The protests that raged throughout 1968 included a large number of workers, students, and poor people facing increasingly violent state repression all around the world. Liberation from state repression itself was the most common current in all protests listed below. These refracted into a variety of social causes that reverberated with each other: in the United States alone, for example, protests for civil liberties, against racism and in opposition to the Vietnam War, as well as feminism and the beginnings of the ecological movement, including protests against biological and nuclear weapons, all boiled up together during this year. Television, so influential in forming the political identity of this generation, became the tool of choice for the revolutionaries. They fought their battles not just on streets and college campuses, but also on the television screen by courting media coverage.
A San Francisco State University demonstrator is restrained in a choke hold as he is taken away to a paddy wagon during the student strike protests, San Francisco, California, December 3, 1968.
As the waves of protests coming along the 1960s intensified to a new high in 1968, repressive governments through widespread police crack downs, shootings, executions and even massacres marked social conflicts in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China. In West Berlin, Rome, London, Paris, Italy, many American cities, and Argentina, labor unions and students played major roles and also suffered political repression.
The 1969 Cordoba uprising in the Argentine, which saw students and workers rise up against the military dictatorship of General Juan Carlos Onganía with a series of strikes and urban riots.
The environmental movement can trace its beginnings back to the protests of 1968. The environmental movement evolved from the anti-nuclear movement. France was particularly involved in environmental concerns. In 1968, the French Federation of Nature Protection Societies and the French branch of Friends of the Earth were formed and the French scientific community organized Survivre et Vivre (Survive and Live). The Club of Rome was formed in 1968. The Nordic countries were at the forefront of environmentalism. In Sweden, students protested against hydroelectric plans. In Denmark and the Netherlands, environmental action groups protested about pollution and other environmental issues. The Northern Ireland civil rights movement began to start, but resulted in the conflict now known as The Troubles.
In January, police used clubs on 400 anti-war protestors outside of a dinner for U.S. Secretary of State Rusk. In February, students from Harvard, Radcliffe, and Boston University held a four-day hunger strike to protest the war. 10,000 West Berlin students held a sit-in against American involvement in Vietnam. People in Canada protested the war by mailing 5,000 copies of the paperback, Manual for Draft Age Immigrants to Canada to the United States. On March 6, 500 New York University (NYU) students demonstrated against Dow Chemical because the company was the principal manufacturer of napalm, used by the U.S. military in Vietnam. On March 17, an anti-war demonstration in Grosvenor Square, London, ended with 86 people injured and 200 demonstrators arrested. Japanese students protested the presence of the American military in Japan because of the Vietnam War. In March, British students turned violent in their anti-war protests (opposing the Vietnam War), physically attacking the British defense secretary, the secretary of state for education and the Home Secretary. In August, the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago was disrupted by five days of street demonstrations by thousands of anti-war protesters. Chicago's mayor escalated the riots with excessive police presence and by ordering up the National Guard and the army to suppress the protests. In September, the women's liberation movement gained international recognition when it demonstrated at the annual Miss America beauty pageant. The week-long protest and its disruption of the pageant gained the movement much needed attention in the press.
On January 30 1968, 300 student protesters from the University of Warsaw and the National Theater School were beaten with clubs by state arranged anti-protestors. On March 8, the 1968 Polish political crisis began with students from the University of Warsaw who marched for student rights and were beaten with clubs. The next day over two thousand students marched in protest of the police involvement on campus and were clubbed and arrested again. By March 11, the general public had joined the protest in violent confrontations with students and police in the streets. The government fought a propaganda campaign against the protestors, labeling them Zionists. The twenty days of protest ended when the state closed all of the universities and arrested more than a thousand students. Most Polish Jews left the country to avoid persecution by the government.
I see a difference between the West-European generation of 1968 and the Central- and Eastern-European protest generation of 1968. Where the protest movement in Western-Europe and the USA and Canada were mainly leftwing progressive liberal and socialist protest movements, demonstrations and rebellions in Central- and Eastern-Europe protest movements were coalitions of older dissidents, students and workers. I Prague you saw a broad peoples movement against the suppression of the Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II.
It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968 when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to halt the reforms. Dubček's Czechoslovakian Socialism with a human face wasn't liked by the hard line Sovjet leadership in the Kremlin and other more strict communist Marxist-Leninist leaders of other Peoples republic in the Warsaw Pact, like Poland and East-Germany (the DDR/German Democratic Republic).
The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel. After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. This was the only formal change that survived the end of Prague Spring.
The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country.
I Poland and Czechoslovakia KOR (Komitet Obrony Robotników ["Workers' Defence Committee"]), Charta 77 and Solidarność were more succesful in connecting academic intellectuals and university students on one side with workers on the other side. KOR (Komitet Obrony Robotników), ROPCiO (Movement for Defense of Human and Civic Rights; Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela) and Solidarność were organisations of workers and intellectuals.
In Paris and Berlin the radical left socialist student movements failed to connect themselves to the larger Communist and Social Democratic parties and Unions. And they didn't get the support of progressive liberals either. Therefor the movement of '68 failed, because it lacked public support of the working class and middle class.
From the other side the generation of '68 lead to New Left, the democratization movement and the influence of Neo-Marxism, radical (progressive) liberalism, free thinking, Feminism and more the power of the leftwing wings of the West-European Social-democratic parties. New Left young Social Democrats pushed away older, more traditional Social Democrats and in the seventies saw very leftwing Social Democratic Labour lead governments in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia and Austria's most successful Socialist leader, Bruno Kreisky.
But fact remained that the dissident and samizdat Underground spirit of the Prague Spring, the Warsaw protests, the 1956 Poznań and Budapest rebellions, the 1970 and 1980 workers strikes which were broadly supported by the population, students and intellectuals in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary were fare more succesful and powerful than the Berlin and Paris radical left student protests, which were rather leftwing socialist and nearly sectarian with it's Marxist, Maoist, Trotskyist and New Left ideological foundations and intellectual leaders Rudi Dutschke and Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Dutschke and Cohn-Bendit appealed to university students and young academic intellectuals, but failed to reach German and French workers.
Post by JustJohn or JJ on Sept 25, 2018 3:33:54 GMT -7
Well, my own 1968 rebellion is during this time.
Tet 1968 - On May 6, 1968, during the second general attack on the capital of Saigon, the Viet Cong opened the crossroads of Bay Hien. At about noon, the 7th Airborne Battalion was maneuvered by car, from Bien Hoa
At the end of 1968, I left Vietnam. Got discharged from the US Marine Corps in January 1969. A total active duty time was 9 years, 9 months and 9 days.
I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.
I thought about you while creating this thread. This thread is about the political movement and the leftwing 68 generation which would become so dominant and influential in the seventies and early eighties as politicians, lawmakers, senators, and parliamentarians in Europe and the US as well.
Thousands and thousands of young people demonstrated in Europe and the USA on the street, while yet other thousands of US Marines, US army soldiers, South Vietnamese soldiers, soldiers from Laos, Cambodian soldiers, Thai soldiers, Australian, Philippinian soldiers fought in Vietnam and 552 soldiers from New Zealand.
There was criticism about the US methods used in the Vietnam war but there were no reports or criticism of the methods of the Vietcong, the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and their support for the Khmer Rouge army of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge army was slowly built up in the jungles of Eastern Cambodia during the late 1960s, supported by the North Vietnamese army, the Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao.
The Khmer Rouge regime would go on to murder hundreds of thousands of their perceived political opponents. Ultimately, the Cambodian genocide (The Khmer Rouge) would lead to the deaths of 1.5 to 3 million people, around 25% of Cambodia's population.
The Vietnam war from 1 November 1955 until 30 April 1975 lasted 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day. About 1,353,000 people lost their lives during the Vietnam war. 282,000 allied military deaths (Americans, South-Vietnamese, Australians, Philippinians, Laos, Cambodian and Thai soldiers), 444,000 North Vietnamese Army/Việt Cộng military deaths and 627,000 civilian deaths (North and South Vietnam).