Paris, May 1968: Student demonstrations inspire solidarity strikes, factories close, classes are suspended, the subway stops. State-owned television plays mostly re-runs, save for the official news. The country is at a stand-still.
The streets, however, are full. Decrying imperialism, militarism, capitalism, and educational conformism, hundreds of thousands of protestors demonstrate on the boulevards. Over the course of almost a month, workers strike, students build barricades, cars are torched, police respond in force, and, at every turn, there are posters – printed around-the-clock by students at the Fine Arts School, rechristened the “People’s Workshop” for the occasion. Then, on May 29, President Charles de Gaulle disappears, and the rumor mills buzz: Could popular protest end in revolution?
Paris is occupied, in every sense of the word.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the May 1968 movement, “Occupying Paris” features a selection of period posters and photographs to reconsider an extraordinary month of civil disobedience, evaluate the impact it made then, and assess the legacy it bequeathed for practitioners of dissent to this day.