The intervention of Russian tanks temporarily halted the movement in Czechoslovakia. But, as Alan Woods pointed out at the time, "The rule of the bureaucracy now represents an absolute fetter on the development of the planned economies of Russia and Eastern Europe. The needs of the people can no longer be met by a system whose every pore is choked by bureaucracy, mismanagement and waste."

To mark the 40th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, we are here reprinting an article by Alan Woods, first written on September 4, 1968, and published in the Winter edition of the Spark, in which he clearly relates the momentous events that shook the Stalinist regimes and explains their significance.

Supporters of the Marxist Tendency, then gathered around the Militant journal in Britain, intervened in the French events of May 1968. Here we provide the text of a leaflet that was distributed to the British workers and youth. In it they warned that with the way the French CP and trade union leaders were behaving the French bourgeois could regain control of the situation.

'Lenin wake up, Brezhnev has gone mad.' This was one of the slogans chanted on the street of Prague 30 years ago as Russian and Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. The upheavals in Czechoslovakia had began with a stormy session of the Writers Union which passed a resolution supporting Soviet author Solzhenitsyn's protest against censorship.

On Friday 3rd May a meeting was called in Paris's Sorbonne University to protest against the closure of Nanterre University the day before. This followed a week of clashes there between extreme right wing groups and students campaigning against the Vietnam War.

In 1968 the world turned upside down. The long years of the post war economic upswing had led many to declare that class struggle was obsolete, revolution outdated, the working class bourgeoisified, capitalism invincible. Within a few short months, though, they were all proved wrong.

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