THE EXPLOSION: Marxism and the French Upheaval by Henri Lefebvre

THE EXPLOSION: Marxism and the French Upheaval

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The style is informal yet oracular, gnomic yet windy, rather like a compound of '50's Sartre and opaque Marcuse laced with social-scientific jargon (Lefebvre is a Marxist sociologist). Some defects may stem from translation. But the contents offer no analytic description of the actual events and political alignments of May. Lefebvre does not ask ""Why France, not Italy? why 1968?"" The Common Market and the gold crisis are ""for specialists to examine."" Lefebvre thinks that ""The advanced countries have overcome scarcity"" and ""the state's economic base"" is ""secure."" ""New contradictions"" exist, like over-organization and urban discontinuities. The notion of spontaneity provides the chief link between May and Lefebvre's general view. He complacently abjures dogma. But his ""revisions"" lack definition. He posits the merits of ""revolutionary reformism"" toward ""a third way between"" capitalism and state socialism. He begs colossal issues, calling a socialist economy's task ""control of the market,"" invoking a ""new working class"" with unspecified composition. The strikers' failure to take state power simply doesn't arise for Lefebvre. His strategic perspective parallels a major current in the American new left: ""radical critiques of superstructures,"" ""disruption,"" ""base-organizing"" of ""groups,"" with ""self-management"" as the long-range goal; and the book will certainly be sought by all ages and species of leftists, as well as others attracted by Lefebvre's topic and his professional stature.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1969
ISBN: 0853451028
Publisher: Monthly Review