‘1968: The year that changed the world’

‘The year that changed the world’ by Tariq Ali for The Sydney Morning Herald, January 5, 2008

There has never been a year like it: unrest, rebellion and revolution. Tariq Ali, at the forefront of the action 40 years ago, looks at how we still live with the consequences of 1968

After the shallow, fading Cold War decades—the middle period—of the last century, an invigorating fever gripped the world.

Its effect was so strong that even today, 40 years later, conferences are being organised, and essays, documentaries and books are being produced to mark the event.

The tale has been told many times and in many languages, but it refuses to go away. Why? A banal reason could simply be biology: the ’60s generation is now in its 60s and some of its members are big in publishing, television, cinema, etc, especially in the West. This could be their last chance to remember, because 10 years from now most will be dead.

In France the debate was revived by Nicolas Sarkozy, who boasted that his victory in last year’s presidential elections was the final nail in the ’68 coffin. read more