The great mockery - Long live '68!

BY BELISARIO RIGHI



In 1968 I was twenty-three and studying at the Polytechnic University of Turin, a very demanding university that did not leave much space for free time, and we future engineers enjoyed those few hours of freedom, so among the engineering students, we did not they were subjects who, starting from the faculty agitation, reached the world of politics, contrary to what happened to the students of Law or Political Sciences, who had too much time. Protesters were born, prodromal elements of a political ideology that resulted in mass contestation, with which all the social and state values ​​that had hitherto marked the path of our democracies were questioned. The mass protest movement, which had already been latent among European intellectuals for some time, took a significant start in France following a school reform plan that provided for a strict selection for university enrollments, striking students in their inalienable right to I study, without discrimination, with the motivation to train highly specialized technicians. The approval of this project, called the Fouchet plan, provoked a wave of protest from the student masses that spread to the point of becoming a real political movement, against the oppression suffered by students and workers by the state. The undisputed leader of the movement was the young anarchist, Daniel Cohn-Bendit.


Daniel Cohn-Bendit


In West Germany the most significant leader of the protest movement was Rudi Dutschke, a member of the SDS (organization of German Social Democratic students).


Rudi Dutschke


In Italy, there were many exponents of the protest movement. Among the most significant names we remember: Guido Viale in Turin, Toni Negri in Padua, Franco Piperno and Oreste Scalzone in Rome, Adriano Sofri in Pisa, Mario Capanna in Milan.


Mario Capanna - on the left with a closed fist


Behind the strong thrust of the protest, which has now become international, all social stereotypes fell one by one, under the accusation of elitism and prevarication. First of all, the world of education was contested, pointing to it as obsolete and no longer suited to the new liberal imperative that was spreading.


Students marching against the School Institutions


The movement, initially the exclusive prerogative of intellectuals, expanded more and more until it became global and every social institution, every civic value was questioned. The world of work was, of all, the greatest stage of the irridentist and revolutionary theater. He said he wanted to give a new dignity to workers, considered victims of a monopoly and plutocratic regime, where their most elementary rights were stifled.


Power Worker


Marx and Engels became the inspiring Muses of an ideological tsunami, which modulated on the aphorisms of Mao's Little Red Book, already a simple and effective tool for the Chinese cultural revolution, took the protest so far to the left that for the first time, after the second war world, it was thought that there would inevitably be access to Communism on a world scale.


Mao and the cultural revolution


Mao Tze-tung together with Lenin, a revolutionary ideologue, a Russian politician, later a Soviet politician and Che Guevara, a guerrilla and a member of the Cuban Revolutionary Movement, were the icons of the 1968 protest.


Lenin and Che Guevara ideological heroes of '68


The left, with its slogans, reigned. The red unions proselytized as never before. Everyone had become Communists or at least winked to the left and from this leftist point of view every piece of society was refuted. The holders of university professorships, the captains of industry, the senior graduates of the military forces, the Prelates, the Heads of hospitals, all those who commanded were called barons.


Out of the Barons


Baronism became the subject of rallies, impromptu meetings and everyone hoped that the world could finally change. Even women accused men of baronism and demanded equality of rights and behavior. Wives and girlfriends began to question the role they had played for centuries. They no longer had to be subjected to a rigorous male-dominated discipline.


Feminist emancipation movement


They no longer wanted to take care of family management as mothers and wives, they wanted to enter the control room and in a short time, a flood of housewives, married and unmarried, turned into a new working force. Women had to have the same rights as men, even in the sexual sphere. Man in the universal sense of the term has always been able to have more women and spread his virility to the right and left. The woman also wanted this and from that moment an angry host of repressed women began to make love with such ease that, at first, the men themselves, instead of rejoicing, as it happened later, were disoriented.


Utopia of feminism


1968 seemed to have to lead the world towards a new morning and the general protest in 1968 had to represent the Northern Lights, dramatic and full of dark colors. Then, after the paroxysm of initiation, the new trade unionists settled in the place of the old, the new teachers took turns with the old professors, the young university students, politically committed, became deputies of Parliament. The workers had some small revenge on the masters, the students on the Professors, the women finally had many lovers and each subordinate gained a small part of land on his own Commander, but these conquests were little, because, in fact, nothing changed. The master remained so, the Commander was even promoted to rank, the old professors became luminaries and women became single mothers, thus gaining equal rights with men in society, at least on a sexual level. It was the biggest mockery society has ever suffered and if Woodstock was shouting we want love, not war, calling Nixon with every epithet, from warmonger to murderer for sending American soldiers to die in Vietnam.

Young American students demanding the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam


Today there is fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Korea, Liberia and it is not known how many other parts of the world. Life has now become increasingly inaccessible to the proletariat, which in the meantime has been downgraded to the underclass, unemployment is at an all-time high, multinationals are increasingly powerful and rich, while in some parts of the world there are people dying of thirst. Even water has become an unattainable luxury for some populations. No comment can better express the social failure of '68 that everything must change so that everything remains as it was before, the famous phrase by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and so... long live 68!

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