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Archive for October 7th, 2009

“Shooting and f*cking are the same thing.” – Member of the Red Army Faction, a German left-wing terrorist group, in response to a Jordanian guerrilla who tells them to stop sunbathing nude at the training camp.

Of such surreal juxtapositions is 1960s radicalism made, at least in the Western world. Behind the Iron Curtain, the revolutionaries were trying to breathe the fresh air of the Prague Spring – and though the response was an incursion of Soviet tanks, few fired back. In the Third World, on the other hand, guns and bombs were not in short supply, while libertine sexuality and pop cultural acumen were regarded as bourgeois conveniences: serious revolutionaries had no time for the counterculture. Yet in relatively liberal democracies like France, West Germany, and the United States the New Left was drawn mostly from student ranks, from young people who had grown up for the most part in comfort, in the paradoxical postwar atmosphere of hope and fear. They dreamed of fusing the libertarian ethos of the hippie counterculture, the badass attitude of urban outlaw culture, and the heady exuberance of Marxism (sans the dead weight of the USSR) into a Molotov cocktail of youth revolution. Their credo was, in Jim Morrison’s words, “We want the world and we want it now.” (more…)

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