No. I Margrete Auken, Denmark
1968 was a year of turmoil – also in my private life. My mother died in January, I was married in May (yes, May 1968!), we were expecting our first child and around us, many things happened: The anti-authoritarian revolt had been going on for a longer time in Denmark but not the way it happened in Paris or Berlin. With Moscow dominating, the Eastern bloc looked very dark, and the invasion of Hungary 1956 was still like a kick in the teeth of believers in communist democracy.
However, the brutality in Hungary triggered important events in Western Europe! Fx in Denmark the reformists departed the communist party and formed SF, a left wing party with clear democratic standards.
But the Berlin-wall was built and darkness tightened in East. Then the revolt flared up in Czechoslovakia, people were not anti-communist, but wanted freedom. The Prague Spring! There was hope for freedom and critique of power.
An August morning we woke up to the chocking radio news: the Warsaw Pact countries were marching into Prague. During the afternoon, we gathered, furious, in front of the Soviet Embassy! That was the end of “communism with a human face”.
Yet the resistance grew in the following years: Charta 77, Solidarnosc – superiority hit back, but something happened. Hungary was the first country to break with the Soviet Union in 1989. But why are these countries now the front runners for the illiberal authoritarian nationalism? Honestly: What was 1968? Still us old ´68ers will never give up!
Margrete Auken, protestant pastor has represented Socialistisk Folkeparti in the Danish Folketing for 21 years and in the European Parliament for 14 years.