Poster by OSPAAAL, the Cuban Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“In revolutionary moments, social realities that are hard to see in calmer periods rise to the surface as they are threatened, crumble, forced to recombine in new ways. In the ‘long 1968’ — the cycle of struggles that shook the Global North from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s — what had seemed like a stable postwar order, backed by superpower might and economically promising in its many variants, from Western welfare states, Eastern state socialism to Southern national-developmentalism, turned out to be anything but. The French government wavered and was nearly toppled by what at the time was the largest general strike in world history. Czechoslovakia, perhaps the Soviet bloc state with greatest popular support, shifted towards radical transformation, only to be met by the tanks of the Warsaw Pact. In Derry and Mexico City, student radicals challenging the post-colonial order were met with state violence. In the US, the cycle that began with the Civil Rights movement was reaching its height in 1968, while Italy’s years of struggle were only starting. Social movements were on the rise across West Germany and Japan, Canada and Denmark, Yugoslavia and Great Britain, marking a massive shift in popular struggle and culture. For a few years, the beach of alternative possible worlds was glimpsed beneath the paving stones of a dull postwar conservatism. …”