Friday, 30 May 2008

Be realistic: demand the impossible!

[First published in the socialist issue 535, by Peter Knight, Brighton Thursday branch]

Both Brighton branches of the Socialist Party held a successful joint public meeting about the events in France 40 years ago.

30 people attended, including nine at their first Socialist Party meeting. Workers, students and young people from Brighton and the surrounding areas had the opportunity to hear how capitalism was brought to its knees under the strength of the working class in action.

The meeting began with the first-hand account of the events in France in 1968 from Marie-Jose Douet who was a 21-year old student in Rouen at the time. She explained how the mood in France developed into a fighting revolutionary union of students, workers and peasants.

The discussion moved onto the failure and the unwillingness of the French Communist Party to lead the working class in overthrowing capitalism. Questions and comments were asked by both Socialist Party members and non-members about the situation in Britain, women’s rights, the role of the trade union movement and the Communist Party’s influence within it.

Clare Doyle summed up the discussion and drew from the points that were raised. Clare focused on the question that was printed on posters advertising the meeting: can it happen today? Clare touched on the situation in Britain today as an example of the growing anger amongst workers. She explained that lessons of France 1968 will have been learnt by the new generation coming into struggle, and that the Socialist Party raises the important role of the working class and of a revolutionary party. In her closing sentence, she reminded the audience of one of the 1968 slogans: ‘be realistic - demand the impossible!’

Five France 1968: month of revolution books (pictured above) were sold with nearly £75 donated for the fighting fund appeal.