To Lorenzo García, for proposing this topic
How can the events of 1968 be read today? In Mexico and around the globe, that year marked a series of fervent revolutionary movements. Back then, young people certainly had an ambitious task in mind, one which involved subverting political power, changing the dynamics between men and women, between parents and children, and building a fairer and above all, freer world. What came of those efforts? What story have we written since then? In Mexico, it is impossible to mention that year without alluding to what took place on October 2nd in Tlatelolco. For almost 40 years we remembered that massacre as an aberration, an abuse of power on behalf of the government that can never be allowed to happen again. Today, in light of events like Acteal, Nochixtlán, or Ayotzinapa, as well as of lesser known massacres, October 2nd sadly constitutes one more among many episodes of bloodshed in the history of this country, where violence and impunity are now what we have come to expect. In this issue, we have given the floor to people who were children and young people in 68; we incorporated testimonies such as those of Marta Lamas and Gina Zabludovsky Kuper, Roberto Bolaño’s story, included in the Chilean author’s novel Amuleto, in which he narrates Alcira Soust Scaffo’s experience in the bathrooms of the National Autonomous University’s School of Philosophy and Literature; but we also include reflections written by thinkers who belong to more recent generations such as Fabrizio Mejía Madrid and Ana Emilia Felker. The art dossier is a sample of Arnulfo Aquino’s project Death Without End, with which the artist looks back on Tlatelolco and other national tragedies. Our intention was also to put these events into context. What cultural background did the student movement emerge from? Pacho traces the history of Rock and Roll and of Rock bands from the 60s to the present day, while Philippe Ollé Laprune and Michael Žantowský describe 68 in France and the Czech Republic. In an interview with David Elgar, Tariq Ali alludes to the student movements in Pakistan, Great Britain, and the United States, and to Black Dwarf, the legendary newspaper he was editing at the time. In Mexico, the year 1968 is, in addition to being the date of a terrible event, a political and cultural crossroads. What path did the country choose that year? What path did it choose in the decades that followed it? A great number of civil movements were forced into secrecy, others lost all hope, while for many governments, repression and state crimes turned into a habit, a measure for order, in such a way that an unforgivable aberration became the norm. It is worth trying to recuperate the vision and the lucidity that drove that movement forward. Perhaps in doing so we might find the key to rediscovering the course Mexico lost sight of in that moment.
Imagen de portada. Grupo 65 (Arnulfo Aquino, Rebeca Hidalgo, Melecio Galván y Jorge Novelo), Los inmigrantes (detalle), pintura acrílica sobre cuatro bastidores de tela, 1971 [fotografías documentales]. Archivo personal de Arnulfo Aquino.