Where Are the Riots of Yesteryear?
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the wave of radical revolts and revolutionary uprisings that startled the world in 1968 and which, although ultimately crushed by the forces of reaction that dominate the world to this day, left in its wake rights so fundamental that we tend to take them for granted — sexual freedom, civil rights, women’s’ equality. Yet a half-century later these hard-won rights are under attack and people are once again rising to defend them.
Today in France, where in 1968 the student-worker rebellion led to a weeks-long of general strike, the students have once again occupied the universities, while the railroad workers, airline, and public service workers are striking against the counter-reforms being imposed by the autocratic, neoliberal President Macron. Following the example of May ’68, these diverse groups are hoping to unite and force the government to cease their attacks on public services and working peoples’ standard of living.
In the United States as well, a wave of spontaneous strikes by underpaid, overworked, idealistic "Red State" teachers backed by public opinion is making sweeping gains, and movements like #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and other post-Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist struggles are on the rise. Is there hope for real change?