Enragés and Situationists in the Occupation Movement: Paris, May, 1968 – René Vienet

Revolutionary Space: The Situationist Excursions of 1968 – “A map of the fifth arrondissement of Paris, dated May 10th 1968, shows Rue Gay-Lussac and numerous streets south of Place du Panthéon blocked by black lines. Appearing in an account of the May uprisings in Paris by the Situationist René Viénet, the map marks ‘the defense perimeter and the emplacement of principal barricades in the occupied quarter’. 60 barricades were spontaneously thrown up that evening by thousands of demonstrators who converged on the Latin Quarter after the police had blocked their route to the Seine. Assailed by the police using gas and grenades, and fighting back with paving stones and Molotov cocktails, the protesters held onto the quarter until the early hours of the morning. Evidence of the fierce battle that raged was readily apparent the next day as smoke cleared from overturned cars lying across the streets, as barricades and uprooted cobblestones were cleared, and as hundreds of people were treated for injuries or were held by the authorities. The violence of the police that night, which followed earlier repressive actions, garnered considered public sympathy for the demonstrators and helped to fuel the discontent and political demands that stretched far beyond the universities. A massive demonstration and general strike followed on May 13th. … The map of barricades speaks of a moment when the city as a space of circulation was interrupted. Streets as conduits for flow, dominated by traffic and commerce, gave way to spaces and times of congregation, dialogue, encounter and struggle. ‘Capitalised time stopped,’ writes Viénet in his account Enragés et situationnistes dans le mouvement des occupations, written in July and published in France that year. ‘Without any trains, metro, cars, or work the strikers recaptured the time so sadly lost in factories, on motorways, in front of the TV. People strolled, dreamed, learned how to live. Desires began to become, little by little, reality.’ …”
Enragés and Situationists in the Occupations Movement – René Viénet
W – René Viénet
**René Viénet (Video)

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