The October 1968 Olympics and the spirit of freedom

Really thought provoking! – PIK



by Philip Ferguson

Today, October 16, marks the 45th anniversary of one of the smallest but most dramatic protests of the 1960s, the clenched fist salute on the 200 metres victory dais at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  To understand what happened and why it became so famous, some context is necessary.

1968 was a year of rebellions across the face of the globe.  In January 1968, the Vietnamese liberation forces struck hard against the US-led occupation forces and Washington’s puppet regime in Saigon, launching the Tet Offensive.

Early in the year events began in Czechoslovakia which led to the ‘Prague Spring’.  A radical student movement, demanding more democracy and equality, emerged in Yugoslavia.  In France, students and workers shook the French capitalist establishment to its core in May and June.  Students rebelled in Italy, and workers; struggles increased there too.

Even in sleepy New Zealand, the workers’ movement…

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