‘Be realistic – Demand the Impossible’
No matter what else Paris 1968 gave us imagination. During the May workplaces and universities were taken over and in many cases run in a way that is of immense inspiration to socialists. Not a socialist revolution but it was significant in the history of the struggles of our class. It was significant because the so-called intellectual vanguard who were dismissing the possibility of a revolutionary upheaval was dismissing it days before events blew up in their faces. Afterwards, May 1968 became part of the mythology of the Left as the French workers and students were supposed to have been ripe for revolution and all that was missing was the correct party line and its leadership. The Socialist Party recognised that there were vital lessons to be drawn from the struggles of the French workers.
The Socialist Party, however, argue that it is not enough to have thousands of demonstrators on the streets or even millions of workers occupying the factories. Above all what was required was the working class with a clear understanding of what socialism entails and what methods are effective in overthrowing capitalism. A grasp of socialist principles by the vast majority of the workers is a minimal condition for going forward to socialism and no party, no matter how religiously it follows the Bolshevik tradition, can substitute for this.
The abolition of capitalism and the transformation to a socialist society is the only solution to France's many problems. The capitalist class say that socialism is impossible because it is in their class interests to say so. All the 'socialist' parties, Leftist and Trotskyite groups in France offer policies to patch up capitalism and do not offer real socialism and can be described as 'possibilists'. The Socialist Party of Great Britain's sole aim is to achieve the goal of socialism and this has been described as 'impossibilism'. In 1968 in Paris the cry was “Soyez réalistes, demandez l'impossible” and there can be no other way forward for human society but socialism.