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1968 and today

DIE LINKE.SDS member Stefanie Graf talked to journalists in Berlin about the congress "1968 – 40 years on – the last battle is ors to win"

"As the name tells us this [congress] is not just about a historical treatment of 1968. To us the generation of 1968 have not made good on their pivotal promise of emancipation, i.e. of overcoming capitalism. That is why we say: ‘The last battle is ours to win.’ We shall deal with the demands of 1968 – what has been kept and which demands are still pending, what mistakes have been made and what are the consequences for our work today.” Veterans of that time and activists of today would be asked, Stefanie Graf added, to find answers to these questions. "When picking a name we of DIE LINKE.SDS socialist student association (SDS = socialist democratic students’ association – the edit.) have, of course, chosen the traditions of the SDS (socialist German students’ association of West Germany, disbanded in 1970 – the edit.). The SDS played a decisive role in the 68 student movement. We do not wish to leave the interpretation of the year 1968 to the media or the helpless attempts of people to distance themselves. We do not believe that the SPD and Green government was the peak of the movement of 1968. We do not think either, just to quote another widespread interpretation that any movement attempting to overcome the system inevitably has to end up in terrorism.”

Graf went on: "What about today? The movement of 1968 brought critical science to the universities. Hardly anything is left of that today. Critical science has been thrust aside systematically… The congress on 1968 is also a prelude for us for our nationwide reading of 'Capital' which will take place from the 2008/09 winter term onwards.

"Finally, let me say something personal: During my time at university I took part in students’ strikes, protest movements and demonstrations and also helped organise them. And no matter whether they were about universities lacking funds, job losses or the introduction of tuition fees in more and more states – we lost time and again. And now, at last, we are successful. At least, it looks like it in the state of Hesse that the tuition fees once introduced will be abolished again. This can be attributed to the student’s movement alone that had been on strike for several terms. Let me finish be adapting a saying of the 1968 generation: 'Let’s have two, three, four Hesses. The last battle is ours to win:'"