What happened to the generation of 1968?

Carlos Eduardo Rebello wrote: :... Conh-Bendit, shortly before the French May, attended classes given by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, then an exile in France. Well as the French tag goes:*tel mâitre, tel valet*... And, after all, backing NATO bombing of Yugoslavia is almost nothing compared to the fact that Cardoso, without firing a single shot, has, this last weekend, collapsed almost completely Brazil's long-distance telephone systemn (and Brazil's connections with the outside world) by means of his donation of all telephone exchanges (formerly state-owned) to a confederacy of the most unsavoury bourgeois interests... BTW, what has happened to these 68ers? Their ideas were, at the time, so interesting, so devoid of economicism, so highly political..."Imagination in Power", would be a superb slogan even today. Has someone some ideas on the subject?


I can't speak for the rest of the world, but I know that in Australia I was always uncomfortable with the '68 generation all being tarred with the same brush. Sure we listened to the same music, those of us who read read the same books (I still have my battered old paperback Marcuse ... ) and we all went to demonstrations together.

But on my campus there was always a palpable 'divide' between the 'Labour Club' activists and the 'hippies'. It become most pronounced when a film crew came to town to make a film called "Demonstrator", which stereotyped and trivialised student protest in a blatantly propagandistic way. They recruited on campus for long haired young people to perform as paid extras. The Labour Club (whose claim to fame was sending $200 of student union fees to the NLF) tried to organise a boycott, but the 'hippies' seemed to have no problem with getting a little extra dope money ...

Since then, one guy I was arrested with (Mike Jones ? - I was very impressed when he gave his occupation as "professional protestor") is I think an investment consultant, or broker or something, Jim Percy went on to found the Australian branch of the SWP (I may be wrong about this, but he was certainly the leader until his death a few years ago) now the DSP (and publishers GreenLeft Weekly), most of the more colorful Sydney left identities seem to have gone heavily into bookshops, Albert Langer, the most charismatic of the Conscientious Objectors, last I heard is still active as a sectarian Maoist, but almost devoid of a following ... Most of the others I know from that era, if they aren't reformed junkies are just doing middle class type things people are doing everywhere else (making a living, raising a family) bemoaning the demise of the left in Australia.

The point of all this is that the 60s, except perhaps for the music, was exceptional more for its mythmaking