University of Oxford
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Interview with Jean-Marc Salmon

Version 2 2021-03-11, 09:45
Version 1 2021-02-09, 13:59
posted on 2021-03-11, 09:45 authored by Robert GildeaRobert Gildea
Salmon, Jean-Marc
Algerian War/Charonne/Union des Étudiants Communistes/ Comités Vietnam de base/ Union des Jeunesses Communistes (marxistes-léninistes), Gauche Prolétarienne/ SOS-Racisme

Born 23 Feb. 1943, Algiers to a pied-noir family. Father Italian Jewish, entrepreneur in transport business, centre-left politics. Mother Catholic, her father Spanish and mother Kabyle. Obliged to leave Algiers in 1961 when Algerian war became too violent. Father in Nice as a developer.
Lycée of Algiers, got baccalauréat (sciences) 1961, just before they left. At Lycée Masséna of Nice. Did degree in history at University of Nice (1965-6) and Masters in history in Paris/Sorbonne (1966-7). Doctorat du 3e cycle on 1968 under Poulantzas at Vincennes.

Political Apprenticeship
Algerian war – changed sides when he got to France; a lost cause, hostility to putchist generals/OAS. Demo at Nice in response to Charonne incident in Paris Jan 1962.
Joined UNEF students’ union, running it at Nice (1964-5), then sent to Rennes. Joined Union des Étudiants Communistes (UEC) but left it with UJC(ml).

Involved in Comité Vietnam de base of 15e arrondissement and ‘self-defence’ groups. Wounded in attack on pro South Vietnamese exhibition, rue de Rennes, April 1968.
May 1968 in ‘service d’ordre’ of UJC(ml) at Citroen in 15th, picketing with CGT. Considered seizing Hotel de Ville, night of 23-4 May but attacked Bourse instead. Tried to prevent return to work at Renault-Flins June 1968

Post 1968
Joined Gauche Prolétarienne and comité de base pour l’abolition du salariat et la destruction de l’université of new University of Vincennes, role in occupation of Jan 1969. Etabli in textile industry at Elbeuf, hoping to penetrate Renault-Cleon, 1969-70, but sacked June 1970.
Took time out in Scotland and New York.

Worked for Ipsos in Paris 1980, ministerial office of Max Gallo in Mitterrand government. Nouvelles Littéraires, consultant.
Involved in SOS-Racisme and anti-globalisation, Arab Spring.

Un monde à grande vitesse: globalisation mode d'emploi (Seuil, 2000); d. du Seuil, 2000; 29 jours de révolution: histoire du soulèvement tunisien, 17 décembre 2010-14 janvier 2011 (Les Petits matins, 2016)


Around 1968: Activism, Networks, Trajectories

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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Date of interview


Place of interview


Name of activist

Jean-Marc Salmon

Activist date of birth


Activist Gender

  • Male

Activist nationality


Name of interviewer

Robert Gildea

Name of transcriber

Alice Moscaritolo