Friday, December 21, 2018

1968-2018: The 50th anniversary of a year of global revolt and revolutionary spirit

The year that marks the 50th anniversary of the political upheavals around the globe in 1968 is quickly coming to a close, so I want to share something from the Verso Radical Diary on that year, as well as my bibliography on the Left in the 1960s: 

“1968 was a year of global revolt. Vietnamese communist began with their infamous Tet Offensive against US troops, which ended with guerillas hoisting their Vietcong flag on the roof of the US embassy in Saigon [today: Ho Chi Minh City]. [….] In France, student strikes and occupations broke out in May, quickly ballooning to become the largest general strike to have ever halted the economy of an industrialized country—10 million workers occupied factories for weeks—and prompting President Charles de Gaulle to flee the country.

The revolutionary spirit spread. Popular rebellions broke out against military dictatorships in Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Pakistan, and against communist elites [i.e., Party-State Communism] in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Left and progressive movements blossomed in Italy, Japan, Germany and other war-mongering capitalist countries of the West: SDS [Students for a Democratic Society], the Black Panther Party and the Civil Rights movement in the US, and the New Left in the UK….
Some were met with fierce repression. Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies deployed 2,000 tanks and 20,000 troops against the Prague Spring, while police and military crushed Mexico City’s burgeoning student strikes and occupations, shooting into a crowd at Tlatelolco Square. [….] Martin Luther King, Jr. was also assassinated in Tennessee. ‘Be concerned about your brother,’ he had sermonized the day before. ‘You may not be on strike [like the black Memphis sanitation workers]. But either we go up together, or we go down together.’”  

The bibliography on the history, theory, and praxis of the Left in the 1960s is here.


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