Tout! in context 1968-1973
: French radical press at the crossroads of far left, new movements and counterculture

  • Manus Christian McGrogan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


With this thesis on the aftermath of 1968 in France, I have recreated the moment and environment of the libertarian paper Tout! Usually associated in historiography with the birth of the gay liberation movement in France, my initial research revealed its influence as more penetrative and revealing of the diverse left and new, countercultural movements of the early 1970s. I sought the testimony of former militants, writers and artists to uncover historical detail and motivations, and consulted relevant textual archives, aiming to situate and examine the paper within a number of interrelated contexts. Results showed the paper's historical touchstones of scurrilous Revolutionary papers and 19th/20th caricature typified by L’Assiette au Beurre. The parallel paths of Dada, surrealism and situationism, and the Marxisant legacy of the Russian Revolution, foreshadowed the blend of cultural and political in Tout! May „68 was the crucible of militant, festive currents and speech, a time of rupture and reorientation for the various activists later at Tout!, the paper Action and posters of the Beaux-Arts inspiring new forms of agit-prop. In the aftermath of 1968, mao-libertarian current Vive La Révolution converged with an ex-Trotskyist, faculty-based group seeking cultural revolution. Figureheads Roland Castro and Guy Hocquenghem oversaw the merger of these groups and outlooks, coinciding with the launch of Tout! as a „mass‟ paper. With a new look and „new political attitude‟, influenced by Italian radicals and the US underground, Tout! challenged all forms of authority in Pompidou's France, climaxing with the eruption of gay liberation in no.12. It was Tout!'s role in promoting "autonomous‟ gender, sexual and youth movements that led to the disaggregation of Vive la Révolution, and despite successful sales the paper came to a sudden end in the summer of 1971. Like the rest of the far left, Vive La Révolution and Tout! suffered State repression, but evolved from a "proletarian‟ Marxist critique of capitalism to attack the life routine of work, school and the family, judging the political Right and the Parti Communiste Français as equally reactionary. The paper testified to the importance of international, indeed transnational activities of the far left in the early 1970s. It provided a formidable impulse for the gay liberation movement FHAR, and foreshadowed the first feminist paper Le Torchon Brûle. As such it was a crucial press conduit for American radical left forms and practices, spearheading a shift from gauchisme to the growing counterculture. Tout! exemplified a brief, intense and fast-changing moment in French subcultural history and set new trends in left political journalism for the 1970s
Date of AwardAug 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMartin Evans (Supervisor) & Sue Wright (Supervisor)

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