The 1960s and the New Left


This upcoming event might be of interest to supporters and friends of the Anticapitalist Initiative

The 1960s and the New Left
Saturday 1 February
1:30pm – 5pm

Room 153, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX
Entrance: £3/£5 donation
Hosted by Socialist Resistance

PENELOPE DUGGAN, Fellow of the Amsterdam IIRE, editor of International Viewpoint, and member of the NPA.
DAVE RENTON, Barrister and historian of IS & SWP; blogs at
ERNIE TATE, author of Revolutionary Activism in the Fifties and Sixties in Canada and Britain and a supporter of the Fourth International.
JANE SHALLICE, a member of VSC and CAST (the Cartoon Archetypical Slogan Theatre), joined the IMG in 1968 until 1972. NUT activist, a member of Stop the War from 2001.

The 1960s saw a rising tide of working class mobilisations and youth and student radicalisation. The high point was a month-long general strike in France in 1968. There were also militant and mass mobilisations shaking the system in Prague, Rome, Berlin, London, Mexico and elsewhere. In Britain, the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign mobilised up to 200,000 against the war.

In France, revolutionaries saw the events as the “dress rehearsal” of a revolution. How close was France to a revolutionary situation when the rulers can no longer govern as before, and people are no longer willing to be ruled as before?

A “second wave” of feminism spread from the early 196os, with a strong socialist component which argued that there could be no women’s liberation without socialism and no socialism without women’s liberation. It played a major part in defending abortion rights and winning a law for equal pay.

What remains of 1968? This major event of the class struggle profoundly changed society and the left. It is one of the key dates of the re-composition of the European workers’ movement at the end of the 20th century. New revolutionary Marxist currents, such as the IMG and IS in Britain, developed into significant players. There is still a strong anti-war movement in Britain. And feminism is re-energised as austerity is challenging all the gains that women have won.

Participants and historians of the events of 1968 will present their views for a discussion about the period and the challenges faced by the new Marxist Left.

ERNIE TATE will be launching his book about the period Revolutionary Activism in the Fifties and Sixties in Canada and Britain. Ernie was a leading member of the VSC and the IMG. He worked with Bertrand Russell in the Russell Tribunal set up to investigate US war crimes in Vietnam.


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