The Belgian Contribution to Global 1968
Revue Belge d'Histoire Contemporaine
597 - 635 p.
The calendar year of 1968 is almost universally associated with student unrest. Belgium fits into this picture rather well, with major student mobilisations in Leuven and Brussels occurring in the first half of that notoriously restless calendar year.1 Yet all-inclusive assessments of the social movements and political reconfigurations happening that year, not only in Belgium but elsewhere in Europe and North America as well, must go beyond the relatively narrow confines of university student milieus. For the purposes of this essay, I propose also to address fresh developments occurring within the worlds of labor and cultural productions. In terms of political developments, particular attention will be placed on discussions affecting the forces composing the traditional Old Left, i.e. social democracy and communism, with special emphasis given to the rise of a New and – eventually – a Far Left. Mention will likewise be made of important reverberations of such trends in the lifeworld of Catholicism. Leaving aside certain national peculiarities, all aforementioned categories of analysis are crucial for an understanding of 1968 around the world (...).