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Is May 1968 About to Happen Again, or Be Surpassed? Mass Strikes, Occupations and the Fight for the Future Perfect in France

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of May 1968, the Macron government had been making plans to commemorate this historic uprising by celebrating how it had purportedly contributed to the liberal “modernization of French society.” Allied with the mass media and the ownership class, what better way for the relatively young neoliberal government to lay claim to the future than by taking over the past, using the ritualized burial rites of state-honored commemoration to spin a teleological tale according to which the legacy of ’68 was alive and well in contemporary ‘liberalization’? According to a spokesperson for the French President, this was of course to be done “without dogmas or prejudice,” in order to show that “68 was the time of utopias and disillusions, and we no longer truly have utopias.”

Apparently, many French students and workers disagree with this peremptory judgment.

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