The essence of The Spirit of the stairs with Alain Finkielkraut
The essence of The Spirit of the stairs with Alain Finkielkraut
The birthday of May 68
I am 68 years old and like many boys and girls of my age, I have "made 68". I was not a leader, I was a no-rank, an obscure protagonist, a student among thousands of others. I marched, I sang (wrong) the revolutionary songs, with a marked preference for Bella CiaoI participated in AGs. I derive neither glory nor shame from all this. But in the face of the commemorative surge that overwhelms us, I would like the event to be returned to its proper proportions. A little modesty is needed, we pushed the collar then and I regret that we start today. To forget that we were spoiled children in history, we told each other stories. We dreamed awake, we fantasized, we baby boomers, an epic destiny. But some of us may have chanted "CRS-SS", we did not enter resistance. We did not take the Winter Palace, we did not make the revolution. May 68 devoured neither his enemies nor his children. It was not a revolution, it was, and from that we can have the nostalgia, a interruption. Subway, work, sleep, life was going on and all of a sudden time was suspended. We raised our heads and the conversation filled the space normally reserved for transport. I keep a fond memory of it and, on this point, I agree with Maurice Blanchot: "Whatever May's detractors say, it was a beautiful moment when everyone could talk to one another, anonymous, impersonal, a man among men, welcomed without any justification other than being a man.. " And I continue to like slogans like: "Speak with your neighbors," "We must discuss everywhere and with all," even if, as a beneficiary recognizing the freedom of the Moderns, I appreciate the true value of silence and tranquility.
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But there are other slogans that repel me even more today that they were followed by effects and that these effects were devastating: "The educator must be educated himself", "Teachers, you make us grow old", "Do not say anymore" Professor ", say" bitch slut "", "Professor, you are as old as your culture, your modernism is only the modernization of the police ". In 1968, young people appeared majestically on the world stage and strongly denounced authority as a modality of domination. From the spring of May date the confusion of the teacher who teaches with the one who oppresses. In the wake of the great revolt, Ricœur, who was at the time President of the University of Nanterre, received on the head the contents of a trash. And instead of learning from this barbarism, the institution has ratified the misinterpretation that made it possible. From what Enlightenment philosophy has taught us to consider as man's own: to think and act for oneself, the school has not been the fruit of maturation, but a natural and even native property. Since then, children and young people have become "The actors of their own education" and the authorization succeeded the authority. For the May 1968 pedagogy, teachers must descend from their pedestal and, as soon as possible, put the students in a position to express themselves. We now give the floor before giving the language. Thus dies French in his own country.
May 68 is also the triumph of spontaneity over conventions and propriety. We leave the ways to the expiring bourgeoisie, we no longer bother with forms, we get rid of etiquette and salamalecs, we free life from the constraints of savoir-vivre, we liquidate the last vestiges of the hierarchical society. In the world of equality, everyone should be able to be oneself without fussing. This is the beginning of the end of the tie. The stuffy gives way to the cool. But here it is: spontaneity is not always cool. It can be brutal. Here, insults to spittle, encroachment on the domain of others, by ever more noisy and peremptory behaviors, to the attacks against the holders of the authority which have multiplied since the trash of Ricœur, incivilities invade space and rotting existence. Civility returns to us through its antonym and we realize that the inhibition is not a call to order, as was said in 1968, it is a reminder to the other.
For its many lauders, May 68 is a global event. In the chapter of The World History of France Ludivine Bantigny claims that the same protest was aimed everywhere at the established order and that in the Paris student movement we knew what was going on in Berlin, in Trento, in Leuven, and we were also in phase with the events of Prague or Warsaw. Well it's wrong, we were not in phase, we planned. Kundera said it, but who still listens to Kundera today? May 68, he writes, "It was a youth revolt. The initiative of the Prague Spring was in the hands of adults who based their action on their experience and historical disappointment. Youth, certainly, played an important role in this spring, but not predominant. Pretending the opposite is a myth made a posteriori in order to annex the Prague Spring to the pleiad of global student revolts. " And Kundera continues this very illuminating comparison: "The Parisian Mai challenged what is called European culture and its traditional values. The Prague Spring was a passionate defense of the European cultural tradition in its broadest and most tolerant sense, the defense of both Christianity and modern art, both equally denied by power. " The very word of tradition bristled the sixty-eight and even made them burst out laughing. "Comrade class, the old world is behind you"they said. Anti-elitism then began its dazzling career. The very notion of culture was disputed in the name of the equivalence of tastes, practices and discourses. The step was thus crossed, of the great emancipatory proclamation, all men are equal, to the nihilistic assertion, everything is equal. Kundera recalls that it was the films, the theater, the literature that, throughout the 1960s, prepared the Prague Spring, and that it was the ban in Warsaw of a play by Mickiewicz, the great romantic poet Polish, which sparked the student revolt. Comment by Kundera: "This happy marriage of culture and life marks the center-European revolts of an inimitable beauty of which we, who lived them, remain bewitched forever. "
We did not experience these extraordinary moments but, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, we could have tried to collect the meaning. This has not been the case. The opportunity to get out of nihilism has not been seized, because the self-proclaimed cosmopolitans, who claim the legacy of 68, are in fact provincialists. They do not see further than the tip of their nose.
On February 26, 2006, there was a demonstration in memory of Ilan Halimi who, after long sequestration and terrible torture, had been murdered by the "Gang of the Barbarians". I was there and I noticed that behind the representatives of the main political forces in the country, there were practically only Jews. We were between us, pitilessly communitarized by the other French who did not see a cause to defend in this terrible event. Some had to think that the motive of the killers was not anti-Semitism, but greed. Leftist demonstrators, meanwhile, did not want to march behind the CRIF, this "lobby Zionist", as they say, and the killers had not, in their eyes, the good identity profile. They would not have been asked if they had been ruffians of the National Front, but anti-fascism was taken in the wrong way, and they did not want to stigmatize, through the torturers of Ilan Halimi, the desperate youth. so-called "popular" neighborhoods. To the sorrow of mourning was added the melancholy of abandonment.
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For Mireille Knoll, murdered in her Paris apartment seventy years after escaping the roundup of the Vél 'd'Hiv, the Jews were no longer alone. It was, for some of us, a comfort. Not for all: the president of CRIF has said that the representatives of the National Front and insubordinate France were not welcome to this white march, and excited young people of the Jewish Defense League have, by their insults, forced the police to exfiltrate each other from the demonstration. It was unworthy to break the silence of mourning, and it was not up to the Jews to break the republican unity against the barbarism that is aimed at them.
If the party of insubordinate France was in all respects on the same line as the Indians of the Republic, he would have denounced the "Zionist" nature of this mobilization. Mélenchon has made another choice, we must congratulate ourselves. The National Front is no longer an anti-Semitic party, although there are still Petainist and revisionist dinosaurs like Bruno Gollnisch in it. It is not the National Front militants who shout "Death to the Jews! In the streets of Paris. We must take note of it, instead of dressing this party of tinsels that it no longer wears.
Let me understand well: I have no indulgence either for the National Front or for the unsubstantial France. The party of Marine Le Pen is no longer fascist, but it is a party poutino-trumpiste, two reasons to fight it. As for Mélenchon, I do not forget that he dared to denounce Manuel Valls's alleged acquaintances with the Israeli far-right, and if I had forgotten him, the text he published on his blog the day after the walking for Mireille Knoll would have refreshed my memory. Mélenchon presents the Jewish Defense League as a militia of the CRIF, which, I quote here Richard Prasquier, is a "Staggering lie. All the presidents of the CRIF, since about twenty years, were dragged in the mud by this small group. " He also states that, according to the CRIF, "To defend France, we must be in solidarity with the policy of a foreign state and the crimes of its government". And he makes this strange confession: "I have the prudence not to write further what I think in substance about the danger that, for the republican fatherland, this type of communitarianism. " What would he tell us, Mélenchon, if he was not restrained by this prudential prohibition? In any case, he has never been so aggressive towards Islamic communalism. He heals his electorate, and when he invokes secularism, it is to better defeat the concordat of Alsace-Moselle. We must therefore remain on the alert, but no Jewish organization has the right to set up as owner of the emotion caused by the death of Mireille Knoll. This emotion is not privatizable, we can not exclude 40% of the electorate, this is what the son of Mireille Knoll said, and I say it here after him.
Source: © Alain Finkielkraut: "May 1968 was not a revolution, it was an interruption" - Causeur
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