mai ’68

Posted: November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have always known about May 1968. I grew up with it as a date on the calendar like some people grow up with Easter Sunday, or Armistice Day. It shaped my world.

But I never really knew what it was. Just as many kids don’t know much about the resurrection or the second world war.

I knew there was a sort of revolution. And I knew it made my parents who they were.

I was born just over two years later. I missed all the action as usual. But it seems like it is part of me.

The things my parents used to talk about always included ‘meetings’, ‘demos’ , ‘the centre’. One of my first words was ‘wistiwersity’ for university where my step-dad was running a bit of a cultural studies revolution of his own.

I went to a women’s liberation playgroup. I knew what ‘lesbian’ meant. Our friends  had a cat called ‘paper tiger’.

But nobody told me about Foucault. I had to find out about him all by myself.

He said none of his work after that date would have happened if it wasn’t for May68.

Imagine if we had not have had ‘The History of sexuality’ or ‘Archeology of Knowledge’.

I wonder what that day was like.

Apparently most of the students were quite respectable as you can see in this photo.

The homos and the lesbians had to march at the back. They were still considered a ‘scourge’ on French society. May 68 was part of what changed that.

You could say that May 68 led to the gays in  Le Marais, shaking their maracas, but that would be a bit simplistic.

If I had have been there, as a student in Paris, I am sure I would have marched. But who with? The beautiful young things at the front? Or the homos, the lesbians, the queers at the back.

I think I know the answer to that one, don’t you?

  1. marc nash says:

    loving the cat called “Paper Tiger”. Gotta say I loathe the 60’s (retrogressively as I too didn’t participate due to being a child), cos although the issues were the correct ones, they were mismanaged so myopically when it came to praxis, that we are still labouring under the conservative backlash even today. You mention the politics of the personal to almost anyone and they will run from the room screaming or try and throttle you. The intellectuals and the egalitarians really messed things up for us.

    Presumably in France, the mistresses were in the middle of the demos ahead of the queers. Sigh…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s