system; an engneer or techncan s a servant who s
super-traned to perform hghy specazed tasks for hs
master; a manager s an agent of e potaton whose nst-
tutona poston gves hm the power to thnk and decde
for others. In the present system, some work and others
study. nct we ve got a dvson of soca abor, even an
ntegent one. But we can magne a dfferent system.
.. Ths dvson and sub-dvson of soca abor, per-
haps necessary at an earer stage of economc deveop-
ment, s no onger accepted. nd f growng specaza-
ton s assocated wth the brth and progress of cap-
tast socety (as was argued, for e ampe, by dam mth),
then the re|ecton of specazaton by future specasts
marks the death of captast socety.
tudents have dscovered that the dvson of soca
tasks among specazed groups s at the root of aena-
ton and e potaton. The aenaton of potca power
by a members of socety, and the appropraton of so-
cety s potca power (through eecton, nhertance or
conquest) by a specazed rung cass, s the bass for
the dvson of socety nto ruers and rued. The aen-
aton (sae) of productve abor by producers, and the
appropraton (purchase) of the abor and ts products by
owners of means of producton (captasts), s the bass
for the dvson of socety nto bosses and workers,
managers and empoyees, e poters and e poted. The
aenaton of refectve actvty by most members of so-
cety and ts appropraton by a specazed corps of
nteect workers s the bass for the dvson of
o-tre utte est a notre, cton. May 21, 196 ,
P. 5.
2
ee enfante de Mar e-t du 13 Ma, cton, May 21,
196 , p. 1.
3
Dane Cohn-Bendt n ntervew wth ean-Pau
artre, 1magnaton au pouvor, e ouve Observateur.
May 20, 196 , p. 5-
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40
socety nto thnkers and doers, students and workers.
The aenaton of creatve actvty by most peope, and
ts appropraton by artsts, dvdes socety nto ac-
tors and audence, creators and spectators. The speca-
sed professons and dscpnes represent the same
pattern: a partcuar economc task or soca actvty
s reegated to a partcuar ndvdua who does nothng
ese, and the rest of the communty s e cuded from
thnkng about, decdng or partcpatng n the per-
formance of a task whch affects the entre communty.
By refusng to be formed nto a factor or a functon
n a bureaucratcay organzed system (even f t s an
ntegenty organzed system), the student 1s not deny-
ng the soca necessty of the tasks and functons. e
s assertng hs w to take part n a the actvtes
that affect hm, and he s denyng anyone s rght to rue
hm, decde for hm, thnk for hm, or act for Mm. By
struggng to destroy the nsttutons whch obstruct
hs partcpaton n the conscous creaton of hs soca-
economc envronment, the student presents hmsef as an
e ampe for a men who are rued, decded for, thought
for, and acted for. s e empary strugge s symbozed
by a back fag n one hand and a red f g n the other;
t s communcated by a ca to a the aenated and
the e poted to destroy the system of domnaton, repres-
son, aenaton and e potaton.
On aturday, May , at 6 n the evenng, mtants
of the May 3 cton Commttees occupy the anne to the
acuty of etters, the Censer Center. nght ong
and on the days that foow, the atmosphere s smar to
-U M D
. ,C T. rT Mf OtM/
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that of the nght of the barrcades, not n terms of
voence, but n terms of the sef-organzaton, the n-
tatve, the dscusson. The unversty ceases to be a
pace for the transmsson of a cutura hertage, a
pace for tranng managers, e perts and traners, a pace
for branwashng branwashers.
The captast unversty comes to an end. The e -
unversty, or rather the budng, becomes a pace for
coectve e presson. The frst step of ths transforma-
ton 1s the physca occupaton of the budng. The
second step s dscusson, the e presson of deas, n-
formaton, pro|ects, the creatve sef-e presson of the
occupants. . In the arge audtorums the dscusson s
contnuous. tudents partcpate, and aso professors,
assstants, peope from the neghborhood, hgh schooers,
young workers. presson s contagous. Peope who
have never e pressed deas before, who have never spoken
n front of professors and students, become confdent n
ther abty. t s the e ampe of others speakng,
anayzng, e pressng deas, suggestng pro|ects, whch
gves peope confdence n ther own abty. The food
servce, for e ampe, s represented at the meetngs by
a young comrade: he s thrteen, maybe fourteen. e or-
ganzes, dscusses, takes part n the audtorums. e
was behnd the barrcades. s acton and hs behavor
are the ony answer to the drve about hgh-schooers
beng rresponsbe brats. 3
hat begns at ths pont s a process of coectve
earnng; the unversty, perhaps for the frst tme,
becomes a pace for earnng. Peope do not ony earn
the nformaton, the deas, the pro|ects of others; they
aso earn from the e ampe of others that they have spe-
cfc nformaton to contrbute, that they are abe to
e press deas, that they can ntate pro|ects. There
are no onger specasts or e perts ; the dvson be-
tween thnkers and doers, between students and workers,
breaks down. t ths pont a are students. hen an
e pert, a professor of aw, tes the occupants that the
occupaton of a unversty s ega, a student tes
hm that t s no onger ega for an e pert to defne
what s ega, that the days when a ega e pert de-
fnes what peope can and cannot do are over. The profes-
sor can ether stay and |on the process of coectve
earnng, or ese he can eave and |on the poce to
re-mpose hs egaty.
I Occupaton, cton. May 13, 196 , p. 7.
2Ibd.
3Ibd.
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42
thn the occuped unversty, e presson becomes
acton; the awareness of one s abty to thnk, to n-
tate, to decde. s n fact an awareness of one s abty
to act. The occupants of the unversty become conscous
of ther coectve power: we ve decded to make our-
seves the masters. - The occupants no onger foow or-
ders, they no onger obey, they no onger serve. They
e press themseves n a genera assemby, and the dec-
sons of the assemby are the e presson of the w of
a ts members. o other decsons are vad; no other
authorty s recognzed. The students and workers who
fought on the barrcades w not aow any force what-
ever to stop them from e pressng themseves and from act-
ng aganst the captast unversty, aganst the socety
domnated by the bourgeose. 2 Ths awareness of the
abty to e press onesef, ths conscousness of co-
ectve power. s tsef an act of de-aenaton: ou
can no onger seep quety once you ve suddeny opened
your eyes. 3 Peope are no onger the paythngs of e -
terna forces; they re no onger ob|ects; they ve sudden-
y become conscous sub|ects. nd once ther eyes are
open, peope are not about the cose them agan: ther
passvty and dependence are negated, annhated, and
nothng but a force whch breaks ther w can rempose
the passvty and dependence.
The genera assemby does not ony re|ect former
masters, former authorty; t aso refuses to create new
masters, new authorty. The occupants conscous of ther
power refuse to aenate that power to any force what-
ever, whether t s e ternay mposed or created by the
genera assemby tsef. o e terna force, nether
the unversty admnstraton nor the state, can make
decsons for the occupants of the unversty, and no
nternay created force can speak, decde, negotate,
or act for the genera assemby. There are nether ead-
ers nor representatves. o speca group, nether unon
functonares, nor a coordnatng commttee, nor a
revoutonary party, has the power to negotate for the
unversty occupants, to speak for them, to se them
out. nd there s nothng to negotate about: the oc-
cupants have taken over; they speak for themseves, make
ther own decsons, and run ther own actvtes. The
eafet: Travaeurs de chez Rh&ne Poueno,
Comt6 d cton Ouvrers- tudants, Centre Censer, May
14, 196 .
2
eafet: ppe genera a a popuaton, Centre
Censer de a ao des ettres, May 11, 196 .
gn on a Censer wa, quoted n cton. May 13,
196 , p. 7.
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43
tate and the captast press try to set up eaderst
spokesmen, representatves wth whom to negotate the
evacuaton of the unversty; but none of the eaders
are accepted; ther usurped power s egtmate; they
speak for no one. In the face of ths appearance of
drect democracy, of grass-roots contro (the Captast
and Communst press ca t anarchy and chaos ), the
tate has ony one resort: physca voence.
Conscousness of coectve power s the frst step
toward the appropraton of soca power (but ony the
frst step, as w be shown beow. Conscous of ther
coectve power, the unversty occupants, workers and
students, begn to approprate the power to decde, they
begn to earn to run ther own soca actvtes. The
process of potca de-aenaton begns; the unversty
s de-nsttutonazed; the budng s transformed nto
a pace whch s run by ts occupants. There are no spe-
casts or responsbes. The communty s coec-
tvey responsbe for what takes pace, and for what
doesn t take pace, wthn the occuped budng. or-
mery specazed soca actvtes are ntegrated nto
the ves of a members of the communty. oca tasks
are no onger performed ether because of drect coercon
or because of the ndrect coercon of the market (.e.
the threat of poverty and starvaton). s a resut, some
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45
offces are mantaned on each foor to orent the vs-
tors. Many mtants ve far from Censer: a dormtory
s organzed.
Censer, formery a captast unversty, s trans-
formed nto a compe system of sef-organzed actvtes
and soca reatons. owever, Censer s not a sef-
suffcent Commune removed from the rest of socety. The
poce are on the order of the day of every genera as-
semby. The occupants of Censer are acutey aware that
ther sef-organzed soca actvtes are threatened so
ong as the tate and ts repressve apparatus are not
destroyed. nd they know that ther own force, or even
the force of a students and some workers, s not suf-
fcent to destroy the tate s potenta for voence.
The ony force whch can
put the Censer occupants
back to seep s a force
whch s physcay
strong enough to break
ther w: the poce
and the natona army
st represent such a
force.
C c 6tT fR fc
; ,|. -v r ,.
-- -
(Durng the geran ar, eght
peope had been ked at an
ant-war demonstraton at the
Charonne subway staton.)
The means of
voence produced by a
hghy deveoped ndus-
try are st controed
by the captast tate.
nd the Censer oc-
cupants are aware that
the power of the tate
w not be broken un-
t contro over these
ndustra actvtes passes to the producers: they are
convnced that the strugge cannot be concuded wthout
the massve partcpaton of the workers. 1 The armed
power of the tate, the power whch negates and threatens
to annhate the power of coectve creaton and sef-
organzaton manfested n Censer, can ony be destroyed
by the armed power of socety. But before the popuaton
can be armed, before the workers can take contro of the
means of producton, they must become aware of ther
abty to do so, they must become conscous of ther
coectve power. nd ths conscousness of coectve
power s precsey what the students and workers acqured
after they occuped Censer and transformed t nto a
pace for coectve e presson. Consequenty, the oc-
cupaton of Censer s an e empary acton, and the cen-
tra task of the mtants n Censer becomes to commun-
cate the e ampe. the sef-organzed actvtes
eafet: Travaeurs R. .T.P.
ton, Censer, May 15( ), 196 .
es Comtes d o-
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1 6
revove around ths centra task. ormer cassrooms be-
come workshops for newy formed acton commttees; n
every room pro|ects are suggested, dscussed, and aunched;
groups of mtants rush out wth a pro|ect, and others
return to ntate a new one.
The probem s to communcate, to spread conscousness
of soca power beyond the unversty. veryone who has
attended the genera assembes and partcpated n com-
mttee dscussons knows what has to be done. very ac-
ton commttee mtant knows that the sef-confdence
n hs own abty, the conscousness of hs power, coud
not deveop so ong as others thought, decded and acted
for hm. very mtant knows that hs acton commttee
s abe to ntate and carry out ts pro|ects ony be-
cause t s a commttee of conscous sub|ects, and not a
commttee of foowers watng for orders from ther
eaders or ther centra commttee.
Censer e sts as a pace and as an e ampe. ork-
ers, students, professors, townsneope come to the pace
to earn, to e press themseves, to become conscous of
themseves as sub|ects, and they prepare to communcate
the e ampe to other sectons of the popuaton and to
other parts of the word. oregn students organze a
genera assemby to |on the strugge of ther rench
comrades and gve them ther uncondtona support.
Reazng that the strugge of ther rench comrades s
ony an aspect of the nternatona strugge aganst ca-
ptast socety and apranst mperasm, 1 the foregn
students prepare to spread the e ampe abroad. ast
uropean students e press ther sodarty and send the
news to ther comrades at home. U. . group forms sn
cton Commttee of the mercan eft, and they pan to
estabsh a news nk-up wth the U. . . 2
Most mportant of a, Censer s man contrbuton
to the revoutonary movement, the worker-student acton
commttees, are formed. orkers ... To destroy ths
repressve system whch oppresses a of us, we must fght
together. ome worker-student acton commttees have been
created for ths purpose. 3 The formaton of the worker-
eafet: ssembee Generae des tudants trangers,
Centre Censer, May 20, 196 .
2
eafet: Permanence mercane, Centre Cem;er, May
17, 196 . In ths eafet, the mercan students aso men-
ton that they are wng to nform ther rench comrade. -
of attempts of students to organze workers n the U. .
The mercans found very few acton commttee mtants who
were nterested.
eafet: Travaeurs, Conte d cton btudants-
Travauurs, Censer, May 16, 196 .
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4
The producer ses hs abor; the captast buys the
abor. In e change for hs abor the producer receves
wages, namey money wth whch to buy consumer poods.
The purchase and sae of abor n captast socety
reduces abor to a thng, a commodty, somethng whch
can be bought and sod. Once the abor s sod to the
captast, the products of the abor beong to the
captast, they are hs property. These products
of abor ncude the means of producton wth whch goods
are produced, the consumer goods for whch the producer
ses hs abor, and the weapons wth whch the capta-
st s property s protected from ts producers. The
aenated products of abor then take on a fe of ther
own. The means of producton no onger appear as pro-
ducts of abor but as Capta, as ob|ects anr nstru-
ments whch emanate from the captast, as the proper-
ty of the captast. The consumer goods no onger ap-
pear as the products of abor but as the rewards of a-
bor, as e terna manfestatons of the stature, worth and
character of an ndvdua. The weapons no onger ap-
pear as products of abor, but as the natura and nds-
pensabe nstruments of the tate. The tate no onger
appears as a concentraton of the aenated power of so-
cety, and ts aw and order no onger appear as a
voent enforcement of the reatons of aenaton and
appropraton whch make ts e stence possbe; the
tate and ts repressve meda appear to serve hgher
ams.
The two terms of the act of e change (abor for
wages, creatve power for consumer goods are batanty
unequa. They are uneaua n terms of ther ouantty and
n terms o her uaty. To anayze the rench genera
strke t s necessary to understand both types of n-
equaty, and t s cruca to grasp the dfference be-
tween them. The uanttatve nequaty has been tho-
roughy anayzed by an apoogetc and a crtca tera-
ture. whoe area of knowedge, the scence of econo-
mcs, e sts to mask ths quanttatve neauaty. c-
cordng to ths scence, each sde of the e change s
pad for ts contrbuton : capta s e chans-ed for a
correspondng ouantty of profts, and bor s e -
changed for a correspondng ouantty of wages. It s
to be noted that the uanttes whch are e changed do
not correspond to each other, ru - -o a hstorca rea-
ton of forces between the captast cass and the work-
ng cass, and that strkes and unons have Increased the
quantty of goods to whch abor corresnonds. owever,
the purpose of ths theory s not anaytc ut apoo-
getc: ts pont s to mask the fact that more s e -
changed for ess, that workers produce more goods than
they receve n e change for ther abor. et ths fac4-
s hard to mask: f workers receved a the scoods they
produced, there woud be no capta, and there woud r
nothng eft over for tate, rmy, Poce or ropecarn .
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9
T-tharmore, the nroposton that each s pad for hs
contrbuton, the captast for hs capta and the
worker for hs abor, smpy sn t true: the captast s
contrbuton conssts of means of producton produced
by workers, so that the captast s pad for the work-
er s abor. The captast absorbs (or accumuates) sur
pus abor, ramey what the worker contrbutes but doesn t
cret, or what s eft over after the workers are pad.
at-r-r unons concern themseves e cusvey wth the
uanttatve reaton between workers and captasts.
The unon s roe s to decrease the degree of e pota-
ton of the workers, namey to ncrease the goods workers
receve n e change for ther abor, and at tmes even to
ncrease the share of soca weath whch s dstrbuted
to the workng cass. Unons hep workers have more, not
be more. They serve to ncrease the ouantty of foods the
worker receves n e change for hs aenated abor; they
do not serve to abosh aenated abor. Unons, ke
economsts of Communst countres, as we as much 20th
Century socast terature, dea e cusvey wth the
quanttatve reaton between workers and captasts.
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50
owever, wdcat strkers n rance ast May dd not
occupy ther factores n order to pet a arger share of
the goods they produced. It was the Unon (The Genera
Confederaton of abor) whch camped ths goa on t e
strke, n order to de-ra t. The revoutonary ssue
ast May was the quatatve reaton between workers and
captasts, not the quanttatve reaton. et the qua-
tatve reaton has not been treated e tensvey by re-
voutonary socasts perhaps party because tne quan-
ttatve probem can be grasped more easy and can be
ustrated wth statstcs n a socety whch worshps
quanttes, partv because ovet theorsts dsmssed the
whoe probem as deasm, and party because capta -.t
deoogues have tred to co-opt the ssue and to trans-
form t nto a quas-regous bera reform program. The
resut s that the acton of workers and students was far
more radca than the theory of most revoutonary theo-
rsts and strategsts.
The two terms of the act of e change abor and wages,
creatve power and consumer goods, vng energy and n-
anmate thngs dffer n quaty, n knd. The two terms
contnue to dffer n quaty no matter what hapDens to
ther quanttes.1 In other words, the fact that the work-
er e changes abor for wages., namey two dfferent qua-
tes, does not change f the worker gets more wages,
more consumer goods, more thngs n e change for hs cre-
atve power. There s no recprocty n ths act of
e change : the worker aenates hs vng energy n e -
change for feess ob|ects; the captast approprates
the aenated abor of workers n e change for nothng.
(In order to mantan the fcton of recprocty, ob|ec-
tve soca scentsts woud have to say the captast
approprates the productve power of socety n e change
for hs domnaton; they do sometmes say ths, n more
euphemstc terms.)
Ths statement e cudes the kehood that nfntes-
sma quanttatve changes w graduay ead to a qua-
tatve eap, a prospect offered by .M. eynes: wth the
contnued deveopment of socety s productve forces, t can
become comparatvey easy to make capta-goods so abund-
ant that the margna effcency of capta s zero. . .
(a) tte refecton w show what enormous soca chan-
ges woud resut from a gradua dsappearance of a rate of
return on accumuated weath. One of the man soca con-
sequences woud be the euthanasa of the renter, and, con-
sequenty, the euthanasa of the cumuatve oppressve power
of the captast to e pot the scarcty-vaue of capta,
.e. the dsappearance of the captast and the dsappear-
ance of captasm. ( .M. eynes, The Genera Theory of
mpoyment, Interest and Money, ew ork: arcourt, Brace,
1964, p. 221 and p. 376.)
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5
By seng hs abor, the producer aenates hs pro-
ductve power, hs actvty; he aenates what he does n
fe. In e change for hs actvty, or to compensate for
hs ost e, he eats, drnks, traves, surrounds hmsef
wth feess ob|ects, abandons hmsef to anmated car-
toons, and nto cates hmsef wth vcarous e perences.1
It has frequenty been noted that the aenated abor
of captast socety dffers from savery and serfdom. The
save s entre beng, and not merey hs abor (or abor-
tme) s the property of the master; strcty speakng, the
save has nothng to aenate, snce he s not a person but
an ob|ect, a pece of property. The serf, on the other hand,
s not owned by hs ord, and does not aenate hs abor;
he s forced to gve up the products of hs abor, and he
receves nothng n e change (e cept the protecton of
hs ord whch n practce means oppresson, domnaton,
and. often death). The aborer, unke the save, s a free
man : hs body s hs own; t s hs abor whch becomes the
property of an owner. Unke the serf, the aborer aenates
hs abor, but receves somethng n e change for what he
gves away.
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52
mercan socoogsts have tred to reduce the aen-
aton of abor to a feeng of aenaton: thus reduced,
the probem can be soved n captast socety, wth-
out revouton; a that s needed s some sod propaganda
and a competent corps of socoogsts and psychoogsts
who know how to change workers feengs. owever, so
ong as captast reatons e st, the worker w con-
tnue to be aenated even f he fees de-aenated
hether or not the worker s happy about t, by aen-
atng hs actvty he becomes passve, by aenatng hs
creatvty he becomes a spectator, by aenatng hs fe
he ves through others. hether or not he s happy
about t, by aenatng hs productve power, he gves
that power to a cass whch uses t to hre hm, decde
for hm, contro hm, manpuate hm, branwash hm, re-
press hm, k .hm, entertan hm and make hm happy.
The quanttatve reatons between workers and ca-
ptasts have a hstory. The quantty of goods produced
per aborer has ncreased, the quantty of goods receved
by workers has ncreased, and even the share of the soca
product receved by workers may have ncreased wthn spe-
cfc regons, athough f one vews the word economy
as a whoe ths has not taken pace. The appcaton of
scence to technoogy ncreases the productvty of abor
and thus the productve power whch the captast cass
commands; the ncreased quantty of goods has enarged
the empre controed by captasts; competton n the
ntroducton of technoogca nnovatons, and aso pe-
rodc crses, have runed neffcent or unucky ca-
ptasts, and thus made possbe the centrazaton of
enormousy enarged captas and the ntegraton of tech-
noogcay reated processes. The centrazaton of ca-
pta and the ntegraton of reated processes has meant
that numerous actvtes take pace under the same roof,
and that producton becomes a sophstcated process of co-
ordnaton and cooperaton.
owever, the quatatve reaton between workers
and captasts does not have a hstory wthn captast
socety: t s born wth captasm and aboshed wth
captasm: t s part of the structura backbone of ca-
ptasm. The worker s the rued ob|ect, the captast
s the rung sub|ect; the worker aenates hs produc-
tve power, the captast approprates t; the worker s
abor creates products, the captast owns them and ses
them to the worker; the worker creates Capta, the capta-
st nvests t; the worker produces more than he consumes,
he creates a surpus; the captast dsposes of the sur-
pus and thus determnes the shape of the worker s en-
vronment, forms a repressve apparatus whch keeps the
worker n hs pace, and hres propagandsts, manpu-
ators and educators who make the worker ke hs con-
dton, or at east accept t. Ths structura reaton
between the worker and the captast s the ntegument
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5
the concentrated power of the captast cass: the tate
and ts repressve apparatus. The captast she starts
to burst; the e proprators begn to be e proprated.
Ths s the begnnng of socast revouton. It s
the begnnng of a word-wde event: the destructon of ca-
ptasm as a unfed, word system; the negaton of aen-
aton. It s an adventure, the begnnng of a prr .ess of
soca creaton.
hen the ud- vaton workers occuped ther factory
n the stye of the student demonstrators, they were not
merey e pressng ther sympathy wth the student demon-
strators. nd when other
workers occuped ther fac-
tores, they were not demand-
ng more consumer goods n e -
change for ther aenated
abor. ome workers had
profoundy understood what
was happenng n the un-
verstes. Ths was not the
tradtona soca confct
between abor and manage-
ment. t the Renaut auto-
mobe factory n Ceon, for
e ampe, the ntatve was
taken by about 200 young work-
ers, members of the unons
(the Genera Confederaton of
abor and the rench Democra-
tc ederaton of abor), but
who seemed to be actng spon-
taneousy, foowng the mode
of the students; there was no
soca confct n the estab-
shment. 1 In fact, the
unons aso understood that ths was not a tradtona
strke, that the student e ampe had nothng to do wth
quanttatve mprovements wthn the conte t of capta-
st socety, and both unons decared ther resove not
to share the responsbty over the movement wth the
students, and ther w not to permt overfows whch
coud ead to anarchy. 2
The physca occupaton of the factores was the
frst step towards anarchv. The ne t step woud be
for workers to use factory workshops and yards as paces
for coectve e presson. Ths happened n a few
e Monde. May 1 , 196 , p. 3.
-Ibd.
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55
factores. But ony a few. The unons begn to take
contro of the movement. nd the unons have no n-
terest n ettng creatve e presson overfow nto
the workshops. It becomes urgent for the students to
communcate ther e ampe. Ths s the task of the Cen-
ser worker-student commttees. To do ths, the commt-
tees not ony have to strugge aganst the captast
propaganda, but aso aganst the announced opposton of
the unons. e no onger want to confde our demands to
unon professonas, whether or not they re potca.
e want to take our affars nto our own hands. Our ob-
|ectves cannot be reazed wthout ve, concrete and
day nformaton, wthout a constant, human and m-
agnatve contact between workers and students. 1
The constant, human and magnatve contact between
workers and students had been estabshed at Censer
snce the frst day of the occupaton ths was the bass
for the formaton of the worker-student commttees. On
the nght of the occupaton, young workers who had de-
monstrated n the atn uarter, entered a rench unver -
sty for the frst tme, ana were more numerous than the
students. They a dscuss, sometmes n a dsorganzed
manner, a tte too enthusastcay, but everyone s
aware that the abstract phrases about the ason between
workers and students can be bypassed. 2 orker-student
sodarty, creatve sef-e presson, coectve earn-
ng, conscousness of coectve power, are a facts at
Censer; they have to be communcated to the rest of the
popuaton. Creatve sef-e presson and sef-organza-
ton n one budng or one factory are ke a strke
carred out by one worker.
worker-student commttee s formed for every ma|or
enterprse, dstrct, regon. The commttees ncude
workers from the enterprse, workers from other enter-
prses, rench students, foregn students, professors.
The names on the doors o former cassrooms refer to
paces: Renaut, Ctroen, 5th Dstrct, th Dstrct.
The commttees are not named accordng to programs, po-
tca nes or strateges, because they have no pro-
grams, nes or strateges. Ther am s to communcate
to workers what has taken pace at Censer. ef-ed
and sef-organzed, they do not go out to ead the po-
puaton or to organze the workers. They know they re
not up to ths task n any case; but they aso know that
even f they succeeded n ths, they woud fa n ac-
compshng ther goa: they woud merey rentroduce
eafet: Personne d r-Inter et r rance, May
16, 196 .
I Occupaton, cton, May 13, 196 , p. 7.
G
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56
the type of dependence, the type of reaton between
eaders and ed, the type of herarchc structure, whch
they d ony |ust started struggng to destroy. hen a
revoutonary groupet takes up resdence n Censer,
puts ts name on a door, and starts to hep acton
commttee mtants wth probems of potca pro-
gram and strategy so that the mtants w e abe
to ead the workers more effectvey, the mtants of
severa acton commttees burst nto the offce of the
revoutonary vanguard, ca the e perts on revouton
professors and even cops, and gve them an utmatum:
ether earn wth us or |on the uthortes outsde. .
Commttee mtants go to the factory gates to tak
to strkers, to e change nformaton, to communcate.
They do not go there.to substtute themseves for the
unon eaders, but to stmuate the workers to organze
themseves, to take contro away from the unon eaders and
nto ther own hands. The potca and unon eaders
dd not ntate the strke. The strkers themseves, .
unonzed or not, made the decsons,, and t s they who
shoud make the decsons. or ths to become possbe,
the acton commttee mtants ca for-a reunon of a
the strkers, unonzed or not,, n a contnua Genera
ssemby. In ths ssemby, the workers w freey de-
termne ther acton and ther goa, and they w or-
ganze concrete tasks ke the strke pckets, the ds-
trbuton of food, the preparaton of demonstratons...
The acton commttee mtants ca on the workers to
transform the occuped factory nto a pace for coec-
tve e presson by the workers.
orkers who are contacted by the Censer mtants,
or who are reached by the eafets, do e press themseves,
they do dscuss, and through dscussons they do become
conscous of ther power. owever, t was not n the
factores that they e pressed themseves, but n the
berated zone, n Censer. By ettng Censer become
the pace for the creatve e presson of workers, tne
pace for coectve earnng, the workers faed to
transform the factores nto paces for creatve sef-
e presson. In Censer the workers berated themseves:
they dd not overthrow the captast system. In Censer,
revouton was an dea, not an acton.
The dscussons at the Censer genera assembes
were heated. Confctng conceptons of workers power,
of socasm, of revouton, cashed. But the dscus-
sons were beratng. The startng pont of every ds-
cusson was the actua stuaton of the occupants of- en-
ser: the consttuents decded about and controed ther
eafet: Camarades, Comte d cton Travaeurs-
tudants, orborme and Censer, May 20, 196 .
G
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57
own actvty; they dd not gve ther power to eaders,
deegates or representatves who controed them n ther
name. Ths was not e potaton for a dfferent prce,
or by dfferent peope; t was a dfferent quaty of
fe. nd speakers drew concusons from ths quatatve
transformaton of soca reatons.
In our opnon socasm must be defned as the overthrow
of the reatons of producton. Ths s the fundamenta
pont whch aows us to unmask a the bourgeos and
bureaucratc tendences whch ca themseves socast.
Two prncpa tendences are then unmasked:
the frst defnes socasm as the natonazaton of
means of producton and as pannng. It s obvous that
natonazaton can change property reatons, but t
cannot n any way change reatons of producton. Con-
cretey, the worker contnues to submt to a herarchc
authorty n the process of producton and n a other
areas of soca fe. Ths current s represented n
rance by the rench Communst Party, whch proposes
ths mode of socasm afe a ong-term ob|ectve. It s
aso represented by pro-Chnese groupets and by numerous
other mcro-bureaucraces who advertse ther Boshevsm.
the second current, com-
posed of ntegent so-
ca-democrats ,... nssts
on the noton of worker-
management , but wthout
ever posng the probem
of the overthrow of ca-
ptasm. Thus they pre-
sent conceptons of co-
management and sef-manage-
ment whch can easy be
assmated by captasm,
snce, n the conte t of
the present system, they
w at best ead to a
stuaton where the
workers manage ther own
e potaton. Ths cur-
rent s represented n
rance by certan anarchst groups, and above a, n a
more eaborated form, by the centrast bureaucracy of
the Unted ocast Party (P. .U.), whch has ganed
some nfuence n the present crss through ts n-
termedares n the eadershp of the U. . . . (The
student unon) and the . .. up. (the professors
unon). The same theses are presented, wth some
varants, by the eadershp of the G. .D.T. ( rench
Democratc ederaton of abor).
These conceptons are abandoned. They are repaced by a
generazaton of what s n fact takng pace at Censer,
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59
eaborated n eafets, n genera assemby dscussons.
the programs and structures of the tradtona
workng-cass organzatons have e poded. The ques-
ton of power has been posed. It s no onger a ques-
ton of repacng one government wth another, nor of
repacng one regme wth another. It s a queston of
nstang the Power of the entre workng cass over
the whoe socety; t s a queston of the aboton of
cass socety.-1-
ot ony n rance, but n the entre captast regon.
The destructon of the captast state and ts repres-
sve apparatus (the army and the poce), the force whch
protects the transfer of the word s weath from back-
ward to deveoped regons and from ower to upper
casses, s emnated. The ack of a regme, of a go-
vernment, makes t as urgent to e tend the revouton
beyond the borders of rance as t s to e tend t beyond
the borders of Censer. Ths pont s made n a genera
assemby; t rases a furor; t s a pont that hasn t
been rased by revoutonary socasts snce the vctory
of tan s concepton of socasm n one country.
In Begum, n Germany, n Itay, n ngand, n
oand, n a captast countres, strugges
smar to ours or n sodarty wth our strugge,
are deveopng.
The economy s parayzed. paces of work are oc-
cuped by the workers. The power of the captast regme
s suspended:
...t has ost ts factores, t has ost contro over
economc actvty, t has ost ts weath. It ha6 ost
everythng; a t has eft s power: ths has to be
taken.-
The queston of power s posed. The frst step s
reazed: the producers physcay occupy the paces of
work: the red fag of the workng cass and not that of
a party foats everywhere. The ne t step s for the
workers to e press themseves, to organze themseves
and to deveop ther enormous capacty for ntatve. 4
t ths pont, e presson s transated nto acton, the
conscousness of coectve power s foowed by the or-
ganzaton of coectve power, the strke s transformed
nto an actve strke. nd at that pont,
eafet: ue are Comte d cton Travaeurs-
tudants, Cenoer, May 25, 196 .
2
eafet: De Gaue a a Porte I es Comtes d cton,
May 24, 196 .
- bd. 4,, ue Pare
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6
commttees composed of a the workers of a sector. The
commttee Is the e presson of the w of the workers.
Ths s what had to be done n a the factores when
the strke began; ths s what w be done when the ne t
strke begns. The perspectves were n the past, or n
the future; t had not been done; Censer had served as
a substtute.
The Unveng of Represson and Propaganda
Revouton s as much of a threat to the Communst
Party as to the factory owners. The Party has acqured
a vested nterest n the aw and order of captast
socety: t has enormous fnanca resources, a for-
mdabe eectora machne, and contros rance s ma|or
unon. It has vested nterests n ts ong-range po-
tca program and n ts strategy for eventua para-
mentary vctory. It has a vested nterest n ts fa-
buous bureaucratc structure. The Communst Party coud
not have ed the workng-cass to revouton. adeck
-Rochet for Dctator of the Proetarat 1 woud n any
case have been a udcrous sogan n a terate socety
n the mdde of the 20th Century. The conauest of power
by the workers
woud have put
an end to the
Communst Party s
potca pro-
gram and to ts
strategy for wr-
amentary vc-
tory; t woud
have annhated
the Party s f-
nanca resources,
ts eectora ma-
chne, and ts
unon. To have
contrbuted to
the conquest of
power by the
workers, the
Communst Party
woud have had
to bury tsef.
But the Communst
Party s one of

- adeck-Rochet s the top offca of the rench
Communst Party.
2
umanty s the offca newspaper of the rench
Communst Party.
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v
C.6.T
/O /t I
snce an nopportune attack by the cops durng the genera
strke coud have ed workers to start organzng ther
sef-defense. The unon managed ths operaton soon after
the outbreak of the strke. Unon offcas paced them-
seves at the head of the movement ; they hed on to a
the oudspeakers and ntated the occupaton of the
factory; the Unon bureaucracy then proceeded to occupy
the factory nstead of the workers. Insde the Unon-
occuped factory, no one e pressed hmsef: unon off-
cas read prepared speeches over the oudspeakers to an
audence composed argey of unon deegates. The work-
ers nsde the factory were not a enthusastc about the
occupaton ; those who were unenthusastc dd not ap-
paud the speeches read by offcas over oudpseakers,
and n the evenng they went to Censer to anayze what
had to be done.
cton commttee mtants were aware of what was
happenng. The pocy of the unon eaders s e tremey
cear; unabe to oppose the strke, they re tryng to
soate the most combatve workers nsde the factores,
they re tryng to et the strke rot so as to make the
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66
MMM
m
To ork ow means To ork wth a Gun n our Back
nsde. The strke pckets apponted by Unon and Party
offcas pay cards and wat for the strke to end. The
acton commttee mtants who come to the factory en-
trances get as far as the strke pckets, who are nstruc-
ted not to et the mtants nsde, not to et the m-
tants tak to workers, not to take the provocators and
adventursts serousy, and to chase them away by any
means necessary n case crowds of workers coect around
them.
In factores occuped n ths manner, no one e -
presses anythng, no one earns; the eve of conscous-
ness remans where t was before the strke. The work-
ers are tod by ther spokesmen that what they
want s hgher wages and mproved condtons, and that
ony the unon can negotate these gans for them. The
whoe strke s reduced to the probem of quanttatve
mprovements and matera gans wthn captast so-
cety. ocked nto the factores by apponted strke
pckets, spoken-for by unon offcas, tod by oud-
speakers and press that the mtants outsde are anar-
chstc provocators who foow an rresponsbe foregn
eader, the workers become even more dependent. Chaned
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6
Ths tme they re not chased out. veryone s sympathetc.
Meetngs to protest the ban are hed. Demonstratons to
protest the ncarceraton of comrades are panned. The re-
voutonares are foowed by cops. sentne s paced
at the entrance of Censer for the frst tme snce the
occupaton. The revoutonary groupets are fghtng to
save themseves: t s tme to get organzed. frantc
atmosphere and eements of paranoa are ntroduced to
Censer.
Censer s transformed. cton commttee mtants
see themseves ooked at, the same way students are ooked
at by professors. The mtants are rated, cassed. They
are once agan an undercass: they are potcay un-
formed, they are unshaped dough. They are raw matera
whch s to be coordnated, organzed, ed.
It s at ths pont that the worker-student commt-
tees eave Censer. The Genera ssemby of the orker-
tudent cton Commttees changes ts name: t becomes
the Inter-enterprse Commttee. It s now composed man-
y of workers from varous enterprses; t becomes an oc-
cason for members of newy formed rank and fe commt-
tees to e change e perences. It no onger meets day,
but once a week. ome ndvdua factory commttees,
ke the Ctroen Commttee, contnue to ead an ndepend-
ent e stence. orkers contnue to e press themseves,
to earn, to ntate and to act wthn the acton com-
mttees. But the commttees are no onger paces for the
sef-e presson of a the workers; they re removed from
the factores and from the unverstes. They re groups
of peope. They have nether a strategy nor a potca
program. They have a perspectve. nd they know they ve
been had; they know how, and by whom.
The represson tsef gves brth to the type of
eft descrbed by the propaganda: a eft composed of
candestne socetes, persecuted vanguards, tragc ead-
ers, and even students concerned wth student probems.
fORM COMIITT t TOR T D T t|T
T R TU | o
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69
It was a natura death, wasn t t
nrag
hen the genera strke s over, when the worker-
student commttees are gone, Censer becomes organzed
for the frst tme snce ts occupaton: t acqures an
nterna herarchy. The frustrated vanguard revouton-
ares, who had not been abe to ead, to organze, to
pan durng the crss, now brng ther taents to Cen-
ser. They forge themseves a pace n a Centra Commt-
tee of Occupaton. They form a Centra Coordnatng Com-
mttee whch assgns rooms to approprate groups n order-
y fashon. They e pan that the anarchsts are gone
now; that the deas of the anarchsts corresponded to
an earer stage of the strugge, and that now the
strugge reaures centrazaton, coordnaton, eader-
shp. They aocate rooms to new groups new commttees
--made up entrey of students. nd they presde over
commssons on unversty reorganzaton and course
transformaton.
tudent probems come to Censer for the frst tme
snce the occupaton. On the hees of the student prob-
ems come the poce. hen the poce occupy Censer
no one tres to defend the budng: there s nothng to
defend; Censer now conssts of a student mass concerned
wth the modates of a reorganzed Unversty, and a
vanguard concerned wth keepng tsef n the Centra
Commttee. n empty she s taken by the poce.
. Perman
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70
Part II
M OO, ebruary, 969
vauaton and Crtque
mts of the scaaton
hy dd we partcpate n the worker-student acton
commttees hat dd we tMnk was happenng when the
genera strke began hat was the bass for what we
thought
tudents had ceased to accept the state and academc
authortes wthn the unverstes- Reguary controed
and managed by the state, and n ths sense state proper-
ty, the unverstes were transformed nto soca ns-
ttutons, where the students determned what was to be
done, what was to be dscussed, who was to make the
decsons and the rues.
t numerous genera assembes, peope e Dressed the
awareness that, f the unverstes were to reman n the
hands of peope who gathered there, workers had to take
contro of the factores. In fact, peope went to fac-
tores to say to workers: e ve taken over the unver-
stes. or ths to be permanent, you have to take over
the factores. ome workers began to mtate the stu-
dent movement ndependenty. t Renaut, for e ampe, the
strke began before the students went there. Ths s
aso true of ud- vaton. t severa other factores,
young workers who had |oned the students on the barrcades
began to foow the e ampe of the unverstes by ca-
ng for strkes and eventua take-overs of the factores
by ther workers.
et ths s where the frst crtaue has to be made.
e had not, n fact, understood the fu sgnfcance of
the mode of the unversty occupatons, and consequent-
y our perspectve of genera assembes n the factores
dd not have the bass we thought t had.
hat had happened n the unverstes was that stu-
dents, workers and others had taken over state budngs,
and assumed for themseves the power formery weded by
the state. owever, they dd not reorganze or re-
structure the unversty; they dd not substtute a
student-run unversty for the state-run unversty; they
dd not reform the captast unversty. The occupatons
dd not estabsh student-power n the unverstes;
students dd not eect or appont a new admnstraton,
ths tme a student-bureaucracy, to run the unversty
n the pace of the state bureaucracy. In fact, the oc-
cupants of the unverstes re|ected the tradtona
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72
of peope (not merey n rance) ncudng mners, machne
producers, food producers, researchers, engneers. To
thnk that the Renaut auto pants beong to the peope
who work there today s an uson. et ths was the fc-
ton accepted by peope who had re|ected specazaton and
property n the occuped unverstes.
The revoutonares, who had transformed unverstes
nto pubc paces and consequenty no one s property, were
not aware of the OCI character of the factores. hat
they contested was the sub|ect who controed the proper-
ty, the owner. The concepton of the revoutonares
was that Renaut workers shoud run the factores nstead
of the state bureaucrats; Ctro n workers shoud run C-
tro n nstead of the captast owners. In other words,
prvate and state property are to be transformed to grouo
property: Ctroftn s to become the property of the workers
empoyed at Ctroen. nd snce ths corporaton of work-
ers does not e st n a vacuum, t has to estabsh ma-
chnery to reate to other, e terna corporatons of work-
ers. Consequenty they have to set up an admnstraton,
a bureaucracy, whch represents the workers of a part-
cuar pant. One eement of ths corporatst concepton
was affected by the mode of the occuped unverstes.
ust as the student unon was re|ected as the spokesman
for the unversty occupants, the tradtona unon (the
Genera Confederaton of abor) was re|ected as the spokes-
man for the ncorporated workers: the workers shoud not
be represented by the CGT; they shoud be represented by
themseves, namey by a new, democratcay eected
bureaucracy.
Thus even n the perspectves of the unversty oc-
cupants, the factores were not to be socazed. Thus
Genera ssembes nsde the factores dd not have
the same meanng as n the unverstes. The factores
were to become group property, ke ugosav enterprses.
uch enterprses are not socay controed; they are run
by bureaucraces nsde each enterprse.
By fghtng the Gaust poce n the streets, peo-
pe contested the egtmacy of ths power over ther
ves. By occupyng a budng ke Censer, they con-
tested the egtmacy of the bureaucrats who controed
ths pubc nsttuton. Peope occuped Censer whe-
ther or not they had ever been students there; no one act-
ed as f Censer beonged to those students who were
enroed for courses there. But the same ogc was not
apped to the factores. Peope dd not go to Renaut
or Ctro n sayng, Ths doesn t beong to the captast,
or to the state, and t doesn t beong to the CGT ether.
urthermore t doesn t beong to a new bureaucracy that
someone mght set up. It beongs to the peope, whch n-
cudes us. Renaut s ours. nd we re gong n. rst
of a we want to see what t 3s, and the we fgure
out what to do wth t.
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7U
dd not have perspectves for passng from a wdcat
strke, from a rebeon as-anst authorty, to the bera-
ton of day fe. In a few days the strke was taken
over by the unon bureaucracy, and n ths sense was not
even a successfu wdcat strke. Ths mssnc step be-
tween the student strugge and the genera strke effectve-
y cosed ths route of escaaton: the student movement
dd not escaate nto a movement wthn the factores.
Perhaps, after the outbreak of the strke, there st
remaned possbtes for escaaton, possbtes for
a further step n the drecton of transformng day fe.
Peope were st fghtng. th ten mon workers on
strke and thousands of peope on the streets everv day,
the escaaton mght have taken the form of a systematc
attempt to destroy the state apparatus. The orentaton of
the movement was ant-statst; the state ran the unver-
stes and ts power had been aboshed. There had been
an escaaton unt May 0. tudents communcated ther
ntentons to other students n the street. nd ther n-
tentons were very specfc. On May 0 they were deter-
mned to take back ther unversty. They had the support
of the ma|orty of students, of younff workers who |oned
them n the street, and of the peone 1n the neghborhood
(the atn uarter). owever, after May 0, a seres of
sma demonstratons reproduce the demonstraton and
strugge of May 0, and no onger consttute escaatons
of the strugge. Thousands of peor e partcpate n thcr e
actons; there are constant confrontatons wth th poce.
But there s no onger the determnaton to take contro
over an essenta actvty.
or e ampe, the state power, whch dd not date
send ts army or poce anywhere between May 6 anr Mav
20, was usng a sma group of cops to broadcast the news
a over rance. The state broadcast ts news from a
tower wth a few cops In front of t, and everyone In
rance knew that es were beng broadcast (for e ampe,
that workers were strkng for ther unon demands, and
that students were an ous to take ther tests).
The peope n the unverstes and n the streets,
as we as the strkng workers, reay needed to com-
muncate wth the rest of the popuaton, merey to de-
scrbe what they had done and were domr. et In th1 s
stuaton, where the reaton of forces was on the sde
of the popuaton and not the state (n the vew of both
sdes), when revoutonares thought they had aready
won and the government thought t had aready gone under
n ths stuaton, between May 6 and May 20, a that
happened about the ack of nformaton was that peope
whspered about t n the street, and some vaaruey sad
we shoud take over the natona rado staton.
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7
freedom, when M 22 mtants aowed the sef-anponted
presdents of a genera assemby to defne ther acton,
as n the pannng sessons for the May 2k demonstraton,
the resut was not anyone s beraton, but rather the
constrant of the entre movement.
March 22 mtants were not the ony peope who con-
fronted, genera assembes wth the choce of |onng or
opposng actons. Indvduas assumed the rght to nter-
rupt genera assemby dscussons n order to descrbe
actons they were engaged n, to seek support, and to
confront passve sympathzers and revoutonary spec-
tators wth the chaenge: hat are you actuay DOI G
to berate yoursef
Ths rght .to ntervene, whch was granted fary
unversay, was frequenty abused. types and var-
etes of sma actonettes were descrbed at genera as-
sembes, not merey actons whch were sgnfcant and
possbe n terms of the changed stuaton and the soca
power of the peope ready to act.
hen there were no coectve actons whch were
sgnfcant as transformatons of the soca stuaton,
the genera assembes ost ther character of sef-or-
ganzed actvty, and frequenty degenerated nto
audences of spectators bored by the machnatons of the
bureaucrats up front. Ths degeneraton was frequenty
e paned as a structura shortcomng of the genera
assembes; the acton commttees were supposedy more
effectve structures. owever, the acton commttees
were ntegra parts of the genera assemby. The genera
assemby, a arge body of peope, dd not tsef perform
actons: the actons were carred out by smaer groups
of peope who organzed and panned the pro|ects whch
had been chosen and defned by the assemby. The acton
commttees dd not represent a new soca structure
whch was to be the form of future socety. The second
functon of the acton commttees was to make possbe
drect communcaton, deveopment of deas and perspec-
tves, defnton of concrete tasks, whch woud not
have been possbe among the arger body of peope.
owever, when the acton commttees became nsttuton-
azed, when they no onger stuated ther actvty wth-
n the conte t of the genera assemby whch gave rse
to them, when commttee members began to thnk of ther
commttee as an nsttuton, as a thng whose sgnfcance
was e paned n terms of a mysterous revoutonary move-
ment, the actvty of the commttees ost ts conte t.
Consequenty, the degeneraton of the genera assembes
was n fact merey a refecton of the degeneraton of the
acton commttees: t s not because there were bureaucrats
that acton commttee mtants coudn t say anythng ree-
vant to the genera assemby, but precsey because the
mtants ceased havng anythng to say that there were
bureaucrats.
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7
Characterzed n very genera terms, t s a cons-
cousness whch smpy accepts the vast ma|orty of the re-
guartes and conventons of caDtast everyday fe;
a conscousness whch accepts bureaucratc organzaton,
prvate property, the representaton of workers through
unons, the separaton of workers n terms of partcuar
tasks and ocatons n socety. In short, t s a cons-
cousness whch accepts captast socety. It s wthn
ths framework that the mtants move around. They
take actons, but do not even appy outsde of Censer
what they are aready dong nsde of Censer. ef-or-
ganzed n Censer, they st accept captast socety.
( mnor e ampe of ths s that revoutonares who
thnk they are struggng to abosh captast socety
once and for a, do not use ast names because they fear
the represson that w come once stabty s re-
stored. ) They want to partcpate n whatever actons
take pace: they support workers strkng for hgher wages,
they support workers demandng more rghts for unon
bureaucrats, they support peope strkng for an auto-
nomous natona rado staton, even though ths confcts
wth other deas they hod.
There were, of course, severa types of acton commt-
tees: some were as reformst as the Communst Party and the
unon; others tred to defne a revoutonary strategy
by passng through reformst transtona steps. ome
acton commttee mtants pro|ected the sef-organzaton
of the unverstes to the factores, but they pro|ected
corporatst rather than soca sef-organzaton. Ths
corporatst sef-organzaton n the factores appeaed to
two types: t appeaed to ant-communsts and beras,
and t appeaed to anarchst-communsts. To the ant-
communsts, sef-organzaton n each factory meant that
workers woud organze a separate unon n each factory
and get out of the CGT. The radcas made no cear at-
tacks on ths perspectve, and t s precsey because of
ths that they had even ess appea for workers than the
bureaucrats of the CGT. orkers are obvousy much strong-
er wth the CGT than they woud be wth separate unons
n each factory. Members of the CGT were n fact sensbe
to re|ect a perspectve whch promsed tte more than
fragmentaton wthn captast socety. The autonomous
workers organzatons woud repace the natona unon
n the task of seng the abor force, namey of bargan-
ng wth the captast or state owners, and they woud
obvousy have ess strength n dong ths than a natona
unon.
hat, then, was the acton of the acton commttees
after the outbreak of the strke They kept somethng
gong. They contnued the strugge. Mtants spent
tme and energy. hy as t smpy that no one had any-
thng to do, frends came to see frends, nteectuas
came to tak to workers The Ctroftn Commttee, for
e ampe, contnued to meet every day. ome days were spent
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tended to amagamate a workers nto the same cass ;
they faed to dstngush those who were there to reform
captast fe from those who ntended to abosh capta-
sm, and as a resut they were unabe to focus on the spe-
cfc character of the actons proposed by the radca
workers.
or e ampe, young workers from a prvate nrntng
schoo announced that they had thrown out ther drector,
were about to occupy the schoo, and wanted to put the
presses at the dsposa of the peope gathered at Censer.
owever, Censer mtants were not as radca as these
workers; egay occupyng a unversty budng, they
questoned the egaty of the acton proposed by the
young workers (who mght have done better to propose ths
acton to members of the March 22 Movement). nother e -
ampes two or three workers came from the newspaper ds-
trbuton enterprse of Pars. They caed on Censer
mtants to |on them n stoppng the dstrbuton of
newspapers; they caed on the peope gathered at Censer
to e pan to workers at ther enterprse what was takng
pace n the unverstes.
The mtants who stened to these suggestons dd
not react as f they themseves were actve agents who
coud transform a soca stuaton n a rea factory by
gong there n person. (One of the wrters of ths artce
was present at a dscusson whch took pace before May 0
between a mtant of the March 22 Movement (Dany Cohn-
Bendt) and some of the peope who ater nfuenced the
deveopment of occuped Censer. It was cear that the
future Censer occupants dd not defne themseves the
same way Dany defned hmsef; Dany regarded hs own ac-
tvty as a dynamc force whch coud transform the soca
stuaton; but they asked about the support Dany had,
about the masses behnd hm. Ther concepton was that,
somehow, the masses were gong to rse and act, and that
the mtants woud be abe to defne ther roes ony
wthn the conte t of ths actve mass. These mtants
regarded themseves as hepess to transform a concrete
set of actvtes.)
Consequenty, when the worker-student acton commt-
tees were founded n Censer, the peope at the orgn of
these commttees aready defned for themseves a dffer-
ent roe from that whch had been payed by the March 22
Movement and whch had been e pressed by Dany Cohn-Bendt.
The Censer mtants formed acton commttees nstead of
onng radca workers n transformng soca fe. It
s ronc that the mtants consttuted acton commttees
precsey at the moment when they renounced acton. They
d have some concepton of acton. It s not the same
acton as that of the March 22 Movement a partcuar
group of peope who themseves transform a concrete soca
actvty. It s acton whch conssts of foowng the
spontaneousM actvty of a soca group, partcuary
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no onger took pace n reaty; t took pace n d scus-
sons and debates among acton commttee mtants at
Censer.
Crtque of ctons
If the conscousness of the acton commttee mtants
dd not go beyond the mts of a captast and bureau-
cratc perspectve, why were so many revoutonary m-
tants attracted to Censer for more than a month after
the strke had been taken over by the unon hat was the
nature of the actons of these commttees
The varety of outooks and potca postons
gathered together n the Censer commttees cannot be
characterzed as reformst per se. They dd not come to
Censer n order to take part n reformst actons; n
terms of what they sad, n commttee meetngs and genera
assembes, they made t cear that they thought they were
engagng n revoutonary actons, actons whch were ead-
ng to the aboton of captasm and bureaucracy. et
n front of the factores they supported the workers de-
mands, they supported potca and unon rghts, and
they caed for autonomous workers organzatons.
In a bref characterzaton, t may be sad that ther
actons were not reformst per se; they were opportunst
per se. The Censer worker-student commttees were at the
front nes of the possbtes whch the soca stua-
ton permtted, and there they dd whatever the stuaton
permtted. hen captast socety functoned reguary,
they dd everythng whch s normay done n captast
socety, acceptng a of the mtatons of norma ca-
ptast fe: wage-strkes, unons. owever, n May the
opportunty e sted for members of the popuaton to en-
gage n the producton process, to approprate the soca
means of producton. nd n May they were ready to do ths.
Opportunsm. In ths sense, one can say that the peope
who agtated from Censer represent a genune popuar
movement whch was ready to do whatever the stuaton a-
owed. ub|ectvey they thought they were revoutonares
because they thought a revouton was takng pace; they
thought the factores were gong to be occuped and so-
cazed, and they thought they woud be among the frst
to go nsde the factores and |on the workers n a new
system of producton. They were not gong to ntate
ths process; they were gong to foow the vTave wherever
t pushed them.
owever, when they got to the factory gates on the
day of the occupaton, they confronted a sghty df-
ferent stuaton. The workers were not cang for the
popuaton to enter the factory. Unon bureaucrats were
cang for the occupaton of the factory. nd so the
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4
the factory occupatons began, at the Renaut pant. bout
ten thousand peope march from the center of Pars; they
are ready for a feast wth the workers nsde the natona-
zed auto pant. The demonstrators get to the factory,
and fnd the gates shut. hoever s at the head of ths
march accepts the cosed gates as the ast word. But the
gates represent nothng; cheerng workers stand on the
roof; they can send ropes down. nd n some parts, the
fence of the factory s ow enough to cmb. et suddeny
peope fear a power they had never feared before: the
CGT bureaucrats.
If ten thousand peope had wanted to get n, the
bureaucrats woud have had no power. But there were
ceary very few revoutonares n the march or nsde
the factory; there were very few peope who fet that what-
ever was nsde that pant was thers. There were some
peope who wanted to storm the gates n order to be ht
on the head by the CGT cops at the gates. But there was
apparenty no one nsde or outsde the factory who re-
garded t as soca property. One who knows t s soca
property doesn t accept a bureaucrat bockng the door.
Peope n that march had vared prete ts for dong
nothng. uch acton s premature; t s adventurstc
the pant sn t soca property yet. Of course the CGT
oureaucrats agreed wth ths reasonng, a reasonng whch
competey undermnes any rght the workers mght have
to strke. nd ten thousand mtants, most of whom had
|ust gone out of occuped unverstes to take part n the
march, most of whom had actvey chaenged the egtmacy
of the power of the poce n the street, bandy accepted
the authorty of the unon toughs who guarded the factory
gates.
hat attracted peope to Censer was the mpresson
that here actons were beng prepared whcfc woud go be-
yond the stuaton whch had greeted the demonstrators at
the gates of Renaut. The Censer gen ra assembes, as
we as the acton commttee meetngs, between May 7 and
May 20, gave the mpresson that here were gathered peope
determned to go further. ere were the others who
were gong to push the stuaton beyond ts newy reached
bureaucratc mts.
ot of peope went to Censer to take part n ac-
tons on a competev bnd bass. ots of peope who
ved competey empty ves found a bref opportunty
to gve out eafets; for such peope gvnr out eafets
was, n tsef, more meanngfu than the norma actvtes
of ther day ves.
But there were aso peope commtted to gong beyond
eafet dstrbuton for ts own sake, and the possb-
ty of gong beyond seemed to e st at Censer. tremey
sgnfcant actons were dscussed at the Censer genera
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6
recognze the egtmacy of a state or- academc bureaucracy
whch forces me nto a system of earnng to tran me for
somethng whch s not my pro|ect and to whch I be
bound for the rest of my fe.
By pursung the constraned day e of entast
socety, the ndvdua nerforms certan actvtes because
of conventon, because he defnes hmsef seeoys f pp
has no choce. My actvtes depend n e terna c5res-
stances. I do certan thngs because they are the one :
that are permtted. I do not act n terms of mv oosst.111-
tes, but n terms of e terna constrants.
oca change takes pace wther eantn t socety,
but t s not perceved bv me as a nro. ct wh h T brnsr
about together wth others. The change s e terna to r.e;
t s a spectace; t resuts from huge mpersona forces:
a naton, a state, a revoutonary movement... These for-
ces are a e terna to me, the,r are not the outcome of my
own day actvty. They are the actors on the stac-e, the
payers n a game, and I smpy watch. I mav take sdes
and cheer for one sde or the other, for the van or the
hero. But I m not n t.
In Censer, n the genera assembes durner the eary
days of the occupaton, actvty had the character of a
pro|ect: the e terna spectace had been destroyed, and so
had the dependence (snce the dependence s nothna- hut the
characterstc roe of the member of an audence who wat-
ches the spectace). Most neope orgnav went to Censer
as spectators, they went to see what the revoutonares
were gong to do ne t, they went to a show. But by attend-
ng one after another assemby where peoDe dscussed what
to do about the budng, about Pars, about the word, they
were confronted wth the awareness that they were not ob-
servng a separate group, a group of actors on the stage.
One qucky reazed that t s the person sttng ne t to
hm, n front or behnd hm, who defned what was to be
done n Censer, and what has to be done outsde Censer.
These assembes dd not have the character of e terna
spectaces, but of persona pro|ects whch one carres out
wth peope one knows: the sub|ects were actvtes whch
woud affect a those who made decsons about them.
The passve, cheerng atttude of the T -watcher
whch e sted at the frst assembes 1s transformed nto
an actve atttude. Instead of passvey observng what
T (an e terna, separate force) are prono- to do, for
e ampe about the cookng n Censer, OU speak ur because
you prefer cean to drty food and because you have the
power to change the stuaton of the ktchen. Once you
partcpate actvey, once acton s no o er the spe-
caty of a separate group, you suddeny reaze that you
have power over arger pro|ects than the Censer ktchen:
the nsttutons of socety ose ther character of e -
terna spectaces and come nto focus as soca nro|ects
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7
whch can be determned by you together wth others.
Ths descrpton s e aggerated; t s an attempt to
characterse an atttude. In actuaty, such atttudes
e pressed themseves as tendences. or e ampe, when
sone of the bureaucrats of the future apponted themseves
to a servce of order or to a strke commttee whch
was to rue Censer under the guse of coordnatng ts
actvtes, peope dd not smpy watch them take over,
whsperng to each other about the vany of the act.
Peope were angry: they took the necessary steps to pre-
vent the nstaaton of any sef-apponted coordnatng
commttee. They knew that a centra commttee woud
once agan make decsons and undertake actons nstead of
the occupants, and the newy berated occupants refused to
gve up ther power, ther possbty to act, to decde.
hf n a servce of order panted tsef at the entrance
to a genera assemby and camed that foregners coud
not partcpate n that assemby, the servce of order
was oucky removed by peope nsde the assemby.
owever, the sense that every ndvdua n the bud-
ng ran the budng, the feeng that f there was some- .
thng he ddn t ke he had to act, together wth others,
to change t ths sense of an ndvdua s soca power,
ths beraton of the ndvdua, was not e tended out-
sde Censer. s soon as peope eft Censer they were
once agan hepess; some separate croup (March 22 Move-
ment, The orkng Cass) once agan became the actor n
what was once agan a spectace. The mtants were not,
n fact, berated; they dd not n fact act as f the
socety was thers; they dd not act as f socety con-
ssted of peope wth whom to carry out pro|ects, mted
ony by the avaabe nstruments and the avaabe know-
edge. ven nsde of Censer, a retrogresson took pace:
a dvson o abor nstaed tsef; speca groups dd
the mmeographns-, the cookng, the eafet dstrbuton.
There were even peope n Censer to whom nothng at
a was communcated. group of mercans set up an
poton commttee of the mercan eft. Ths was an
e ampe of compete passvty on the part of an entre
acton commttee. Many of them were draft ressters
who had made a decson once, and had retred mmedate-
y after maknc- t. They went to the Pars demonstratons,
to the barrcades, to Censer not as actve partcpants
changng ther word, but as spectators, as observers
watchrs- the actvty of others. The events were totay
e terna to them; the events had no nk wth ther own
ves; they dd not sense the word as ther word. Con-
sequenty what they saw was a dfferent knd of peope,
the rench, struggng aganst a dfferent type of socety,
rench Gaust socety. They were on the sde of the
revoutonares, the same way one s on the sde of a
partcuar team n a game. Ths group was the symbo of
an atttude whch characterzed many others who came to
Censer, attended assembes and commttee meetngs, anr
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watched, and wated ke dead thngs. They absorbed a
new commodty, a new spectace, whch was e ctng and
stmuatng because of ts newness. uch atttudes were
a dead weght on whatever persona beraton dd take
pace at Censer. These symbos of deadness demobzed
others, they made t harder for others to reaze they had
a power whch these peope ddn t dream of takng.
ome peope reached the pont of askng someone what
can I do and thus aready took a step toward vng. But
when no one gave them a good answer, they apsed back
nto passvty.
The passvty whch characterzed the mercan eft
at Censer aso characterzed the man actons of the
most actve commttees of Censer, such as the Ctrotn
Commttee. hen the strke broke out we went to the Ctro-
n factory e pectng some knd of fraternzaton, perhaps
dancng n the streets. But what we found was a stua-
ton whch ooked ke cowboys herdng stubborn cows, name-
y the CGT bureaucrats tryng to herd workers nto the
factory, wth no contact or communcaton between the
bureaucrats and the masses. The workers had no con-
cepton of what was happenng to them; they merey stood,
wated, and watched the bureaucrats shoutng through mega-
phones.
veryone watched and no one ved. bureaucrat
shouted a speech, hs deegates baaa d oudy, these
cheereaders caed for enthusasm from the spectators,
the ndfferent mass. Masses s what peope become n
captast socety; they vsby transform themseves nto
herds of anmas watng to be pushed around. Thngs
pass n front of the eyes of the mass, but the mass
doesn t move, t doesn t ve; thngs happen to t. Ths
tme the bureaucrats were tryng to cheer them nto push-
ng themseves nsde the factory gates, because the Cen-
tra Commttee had caed for a genera strke wth fac-
tory occupatons.
Ths s the stuaton when two groups arrve at the
factory gate: the orker- tudent cton Commttee from
Censer, and a Mar st- ennst group wth a arge banner,
a group caed To erve the Peope ( ervr e Peune).
The mtants of the Ctro n Commttee from Censer ds-
trbute a eafet supportng the workers demands, whe
the other group erve the Peope by pacng themseves
ne t to the factory gate n a strke pcket whch serves
no functon whatever. Graduay the mtants of both
groups become passve, stand asde, and wat for the
autonomous acton of the workers; they ook at the
workers (many foregn) on the other sde of the street.
It suddeny becomes a spectace where everyone s watchng
and each s watng for a the others to act. nd nothng
dramatc happens; the sheep sowy feet herded nto the
stabe.
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#
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90
of sef-beraton, n the sense of emnatng those con-
dtons of day fe whch kept them from vng. Ths
sef-beraton coud ony have been carred through f
they emnated the obstaces to ther sef e presson.
The obstaces to ther beraton were n the factores,
as means of producton whch were aen to them, whch
beonged to a separate group.
By teng themseves that t was up to the work-
ers to take the factores, a substtuton dd n fact
take pace, but t was the opposte substtuton from
the one the anarchsts feared. The mtants substtuted
the nacton (or rather the bureaucrat-c acton) of the
workers bureaucraces, whch was the ony acton the
workers were wng to take, for ther own acton. The
anarchst argument, n fact, turned the stuaton upsde
down. The mtants thus went n front of the factores
and aowed the bureaucrats to act nstead of them; they
substtuted the bureaucracy s acton for ther own. ater
they apoogzed for ther own nacton by takng about
the betraya of the CGT. But the CGT was not to bame
for anythng. hen the mtants went to the factory
gates and watched, they dd no more than the workers who
stood and watched. nd when the workers watched, they
aowed the CGT to act for them. The mtants raton-
azed ther dependence, ther nacton, by sayng that
the CGT took over. But the reaton s mutua. The
mtants, together wth the workers, created the power
of the unon bureaucracy. The mtants dd not go to
the factory to berate themseves; they wated for an
ne stent power to berate them.
Once the strke was under the contro of the unon
bureaucracy, other habts of captast day fe re-
turned among the mtants. Perhaps the most sgnfcant
reapse was the acceptance of dvson and separaton
among dfferent soca groups. ven though the commttees
were composed of workers as we as nteectuas, and
even though commttee members ceased to separate each other
nto these two categores, they deveoped a specast
atttude whch separated commttee mtants from both
workers as we as nteectuas. t the factory they
separated themseves from the workers. nd n the un-
versty they began to separate themseves from students.
The mtants deveoped the atttude that e are engaged
n the most mportant process because we re gong to the
factores. There was a sef-rghteousness about ths at-
ttude whch was un|ustfed, snce no coherent anayss
of the actua mportance of the actons was ever made.
Contrasted to ths ack of sef-anayss was a contemp-
tuous atttude towards a commttees engaged n student
probems. Perhaps some of the contempt was ustfed,
but the pont s that the worker-student commttee m-
tants fet no obgaton to even fnd out what the stu-
dent commttees were dong. It was automatcay as-
sumed that gong to the doors of the factores to watch
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92
the same knd of rtua repetton, whch characterzes
day fe n captast socety.
The passvty of the mtants n front of the factory
and the sheep-ke behavor of the workers who et them-
seves be herded around by bureaucrats ths s the stua-
ton whch mn-bureaucrats nterpret as a confrmaton of
everythng they ve aways known; ths s the stuaton
that confrms the absoute necessty of a Revoutonary
Party. s they see t, the spontaneous acton of the
masses (the acton commttee peope, for e ampe) cannot
take over the factores, and the spontaneous acton of the
workers can ony ead to bera reformsm. Consequenty,
the ony souton s for the workers to shft ther a-
egance from the reformsts to the revoutonares
(the mn-bureaucraces); the workers must recognze the
mn-bureaucracy as the revoutonary vanguard whch w
ead them to a dfferent knd of fe. Beng recognzed
by the workers as ther vanguard means gettng the passve
support of the workers; ths support w make t possbe
for the mn-bureaucrats to pace themseves nto a the
postons of power n socety. Ths support w make t
possbe for the Party to take state power, namey to
head every bureaucratc herarchy and to dspense repres-
son. In order to take state power, the revoutonary
Party must convnce the workers that the P rty represents
the workers true nterests and, once n power, w sa-
tsfy a of the workers demands. Defnng themseves
as the ony ones abe to reaze socasm, the mn-
bureaucrats promse a future n whch the actvtes
peope engage n w not be pro|ects, but e terna spec-
taces carred out by separate groups n other words, a
future day fe whch s dentca to day fe n ca-
ptast socety, wth the ma|or dfference that the for-
mer mn-bureaucrats become transformed nto the govern-
ment. urthermore, the condton for ther comng to
power s precsey the mantenance of ths passvty. It s
precsey the sheep-ke behavor of the workers that per-
mts the mn-bureaucrats to assume the power whch had
prevousy been assumed by captasts, state functon-
ares, unon bureaucrats. The separate power of a separate
soca group contnues to rue over peope s actvtes,
ony now the rung group cas tsef revoutonary and
may even ca ts drectorates workers councs.
The |ustfcaton for ths behavor on the part of the
mn-bureaucrats s the supposed ack of conscousness
among the workers. owever, what these revoutonares
ca conscousness s the theory whch w |ustfy ths
partcuar group s assumpton of state power. hat they
ca conscousness s the theory whch ratonazes the
separate power of ths partcuar group. Conscousness
s what enabes the bureaucracy to hod power over socety
as a separate group whe defnng tsef as the mass of
the workers; t s the theory whch makes t possbe for
ths bureaucracy to magne that ts partcuar rue s the
rue of a. The same passvty, the same spectace, the
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9
they had sympathy for one sde. But a sma number of stu-
dents acted on a much more profound understandng the
moment they engaged themseves n a strugge to unve the
connecton between the unversty, the captast system,
and the war n etnam. To these students the war n et-
nam ceased to be an ssue and became an ntegra part of
ther own day ves.
background n Mar st theory undoubtedy pays a
arge roe n gvng uropean students some toos wth
whch to grasp the connecton between ther studes and
the war. owever, n addton to ths background n cr-
tca theory, through the mass meda uropean students are
gven a day vew of the grossest spectace n the modern
word: the Unted tates.
Increasngy sophstcated means of communcaton re-
vea to spectators a over the word a spectace of two
hundred mon peope who passvey observe ther ovm
boys kng, torturng, mamng human bencrs day, a
spectace of torture whch s scentfcay prepared by
teams of the most hghy traned scentsts n the word,
a spectace of an mmense educatona system devoted to
a frantc research for methods of controng, manpuatng,
mamng and kng human bengs.
The arrogant nsstence wth whch the mercan way
of fe advertses tsef puts the urorcean student on
guard aganst the methods through whch mercans are
produced. The anterre student s abe to see hmsef benp-
transformed nto an ndfferent servant of a mtary ma-
chne. tudents become aware that the actvtes for whch
they are beng traned are ntmatey reated to the et-
nam war. They begn to grasp connectons between the
bureaucratc content of ther educaton, the actvtes
performed by the bureaucrats, and the kng of etnamese.
nd when students begn to engage n e posures of ther
professors and casses, they try to make e pct, trans-
parent, the connecton between the ob|ectvty of ths
or that soca scence, and the actvty whch s a con-
sequence of the practce of ths ob|ectve knowedge ;
they begn to unve what ths system of knowedge does.
tudents who begn to strugge aganst the war In
etnam by e posng the content of ectures at the Un-
versty of anterre show that they have two cruca n-
sghts: they perceve that ther own actvtes at anterre
are a part of an nter-connected system of actvtes whch
encompass the entre word socety; and they perceve that
ther own practca actvtes at anterre have repercus-
sons on the entre word socety.
ven wthout a background n Mar st theory, students
can see themseves manpuated day by bureaucrats whose
persona achevements and quaty of fe are not overy
mpressve: professors, unversty admnstrators, state
functonares. The students see themseves beng used
G
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96
In the unversty, students begn to put the separato
power of the bureaucrats to an end. But when they fro to
the factores, they are unabe to defne the stens whch
are necessary to break the dependence and hepessness of
the workers. Ths refects a ack of theory. They go to
the workers as f the workers dd n fact represent a se-
parate group whch must defne ts own separate strategy of
beraton. urthermore, athough the student mtants
are abe to connect ther own oweressness vrth the sheep-
shness of the workers who ndfferenty produce the n-
struments of ther own represson, they m ke ths connec-
ton ony n concepts and are unabe to transate t to
reaty; they are unabe to defne a strategy whch s
reated to ths percepton. In the unversty thev are
conscous of themseves as vng agents, they are cons-
cous of ther own power to transform ther day ves.
They are abe to set themseves a coectve ob|ectve, nd
are abe to move towards t. Put they are urabe to e tend
ths power beyond the unversty. Once outsde, they are
suddeny hepess spectators who e pect somethng to rse
out of the workng cass ; they cease to defne themseves
as members of socety who have the power to transform t.
They suddeny accept the egtmacy of the power of se-
parate groups over the soca Instruments -for -her own
beraton.
Roger Gregore
redy Perman
ht
Those who make revoutons haf way
merey dg ther own craves ant- ust
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