50th Anniversary of May ’68, Saturday, May 19, 2018, 7pm

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, 7pm, Counterpath (7935 East 14th Ave.) is excited to host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the events of May, 1968, in France, which began with students occupying university buildings to protest traditional ways of teaching and the repressions of bourgeois society, as well as the intermingling of the university system with finance capitalism.  The Nanterre campus in Paris, adjacent to a shanty-town slum where immigrants struggled to survive, sparked protests that spread across the whole of France, with over 10 million people, 22% of the workforce, going on strike—occupying factories, barricading streets—and bringing the country to a halt.

On May 19th we will commemorate these events with short film screenings, readings, and discussions, featuring Leslie Kaplan’s newly translated Excess—The Factory, written out of Kaplan’s first-hand experience of this time and translated by Julie Carr and Jennifer Pap. Kaplan was part of a generation of Maoist établis, university-educated radicals who entered the factory in order to organize the working class. During the events of May, Kaplan was employed at a washing machine factory outside of Lyon, which she and the other workers occupied. Excess—The Factory evokes the tumult of those years through an encounter with the serial violence of the assembly line, descending by way of infernal workshops to reach the dark center of capitalist accumulation. Hailed by French luminaries such as Maurice Blanchot and Marguerite Duras as a unique event in writing, the book was at once legendary and all but lost to English-language readers. This long overdue translation, true to the original’s spare, declarative tone, returns the book and its complex moment to new readers.