1968: The year the North exploded


  • Matt Collins


It was a seminal year. One defined by the emergence of popular social struggles for progressive change on an international scale, often involving new forms of activism that shook the foundations of regimes across the globe, which fleetingly hinted at the possibility of revolution and fundamental change for millions of people. From the Black Civil Rights Movement in the US, to the mass movement against the Vietnam War and the student and worker mobilisations that engulfed large parts of Europe, through to the events of October ’68 in Prague; when the Stalinist veneer of “actually existing” socialism began to crack, as workers in the Czech Republic rose up to demand democracy and liberation. 1968 was a generational rupture, and a period of great possibility. An era when it became possible to imagine a world beyond both free market “liberal” capitalism and the one-party states of the officially “communist” Eastern Block.