Zoom link for remote classes!

Here is the Zoom link you should use when we are meeting remotely. It is a “recurring meeting” link, so it will always be the same. Just click it when it’s time for class to start, and you will be magically transported to the wonderful world of HIS 270-02:

https://washjeff-edu.zoom.us/j/98766842846?pwd=ZFZJcnMyS3RqR2V3aDkzTnYrMkVuUT09

*We will be remote for all classes in Week 1-2 and all Thursdays this semester. So far, we are planning to meet in hybrid mode (with some of you face to face with me in the classroom) on Tuesdays starting in Week 3. This is subject to change, as are so many things this semester. I will let you know about any changes as soon as I possibly can.

EDIT: As of Week 5, we will be remote for the rest of the semester.

Beginnings

In the beginning parts of this chapter, particularly the first page, the writer mentions that “women’s activity was suppressed by revolutionaries and reactionaries alike”. This made me think of the countless efforts women had made in the past to gain rights, and it even made me think of modern day movements. My question is, do minorities revolutionary ideas seem to be diminished by the male majority and their revolutionary thoughts?

Speech

While reading the women liberation speech what strikes me the most is the comparison between women with privilege and I assume regular women. But the quote says ” When these privileged women have children they are then forced into a pattern of behavior which they thought they had already overcome, thanks to their emancipation. Their studies are suspended or put off; intellectual growth stops or is sharply reduced due to the demands of husband and child.” My question to the class is do you think women with privilege have an excuse for doing this or is it because society during that time enforced them to do this?

We comrades will then draw our own conclusions!

“The role training, the instilled sense of inferiority and the contradiction between her own expectations and the claims of society produce in her the guilty feeling of never satisfying the demands placed upon her. She must choose between alternatives which in each instance mean a foregoing of vital needs” (308).

We touched on gender roles briefly during the French Revolution, and we are touching on them briefly now. During the French Revolution, women were relegated to raising strong, fair, enlightened citizens: sons who would fight and daughter who would sew (*eyeroll emoji here*). According to the text, these gender roles were standing strong in 1968 . How do you feel about this change demanding rhetoric? Moreover, how do you feel about the act of throwing tomatoes?

Does knowing that the tomatoes were on hand because of a pregnancy craving make the story better for you? It does for me.

Beauty And The Beast Throwing Tomatoes GIF - Tomatoes Tomato  ThrowingTomatoes - Discover & Share GIFs

Women’s Liberation And The SDS

At the end of the speech at the twenty-third national conference of the Socialist German Students’ Federation the speaker says, “Comrades, if you are not ready for this discussion — which must be a substantive one— then we must draw the conclusion that the SDS is nothing more than an inflated mass of counter-revolutionary dough.” My question would be is this statement calling out the SDS and declaring some sort of opposition to them ? I feel like both of these groups should be able to get along and fight for the same thing. This might work even better having more people fight for the same thing. I read in the speech that the Liberation withdrew from SDS. Is this because they felt like their ideas were not being prioritized or that they felt that same oppression within the organization ?

Young workers vs Immigrant workers

On pg. 63 the author describes the difference between the young workers and the immigrant workers “Some of the young ones party: they go out together, they dance or go to the movies. Or they just get drunk. But most of the workers, especially among the immigrants, enter into a type of lethargy: they walk slowly, they talk together, they stay for ages in the cafés. My question to the class is why does the author makes this comparison and makes the claim that the young ones have more of a free spirit while the immigrant workers dread going to work and only look forward to work. Also, what does it mean when the author says “In the past I hardly paid them any attention. Now I do. In their expressions I recognize the anxiety about passing time, with which they can’t do anything…” Also, does the author think that the young workers will become like the immigrant workers and dream away in front of their beers? What do you think?

Unions and Politics

In part of today’s reading in the Vigna piece, I the section that mentions unions and the way they interact with politics. Vigna says, “The moderation of the union leaders was linked to another tradition of the French labour movement: the separation between unions and politics.” (51). This is obviously very much not the case here in the United States. That is probably why I don’t see why there is a reluctance for unions to dabble a bit in politics. Politicians can help achieve change. At the same time, politics can be nasty, so maybe I can see both sides here. Is it effective for unions to become involved in politics?

Ethics of Protest

Secondly, many occupations were accompanied by the ‘sequestering’ of bosses. Here the example of the Sud-Aviation workers was decisive. On 14 May, they demonstrated their resolve by sequestering their manager and five of his assistants for 15 days. And the treatment meted out to them was harsh: during the first two nights the Internationale was played continuously to prevent them sleeping (Varga 49).

As you all know, I tend to always side with the people protesting the establishment. However, I found the above section of text to challenge my opinions. There are many ways to read a situation, but I am not sure if this particular form of protest is ethical. I find something wrong by holding people hostage and denying them sleep (maybe, I am being sensitive to sleep deprivation as I, too, am exhausted). What are your thoughts on this tenet of protest?

Also, I found this oddly specific tiktok:

How to Strike

In this chapter of 1968: Rethinking Frances Last Revolution there was one quote of particular interest to me. When describing the strikes of 1968 Vigna stated “The longest and most important strikes in French history involving for the first time both the private and public sector.” Later on in the selection he goes on to list 3 important factors in making this movement so exceptional. These three factors were duration, width, and actions taken by the participants. My question for the class is, what is the most important of these three factors in creating a successful strike? It seems to me that you certainly need a blend of all three but is there one that is more important than others?

The Pamphlets

The use of Pamphlets are very prevalent in first pages of the book by Chon-Bendit. It was a way to spread information out to the public but also to let the voices of the students to be known, that they were oppressed in society as well. On pg. 28 “Other papers were far less friendly and objective, the more so as the pamphlet brought student discontent into the open”. My question to the class would be, do you think the goal of the Pamphlets were achieved?

Unpacking Graffiti and Posters

I found the graffiti and posters portion of the assignment to be very interesting to look at. As I was scrolling through, I thought of the difficulty that comes with trying to make such a large impact with such little explanation/images. I keep close-reading each of them as though they are poems or something and I think it is helpful. One that I really have been considering it on Page 100 and notice more each time. The first statement of “No Exams” seems like a shallow statement enough, but how can it make one think deeper about the impact of the higher education system when paired with the rest of the text. Is the writer suggesting that having exams is a form of interfering with someone else’s freedom? Is participating in the education system of this time really contributing the deeper issues of capitalism? And can revolution not truly happen while participating in them? Furthermore, how does this all get complicated by the last line of “people who talk about revolution and class struggle without reference to every day reality talk with a corpse in their mouth.”? Is it contradictory? or does it make sense. Wondering what everyone thinks. I know this is some pretty deep thought for one of these posters, but I think that’s the intent of making them.