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Concerning original history... the content of these histories is necessarily limited; their essential material is that which is living in the experience of the historian himself and in the current interests of men; that which is living and contemporary in their milieu.
The author describes that in which he has participated, or at least that which he has lived; relatively short periods, figures of individual men and their deeds... it is not sufficient to have been the contemporary of the events described, or to be well-informed about them. The author must belong to the class and social milieu of the actors he is describing; their opinions, way of thought and culture must be the same as his own. In order to really know phenomena and see them in their real context, one must be placed at the summit — not seeing them from below, through the keyhole of morality or any other wisdom.
— Hegel, Reason in History

THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK does not seek to hide his sympathies. So there may be some value in the assertion that he guarantess, and can prove the accuracy of, all reported facts and especially all quoted documents. However, despite the truth of everything he has written, he does not pretend to adequately encompass the whole of the occupation movement. The time for such work will come. At the moment there is almost no available material concerning the provinces and very little about the factories, even in the region of Paris. On the other hand, even in limiting himself to the aspects of the occupation movement studied here, essential but nonetheless circumscribed, the author could not discuss certain aspects of the event because their divulgence could be used against various persons. Given the moment at which this book is to be published, this will be easily understood. The author had pleasure collaborating with several members of the Situationist International, two of whom were former members of the Enragés group. Without them the book would certainly not have been written.

René Viénet

Brussels, 26 July 1968

Abbreviations and References

CAL Comité d'Action Lycéene: High School Action Committee
CFDT Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail: second largest union in France
CGT Confédération Générale du Travail: the Communist Party trades union, the largest union in France
CMDO Comité pour le Maintien des Occupations: see Chapter 8
CNPF Confédération Nationale du Patronat Française: National Federation of French Employers
CRS Confédération Républicaines de Sécurité: national riot police
FER Fédération des Étudiants Révolutionnaires: Trotskyites
ICO Information et Correspondance Ouvrières: student-run bulletin of working class news
JCR Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire: the major Trotskyite bureaucratic group of 'Communist Youths'
NMPP Nouvelle Messageries de la Presse Parisienne: monopoly distributors of newspapers
OAS Organisation de l'Armée Secrète: Extreme right wing paramilitary organization responsible for terrorism at the time of the Algerian War of Independence
ORTF Office de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française: government controlled monopoly of radio and television
PCF Parti Communiste Française: French Communist Party
PTT Poste, Télégraphe et Télécommunications: national postal, telegraph and telephone system
RATP Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens: Paris bus and underground rail system
SFIO Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière: French Socialist Party
SMIG Salarie Minimum Intégral Garantie: minimum legal wage
SNCF Société Nationale de Chemins de Fer Française: national railway system
SNESup Syndicat National de l'Education Supérieure: National Union of Higher Education Employees
UDR Union pour la Défense de la République: From May 30th onwards, both the Gaullist party (formerly UNR — Union pour la Nouvelle République) and groups of anti-red 'patriots' formed at de Gaulle's call
UNEF Union Nationale des Étudiants Française: National French Union of Students
Fouchet Reform Educational reform introduced by Minister Fouchet in 1966 for the 'modernization' of French education. Followed in 1968 by the Faure Reform.
Alain Geismar Maoist secretary of SNESup
Les Halles Central warehouse district for food distribution in Paris, 'the belly of Paris,' demolished by urbanists in 1970.
L'Humanité Communist Party daily newspaper
Nouvel Observateur Modernist left-wing weekly newspaper
Jacques Sauvegeot Recuperator and bureaucratic boss of the UNEF
Georges Seguy Secretary-general of the CGT and a major Stalinist
Sorbonne The University of Paris

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