the two 68s


The two ’68s in the two Europes bespeaks of a paradigmatic division that has not vanished today. It has not vanished because the starting points were different: the meanings and goals differed. Both Europes strived for salvation, but one strived for salvation from consumerism and corporate interests, while the other sought salvation from socialist ideals and communist practice. For the former, the critics of capitalism, socialism was the alternative; for the latter, the critics of obligatory fraternity, there was no freedom in these premises. The intellectual Left of the West did not understand the anti-humanism of the Soviets, nor that of China’s communist party. For these intellectuals and its youth following, it was important to protest against the given social order and violation of rights, but also to take the opportunity to riot in Red Army outfits. It was the time for cultural revolution. The political and cultural fashion was to question capitalism at its roots. Besides, the French tradition of socialist collectivism was inseparable from the thinking of Parisian leftists.

more from Tomas Kavaliauskas at Eurozine here.