I wish to register my agreement with and support for philipbn's excellent review of this essential film with one rejoinder. It has become quite fashionable recently, among various commentators, to "discover" the domination of finance capital over all other forms in contemporary capitalist society. Such "discoveries" are late by nearly a century. V.I. Lenin analyzed the triumph of finance capital in his seminal work "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism," published in 1916(!).
One of the great strengths of "Les Lip" (for those who are politically prepared to grasp it) is its deeply perceptive portrayal of the psychology of reformism and the reformist. The strike leader who decides to work with management after the factory's takeover by "enlightened capitalist" Neuschwander convinces himself that he is doing something useful for the factory's workers and scoffs at accusations that he is a traitor. He simply is incapable of recognizing his betrayal. How much unnecessary blood has been shed because of those with his mentality!
The film's main weakness, in my opinion, was its failure (and that of the strike leaders) to objectively analyze the strike's long-term goals and its prospects of meeting those goals. The leaders actually seemed surprised when the French ruling class decided to unleash the CRS riot squads and retake the factory.
For me, the most thrilling moments in the film came with the outpouring of support for and solidarity with the Lip strikers by workers from all over France and from other countries as well. Taking a vacation from one's job in order to help the strikers and to learn from them became a widely popular activity. The progression from this wonderful state of mind to its ultimate fruition a workers' government dangled tantalizingly above this reviewer's head and made me ache for the day when such exemplary proletarian solidarity comes again, even, one may hope, in the reactionary USA.
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