The Elusive Legacy of 1968

Because the "'68 generation" claimed "It is forbidden to forbid," some would blame it for all the wrongs of today’s world, from urban violence to climate change. But this is a political trick aimed at sabotaging rational debate and evading responsibility for addressing the world's current problems.

“Dany, you have been so successful. But don’t let yourself be manipulated by those far-left forces that would lead you to destroy everything that could arise from what you are creating.” Forty years later, those words on March 22, 1968, by Jean Baudrillard – then an assistant professor at Nanterre University – still sound right.

I may disappoint my supporters and those enticed by “The Revolution,” but I’m not the leader of a revolution that allegedly occurred in 1968. Forget it: “’68” is over – buried under cobblestones, even if those cobblestones made history and triggered radical change in our societies!

At first it seems baffling. But, as I made clear at the time in my interview with Jean-Paul Sartre in Le Nouvel Observateur , I was only the loudspeaker for a rebellion. Thus, “’68” symbolized the end of revolutionary myths – to the benefit of liberation movements extending from the 1970’s until now. After all, the world of the 1960’s – the first global movement broadcast live on radio and TV – was defined by a variety of inter-connected revolts.