France – Here We Are Again
The trouble at the Universities and the lycées in France is reported to be the worst since May 1968—”Revolutionaries” optimistically predict another situation like May 1968 for the spring.
It is interesting to analyse the new situation. Since the new year, there have been twelve suicides by burning, and the protesters are getting younger. A new group, who call themselves “Barricades”, has made a dynamic appearance on the scene. The majority of their numbers come from the Lycée Michelet, one of the most respected high schools of France. They claim to have a thousand followers.
Besides this trouble at the lycées, the universities are in revolt. At Nanterre, where troubles led to the events of May and June, there have been renewed clashes with Left wing and Right wing students fighting it out with result that the University was closed down for a weekend. At the Sorbonne, too, students occupied the university compound; the police came to disperse them; the students reacted and molotov cocktails were thrown at the police.
This all seems to emphasise the predictions of the so-called revolutionaries. However, if we take a close look at these groups we find there is nothing new or revolutionary about them. Reports tell us that the headquarters of “Barricades” have pictures of Che Guevera plastered on the wall and Thoughts of Mao in their pockets. Again, in the Universities there are the traditional Bolshevik varieties of Mao, Stalin, Trotsky and Che. Even the more advanced groups such as Cohn-Bendit’s March 22 Movement, who have at least rejected the traditional Bolshevik line, still cling on to the archaic and anarchistic line of the “revolutionary situation” accompanied by barricades in the streets.
Working class emancipation must be the work of the working class itself and that no “vanguard of the proletariat” can bring about. The traditional Bolshevik theory has been proven wrong. Following leadership is doomed to failure. The “revolutionary situations” or barricades in the street cannot bring about Socialism. Only when me majority of workers understand and want Socialism can it be achieved and then there is no need for barricades in the street. The task for Socialists in France is not to go out and lead or to go out and destroy; the task is to spread Socialist propaganda, to organise into groups and to form a revolutionary party as a companion to ours with one aim – Socialism.