From: Giorgos Mitralias <>

[image: Mars 2023 is the new mai 1968]
*May 1968 - March 2023! *

by *Yorgos Mitralias *

*At a time when those who declare, even among the French elites (!), that
we are witnessing the emergence of a "new May 68" are multiplying, while
noting that in the country now reigns .... "an insurrectional atmosphere",
one can now reasonably ask: to what extent does March 2023 resemble May
1968? (1) *

The answer is that it resembles it in substance, because March 2023 sees
"those from below" actively, massively and increasingly radically
challenging not only the government but also the power of "those above",
just as the - now legendary - May 1968 had done. But beyond this very
significant resemblance, their differences remain numerous and, above all,
are not without practical implications.

1. The first difference is that, contrary to what happened in May 68, today
it is not only or mainly Paris, but all the big, medium and small towns of
France, and even villages, that are mobilized, showing their anger or
rather their anti-Macron rage in all possible ways! And to tell the truth,
they manifest it even more massively and intensely than in Paris...

2. The second difference is that, contrary to what happened in May '68, the
workers' unions have now joined forces as never before in the last 40-45
years. And it is not only the unity of the eight trade union
confederations, from the most radical to the most moderate. This unity is
all the more important because it also includes non-unionized workers, who
have become accustomed to participating on an equal footing with unionized
workers in making decisions (such as renewing their strikes) by attending
daily general assemblies of striking workers at their workplaces.

3. The third difference is that, unlike in May '68, the cooperation and
unity of workers with student and high school youth is impressive today!
Whereas in May '68, the solidarity marches of radicalized students to the
big labor strongholds (e.g., the auto industry) constantly found closed
doors, and were met with hostility and even violent reactions from the
infamous CGT order service, today, the same solidarity marches of the
students and high school pupils are not only welcomed with open arms,
applause and hugs, but are also expressly requested by the trade unions so
that the young people and their organizations reinforce the blockades and
picket lines in the refineries, railway stations, transport depots, etc. !
And an additional proof of this crucial evolution is the fact that the
students' and high school students' unions are now part of the
Intersyndicale and participate in its work! ....

4. The fourth difference is linked to the broadening of the programmatic
and civilizational horizon of the unions and, by extension, of the labor
movement. Whereas in May 1968, the trade unions, and in particular the CGT
which was dominant at the time, rejected any feminist and ecologist
"sensitivity", which they did not hesitate to qualify as ... "bourgeois",
today it is quite simply unthinkable for the French trade unions, and even
more for the CGT, to abstain from feminist and ecological debates and
mobilizations! And as a proof, in a few weeks, the next congress of the CGT
will very probably elect at the head of the Confederation, for the first
time, a woman who moreover declares herself feminist and even ecofeminist!

5. The fifth difference concerns the political and civilizational
references of the trade union movement and of the overwhelming majority of
mobilized workers. Contrary to what happened in May 68, there is no longer
an abyss separating today the trade union vanguards from those of the
radicalized youth, because they both share similar or even identical
anti-authoritarian, democratic, anti-bureaucratic and anti-Stalinist,
feminist and ecological references and values. One of the consequences of
this so promising evolution is that, contrary to what happened in May 68,
the left of all sensibilities coexists and cooperates without any problem
in the mobilizations and beyond, with the extreme left of all
sensibilities, and even with a part of the anarchists! And of course, it is
not a coincidence if the two most prominent class struggle oriented and
radical workers' confederations, the CGT and Solidaires, are in the
vanguard of the movement of support to the "armed and unarmed resistance of
the Ukrainian people", of the movement of solidarity with the persecuted
and imprisoned trade-unionists in Belarus, and of the movement of
solidarity with the anti-war and feminist movements in Russia.

6. A sixth difference refers to the hottest news, that of the immense
popular mobilization for the defense of the most precious of the common
goods, water, which shook France the last weekend of March: 25,000 to
30,000 peasants, ecologists, eco-socialists, trade unionists and left-wing
activists, violently clashed in the middle of nature with 3. 600 CRS of
other "special forces", simply because they want to prevent the
construction of "mega-basins" which store the water pumped - or rather
stolen - from the water tables by the big landowners and the agro-industry,
thus depriving the rest of the farmers and the population of this water at
a time when France is suffering from the worst drought in its history!

But what is the great lesson of this historic ecological mobilization,
which will certainly be better appreciated in the nightmarish future that
the ongoing climate catastrophe has in store for us? Even more than the
savage repression that has left three activists among the dozens of injured
demonstrators between life and death today, the great event and the great
lesson of this historic mobilization is that we saw marching, bleeding and
fighting together against the forces of repression that defend the
capitalist water thieves, the peasants of the Confédération Paysanne, hand
in hand with the Greens, the trade unionists of the CGT and Solidaires, the
militants of the Insoumis, and those of the NPA, and the anarchists of the
CNT! It is there, in the middle of nature and in the middle of the plain of
the Poitou-Charentes region, that the so desired but also so rarely
realized "alliance of the workers with the peasants" finally materialized!

7. The seventh and last difference is that if in May 68 the French working
class made the biggest general strike of all times (8,5 million strikers),
at least until the moment of writing these lines, the current working class
and popular explosion has not yet led to the reconductible general strike
until the final victory! However, the messages emanating from the trade
union base, and above all from the workers as a whole, concur that the
Reconductible General Strike is beginning to become a real popular demand.
At the same time, the major event of the mobilizations of the last few
days, namely the entry into action of the youth who are demonstrating en
masse (500,000 young people demonstrated on March 23 throughout France!),
and who are occupying and blocking dozens and dozens of faculties and high
schools all over the country, is confirming the worst fears of Macron and
his friends, while giving an enormous impulse to the workers' and people's
movement. In other words, the mayonnaise is taking, bringing us even closer
to the March 2023 mutation towards that victorious variant of May 68, which
we all need so much!...(2)


*1.* See our 4 previous articles on the same subject:

*2*. For a glimpse of the events that accompanied the historic (800,000
demonstrators!) March 23 demonstration in Paris, see the video:

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