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Last updated:28 May 2015

May 1968, France: revolution posters

June's object is revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968

revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968

Alain Kahan, chose this month's object:

'In May 1968 I was in my second year at University, when "les evenements" in France took place.

My Mother was French and I came from a working class background. What impressed me at the time, was the imagination, immediacy and originality of these images. You did not have to have read any political texts in order to get the message. I was also pleased that they did not represent the opinion of any particular party or organisation. They seemed to rise up from the street. The ‘PEOPLE' had spoken.'

The events of May 1968 began with a series of student strikes that followed from clashes with university administrators and police.

The Government under General De Gaulle tried to stop the student strikes through police actions, but this made the situation worse. A general strike of students was held on 13 May. This was shortly followed by strikes by French workers.

11 million workers went on strike for two weeks and brought the Government close to collapse. It was one of the largest general strikes and the first wildcat general strike in history.

revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968

Graffiti and slogans were produced by students, during the strike, against De Gaulle and his Government.

revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968 revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968 revolution posters from strike in France in May 1968
The symbol on the box is the Cross of Lorraine - the symbol of General De Gaulle's ruling party. The figure in this poster is General De Gaulle. The ORTF is the French state television and radio network.

June 2009

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Resources about the events in France in May 1968 in the library collection

Revolt in France, May-June 1968: a contemporary record compiled from Intercontinental Press and The militant - on-the-spot reports and interviews, articles and analyses (1968) - Shelfmark: Y18

Tony Cliff and Ian Birchall, France: the struggle goes on - international socialism special (1968) - Shelfmark: AG Socialist Workers Party Box 1

Solidarity, Paris: May 1968 (no date) - Shelfmark: AG Solidarity Box 2

Atelier Populaire, Mai 68: debut d'une lutte prolongee - posters from the revolution, Paris, May 1968 (1969) - Shelfmark: AG Oversized Box 2 (Protest Movements folder)

Vladimir Fisera (ed.), Writing on the wall - May 1968: a documentary anthology (1978) - Shelfmark: M28

Richard Johnson, The French Communist Party versus the students: revolutionary politics in May-June 1968 (1972) - Shelfmark: M32

Ernest Mandel, The lessons of May 1968: the commune lives (ca. 1971) - Shelfmark: AG International Marxist Group Box 6

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