In the Summer of 1973, workers occupied the Lip watch and clock factory, sparking a national cause and controversy. The Lip occupation and self-management experience captured the imagination of the Left in France and internationally, as a living example of the spirit of May '68. In Opening the Gates, Donald Reid chronicles the history of this struggle. Beginning with the early stirrings of worker radicalism in 1968, Reid’s meticulously researched narrative details the nationally publicised conflict of 1973, the second bankruptcy and occupation of 1976 and the conversion of Lip into a group of cooperatives operating into the 1980s.
“A must-read for historians, Reid’s study will also open up for general readers the atmosphere of a time so far in the past that it is forgotten, yet so near that history has yet to remember it.”
““Although I have been living in France for the past ten years, I regret to say that the Lip Affair was unknown to me until now, but having read Donald Reid’s description of what transpired, I can understand why. It is simply stunning how the mass media arbitrarily select those events in society which they want to highlight, and those which they want to ignore ‘in the interests of the viewer.’ I am convinced that the ‘gate-keeper’ policy of the mass media is one of the primary reasons why the public in general today remain detached from many key issues facing the planet, including consumerism, social inequality, and the onrushing environmental disaster. The multiple issues still confronting women today are of course foremost in my mind when I write this. The ways in which the Lip workers—as Reid describes—confronted their problems, including their strategies in dealing with the media, are therefore truly inspiring, and this book clearly deserves the widest possible dissemination across the social and political spectrum.”