4. The Sorbonne Occupied
This is where the objective conditions of historical consciousness are reunited. This is where direct active communication is realized, where specialization, hierarchy and separation end, where the existing conditions are transformed into conditions of unity... Only there is the spectacular negation of life negated in its turn. The appearance of the councils was the highest reality of the proletarian movement in the first quarter of this century, a reality which was not seen or was travestied because it disappeared with the rest of the movement which was denied and eliminated by the entire historical experience of the time. In this new moment of proletarian critique, the result returns as the only undefeated point of the defeated movement. The historical consciousness which knows that this is the only milieu where it can exist can now recognize it, no longer at the periphery of what is ebbing, but at the center of what is rising.
THE NIGHT OF THE BATTLE around the Rue Gay-Lussac created a stupor throughout the country. For a large part of the population the indignation linked with that stupor was not directed against the rioters, in spite of the extent of the destruction they had caused, but against the excessive violence of the forces of order. The radio had given a minute-by-minute account of the conditions throughout the night, in which the entrenched camp had defended itself and been defeated. It was generally known that a large number of those who had been seriously injured had not received treatment for hours because the besiegers would not let them out. The police also came under fire for the widespread use of a new and ferocious gas, despite earlier denials of its use by the authorities. Finally, it was widely believed that there had been a number of deaths which the police had covered up once they had reconquered the area.1
On Saturday May 11th, the whole trade union leadership put out a call for a one day general strike on the 13th. For them it was simply a question of putting an end to the movement while getting as much as possible out of the solidarity superficially affirmed "against the repression." The trade unions were also forced to make this gesture because they saw the profound impression that a week of direct struggle had made on the workers. Such an example was in itself a threat to their authority. Their recuperative strike would not respect the time legally required for forewarning; that was to be its sole subversive aspect.
The government, which, in the early morning as the last barricade fell had initially reacted with a threatening statement alluding to a conspiracy and harsh measures, in view of the protest decided on a complete turnabout. Prime Minister Pompidou, who had returned from Afghanistan on Saturday night, quickly dealt the card of appeasement. He announced that the convicted students would be freed immediately after a new trial, thereby overthrowing the hypocrisy concerning the autonomy of the courts. This action was in fact carried out. He allowed the buildings of the Censier annex of the Faculte des Lettres to be used from Sunday for the legal sit-in that had been demanded for discussion of university reform. The discussion began at once and for several days the studious and moderate atmosphere bore the strain of its birth. Finally, Pompidou promised to withdraw all police from the Latin Quarter on Monday, along with the roadblocks at the entrances to the Sorbonne. On the morning of May 13th the police had decamped and the Sorbonne was there for the taking.
Throughout May 13th the call for the strike was widely observed. In an orderly demonstration, nearly one million workers, along with students and professors, crossed Paris from the République to Denfert-Rochereau, meeting with general sympathy along the way. The slogans affirmed the solidarity of workers and students and demanded, on the 10th anniversary of his coming to power, the departure of de Gaulle. More than 100 black flags were scattered through a multitude of red ones, realizing for the first time the union of the two flags which would shortly become the symbol of the most radical current of the occupation movement; not so much the result of an autonomous anarchist presence as an affirmation of worker democracy.
The trade unionists had no trouble getting the crowd to disperse at Denfert. A few thousand demonstrators, mainly students, left for the Champ-de-Mars to hold a meeting. At the same time other students were starting the Sorbonne occupation. There, an event of decisive importance took place: the students present decided to open the Sorbonne to the workers. The abstract slogan of the demonstration WORKER-STUDENT SOLIDARITY was taken seriously for the first time. This step had been prepared for by the real encounter with workers that had taken place that day, and especially by the direct dialogue between the students and advance workers who had come over from the demonstration to say that they had supported the student struggle from the beginning, and to denounce the manipulation of the Stalinists. A certain workerism, cultivated by the bureaucratic specialists of revolution, was certainly bound up in this decision. But what their leaders had said without any conviction and without any real sense of the consequences, took on revolutionary implications because of the atmosphere of total freedom that reigned at the Sorbonne, and which completely undermined the implicit paternalism of their plans. In fact, few workers actually came to the Sorbonne. But because the Sorbonne had been declared open to the populace the lines between "the student problem" and a concerned public had been broken. And because the Sorbonne was beginning to have a truly democratic discussion which called everything into question and which sought to implement decisions arrived at collectively, it became a beacon to workers all over the country by showing them their own possibilities.
The complete freedom of expression showed itself in the seizure of the walls as well as in free discussions in all assemblies. The posters of all tendencies, including the Maoists, shared the walls without being torn down or defaced only the Stalinists of the Communist Party chose to abstain. Painted inscriptions appeared a little later. That evening the first revolutionary slogan placed in comic strip form on one of the frescos, the famous formula: HUMANITY WILL ONLY BE HAPPY THE DAY THE LAST BUREAUCRAT IS HUNG BY THE GUTS OF THE LAST CAPITALIST. This met with some resistance. After a public debate the majority voted to efface it, which was done.2
On May 14th, the Committee of the Enragés and the Situationist International was founded.3 Its members immediately began putting up posters which meant what they said on the walls of the Sorbonne. One warned about the illusions of a direct democracy billeted in the Sorbonne. Another called for vigilance: THE RECUPERATORS ARE AMONGST US! Still another came out against "any survival of art" and the "reign of separation." Finally, one poster called for "the immediate dechristianization of the Sorbonne," and attacked the blameworthy tolerance shown by the occupiers towards the chapel, which still remained intact. It called for the disinternment and dispatching of the "remains of the foul Richelieu, statesman and cardinal, to the Élysée Palace and the Vatican." It should be noted that this was the first poster in the Sorbonne to be surreptitiously torn down by people who disapproved of its content. The "March 22nd" Culture and Creativity Committee breathed its last on May 14th, with some posters of various quotations by the SI, notably from Vaneigem's book.
May 14th also saw the first "general assembly of the occupiers." It proclaimed itself sole power in the Sorbonne and organized the activities of the occupation. Three tendencies emerged in the debate: a considerable number of hangers-on, who said little but revealed their moderation by applause for certain idiotic speeches, simply wanted a university reform, an agreement on examinations, and a sort of academic front with the left-wing professors. A stronger current, which brought together the leftist groups and their members, wanted to push the struggle on to the fall of Gaullism or even of capitalism. A third position, put forward by a tiny minority but listened to nonetheless, demanded the abolition of class society, wage labor, the spectacle, and survival. It was clearly articulated in a declaration by René Riesel in the name of the Enragés. He said that the question of the university had long since been surpassed and that "exams had been canceled at the barricades." He asked the assembly to come out for the freedom of all rioters, including those looters arrested on May 6th. He showed that the only future of the movement was with the workers not "in their service," but at their side, and that the workers were in no way to be confused with their bureaucratic organizations. He asserted that the present alienation could not be fought while ignoring the alienations of the past "No more chapels!" nor those being prepared for tomorrow "sociologists and psychologists are the new cops." He denounced hierarchical relations with lecturers for being the same kind of policing. He warned of the recuperation of the movement by leftist leaders, and of its foreseeable liquidation by the Stalinists. He concluded with a call for all power to the workers' councils.
There were diverse reactions to his intervention. Riesel's proposal concerning the looters got much more jeering than applause. The attack on the professors shocked the audience, as did the first open attack on the Stalinists. Nonetheless, when the assembly chose the first "Occupation Committee" as its executive organ, Riesel was elected. Alone among the candidates to have indicated his political allegiances, he was also the only one with a stated program. Speaking a second time he made it clear he would defend "direct democracy in the Sorbonne" and the perspective of the international power of workers' councils.
The occupation of the faculties and schools of higher education had begun in Paris the Beaux-Arts, Nanterre, the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Medicine. All the rest would follow.
At the end of the day, May 14th, the workers of the Sud-Aviation plant in Nantes occupied their factory and barricaded themselves in after locking director Duvochel and the managers in the offices and soldering the doors shut. Apart from the example of the Sorbonne, the workers had learned from the incidents which had taken place at Nantes the night before. At the call of the Nantes branch of the UNEF which, as we have seen before, was controlled by revolutionaries, the students refused to limit themselves to a march with the trade unionists. They marched on the police station to demand the end of court proceedings recently begun against them, and the restoration of the annual grant of ten thousand francs which had been taken away after their radical turn. They threw up two barricades which the CRS tried to take back. Some university personnel presented themselves as intermediaries and a truce was made which the prefect of police used to receive a delegation. He gave in on every point. The rector withdrew his complaint to the police and restored the funds. A number of workers from the city had taken part in the fighting and had seen the effectiveness of this type of demand. The workers at Sud-Aviation would remember it next day. The Nantes students immediately offered to support the picket lines.
The occupation of Sud-Aviation, which became generally known on May 15th, was understood by everyone as an act of the greatest importance: if other factories followed the example of that wildcat strike the movement would irreversibly become that historical crisis awaited by the most lucid people. At noon the occupation committee of the Sorbonne sent a telegram of support to the Sud-Aviation strike committee "from the occupied Sorbonne to occupied Sud-Aviation."
This was the only activity of which the occupation committee was capable for most of the day, and even this was due to Riesel's initiative. In fact, from its first meeting the committee found itself faced with a stupefying contrast between the function delegated to it by the general assembly and the real conditions with which it had to work. The occupation committee was composed of fifteen members, elected and revocable on a daily basis by the general assembly and answerable to it alone. All the services which had been improvised or which remained to be organized for the running and defense of the building were placed under its control. Its responsibilities entailed making possible free discussion on a permanent basis, and assuring and facilitating the extension of the activities already under way, which ranged from the distribution of rooms and food and the democratic diffusion of written and verbal information to the maintenance of security. The reality was quite different: the discredited bureaucrats of the UNEF and the old tandem of Kravetz and Peninou re-emerged from the oblivion which had rightly engulfed them, and slipped into the corridors they knew so well to install themselves in a cellar. From there they prepared to gather up all the reigns of real power and to coordinate the actions of all sorts of benevolent technicians who turned out to be their friends. It was a "Coordination Committee" which had elected itself. The "Inter-faculty Liaison Committee" worked for itself. Its completely autonomous staff obeyed no-one but their leader, a nice guy on the whole, who had appointed himself and was interested in discussion only from that position of strength. The "Press Committee," which was made up of young or future journalists, was not at the disposal of the Sorbonne, but of the French press as a whole. As for the sound equipment, it was quite simply in the hands of right-wing elements who happened to be specialists in electronics.
In this rather surprising situation the occupation committee had some difficulty even in getting a room: each fiefdom that had set itself up had designs on all the offices. A bit discouraged, the majority of the committee's members disappeared and in despair tried to slip into the various floating sub-committees which at least had the merit of existing. It was obvious that the manipulators referred to above had planned to entrench their power by making the elected Committee mere window dressing.4 They must have been satisfied with the result of their maneuvers on the 15th, because when the general assembly met that evening they proposed to renew en bloc the phantom occupation committee for another twenty-four hours. The eight members of the coordination committee were also confirmed as auxiliaries to the occupation committee. Already strengthened by the practical mechanisms at its disposal, the coordination committee planned to round off its seizure of power by telling the occupation committee that it no longer existed. Almost all the members of that committee, who had reappeared just in time to hear themselves re-elected by the general assembly, had resigned themselves to dispersal. Two members alone tried to appeal to the base to denounce the scandalous manner in which the power of the general assembly had been flouted. Riesel spoke to the occupiers in the courtyard, urging them back into the general assembly to repudiate the bureaucrats. Publicly confronted with general indignation, these bureaucrats shamefully withdrew. And what remained of the occupation committee, supported by elements that had suddenly rallied to it, began to exist in reality.
On the same day the workers at the Renault factory at Cléon, in Seine-Maritime, struck and occupied their factory, locking in the management. The Lockheed factory at Beauvais and Unulec in Orléans followed. Later in the evening two to three hundred people arrived at the Odéon Theater as the audience was leaving and took it over. If the content of this "liberation" remained mostly limited dominated by people and problems of culture the very fact of taking over the building completely outside of the university was nonetheless an extension of the movement, a farcical enactment of the composition of the state power. During the night which followed the most beautiful inscriptions of an era appeared on the walls of the Sorbonne.
On the morning of May 16th the occupation of Renault-Cléon became generally known and some of the workers of the Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne launched a wildcat strike to prevent the distribution of newspapers. The occupation committee of the Sorbonne, which was meeting in the Jules Bonnot Room (formerly Cavailles) put out the following statement: Comrades, the Sud-Aviation factory at Nantes has been occupied for two days by the workers and students of that city. The movement was extended today to several factories (NMPP-Paris, Renault-Cléon, etc). The
Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne calls for the immediate occupation of all factories in France and the formation of workers' councils. Comrades, reproduce and distribute this appeal as quickly as possible."
As has been shown above, the occupation committee had been stripped of all means at its disposal for the execution of the slightest activity. To distribute its appeal it set out to reappropriate those means. It could count on the support of the Enragés, the situationists and a dozen other revolutionaries, using a megaphone from the windows of the Jules Bonnot Room they asked for, and received, numerous volunteers from the courtyard. The text was recopied and went to be read in all the other amphitheaters and faculties. Since the printing had been purposely slowed down by the Inter-Faculty Liaison Committee, the Occupation Committee had to requisition machines and organize its own distribution service. Because the sound crew refused to read the text at regular intervals, the Occupation Committee had their equipment seized. Out of spite the specialists sabotaged their equipment as they were leaving, and partisans of the committee had to repair it. Telephones were taken over to pass the statement on to press agencies, the provinces, and abroad. By 3:30 P.M. it was beginning to be distributed effectively.
The call for immediate occupation of the factories caused an uproar. Not, of course, among the occupiers of the Sorbonne, where so many came forward to assure its distribution, but among the placement of the small leftist groups who showed up, horrified, to speak of adventurism and madness. They were coldly ignored. The Occupation Committee was not about to be called to account by the various leftist cliques. Thus Krivine, the leader of the JCR, was successfully pushed away from the sound equipment and out of the Jules Bonnot Room, to which he had come running to express his disapproval, his anxiety, and even the ridiculous pretension of canceling the statement. No matter how much they might have wanted to, the manipulators no longer had the strength to attack the sovereignty of the general assembly with a raid on the Jules Bonnot Room. In fact, since the beginning of the afternoon the Occupation Committee had formed its own security guard since the beginning of the afternoon, to counter any irresponsible use of its shakily established services. It then set about reorganizing these by a discussion with the rank and file, easily persuading them of the anti-democratic role that certain elements were trying to put over on them.
The task of reconsolidating the Sorbonne was backed up by a series of widely distributed tracts, coming out at an increasing rate. They were also read over the sound system, which was announcing new factory occupations as soon as news arrived. At 4:30 P.M. the tract entitled Vigilance! sounded a warning: "The sovereignty of the general assembly has no meaning unless it exercises its power. For forty-eight hours the carrying out of the general assembly's decisions has been systematically obstructed... The demand for direct democracy is the least support that revolutionary students can offer the revolutionary workers now occupying their factories. It would be unacceptable for the incidents of last night's general assembly to be ignored. The priests are taking over when the anti-clerical posters are torn down..." At 5 P.M. the tract
Watch Out! denounced the Press Committee which "refuses to transmit the statements of the proceedings regularly voted on by the general assembly" and "which is acting as a committee of censorship. At 6:30 the tract Watch Out for Manipulators! Watch Out for Bureaucrats! denounced the uncontrolled monitors. It emphasized the decisive importance of the general assembly which was to meet that evening: ''as the workers begin to occupy several factories in France, following our example and with the same right as us, the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne announced its support for the movement at 3 P.M. today. The central problem facing the general assembly is therefore to decide by an unequivocal vote whether to support or disavow the appeal of the Occupation Committee. By disavowing it, this assembly will assume the responsibility of reserving for students a right it refuses to the working class and will make clear that it has no desire to speak of anything but a Gaullist reform of the university." At 7 P.M. a tract proposed a list of radical slogans to be diffused: "POWER TO THE WORKERS' COUNCILS," "DOWN WITH THE SPECTACULAR COMMODITY ECONOMY," "THE END OF THE UNIVERSITY," and so on.
The whole of this activity, which hourly increased the number of supporters of the Occupation Committee, was cynically falsified by the bourgeois press, following
Le Monde of May 18th, which described it in these terms: "No-one is very sure who is running the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne. In fact a room where this body, elected every night at 8 P.M., is meeting, was invaded at the end of the afternoon by the Enrages of the Situationist International. In particular they are 'holding' the microphones of the Sorbonne, which allowed them to broadcast several slogans during the night, which many students saw as adventurist: 'IF YOU RUN INTO A COP, SMASH HIS FACE IN, 'USE FORCE TO STOP PHOTOGRAPHS BEING TAKEN INSIDE THE SORBONNE. However the students of the Situationist International have 'dissolved all bureaucratic structures' previously set up, such as the Press Committee and the monitors. The decisions of this committee may be called into question by the general assembly planned to meet this Friday at 2 P.M."5
The afternoon of the 16th marked the moment when the working class began to declare its support for the movement in an irreversible way. At 2 P.M. the Renault plant at Flins was occupied. Between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M. a wildcat strike took over Renault-Billancourt. Factory occupations began throughout the provinces. The occupation of public buildings, which continued to spread everywhere, hit Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital. which was taken over by its personnel.
Confronted by this news, all the leftist groups at the Sorbonne rallied for a march on Billancourt at 8 P.M. The Occupation Committee decided to delay the meeting of the general assembly, which it was nevertheless impatient to confront with its responsibilities. Its statement, issued just before 8 P.M., declared: "In agreement with the different political groups, the March 22nd Movement, and the UNEF, the Occupation Committee has decided to postpone the meeting of the general assembly from 8 P.M. on 16 May to 2 P.M. on the 17th. Everyone meet this evening at 8 P.M. at Place de la Sorbonne to march on Billancourt."
The entry of Renault-Billancourt into the struggle the largest factory in France, and one which had so often played a decisive part in social struggles and particularly the threat of a conjunction of the workers and the revolutionary occupations that had been sparked by the student struggle, horrified both the so-called Communist Party and the government. Even before learning of the plan for a march on Billancourt they reacted almost identically to the bad news they had just received. At 6:30 P.M. a statement from the Stalinist politburo "warned" the workers and students "against all adventurist calls for action." A little later, after 7 P.M., a statement was issued by the government: "In the presence of various attempts called for or set in motion by groups of extremists to provoke general disorder, the Prime Minister wishes to affirm that the government will not tolerate an attack on the Republic... As soon as the university reform is used only as a pretext for plunging the country into chaos, the government has the duty of maintaining public order..." The government at the same time decided to call up ten thousand police reserves.
Some three to four thousand occupiers of the Sorbonne went in two groups to Billancourt under red and black flags. The CGT, which held every entrance to the factory, successfully prevented any contact with the workers. The UNEF and the SNESup were determined to carry out on the following day the plan to march on the ORTF, which the Enragés-Situationist International Committee had been trying to get adopted by the general assembly since May 14th. When this decision became known the CGT declared at 9 A.M. on the 16th that it "looked like a provocation which could only serve personal power." At 10:30 the Stalinist party took the same line. At midnight the SNESup and the UNEF yielded and announced the plan had been canceled.
During the night the counter-offensive of the manipulators began at the Sorbonne. Taking advantage of the absence of the revolutionary elements who were out at the Renault factory, they tried to improvise a general assembly with those students who had stayed behind. The Occupation Committee sent in two delegates who denounced the character of an assembly growing out of a thin, specious maneuver. Understanding that it had been fooled, the assembly broke up immediately.
At dawn the workers of the NMPP asked the Sorbonne occupiers to rein- force their picket lines, which had not yet succeeded in imposing a work stoppage. The Occupation Committee sent volunteers. On the number two line of the Metro an anti-union action committee attempted to begin a strike throughout the RATP. More than one hundred factories were to be occupied during the day. Early in the morning the workers from the striking Parisian factories, beginning with Renault, began arriving at the Sorbonne to establish the contact which the trades unions were preventing at the factory gates.
The general assembly of 2 P.M. gave priority to a second march on Billancourt, and postponed discussion of all other questions until the evening session. The FER vainly attempted to invade the stage and its leaders spoke just as vainly to prevent the second march, or, if it had to take place, to have it adopt the quasi-Stalinist slogan "ONE WORKERS' FRONT." The FER doubtless saw itself at the head of such a front, along with the SFIO and the CP. Throughout the crisis the FER was to the Stalinist party what the Stalinists were to Gaullism support triumphed over apparent rivalry and the same services rendered earned, at their respective levels, the same wage of ingratitude. A statement from CGT-Renault had just appeared "actively discouraging the initiators of this march from maintaining that initiative. The march took place. It was received in the same way as the night before. The CGT had discredited itself even more among the workers by posting the following ridiculous calumny both inside and outside the factory: "Young workers/revolutionary elements are trying to arouse division in our ranks and weaken us. These elements are nothing but the henchmen of the bourgeoisie who are receiving large sums from the management."
At 1 P.M. the Occupation Committee had printed a tract by workers who had started the strike at Renault, which explained how young workers had won over the rank-and-file in various sections, forcing the unions to belatedly endorse the movement they had tried to prevent: "Every night the workers are expecting people to come to the gates to give mass support to a mass movement." At the same time telegrams were sent to several countries, expressing the revolutionary position of the occupied Sorbonne.
When the general assembly finally met at 8 P.M. the conditions which had plagued its functioning from the beginning had not improved. The sound equipment worked only for the time necessary for certain announcements and stopped in the middle of others. The direction of the debates, and especially the final vote, were technically dependent on the unknown buffoon, obviously a UNEF hatchet-man, who had appointed himself president of the general assembly at the beginning of the occupation and who, oblivious to all the denunciations and humiliations heaped upon him, clung to this post until the end. The FER, which since that morning had naively publicized its intention to "take charge" of the movement, tried once again to take over the stage. Manipulators from all the sects cooperated to prevent the general assembly from making any pronouncements on the activities of the Occupation Committee which had just asked for a mandate, principally on the call to occupy the factories. This obstruction was accompanied by a campaign of denunciation introducing a number of red herrings: "The Saint Germain-des-Pres appearance of disorder in the building, the contempt shown for the small leftist groups and the UNEF, the commentary on the occupation of Sainte-Anne in which certain people claimed to have heard a call for the "liberation of the insane," and other miserable topics. The assembly showed itself incapable of self-respect. The ex-Occupation Committee, unable to get a vote on its activities, and having no desire to take part in the power struggles and compromises going on in the various wings around the selection of a new committee, announced that it was leaving the Sorbonne, where direct democracy was being strangled by the bureaucrats. All its supporters left at the same time and the body of monitors found itself dissolved, while the FER, which had been threatening the tribune for more than an hour, seized the occasion to rush in. It was nevertheless unable to take control of the Sorbonne, where the pockets of power were to persist to the end. The verdict of the Occupation Committee was, unfortunately, completely confirmed by the facts.
This collapse of an attempt at direct democracy at the Sorbonne was a defeat for the rest of the occupation movement, which was to experience its main failure precisely in this area. However, at this point of the crisis it is certain that no group had sufficient strength to intervene in a revolutionary direction with any effect. All the organizations that played any effective role in the further developments were enemies of working-class autonomy. Everything was to hang on the power relations in the factories between the workers, everywhere isolated and cut-off, and the joint power of the state and the trade unions.
1. This has not been shown to be true. The hypothesis is supported by two considerations: on the one hand it is unlikely that nobody died among so many injured and belatedly treated people; on the other hand it is unlikely that the government would have resigned itself to the considerable retreat, so full of risks, that it was to undertake that very evening without taking into account specific information on the seriousness of the confrontation. There is no question that a modem state has at its disposal the means to cover up a handful of deaths. Not, of course, by counting them as "missing persons" but, as some have argued for example, by presenting them as victims of car smashes outside Paris.
2. The author of this work is proud to have written this inscription, controversial at the time, but which opened the way to such fertile activity. (See, on this subject, the magazine
Internationale Situationniste no.11, page 32 onwards [The Situationists and the New Forms of Action Against Politics and Art].)
3. Contact between the SI and the Enragés had begun on the day after the Enragés' tract appeared, February 21st. Having proved their autonomy, the Enragés could collaborate with the SI, which had always made such an autonomy the prerequisite of any working relationship. At the end of the occupations the committee agreed to pursue this collaboration with the SI.
4. Some time later an exasperated Peninou spared no agony in wailing his complaints to onlookers: "We had all agreed," he moaned, "that no group should participate in the Occupation Committee. We had the agreement of the FER, the JCR, the Maoists, etc. But we had forgotten the situationists!"
5. These calumnies had a hard time of it. In the
Paris-Match of July 6th one could read: "This poetic anarchy did not last. A group called 'the Situationists-Enragés' took power by what might be called a 'sectarian legality,' and also took over its essential, necessary, and sufficient instrument, the sound equipment, a system of loudspeakers through which they were able to pour a torrent of slogans into the corridors and courtyard day and night. Whoever has the sound equipment has the floor and the power. The situationists used the equipment to distribute perfectly ludicrous slogans. For example, they called on all students to 'support the patients of Sainte-Anne in their liberation struggle against the psychiatrists.'" In quite another genre, the book by the fascist François Duprat,
Les Journées de mai '68 (Nouvelles Éditions Latines) denounced "40-odd students belonging to the Situationist International" as the instigators of the agitation carried on at Nanterre, and claimed to see the hand of the HVA (the East German Secret Police) in the activities of the S.I. He went on to lump the situationists with the March 22nd Movement and to name Cohn-Bendit as their "old friend."