1968: Mexico City Student Protests II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

 

Content: In high summer 1968, a minor incident between two rival Mexico City high schools launched a national movement protesting government oppression and uniting left and right wing university students, faculty, and labor unions. With that ham-handed sense of public relations semi-democratic or single party states nearly always acquire when under assault, the Mexican government panicked and resorted to violence to suppress this student movement. It saw the marches and protests as an embarrassing challenge to Mexican tranquility, the regime’s authority and the idyllic image Mexico was creating of itself for the outside world, set to visit during the up-coming summer Olympics in October 1968.

 

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1968: Mexico City Student Protests I

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: Until the middle of 1968, it seemed as though Mexico would be spared the unrest and violence that was sweeping the rest of the world. Despite the occasional outburst from labor unions and student groups over the years, quickly suppressed by the regular police and the infamous and brutal riot police, granaderos, Mexican society remained an intensely conservative one. It was seemingly devoted to its one-party state dominated since the 1920s by the PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. The so-called, “el milagro Mexicano,” the Mexican miracle, over three decades of unprecedented economic growth had boosted incomes, although unevenly, and began a significant expansion of the Mexican middle class.

 

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1968: Democratic National Convention I

 

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control

Content: As the hot summer of 1968 ground to a close, the Democrats prepared to descend on Chicago for their quadrennial gathering. The year had taken its toll. Assassination, riot, an unpopular war and a divided leadership left the Democrats in disarray. Richard Nixon was in the wings ready to take advantage of the Party’s malaise with his Republican arms flung wide in welcome to southerners disdainful of black demands, Americans sick of anti-war hippies, and a segment of society increasingly receptive to his hard-line message of law and order.

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1968: The Southern Strategy I

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: In signing the epic 1964 Civil Right bill, President Lyndon Johnson is said to have lamented to one of his aides, Bill Moyer, that “I may have just turned the South over to the Republican Party for the next generation.” His prediction was accurate to the point of being uncanny.

 

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1968: Democratic National Convention II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: From August 26-29, 1968, the eyes of the political world were fixed on Chicago and nominating convention of the Democratic Party. It was not a pretty sight. Inside the Chicago Amphitheater where the Convention met, the bright divisions within the Party were laid bare for all to see. The issue animating the struggle of course was the Vietnam War. It was seen as Lyndon Johnson’s war, but he was not there to contend for the nomination. Having recognized his unpopularity and problem re-election prospects, in the Spring he had declined to run for a second full term. His heir apparent was Vice-president Hubert Humphrey, former Senator from Minnesota and early champion of civil rights. An old-line liberal, he had been abandoned by many of his colleagues on the left because of his steadfast support for Johnson’s war policy.

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1968: The Southern Strategy III

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: In 1968 Richard Nixon ran for President by courting white voters in the south skeptical of African American progress. This so-called “southern strategy” secured for him election as President. It was one of the most brilliant political transformations in American history, but it had its downside.

 

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1968: The Southern Strategy II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: Following his dismal failure in southern states in the election of 1960, Richard Nixon developed a cunning Southern Strategy for 1968 and for future years. Even in the midst of his horrific national loss in 1964, Barry Goldwater carried many southern states and proved to the Republican party that in the South, conservative white voters, skeptical of African American progress and disturbed by many modern trends in religion and society, were ripe for the GOP harvest. It was one of the most brilliant political transformations in American history.

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1968: Democratic National Convention III

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

                Content: Jerry Rubin was a Yippie, the nickname for members of the Youth International Party of which he was a founder. He and his troops descended on Chicago determined to protest the Vietnam War and racism in America. Denied permits to assemble and camp in city parks, the Yippies joined thousands of other activists on the streets of Chicago. In typically purple prose, Rubin warned of momentous events to come: "On Wednesday night the shit is really going to hit the fan 'cause we bust out of this park and go down to Grant Park and then go out to the amphitheater. There're going to be some right strange theatrical events. And you'd better have your theater thing down pretty pat."

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