A Missed Opportunity or Party Rational? Ambivalent French Communists in May 1968

Yutaka Okuyama


The purpose of this study is the investigation of organizational behavior of the French communists in the May Movement in 1968. Particularly at the first part of the movement, a severe rivalry between the French Communist Party (PCF) and the radical student organizations occurred. Although both of them pursued the same political goals, they could not work out for a united front. Such a behavioral choice taken by the French communists enormously influenced the course of the events. Even if the atmosphere had not been ripe enough for a revolutionary movement, the actors involved could have pulled it off through instigative appeals in order to create an acute situation. Since the electoral results had clearly indicated that the PCF possessed a concrete support mechanism, the party could have a chance to grasp a casting board, even cooperating with the students. However, the PCF did not take it. Did the communists miss the opportunity? No, they did not. The French communists acted based on their party rational, combining both new and traditional ideas on that occasion. For the party, the May Movement offered them an occasion to show the public what they stood for. That was quite enough for a social movement actor as well as a political party.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2014.v4n6p435

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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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