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4 Working-Class Politics at Renault Billancourt

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Chapter Summary

Socialisme ou Barbarie saw itself as operating in a new situation after the summer of 1953. This chapter is a general map of the political terrain at Renault Billancourt. After surveying how the conflict between the PCF-CGT and worker opposition was inscribed in competing histories of the Popular Front, the analysis shifts to post-war Billancourt as a legal and institutional context. The structural account provides a way to critically situate Socialisme ou Barbarie's tendency to conflate the two organisations by discussing their strategies of aggregation-disaggregation developed to accommodate a complex sociopolitical position. It also explains some tactical choices made by Tribune Ouvrière by examining the institution of collective bargaining and its role in determining which issues were admitted into, and excluded from, political debate. The politico union conflict as one over the definition of the collective, its relation to the factory and the party, and the role of the militant.

Keywords: political debate; Renault Billancourt; Socialisme ou Barbarie; Tribune Ouvrière



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