France still torn over the legacy of May 1968





Four decades on, France is still torn over the legacy of May 1968. That month saw students set up barricades to demand a say in a stifling post-war society, soon joined by downtrodden factory workers and their artist brothers-in-arms.

It was a fast-forward cultural, political and sexual revolution that still fuels passionate debate, with a flood of books, films and nostalgic magazine specials to mark the 40th anniversary next month.

For a majority of French - three quarters according to one survey - the legacy of the spring revolt is broadly positive.

But some left-wing critics argue that May 1968 let loose the individualism and unfettered capitalism of the 1980s. And a chunk of the French right remains deeply hostile to the spirit of '68.

During last year's presidential race, now head of state Nicolas Sarkozy launched a vitriolic attack blaming the moral decadence of May 1968 for everything from crime to failing schools and the excesses of global capitalism.



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