France still torn over the legacy of May 1968

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Four decades on, France is still torn over the legacy of May 1968. That month saw students set up barricades to demand a say in a stifling post-war society, soon joined by downtrodden factory workers and their artist brothers-in-arms.

It was a fast-forward cultural, political and sexual revolution that still fuels passionate debate, with a flood of books, films and nostalgic magazine specials to mark the 40th anniversary next month.

For a majority of French - three quarters according to one survey - the legacy of the spring revolt is broadly positive.

But some left-wing critics argue that May 1968 let loose the individualism and unfettered capitalism of the 1980s. And a chunk of the French right remains deeply hostile to the spirit of '68.

During last year's presidential race, now head of state Nicolas Sarkozy launched a vitriolic attack blaming the moral decadence of May 1968 for everything from crime to failing schools and the excesses of global capitalism.

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